Tag Archives: using

For Sale – Macbook Pro 16″ i7 16GB 512GB – Still in Warranty

Selling my Macbook Pro (512GB SSD, Intel Core i7 9th Gen., 2.60 GHz, 16GB) as I’m not currently using it for work so funding a desktop PC.

This was bought in person from the apple store and has warranty until December 2020 for your own peace of mind. I also have the original receipt in my name. Functions as expected and battery cycles are around 79. Item comes with box and genuine charger.

The item is in great condition however is used so do expect the occasional mark here and there…

Macbook Pro 16″ i7 16GB 512GB – Still in Warranty

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For Trade – Sale; MacBook Air 13” 2018 i5 8gb/256gb Space Grey Mint Grade A boxed low battery count

Thanks for checking. I’m currently using a MacBook 12″, which I believe has a slightly revised version of the disliked original butterfly keyboard so getting the ‘Magic Keyboard’ will be a significant improvement. I was going to get an iPad Pro with keyboard case, but you can’t beat the balance and feel of a proper laptop.

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Value stream management tames DevOps chaos at Eli Lilly

Pharma giant Eli Lilly discovered that simply using software delivery automation tools doesn’t bring about IT efficiency — achieving that goal required a top-down view and detailed measurements of IT and business processes, a practice known as value stream management.

Eli Lilly began searching for a way to sort out multiple DevOps pipeline tools and processes five years ago, as the company’s use of tools such as Heroku PaaS, Atlassian Jira application lifecycle management and CloudBees Jenkins continuous integration tools increased, but so did software testing and delivery delays.

Despite the use of IT automation tools such as Chef, procuring a software testing environment could take up to 30 days, and deployment processes often became bogged down in compliance-related approval processes.

“Our environments were managed via Excel, and even the Excel [spreadsheets] didn’t make sense,” said Marvin Stigter, head of platform services in the test management office at Eli Lilly. “And then we had project managers sitting up in the middle of the night, coordinating [jobs] between onshore and offshore [teams].”

That year, Eli Lilly execs became aware of Plutora, and the company eventually chose to deploy it over a competing value stream management product from their incumbent IT service management vendor ServiceNow.

Value stream management is an IT product category created by Forrester Research analysts in 2002. The term stems from value stream mapping, a practice with a long history in Lean manufacturing environments such as Toyota.

Marvin Stigter, head of platform services, test management office, Eli LillyMarvin Stigter

Value stream mapping documents the repeatable steps required to deliver a product or service to a customer, and then analyzes them to make improvements. Value stream management tools apply these principles to software delivery, measure the performance of DevOps teams against improvement goals, and in some cases, orchestrate DevOps workflow automation.

Value stream management is a growing product category. In its third-quarter 2020 Wave report on value stream management tools, Forrester assessed 11 products, from vendors that also included Digital.ai, Tasktop, Targetprocess, IBM, ConnectAll, CloudBees, Atlassian, GitLab and Blueprint.

Eli Lilly evolves from DevOps efficiency to COVID-19 data management

It took IT pros at Eli Lilly 18 months to master Plutora’s value stream management products, Stigter said. The process included creating some custom webhooks to integrate earlier versions of the Plutora product with third-party tools such as Jira. However, once that was finished, the Plutora tool had a transformative effect on Lilly’s software delivery, Stigter said.

“Since that time, we have not had one bad release go out,” he said. “It was way clearer to everybody how to make the right decision at the right time than before, [where] our release schedule was nobody knew about it until something went wrong.”

It was way clearer to everybody how to make the right decision at the right time than before, [where] our release schedule was nobody knew about it until something went wrong.
Marvin StigterHead of platform services, Eli Lilly

Value stream management measured the time it took to complete certain tasks, such as standing up a testing environment or signing an approval request. It also pinpointed the cause of lags. The Plutora tool sent automated email reminder messages to people about 15 minutes before they were expected to contribute to a process, in order to keep pipelines running on time. Plutora also added automated schedule adjustments to optimize these processes, rescheduling certain tasks and updating the right people with notifications to make delivery as fast as possible.

“You do have to be careful with the emails … you can use it the wrong way as well and get overwhelmed,” Stigter said. “But if you implement [them] correctly, it’s a huge timesaver.”

In fact, value stream management also allowed Stigter to calculate precisely how much of his team’s time was saved. Building a new test environment now takes five hours at most, compared to the previous maximum of 30 days. Blackout periods for software updates shrank from as much as two full days down to between two and four hours. Between optimized team workflows and automation bots deployed via Plutora, Stigter estimates the company has saved about $16 million per year since 2017.

This year, Eli Lilly has begun to expand its use of the Plutora tool beyond the software delivery lifecycle to workflows such as clinical trials of a potential treatment for COVID-19. Plutora helped streamline the process of loading report data from clinical trial sites into a data warehouse, tracking how many reports have been loaded and visualizing the inflow of data for business and IT stakeholders.

“Our customers in our senior management [now] get a higher level of detail with what’s going on, so we kill all the manual communications saying, ‘Hey, where are you? What’s going on?'” Stigter said. “When COVID came down, we had [study data] uploaded within two days, which had never happened before. Normally, at a minimum, it’s five weeks.”

Plutora reveals value stream management roadmap

Stigter and his team have begun to beta test new Plutora product features set for release later this year, including enhancements to how the tool orchestrates multistep automation tasks.

“If you have code in Chef that you want to kick off, now somebody doesn’t have to do it manually,” Stigter said. “If you have two or three different automations, one after another, [Plutora] will now also go automatically to the next one.”

Those multistep automation triggers have been inconsistent at times during tests, Stigter said, but continue to improve.

The upcoming Plutora release will also revamp how Plutora integrates with third-party data sources, replacing a RESTful API architecture with an event-driven system for faster data ingestion, with less custom integration required. This is similar to plans for IT automation vendor Puppet’s Relay product, which also aims to streamline IT automation workflows.

Stigter said he looks forward to faster, even real-time, data flows into Plutora’s dashboards as a possible result of the event-driven overhaul.

“[The] reports are just not real-time enough, and that’s really the lifeline of the tool,” he said. “[Without it,] if I say, ‘We saved a lot of time during this release over the weekend,’ nobody really understands what that means if they were not involved with it.”

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For Sale – HP Z230 Intel Core i7 Desktop Computer with 16GB RAM, 1TB Hard Drive+ Win10Pro + Office 2019 Pro

Just not being used anymore since using laptop so going up for sale is my desktop computer.

It is ready to go with Microsoft Windows 10 64-Bit Professional (fully activated as per photo) + Microsoft Office 2019 Professional Plus including Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc (fully activated as per photo).

The computer would suit as a business computer, a gaming computer (just need to add a graphics card and an SSD but it’s pretty fast already) or just a home computer for everything you need it to do apart from make you a cup of tea!

Intel Core i7-4770 processor running at 3.4Ghz
16GB RAM memory
1TB Hard disk drive
DVD writer drive
4x USB ports on the front of the computer
Memory card readers on the front of the computer
3x Display ports on the back
6x USB ports on the back
LAN port for your internet cable
audio ports for speakers etc
PS2 ports for the old style keyboards and mice

Open to sensible offers and delivery will be via ParcelForce24/48

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For Sale – CPU, RAM, GPU, Sound Card, USB, ESata, Network

Lots of hardware amassed and motherboard just failed and now using a mATX board in a small case.

Images in gallery, not in any particular order:
Processor
Phenom II X6 1090T (bought and never used £80.00 + p&p

RAM
4×2 8GB DDR2 PC2-8500U 1066MHz 240Pin DIMM RAM (bought and never used) £60.00 + p&p

Graphics card
R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition/OC £75.00 + p&p
GX-020-XF XFX GeForce 6800 GT 256MB DDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (AGP) – Retail (PVT40AUDF7) (GX-020-XF) (with
ARCTIC COOLING REV.2 NVIDIA 5 (6800 SERIES) VGA SILENCER COOLER) £Open to offers, likely an eBay job as these are quite rare + p&p
GeForce 6200TC 64MB (256MB TurboCache) DDR PCI Express (PCIe) DVI/VGA Video Card w/TV-Out £15.00 + p&p

Sound card
Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Digital £10.00 + p&p
InnoAX Audio ExtreMe 5.1 (with SPDIF & Optical) £20.00 + p&p

Network Card
NETGEAR FA311 – 10/100 PCI Network Interface PCI ADAPTER AUTO SENSING £10.00 + p&p
Broadcom Modem Card BCM94212/1 £8.00 + p&p
Belkin 10/100TX PCI Network Card 141121100201B N10117 £6.00 + p&p

ESata
Shentek 2 port eSATA 3G II 2 PCI PCIe express Card Silicon Image Sil3132 52033 £20.00 + p&p

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For Sale – CPU, RAM, GPU, Sound Card, USB, ESata, Network

Lots of hardware amassed and motherboard just failed and now using a mATX board in a small case.

Images in gallery, not in any particular order:

Processor
Phenom II X6 1090T (bought and never used £80.00 + p&p

RAM
4×2 8GB DDR2 PC2-8500U 1066MHz 240Pin DIMM RAM (bought and never used) £60.00 + p&p

Graphics card
R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition/OC £75.00 + p&p
GX-020-XF XFX GeForce 6800 GT 256MB DDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (AGP) – Retail (PVT40AUDF7) (GX-020-XF) (with
ARCTIC COOLING REV.2 NVIDIA 5 (6800 SERIES) VGA SILENCER COOLER) £Open to offers, likely an eBay job as these are quite rare + p&p
GeForce 6200TC 64MB (256MB TurboCache) DDR PCI Express (PCIe) DVI/VGA Video Card w/TV-Out £15.00 + p&p

Sound card
Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Digital £10.00 + p&p
InnoAX Audio ExtreMe 5.1 (with SPDIF & Optical) £20.00 + p&p

Network Card
NETGEAR FA311 – 10/100 PCI Network Interface PCI ADAPTER AUTO SENSING £10.00 + p&p
Broadcom Modem Card BCM94212/1 £8.00 + p&p
Belkin 10/100TX PCI Network Card 141121100201B N10117 £6.00 + p&p

ESata
Unknown (likely Startech) ESata Card with two ports £20.00 + p&p

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Endpoint management in a COVID-19 world

Employees forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic are using a variety of internet-connected devices — including smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, and both corporate-owned and employee-owned computers — to get their jobs done. Yet the use of each additional device poses a threat to a company’s security strategy.

For IT administrators, the management of those devices, including such means as those provided by unified endpoint management products, is now a critical consideration for enterprises in a COVID-19 world. Endpoint management is used to secure devices before they are given access to a company’s network. Unified endpoint management is the concept of controlling multiple types of devices through a single console.

“With much of the global workforce moving to work remotely, endpoint security has never been more critical,” said Christopher Sherman, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “In many cases, enterprises are quickly provisioning new remote resources to their employees, further exposing an already increasing attack surface.”

With these additional devices potentially serving as new attack vectors, he said, opportunities for cybercriminals have grown.

“We’ve already seen opportunistic attackers taking advantage of the pandemic and increasing their campaigns against consumers, as well as employees,” he said. “This is likely to increase as the quarantines continue.”

Accelerating the mobility trend

Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), said the trend toward mobility and remote work has existed since the launch of the iPhone and has already forced IT professionals to secure an “expanded perimeter” around a company’s data.

Mark Bowker, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy GroupMark Bowker

Citing an ESG survey of full-time employees — including those in sales, marketing, HR, finance, IT, engineering, software development and customer service — Bowker said 74% of respondents did at least some work in a non-office setting at least once a week, while 50% did so every day of the work week.

“Employees expect to be productive from anywhere, and most IT organizations have implemented capabilities to securely deliver applications and data to employees,” he said. “The current challenge is rapidly scaling existing deployment, while maintaining security policies for users that may have a higher risk profile associated with them — and [who are] no longer working on a known network or known device.”

Alex Willis, vice president of global sales engineering at BlackBerry, agreed, noting the predominance of the mobile workforce.

Alex Willis, vice president of global sales engineering, BlackBerryAlex Willis

“Now there’s a lockdown, and at most places, people are having to do their entire job on these devices,” he said. “I think the problem organizations are seeing is the urgency in expanding it beyond the typical road warrior or mobile worker. They’re talking people who have never worked from home before and they’re having to, very quickly, set them up in a home office.”

Jason Dettbarn, founder and CEO of cloud-based Apple device management firm Addigy, said there had been increased demand for device-management products since the early days of the outbreak.

“The clear consensus is that a lot of people didn’t feel they needed device management for Apple,” he said. “They’ve had a BYOD model, maybe, or have allowed [Apple devices] in the office … now, they have this forced need where they really have to make sure they’re managing [these devices].”

Employee devices provide flexibility and risk

Given the widespread nature of the pandemic, many firms are trying to roll out remote work devices at the same time — making provisioning a challenge. This, experts noted, could lead to enterprises allowing employees to use their own devices — a flexible option, but one that imperils data security.

“Most people have really powerful home computers these days, but getting remote access to be productive on a home computer introduces a lot of risk,” Willis said. “If you don’t control the machines, you can’t really control the security posture of that machine.”

Jason Dettbarn, founder and CEO, AddigyJason Dettbarn

The same holds true on the mobile side, Dettbarn said. As Apple depends on China for manufacturing, the company is facing a shortage of devices available to enterprises — meaning those businesses may have to rely on the devices employees have on hand for mobile productivity.

“A lot of [employees] will likely have an Apple device in their home that they can use for BYOD,” he said. “Now, an organization that might be a little more Windows-focused might have to adapt to Apple devices to get people up and running.”

Zero trust for remote work

As companies may be forced to rely on employee devices, they could turn to zero-trust security — in which a user’s actions and devices are continuously evaluated — to allay security worries.

Chris Sherman, senior analyst, Forrester ResearchChris Sherman

“When a company implements a zero-trust strategy extending to all their edge devices, they can afford to be less concerned with the health of the … employee’s home network, since protection is centered around what is most at risk — their corporate apps and company data,” Forrester’s Sherman said.

Willis said zero trust represented a departure from the castle-and-moat approach to security — a model in which everything outside the firewall was untrusted and everything inside was considered safe.

“Now, with zero trust, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the network or not. Everything is considered untrusted,” he said. “Even though the users don’t know it, they’re being authenticated with every step they take: How are they interacting with the application? What network are they on? What endpoint are they [using]?”

If something looks wrong, Willis said, the zero-trust management product will require reauthentication, but the hope is to keep employees from having to jump through hoops to accomplish their usual tasks.

Getting management in place

Like many other companies, both BlackBerry and Addigy are providing limited-time free access to some of their products during the coronavirus crisis. Dettbarn said the nature of the situation drove the decision.

“Everybody is so uncertain about what’s going on, that admins are handcuffed by financial constraints or a spending freeze,” he said. “If [IT administrators] had to go get those financial approvals [to buy new management products], that’s probably not going to happen.”

[Companies] think the end goal is connectivity, but the real end goal needs to be secured connectivity.
Alex WillisVice president of global sales engineering, BlackBerry

Sherman said proper patch and configuration management, as well as a robust endpoint security solution, are the best ways to protect the devices employees use for remote work.

“To this end, we’re seeing many endpoint management-focused products offering combined management and security,” he said.

Willis said organizations that are hoping to put work-from-home plans together quickly would do well to remember the importance of device management.

“[Companies] think the end goal is connectivity, but the real end goal needs to be secured connectivity,” he said.

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Cisco Webex Edge for Devices links on-prem endpoints to cloud

Businesses using on-premises video gear from Cisco can now get access to cloud services, while keeping their video infrastructure in place.

A new service, called Cisco Webex Edge for Devices, lets businesses connect on-premises video devices to cloud services like Webex Control Hub and the Webex Assistant. Customers get access to some cloud features but continue to host video traffic on their networks.

Many businesses aren’t ready to move their communications to the cloud. Vendors have responded by developing ways to mix on-premises and cloud technologies. Cisco Webex Edge for Devices is the latest offering of that kind.

“It gives users that cloudlike experience without the businesses having to fully migrate everything to the cloud,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research.

Cisco wants to get as many businesses as possible to go all-in on the cloud. Webex Edge for Devices, introduced this month, tees up customers to make that switch. Companies will have the option of migrating their media services to the cloud after connecting devices to the service.

Webex Edge for Devices is available for no additional charge to businesses with an enterprise-wide Collaboration Flex Plan, a monthly per-user subscription. Alternatively, companies can purchase cloud licenses for the devices they want to register with the service for roughly $30 per device, per month. The service won’t work with gear that’s so old Cisco no longer supports it.

Video hardware linked to the cloud through the service will show up in the Webex Control Hub, a console for managing cloud devices. For on-premises devices, the control hub will provide diagnostic reports, usage data, and insight into whether the systems are online or offline.

Many businesses are already using a mix of on-premises and cloud video endpoints. Webex Edge for Devices will let those customers manage those devices from a single console. In the future, Cisco plans to add support for on-premises phones.

Businesses will also be able to sync on-premises video devices with cloud-based calendars from Microsoft and Google. That configuration will let the devices display a one-click join button for meetings scheduled on those calendars.

Another cloud feature unlocked by Webex Edge for Devices is the Webex Assistant. The service is an AI voice system that lets users join meetings, place calls and query devices with their voice.

In the future, Cisco plans to bring more cloud features to on-premises devices. Future services include People Insights, a tool that provides background information on meeting participants with information gleaned from the public internet.

Cisco first released a suite of services branded as Webex Edge in September 2018. The suite included Webex Edge Audio, Webex Edge Connect and Webex Video Mesh. The applications provide ways to use on-premises and cloud technologies in combination to improve the quality of audio and video calls.

Cisco’s release of Webex Edge for Devices underscores its strategy of supporting on-premises customers without forcing them to the cloud, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research.

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Storytelling using data makes information easy to digest

Storytelling using data is helping make analytics digestible across entire organizations.

While the amount of available data has exploded in recent years, the ability to understand the meaning of the data hasn’t kept pace. There aren’t enough trained data scientists to meet demand, often leaving data interpretation in the hands of both line-of-business employees and high-level executives mostly guessing at the underlying meaning behind data points.

Storytelling using data, however, changes that.

A group of business intelligence software vendors are now specializing in data storytelling, producing platforms that go one step further than traditional BI platforms and attempt to give the data context by putting it in the form of a narrative.

One such vendor is Narrative Science, based in Chicago and founded in 2010. On Jan. 6, Narrative Science released a book entitled Let Your People Be People that delves into the importance of storytelling for businesses, with a particular focus on storytelling using data.

Recently, authors Nate Nichols, vice president of product architecture at Narrative Science, and Anna Schena Walsh, director of growth marketing, answered a series of questions about storytelling using data.

Here in Part II of a two-part Q&A they talk about why storytelling using data is a more effective way to interpret data than traditional BI, and how data storytelling can change the culture of an organization. In Part I, they discussed what data storytelling is and how data can be turned into a narrative that has meaning for an organization.

What does emphasis an on storytelling in the workplace look like, beyond a means of explaining the reasoning behind data points?

Nate NicholsNate Nichols

Nate Nichols: As an example of that, I’ve been more intentional since the New Year about applying storytelling to meetings I’ve led, and it’s been really helpful. It’s not like people are gathering around my knee as I launch into a 30-minute story, but just remembering to kick off a meeting with a 3-minute recap of why we’re here, where we’re coming from, what we worked on last week and what the things are that we need going forward. It’s really just putting more time into reminding people of why, the cause and effect, just helping people settle into the right mindset. Storytelling is an empirically effective way of doing it.

We didn’t start this company to be storytellers — we really wanted everyone to understand and be able to act on data. It turned out that the best way to do that was through storytelling. The world is waking up to this. It’s something we used to do — our ancestors sat around the campfire swapping stories about the hunt, or where the best potatoes are to forage for. That’s a thing we used to do, it’s a thing that kids do all the time — they’re bringing other kids into their world — and what’s happening is that a lot of that has been beaten out of us as adults. Because of the way the workforce is going, the way automation is going, we’re heading back to the importance of those soft skills, those storytelling skills.

How is storytelling using data more effective at presenting data than typical dashboards and reports?

Anna Schena WalshAnna Schena Walsh

Anna Schena Walsh: The brain is hard-wired for stories. It’s hard-wired to take in information in that storytelling arc, which is what is [attracting our attention] — what is something we thought we knew, what is something new that surprised us, and what can we do about it? If you can put that in a way that is interesting to people in a way they can understand, that is a way people will remember. That is what really motivates people, and that’s what actually causes people to take action. I think visuals are important parts of some stories, whether it be a chart or a picture, it can help drive stories home, but no matter what you’re doing to give people information, the end is usually the story. It’s verbal, it’s literate, it’s explaining something in some way. In reality, we do this a lot, but we need to be a lot more systematic about focusing on the story part.

What happens when you present an explanation with data?

Nichols: If someone sends you a bar chart and asks you to use it to make decisions and there’s no story with it at all, what your brain does is it makes up a story around it. Historically, what we’ve said is that computers are good at doing charts — we never did charts and graphs and spreadsheets because we thought they were helpful for people, we did them because that was what computers could do. We’ve forgotten that. So when we do these charts, people look at them and make up their own stories, and they may be more or less accurate depending on their intuition about the business. What we’re doing now is we want everyone to be really on the same story, hearing the same story, so by not having a hundred different people come up with a hundred different internal stories in their head, what we’re doing at Narrative Science is to try and make the story external so everyone is telling the same story.

So is it accurate to say that accuracy is a part of storytelling using data?

Schena Walsh: When I think of charts and graphs, interpreting those is a skill — it is a learned skill that comes to some people more naturally than others. In the past few decades there’s been this idea that everybody needs to be able interpret [data]. With storytelling, specifically data storytelling, it takes away the pressure of people interpreting the data for themselves. This allows people, where their skills may not be in that area … they don’t have to sit down and interpret dashboards. That’s not the best use of their talent, and data storytelling brings that information to them so they’re able to concentrate on what makes them great.

What’s the potential end result for organizations that employ data storytelling — what does it enable them to do that other organizations can’t?

With data storytelling there is a massive opportunity to have everybody in your company understand what’s happening and be able to make informed decisions much, much faster.
Anna Schena WalshDirector of growth marketing, Narrative Science

Schena Walsh: With data storytelling there is a massive opportunity to have everybody in your company understand what’s happening and be able to make informed decisions much, much faster. It’s not that information isn’t available — it certainly is — but it takes a certain set of skills to be able to find the meaning. So we look at it as empowering everybody because you’re giving them the information they need very quickly, and also giving them the ability to lean into what makes them great. The way we think about it is that if you can choose to have someone give a two-minute explanation of what’s going on in the business to everyone in the company everyday as they go into work, would you do it? And the answer is yes, and with data storytelling that’s what you can do.

I think what we’ll see as companies keep trying to move toward everyone needing to interpret data, I actually think there’s a lot of potential for burnout there in people who aren’t naturally inclined to do it. I also think there’s a speed element — it’s not as fast to have everybody learn this skill and have to do it every day themselves than to have the information serviced to them in a way they can understand.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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For Sale – 27” mid 2011 iMac i7 / 16gb For spares its repair

I was using it, then it stopped. I spoke to Apple Support and the booked me into Cambridge Store Genius. They ran a diagnostic and it passed all their tests and he suspected that it was a hard drive fail. It is classed as vintage and he says Apple would not repair it. I have already replaced with a new one so want this one gone. The guy in Apple removes the hard drive for me and that us not included. As for condition I can see no marks but he warned me that there may now be dust between glass and screen. Can take pictures if needed. It is boxed and comes with mouse only.

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