Tag Archives: helps

Eye transplant nonprofit turns to supply chain modeling

Time is vital to Eversight, a nonprofit that helps restore sight through donations, transplants and research. The organization, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., recovers and transports organs and tissue throughout the country, using them for research and transplants.

The organization annually provides about 8,000 tissues per year for transplants.

Recovering tissue is extremely time-sensitive, with a small time frame to recover and then use the tissue. So, to operate within its time constraints, Eversight turned in October 2019 to Llamasoft, a predictive analytics and supply chain management vendor, for more advanced supply chain modeling.

Time limits

“We have some time frames that are very stringent,” said Ryan Simmons, director of clinical services at Eversight.

Tissue may be recovered up to 24 hours after a donor dies, Simmons said. However, surgeons prefer to recover the issue within 12 hours. Recovered eye tissue may then be stored for up to seven days.

“Surgeons typically want to use that tissue transplant within four or five days of a patient passing,” Simmons said.

We have some time frames that are very stringent.
Ryan SimmonsDirector of clinical services, Eversight

In addition to the time limitations, it’s impossible to predict when, and how much, tissue will become available.

“We can’t just make an order,” Simmons said. “We have to predict the best that we can.” Typically, he added, only one parcel gets shipped at a time.

Temperature also is a critical factor. The tissue has to remain at a set temperature or it could be damaged.

Modeling

Previously, to help predict demand, Eversight relied on Microsoft Excel. That worked somewhat, Simmons said, but the venerable spreadsheet program couldn’t complete advanced supply chain modeling and predictions.

Many of Llamasoft’s customers used Excel in the past, said Ryan Purcell, director of global impact at Llamasoft.

“Typically, [users] will use Excel until they hit the breaking point,” he said.

Eversight hit that point last year. Simmons, who is working on a master’s degree in supply chain management at Michigan State University, came across Llamasoft in a class.

“It seemed like a very powerful program,” Simmons said. He contacted Llamasoft and found that the vendor was a good fit for Eversight. 

Using Demand Guru, a demand modeling program from Llamasoft, Eversight is working on creating better demand forecasts. With Supply Chain Guru, a supply chain modeling and management program, the organization is creating models to plan better routes and optimize for cost and speed.

Because Eversight didn’t begin working with Llamasoft in earnest until the fall 2019, many of its models have not yet been completed. However, creating models has been fairly easy, Simmons said, and the few models that are done seem to work well.

“Learning to do the modeling, that wasn’t too big of a challenge,” he said.

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Cradlepoint NetCloud update avoids unnecessary data usage

Cradlepoint has introduced technology that helps customers control costs by flagging unusual increases in data use across the wireless links managed by the vendor’s software-defined WAN.

The vendor unveiled this week the latest analytics in its cloud-based Cradlepoint NetCloud management platform. Cradlepoint is aiming the technology at retailers, government agencies and enterprises that have widely distributed operations. Those organizations typically have a WAN dependent on 4G and other wireless links.

The latest algorithms determine patterns of data usage based on historical data gathered over time across a company’s wireless links, the vendor said. Cradlepoint NetCloud will notify network managers when data usage deviates from past patterns.

The feature provides early notification of surges in usage that might be unrelated to normal business operations, such as video streaming by employees or misconfigured networking gear.

Cradlepoint pitches itself as particularly useful to retailers. The company claims that 75% of the top retailers globally uses its technology. Customers include David’s Bridal, which sells wedding dresses through 330 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. Another sizable retail customer is the jewelry manufacturer Pandora, which distributes its products through stores in more than 100 countries.

Companies outside of retail also use Cradlepoint technology. DSC Dredge LLC uses Cradlepoint for managing 4G LTE, 4G and 3G connectivity across its fleet of dredging machines. The company supplies the equipment in more than 40 countries for use in constructing dams and improving waterway drainage and navigability.

DSC has equipped each of its dredges with a Cradelpoint router and oversees the technology through the NetCloud management software.

Cradlepoint sells subscription-based packages that converge multiple network services on a single edge router. The bundle, for example, could include a router with Ethernet ports, and support for Wi-Fi with a guest portal and LTE integration.

Cradlepoint sells subscriptions on a one-, three- or five-year basis.

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The future of PowerShell begins to sharpen in focus

While predicting on the future of PowerShell, it helps to take a look back at its beginnings to see where it’s going as a cross-platform management tool.

Microsoft released PowerShell in 2006 as part of the Windows desktop and server versions released that year. The company added thousands of cmdlets over the years to expand the tool’s reach across the data center and into the cloud.

Microsoft’s embrace of Linux, due in large part to the number of Linux virtual machines running on Azure, steered the company to make a significant change with PowerShell in 2016. Microsoft ended development of Windows PowerShell in favor of a new tool called PowerShell Core, which would be an open source project to rework the utility as a cross-platform management tool for Windows, Linux and macOS systems.

A lot of features Windows PowerShell had were missing in the first PowerShell Core release in January 2018, mainly due to a switch in the underlying platform from the Windows-based .NET Framework to the cross-platform .NET Core. Jeffrey Snover, the inventor of PowerShell, has said the Windows edition will always have support but recommends IT pros learn how to use PowerShell Core, which is the version Microsoft uses to manage workloads on Azure.

SearchWindowsServer advisory board members shared their thoughts on the recent changes with the cross-platform management tool and their expectations for the future of PowerShell.

Recent releases broaden appeal beyond Windows admins

Reda ChouffaniReda Chouffani

Reda Chouffani: Many administrators who might have resisted moving away from familiar tools such as web interfaces or Microsoft Management Console have come to realize that despite the commands written in PowerShell, it is capable of automating some of the most complex and tedious activities.

At first, a lot of IT pros saw PowerShell just as another replacement to the traditional command line that ships with every Windows box. But once they dug deeper, they found how beneficial it was to use PowerShell commands to manage Exchange Server, Office 365, Skype for Business, Azure and a slew of other platforms.

Opening the PowerShell platform to non-Windows platforms after the version 5.1 release was a significant shift for Microsoft meant to encourage administrators who manage Linux to adopt PowerShell as their management and task automation tool.

Changes in the latest preview versions of PowerShell Core 7, which is based on .NET Core 3.0, include more management modules to extend the functionality. Another recent development is the return of the Out-GridView cmdlet to PowerShell Core. Many administrators used this cmdlet in Windows PowerShell to build GUIs for scripts. The PowerShell Core team was able to bring it back based on user feedback and support of WinForms and the Windows Presentation Foundation in .NET Core 3.0.

Azure is the gateway to get Linux users on board

Stuart Burns: There is no getting away from the fact that automation is growing in the world of IT. How that automation is achieved varies, but the one constant is scripting.

Stuart BurnsStuart Burns

Within Linux, Bash scripting, along with languages like Perl and Python, have been the go-to for the serious systems administrator. Microsoft had nothing in this space until relatively recently, in the form of PowerShell for non-Microsoft operating systems. It is a departure from the Microsoft of old, whereby Linux was seen as a second-class citizen, to put it politely.

PowerShell is a good scripting language, but it remains to be seen how popular it will become beyond Windows administrators. Linux administrators tend to stay with tools that do the job. Many have spent years honing their skills and scripts with Bash. They are not familiar with having upgrades forced on them. I know some administrators who run legacy versions of infrastructure mainly because it just refuses to break.

Microsoft’s embrace of Linux, due in large part to the number of Linux virtual machines running on Azure, steered the company to make a significant change with PowerShell in 2016.

Linux IT pros also have long memories. They don’t trust Microsoft for its anti-Linux stance from years ago when former CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux a cancer, which will take a very long time for them to forget.

Until the large Linux vendors support PowerShell as a first-class citizen, it’s not likely the community will have the motivation to give PowerShell a chance. For example, on the RedHat exam, there is a basic scripting requirement. There is no outside access — or time to download or install — PowerShell so the test-taker has to learn Bash to pass the exam.

One thing Microsoft does have in its favor is the ever-increasing uptake of Linux on the Azure platform. The functionality that PowerShell Core provides, while available in other languages as plug-ins, is definitely easier to utilize on Microsoft’s cloud platform.

Some admins need a little extra help to get started

Brian Kirsch: When Microsoft introduced PowerShell in 2006, administrators had a hard time finding a use for it because the scripting and command lines could only go so far at the time.

The key to PowerShell was its task automation framework over a new scripting format. It took many in IT by surprise and gave them capabilities they didn’t know they might need.

Fast forward to January 2018 and Microsoft took its first serious step to expand PowerShell beyond Windows. The release of PowerShell Core and Linux support expanded the capabilities of this automation tool. It was a big change, but, ultimately, a safe one for Microsoft. While releasing something along the lines of Active Directory for Linux could affect the Windows Server bottom line, making PowerShell cross-platform didn’t.

Brian KirschBrian Kirsch

Building a PowerShell bridge between environments might help make the language a staple of the data center across many platforms. With plug-ins from a variety of third-party platforms, including big vendors such as VMware, this has established PowerShell as the ideal language going forward. So, even if you were not using Hyper-V, you could still use PowerShell for VMware.

Where does Microsoft go from here? Bringing more features and extending the cross-platform capabilities will be a help, but the team should think about ways to make it easier to get the traditional Windows admin using PowerShell Core. In my experience, a lot of admins tend to modify code, not write it from scratch, so the ability to generate code from a wizard was a welcome addition. It might help if the PowerShell developers put together a visual modeling tool to stitch together snips of code for a larger view of a longer automation routine.

It might seem odd to use a graphical interface for something that runs on a command line, but it’s hard for the longtime Windows admin to hand over their GUI management in exchange for code, no matter how powerful it may be.

The Linux side lags too far behind

Richard Siddaway: PowerShell has become the standard automation tool for Windows administrators since its introduction. The announcement of PowerShell Core in 2016 brought with it a lot of uncertainty.

When compared to Windows PowerShell 5.1, the initial version of PowerShell Core, 6.0.0, had a number of functionality gaps. PowerShell Core had no workflows. It was missing cmdlets, such as the WMI cmdlets. Many of the Windows PowerShell modules, such as Active Directory, would not work with PowerShell Core.

Since the initial PowerShell Core 6.0.0 release, the PowerShell project team addressed many of these points:

  • Foreach-Object has a parallel parameter to provide some, if not most, of the functionality delivered by PowerShell workflows.
  • The PowerShell team reinstated missing cmdlets where applicable. For instance, the WMI cmdlets aren’t available in PowerShell Core, but they have been effectively deprecated in Windows PowerShell in favor of the Common Information Model cmdlets.
  • Most of the Windows PowerShell modules have been recompiled to work under PowerShell Core and Windows PowerShell. You can use the Windows Compatibility module to enable most of the rest of the modules to work with PowerShell Core. Some gaps remain, but they are shrinking.

There is little incentive for Windows administrators to embrace PowerShell Core because Windows PowerShell 5.1 does what most administrators need. Recent announcements from the PowerShell team indicate that PowerShell Core 7.x will ship alongside Windows PowerShell 5.1. This may actually reduce adoption on the new PowerShell version as many administrators will stick with what they know.

Richard SiddawayRichard Siddaway

Take up of PowerShell Core on Linux has been much more enthusiastic than on Windows. Ironically, this may hinder further adoption on the Windows side if PowerShell Core is seen as too Unix-centered. The main issue with PowerShell on Linux, especially for Windows users, is there just isn’t the breadth of cmdlets to match Windows.

To become a cross-platform management tool, the Linux side of PowerShell Core needs more cmdlets for systems management to match the level in Windows. A base install of Windows 10 comes with about 1,500 cmdlets while the PowerShell Core for Linux has about 350 cmdlets. At a minimum, administrators need cmdlets to manage network cards, IP addresses, storage, DNS clients, and task and job scheduling. The administrator should be able to issue the same command against any platform and get the desired results in a compatible format.

PowerShell as an open source project ensures future development, but it also comes with the risk that Microsoft could stop supporting it. The other issue is that many of the recent changes are best described as tweaks to address edge cases. There doesn’t seem to be an overall roadmap. The PowerShell team’s blog post regarding the PowerShell 7 roadmap — they plan to drop the “Core” part of the name with the GA release — is a bit of a misnomer because there is no indication of where PowerShell is going and what it’s trying to be. The team should resolve these issues to make it clear what the future of PowerShell will be.

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New Approaches to Home and Xbox Voice Commands Roll Out to Xbox Insiders – Xbox Wire

As Xbox Insiders, your feedback helps inform the decisions and updates we make on Xbox, from new features to how gamers interact with the console itself. Based on your valuable feedback, we’ve been continuing to iterate on two key experiences on Xbox, delivering you a faster Home experience and evolving the way we support Xbox voice commands to improve the voice experience.

Evolving Home

The Home on Xbox One is the first thing you see when you turn on your Xbox One, and we want to deliver an easy and seamless experience for you to navigate your console. We’ve heard your feedback and have continued to iterate on Home to get you into your gaming experiences faster and keeping more of your content front and center. With today’s update, we’re experimenting with a streamlined user interface.

With this new experimental Home design, the first thing you’ll notice is we’ve removed the Twists from the top of Home in favor of separate buttons that launch your gaming experiences. The goal is to let you jump into Xbox Game Pass, Mixer, Xbox Community and Microsoft Store quicker than ever. We’ve also shifted things around to make more room for your recently played titles.

We need your help testing out the new interface. The new experimental Home rolls out this week to select Xbox Insiders in our Alpha and Alpha Skip Ahead rings. For more details on rollout, keep an eye on the Xbox Insiders section of Xbox Wire. The Home experience will continue to evolve and change based on your feedback, so please let us know what you think and share your ideas for Home at the Xbox Ideas Hub. You may see this layout change and even come and go as we iterate on your feedback.

Changes to voice commands on Xbox One

Last fall, we expanded Xbox voice commands to hundreds of millions of smart devices by enabling Xbox One to connect with Xbox Skill for Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices. Xbox Skill continues to grow and change based on your feedback, including new updates that rolled out earlier this month.

Building on these efforts, we are now further evolving the way we support voice commands on Xbox and are moving away from on-console experiences to cloud-based assistant experiences. This means you can no longer talk to Cortana via your headset. However, you can use the Xbox Skill for Cortana via the Cortana app on iOS, Android, and Windows or via Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker to power your Xbox One, adjust volume, launch games and apps, capture screenshots, and more —just as you can do with Alexa-enabled devices today. We’ll also continue to improve the Xbox Skill across supported digital assistants and continue expanding our Xbox voice capabilities in the future based on fan feedback.

Starting this week, this update will roll out to our Alpha Skip Ahead ring and will fully rollout to all users this fall.  As part of these changes, this update will temporarily disable dictation for the virtual keyboard on Xbox One. Don’t worry though, our team is working to provide an alternative solution and will have more details to share soon.

As always, your feedback is important to us and our partners as we continue to evolve the Xbox One Home and shape the digital assistant and voice command experience on Xbox. We have some exciting updates in the works and can’t wait to share what’s next, so stay tuned for more.

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Author: Steve Clarke

Microsoft’s Seeing AI app now available in Australia, Ireland and UK

Microsoft’s Seeing AI app, which helps people who are blind and partially sighted by narrating the world around them, is now available for free download to people in Australia, Ireland and the UK via the Apple iOS store.

Seeing AI is designed to help people who are blind or have visual impairments use artificial intelligence to recognize objects, people and text via a phone or tablet’s camera and describes them.

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The app is now available for iOS devices in the Australia, Ireland and the UK, after being released in the United States, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore earlier this year.

You can read more about Seeing AI via Microsoft News Centre Australia or Microsoft News Centre UK.

Filter and query Windows event logs with PowerShell

In addition to its automation capabilities, PowerShell helps the IT staff troubleshoot problems with Windows, specifically…

“;
}
});

/**
* remove unnecessary class from ul
*/
$(“#inlineregform”).find( “ul” ).removeClass(“default-list”);

/**
* Replace “errorMessageInput” class with “sign-up-error-msg” class
*/
function renameErrorMsgClass() {
$(“.errorMessageInput”).each(function() {
if ($(this).hasClass(“hidden”)) {
$(this).removeClass(“errorMessageInput hidden”).addClass(“sign-up-error-msg hidden”);
} else {
$(this).removeClass(“errorMessageInput”).addClass(“sign-up-error-msg”);
}
});
}

/**
* when validation function is called, replace “errorMessageInput” with “sign-up-error-msg”
* before return
*/
function validateThis(v, form) {
var validateReturn = urValidation.validate(v, form);
renameErrorMsgClass();
return validateReturn;
}

/**
* DoC pop-up window js – included in moScripts.js which is not included in responsive page
*/
$(“#inlineRegistration”).on(“click”,”a.consentWindow”, function(e) {
window.open(this.href, “Consent”, “width=500,height=600,scrollbars=1”);
e.preventDefault();
});

when they need to find errors in the Windows event logs. PowerShell parses logs and has a few more advantages over the numerous third-party tools at administrators’ disposal. Microsoft includes PowerShell for free with Windows, which gives it a cost advantage over other vendors’ products. Also, PowerShell connects deeply with the OS to provide many options to filter logs and query across multiple systems simultaneously.

Get-EventLog is the primary cmdlet administrators utilize to manage Windows event logs. This cmdlet shows the log’s contents with the -LogName parameter, followed by the name of the desired log file.

Log files can get large, but this cmdlet cuts results down to more easily reveal relevant events.

Use this command to show a summary of available log files:

Get-EventLog -List

PowerShell returns the log names and the number of events in each. Let’s focus on the Application log, which can contain several thousand entries. This command displays the Application log events:

Get-EventLog -LogName “Application”

The command output shows the log file’s full contents, which is not helpful. To filter the results, use this example to show the 10 most recent entries:

Get-EventLog -LogName “Application” -Newest 10

Next, take the command a step further, and find the 10 most recent errors with the -EntryType parameter:

Get-EventLog -LogName “Application” -EntryType “Error” -Newest 10

PowerShell also finds specific error occurrences. Find the 10 most recent instances of event 7670 — an issue related to SQL Server database access — with this command:

Get-EventLog -LogName “Application” -Index 7670 -Newest 10

Event 7670 often accompanies several other SQL Server events, such as 7671 or 7673. PowerShell specifies a range of event IDs rather than a single event ID. Let’s say you’re interested in event IDs 7670, 7671, 7672 and 7673. Use this command to view the 10 most recent SQL Server-related errors with those event IDs in the Application log:

Get-EventLog -LogName “Application” -Index(7670..7673) -Newest 10

Alternatively, the command to list SQL errors — which varies based on the SQL Server version — resembles this:

Get-EventLog -LogName “Application” -EntryType “Error” -Source “SQLLocalDB 11.0” -Newest 10

How to check logs on remote machines

PowerShell also filters log events on Windows systems across the network. The administrator must specify the -ComputerName parameter, followed by the NetBIOS name, fully qualified domain name or the target system’s IP address.

To show results from several computers, store the computer names in a variable, and then use a ForEach loop. If the server names are Server1, Server2 and Server3, for example, use these commands to query each server:

$Computers=’Server1′,’Server2′,’Server3′

ForEach($Computer in $Computers){Get-EventLog -ComputerName $Computer -LogName “Application” -Newest 10}

The output does not list the name of the server with the event. To adjust this, customize the results: Append the pipe symbol, followed by the Select-Object cmdlet and the fields to display. The valid field names are EventID, MachineName, Data, Index, Category, CategoryNumber, EntryType, Message, Source, ReplacementStrings, InstanceID, TimeGenerated, TimeWritten, UserName, Site and Container.

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How to parse event log
message field with PowerShell

This command returns the server name, event ID, time and description:

$Computers=’Server1′,’Server2′,’Server3′

ForEach($Computer in $Computers){Get-EventLog -ComputerName $Computer -LogName “Application” -Newest 10} | Select-Object MachineName, EventID, TimeGenerated, Message

These are just a few methods to parse Windows event logs with Get-EventLog. Microsoft provides an extensive list of other ways this cmdlet helps administrators troubleshoot Windows systems.

Next Steps

PowerShell commands to troubleshoot Exchange Server

Implement PowerShell’s piping capabilities to build scripts

PowerShell Gallery offers easy access to scripts