I opted for a Gmail account back in the day when you still needed an invite to get it. It still said “Beta” on the logo. My gmail account has been my primary email address for pretty much EVER. I had an over abundance of blog subscriptions in my Google Reader. I’ve got stuff in Google Drive. I use Google Calendar to share data with my hubby who’s an Apple fan-boy. This blog is on Blogger.
And now I’m falling out of love. I’m worried about the compatibility with Microsoft and Windows 8, on my computer and on my phone. The end of support (and extension of support) for Exchange Active Sync is worrisome. And now they’ve told everyone to use CalDAV, but that’s going away too. And Reader, well, everyone knows about what’s going on with Reader.
But my gmail address is so ingrained in stuff, I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to cut the ties. But maybe a partial migration – I’m not sure. I’m really liking the two-factor authentication features. So instead of rushing and making any rash decisions, I’m taking it slow.
When it comes up, I change an email address registered with something away from my Gmail address. Starting to spread my eggs around in some other baskets, so to speak.
I took this opportunity to start fresh with my RSS feeds. Today, instead of hunting for a place to move my subscriptions to, I culled them down to about a dozen feeds that I gravitate toward on a daily basis. New feeds will have to earn their place on my reading list and I’m hoping by July 1st, I’ll have found a new home for them.
What are you plans for your use of Google services? Have they finally jumped the shark?
First up, in case you missed out on some of the new things from Microsoft, Windows 8 and Server 2012 are coming soon! When you have some free time, start learning more about Server 2012 or take a close up look at Windows 8. You can even download a 90-day trial of the new desktop client.
And here are some other links to some fun things I’ve seen online, mostly via Twitter:
For those of you who work on Exchange, don’t miss out on these:
I’ve been dreading planning some summer travel. Or more specifically finding reasonable flights for summer travel. I spent the last several weeks checking some travel websites and have been frustrated with the prices – Would they go down? Should I just buy them and be done with it? Will I be kicking myself for not waiting another week or day or be annoyed that I waited to long?
It was suggested that I check out bing.com for travel. Now I can’t say that I use Bing much for my regular Internet searches. I’ve used Google since the beginning of time and I’m comfortable with it for what I usually need. But hey, Bing is the “decision engine” and I wasn’t getting anywhere fast with my ticket search otherwise. It was worth a shot.
And then it was mission accomplished. Bing. Done. Wow.
To be fair, the search results are powered by kayak.com, and I’ve used Kayak directly in the past but it never struck me as any better than Expedia, which had been my go-to travel site for years. (Like my use of Google, old habits die hard.) Though often, I’d find the flight on Expedia and then book it directly from the carrier to elimate the middle man, especially since I don’t often need travel packages.
With Bing you have all the features where you can customize your results based on number of stops, the travel times, red-eye or not, etc and you can look for hotels and other deals as well. Once you select your flight, Bing redirects you to the carrier so you can complete the purchasing process directly. From the main functionality standpoint, most flight search sites hand you the same base features and Bing doesn’t disappoint.
The big selling point was the prominance of the price predictor and the fare history. This is where the “decision” with booking flights comes into play. This was the cleanest presentation of the where prices had been and where they might be going – it was the perfect stock ticker for travel.
Perhaps I just got lucky but according to those tools, I was finally hitting the right time. Ticket prices were the lowest they’d been in about 4 weeks and would likely go higher – I finally had the information I needed to move forward and put my money on the line.
Now I can check that off my list and you can be sure I’ll use Bing for travel again in future. I guess everyone can learn a new trick now and then.
A couple weeks ago, I started experiencing a curious problem with Google Calendar on my netbook. I’m running IE 8 (8.0.7601.16562 to be exact) and every time I loaded up my calendar I got a message alerting me about using and unsupported browser.
“Sorry, you are trying to use Google Calendar with a browser that isn’t currently supported…”
Since I’m also using IE8 at work (version 8.0.7600.16385) without any calendar issues, I did what many sysadmins do when stuff doesn’t work on their own computers – I ignored it for a while, hoping it would just resolve itself.
However, today I did a little looking around and found the issue, which ironically is caused by the Google ChromeFrame Add-In. I turned that off and the calendar now loads without any error messages. The version of the add-in I had installed was ChromeFrame 8.0.552.224.
Last week, I attended a free one-day conference hosted by Data Connectors. Sometimes free conferences aren’t worth the time it takes to get there, but I was really happy with this one. While all the presentations were vendor sponsored, the majority were product neutral and really shared some decent content. In addition to the vendor presentations, there was a decent sized expo area with other security vendors to peruse.
Here are some of the stats and tidbits I left with. As some of the themes overlapped throughout the presentations, so I’m not going to attribute each bullet point to a specific presenter. However the presentations were sponsored by the following companies: WatchGuard, Axway, Sourcefire, Top Layer Security, JCS & Associates, Kaspersky Lab, Cyber-Ark, FaceTime and Arora / McAfee. You can learn more about the presentations specifics and download some of the slide decks here on the event agenda page.
- End users in the workplace expect to have access to the web and popular web applications, however 25% of companies need to update their policies related to web use. Instead of addressing the policy issues, companies simply block access to web applications entirely.
- End users need more education about threats like email scams, pop-ups offering anti-virus solutions, links sent via social media sites, tiny URLs, etc. End users are your biggest threat – often due to error or accidents.
- The average employee spends 3 hours a day doing non-work items on their computer.
General Company Security and Policies
- Consider reviewing and improving on your file transfer management practices. How do people share data within your organization and externally? Is it secure and managed?
- Most companies feel secure, but aren’t really. Check out http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ for a list of companies that have experienced data breaches. Many companies simply rely on their vendors to declare that they are secure and protected.
- Consider using different vendors to protect your data at different levels. Different vendors use different mechanisms to detect and deter threats.
- As an administrator, you have to review logs on computers, firewalls, servers, etc. This way you are familiar with what is “normal” and can easily recognize potential breaches.
- Consider data encryption as means to enable your company to meet regulation compliance. Encryption technology has evolved and it doesn’t have to be as painful as it has been in the past.
- You should patch all your computer regularly – don’t forget that your printers, routers and switchers are computers too.
Browsers and the Internet
- The top Internet search terms that are likely to lead you to site with malware on it are “screensavers” (51.9% chance of an exploit), “lyrics” (26.3%) and “free” (21.3%).
- In 2009, the Firefox browser had the greatest number of patches and overall, vulnerabilities in applications exceeded operating system vulnerabilities.
- The web browser is the #1 used application, but the patch cycle for browser add-ins is slower than for other applications and operating systems.
- Drive-by downloads are still the #1 way to exploit computers.
Sometimes I leave conferences scared by the massive list of items that I feel I need to address, however, I left this conference with not only some tasks in mind, but some great leads on how to go about completing those projects. Check out the Data Connectors events list to see if there is a similar conference coming up in your area in 2011. They have well over two dozen other planned dates across the US, including Los Angeles in January and San Jose in February.
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of doing the post-presentation interviews for the speakers at the gogoNET Live! IPv6 Conference. These short little chats should be posted at www.gogonetlive.com in the next few days and will give you a taste of what each presentation included and some tips for implementing IPv6. Hopefully I’ll have some time in the next few weeks to listen to some of the full presentations (soon to be available as well), so here are few that will be on my list.
- Bob Hiden, Check Point Fellow and Co-inventor of IPv6 – his presentation on why IPv6 was invented will give anyone a good overview of why IPv6 is a necessary move for anyone who uses or supports activities on the Internet.
- Elise Gerich, Vice President of IANA and John Curran, President and CEO of ARIN – both spoke about the various aspects of the anatomy of IPv4 address depletion. I’ve always been fascinated by the DNS and IP address infrastructures that make the internet work and you can’t get any closer to the source that with these industry executives.
- Silvia Hagan, CEO of Sunny Connection – Silvia’s presentation was on how to convince your boss to make the move to IPv6. She’s also the author of the O’Reilly book on IPv6, so trust her ideas are good ones.
- Jeremy Duncan, the Senior Director of IPv6 Network Services at Command Information – Jeremy focused on how to set up and get the most out of your test/lab network. We all will have to start somewhere when it comes to learning about IPv6 and some good tips on getting your lab of the ground will go a long way.
- Joe Klein, the Cyber Security Principal Architect at QinetiQ – IPv6 has many security features built right in. Be sure to check out what Joe has to say about the features, changes and possibilities once IPv6 is well established.
Special Note: As of this writing, the videos are not yet posted. Make a note to check in a www.gogonetlive.com next week to see when they are available.