Review – Karapax iPhone Case by Anker

It is no surprise to many especially my techie friends how much I love Anker and the awesome products this company offers. Over time, I have purchased many products from Anker such as the portable battery chargers, cables, speakers, car mounts, dash cams, and even a portable vacuum cleaner, to name a few. The reasons why I lean towards this company for my gadget requirements sums up to three things: Quality, Value, and Customer Service.

I had the pleasure of using the Karapax brand iPhone case on my iPhone 6 smartphone, and here’s my review:

  • For starters, the case comes in a nice professional looking packaging (as seen in the image above) as opposed to a cheap plastic sleeve, which is often the case with other manufacturers at the equivalent price range.
  • The case is made of carbon fiber, feels strong, is quite flexible, and feels nice when held in the hand.
  • The size of the case is slim and it doesn’t add more bulk to the footprint of the iPhone.
  • The Karapax case fits easily with an iPhone without much effort and the fit is snug and secure.
  • The case can be removed from the phone when needed with ease and without struggle.
  • The case has anti-slip strips on the side and back, and some grooves on the back to give a nice comfortable feel in the hand and to avoid slippery encounters.
  • On the front side, the case provides a lip around the screen to help protect the screen from direct contact with a surface when the phone is placed screen down. It is possible that this raised lip may protect the screen from a minor low level fall but I wouldn’t take the chance especially considering that a surface where the screen makes contact with may have an object such as a small stone. For a side or corner impact, the case may provide some protection, however I have not tested it and do not plan to do so!
  • On my iPhone 6, the cutout around the back camera appears much larger and part of the case sits on the top part of the camera, thus covering it very slightly. Initially, I was concerned, however upon testing the camera for photo and video, I found the case not to obstruct or cause any image quality issues.
  • The side buttons on the case for the power and volume controls are very responsive and work very well.
  • I found no issues using a headphone or charging the iPhone or using the built-in speaker with the openings in the bottom of the case.

I found this case to be useful, reasonably priced, and provides the peace of mind that I need for my iPhone. If you are interested in purchasing this case, you’ll find it on Amazon.

    
    

Check out my quick video walkthrough with the Karapax case:

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IT Dev Connections Community Engagement Expert

I’m thrilled and honored to be invited by IT/Dev Connections to help manage their social and community engagements at the conference in San Francisco from October 23-26, 2017. IT/Dev conference is a deep dive highly technical conference for developers and IT Professionals and the speakers are top notch world experts. Here’s the announcement of my engagement on their blog.

Follow me on Twitter and IT/Dev Connections for updates, news, info, and announcements from the conference and more!

#ITDevConnections

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Microsoft Ignite (2017) Community Reporter

I’m happy to announce that I’m honored to be selected as a Community Reporter for Microsoft Ignite at this year’s conference in Orlando from September 25-29, 2017. As a Community Reporter, I’ll be helping to bring the IT Pro community together in a series of interviews, recordings, live shows, social media, and much more. You will find my introduction and a Q&A on the Microsoft Tech Community site.

The Community Reporters are meticulously selected by Microsoft Ignite particularly as community influencers, Microsoft MVP, technical expertise, strong engagements with the IT Pro community, leadership, past conference planning experiences, and other unknown factors which is probably on a need to know only basis. 🙂

Here’s the announcement from Microsoft Ignite:

This year at Microsoft Ignite, we’re excited to have 10 MVPs serving as Community Reporters. Leading up to Orlando, they’ll be sharing tips and tricks for navigating Microsoft Ignite, what to pack, and a look at their session schedules. During Microsoft Ignite, the Community Reporters will be your go-to’s for live event updates. If you aren’t attending the conference this year, these reporters will be a great way to see what’s happening on-the-ground in Orlando. Check out their introductions and follow them on social to stay up-to-date on all things Microsoft Ignite!

I have the pleasure of being on the team of reporters comprised of a top notch crew (some of whom are good friends who I have known for a few years), and they are:

Check out their profiles, follow their social channels, and feel free to engage with any one of us. Thank you to the awesome folks at Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Tech Community teams for the great opportunity. See you in Orlando!

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Speaking Gig At Microsoft Ignite 2017

I was recently approached by the Microsoft Ignite team to submit some session topics for this year’s conference in Orlando taking place from September 25-29. As an MVP in the “Windows and Devices For IT” category, the team was interested in the Windows platform as I’m regarded as a subject matter expert in that arena, although I tend to work quite a bit with Systems Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr).

Well, today (August 18, 2017) I received confirmation from Microsoft Ignite that I have been accepted to speak at the conference covering two theater sessions. This couldn’t have come at a better time since I have plans to be in the area for some personal family activities, and it’s a great way to kill two birds or maybe three with one stone. My first session, “Hey Mom I’ll Fix Your Computer” (THR1073) will be on Monday, September 25 at 1:45PM at OCCC South, Expo Theater #7, and I will cover how you can solve computer issues and provide tech support remotely with a built-in tool in Windows 10.

My second session “Cool Microsoft Edge Tips and Tricks” (THR1072) will take place at 5:05PM at the same location and on Monday as well. In this session, I will show you how you can improve your browsing experience by leveraging some features in Microsoft Edge. If you are attending Microsoft Ignite in Orlando this year, feel free to sign up and check out my sessions. In case you haven’t heard of me, here’s my profile! 🙂

I am truly honored and grateful for this amazing opportunity to speak at the largest Microsoft conference in the world and I hope I meet everyone’s expectations and will do a great job. A big Thank you to Microsoft for this awesome opportunity, and to the MVP team and to my ever so appreciative IT Pro peers for your on-going support and encouragement always. Thank you Thank you Thanks you! Time to rock #MVPJit!

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Malware Isn’t Just For Windows Anymore – Fruitfly Is Hitting Macs Hard

This year’s cyber threat epidemic started with Windows, then spread over to Linux and third-party apps, and now is here for Macs. While the latest malware Fruitfly is targeting Mac computers, its malware library is also capable of running on Linux systems. 

Though it was recently found conducting surveillance attacks, it’s possible Fruitfly has been infecting Mac systems for over two years. It appears that the base code of Fruitfly is over a decade old, which begs the question: how can decade-old malware start breaching systems now? Haven’t our systems been updated over the last ten years?

It seems the Fruitfly developers have reused old code and modified it to give this malware extra power and capabilities. This cross-platform malware uses old APIs, but if there are any changes in the API, it will break the legitimate program to maintain reverse compatibility as long as possible. Fruitfly may have escaped detection for a long time because it appears that its creators have intentionally limited how many computers it targets. And since Mac systems don’t usually face as many threats as Windows, many administrators have been more lenient with patching their Macs, leaving them vulnerable to attacks such as Fruitfly.

You can identify Fruitfly infections by detecting suspicious network traffic. A file integrity monitor or log analyzer can help you identify an attack on your network, but a breach could be avoided altogether by keeping your systems up-to-date. Since most enterprises comprise different operating systems, it isn’t advisable to employ a separate patching tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The smarter alternative would be for an enterprise to employ a multi-platform patch management solution that helps update every computer from a single console. However, there are only a few solutions on the market that even support third-party patching, and even less that provide complete control over all enterprise devices, including mobile devices

These last few months have already given security professionals a lot to cover, and since cyber attacks are evolving at rapid rate, its high time enterprises maintain endpoint security by keeping their systems up-to-date. The best way to do this is to employ a patch management solution to stay safe from future ransomware and malware. One such solution is ManageEngine’s Desktop Central.

Desktop Central is integrated desktop and mobile device management software. This multi-platform solution helps automate your overall patch management process, and also has some other enhanced features to help secure your networkDownload ManageEngine Desktop Central Now and keep your Windows, Mac, Linux and all your third party applications completely safe and up-to-date. 

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Should You Care About Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S was announced on May 2, 2017 at the MicrosoftEDU event, specifically targeted for the education market.

What Is Windows 10 S?

Windows 10 S is basically a locked-down version of Windows 10 Pro that has been streamlined for security and performance. The major difference between this new SKU of Windows 10 and others is that it is designed to run only those applications that can be procured from the Windows Store or those traditional desktop applications that developers have converted for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) using the Desktop Bridge tool (code-named Project Centennial).

You can read my detailed blog post on LinkedIn, as well as on vmblog.com where I wrote as a guest blogger for Adaptiva.

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Windows 10 S ISOs Now Available on MSDN

Microsoft announced today the availability of Windows 10 S ISO files for developers to test via a MSDN subscription. If you don’t already have a subscription, one will cost you anywhere from $539 to $2,999 per year depending on the features desired. For more information, you can check out the details on the Visual Studio Pricing site.

Windows 10 S was first announced at the MicrosoftEDU event on May 2, 2017 with an emphasis on the education industry. I have written a blog post covering some details on this new OS, titled “Should You Care About Windows 10 S?” which you can check out.

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ConfigMgr Technical Preview 1706 Released

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 brought us a brand new build of ConfigMgr Technical Preview (1706), which has some stunning new features. The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) team has been rapidly implementing new features and improving the product following the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and using feedback from the community on the Microsoft Connect site, as well as paying close attention to feature and enhancement requests on the ConfigMgr UserVoice forum.

This update has a number of new features (as listed in the Enterprise Mobility & Security blogpost) which include:

    • Improved boundary groups for software update points
    • Site server role high availability
    • Include trust for specific files and folders in a Device Guard policy
    • Hide task sequence progress
    • Accessibility improvements
    • Upgrade Readiness support with Azure Services Wizard
    • New client settings for cloud services
    • Create and run PowerShell scripts from the ConfigMgr console
    • PXE network boot support for IPv6
    • Microsoft Surface driver update management
    • Configure Windows Update for Business deferral policies
    • Support for Entrust certification authorities
    • Cisco (IPsec) support for macOS VPN profiles
    • New Windows configuration item settings
    • Device compliance policy improvements
    • New mobile application management (MAM) policy settings
    • Android and iOS enrollment restrictions
    • Android for Work application management policy for copy-paste
    • Device Health Attestation assessment for compliance policies for conditional access

The above features are listed in detail in the Capabilities in Technical Preview 1706 doc.

You can update to the 1706 Tech Preview release via the ConfigMgr console under the Updates & Servicing node.

Here’s my video tutorial which I did for version 1701. The steps are the same for 1706.

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Review – Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery

At some point or another we have all faced the dilemma of missing important files such as photos, videos, documents, and even installers to name a few, which were deleted from our systems by mistake or due to various other reasons. “Oops, the file I need is not on my backup drives. I remember deleting it from my computer and emptying the trash bin. Now what do I do?” Well, fret not, we can solve the problem with some 3rd party software which are designed to recover deleted files thus saving the day and mindset!

One such solution is the Windows Data Recovery Professional tool by Stellar Phoenix. If you’re looking to recover your lost or deleted files, folders, documents, photos, videos, and other files, this software does the trick. These are some key features of this product as listed on their website:

  • Recovers data, documents, photos, videos and more
  • Recovers files from hard drive, CD/DVD, SD cards, and USB drives
  • Recovers lost or inaccessible hard drive partitions
  • Create image of entire partition for data recovery
  • Ability to search for lost data in specific folders and recover data

Windows Data Recovery software which I’ll refer to as WDR is quite simple to install and more importantly easy and straightforward to use. The installer file is less than 16MB in size and the installation steps are just a few clicks and you’re done. WDR has two scan mechanisms, Quick Scan and Deep Scan, and in my testing I found the scan for missing files with the Quick Scan method was adequately fast and the results were what I expected. Deep Scan takes a little longer but does a thorough job in recovering all files and folders including raw data, and this would be a good option to use if you don’t find what you’re looking for with the Quick Scan.

Here are some screen captures to highlight how the product works which were captured during my testing. Please note that I used the Professional version which retails at $99, however Stellar Phoenix does provide a free version which has some limitations, such as you can recover up to 1GB of data for free and the file sizes must be less than 25MB. The free option is a good way to try the software and to recover some files when you absolutely need to do so.


When WDR is launched, you are provided with some options as to what you would like to recover. You can select the “All Data” option to choose everything or be selective, then click the Next button.


If you would like to preview files during the scan, you can enable this feature by clicking the cogwheel on the top left corner of the window which will pop-up an Advanced Settings menu with the option to do so. Keep in mind that turning on preview mode can increase the scan time. Check out the other options in Advanced Settings such as File List to target specific file types to speed up scanning and recovery.


Select the location of the recovery desired.


Scanning in progress status.


Results of how much data was recovered with the Quick Scan.


The recovered data as listed in Tree View with files preview turned on.


The recovered data as listed in File Type view with files preview turned on. Select the files or folders desired for recovery and click on the Recover button. If the Quick Scan did not locate what you were looking for, you have the option to run a Deep Scan as seen above.


Select a location where you would like the recovered data saved to. Clicking on the Advanced Settings link provides some additional options such as compression option, recovery option, and file filter option as seen in the images below:


For testing purposes, I deleted a folder called “mvp award kit” which included several files which was located in D:\install\ path. I selected a file for recovery as seen above and selected the path C:\local\Recovered as the destination for the saved data. WDR adds a folder named “#Root” along with the original folder names where the file was previously located, thus preserving it’s file structure.


Results of how much data was recovered with the Deep Scan.


Example of the extensive data recovered using the Deep Scan mode.

I’m impressed with the speed of this tool and the amount of lost data it is capable of recovering. The one con I found with this tool is that it crashed when a new scan for a new location was performed while the software was previously opened after a previous scan. It could very well be my system as I was able to launch the software and re-run a new scan quickly. Bottom line, this is a “stellar” tool and does what it claims to do. The company provides a ton of information on the software product page including an FAQ and download for trial. They are also quick to respond to inquiries. Give it a try and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Windows 10 Creators Update (Version 1703) Available in VLSC

The ISO downloads for Windows 10 Creators Update edition (version 1703) has been released and is now available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) portal. You’ll find both 32-bit and 64-bit ISO files with a download size of 3024 MB and 4051 MB respectively.

Happy Windows 10 Creators Update installation!

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