Posts Tagged ‘Data Center’

Friday to mark 14th annual SysAdmin Day

Here are a few tips for how to celebrate the occasion

Contests, cake and appropriately heartfelt thanks are central to the celebration of the 14th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day this Friday.

So exactly how are sysadmins and sysadmin admirers marking the occasion? What follows is a sampling of ways gleaned from Twitter and the hashtag #sysadminday:

First some of you (who don’t read Network World) may need to learn the basics — such as what a system administrator is — as this amusing ambush video from Spiceworks demonstrates:

You also could show your appreciation by becoming a better user and/or sysadmin supervisor. Toward that end, ITWorld recently solicited input from actual system administrators for a story headlined, “9 reasons sys admins hate you.”

Hate is almost certainly not in the vocabulary of your sysadmin, of course.

Contests are becoming a bigger part of SysAdmin Day every year as more vendors recognize the value of both system administrators and the publicity generated by giving away stuff. Among this year’s contests:

Thwack’s second annual SysAdmin Day meme contest;
Puppet Labs gif contest;
TrainSignal’s call to complete this sentence: “All I want for Sysadmin Day is ___________________.”
Dell KACE’s IT desk photo contest (with an Alienware laptop up for grabs);
Cyber-Ark giving away a Kindle Fire to the sysadmin who best answers: “What skills and experience have you gained in the past year that will most help you in the coming one, and why?”

And here’s a giveaway that doesn’t even require a contest entry: In honor of SysAdmin Day, the League of Professional Systems Administrators is offering a $14 discount on its normal $50 membership fee.

(Geek-themed Meme of the Week Archive)

Nothing says appreciation quite like cash.

Unless you’d prefer to sing The System Administrator Song:

In any event, have a happy SysAdmin Day.

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Microsoft protects cloud with directory-integrated two-factor authentication

Active Authentication uses phones to improve security for hosted apps

Microsoft is upping the security on Azure with Active Authentication, a new service now in preview which allows enterprises to secure access to hosted applications such as Office 365 with two-factor authentication.

Active Authentication enables two-factor authentication for users stored on the Azure-based version Active Directory, and helps secure access to Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Dynamics CRM Online, as well as other apps that are integrated with the hosted directory service.

Developers can also use the Active Authentication development kit to build two-factor authentication into their custom applications and directories.

Active Authentication works by adding an extra step to the sign-in process. After an employee, partner or customer has entered their username and password, they are required to also authenticate with the Active Authentication app on their smartphone or via an automated phone call or text message.

More advanced authentication has become a hot topic during recent months thanks to high-profile security breaches, like the theft of passwords that allowed hackers to get access to the Associated Press’ Twitter account. The extra step reduces the risk of a breach, according to Microsoft.

Like many hosted services, Microsoft pitches Active Authentication as easy to set up and manage, as well as very scalable. IT staff can activate the service by adding it to their Azure Active Directory tenant and turn it on for users.

Active Authentication is based on Microsoft’s acquisition of PhoneFactor, a deal announced last October.

During the preview, the service will cost $1 per user and month or $1 for every 10 authentications. The prices represent a 50% discount off Microsoft’s anticipated prices when Active Authentication becomes generally available.


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Microsoft announces app updates for Windows 8 RTM

Windows 8 RTM users will on Friday begin seeing app updates prior to the Windows 8 launch.

In a Thursday blog post, Microsofts Steven Sinofsky, president of the companys Windows group, announced a slew of app updates that will roll out to early adopters of Windows 8 RTM in the coming days and weeks.

RTM build of Windows 8 reveal Microsoft blocked any bypassing of the Metro desktop

Starting tomorrow, a Bing update will be available to download in the Windows Store, with more updates rolling out steadily until the Windows 8 launch on Oct. 26. In Sinofskys blog, Microsofts Gabriel Aul detailed the list of upgraded apps, which were first released in the manufacturing build of Windows 8 in August. AulA also delved into specific improvements for each program.

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Aul said the updates will also be available for PC manufacturers to ship with new Windows 8 models as well as users who have installed Windows 8 RTM.

SkyDrive, Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, Maps, News, and Games are among the apps to receive refreshes in the weeks preceding Windows 8s launch. Microsoft late last month announced updates to SkyDrive , and will soon add a search within SkyDrive function and allow you to rename and move folders.

Among other interesting app updates, the Mail app will include a conversation view of your inbox, and the Photos app will support photo cropping and rotation, as well as auto-curated slideshows. The Maps app will include a bird’s eye view function, some 3,000 indoor maps, driving direction hints, and integration with Microsoft’s own Bing and Travel apps.

Speaking of Bing, a new file picker will let you grab images for use on your lock screen. The News app, meanwhile, will add content from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and include an improved article reader with font customization, zoom and other features. The Weather app will also improve, with up to 10 days of weather forecasts, and more granular temperature reports.

The upshot? While the Windows Store might be suffering serious problems with third-party inventory, it’s nice to see that Microsoft is paying attention to propping up the apps over which it has direct control. For the full list of improvements to built-in Windows 8 apps, hit Sinofsky’s blog entry here.

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