Microsoft’s Build 2018 planning

ConferenceIn a week, the Microsoft Build Develop Conference will be starting!  I am not attending, but one of our developers is going to be there. Excitement is building as the sessions are open to registered users of this three day conference in Seattle.  Recent news stated the IoT, blockchains and data science will be the focus of the event.

I recently read some other details I hope we can get more details on soon:

Day 1 starts with a 2.5-hour “vision” keynote anchored by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, followed immediately by another 1.5-hour technology keynote on the intelligent cloud and edge, headlined by Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie.

There will be a kick-off keynote on Day 2, after all, with Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore presenting on “Microsoft 365 Application Development.” The fact this is focused on Microsoft 365 — Microsoft’s bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security — and not Windows specifically .…. – Microsoft’s Build 2018 session highlights: Microsoft 365, Graph interface, MSIX packaging, more, by Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft, 

Thank you GDPR?

GDPRSeveral times a week I am seeing emails and even mailings relating to GDPR, European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. As example, yesterday from Google Analytics I received a lengthy email that starts immediately with “Over the past year we’ve shared how we are preparing to meet the requirements of the GDPR, the new data protection law coming into force on May 25, 2018″.

If you reside in Europe, or do any part of information handling within the EEA (European Economic Area, you must abide to this regulation.  According to many resources, this is the most aggressive personal data protections policy ever.

GDPR is protecting personal information and private data that companies and online social media platforms access every day. The law simply requires transparency in how they use your information.  These businesses are required to ‘plainly’ describe what they are using, how they are using it and provide a process to opt out and delete you data.  Google has already lost a law suit that forced them to delete URLs from its search results.

Even if you don’t live in the European Union, companies are working to ensure their terms comply with the law because any global online company that collects data from any one person living in the EU is held accountable. Moreover, the punishments are significant: for the most serious infractions, companies would be liable to pay fines up to four percent of their annual income……….The U.S. is not currently considering any rules of this kind. Mark Zuckerberg himself suggested he wouldn’t implement these stricter rules in the U.S. if the law didn’t require it. Europe is the reason you are getting all of those updated terms of service emails, Julia Pimentel, April 26, 2018,

Using my example from the email to me from Google Analytics, I currently and/or have subscribed to Google Analytics in the past and they are requiring me to take a few steps in order to maintain my use of the Analytical tools. Below are a list of a few excerpts in the email I wanted to highlight.
  • If you service users in the EEA (or are based in Switzerland, where our updated terms are also relevant), or are otherwise subject to the GDPR, please review and accept these terms and provide related contact information. 
  • All clients using 360 products, clients using Data Studio, and clients using standard versions of Tag Manager or Optimize whose accounts were created before March 12, 2018, can review and accept data processing terms in their account(s).
  • For clients based in the EEA or Switzerland, updated data processing terms have already been included in online terms for all Google Analytics and Attribution accounts and for Tag Manager and Optimize accounts created on or after March 12, 2018.
  • For clients based outside of the EEA or Switzerland, data processing terms can be reviewed and accepted in the UIs of each account.
  • Once you accept the new data processing terms, they’ll supplement your current contract or Terms of Service and will take effect on May 25, 2018
  • If you contract through a Sales Partner for any 360 products within the Google Analytics Suite, you should seek advice from the parties with whom you contract.
  • You can refer to to learn more about Google’s data privacy policies and approach.
It simplifies the steps you need to take to protect what you analyzing, once steps are taking it assist with adding the right language to protect you (and them).  Nicely done.  I need to dive into GDPR more but it seems to be doing a good job of forcing good behavior with these companies and tools.

What are your thoughts on GDPR?  Its effect on businesses that manage our data? How successful do you feel it will be long term?

Skype security flaw gives local access to your computer

A security bug has been uncovered in Skype via its update process which could allow hackers to gain access to a user’s computer.

If exploited by an attacker, the flaw could give a local unprivileged user full access to the system level rights.

“Once installed, Skype uses its own proprietary update mechanism instead of Windows/Microsoft Update,” said security researcher Stefan Kanthak. “[Because] Skype periodically runs ‘%ProgramFiles%\Skype\Updater\Updater.exe’ under the SYSTEM account, when an update is available, [the] Updater.exe copies/extracts another executable as ‘%SystemRoot%\Temp\SKY<abcd>.tmp’ and executes it using the command line: ‘%SystemRoot%\Temp\SKY<abcd>.tmp” /QUIET’.” – Skype security flaw ‘ignored’ by Microsoft could let hackers into your computer, by Rene Millman, PC Authority, February 15, 2018

Microsoft, has not responded to the vulnerability, seems the fix requires a lot more work to resolve and will be resolved in a larger new update rather than a security update.


Competition stacking up for Slack, expecting new $5.1 Billion will keep their head above the rest

Business software maker Slack confirmed that it has raked in an additional $250 million in a Series G funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund. That brings total funding for the eight-year-old company to a whopping $841 million and valuation to $5.1 billion ….. Slack messaging software is popular but faces a growing number of competitive products from well-funded rivals including Microsoft with Microsoft Teams, Cisco with Spark, Google with Hangouts Chat, and Atlassian with Stride. – Here’s What Slack Has Planned Now That It’s Valued at $5.1 Billion, by Barb Darrow, September 18, 2017

Can Slack maintain its top position? I don’t think Google and Atlassian will hang on for long.  Slack and Spark focus on messaging and chat.  Will Microsoft’s approach of taking those technologies and adding in several other collaboration tools move them forward as a leader?  Will it be too much to manage for IT Departments? Thoughts?

Is Prime worth the additional jack for Jeff?

In its quarterly earnings call today, Amazon announced it will be increasing the Amazon Prime annual fee $20 from $99 per year to $119 mid next month for new members.  A slight delay in the increase for renewals (mid-June).  With over a 100 million subscribers, $20 increase will bring a lot of green for Jeff and Amazon.

Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company hadn’t increased the price of membership since March 2014 (it jumped from $79 to $99 then), and in the time since “we continue to increase the value of Prime.” Membership offers, among many digital and video services, free two-day shipping. The quick shipping is available for 100 million items. – as published on Mashable, Amazon jacks up the price of Prime from $99 to $119, by Sasha Leach, April 25, 2018

It hasn’t been raised in a couple of years, but someone has to start bringing revenue into the company, I guess it will be by people like me.  $2 Trillion.  Wow!

I don’t take advantage of all of the gains by being a Prime member – better check it out.  Is it worth it?  I don’t think the $20 means a lot, but at some point $79 becomes $99 becomes $119 maybe then becomes $139?  Definitely need to see where I else I can glean value from this membership fee.

Apple iTunes finally arrives in the Windows Store

 With Microsoft’s BUILD 2018 conference right around the corner, the company just made good on a promise from last year’s conference; Apple iTunes is finally coming to the Windows Store. – Apple iTunes finally arrives in the Windows Store, Lucas Matney, April 25, 2018

Took a while, with a little delay from the original announced date, but I never thoughtApple iTunes would make it inside of the Microsoft Store.  Satya Nadella is a fresh of fresh air with Microsoft and doing wonderful things.