Tagware Crew goes to Future Decoded at Excel – Microsoft 2016 Server & Cloud

Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is on its way!

All the best bits were highlighted in another session I went to. One of the main ones was the Microsoft 2016 Servers ability to interact with TPM version 2.0. In a nutshell, this allows the ISP or Cloud provider to point to the owner should our friends NSA or GHCQ want to look at the server. Microsoft has nice sidestepped the issue of encryption. As with TPM 2.0 enable hardware. If, you can’t talk to the certificate holder for that hardware. Nothing is going to happen.  You can bounce in a pick up the Hard drive or the complete unit. Without the system being able to retrieve the certificate. Then, the whole lot is grounded. Wiping out any of the drives will just provide an encrypted drive that you cannot read on any system that cannot talk to its Security systems. Nicely, done there Microsoft. That should stop your friends in government putting you in an untenable position in terms of data security.

Dawson and I seem to think we were the only old plods left!

The young smiling face of youth. I remember when I was that bouncy! Secondly, that this Cloud stuff it is very busy and noisy by all accounts. I’m still waiting for Air Traffic control to come to a sort this mess out!

But, as I was walking around the show. I had a feeling that I got when I watched  Chitty chitty bang bang many years ago. When the Child catcher turns up with sweets and ice cream. All of which were free.


Until of course the cage is closed and the pretty decorations come down!

Don’t forget. If, you do set up on Cloud. Make sure that you can migrate away should you need to. Or, you may end up with a larger bill than the CIO was expecting.

Well, that’s me done for today.

As always. If you have a comment. Please feel free to do so.


Tagware Crew goes to Future Decoded at Excel – “Computers that will power themselves”

Is the last one really a prediction?

We already have a device that grabs power out of the air and utilises it to power a sensor on atmospheric conditions by FreeVolt™ This system can already power low-level devices. CPU power requirements are also going down under the same speed as More Law is for CPU computation has gone up.

Anyway, that was the keynote sessions done with. Dawson and I took a stroll to the breakout sessions during the afternoon. The first session we ended in was a session call “Windows Universal Platform“.

OK. What’s that then? What Microsoft developer has now got to play with is a core set of Windows functions that can work from IoT (Like Raspberry PI or Arm) or a Microsoft Games Platform or controller, Microsoft Phone or Desktop. Now, that means that providing the elements that you need are there. The code, on the whole, will not need to change.  This was given as a working example of controlling the Microsoft Ball. We started on a PC then migrated to a phone, then to a Raspberry PI than to a Microsoft games controller. The additional code was left in place and didn’t error. You only had to add to the base library on specific elements. For example, the Raspberry PI has I/O port pins rather than the conventional ports on a Desktop PC. However, within the hour the control program had been ported to all of the platforms and run without error.

Even as an old BASIC programmer. Not into all this new, we will do it for you object oriented programming stuff. I was impressed. Dawson looks quite pleased as well. He’s into the latter.

So, all in all, we took away some interesting points!

Click Here to read >> Microsoft 2016 & Cloud and Show



Tagware Crew goes to Future Decoded at Excel – Machine Intelligence

Which, brings you into what Machine Intelligence is all about. Where it is impossible for a human brain to have sufficient resource to look at these data sets. Due to the boredom level increasing by the hour. The computers are starting to be able to look for specific traits and adapt the code to suit. Within, the Microsoft Research session we were also introduced to APIs from Project Oxford that can now be used for facial recognition and emotion recognition.

Now, this is not the real AI. We are not in the Terminator level of control quite yet. But, I believe we are starting to get to the HAL level in the epic film 2001 space odyssey (1968). So, you already have Microsoft’s Cortana and Apples Siri and Google API Option. Perhaps, not quite as evil as HAL turns out. Give them time. They are trying to build up trust here. :o)


This film probably kicked me into computers in the first place!

But, the holding a conversation and controlling the day to day elements of the space ship is well within the grasp of the system. One of the things that people forget with NASA projects. Is that they have to jump at a technology at one point that will turn out to be many years behind. When they actually get to launch the project several years later. Think about it for a second. They have to choose now what they will be using in 10 years time. Think back 10 years on what has changed in that time alone.

The other point. Which, starts to make your mind go ouch. Is that the exponential growth that can occur.

For an example. The GENOME project. This is where they were trying to break down the human D.N.A. In 2001, the first year they had got to 1% of the chain had been completed. Numerous people said that the project team should give up. You only have 7 years of funding and you have only reached 1% in this year alone. You not going to make it by year 7. However, because of the exponential growth, they reach the goal in 6.5 years!

Now you heard of More’s Law. Where computing power doubles every 18 months! Yep, that small problem using the current set of CPU would have taken less than 1.5 years! Scary in one sense and truly wonderful in another.

However, getting back to the show. Kevin Ashton made some predictions as listed below;

  • You will own a self-driving car by 2030
    Your great-grandchildren will have a 3-digit life expectancy
    We will discover extra-terrestrial life in this century
    Within the next 100 years, a human being will be born on another planet
    By the end of the 22nd century, most people will be vegetarian
    We will survive climate change
    Within 20 years most computers will power themselves – this is the IoT prediction

His point was making the predictions was easy! Actually, believing them was the hard bit. He pointed out that it didn’t matter if he got the “Climate Change” one wrong. As there probably wouldn’t be anyone in the room to say “told you so!” when it didn’t happen.

The not so future is already here? – “Computers will power themselves” Click here to read on >>



Tagware Crew goes to Future Decoded at Excel – Technology and Cows

Well, it seems that an academic research paper had pointed out that cows tend to move around a lot when they are in season. Using the WiFi enabled pedometer and the Cloud. All of this data could be reviewed by an analytical piece of software to highlight the times when this occurred.

So, I can hear you say. So, what! Well because they can review this data in such away. They can indicate to the farmer. When is the most effect time to introduce a Bull into this equation? Which is a surprisingly short 8 hour period. What’s more. If, your cow was serviced in the first 4 hours. You statistically seemed to get cow’s and in the later 4 hours of the period, you are more likely to get Bulls.

This period also tended to happen in the middle of the evening. When most sensible farmers are trying to sort out the accounts or even eat! However, by knowing this information. The farmer was able to boost his herd from 39% hit rate to 66% by using this data. So, it was well worth going hungry during that period for the farmer.

However, for us. It points to the way of things to come. Our natural world is currently untapped data resource. Yes, Amazon does know what you want in terms of food, clothes etc. However, the natural world is a large place. Up to now. It would have been very expensive to feed this data into a data centre and analyse this amount of data points.

10 years ago, there would be quite a few people, that wouldn’t have said that the above was either too expensive or impossible to do.

As another later session presenter at Future 2015 said. That is a dangerous thing to say.

From my personnel experience from when I was running the CCS Computer Services in 1982 and sold and installed AutoCAD™ from the small independent USA software house call Autodesk Inc. See what has happen to that over that time span! I remember thinking that a Intel 8086 with 32Mb (Yep, that right. you probably go more on your Graphic Cards today!). Yes, you read that right. 32Mb of RAM and the subsequent 8087 processor that made it go 47% fast was the best thing since slice bread. Little did I know…..

Click here to read about Machine Intelligence >>



Tagware Crew goes to Future Decoded at Excel UK.

Well, what did we find?

First of all. Microsoft invited us back after last year’s event! So, we must have been on best behaviour last year.

This year they invited us to download a purpose written APP to help in guiding us around the event without issue. As you might expect. There were a few teething troubles with some folk saying that they couldn’t log in and the APP thing crashing everywhere. Hey, what did you expect? It’s Microsoft after all. I can hear you say!

Well no it wasn’t. It was a crew that was contacted by our Microsoft friends to clean up the entry to the event after a busy entrance last year. In truth, I think Microsoft events, was behind the curve last year and got caught by the sheer numbers that turn up.

However, I can report that this year’s event was back to it’s normal USA style efficiency in checking people into the event. They also carefully reminded everyone to bring the 5 digit code. So, that most of the process was complete by us. This surprisingly works out really well. As we were all technical bods anyway! I did help out by wearing one of our sweatshirts that have ‘TAGWARE’ embroidered on the front. I have saved you from looking at the picture of me wearing it. Are you grateful?

The only issue that Dawson quite rightly pointed out. The app wanted to suck up all of the contact information from our phone contact list. Which, would normally be ‘Commercial in Confident’ level of information? Bad Microsoft! However, if you use Windows 10, then, there is nothing that is off limits. However, that’s for another post.

So, Dawson and I swan into this large hall where we learnt about Microsoft’s new ideas. I believe that most of the speakers at the event have video’s which can be viewed at However, for those that like to read the overview, it’s here.

Well the most informative session of that morning to me was the COW mission. Yep, I can hear you now saying “what do Cows have to do with technology”?

Click Here – to find out about technology and Cows >>


Speeding up Internet connections.

We are currently hearing a lot about download speed of the Internet in the UK press.

However, one of the most overlooked timings is the response of DNS queries. OK, too technical.

When you type a URL (Uniform Resource Location) or for the non-tech crew. for example, a number of processes occur before the content of the website is brought to you browser.

It’s demonstrated here visually for those who want to see what happens. The time that this process takes from you typing in the URL you want in your browser to it finding the IP address of the server can be a significant time.

As most ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) be they ADSL or Cable type run the own DNS servers theses generally can become flooded with requests, they then tend to become slow in responding to finding the IP address of the server. It’s very similar to you driving along the M25 or M62 at peak times. You do get to the destination, eventually! But, it can take 10 mins out of peak traffic or over an hour in.

By using an external DNS server, they are available where ever you may find yourself in the world and they can still be used if you are sitting in an airport or hotel reception. As the external DNS servers are teamed together around the globe they provide a faster response than that of local ISP.

Now, I can hear you say. “it will be extra m/s’s to respond”. True, but because the web pages are now filled with content from other sources than the original site itself. These extra times will quickly build up to make you weep when browsing.

If each section of the website is provided by a 3rd party (Goggle ad’s for example) and takes a 0.25 of a second to resolve, that’s 5 seconds added to a typical web page load. Five seconds may not sound like much. Count it out loud… it’s a long time, isn’t it? Normally, this leads to the accusation that the ISP is not providing the download speed advertised.

But as experts, we know that it is normally DNS resolution and Latency that provides these issues. Not bandwidth!

That said if an ISP is saying it provides an 8Mb circuit in bold lettering. It should also be forced to show the contention in the same bold text. Normally, this is 1-25 or 1-50.  So, divide that 8Mb by 50 and you get 160K/b a second on a bad day, if everyone uses the resource at the same time. That will make your IPlayer session come to a halt. As being video it needs between 2.4-3.6Mbit a second.  But, most web pages are kept slimmer than this. As the guys hosting the websites know, we pay for the amount of bandwidth we use. So, those pretty web pages are very economical with the bandwidth size they use.

An additional feature of using external DNS servers are there ability to flag bad server IP’s. Such as the ones that are trying to obtain you Credit Card or Banking information. So, whilst they are not totally 100%. As nothing is! They quickly become aware of servers IP that is being used for such activity. As they know the IP servers for Barclay’s bank over the world and will flag this in your browser.

So, what’s involved?

It’s quite simple really to try the speed improvement out. You don’t need to download any software, as what you need is already there and it costs you nothing. So, give it a try.

There are two methods. First, is to change the DNS settings on your router. This makes all of the PC’s / Apple systems use the external DNS servers.

Or, to change the settings on a PC or Apple system individually. Now, unless you are technical. I would suggest starting by changing the PC settings. Unless you have more than 3-4 systems.

This is how you do it.

If you have broadband

  1. Click Start > Control Panel > Network Connections and select your local network.
  2. On the General tab click Properties > Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
  3. Click Properties

Now, be careful here. You only want to change the DNS section. Leave the allocation of IP address alone. This will normally be set to obtain an IP address from DHCP server.

The Internet Protocol window will appear. Click Use the following DNS server addresses and enter the DNS server(s) you want to use.  You will have to select Manual allocation as normally this will be set to Automatically obtain. I would suggest the following. note: If your DNS settings have numbers in them. Then, make sure you take a note of what they are. Just in case you want to go back to these settings later.

Move the mouse pointer to the first of the DNS boxes. Far left-hand side. Then, type the figure and full stops into the boxes. Then, proceed to the next line below. Again, type the numbers and full stops into the boxes.

Once, you have completed this then select ‘OK’ until you return to the Network settings. Then, select cross on the top right-hand side, to return to the desktop. Launch your browser and hopefully, you should notice an improvement in speed when browsing.

Enjoy and as always constructive comments are welcome.

David Vincent –

When you see the little Key symbol you think you are safe?

Well, here we are again.

So you are login into the banks or Credit card. You made sure that you have the Key in the browser and you think you are safe?

Well, unfortunately, you are not. As most websites including Gmail, Cahoot, Tesco etc use the version 1.0 SSL.

Trouble is this has been broken. So, you say oh dear. they will send out a fix. Well, the Fix has been out since 2006. But, the websites are somewhat in a chicken and egg problem.

As the normal browser including IE, Chrome, FF  etc are set at version 1.0. Although most can use 1.2 which is the most secure. If they did force you to use this level then quite a few of the commercial sites would refuse to work. :o( and of course the site would lose web traffic.

So, they decided to leave it. Now, of course, it is going to come and bite them. As they have left open a way for an attacker to high jacking the session. Trouble is, you will not know.

As you will turn up to the right website and be unaware of anything being wrong. You will see the lock in the browser and to the normal person. Everything would be fine.

So, my suggestion is to convince Google and other Search engines to rate the Websites positions by what SSL level they are using. So, the safe ones that use 1.2 are the ones that don’t.

Personally, I think you would then find a lot of websites migrating to the secure version. Which, then would make the site more secure the default standard. A quick tweak to the browser security settings and everyone would be using 1.2 in a short space of time. Then, the hackers would have to crack the 1.2. Which is going to be a lot more difficult.

The search engines then get the credit for providing a more secure internet. The banks have a very little excuse. They should have completed this upgrade many moons ago.

Well, that’s my point of view. What’s yours?

Thanks for reading.

David Vincent.