Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Testing Technology in Education

Posted on: October 26th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Schools are supposed to be where the future generation prepares for the tasks ahead of them.  If that is true, why are 70% of all tests still administered with paper, especially with so much technology in education?

As a society, do we expect the next generation to take tests and assessments using paper and pen?

Really?

Most certainly, one of the biggest objections to educational institutions that offer online learning paths is the ease with which a student can cheat.  For example, if a student is taking an online test, it is relatively easy to open another browser or launch another program on a 2nd monitor and do a search for the answer.  After all, we have been teaching our students for years that if you want the answer to a question, all you need to do is “Google” it.

Microsoft is working constantly to improve technology in education.  With the latest update to Windows 10 (build 1607), Microsoft has built in an application called, “take a test” to the Windows Operating System.

technology in education

There are several sites that document what the app can do, but, to simplify it, this is what you need to know.

  • When you create a test for a student to take, you call the take a test program to be the back end tool used to administer it; kind of like how you specify Word to be the program used when you launch a file than ends in .docx.
  • When the app launches, and the student agrees to begin the test, the following “changes” happen within Windows.
    • Students lose the ability to run any other programs other than take a test.
    • The clipboard is cleared
    • Students can’t go to the web
    • Sharing and screen printing are disabled
    • Students can’t change settings, extend their display, see notifications, get updates, or use autofill features.
    • Cortana is turned off
  • Once the student is done with the test and the results have been submitted/uploaded, the machine turns to normal.
  • While the student is testing, any other devices owned and used by the student that are running Windows automatically become “disabled” to prevent the student from using another application on another program to cheat.

Now that this objection has been overcome, I look forward to seeing schools begin to use all of their investments in networking and education to begin paperless testing.

by: Jeff Gaura, President

Slow Internet Issues: A Quicker Way to Find the Real Culprit

Posted on: August 17th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Have you ever been in an office/house/space, and the Internet is horribly slow?  You ask someone “WTF with the slow Internet?” They tell you that it isn’t normally this way.

And they are liars.

OK, maybe they aren’t liars, but you sense without any words that their network stinks.

The truth is that the network is probably OK, but there is some device on the network that is hogging up the bandwidth.

Recently, at TNT, we experienced a slow Internet issue.  Yan just came back to the office after a 3-month hiatus, and he went to work on his computer.  Within an hour or two, both Jessica (the marketing director) and I experienced a train wreck called, “no Internet.”

I checked all the equipment to confirm that there were no equipment failures or configuration changes on the router, switch or firewall, and all seemed OK. The only “thing” that was different was that Yan had come back to work.

Back to work means that he plugged in his IP phone, cell phone and PC.  After a bit of troubleshooting, we found that when he disabled his PC, everything went back to “fast” on our network.  When he plugged it back in, everything slowed down.

Yan, being the professional that he is, denied all of it.  He even did a system restore to try to show us that it wasn’t his PC that was the problem.  Nope.

The real question came up: what is it that Yan’s PC is doing that is killing the bandwidth.  Running a couple of tools on his PC showed the processes that were using the bandwidth, but the built-in tools didn’t show what apps or what websites he was hitting.  For the techies reading this, his scvhost.exe was using up all the bandwidth.  Since that program controls how DLL are used, there is no way to sort out quickly what the culprit is.

My Plan B gave us an answer in literally 30 seconds.  I used Meraki’s free Dashboard to run a tool to view client bandwidth usage.  Meraki’s portal produced this info in a matter of seconds.

The culprit of the slow Internet?  Windows updates and One Drive syncing.  Yan hadn’t turned on this PC in 2 ½ months, and Windows didn’t like that.  It decided to run Windows updates and synchronize all of his files.  Within 2 hours, he had consumed 2 GB of bandwidth, and we were all unable to do anything other than type.

Had I not had the Meraki tool, I would have had to resort to some advanced Windows tools or download a 3rd party tool, learn it, and try to run it to sort out what is going on, all from Yan’s computer.  Problematic at best, since the act of turning his computer on the network was slowing everything to a halt.

Cloud-based networking made this possible.

Looking for a reason to go cloud?  Here you go.

by: Jeff Gaura, President

The Best Secret Windows 10 Features

Posted on: August 4th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Free upgrades to Windows 10 ended July 29th, which means many more people are now using the operating system.  Like any new relationships, there are details to be worked out.  As you get used to Windows 10, we wanted to highlight a few lesser-known Windows 10 features that may improve productivity for you.

“Can we just skip the awkward small talk?”

A great feature added to Windows allows you to make your desktop toolbar more powerful, allowing you to get to the information you need more quickly.  You can add a web address bar, as well as desktop links.

Windows 10 features

To add a web address bar:

  1. Right click on an empty space in the toolbar.
  2. Select Toolbars
  3. Click Address
  4. The web address bar will appear in the toolbar, allowing you to enter addresses right from there.

windows 10 features

 

You can also add a shortcut for items on the desktop, as well as links from your favorites bar.

“Let’s keep track of our special memories”

Hidden inside an unlikely app is a screen recording feature.  It is very basic, but can be helpful for creating training videos for new employees, or recording informational videos for clients and prospects.

You will need to first download the Xbox app from the Windows Store, and create an ID.  To use the screen recorder, you will need to launch the Xbox App, then open up the program you want to record.  (Unfortunately you cannot switch between apps while recording.)

Windows 10 features

To begin recording, simply press the Windows + G keys and a toolbar will pop up.  Select the record button (round red circle) and off you go!  The completed videos can be found in This PC > Videos > Captures.

“I need a little more security in this relationship.”

Mobile devices have had background managers for a while.  And now that feature is integrated into Windows 10 Desktop.  It allows you to tweak settings for apps that run in the background. For example, it can be a security risk for the hidden ads in your Web browser to connect to the Internet when you are not actively using it.  Adjusting the background apps settings can help keep those ads from tracking and logging your keystrokes while offline.

Windows 10 features

“It’s not me, it’s you!!”

Introduced in 2009, and added to Windows Desktop with Windows 10, Cortana is Microsoft’s digital assistant.  The more Cortana learns about you, the more she can help you.  That means the program collects information about things like your contacts, calendar, location, internet history, speech, typing and more.  If you are uncomfortable with that data collection, you can turn Cortana off and erase her memory.  Go to Settings > Privacy > Speech, inking & typing and click the button to “Stop getting to know me.”

Now that you know Windows 10 a little better, it’s time to introduce you to Windows Server 2016.  TNT has a special, limited time offer to let you kick the tires of Windows 2016 with some free labor and training. Get the details and sign up here.

Windows Server 2016 – Free Labor and Training from TNT

Posted on: July 28th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Microsoft is set to release Windows Server 2016 to the public during its Ignite Conference September 26-30th.  Windows Server 2016 is billed as ‘cloud-ready’ and has perhaps more new features for overall performance increases than any other version ever released.  It promises new levels of security and increased flexibility as your company grows.  The Network Team wants all of our customers to experience the product as soon as is possible.

We have created a limited time special offer to help you kick the tires of Windows 2016 before you dive all the way in.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase one instance of Server 2016 on your network
  2. Commit to a date to install the instance on your network before October 29, 2016. (You do not need to have it installed before October 29th. You just need to commit to a date before then.)
  3. TNT will provide you the labor and training for that instance at no cost.

There are some caveats1.

Windows Server 2016 has several flavors and colors to choose from.  TNT will continue to do what we do best:  help you pick the version that is right for you and create a plan to migrate to this version.  Our certified engineers and even our president are taking ownership of migrating our internal network to Windows Server 2016, so we can share with you not only other customers’ experiences but our internal use stories as well.

The release of a new version of Windows Server is a good reminder that many older versions are either no longer supported by Microsoft, or soon won’t be.  TNT recommends that by the end of the year, all users be on supported versions of the Windows Server, and make sure that all hardware and software utilized by users day in and day out be covered by our managed services and manufacturer’s warranty.

1TNT will install exactly one instance of Windows Server 2016 as a virtual machine.  TNT will install it on a new machine if and only if there are no other operating systems on that machine.  The follow technologies will be demoed:

  • a Nano server (which is a new feature in Windows Server 2016 that, among other things, improves efficiency), running either locally or remotely
  • a single containerized application
  • management interfaces

TNT will join this server to the domain and create shares and remote access to it for administrators to “play” with.  It is not intended to be used as a production device but as a learning tool.

Don’t miss out on this offer of free labor and training.  Contact TNT today to register for the deal before it’s too late.