Make sure your data is backed up!

At the beginning of the day, I had a user in a panic because his laptop was no longer booting into Windows 10 which happened to have all of his business files.  Luckily, I managed to make a copy of the failing hard drive but was quick to remind the user that if a good backup solution was in place, there would be no need to worry because the files would be safe.

So let this serve as a PSA to all…do not underestimate the need to backup backup backup! and make sure your files are safe from being lost forever!

I recommend Carbonite and CrashPlan as they seem to be the best when taking all things into consideration…let me know if you need assistance with getting a backup solution in place today!

Protect yourself from suspect websites!

Just came across a handy article by Lawrence Abrams at Bleepingcomputer stating how Emsisoft, which is better known for the Anti-Malware program, also has made available a browser security extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox designed to protect you from browsing malicious websites.  It’s definitely worth giving a shot…

Silverlight causing WSUS issues

Upon performing my daily checks on our SCCM server, I noticed that the Software Update Point Synchronization Status failed so I checked out the WSUSCtrl.log file and browsed through it line by line using CMTrace to find where things went wrong.  Come to find out that an update to Silverlight (KB4481252) released yesterday by Microsoft (01/15/2019) is the culprit.  Now for those users who do not utilize Silverlight, it is advised that you deselect it within the “Products” tab under “Software Update Point Component Properties as shown below…

Another option would be to decline KB4481252 within the SCCM server that hosts the WSUS role.  To do this, right click on “All Updates” on the left column under the listed server and choose “Search”.  After searching and finding the KB causing issues, right click and choose to decline it.

Upon re-synchronizing Software Updates within the SCCM console, you will see that the Software Update Point Synchronization Status will show as being completed and fully synced.

Post CES Recap

So now that the dust has settled and CES has been done and over with for almost a week, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on this years’ experience and figure out how to best recap the event namely in the form of breaking down what I liked vs. what needs improvement.  When looking at it in the long term, CES has completely changed (for the better, IMHO) from when I first started going in the early 2000s up until now.  The perspective I’m briniging is more microfocused and are somewhat of a knee jerk reaction to what I felt the event brought to the table.  With that being said, here’s my recap of CES 2019…

What I liked about CES:

  • Eureka Park – without a doubt this was the highlight of my 3 day trek through CES.  Filled with entrepreneurial startups and small businesses, it was great to visit their booths, get hands on with their products, and speak directly to them and their staff especially since they were the ones that possessed first hand knowledge of how it worked!
  • Companies that rented their own private space and showcased products – this has become a growing trend at CES as many companies are now taking this path.  For example, in the past couple of years, Dell has rented out a restaurant within the Venetian hotel and pretty much transformed it into their own personal exhibit.  Couple that with complimentary appetizers and a coffee bar, smoothie bar, and even an open alcohol bar (not sure about the last one), they can pretty much guarantee that the “Dell Experience” is one to behold.
  • Keynotes / book club interviews / breakout sessions – another highlight of my time at CES.  It was great to hear discussions about key issues such as Cybersecurity, developing products, roadblocks for entrepreneurs and startups.  My advise would be to continue expanding on this and maybe even have some informal meet and greets in different settings which leads me to…
  • Vendor sponsored events –  a special shout out to TCL for the event they hosted at Top Golf behind the MGM hotel.  They took over the entire top floor and provided guests with tapas (small plates), a dessert bar, and (yes) an open bar all while overlooking the driving range made for a great experience.
  • The CES App – compared to past years, their App has made great strides and while its not perfect, it came in handy when organizing and planning out my agenda.
  • Other attendees – besides the two guys I happen to encounter that were on the verge of fighting one another (a CES first for me!), everyone was rather pleasant and in a great mood.  I guess the “Dell Experience” was onto something when they decided to pay to have an open bar.
  • Security – a special shot out to those responsible in making sure that all CES spaces were safe and secure.  They managed to be very thorough and detailed in performing their tasks but yet still managed to not get in the way of conference goers…a thankless job indeed!

 

What I didn’t like about CES:

  • The “Fortune 500” exhibits – I recognize that the big companies (i.e. your Intels, Samsungs, LGs, Panasonic, Sony, etc.) are always going to be the feature attraction no matter where they go but I’m starting to feel as if its all becoming redundant.  Before walking through, I can already anticipate the “majestic TV display”, all of the flagship devices on display, the “home / kitchen” layout with their branded appliances, you get my drift.  I really think that whichever big company breaks away from this and does a complete redesign of the way they present their products will be the ones that steal the show and gain the most attention.
  • No more free stuff? – I remember in past years of attending CES, exhibitors were much more generous with giving away items to keep attendees engaged and want to view their exhibits in greater detail.  Not saying that this should not be the top priority but it provides a bit of relief and satisfaction for those attendees spending hours upon hours walking all of the exhibit space.
  • The traffic! – I was fortunate enough to stay at a hotel that was near both the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and the Sands Expo but even when I jumped on the complimentary shuttle buses to commute between sites, it was literally bumper to bumper traffic the whole way each time I rode.  It got to a point where it was better for me to walk back to my hotel instead of losing time waiting and stuck in traffic.  Hey at least I was able to get some exercise in!

Cooking time!

After being out in Las Vegas most of the week for CES, it’s nice to be back home and have the opportunity to be able to whip up something tasty in the kitchen.  Even though the late night steak and eggs with hash browns and toast for $6 at the hotel next to mine is an awesome deal, it can get old after a couple of days.

Tonight, I decided to saute some large shrimp with chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, and leftover duck fat (absolutely terrific to use if you can).  Add some finely chopped cilantro to top it off (primarily as a garnish) and you’re all set!

 

CES: Day 3

Due to personal / business obligations, today was my last day at CES.  I didn’t feel too bad about leaving early especially since Day 4 is a shortened day and from my experience, most exhibitors are busy packing things up and want to get home ASAP.

Today, I visited the Westgate hotel which hosted all of the new Smart Cities exhibits and automation technology related to it and how it can benefit any community now and in the future.  Being that this was a first for CES, it was a good start but I feel that most of us viewing the exhibits couldn’t fully grasp or visualize exactly what that means for a community that opts in to this movement.  I’m sure that this will become easier to understand in the years to come.

After the Smart Cities exhibits, I returned to the Central Hall and took a second look at some of the larger exhibits being hosted by the bigger companies namely from Samsung, LG, and Sony.  I’m reminded every year at how many different product lines these companies have to offer but their main offerings seem to always be centered on high end TV; they become more and more impressive every year.  Too bad that the actual programming available (still only HD and some 4K) doesn’t quite matchup with the actual products themselves as there were so many 8K TV it would make your head spin (in a good way of course!)

I then made my way back to the South Hall to review some items I may have missed namely relating to what I like to call “personalized” technology and contained lots of wearables and accessories for the devices that we keep in close proximity to us on a regular basis.  One item that I came across was an external flash drive that can be hooked up to my iPhone and my computer for the purpose of storing, backing up, and saving all of my videos and pictures.  Boy, I wish I would have come across them on Day 1 as I was always dealing with freeing up space on my iPhone and iPad as I was shooting video and taking pictures of all the scenes at CES.  Nevertheless, after an impressive demo that showed how I could do all of my intended tasks and never have to touch the storage on my iPhone, I decided to purchase this device containing the highest possible capacity (256GB!) for only $130 (sale price at CES, normally $150).

After my purchase, I thought what better place to put my expanded storage to the test than to head back to the Sands Expo and walk through Eureka Park.  I was able to do a 30 minute walk through and was very impressed with the results.  Perhaps, I’ll post the video and have everyone take a look for themselves.  Overall, it was an awesome three days at CES!  It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year will play out from a technology perspective and see how the trends and products will evolve…See you next year!

CES: Day 2

Wow! I have to say that Day 2 at CES had lots to offer and so many good things to see; I thought that I might have had some time to return to the Las Vegas Convention Center but I was very impressed at the exhibits at the Sands Expo and Venetian.  I spent the first part of my morning taking in Dell’s booth names the “Dell Experience”.  I remember when I first visited their private booth two years ago and am very impressed that they have continued to build upon what I feel is a good thing for their company.  Their representatives were very nice and friendly when it came down to describing in great detail the features and benefits of their products.

However, after visiting the Dell Experience, I spent the rest of day 2 in an area called Eureka Park (literally in the basement it’s massive!) which is where you will find the overwhelming majority of all startup and small businesses from not just in the US but countries all around this world.  I have to say that I’m so damn proud of all those people that come out and put their necks (and livelihood) on the line to invest in a booth at CES just so they have a fighting chance that someone or some business will take a liking to the product or service that they are showcasing.

I particularly enjoyed the “startup incubator” competition that CES hosted which was excellent in challenging the latest tech related startups by pointing out their strengths and weaknesses; even though there can only be one official “winner” of the competition, you could argue that those who came up short will be even more motivated to build upon their product or service that they were marketing.

Eureka Park is truly something that you have to witness for yourself; the dialogue, discussion, jokes, and competitive spirit made me feel right at home!  Sometimes the bigger companies take their visitors for granted and don’t bother engaging in the type of banter and discussion that a startup / small business is more than willing to do.  For future reference, I’ll make a point to start at the Sands Expo and specifically at Eureka Park.

CES: Day 1

So Day 1 of CES 2019 is in the books.  Just to recap, the drive to Las Vegas was very smooth giving me ample time to get settled in before heading to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the opening of the exhibits at 10am.

I spent the first three hours in the South Hall which to my surprise had lots of neat hardware available namely in the form of cloud storage devices, server equipment, and lots of different types of drones.

After a short lunch break, I was able to attend a couple of keynote addresses into the afternoon which centered on the growing cyber security threat facing today’s world.  It was a very informative panel discussion with the main points being 1) we are ill prepared to handle the potential threats posed by the many gadgets that can now be connected to a home or business network and 2) there is an alarming labor shortage in the field of cyber security which has led to a potential shortfall of over 1 million (!) workers.  If you or someone you know wants to get their foot in the door of the IT industry, it’s safe to say that the easiest way to get in is to specialize in cyber security.

After the keynotes, I spent the remainder of my day (until the closing of the exhibits at 6pm) in the North and Central Halls which had lots of big name vendors such as Samsung, LG, Qualcomm, Sony, and Intel displaying and debuting their latest offerings.  I was amazed at how lots of auto manufacturers (i.e. Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Ford, etc.) and accessory companies (i.e. Pioneer, Diamond Audio, Kenwood, Powerbass, etc.) literally had the biggest presence I’ve seen since I started attending CES many years ago.  It goes without saying that technology in our vehicles is a major focus in the competition for new auto buyers.

Tomorrow, I plan on heading to the Sands Convention Center and the Venetian hotel which looks to have some more promising exhibits and keynote addresses.  Until then, time for my feet to rest and onward to day 2…

 

CES is almost here!

After missing out last year, I’m looking forward to attending the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show which is held in Las Vegas annually at the beginning of each calendar year.  Since I first attended the show back in 2001, I’ve only missed it one another time (back in 2008 if I recall correctly).  After reviewing the schedule, I plan on spending lots of time walking the halls of the convention centers and hotels containing an endless number of exhibits.  I also look forward to the usual stellar cast of keynote speakers that take the multiple stages spread throughout CES.

Looking back, it amazes me how much it has grown since 2001…it only used to take up space in the Las Vegas Convention Center but now the show is so massive, the organizers have broken it into three separate areas spread throughout the Strip and now includes the Sands Convention Center and CityCenter hotels such as Aria.

I look forward to taking in all that CES has to offer along with writing up my assessment of the show to you all upon my return…