Tag Archives: once

Will Microsoft’s Edge start a new browser war?

This year may see the rekindling of the browser wars, conflicts that once roiled the landscape and birthed — and felled — titans.

On January 15, Microsoft is set to release a new, Chromium-based Edge browser, an offering the company claims will bolster compatibility with web-based applications and enhance privacy. Experts said the browser might appeal to IT professionals through its integrated management tools and focus on enterprise software.

Chromium is an open source browser project by Google; the current version of Edge was developed using Microsoft’s own tech. With the change, the two leading browsers will be based on the same engine.

Eric KleinEric Klein

Eric Klein, an analyst at VDC Research Group Inc., said it was strange, decades after the Netscape-Internet Explorer or Internet Explorer-Firefox clashes, to once again have a relevant browser war.

“It’s interesting to me that what’s old is new again,” he said.

Klein noted that, despite its OS supremacy, Microsoft’s success with its browsers has been mixed. In today’s market, he said, Google Chrome and Firefox have a greater mindshare than Microsoft’s offering.

“Previous versions of Internet Explorer [Microsoft’s older browser] were inferior, in terms of speed and ease of use, compared to browsers like Chrome,” he said.

Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt said Chrome looked to be the staunchest competition for the new Edge browser.

“In the consumer market, Chrome is very much the dominant browser,” he said. “We do see some differences like, in Germany, there’s more Firefox use.”

Through Chrome, said Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Bowker, organizations could accomplish several things: They could hedge their bets on Microsoft, provide an improved user experience for web applications and offer a secure browser experience.

How will Microsoft convert Chrome users?

Analysts said the company’s focus appears to be on the enterprise, providing interoperability with enterprise-centric software. Microsoft has made it easier for developers to port such software to Edge, making the browser friendlier to web-based applications, according to Klein.

Hewitt said Microsoft had an interest in refining the experience of using its tools, making its services available across its product portfolio.

Andrew HewittAndrew Hewitt

“I also think this is a doubling-down on their Microsoft 365 strategy,” he said. “It’s about providing a better experience using Office tools — like being able to see OneDrive files as you use Edge.”

To lure businesses, Bowker said, Edge must deliver the best possible experience with web applications and provide IT professionals the tools they need to manage users. Companies using Chrome must have a separate console for such management, while Edge may appeal to IT pros because they can use existing Microsoft tools to do the job.

Yet luring users is about more than making a case to businesses; Microsoft will have to convince users as well. Companies today tend to let employees choose which browser they’d like to use. That makes the consumer market and personal preference a big factor in who will win the browser war, according to Hewitt.

“I think it’s a two-fold strategy,” he said. “[Microsoft wants] to build good confidence on the consumer side, so it trickles over to businesses. With businesses, it will not necessarily be about who’s more secure, but more about, ‘Look at all the cool integrations you can get if you’re using Edge.’ It’s a productivity benefit.”

Mark BowkerMark Bowker

For Microsoft, that could be an uphill battle given that younger workers likely grew up without using Microsoft browsers, Bowker said.

Browsers will gain prominence

The timing of Microsoft’s campaign for the business browser market is not accidental. Analysts pointed to the increased prevalence of web-based applications as the answer.

“The browser [will become] more and more important,” Hewitt said. “It will be where you go to work every day.”

Klein said Google has a clear stake in winning the battle.

“From Google’s perspective, it’s all about telemetry — taking a look at every move a user makes, similar to the way phones track every move we make,” he said. “[That information] is becoming more and more important for tech companies. It’s all about trying to capture as much of user interactions and workflow as possible.”

“It’s not only the browser wars that are part of this; the office suite wars are part of this, too,” he added, noting that Microsoft and Google, via its G Suite of productivity applications, were warring in that arena, too.

Yet that focus on user data, Hewitt said, might be a point in Microsoft’s favor, especially among privacy-minded companies. As Google’s substantial advertising business is dependent on such data, companies may fear their browsing habits might be compromised. Microsoft, he said, doesn’t rely on advertising in the way Google does.

“That’s one area where Microsoft could differentiate itself,” he said.

Who will win the browser war?

Analysts said it was too early to call the fight.

“It’s always really hard to say,” Hewitt said. “It’s going to take years to see the benefits of any type of shift. It’s still early, from Microsoft’s perspective.”

Bowker said the new Edge browser may prompt several businesses that have chosen Chrome as their standard option to rethink their approach.

Holger MuellerHolger Mueller

“The first experience, when Edge is available mid-month, is going to be important,” he said.

Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research, said he saw the development not as a war, but as a point of convergence. With both of the leading enterprise browsers based on the same engine, he expects accelerated progress for mobile sites, as developers can devote their resources in a more concentrated way. But he expressed skepticism that Edge would overtake Chrome in the workplace.

“It’s a great move by Microsoft: If you can’t beat them, join them,” he said, adding that this was a development that differentiated CEO Satya Nadella’s Microsoft from that of his predecessor, Steve Ballmer.

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CIO talks lessons learned from Meditech Expanse upgrade

Healthcare organizations may no longer be shopping for EHRs the way they once were, but that doesn’t make implementation any easier.

It took three years of planning and budgeting before Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center went live with electronic health record vendor Meditech’s latest product at three community hospitals.

Jeannette Currie, CIO of community hospitals at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, led the initiative to upgrade to the latest version: Meditech Expanse, a web-based EHR designed for mobility. The effort took a year longer than expected.

At the recent Meditech Physician and CIO Forum in Boston, Currie detailed challenges she faced before and during the implementation at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) community hospitals — and some of the lessons she learned along the way. Her biggest goal was to create a unified IT culture across the three community hospitals which had, up until this point, operated independent IT shops.

For Maurice Abney, CIO at LifePoint Health in Brentwood, Tenn., who attended the forum, his biggest takeaway was how Currie’s budget changed significantly when planning for an EHR implementation, and how it’s better to plan for spending more rather than less.

This was a confirmation that you need to budget it now so you won’t have to ask for it later.
Maurice AbneyCIO, LifePoint Health

“This was a confirmation that you need to budget it now so you won’t have to ask for it later,” Abney said.

Challenges with EHR implementation

In 2015, BIDMC decided to upgrade the Meditech EHR at three community hospitals and had an estimated go-live date of Oct. 1, 2017. BIDMC’s goal was to reduce the number of outpatient EHRs from multiple vendors used in its community hospitals by migrating the sites to a single EHR from a single vendor. The community hospitals also all used different versions of the Meditech EHR.

BIDMC, now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health following a merger earlier this year, is a healthcare system composed of academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, community hospitals and specialty hospitals that employs more than 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees. It is now one of the largest health systems in Boston.

As she planned the EHR implementation project, Currie said delays occurred due to added project scope and additional software requirements that were missing from the original plans. Plus, while BIDMC initially planned to upgrade the community hospitals to the Meditech 6.1 platform, an earlier version of the Meditech EHR, the health system changed its mind and decided on Meditech Expanse, the latest EHR version.

Even with budgeting and planning, the go-live date was pushed back a year, and the project’s estimated budget nearly doubled from an estimated $14.7 million to an actual budget of $27.3 million.

Strategies for addressing challenges

As Currie prepared to unify the three hospitals onto one EHR, she encountered four major challenges: resistance to change and getting the hospitals past the idea that the new EHR implementation was a simple update to their existing Meditech EHRs, breaking down the hospitals’ history of separateness, consolidating IT staff and creating a clear pathway for decision-making involving all three entities.

Jeannette Currie, CIO of Community Hospitals at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, speaks at the recent MEDITECHPhysician and CIO Forum.
Jeannette Currie, CIO of Community Hospitals at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, speaks at the MEDITECHPhysician and CIO Forum about leading a MEDITECHExpanse implementation at three community hospitals.

This wasn’t the community hospitals’ first Meditech EHR implementation, but upgrading to Meditech Expanse was complicated by the EHR’s added features and functions, according to Currie. The product introduced new workflows and an entirely new platform. Currie said getting the hospitals past that “upgrade mentality” was challenging.

To address the problem, Currie decided to brand the implementation CommunityONE. Her hope in using the word “community” was to steer the upgrade away from EHR tweaks toward a push to unify the IT culture between the three hospitals, something she said was crucial to the project’s success.

She set a mission statement for the project, which outlined what she was aiming to do and why. The mission statement, “to develop, implement and manage a single patient-focused BIDMC Community Hospital EHR using principles of best practice to support clinical excellence, fiscal accountability and a productive experience,” was repeated and promoted throughout the project.

Identifying the benefits of the Meditech Expanse product was also important, Currie said. The gains included a single patient clinical record accessible across the three hospitals, operational efficiency by having the same EHR available for clinicians working at all three hospitals, working with Meditech to house the hospitals’ data, and the creation of a single IT department for the three hospitals.

Consolidating IT staff was a major hurdle because of varying staffing levels, experience and pay scales, Currie said. She worked to fix pay discrepancies and to clearly define IT responsibilities, something the organization is still challenged with. Currie said employees were chosen from across the three sites to form the community hospitals IT department.  

Currie established guiding principles to lead the major organizational change. They included clear project governance structured to promote the project mission. She wanted to make sure to give an equal voice to each hospital, outline participation expectations and be transparent about decisions.

“We needed all the hospitals to participate in the process to create that future. That adds to the cultural aspect because then people feel ownership about what they’re creating and what their end product will be,” she said.

Decision making was the project’s biggest challenge and one of the biggest drivers behind the extended go-live date, Currie said. Each organization came to the table with “passion” for the way their hospital had operated, and they had to work through how they were going to make decisions as a unified IT culture. 

“We had to learn how to reach consensus,” she said.

Currie said she outlined a clear method for decision making, and built the culture through continuous face time and getting to know each other.

“It was a pain in the butt to drive from Plymouth or some of these other areas in Boston traffic to get together,” she said. “But we really found that that in-person time was what promoted respect … people on these teams became friends and that allowed them to work together and become willing to share this system and respect each other’s perspectives.” 

Lessons learned

On Oct. 1, 2018, Meditech Expanse went live at all three hospitals.

Currie said the launch’s success was due to a strong command structure including local command centers set up at each of the sites that were linked to help identify common issues. The IT team also had frequent huddles, identified emerging issues and had boots on the ground to provide support.

At the center of the success was communication, and keeping a consistent message between the three hospitals, she said.

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Another mSpy leak exposed millions of sensitive user records

Mobile spyware company mSpy has once again leaked millions of customer records to the public internet.

The company develops mobile spyware that customers use to monitor the mobile device activity of their children, partners and others. Security researcher Nitish Shah discovered the mSpy leak via a public-facing database and reached out to cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs, who first reported the leak.

Krebs looked into the mSpy leak and said no authentication was required to access the database. The customer data included passwords, call logs, text messages, contacts, notes and location data — all of which was compiled by the mSpy spyware — and there were millions of records. Additionally, there were records containing the username, password and private encryption key of every mSpy customer who was active in the last six months. The database also included the Apple iCloud usernames and authentication tokens of the Apple devices running mSpy.

According to Krebs, anyone who accessed the database would be able to see WhatsApp and Facebook messages that were also compiled by mSpy.

Krebs also noted that the transaction details of all mSpy licenses purchased within the last six months were exposed, and that included customer names, email addresses and mailing addresses. Additionally, there was browser and internet address information from users visiting the mSpy website.

The exposed database was taken offline this week. But Shah told Krebs the company’s support people ignored him when he tried to alert them of the mSpy leak and asked to be directed to their head of technology or security. After Shah contacted Krebs, Krebs reached out to mSpy as well, with only slightly better results. The chief security officer of mSpy said the company was aware of the issue and was working on it.

In response to Krebs’ article, mSpy issued a statement in which it acknowledged there was an incident, but denied that millions of records had been exposed.

This isn’t the first mSpy leak in recent years. In 2015, Krebs also reported a data leak after mSpy was hacked and customer data was posted on the dark web. In that breach, the information of over 400,000 was estimated to be exposed, and mSpy “initially denied suffering a breach for more than week,” according to Krebs, despite customers confirming their data was part of the exposed cache.

In other news:

  • The FIDO Alliance has launched a certification program for biometrics. “Biometric user verification has become a popular way to replace passwords and PINs, but the lack of an industry-defined program to validate performance claims has led to concerns over variances in the accuracy and reliability of these solutions,” the FIDO Alliance said. The certification, called the Biometric Component Certification Program, is designed for both users and providers. For enterprises, FIDO said, “it provides a standardized way to trust that the biometric systems they are relying upon for fingerprint, iris, face and/or voice recognition can reliably identify users and detect presentation attacks.”
  • More than 7,500 MikroTik routers were infected with malware, according to researchers from Qihoo 360 Netlab. The malware logs and transmits network traffic information to servers under the hackers’ control. The researchers found the routers were infected by the malware through an exploit of a vulnerability disclosed in the Vault7 leaks of alleged CIA hacking tools. The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-14847, was patched in April. The researchers noticed the malicious activity on their honeypot systems in July specifically aimed at MikroTik routers. The largest number of routers affected by CVE-2018-14847 exploits were in Russia, as well as Iran, Brazil, India and Ukraine.
  • Hackers have compromised the MEGA Chrome extension — which is used for secure cloud storage — to steal login credentials and cryptocurrency keys, according to researchers. First discovered by an anonymous researcher called SerHack, the malicious version of the browser extension monitors for usernames and passwords in login forms on Amazon, Microsoft, GitHub and Google, and then it sends the credentials to a host in Ukraine. It also scanned for URLs relating to cryptocurrency sites, and then it would try to steal that login data, as well. The malicious version of the MEGA Chrome extension was put in place at some point after Sept. 2, and Google has already taken it down. There’s no evidence the Firefox version of MEGA has been compromised. Chrome users of the MEGA extension should remove it immediately and change all account passwords.

Coinhive malware infects tens of thousands of MikroTik routers

Poor patching practices by vendors and users are once again coming back to bite users around the world, as a researcher discovered a cryptominer being spread to unpatched MikroTik routers.

The Coinhive malware was first found spreading through routers in Brazil. Simon Kenin, security researcher for Trustwave, based in Chicago, discovered the Coinhive malware infection originating from Brazil and first assumed it was a more common website compromise attack to inject the cryptomining code. But more digging revealed the infection was spreading through MikroTik routers.

Kenin said malicious actors were exploiting a vulnerability in the routers that MikroTik had patched in April — just one day after the flaw was first discovered.

“The exploit targets Winbox and allows the attacker to read files from the device … but the bottom line is that using this exploit you can get unauthenticated remote admin access to any vulnerable MikroTik router,” Kenin wrote in his analysis. “Initial investigation indicates that instead of running a malicious executable on the router itself, which is how the exploit was being used when it was first discovered, the attacker used the device’s functionality in order to inject the CoinHive script into every web page that a user visited.”

Mounir Hahad, head of Juniper Threat Labs at Juniper Networks, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., noted that MicroTik has deployed approximately 1.7 million units around the world — “mostly in Brazil, China, Russia and Indonesia” — and explained why the victims may not have patched.

“Most routers, unfortunately, lack the ability to auto-update, and very few users, especially home users, know how or when to patch the firmware on their router,” Hahad wrote via email. “One of the biggest failures of security vendors that provide small-office [or] home-office routers is not including an auto-update feature by default, regardless of the technical difficulties lying around potentially taking the router offline during the update process.”

Chris Olson, founder and CEO of The Media Trust, based in McLean, Va., agreed infections like the Coinhive malware could prey on poor patching habits.

“The average user will likely plug in their router and forget about it until something goes awry,” Olson wrote via email. “Routers are like electricity and water: Unless service is disrupted, they receive little to no attention. Because they are often ignored, they make the perfect attack vector.”

Coinhive malware infections

Routers are like electricity and water: Unless service is disrupted, they receive little to no attention. Because they are often ignored, they make the perfect attack vector.
Chris OlsonCEO, The Media Trust

Kenin said the Coinhive malware creates and injects a custom error page for every webpage visited by a user through an infected router.

“So if a user receives an error page of any kind while web browsing, they will get this custom error page which will mine CoinHive for the attacker,” Kenin wrote. “The backend Apache server is connected to the router as well, and somewhere along the way there was an error and it was displayed to me, miner included. What this means is that this also impacts users who are not directly connected to the infected router’s network, but also users who visit websites behind these infected routers. In other words, the attack works in both directions.”

Experts noted that this method of spreading the Coinhive malware to every site visited was unusual.

Sean Newman, director product management at Corero Network Security, based in Marlborough, Mass., said the Coinhive malware “is not something we’ve specifically seen before.”

“However, it does combine well-known exploit mechanisms, though in a novel way that is well-suited to the practice of cryptojacking,” Newman wrote via email. And, in this case, we’re not talking about cheap IoT devices with vulnerabilities which are never addressed by the vendor. In this case, the routers were exploited to deliver a cryptomining payload, but the same approach could have just as easily leveraged them for other objectives.”

Olson agreed this method of spreading malware would be more common with the creation of a botnet, and Hahad noted the Coinhive malware might not be the most efficient way of cryptomining.

“Every browser tends to have several open tabs that connect to several sites at once. Duplicating the Coinhive mining script so heavily would bring any computer to its knees in seconds, defeating the very purpose of the attack,” Hahad wrote. “Once tweaked to only inject error pages, the issue was mitigated. But, again, the effectiveness is now dramatically reduced, because people do not hit error pages very often. In my opinion, this shows it is the work of a script kiddie with not much hacking experience.”

Senator wants government to stop Adobe Flash use

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is once again advocating in favor of better cybersecurity for the U.S. government in a new letter asking that all government domains stop Adobe Flash use.

Adobe Flash has long been under fire from the infosec community for security risks, and major web browsers have been moving away from the platform in favor of HTML5, leading Adobe to announce that the end-of-life date for Flash will come in 2020.

Sen. Wyden addressed the letter to Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Walter Copan, undersecretary of Commerce and director of the NIST; and Paul Nakasone, director of the NSA and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, advocating that the government stop Adobe Flash use.

Wyden asked that these three agencies collaborate to stop Adobe Flash use in government “in light of its inherent security vulnerabilities and impending end-of-life.”

“The federal government has too often failed to promptly transition away from software that has been decommissioned. In just one example, agencies were forced to pay millions of dollars for premium Microsoft support after they missed the deadline to transition away from Windows XP at its end-of-life in 2014, even though the technology’s last major update had been six years prior,” Wyden wrote in the letter. “The U.S. government should begin transitioning away from Flash immediately, before it is abandoned in 2020.”

Chris Olson, CEO and founder of The Media Trust, a digital media risk management company based in Maclean, Va., noted that the reason government agencies tend to fail at these transitions is due to budgets.

“Government budgets are strapped. As a result, they tend to retain legacy systems, software, and machines that take time to patch and update. The budget issue is worse for state, municipal, and other local government entities,” Olson wrote in an email. “The situation won’t change anytime soon, so agencies should continuously scan their websites and mobile apps in real-time for any unauthorized actors and activities.”

Wyden noted that DHS, NIST and the NSA “provide the majority of cybersecurity guidance to government agencies,” but none have issued public guidance calling for agencies to stop Adobe Flash use.

Wyden suggested a three-step plan to stop the deployment of new Flash-based content within 60 days, remove Flash from some agency computers by March 2019, and then require the removal of all Flash content from websites by August 2019.

Olson applauded the multistaged approach to having government agencies stop Adobe Flash use.

“Flash is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a growing number of other attack vectors, including HTML5, a variety of content management systems, browsers, etc. Any organization will need to keep up with the various developments that are being nurtured in the underground economy of cybercrime,” Olson wrote. “Agencies and any organization with digital assets will need to work closely with their third parties to enforce security policies, police what code is being executed in their digital ecosystems with the help of continuous, real-time scanning, and root out unauthorized actors and code.”

For Sale – Dr. Delid tool for Skylake and Kaby Lake processors

Selling: –

Dr. Delid tool for Skylake and Kaby Lake processors

Used once to delid my i7700k – does a perfect job.

I also have a tube of liquid pro that just a small blip has been used from for £6.00

Will upload photos later today…

Price and currency: 30.00
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG or BT
Location: Malvern
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Recruiting on LinkedIn adds analytics and pointed questions

It will be easier for someone recruiting on LinkedIn to poach talent once the social network giant releases its new analytics platform near the end of September. This may seem startling, but LinkedIn is not shying away from this outcome.

The platform, LinkedIn Talent Insights, is intended to simplify the ability of recruiters to get competitive intelligence and target potential candidates. Users will be able to look at, for instance, the number of software engineers employed by a firm, parse it down by city, see the growth in hiring and note the attrition rate.

In beta testing for LinkedIn Talent Insights, some of the participating users were able to identify firms in some markets that have people with sought-after skill sets, such as software engineers, and then target them. The workers can then be identified using tools for recruiting on LinkedIn.

Poaching talent questioned

Eric Owski, the head of product for Talent Insights at LinkedIn, outlined the forthcoming tool at the recent Society for Human Resource Management conference in Chicago. Before his audience, he used a live demo to demonstrate, in minutes, how to assemble a competitive analysis.

During an audience Q&A, one woman in attendance asked Owski about the ethics of using this analytics tool to raid a competitor.

The world is becoming more transparent.
Eric Owskihead of product for Talent Insights, LinkedIn

The attendee asked: “Does that set up an environment for poaching talent?” And then she immediately answered her own question. “I think the answer is yes. And so why would I sign off on that?”

Owski agreed that using the new tool for recruiting on LinkedIn made poaching possible but argued that there was nothing wrong with making this data available.

Internally, the LinkedIn team on the project had many “philosophical” discussions about the use of this data, Owski said. But the team concluded that “the world is becoming more transparent,” and “very sophisticated teams at large companies were able to figure out a lot of the calculations that we’re making available in this product,” he said. 

“We think by packaging it up nicely, it levels the playing field,” Owski said. “We feel like we’re on safe ground.”

LinkedIn draws line on available data

But LinkedIn is drawing a line on what data it makes available.

Owski said LinkedIn can determine with up to 93% accuracy the gender diversity of workers at a firm by analyzing the first name. But the company isn’t making company-specific gender data available in the search tool because it is “very highly sensitive data” that can open up questions of discrimination. LinkedIn will make that information available at a market or broader level.

LinkedIn Talent Insights uses data from its 560 million global members. The site has 15 million open jobs at any given time and some 23,000 standardized job titles that it recognized. The analytics platform is global and not dependent on government data, Owski said.

The tool’s ease of use was a key point for Owski. The interface appeared to be no more complicated than the advanced search feature on Google. It asked the user to input skills to include and exclude job title, location and industry. It then quickly produced a list of firms with employees who have those skills, hiring trends and attrition rate.

One attendee, Kevin Cottingim, senior vice president of HR at Employbridge, a staffing firm, said in an interview he was “excited” about trying the analytics platform for recruiting on LinkedIn.

Cottingim said his firm has 500 branches around the country and the recruiting analytics tool will help them understand if there are more positions available than candidates in any given market. With that data, he can strategize his plans for more targeted advertising, as well as consider paying a salary premium.

In terms of seeing the attrition rates at other firms, Cottingim said, “I would love to be able to benchmark that against my competitors.”

Quality of data questioned

Some in the audience raised questions about the quality of the data, and whether, for instance, profile changes are a good enough indicator of attrition. An attendee asked if LinkedIn continued to appeal to a full demographic range of people, particularly millennials.

Owski said there’s a potential for noise in the data, but he believes they have enough representation of professionals to “cancel out the noise.”

As far as competitors to LinkedIn, Owski said, unlike Facebook, it doesn’t have Snapchat-type rivals. Some industry observers believe Snapchat, which tends to appeal to younger users, is a potential Facebook threat. Owski’s point is that LinkedIn doesn’t have similar competitors.

Product pricing will be available in July, and the vendor may bundle LinkedIn Talent Insights for people who are already recruiting on LinkedIn. An upcoming feature will be an API that allows users to take the data and use it in their own dashboards.

Another attendee, Melvin Jones, the workforce strategy branch chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said the LinkedIn Talent Insights tool may help the agency improve the targeting of its job advertising and figure out what job markets are best for certain skills. 

It will also enable the agency to know how private sector firms view NOAA’s workforce, Jones said, in an interview.

“It’s good to have validation of the data and see how other people are viewing us,” Jones said. “In military terms, it’s good to see what the enemy sees.”

How a first-time teacher brought new energy to education in rural Morocco |

Teaching wasn’t really on my to-do list. My ambition was to be a financial manager once I graduated from university, but instead I followed my father’s path into teaching. And in my country, Morocco, that means consigning yourself to an isolated region for the first few years of your career. No electricity, no drinkable water, and in winter you might have to cross rivers just to get to school.

Unlike many educators around the world, one of my challenges wasn’t to integrate technology into a modern urban classroom – it was to make it work in a rural environment, where students, their parents and their siblings have never so much as touched a PC or used the internet. But even in this situation, or maybe because of it, I started to change my mind about my career. I began to like my new job. Those innocent eyes waiting for me every morning pushed me into giving everything I have to improve education for children in rural places.

As a teacher and messenger of knowledge, situated in hard conditions, I had two choices: surrender to the reality, or choose the path of innovative educators. Click To Tweet

My classroom didn’t have electricity. The internet and mobile signals in the area were weak, and I had to walk a five-mile round trip, six days per week, over the mountains to get to the school. Still, I believed in the power of information and communication through technology, and I tried hard to surpass any technical or logistical problems, just to take my students to another climate of learning and bring my classroom to life. Where to start?


With most students here passing their time after school (and even at dawn) herding and guarding sheep, looking for water or helping their families at shelters, school just wasn’t the biggest priority. To figure out how to reduce absence, I needed to know more about it.

First, I used Microsoft Excel as a master tool to collect and analyze absence data, with clear definitions of when dropouts were happening. I asked for the absence data archive from the principal director and combined it with what I recorded every school day. From the results I concluded the highest rate of absence was on Fridays, which coincided with the most popular day for student to play, meet friends and step out of their routine life. It was all happening at the souk, an atmospheric and vibrant marketplace full of food and furniture, toys, candy, old comic books and other goods. In trying to think of something bigger, something more exciting and more attractive to get the students to their teacher, I decided to visit the souk myself and make a plan.

I bought a second laptop and additional batteries, so I wouldn’t have to worry about losing power in the class. It was a little hard at the beginning, carry two laptops in my bag for a 5-mile round trip to get to the school, but after some weeks I got used to it.

Each Friday, a raffle would be waiting for my students at the classroom. During recess, we’d organize a draw, and the winner would have the chance to use the laptop and choose between watching cartoons, playing an educational video games, or writing on Microsoft Word.

At the beginning, I thought my students would choose to play games or watch videos when they had their chance, but I was wrong. Most of them preferred to explore Word and they became so excited when they typed in their names and some words and paragraphs.

Giving my students the opportunity to use the PC and freely connect with technology had a powerful impact on combating the absence phenomenon. My students now prefer coming to school and they’re starting to convince their parents and siblings about the importance of school and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). More recently, we’ve been holding a “Friday Surprise” each week, where students can express themselves and develop their skills by creating handmade decorations, using the laptop to look for creative ideas, to draw, or do other things that improve communication, collaboration, presentation, creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking.

There are some other educational issues we see in the multi-grade classroom. Some multi-grade teachers may teach two grades in the same class, while others may teach three or four grades. I’m teaching six grades. The students in these grades are usually of the same age but may differ in their abilities, which means:

  • Planning can be time consuming.
  • Teachers may be frustrated due to their geographical isolation.
  • Physical conditions may be unattractive. Some classrooms are very small and overcrowded.
  • Few materials are available for multi-grade teaching.

To take this challenge on, I thought about how being a teacher in a rural area didn’t prevent me from increasing my knowledge, or developing my professional and personal skills. I tried to use the internet to get away from the isolation and be a part of the community of innovative educators. After learning about new methods and experiences all over the planet, I decided to let my students choose, by themselves, to come to school, even on special days, rather than imposing it on them. With ICT, I would rather make them eager to build knowledge. I encouraged them to try new things and never be afraid of change. That why using ICT has had a positive impact not only in my classroom, but on the whole school environment.

For me, the weak infrastructure, the absence of digital tools and unawareness of how important education is are no excuse – we can still create and think of innovative ways to make our students love coming to school.

To meet the varied needs of multi-grade students, teachers need in-depth knowledge of child development and learning and a larger repertoire of instructional strategies than most single-grade teachers possess. They must be able to design open-ended, divergent learning experiences accessible to students functioning at different levels. They must know when and how to use homogeneous and heterogeneous grouping and how to design cooperative group tasks. They must be proficient in assessing, evaluating, and recording student progress using qualitative methods.

Multi-grade teachers must be able to facilitate positive group interaction and to teach social skills and independent learning skills to individual students. They must know how to plan and work cooperatively with colleagues, as team teaching is commonly combined with multi-grade organization. Finally, they must be able to explain multi-grade practices to parents and other community members, building understanding and support for their use.

The wealth of digital tools makes it easy to create your own educational materials, and there are many advantages in doing so. As a teacher, the learning for your students is strengthened by your voice and pedagogy. The students can study at their own pace and learn at their level. These are some of my strategies:

  • Consider students’ needs and their knowledge differentiation, by presenting my own lesson plan.
  • Make the explanation more attractive for my students.
  • Effectively manage the lesson’s time.
  • Develop game-based learning.
  • Improve real-world problem solving and collaboration

Microsoft technologies helped me perform my tasks more quickly and efficiently. Specifically:

  1. Planning: Microsoft offers planning templates that you can customize to your requirement. You can update and reuse these when you teach the lessons again.
  2. Record keeping: By maintaining electronic documents you can quickly access and update information, making it easier to share and cross reference.
  3. Assessing: With Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint you can design assessments with automated marking.
  4. Coordinating and communicating: E-mail is a useful option to communicate. Microsoft Outlook offers the option of a shared calendar, which makes coordination efficient. You can use a blog or webpage that parents visit for updates.
  5. Collaborating: Shared workspaces or collaboration tools, such as SharePoint, Skype, Skype for Business, and Office 365 make it easier to collaborate on documents and hold virtual meetings.

For me, as a primary school teacher, my love for this noble job has grown far beyond what I ever expected. I have learned that the teacher doesn’t just light up minds, but hearts as well. I learned that teaching is art and love before it’s a job. I learned that education has no borders.

Top image: Bayla Khalid attending Education Exchange 2018 in Singapore, where he met educators from around the world.

To learn more about Microsoft Education and our tools and technology that help foster inclusion and support personalizing learning for every student, click here.

For Sale – Network freebies and 12TB HDD

Getting rid of a bit of clutter in the house, i will add more once i get into storage and do a proper clean out. All items are free all i ask is you pay postage and packaging. Please only ask for something if you need it.

Western Digital My Net Central N900 it has gigabit ethernet ports, made for cable connections or can be used as an access point. It also has a 2.5 inch sata HDD bay internally which can be used as a NAS or you can do this via the USB 2.0 port at back.

Cat 5E flat black ethernet cables
1 x 15m
3 x 5m

12TB Seagate Iron Wolf, just arrived from RMA. This one is brand new still sealed. £300

I have more ethernet cables but most have the clips broken but work fine, let me know if you would still like these. Ranging from 1-2m some are Cat 5e and some are Cat 6.

I’m in Sheffield if anyone would like to collect.

Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: BT or PPG
Location: Sheffield
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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