Outlook pride themes?

This one is fire. Personally, don’t care. Don’t see what they hurt but I also question the new, non-stop LGBTQ++ whatever next agenda. Too much. Your queer and you’re here. What’s this repetitive, ambiguous messaging supposed to achieve at this point? Acceptance, “equality” or just continuous posturing for support? If most goals of pronoun supporters are similar to allowing biological males to compete in sports and shower with women that will require more credible ammunition than Microsoft Outlook themes.

One app ensures your business will never escape Microsoft licensing.

Wouldn’t it be nice to envision a day when you never have to use a Microsoft application or operating system again? The outfit from Redmond wouldn’t still have most of the world hooked to their licenses or O365 subscriptions if not for just one tool in their box. It’s not Active Directory, Outlook, Teams or even Word. It’s Microsoft Excel.

No other application has experienced such universal corporate adoption as Excel. No spreadsheet alternative can compete. Arguments can be made for Google Sheet’s capabilities but there simply isn’t an application in existence with more universal adoption across business departments than Excel. First introduced by Microsoft in 1982, it was a harsh knockoff of Dan Bricklin’s VisiCalc which I’m old enough to have actually used, Ugh. Excel wasn’t even popular until 1987, taking a back seat to Lotus 123 on DOS based systems. Then along came Borland’s Quattro Pro. As someone who learned C+ development on Borland’s “Turbo C” I attest that’s one company I wish was still around.

Excel really took off in 1993 at the release of Version 5.0 which for the first time introduced Macros thanks to the inclusion of Visual Basic for applications. Microsoft’s never stopped developing Excel, making it the dominate the CP/M market. That’s “Control Program for Microcomputers” which is exactly the type of app category it fell into, along with Visicalc, Lotus and Quattro Pro. They were not originally called “spreadsheets”.

Flash forward 40 years and Excel is used to design everything from Gamma Radioknife Neurological Surgery procedures to Roller Coasters. Even Excel Power Users don’t realize Excel became it’s own programming language in 2021, considered “Turing Complete” with the addition of LAMBDA function, meaning you can now write any computation in Excel Formula Language. I personally use this feature to write Microsoft SQL queries using Excel functions.

While there is a ton of criticism I personally throw at Microsoft almost daily, I will concede that for the job it does, nothing does it better than Excel. Due to Microsoft’s unwavering commitment to advancing Excel for 40 years I don’t know that anything could catch it now. This is why no matter what direction any company takes, I can’t imagine an accounting department that will settle for anything other than Excel, insuring Microsoft will always have at least one license bought an paid for by damn near every company on the planet, if not every business computer user in the future.

It’s too difficult to buy software now.

I’m pretty certain the complicated resale initiatives in the software industry began as an attempt to thwart pirating. It’s turned into an unmanageable mess benefitting software resellers over target customers. Everything has to be purchased through a “partner” now. Never mind there is no “partnership” between your company and a VAR beside some sales guy trying to get paid. It’s implied these resale hurdles are meant to provide “consultation” and inform the customer. What if I’ve already adopted the application or platform and just want more licenses? Many software development companies understand the madness of the reseller model and have moved to online sales and self-service. But not enough of them.

Take Connectwise and their flagship remote support product, Control. Jake Morgan and his team realized the absurdity of the reseller model even back in the ScreenConnect days, opting to sell DTC. They still do. It’s pretty easy to add Control seats as opposed to Sophos for example, who decided to make it damn near impossible to buy or implement their products. Ironically it’s a lot of security outfits who are failing on this front. CheckPoint acts like their product is too good to sell to anyone without blessings directly from Israel. Their arrogance is off the charts, price be damned. They don’t even want to talk to small customers and won’t even provide renewal purchases from quotes generated in their own portal. I genuinely believe the Israeli CheckPoint team is so arrogant they literally do not want money from a segment of potential customers.

A lot of C Levels in software companies believe making their product hard to procure makes it more important or more secure. Meanwhile a big reason Cisco’s lost so many customers hasn’t been exclusively due to competition but because they won’t end the decades long joke that is Smart Net. “Nobody ever got in trouble for buying Cisco”, until now. Overly complicated and non-intuitive, I find Cisco ios devices easier to configure using a shell and decades old commands. For this Cisco still demands an outrageous premium. Their VoIP phone system is horrible and overpriced compared to RingCentral or Vonage yet they double down on being difficult and expensive to procure.

These days I look for ease of purchase as a qualification in software selection. The modern industry’s failure to deliver is a big factor in the selection process today. Doesn’t matter if it’s intuitive to use, simple to deploy and effective at it’s job, if licenses are hard to buy, involving many reseller quotes and electronic delivery delays I’ll go with the competitive solution that isn’t. It’s a problem software development companies brought upon themselves and until they start listening to those purchasing their product the industry will continue to decline in innovation and effectiveness. From SMB to Enterprise sales the industry is failing to accommodate customers and increase revenue.

Time for a Tech Prediction

In 10-15 years more people will be watching YouTube than any major over-the-air TV network or streaming service. Our kids go to YouTube first and as Google aggregates content for YouTube TV there won’t be a competitive network.

Is there any limit to when Microsoft Teams is not horrible?

In the past week I learned the RingCentral Outlook Add-in for Outlook won’t work anymore. Microsoft conveniently and intentionally broke that. It goes right along with them forcing a Teams Meeting link into every meeting scheduled in Outlook. Sure, this can be cut off in each individual Outlook instance but it’s a Powershell struggle to remove it across a corporate domain. All to force us to use Teams.

Now I just learned Teams doesn’t support using Apple Airpods in meetings. This is absolutely absurd. I didn’t think they could do something to make me hate Teams more.

I wish more C Suite executives understood the creation of Teams was nothing but a Microsoft temper tantrum. Slack wouldn’t sell to them for a billion dollars so, in typical Microsoft fashion they weigh the cost of anti-trust lawsuits against revenue they can earn by forcing their product onto everyone using Microsoft office.

Now I’m in a position to make a call on what software is deployed to hundreds of workstations in a billion dollar company. I’ve supported Microsoft workstations, servers and domains for over 25 years. We are slowly moving to Macs on the desktop. As few Microsoft Office/O365 products as possible will be used going forward, possibly just Excel if I can get there. But it’s expensive. We’re moving to a Zero Trust network without domain authentication as quickly as we can get everything into the cloud, to Infor M3, jumping away from our locally deployed Dynamics GP ERP system.

Why are we working our way from Microsoft as much as possible? Their never ending and relentless push of this work collaboration platform, forced on a user base: Microsoft Teams. They may not lose in court but I am going to personally do all I can to make sure they lose revenue. Sharepoint isn’t much better from a security and administrative perspective.

Update: I’ve also recently learned that Teams has a habit of hijacking AV peripherals without releasing them for use by other applications. So I guess that answers the original question, yep.

A long absence.

I’ve taken my longest absence in 18 years from this blog. Work, life. Mostly work being a completely horrible existence. Five years since the Garland Company bought Trimaco to merge with Surface Shields and while things are finally underway, it’s about three years slow. Everything about Garland is slow. Their executive staff cedes decisions to those without experience, they use third parties to the detriment of efficiency and the bottom line. It’s genuinely a horrible place to exist now and change is inevitable. I haven’t changed my income path for a over a decade and now I’m feeling the Millennial trend, quit.

I’ve learned this new entity doesn’t care about my experience, expertise or efficiency or value brought to the company. They promote happily disingenuous “Yes” men. Anyone who will say “yes” regardless the deficiency of any decision. No longer worried about customer service or delivery of a quality product on-time, this new company’s polishing turds. This is why I appreciate working for Engineering and Architectural firms, they have to get it right, on-time and stand behind their product. Too many other industries rely on internal timelines or none at all, appeasing only sales associates as they pat each other on the back for another record quarter, while no one delivers on what they’re selling. It’s a national epidemic.

I’m now charged with securing and deploying apps on a production network as a third party actively removes administrative capabilities from my team, reduces network security and they have the audacity to keep my title “Manager”. I’ve done nothing but cede to misguided marching orders for 4 years. We literally could have had these companies merged had it not been for 4 years of inaction or bad results from a third party vendor to which the Garland Companies have sworn a blood oath (or a silent investment).

All virtual events are ridiculous.

All of them. When you find that blog post claiming production efforts meant to create virtual events that don’t suck, they’re lying. Comparing virtual boredom to in-person trade shows and meetings shouldn’t even be done yet meanwhile charlatans trying to save their trade show businesses stay busy coming up with half-ass reasons virtual is better. These same people can’t wait for trade shows to resume so they can quit selling obvious bullshit.

People email me invitations to virtual events, eager to get their marketing out any way possible. There has never been a greater waste of electricity or bandwidth.

Correct Backups are the key to defeating and ending ransomware.

One of the top articles I’ve ever read regarding ransomware and recovery was written by a Russian out of Boston, Maria Korolov. Since the majority of ransomware attacks originate in Russia I suppose it helps to speak the language? Only thing I’d add to her article is to emphasis NEVER keep backup appliances authenticated to a domain and never allow Active Directory authentication onto them. Any AD authentication should be TO the destination file or folder path on the source server using a designated AD account. Nothing should ever be allowed to authenticate onto the appliance or backup server using AD authentication. The initial harvest of AD credentials, used to perform most ransomware attacks, makes AD authenticated backup systems vulnerable. To date I’ve brought two enterprise environments back on-line within 24 hours post-encryption, no ransom, no keys with zero forward facing downtime to customers or vendors using locally authenticated backup appliances. The information in Maria’s article lays out how it’s properly done.

Windows 11 is… Wonderful.

Since Windows 2000 Microsoft always screwed up the next release. ME, Vista and eventually God forsaken Windows 8. By their own admission it was so bad they tried to salvage it with 8.1 and gave us Server 2012 which still plagues too many data centers to this day. Everyone eventually accepted an increasingly stable Windows 10 and it may remain the gaming platform of choice for quite some time, it’s hardware empire is vast. What less did we expect of Microsoft but to force upon us a release as necessary and comfortable as a moment of lockjaw. But hold on. Windows 11 doesn’t suck.

Windows 11 is brilliant! And say it like a proper, pretentious British ass.

I’m running the Developer release, an in-place Win 10 update, on my Lenovo X1 Carbon with an 8th Gen Core-i7 and 32Gb of RAM. It’s got quite an engine under the hood to ride on. I suspect older machines may require a full wipe and clean install instead of an update. It won’t load on 32-bit hardware, only 64. Which is cool because we don’t need to stop the 2-3 year technology fold just because a few Gen-X dads now hitting our 50s are getting comfortable and complacent. Charge on boys.

The good, the bad and the bad-ass.

There are several good things about Windows 11, some more functional and others more aesthetic. One right click on the desktop and the aesthetics of the menu differences are glaring, better, modern and clean.

The legacy Command Prompt has been replaced by Windows Terminal AKA Powershell.

The new Start menu location has cause some controversy. Yes, Apple did it first. Does that make it wrong for Microsoft to do it now? I’ve been using Windows since version 3.1, code named “Sparta”, in 1992 and I never found the lower left corner appealing, always annoying. Others claim ramming the mouse into that corner is easier than focusing on the center of the task bar. You can put it back over there if you want. It makes a lot more sense to me in the middle. I’m not a Mac user, it just makes more sense and I say good call. Fight me.

The right click options are not laid our the way they used to be and using a button to “Copy” instead of clicking the word “Copy” took some getting used to. And there’s no “Send To” option anymore. But again, that’s all aesthetics without any real change in functionality. Interesting the “Share with Skype” option remains on the menu even though Skype is deprecated.

I’ve only found a couple of things that can be classified as “bad” so far and they are really just glitches in development, likely to be fixed before any consumer release.

  1. Clicking on the clock in the lower right corner near the task manager causes a screen refresh before the calendar and date/time settings can be pulled up.
  2. If I right click on the Desktop and choose “Display Settings” and then navigate to “System” it lists all system settings, as it should. However if I then right click on the desktop and choose “Display Settings” again, it now takes me to “System” settings or the last place the System settings menu was left.
Once I navigate to this System menu any subsequent system setting, such as “Display Settings” takes me back to this main menu by default. We accept these nuances when agreeing to run versions under development.

The bad-ass search. Wow. Apparently this update is indexing every bit of every byte on the hard drive during install because the search is FAST. And it works. Anyone who remembers how pathetic and horrifying the search function was in Windows 8 knows how much work the kids in Redmond had in front of them. Unless they somehow screw it up before release this will be the most talked about and potentially most functional component of the OS. It’s almost easier to search for something than to find it on a myriad of desktop icons or “recent” files in app cache.

So far, so good. It’s really stable even under development. No video, network or Bluetooth issues so far and regardless of it’s blatant similarities to Mac OSx the new, more elegant look is long over due.

Are you still listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci? Why?

In early January 2020 Dr. Anthony Fauci told Newsmax TV that the United States “did not have to worry” about the Coronavirus and it “was not a major threat”. It was determined I contracted COVID-19 on or near January 22nd 2020.

Let’s see what else Dr. Fauci was irrefutably confident but ultimately incorrect about:

  • In February 2020 Fauci compared the new novel Corona virus to “a bad flu”.
  • February 29th 2020 Fauci said “malls, gyms and movies are okay”.
  • March 2020 Fauci based spread predictions on models that were off by millions and later told reporters “You can’t rely on models” when his doomsday numbers didn’t materialize.
  • On March 9th 2020 Fauci told America “Cruises are okay”. Still the Oracle.
  • Fauci was also wrong about when the first patient in the US died. He said Feb. 29th. It was Feb 6th 2020.
  • Fauci used The Imperial Model very late in the game to argue that the US should shut down only after repeating the CDC’s claim that masks were not necessary. The Imperial Model has been determined to be a complete fraud, it predicted 2.2 million US deaths in the first year of the virus. To date we’re at 593,167. Fauci’s fear mongering “science” was only off by 75%.
  • April 2020 he warned Georgia that the virus would “rebound” with catastrophic effects if the state reopened so soon. The exact opposite happened. He recommended that Georgia not reopen their schools. The infection rate dropped, kids went back to school with no major outbreaks. The Georgia economy opened and thrived.
  • But he hadn’t learned. In April 2021 Fauci warned Texas of the same catastrophic consequences he predicted for Georgia if they dropped their mask mandate and reopened the economy without restrictions. Texas cases are still on the decline. Fauci’s public reply was “the Coronavirus can be confusing”. He made it easy for his critics to let that comment stand all by itself.

The only one really confused is Fauci, and he’s making other people confused too. He never had the absolute answers continuously espoused from his CNN soap box. To this very day Fauci doesn’t genuinely know how this virus is transmitted or if masks really made any difference. People coddle Fauci’s words because they think he’s Dr. Grandaddy looking out for them, comforting their fear with his heart felt “guidance”. An abundance of caution may have been his intent but at what costs?

And now come the “Yeah but” responses from those who remain in denial and can’t admit the their hard mask and gathering controls are backed by inconsistent bullshit. Ardent maskers are having to come to terms with the fact most people will be taking them off soon.

But Fauci? Why is anyone still listening to this guy like some kind of Pandemic Prophet when it’s hard to find one thing he’s gotten right? Any of us can get on CNN and make guesses about what we think is going to happen next.

I may use caution and post these facts on some social media sites but they will likely be removed, my accounts potentially suspended not because they contain any inaccurate information what-so-ever. It’s just information that doesn’t sit well with staunch advocates of the Pandemic Panic Agenda.