Kudos to Microsoft Surface Support

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I’ve had a Microsoft Surface Book for a couple of years now and it is, by far, the best computer I have ever had.  It’s feature rich, light and very powerful.  It’s been a flawless device throughout.

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One of the features I use heavily is the ability to detach the screen to have it become a tablet or to rotate it and reattach it to the keyboard base and have it fold down over the keyboard.  I use the tablet extensively, especially when meeting with clients, to take notes with the Surface Pen in OneNote.  Another feature I use is to reverse the screen and tuck the laptop under my monitor so that the Surface Book screen becomes an additional monitor on my desk, where I use a large widescreen monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse.

Over the last several months, when I press the detach button to remove or reverse the screen, I’ve been getting a red light and detach failure message.  I’ve actually still been able to detach the screen, but I became increasingly concerned that the mechanical latch may be failing.  So, after following all of the troubleshooting steps from Microsoft, which were extensive, I decided to make an appointment with the Service Desk at the Microsoft Store.

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The tech that I worked with, Kenny, was great.  He checked to be sure that I had followed the troubleshooting steps and then did his own analysis of the issue.  His determination was that one side of the latch was failing, as I suspected.  Because the Surface Book is a totally sealed unit, it can’t easily be repaired.  My unit was also out of warranty, so this was not a warranty issue.  Given how heavily I use the detach feature, I’m sure I have just worn it down.

Microsoft has a smart option for situations like this.  For $599, I was able to replace my Surface Book with a new unit with the exact same specifications.  In fact, the replacement unit even has the newer performance base, so it could be considered an upgrade, not just a like for like replacement.  This was a great option and certainly reasonable from a cost standpoint as my unit is a $2,499 system.

Because I have all of my critical folders synchronized with OneDrive, moving to a new computer was a snap.  Login with my Microsoft Account, connect to OneDrive and all of my settings and data are right where they should be.

Thanks Microsoft, for making this an easy and cost effective process.  Well done.

Super Technology Powers the Super Bowl

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This was originally published in today’s Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and we are all hoping our New England Patriots bring home a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

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While most of us will be watching the Super Bowl on TV as we always have, technology has really changed the Super Bowl experience from a one day television event, to a multi-day, immersive, 24×7 experience. There is a ton of technology in play at this year’s Super Bowl. Professional sports, across the board, have embraced technology to improve the player and fan experience. The company I work for, Onepath (www.1path.com) has had the pleasure of working with several professional sports teams in the Northeast and Southeast, to help them embed technology into their team experience.

This year, the Super Bowl will be available online, free of charge, on NBCSports.com as a live stream. The game will be broadcast and streamed thanks to the hundreds of cameras and microphones deployed throughout Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium. More than 20 cameras will be embedded in the end zone pylons. The views of this year’s Super Bowl should be the best, most diverse and high-definition video we have ever seen at a professional sporting event.

Intel has partnered with the National Football League to bring several of its cutting-edge technologies to the experience. Intel will deploy a 5G wireless network throughout the stadium to provide a high-speed, high-definition network that will provide fans onsite with a unique, app-enabled experience throughout the game.

You may remember the light show above Lady Gaga during last year’s Super Bowl half-time show. This year, Intel will be deploying hundreds, if not thousands of drones throughout the event. So far, it has been somewhat mum on what we can expect, but if last year was any indication, it should be an impressive light show, at least during half-time, but likely at other points throughout the day. The drones are also reportedly going to be used to capture unique field level views of the game; though care will need to be taken to be sure an errant football does not meet with an equally errant drone at any point. Rumor has it there have been a few near misses during prior uses.

Intel is promising some impressive and in technology terms, immersive 3D replays using their True View technology. This technology uses the latest high definition camera technology to create 3D replays in near real-time.

Not to be out done, as you probably already know, our own New England Patriots have launched their own “Not Done” network providing 24×7 coverage leading up to and including Super Bowl Sunday. And as you have seen throughout the last few seasons, the NFL has a deep partnership with Microsoft where all the teams and officials use Microsoft Surface devices during the game for play review and more.

LED technology will also be featured outside and inside the stadium, showcasing the latest energy-saving lighting systems available on the market. A local bridge will be lit using Philips LED technology to indicate when a team is in the Red Zone and to track the score of the game using light.

Hashtags, social media feeds, live streams, lighting, sound, video technology and more will be on full display during Super Bowl LII. It promises the deliver a technological marvel of blended technologies to create a full experience whether you are working the game, playing the game or watching the game.

While a good old fashioned football game will be underway on the field, technology will be making this a 360 degree, 24×7 technology packed experience for us all. At the end of the game, all that will matter is who takes home that Lombardi Trophy. Along with the rest Patriots Nation, here’s hoping our Patriots pull off the win completing their “Blitz for Six.” Go Pats!

Super Friday at Onepath New England

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It’s the Friday before the Super Bowl, so of course it’s time for an office Super Bowl party!  We’ve closed our other New England offices and brought the entire New England team together in our North Andover hub for a fun day of collaboration.

Everyone wore their favorite Patriot’s gear and we decorated and had lots of fun game day foods.  Doreen worked her magic once again and several people brought in food items to share.

 

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The office door made it quite clear what would be found on the other side 🙂

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Lots of Patriots jerseys of past and present greats.

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All the screens looped Super Bowl LI highlights to set the mood.

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Balloons and decorations are everywhere.

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Ken brought in his Super Bowl Champion hats from the first five, hoping to add a sixth.

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The kitchen was appropriately decorated for the day.

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Doreen worked her magic under Trin’s watchful (or distracted) eye.

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Little doubt who we are rooting for!

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Doreen’s Stadium.

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Doreen’s Super Bowl Masterpiece!

The Blitz for Six will hopefully be complete this Sunday.  Go Pats!

 

 

CompTIA Statement on SOTU

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CompTIA has released an excellent statement, commenting on last nights State of the Union address to Congress.  Regardless of your politics, the statement puts forth some excellent ideas for working with the current administration to advance technology issues that have impact on every American citizen and business.

You may read the statement here.

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Data Privacy Day is Every Day

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Yesterday, January 28, was Data Privacy Day, an annual campaign about online privacy awareness led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).  This annual event began in 2008 and this years theme is “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust.”

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“Data Privacy Day highlights our ever-more connected lives and the critical roles consumers and businesses play in protecting personal information and online privacy,” says Michael Kaiser, executive director of NCSA. “Our personal information and our habits and interests fuel the next generation of technological advancement like the Internet of Things, which will connect devices in our homes, schools and workplaces. Consumers must learn how best to protect their information and businesses must ensure that they are transparent about the ways they handle and protect personal information. The future holds tremendous opportunities for improving our lives through connected technologies, but we can only build a safer, more trusted internet if everyone works in collaboration to make respecting and protecting personal information a priority.”

While this is an annual awareness campaign, the fact of the matter is that every day is Data Privacy Day.

Here are some tips from this years event:

PRIVACY INSIGHTS AND ADVICE FOR CONSUMERS: OWN YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

+ PERSONAL INFO IS LIKE MONEY: VALUE IT. PROTECT IT. Information about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites. You should delete unused apps, keep others current and review app permissions.

+ SHARE WITH CARE. Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what it reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future. It’s a good idea to review your social network friends and all contact lists to ensure everyone still belongs.

+ OWN YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE. Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. It’s OK to ask others for help.

+ LOCK DOWN YOUR LOGIN. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Choose one account and turn on the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code sent to your mobile device.

+ KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE. Keep all software, operating systems (mobile and PC) and apps up to date to protect data loss from infections and malware.

+ APPLY THE GOLDEN RULE ONLINE. Post only about others as you would have them post about you.

+ SECURE YOUR DEVICES. Every device should be secured by a password or strong authentication – finger swipe, facial recognition etc. These security measures limit access to authorized users only and protect your information if devices are lost or stolen.

+ THINK BEFORE YOU APP. Information about you, such as the games you like to play, your contacts list, where you shop and your location, has tremendous value. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and understand how it’s collected through apps

PRIVACY INSIGHTS AND ADVICE FOR ORGANIZATIONS: PRIVACY IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

+ IF YOU COLLECT IT, PROTECT IT. Follow reasonable security measures to keep individuals’ personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access.

+ BE OPEN AND HONEST ABOUT HOW YOU COLLECT, USE AND SHARE CONSUMERS’ PERSONAL INFORMATION. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used, and design settings to protect their information by default.

+ BUILD TRUST BY DOING WHAT YOU SAY YOU WILL DO. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

+ CREATE A CULTURE OF PRIVACY IN YOUR ORGANIZATION. Educate employees on the importance and impact of protecting consumer and employee information as well as the role they play in keeping it safe.

+ DON’T COUNT ON YOUR PRIVACY NOTICE AS YOUR ONLY TOOL TO EDUCATE CONSUMERS ABOUT YOUR DATA PRACTICES. Consider features that allow consumers to opt-in to certain forms of data sharing rather than requiring them to opt-out.

+ CONDUCT DUE DILIGENCE AND MAINTAIN OVERSIGHT OF PARTNERS AND VENDORS. If someone provides services on your behalf, you are also responsible for how they collect and use your customers’ personal information.

To learn more and get involved, visit https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/.

Solid Phishing Example

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I received the following email the other day and it’s one of the best examples of a phishing email I have seen.  It’s clean, branded properly and I can certainly envision an unsuspecting recipient clicking the link and exposing themselves to theft and hacking.

Here’s what the email looked like when it arrived in my Inbox:

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This particular phishing campaign is obviously targeting users of Microsoft OneDrive.  With so many people now using Office 365 subscriptions, of which OneDrive is a part, this is a fertile target for hackers to go after.

When I opened the email this is what I saw:

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The address looks like it should be legitimate and the branding is very good.  I could easily see someone going ahead and clicking on the View File link, so let’s look a little more closely at this message.

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What you can see inside the red circles is what gives this away as a fake.  In the upper red circle, the actual “from” address is clearly not a Microsoft email address.  You will never receive a message from a service like OneDrive where the display name says “Microsoft Office OneDrive Online Notification Message Center” and the actual email address is a person at a different domain name.  The spacing between the words “Online” and “Notification” in the display name is also a hint that something is suspicious with this message.

Finally, the lower red circle shows that if you hover the mouse over the View File link without actually clicking, that the URL that the link goes to is not a OneDrive address.  This is a clear warning sign that if you click the link you will be directed to a web site that may try to trick you into entering private information or worse, may silently install malware onto your device.

I hope sharing this example will help you avoid falling victim to any phishing attempt, not just this one.  Stay Safe Online!

Another Exciting Day for Onepath-Updated

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Paradigm-to-Onepath

Update – Channele2e posted a nice article about this on January 26, 2017. –

Today, Onepath announced our acquisition of Paradigm Computer Consulting to our clients.  This is an especially exciting development for me, as I have been friends with the owners of Paradigm since 2004.

Ironically, even through Paradigm is headquartered in Bedford, NH, we actually met in Tampa, FL at the inaugural ConnectWise Partner Summit, what is now known as IT Nation.  There were several of us from New England, all about the same age, all with very similar young and growing Managed IT Services businesses.  At that time, we formed a group we called NECWUG, short for New England ConnectWise User Group, to stay connected with one another throughout the year.  It started as an email group on Yahoo and we stayed in close touch, helping each other to grow our businesses.  What started as professional interactions quickly became strong friendships that bridged the professional interaction to share personal triumphs, tragedies and all that life has to offer.  Over the years, the ranks grew to include others across the country, some just as professional friends but many becoming personal friends as well.

Fast forward to today’s announcement and for some of us, things have come full circle.  Two years ago, Paradigm acquired Excel Tech in Providence, RI, another NECWUG original.  Today, Paradigm is now part of the Onepath family.

Coupled together as Onepath, we are the best team in the industry with years of excellence, expertise and passion that is simply unmatched!  In case it’s not obvious, I’m incredibly excited about our future and welcoming the Paradigm team and clients to Onepath.  With strong local presence throughout the Northeast and Southeast coupled with our growing national presence, we are truly the Easier Way to Get Hard Things done, from the Cable to the Cloud.  We do this by bringing More Horsepower, More Commitment and a More Complete Game Plan to our clients, every day.

Here is the announcement we sent to our New England based clients this morning.  A similar message was sent to our Southeast clients as well:

As an important Onepath client in New England, I wanted to share some exciting news with you. We at Onepath are continuing to evolve and expand our capabilities to better meet your business needs.
 
After successfully integrating Internet & Telephone into the Onepath family last summer, I am excited to share that we recently acquired Paradigm Computer Consulting (Paradigm), a leading technology services company, headquartered in Bedford, NH with offices in RI, FL and OH. With this acquisition, we are happy to have an expanded presence in New Hampshire, serving our existing and legacy clients. In addition to that, we now have enhanced our presence throughout the northeast and strengthened our capabilities in the legal, financial services and healthcare market verticals in the managed services market nationally, all while remaining just a click, email, or short drive away from our clients.
 
Paradigm has been extremely successful in expanding its business and loyal client base across multiple geographies. By combining forces, we now expect to build upon our collective strengths to offer more horsepower and local presence as we continue to deliver superior end-to-end technology solutions to clients like you.
 
We look forward to sharing more details in the coming months.
 
About Paradigm
  • Paradigm Computer Consulting provides business-class Managed IT Services, VoIP Telephony Solutions, Backup and Disaster Recovery Services, and Network Security Solutions to help businesses with almost any aspect of their IT and communications strategy.
  • The company, headquartered in Bedford, NH and with regional operations in Providence, RI, Columbus, OH, and Clearwater, FL, provides first class service in a proactive manner to over 300 business customers in those markets across legal, healthcare and the financial services market verticals, among others.
  • You may learn more about Paradigm by visiting: http://www.paradigmcomputer.com/
We are excited about the future as Onepath continues to expand our portfolio and geographies. In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to help you please let me know. Thanks for being a great client.
 
Regards,
MJ
Please check out my IT blog at mjshoer.com.  I hope you’ll consider subscribing for updates and please share your feedback.
MJ Shoer | Director, Client Engagement & vCIO

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Direct: 978.683.9100 x305 | Mobile: 603.234.2079
mshoer@1path.com | www.1path.com

 

 

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