It has been a while since I did a post on this blog of mine. Windows just came out with their 1903 update, and I have a had a few weeks to try it out. Below is a list of some of my favorite features.
Light Theme There is a new system-wide light theme that gives you light colors through the Start menu, taskbar, touch keyboard, etc. I gave this theme a try for a few days, and I really like it! This should speak a lot from itself given the fact that I always use the dark theme in Microsoft Office. The light theme is very well balanced in my opinion and is worth a try.
Reserved Storage Windows will now reserve about 7gb of storage for updates, cache, and other temporary files. This will be beneficial in preventing issues and crashes during Windows Updates.
Pause the Updates Originally Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise gave you the option to put updates on hold, now with 1903 you can pause updates on Windows 10 Home. You now have the option to either delay updates for up to seven days or do them automatically.
Cortana and Search Separate Windows has made Cortona a huge part of its search function down at the start menu. Now with 1903 Cortona and Search will be two different features. This will be beneficial in the enterprise in case a system admin would wish to disable Cortona for users without impacting Windows Search.
Voice Activation Voice activation is a new item under settings. This will allow you to manage which applications can listen to voice keywords and continue to listen after detection of voice keywords.
Please feel free to comment which features of 1903 you like the most, along with any bugs that you may have experienced!
As many people have said since the release of Windows Server 2012 and 2016, ‘Microsoft has finally done virtualization right’. There are several benefits along with tips to using Hyper-V in the enterprise when compared to other options such as VMWare.
Most companies already have Windows Server 2012 or 2016 licensing. Hyper-V is already included with those versions of Windows Server. So you do not need to go out and purchase additional software, it is already a feature.
With Hyper-V, you can deploy new servers within minutes, and you can perform cluster maintenance during the day without causing downtime to your users.
This is a feature within Hyper-V that can help you to replicate servers across a network or even a VPN more easier. You can also create checkpoints will save the state of your virtual machine and will save the contents on the hard disk and the configuration settings. This will allow you to easily revert back to a known good point of the Virtual Machine
VHD vs. VHDX
VHD files have been around for a while. In today’s world of virtualization, they are best to use when you will be using older operating systems. For instance, you would use a VHD file type for your virtual disk if you are using anything less than Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8. VHD files can have a maximum size of 2048 GB, which is about 2TB.
VHDX, however, are able to be much greater in size, in fact up to 64TB. VHDX require Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 and above. VHDX also offers the following benefits:
Protects you from data corruption during power failures.
Greater block sizes for dynamic disks and differencing disks.
Google Chrome was released on September 2, 2008, fast forward 10 years to today, and they have recently released version 69. You might ask what is new in the update? Here are some key features…
User Interface Changes
The first change you will notice is major UI changes. Originally the tabs within the Chrome browser were trapezoids, now they are rectangles with rounded upper corners. You will also notice whichever tab is active, will be brightened.
Omnibox, Chromes address bar has now been rounded. No more flat left end with a curve! Also when searching certain questions, the answers will appear directly in the address bar.
Chrome has always had a good and secure password manager. Now you can have Chrome generate you new and secure passwords. Instead of making your password your favorite sports team with a number at the end, you can now have a secure password that will be in Password Manager.
Bashing HTTP Websites
Chrome will no longer be having the Secured tag for HTTPS websites since HTTPS should be the standard for all websites for best security practices. There will only be a tag when there is an HTTP website. HTTPS means that the traffic gets encrypted, this is better for everyone’s Cyber Security.
These are just some of the new features in version 69. There are also many security patches in this new version of Chrome.
When starting a blog there are many different platforms out there that can be used. Most of this depends upon your skill level and how much customization you want to make. Also, if you have a website, that you want to add a blog onto is another factor that should be considered. Here are some of the options:
One option is to use WordPress either by wordpress.com or wordpress.org. If a blogger needs to have a fully functional site for a company with a blog component I would recommend wordpress.org, you will go through a hosting company for this. But if you just want a stand-alone blog with either your own domain name or a subdomain name then wordpress.com would be the choice to go. WordPress.com, offers both a free plan that gives you a *.wordpress.com subdomain, and several paid plans with your own domain.
With WordPress you get many options with customization, along with many other great features. There is support available, since WordPress is an open source software they have tons of forums to rely on for support.
Blogger is operated by Google, this used to be known as BlogSpot. This option is mainly good for either a standalone blog or for someone new to blogging. This is not a good option for someone with a company website who wants a blog to promote that product. Blogger is mainly for just blogging. It is free, you do get a *.BlogSpot subdomain for free, also a free SSL Certificate comes pre-installed. You can buy your own domain and point it to your Blogger also. Also this is very simple to use and easy to learn. So, if you don’t want to spend much time teaching yourself how to use something new this would be a great choice. Blogger is also integrated with your Google account, which adds more simplicity. On the downside there is not many options for customization with Blogger as with WordPress. There is also not much available on this product from Google when it comes to customer support.
Typepad is another blogging option that can be used. Sadly, with this option you must pay for it. Unlike WordPress and Blogger there is no free option. However this options does offer a 14-day trial period. Typepad is simple and easy to use and they do offer great customer support. Since there is no free option available this can be a turn off for many new bloggers.
These are three of the options that are quite popular when it comes to blogging. Each blog is unique to its own, so its platform should be tailored to its specific goal.
This week I gave a talk on utilizing child themes in WordPress. When designing a website within WordPress you typically start off with a theme. You might either make changes under the customize section or within the style editor. After spending some time with this you get your theme to where you want it, and everything is great. One of the downfalls with WordPress is updates. Updates usually break something on your website. When you update a theme, the customizations you apply in the style editor can be undone, this leaves a big problem.
So how do you solve this problem? You implement a child theme within your WordPress. A child theme takes your current theme as a starting point and lets you add your own customizations on top of it. So, say you have the 2014 WordPress theme, you create a child theme called ‘My 2014’. In the ‘My 2014’ there will be a @import at the top of the CSS Style sheet. This @import will import all the configurations from the parent theme 2014. Anything written below it overrides the parent theme, while inheriting all the parent theme settings, unless overrode.
There are ways you can do this manually by creating a directory and setting up the needed files yourself. I found it is easier and more effective to use a plugin. The plugin I found that works great is called ‘Child Theme Wizard’. In the tools section of this plugin you will be able to create a child theme, once created you can activate it like any theme under your appearance tab. Now once you have your child theme in place, deactivate the plugin. The less plugins active on your WordPress site the better.
A child theme has three files, first is the CSS stylesheet, then you have a Right to Left CSS file, for right to left languages. You also have a PNG file for the thumbnail of the theme. One major tip when working with your child theme, is you need to know your parent themes CSS Stylesheet very well. This will make it easier to implement changes.
In the next couple weeks, I will be posting on the best practices for child themes.