Systems administrators spend a lot of their time attending to periodic tasks. These tasks range from preventative maintenance to simple report generation. None of this is a problem until there is a critical issue that needs attention. The time spent on resolving any issues is the time that cannot be spent attending to these periodic tasks. The simplest and most efficient way is to automate as much of the regular tasks as possible. Here are two options for automating system administration tasks:

PowerShell

In a mostly Windows environment, PowerShell is a powerful scripting language that will allow most common tasks. There are modules that add support for Active Directory, Windows Server Backup, DHCP, DNS, and almost every service provided by Microsoft. The version of PowerShell varies depending on the version of Windows, although upgrades are available for older systems.

Python

Python is a popular programming language among systems administrators. There are courses specific to systems and network automation, which will teach you what you need specifically for those environments. Many systems have built-in API’s (application programming interfaces). You can use these API’s to extract data from the system without any human intervention. This way you can combine data from several systems to produce reports or dashboards.

These are the two most common languages used when it comes to automating systems tasks. It is even possible to combine both. When set on a schedule, it is as simple as setting and forgetting, freeing up time for other more important tasks.


Choosing a PC laptop is not easy. There are so many different specs that you can choose from. However, the first and most important part of the purchase process is to narrow down the Processor you want. The processor (or CPU) is the brain of the computer and will determine what you can and cannot do on your laptop. Here is a breakdown of what kind of CPU you will need for specific use cases:

Workstation & Gaming

If you want to use the laptop as a workstation or for average gaming, then you can use anything from an Intel Core i5 to an i7 series chip. The deciding factor is what you need to do and how much you are willing to spend. You can expect battery life of three to eight hours.

High-end Productivity

Intel Core i7 U Series or an AMD Ryzen Mobile 7 are the best two processors for High-end productivity users who also want battery life. For example, you can get as much as 17 hours with laptops using these processors.

Thin

When you want an extremely small form factor then you will need to get a laptop with a mobile processor that targets the ultraportable market. Intel dominates that space with the Intel Core m, Core i5, or i7 Y Series. AMD will launch a rival for these laptops during the year.

Productivity

Normal productivity users will place more importance on battery life than outright power. The Intel Core i5 U Series and AMD Ryzen Mobile 5 fit the everyday productivity mold quite nicely.


Article provided by Barry K. Rothman.

Apple, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Microsoft have been given the go-ahead in disclosing the details on orders and the data requests that they have received from the Foreign Intelligence Court.

This has come after these companies have sued the government for the right to declassify these numbers to the public.

In a statement released through Wall Street, both the Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, stated, “Through these new reporting methods, communications providers will be permitted to disclose more information than ever before to their customers. The office of the Director of National Intelligence…has determined that the public interest in disclosing this information now outweighs the national security concerns that required its classification.”

And so, with this ability to disclose information that was previously considered classified, the companies have agreed to drop their lawsuits as well.

And recently, Apple has already published a letter describing its relationship with the government as well as detailing the National Security Orders for data (249 in all) it has received from the government.

Apart from this, 927 law enforcement account requests for 2330 accounts and out of which it disclosed data on 747 accounts and objected to doing so 102 times.

Also, it did not reveal data on 254 specific accounts but did provide non-content data from 601 accounts. However, it did reveal data from 71 accounts with the percentage of data requests where they did disclose a certain amount was about 81%.

About the Author:
Barry K. Rothman is an attorney from Los Angeles specializing in Business and Entertainment Law. He has represented many celebrities from Hollywood. Make sure to also visit Barry K. Rothman Reviews to read some of his client reviews.


Summary: IT consultants can make or break your business.

One of the first things that you need to consider when hiring an IT consultant is what their employment status will be. Lay out the fundamentals of what you’re hiring him for. This is crucial when it comes to any legal issues that may arise.

It’s also important for companies to correctly determine whether the IT consultant is an employee or an independent contractor and follow through with the appropriate Social Security and Medicare contributions.

Relationship

If you’re going the route of using an IT staffing service as opposed to the independent contractor, they can help determine who’s right for your company. Be sure that you consider three different categories such as: behavioral, financial, and type of relationship. These all tie in together when it comes down to how your consultant will work in your company.

Protect Yourself In the Case of an Issue

It’s also key to protect your intellectual property. If a consultant holds your social media account hostage because of contractual issues, you’re probably going to have some difficulties when it comes to getting back what you need to run your business smoothly. This is why it’s so important that your company receives the IT consultant’s services address IP up front. Never forget to do this.

Prioritize the Interview Process

It consultants are often tied to core businesses. Be sure that you conduct a thorough interview like you would a regular employee. You want to be sure that the consultant can do what he claims he can along with other factors that play a role in determining whether he’s a good fit or not.

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Bad news for Microsoft, the non-profit consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendations for Microsoft’s Surface line of products. The withdrawal of its recommendation centers around what the group cites as the worst failure rate in the industry.

Consumer Reports conducts its surveys, and in a recent poll of 90,000 laptop and tablet owners, found that at least 25% of owners had issues with their devices before the end of the second year of ownership. According to the publication, the failure rate is the worst in the industry when taking the mainstream manufacturers into account.

As you would expect, Microsoft vehemently disagrees with the assessment:

“Every generation of Surface surpasses its predecessors in performance and in reliability,” a Microsoft statement claims. “Surface return and support rates are in line if not lower than industry average for devices in the same class. We are committed to ensuring the premium Surface experience for all of our customers across the entire family of devices.”

Since the launch of the Surface line of products, Microsoft enjoyed an outsized amount of positive coverage. The coverage compared the innovation compared to traditional PC makers and Apple. Several industry leaders dispute that characterization, citing innovation by PC makers for years that did not get the same level of attention.

The Consumer Reports statement reads: “Due to its comparatively higher breakage rate, Microsoft laptops cannot be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time.” The organization believes that the reliability issues made Microsoft “a statistical outlier compared to other brands.”