MDB Viewer Plus: View and Edit Microsoft Access Database Files

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Microsoft Database or MDB files are one of the oldest database systems that came into existence with Microsoft Access. MDB files were replaced with similar ACCDB files. These database files can be easily opened, edited and queried using Microsoft Access. […]

This post MDB Viewer Plus: View and Edit Microsoft Access Database Files is from TheWindowsClub.com.

How a Free Version of Teams Might Work

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Teams Splash

Teams Splash

Teams Takes On Slack

Brad’s scoop about Microsoft preparing a free version of Teams to take on Slack got me thinking about the technical shape of such a product and how it might differ from the enterprise version available to Office 365 tenants.

As Brad explains in his article, Microsoft is aiming at the free version of Slack. I assume that the idea is to block the route companies take from using the limited free version to buying the full paid edition of Slack. Since the introduction of Teams in November 2016, Microsoft has competed head-to-head with Slack, but has lacked an introductory version. Anyone who wants Teams must have an Office 365 tenant and license every user.

Open to All

Microsoft’s announcement last week that they Teams now supports external access from any account is really important to their ability to deliver a free Teams client.

The free version won’t depend on Azure Active Directory as the authoritative directory or Office 365 Groups to manage team membership. Instead, I could see a scenario where someone with an MSA (Microsoft) account (connected to any email address) signs up to create a team and then nominates other members, each of which is identified by an email address. Teams sends invitations to those addresses and when the addresses are redeemed, connects the addresses to the team. Behind the scenes, the collection of members might be represented by a group in the MSA directory.

Limited Functionality for Free Teams

Microsoft is likely to limit functionality available to the free version of Teams. For instance, instead of supporting 100 channels in a team, the free version might support five. Instead of being able to create 250 teams, an MSA account might be limited to ten, and so on. I also think it likely that the array of bots, tabs, apps, and connectors available in the Office 365 version will be trimmed for a free version. However, Microsoft might keep apps that appeal to programmers, such as the integration between Visual Studio Team Services and Teams.

Consumer Versions of Apps Step Up

Teams draws upon many other Office 365 apps to deliver functionality to users. I could see that a free team might replace the enterprise apps with consumer versions. For instance, the free version of Teams could use an Outlook.com mailbox to host a calendar and a OneDrive site to share files between team members. Outlook.com uses the same physical infrastructure as Exchange Online, so hosting a mailbox on Outlook.com is a quick switch. Some more work is needed to replace SharePoint Online as the basis for file sharing and collaboration, but you could see how the consumer version of OneDrive could be used.

Conversations and Calls

Apart from that, the core Teams services that handle personal and channel conversations and the media (graphics) posted in conversations run on Azure and probably do not need a heap of work to handle the demands of a free version. Indeed, some of the complexity of the enterprise will be removed, as free versions will not be concerned about things like compliance and data governance.

As to meetings, the Office 365 version of Teams uses the consumer Skype infrastructure for its phone and calling functionality, so it’s not a long shot to say that a free version of Teams would do the same thing, dropping enterprise functionality like calling plans and PSTN dial-in. Those who create free Teams might have to sign up to a Skype consumer subscription to pay for calls, if those calls go outside the boundary of the team.

Switching Over

If they introduce a free version of Teams, Microsoft will have to be able to upgrade from freeware to paid-for. The steps involved might be:

  • Create a new Office 365 tenant.
  • Create new Azure AD accounts for the MSA accounts used by the free version of Teams.
  • Assign Office 365 licenses to the Azure AD accounts. Microsoft might have special low-priced plans to help ease the switchover.
  • Switch the free Teams to enterprise versions based on Office 365 Groups and SharePoint Online.

Conceptually, moving from free to paid does not seem to pose major technical difficulties. Microsoft has access to all the data, so this should be a straightforward operation. Of course, the devil is in the detail.

Sponsored

The Free Version of Teams Might Just Happen

The bottom line is that the architecture of Teams lends itself to morphing from the version we see in Office 365 to a free version that competes directly with the free version of Slack. Stranger things have happened, so don’t be surprised if it does.

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros”, the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

The post How a Free Version of Teams Might Work appeared first on Petri.

Mercedes’ futuristic headlights are no longer just a concept

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Mercedes has been testing smarter headlights, and now it appears they’re no longer just a concept. Daimler announced today that these futuristic headlamps will be available in top of the line Mercedes-Maybach S-Class vehicles.

Shape is an app to help you learn how to invest the ethical way

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 Recently launched out of beta, U.K. startup Shape wants to create a more educational trading experience for a new generation of traders, including those who might be concerned with the ethical standards of the sectors or companies they back. Read More

Knock, knock. Whois there? Get ready for anonymized email addresses after domain privacy shake-up

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Looming GDPR Euro law sends ICANN back to drawing board

You may will no longer be able to see the name, email or house address for whoever owns a specific domain name under new rules proposed by DNS overseer ICANN.…

Caped Beagle is FPGA Superhero

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We miss the days when everything had daughterboards. Now, Arduinos have shields and Raspberry Pis have hats. The BeagleBone has capes. Whatever. However, regardless of the name, the open source BeagleWire cape/shield/hat/daughterboard connects to a BeagleBone and provides a Lattice iCE40HX FPGA, some support hardware, and common I/O connectors like Pmod and Grove. You can see a video about the board below.

In addition to the FPGA, the board contains a EEPROM, RAM, flash memory, an oscillator, and a few buttons, switches and LEDs. The buttons even feature hardware debouncing. The parts list and design files are all available and — depending on a successful crowdfunding campaign — you might be able to buy one for $75 in the future.

The board is configured to communicate over the 100 MHz 16-bit GPMC port. Linux software and example drivers are available so it should be fairly simple to get the FPGA and CPU talking to each other for your own purposes.

If you decide to build your own, there’s a one-click button that will populate a DigiKey cart for you with most of the components. Although the DigiKey site complained about an error, it did seem to order 24 of the 26 components and the total came to just over $50. Of course, you’d still need to source the missing parts and the board.

We’ve talked about the Lattice iCE FPGAs quite a bit in the past. Not only do you have our tutorial videos, but there are plenty of others, too.

Thanks for [Drew Fustini] for pointing this out to us.

DIY Text-to-Speech with Raspberry Pi

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We can almost count on our eyesight to fail with age, maybe even past the point of correction. It’s a pretty big flaw if you ask us. So, how can a person with aging eyes hope to continue reading the printed word?

There are plenty of commercial document readers available that convert text to speech, but they’re expensive. Most require a smart phone and/or an internet connection. That might not be as big of an issue for future generations of failing eyes, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime, we have small, cheap computers and plenty of open source software to turn them into document readers.

[rgrokett] built a RaspPi text reader to help an aging parent maintain their independence. In the process, he made a good soup-to-nuts guide to building one. It couldn’t be easier to use—just place the document under the camera and push the button. A Python script makes the Pi take a picture of the text. Then it uses Tesseract OCR to convert the image to plain text, and runs the text through a speech synthesis engine which reads it aloud. The reader is on as long as it’s plugged in, so it’s ready to work at the push of a button. We can probably all appreciate such a low-hassle design. Be sure to check out the demo after the break.

If you wanted to use this to read books, you’d still have to turn the pages yourself. Here’s a BrickPi reader that solves that one.

Cambridge to use XRP for Faster Global Payments

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Cambridge Global Payments — a subsidiary of FLEETCOR Technologies and a leading global provider of commercial payment solutions — is launching a pilot program to use XRP in cross-border payment flows through xRapid.

Cambridge currently has over 13,000 clients around the world and handles $20 billion in international transactions annually. Incorporating XRP in those flows will provide their clients with a cross-border payments experience that is significantly faster, cheaper and more transparent.

Cambridge joins five major financial institutions who have publicly announced that they are piloting xRapid, including Cuallix, MoneyGram, IDT Corporation, Mercury FX and Western Union.

They are also exploring xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise software for messaging and international transaction settlement currently used by over 100 financial institutions.

Cambridge looks to use xRapid to improve their customer experience

Cambridge works with businesses, large and small, to facilitate critical and secure payments for fuel, toll, lodging, and general payables through its own proprietary payment networks in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australasia.

These international payment flows allow for a streamlined experience for customers who depend on Cambridge to ensure their businesses stay healthy and expand. With xRapid, Cambridge aims to provide an even better experience for those customers.

Mark Frey, chief operating officer for Cambridge Global Payments, is confident that blockchain powered solutions like xRapid can not only help Cambridge improve their customers’ payments journey, but also spur critical innovation in their industry.

“We are excited for the insights this pilot program is expected to deliver, and we will use that information to help both Cambridge and FLEETCOR develop our use cases for blockchain in international payments,” said Frey.

“We strive to deliver best-in-class cross-border payments services, with speed and transparency. We look forward to exploring how Ripple can help us continue to improve the customer experience using new technology.”

Continued adoption of digital assets will revolutionize cross-border payments

As Cambridge and more financial institutions begin to use xRapid to source liquidity, capital locked up around the world required in today’s fractured system for international payments can become available and put to use in new ways.

Ripple’s director of business development, Danny Aranda, believes that partners like Cambridge recognize the revolutionary potential using XRP has for financial institutions.

“We’re focused on working with partners like Cambridge that understand the benefits of digital assets and are serious about using XRP to overcome the inefficiencies in the global payment system,” said Aranda. “We look forward to collaborating with Cambridge during this pilot to enhance the speed and transparency of cross-border payments for their clients.”

The efficiency of cheaper and on-demand international payments using digital assets like XRP together with the release of dormant capital, is an important step forward toward Ripple’s mission of establishing an Internet of Value, where money can move like information.

To learn more, please visit our solutions page.

The post Cambridge to use XRP for Faster Global Payments appeared first on Ripple.

Bullitt is turning smartphones into toolboxes

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 Given the fact that we already rely on them for pretty much everything else, why not just go all in and turn our smartphones in to literal toolboxes? Bullitt, the UK-based licensed phone manufacturer behind those Kodak handsets was on hand at Mobile World Congress this week, showing off a pair of super rugged handsets. They’re not for everyone, sure, but in a world where most phones… Read More

IDG Contributor Network: How to choose the right SD-WAN transport and why it matters

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Businesses and their distributed enterprise locations grow more dependent on connected resources every day. That’s because employee and customer expectations and behaviors are evolving and having quick access to business information or constant connection to personal applications is changing the game for business networks. 

Every report I see indicates that our dependence on connected systems will continue to skyrocket. In fact, Cisco recently predicted that global IP traffic is set to nearly triple by 2021.

To read this article in full, please click here

Are You a Bad Enough Dude For Land Rover’s Toughest Phone Ever?

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Smartphones are basically super powerful little computers we carry around with us every day. With so much technology packed into such a light and small package, including huge fragile glass screens, we shouldn’t […]

The post Are You a Bad Enough Dude For Land Rover’s Toughest Phone Ever? appeared first on Geek.com.

Dutch Supermarket Sets Example With Plastic-Free Aisle

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The Dutch have done it again: Europe’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle opened on Wednesday in Amsterdam. A local branch of Ekoplaza invited shoppers to choose from more than 700 plastic-free products, including meat, […]

The post Dutch Supermarket Sets Example With Plastic-Free Aisle appeared first on Geek.com.

Bitnami Simplifies Cloud Migration with Stacksmith Service

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Bitnami, the leading provider of packaged applications for any platform, announced the availability of Bitnami Stacksmith , a tool that simplifies… Read more at VMblog.com.

Confidently plan your cloud migration: Azure Migrate is now generally available!

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A few months ago, we announced Azure Migrate – a new service that provides guidance and insights to help you migrate to Azure. Today, we’re excited to announce that Azure Migrate is generally available.

Azure Migrate is offered at no additional charge and provides appliance-based, agentless discovery of your on-premises environments. It enables discovery of VMware-virtualized Windows and Linux VMs today and will enable discovery of Hyper-V environments in the future. It also provides an optional, agent-based discovery for visualizing interdependencies between machines to identify multi-tier applications. This enables you to plan your migration across three dimensions:

  • Readiness: Are the machines that host my multi-tier application suitable for running in Azure?
  • Rightsizing: What size will my Azure VM be, based on my machine’s configuration or utilization?
  • Cost: How much will my recurring Azure costs be, taking into account discounts like Azure Hybrid Benefit?

Azure Migrate

Many of you are already using Azure Migrate in production to accelerate your migration journey. Thank you for using the preview service, and for providing us with valuable feedback. Here are some new features added after the preview:

  • Configuration-based sizing: Size your machine as-is, based on configuration settings such as number of CPU cores and size of memory, in addition to already supported sizing based on utilization of CPU, memory, disk, etc.
  • Confidence rating for assessments: Use a star rating to differentiate assessments that are based on more versus less utilization data points.
  • No charge for dependency visualization: Visualize network dependencies of your multi-tier application without getting charged for Service Map.

Service Map

  • More target regions: Assess your machines for target regions in China, Germany, and India. You can create migration projects in two regions – West Central US and East US. However, you can plan migrations to any of the 30 supported target regions.

As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Azure Migrate can help you do a great job of migration planning. We’re listening to your feedback and are continuing to add more features to help you plan migrations. However, we don’t want to stop there. We also want to provide a streamlined experience to perform migrations. Today, you can use services like Azure Site Recovery and Azure Database Migration Service to do this. Going forward, you can expect to see all that goodness integrated into Azure Migrate. That way, you’ll have a true single-stop shop for all your Azure migration needs.

You can get started by creating a migration project in the Azure portal. In addition…

  • Get and stay informed with our documentation.
  • Seek help by posting a question on our forum or contacting Microsoft Support.
  • Provide feedback by posting or voting for an idea in our user voice.

Happy migrating!

– Shon

Teams Now Supports Guest Users from Non-Office 365 Domains

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Teams Splash

Teams Splash

An Open World of Guests for Teams

When Microsoft introduced the first iteration external (guest) access for Teams in September 2017, an important limitation existed. Guests could only come from Azure Active Directory domains with Office 365. Although there are some 130 million active Office 365 users, that’s still a subset of the folks that you might want to add as a guest user, including those who use other systems like Gmail or Yahoo!

The lack of support for non-Office 365 domains surprised many because Office 365 Groups support external access from these domains, and Teams uses Office 365 Groups. However, the connection between the two applications means nothing when it comes to controlling guest user access to resources. In fact, guest access to Office 365 Groups is based on an older SharePoint model that has been around for years and it only allows access to SharePoint resources. Teams is a very different application, so Microsoft needed to do extra work to make guest access safe and secure for these domains.

Now, maintaining the rapid cadence of updates Microsoft makes to Teams, you can add guest users with any email address to Teams. You can read Microsoft’s blog post on the topic to learn details of supported clients (for instance, you cannot invite guest users or redeem invitations on Teams mobile clients, while Safari is still a no-go browser for Teams). In the rest of this article, I look at how a guest user with one of the newly-supported email addresses joins a team.

The B2B Collaboration Basics

Teams is an application that uses many services drawn across Office 365, including Exchange Online (for its calendar and compliance records), SharePoint Online (for document management), and OneDrive for Business (personal sharing). External guest access uses Azure B2B Collaboration. Briefly, when you add a guest user to a team, Teams extends an invitation to that user to redeem and confirm their membership. The invitation email holds a link for the guest to enter the redemption process. When redemption is complete, a new Azure Active Directory user account (of type “Guest”) exists in the tenant directory. Access to application resources comes through this account.

Azure B2B Collaboration is also used within Office 365 to share documents from SharePoint and OneDrive sites and to allow access to Office 365 Groups (only the SharePoint resources, not conversations). Because other applications use Azure B2B Collaboration, an Azure Active Directory account might already exist for a guest user. If this happens, Teams uses that account.

Adding a new Guest User to a Team

All you need to add a new guest user to a team is their email address (Figure 1). Teams takes the address and checks whether a guest account. If not, Teams creates a prototype guest account that the user will later complete through the redemption process.

Teams add guest user

Figure 1: Adding a guest user to a team (image credit: Tony Redmond)

Notification Arrives

The next step is to issue the email invitation to the user. The user is already part of the team, and if their guest account is complete through redemption, they can click the Open Microsoft Teams link in the message (Figure 2) to go to the team.

Teams sharing invitation

Figure 2: A guest user receives an invitation to Teams (image credit: Tony Redmond)

Teams Redemption

Things are a little more complicated if the user has never been through the redemption process for the tenant before. The same link brings them into a process to prove their identity and give credentials to allow them to connect to the tenant in the future. The first step in the process is to sign-in (Figure 3). An email address already exists to use as the basis for the User Principal Name for the account, so what’s missing is a password, which the user sets up at this point. If the host tenant uses multi-factor authentication to protect accounts in general or Teams as an application (using a conditional access policy), they must also establish how they will prove their MFA credentials.

Teams redeem invitatioin

Figure 3: Redeeming the invitation (image credit: Tony Redmond)

When everything is complete, Azure Active Directory enables the guest account and the user can go through a normal sign-in (Figure 4) to connect to the link to Teams shown in Figure 3. You can see that the account name used to sign in is the guest user’s email address.

Teams sign in

Figure 4: Signing into the guest user account (image credit: Tony Redmond)

Guest Rights

When connected, a guest user shows up in the same way as any other user (Figure 5) and has much the same rights as a tenant user. Among the things a guest can’t do is to create new meetings or view organizational information in the tenant directory. These restrictions exist because of technical issues (guests can read, but not write to the group calendar in the Exchange mailbox), or to protect data within the tenant.

Teams manage membership

Figure 5: Guest users show up as normal users in a team (image credit: Tony Redmond)

Although guests cannot browse the tenant directory to find new teams to join, if they have access to Office 365 Groups and the groups are team-enabled, they automatically gain access to those teams. Therefore, a guest accessing teams for the first time in a tenant might discover that they can use many other teams than the one for which they received an invitation.

Behind the AAD Scenes

As noted earlier, Azure B2B Collaboration creates guest user accounts to enable access. If we look at guest accounts, we see that they have a special type, and created through an invitation process. Also, the email address for the guest gives the basis of the sign-on address and allows the account to be mail-enabled.

Get-AzureADUser -ObjectId 7741ac6e-30c2-40da-adcb-e54e8c4b1b54 | Format-List
ObjectId                       : 7741ac6e-30c2-40da-adcb-e54e8c4b1b54
ObjectType                     : User
AccountEnabled                 : True
AssignedLicenses               : {}
CreationType                   : Invitation
DisplayName                    : Tony's Yandex Account
Mail                           : [email protected]
MailNickName                   : tredmond_yandex.com#EXT#
OtherMails                     : {[email protected]}
ProxyAddresses                 : {SMTP:[email protected]}
UserPrincipalName              : tredmond_yandex.com#EXT#@Rmytenant.onmicrosoft.com
UserType                       : Guest

To find all guest accounts in a tenant, use this command:

Get-AzureADUser -Filter "UserType eq 'Guest'"

Sponsored

Access for All

Because it allows many more potential collaborators into the Teams tent, adding guest access for non-Office 365 domains is a big thing. I’d like to see Teams progress by making the process to switch tenants smoother and to allow mobile clients to switch tenants. Meantime, Microsoft continues the push to add new calling functionality so that Teams can replace the Skype for Business Online client. At times, so much happens, it’s quite wearisome to keep track on everything.

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros”, the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

The post Teams Now Supports Guest Users from Non-Office 365 Domains appeared first on Petri.

Sandisk’s super-fast 400GB microSD is ready for 4K HDR video

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It’s great that Sony’s new Xperia XZ2 smartphone can record 4K HDR video footage, but the bandwidth and storage requirements are bound to be, er, extreme. That’s where SanDisk’s new 400GB Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card comes in, delivering 160 MB/s rea…

Sandisk’s super-fast 400GB microSD is ready for 4K HDR video

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It’s great that Sony’s new Xperia XZ2 smartphone can record 4K HDR video footage, but the bandwidth and storage requirements are bound to be, er, extreme. That’s where SanDisk’s new 400GB Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card comes in, delivering 160 MB/s rea…

Office 365 Updates Keep on Piling Up

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Office 365 with Teams

Office 365 with Teams

Random Office 365 Developments

Those who know my writing style might consider me verbose. I think of it as “detailed,” meaning that I like to discuss stuff in some depth. In any case, Microsoft makes so many changes in Office 365 now that it is hard to discuss everything in a full-size article. To address the knowledge gap, here’s some brief notes about recent happenings in Office 365.

Teams and Planner

Teams and Planner are both children of the cloud, so you’d expect them to be tightly integrated. Planner got some recent updates, which were nice, but now some updates for the Planner/Teams integration have shown up. I like the way that you can now see all the plans available to the Teams to which you belong (Figure 1), exposed through More options (…) menu in the navigation pane.

Teams Planner

Figure 1: Listing the plans available to Teams (image credit: Tony Redmond)

I also like the intelligent way that Teams allows you to remove a plan from a channel without disturbing the underlying Office 365 Group and any of its resources. Good work!

Planner’s Complicated Link

But then Planner spoils things with a convoluted support article describing how to disable Outlook calendar sync for your tenant. I haven’t seen the ability to use an iCalendar link to synchronize tasks to Outlook show up in Planner yet, so the support article might be an early version. Nevertheless, it allows me to chide Microsoft and say that this kind of complexity should be hidden from regular human beings.

Compliance and GDPR

Everyone’s favorite topic continues unabated as the May 25 deadline approaches for the introduction of GDPR. On the upside, Microsoft’s Compliance Manager is now generally available to help tenants understand how to approach GDPR. I think Planner and Teams can help here too, but it’s really up to you how to figure out how to organize what needs to be done, including dealing with the problems of data spillage and eradication of pesky PSTs.

OneDrive Restore Shows Up

All the bits necessary to make the OneDrive Restore feature work have now appeared in my tenant. The feature works as advertised and allows users to select what documents to restore from a 30-day sliding window. I like this functionality a lot.

Keeping People in the Loop

Meantime, the Office 365 Admin Centre now allows administrators to share the news about an update with other people (Figure 2). It’s a good idea. Simple ideas often have a good impact.

Office 365 Share Admin Update

Figure 2: Sharing details of an update (image credit: Tony Redmond)

More Cookie Woes

The Office 365 Admin Center has enjoyed a checkered history of cookie woes. I had another this week (Figure 3). The only solution was to clear out all cookies and reload the page. Oh dear… I hope this isn’t an omen of more cookie woes to come.

Office 365 Admin Center error

Figure 3: Whoops, the Office 365 Admin Center can’t load (image credit: Tony Redmond)

Unified CLP for Office 365

CLP apparently means Classification, Labeling, and Protection. Or so I hear. In any case, Office 365 has Classification Labels and Azure Information Protection Labels today. The bad news is that two sets of labels are confusing. The good news is that Microsoft is bringing the two together to achieve “consistent labellng and protection policies.

Simplifying peoples’ lives is always good, but it will take time before we know how the merge between the two label sets happens.

Exchange’s New Audit Action

Exchange has offered mailbox auditing for nearly a decade. It has taken Microsoft a while to figure out that it might be good to audit permission changes for folders. The new UpdateFolderPermissions action is now configured for owner, delegate, and admin operations on Exchange Online mailboxes:

PS C:\temp> get-mailbox -id james.ryan | select -ExpandProperty auditadmin
Update
Move
MoveToDeletedItems
SoftDelete
HardDelete
FolderBind
SendAs
SendOnBehalf
Create
UpdateFolderPermissions

Exchange on-premises servers do not support the new audit action. Maybe this will come with Exchange 2019.

Sponsored

Yammer Counts

Finally, I noted a couple of weeks ago that Yammer shows the count of people who have seen an item. At that time, the count was only visible to the authors of notes. Now it’s available for everyone, but only for recent posts.

Follow Tony on Twitter @12Knocksinna.

Want to know more about how to manage Office 365? Find what you need to know in “Office 365 for IT Pros”, the most comprehensive eBook covering all aspects of Office 365. Available in PDF and EPUB formats (suitable for iBooks) or for Amazon Kindle.

The post Office 365 Updates Keep on Piling Up appeared first on Petri.

Raspberry Pi Modem Project

[https://youtu.be/dsHNjxWzz-g], Built a fun little project out of an old USR fax modem using a Raspberry Pi. Let me know what you think and feel free to like the video.

Parts used:

Raspberry Pi Zero (original)
Sandisk Ultra Micro SD Card 8gb (class 10)
Official Raspberry Pi USB Wifi
O2 Mobile Broadband Dongle E1752CU
Targus ACH111EU 4-Port USB Hub

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2CnIz8m

Crankshaft: Open Source Car Computer

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Modern cars and head units are pretty fancy gadget-wise. But what if your car still has an 8-track? No problem. Just pick up a Raspberry Pi 3 and a seven-inch touchscreen, and use Crankshaft to turn it into an Android Auto setup.

The open source project is based on OpenAuto which, in turn, leverages aasdk. The advantage to Crankshaft is it is a plug-and-play distribution. However, if you prefer, you can build it all yourself from GitHub.

The only limitation we can see stems from the lack of audio input on the Raspberry Pi, though we wonder if a USB sound card would take care of that problem. If you have a spare Pi and a screen hanging around, this is a handy project. A 3D-printed Pi case and some kind of mount for the LCD and you can ditch the 8-track. Not to mention with the Pi under there and all the source code, this should be highly hackable.

Perhaps you’ll do a little dashboard surgery. If you have a double DIN opening already, it might not be very difficult.

Microsoft’s Preparing a Free Version of Teams to Take on Slack

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Microsoft has been investing heavily in Teams and the company is showing no signs of slowing down. Last year, the company announced that Skype for Business would be going away with Teams taking the lead role for the company’s communication platform and now it looks like a free offering is on the agenda as well.

In the latest developer preview of Teams, there are several references to a freemium tier of the platform. While this may seem like it is simply part of the upcoming support for MSAs, one line from the dev preview specifically states that this is for non-guest MSAs. In short, it looks like Microsoft is going to offer Teams for free to those who don’t have an Office 365 account.

The reasons for why Microsoft would do this is quite simple, get them hooked on the platform and then upsell Office 365. Another line from the dev preview states “Storage exceeded… Admin action to upgrade to paid version” which means that there will be limitations on the free iteration and to unlock all the functionality of Teams, you will need Office 365.

While I don’t know explicitly what functionary will be limited, it’s not too hard to make an educated guess. For instance, I would expect that the total number of people allowed per team and into a single Teams org would have a low ceiling for users and sharing files could be limited in size as well. Further, the use of third-party plug-ins and bots may not be allowed until the group upgrades to a paid version of Office 365.

I reached out to Microsoft for comment about the freemium iteration but they declined to provide a comment.

This type of feature for Teams is long overdue for the platform but late is better than never. Even though Office 365 has been growing steadily, the competition from a Slack+G Suite environment is increasing as each quarter passes which means that it is critical for Microsoft to open up new avenues that funnel towards an Office 365 subscription.

Typically, a company will start with Slack as it can be used for free initially and offers a compelling alternative to email+IM. Because Microsoft’s solution, up until when this feature goes live, has been a premium-only solution, for startups and small operations, using Slack is a more cost-effective resource.

With this type of information now included in the latest developer preview of Teams, it would appear that this functionality will be enabled in the near future as the development is well underway.

Thanks for the tip Pavan!

The post Microsoft’s Preparing a Free Version of Teams to Take on Slack appeared first on Petri.

Maplin For Sale

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If you are an American Electronics Enthusiast of a Certain Age, you will have misty-eyed reminiscences of the days when every shopping mall had a Radio Shack store. If you are a Brit, the name that will bring similar reminiscences to those Radio Shack ones from your American friends is Maplin. They may be less important to our community than they once would have been so this is a story from the financial pages; it has been announced that the Maplin chain is for sale.

Maplin started life as a small mail-order company supplying electronic parts, grew to become a large mail order company selling electronic parts, and them proceeded to a nationwide chain of stores occupying a similar niche to the one Radio Shack fitted into prior to their demise. They still sell electronic components, multimeters, and tools, but the bulk of their floor space is devoted to the more techy and hobbyist end of mass-market consumer electronics. As the competition from online retailers has intensified  it is reported that the sale may be an attempt to avoid the company going into administration.

It’s fair to say that in our community they have something of a reputation of late for being not the cheapest source of parts, somewhere you go because you need something in a hurry rather than for a bargain. A friend of Hackaday remarked flippantly that the asking price for the company would be eleventy zillion pounds, which may provide some clues as to why custom hasn’t been so brisk. But for a period in the late 1970s through to the 1980s they were the only place for many of us to find  parts, and their iconic catalogues with spaceships on their covers could be bought from the nationwide WH Smith newsagent chain alongside home computers such as the ZX Spectrum. It’s sad to say this, but if they did find themselves on the rocks we’d be sorry to see the name disappear, but we probably wouldn’t miss them in 2018.

One of the things Maplin were known for back in the day were their range of kits. We’ve shown you at least one in the past, this I/O port for a Sinclair ZX81.

Footnote: Does anyone still have any of the early Maplin catalogues with the spaceships on the cover? Ours perished decades ago, but we’d love to borrow one for a Retrotechtacular piece.

Maplin store images: Betty Longbottom [CC BY-SA 2.0], and Futurilla [CC BY-SA 2.0].

UK tech brand Acorn taps nostalgia to sell a rebranded phone

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Acorn, the British computer company that dominated the market in the late '70s has been revived, once again. This time out, the outfit is pushing its own smartphone, the Acorn Micro Phone C5, which appears to be a rebadged Leagoo S8. Should you want…

Creating a single pane of glass for your multi-cloud Kubernetes workloads with Cloudflare

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[Editor’s note: As much as we’d love to host all your workloads on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), sometimes it’s not in the cards. Today we hear from Cloudflare about how to enable a multi-cloud configuration using its load balancer to front Kubernetes-based workloads in both Google Kubernetes Engine and Amazon Web Services (AWS).]

One of the great things about container technology is that it delivers the same experience and functionality across different platforms. This frees you as a developer from having to rewrite or update your application to deploy it on a new cloud provider—or lets you run it across multiple cloud providers. With a containerized application running on multiple clouds, you can avoid lock-in, run your application on the cloud for which it’s best suited, and lower your overall costs.

If you’re using Kubernetes, you probably manage traffic to clusters and services across multiple nodes using internal load-balancing services, which is the most common and practical approach. But if you’re running an application on multiple clouds, it can be hard to distribute traffic intelligently among them. In this blog post, we show you how to use Cloudflare Load Balancer in conjunction with Kubernetes so you can start to achieve the benefits of a multi-cloud configuration.

The load balancers offered by most cloud vendors are often tailored to a particular cloud infrastructure. Load balancers themselves can also be single points of failure. Cloudflare’s Global Anycast Network comprises 120 data centers worldwide and offer all Cloudflare functions, including Load Balancing, to deliver speed and high availability regardless of which clouds your origin servers are hosted on. Users are directed to the closest and most suitable data center to the user, maximizing availability and minimizing latency. Should there be any issue connecting to a given datacenter, user traffic is automatically rerouted to the next best available option. It also health-checks your origins, notifying you via email if one of them is down, while automatic failover capabilities keep your services available to the outside world.

By running containerized applications across multiple clouds, you can be platform-agnostic and resilient to major outages. Cloudflare represents a single pane of glass to:

  • Apply and monitor security policies (DDoS mitigation, WAF, etc.)
  • Manage routing across multiple regions or cloud vendors, using our Load Balancer
  • Tweak performance settings from a single location. This reduces the time you spend managing configurations as well as the possibility of a misconfiguration
  • Add and modify additional web applications as you migrate services from on-premise to cloud or between different cloud providers

Load balancing across AWS and GCP with Cloudflare

To give you a better sense of how to do this, we created a guide on how to deploy an application using Kubernetes on GCP and AWS along with our Cloudflare Load Balancer.

The following diagram shows how the Cloudflare Load Balancer distributes traffic between Google Cloud and another cloud vendor for an application deployed on Kubernetes. In this example, the GCP origin server uses an ingress controller and an HTTP load balancer, while another cloud vendor origin its uses own load balancer. The key takeaway is that Cloudflare Load Balancer works with any of these origin configurations.

Here’s an overview of how to set up a load-balanced application across multiple clouds with Cloudflare.

Step 1: Create a container cluster

GCP provides built-in support for running Kubernetes containers with Google Kubernetes Engine. You can access it with Google Cloud Shell, which is preinstalled with gcloud, docker and kubectl command-line tools.

Running the following command creates a three-node cluster:

$gcloud container clusters create camilia-cluster --num-nodes=3 

Now you have a pool of Compute Engine VM instances running Kubernetes.

AWS

AWS recently announced support for the Kubernetes container orchestration system on top of its Elastic Container Service (ECS). Click Amazon EKS to sign up for the preview.

Until EKS is available, here’s how to create a Kubernetes cluster on AWS:

  • Install the following tools on your local machine: Docker, AWS CLI with an AWS account, Kubectl and Kops (a tool provided by Kubernetes that simplifies the creation of the cluster) 
  • Have a domain name, e.g. mydomain.com
  • In the AWS console have a policy for your user to access the AWS Elastic Container Registry

In addition, you need to have two additional AWS resources in order to create a Kubernetes cluster:

  • An S3 bucket to store information about the created cluster and its configuration 
  • A Route53 domain (hosted zone) on which to run the container, e.g., k8s.mydomain.com. Kops uses DNS for discovery, both inside the cluster and so that you can reach the Kubernetes API server from clients

Once you’ve set up the S3 bucket and created a hosted zone using Kops, you can create the configuration for the cluster and save it on S3:

$kops create cluster --zones us-east-1a k8saws.usualwebsite.com

Then, run the following command to create the cluster in AWS:

$kops update cluster k8saws.usualwebsite.com --yes

Kops then creates one master node and two slaves. This is the default config for Kops.

Step 2: Deploy the application

This step is the same across both Kubernetes Engine and AWS. After you create a cluster, use kubectl to deploy applications to the cluster. You can usually deploy them from a docker image.

$kubectl run camilia-nginx --image=nginx --port 80

This creates a pod that is scheduled to one of the slave nodes.

Step 3 – Expose your application to the internet 

On AWS, exposing an application to traffic from the internet automatically assigns an external IP address to the service and creates an AWS Elastic Load Balancer.

On GCP, however, containers that run on Kubernetes Engine are not accessible from the internet by default, because they do not have external IP addresses by default. With Kubernetes Engine, you must expose the application as a service internally and create an ingress resource with the ingress controller, which creates an HTTP(S) load balancer.

To expose the application as a service internally, run the following command:

$kubectl expose deployment camilia-nginx --target-port=80  
--type=NodePort

In order to create an ingress resource so that your HTTP(S) web server application is publicly accessible, you’ll need to create the yaml configuration file. This file defines an ingress resource that directs traffic to the service.

Once you’ve deployed the ingress resource, the ingress controller that’s running in your cluster creates an HTTP(S) Load Balancer to route all external HTTP traffic to the service.

Step 4 – Scale up your application 

Adding additional replicas (pods) is the same for both Kubernetes Engine and AWS. This step ensures there are identical instances running the application.

$kubectl scale deployment camilia-nginx --replicas=3

The Load Balancer that was provisioned in the previous step now starts routing traffic to these new replicas automatically.

Setting up Cloudflare Load Balancer

Now, you’re ready to set up Cloudflare Load Balancer, a very straightforward process:

  • Create a hostname for Load Balancer, for example lb.mydomain.com 
  • Create Origin Pools, for example, a first pool for GCP, and a second pool for AWS 
  • Create Health Checks 
  • Set up Geo Routing, for example all North America East traffic routes to AWS instance, etc.

Please see our documentation for detailed instructions how to set up the Cloudflare Load Balancer.

Introducing Cloudflare Warp

Working with StackPointCloud we also developed a Cloudflare WARP Ingress Controller, which makes it very easy to launch Kubernetes across multiple cloud vendors and uses Cloudflare controller to tie them together. Within StackPointCloud, adding the Cloudflare Warp Ingress Controller requires just a single click. One more click and you’ve deployed a Kubernetes cluster. Behind the scenes, it implements an ingress controller using a Cloudflare Warp tunnel to connect a Cloudflare-managed URL to a Kubernetes service. The Warp controller manages ingress tunnels in a single namespace of the cluster. Multiple controllers can exist in different namespaces, with different credentials for each namespace.

Kubernetes in a multi-cloud world

With the recent announcement of native Kubernetes support in AWS, as well as existing native support in GCP and Microsoft Azure, it’s clear that Kubernetes is emerging as the leading technology for managing heterogeneous cloud workloads, giving you a consistent way to deploy and manage your applications regardless of which cloud provider they run on. Using Cloudflare Load Balancer in these kinds of multi-cloud configurations lets you direct traffic between clouds, while avoiding vendor-specific integrations and lock-in. To learn more about Cloudflare, visit our website, or reach out to us with any questions — we’d love to hear from you!

Now Available – AWS Serverless Application Repository

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Last year I suggested that you Get Ready for the AWS Serverless Application Repository and gave you a sneak peek. The Repository is designed to make it as easy as possible for you to discover, configure, and deploy serverless applications and components on AWS. It is also an ideal venue for AWS partners, enterprise customers, and independent developers to share their serverless creations.

Now Available
After a well-received public preview, the AWS Serverless Application Repository is now generally available and you can start using it today!

As a consumer, you will be able to tap in to a thriving ecosystem of serverless applications and components that will be a perfect complement to your machine learning, image processing, IoT, and general-purpose work. You can configure and consume them as-is, or you can take them apart, add features, and submit pull requests to the author.

As a publisher, you can publish your contribution in the Serverless Application Repository with ease. You simply enter a name and a description, choose some labels to increase discoverability, select an appropriate open source license from a menu, and supply a README to help users get started. Then you enter a link to your existing source code repo, choose a SAM template, and designate a semantic version.

Let’s take a look at both operations…

Consuming a Serverless Application
The Serverless Application Repository is accessible from the Lambda Console. I can page through the existing applications or I can initiate a search:

A search for “todo” returns some interesting results:

I simply click on an application to learn more:

I can configure the application and deploy it right away if I am already familiar with the application:

I can expand each of the sections to learn more. The Permissions section tells me which IAM policies will be used:

And the Template section displays the SAM template that will be used to deploy the application:

I can inspect the template to learn more about the AWS resources that will be created when the template is deployed. I can also use the templates as a learning resource in preparation for creating and publishing my own application.

The License section displays the application’s license:

To deploy todo, I name the application and click Deploy:

Deployment starts immediately and is done within a minute (application deployment time will vary, depending on the number and type of resources to be created):

I can see all of my deployed applications in the Lambda Console:

There’s currently no way for a SAM template to indicate that an API Gateway function returns binary media types, so I set this up by hand and then re-deploy the API:

Following the directions in the Readme, I open the API Gateway Console and find the URL for the app in the API Gateway Dashboard:

I visit the URL and enter some items into my list:

Publishing a Serverless Application
Publishing applications is a breeze! I visit the Serverless App Repository page and click on Publish application to get started:

Then I assign a name to my application, enter my own name, and so forth:

I can choose from a long list of open-source friendly SPDX licenses:

I can create an initial version of my application at this point, or I can do it later. Either way, I simply provide a version number, a URL to a public repository containing my code, and a SAM template:

Available Now
The AWS Serverless Application Repository is available now and you can start using it today, paying only for the AWS resources consumed by the serverless applications that you deploy.

You can deploy applications in the US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Seoul), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Canada (Central), EU (Frankfurt), EU (Ireland), EU (London), and South America (São Paulo) Regions. You can publish from the US East (N. Virginia) or US East (Ohio) Regions for global availability.

Jeff;