Tag Archives: AI

Power Automate with the Assist to Azure DevOps Automation

“Out of the box” there are Process Workflow features to build automation rules within Microsoft Azure DevOps (ADO). One caveat found thus far. If criteria is met for an update to an ADO object, user is unable to update the Tags of an object (e.g. append tags). Bizarre but true.

In this case, the user must leverage Power Automate to update the ADO object to append Tags to the object that meets the criteria.

Thanks Omer for pointing out this shortfall so we could plug the hole with Microsoft Power Automate. Note: other fields can be updated when the rule is executed, just not the Tags field. Special logic is required to update this field, i.e. Replace, Append, Remove

Again, Microsoft Power Automate to the Rescue.

Microsoft’s Plethora of Portals

As I was looking through Microsoft’s catalog of applications, it occurred to me just how many of their platforms are information-centric and seemed to overlap in functionality. Where should I go when I want to get stuff done, find information or produce it? Since the early days of AOL and AltaVista, we’ve seen the awesome power of a “Jump Page” as the starting point for our information journey.

Microsoft, which one do I choose?

From one software vendor’s perspective, we’ve got many options. What’s the best option for me? Seems like there should be opportunities to gain synergies between available Microsoft platforms.

Bing.com

Searching for information on the internet? News, images, encyclopedias, Wikipedia, whatever you need, and more is on the web. Microsoft Bing helps you find what you need regardless if you’re using text or an image to search for like for like information. It also serves up “relevant” information on the jump page, news mixed with advertisements. There is also a feature enabling you to add carousel “boxes”. for example, containing latest MS Word files used, synergy from Office.com

Office.com

Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Visio, Power BI… If you’ve created content or want to create content using Microsoft applications, Office.com is the one-stop-shop for all your Office apps and the content created using these applications.

SharePoint

Another portal to a universe of information around a centric theme, such as collaboration/interaction with product/project team members, an Intranet, SharePoint site with one or multiple teams. At the most fundamental level is the capability to collaborate/interact with teams, potentially leveraging Microsoft collaboration tools. Just one of many of its capabilities “out of the box” is a document management solution and the use of version control.

SharePoint can also be used for any type of Internet/web platform, i.e., a public-facing portal platform. However, SharePoint, in fact, is a sharing tool in which the authors of the website can share video presentations, shared calendars of public events, and a plethora of customized lists.

Yammer

Engaging your people is more critical than ever. Yammer connects leaders, communicators, and employees to build communities, share knowledge, and engage everyone. I’m thinking synonymous with a bulletin board. The implementation of Yammer looks like Facebook for the Enterprise.

  • Use the Home feed to stay on top of what matters, tap into the knowledge of others, and build on existing work.
  • Search for experts, conversations, and files.
  • Join communities to stay informed, connect with your coworkers, and gather ideas.
  • Join in the conversation, react, reply to, and share posts.
  • @ mention someone to loop them in.
  • Attach a file, gif, photo, or video to enhance your post.
  • Praise someone in your network to celebrate a success, or just to say thanks.
  • Create a virtual event that your community can ask a question and participate live or watch the recording afterwards.
  • Use polls to crowd source feedback and get answers fast.
  • Stay connected outside the office with the Yammer mobile app.
  • Use Yammer in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, or Outlook.

“Yammer helps you connect and engage across your organization so that you can discuss ideas, share updates, and network with others.”

Microsoft Teams

For any team, there is a wealth of information varying from the group or single Chats, Teams, Calls, Files, and practically integration for almost all Microsoft applications and beyond. The extensibility of MS Teams seems relatively boundless, such as integrations with Wikis, SharePoint document folders, etc. From what I can tell, many organizations just use Teams for the group, or individual Chat channels are barely grazing the surface of MS Teams’ capabilities.

Setup of MS Teams, Teams “landing” page is a great place to start constructing your “living space” within MS Teams. From there, you can carve out space for all things related to the team. For example, in the “Team ABC” Team channel, you can add N number of “tabs” relating to everything from an embedded Wiki to specific SharePoint folders for the team’s product specifications. A team could even create an embedded Azure DevOps [Kanban] Board to show progress and essentially “live in” your MS Team, team channel.

Another porta;l overlap, Microsoft Teams Communities, seems to equate to Yammer.

Delve

What is Delve – Microsoft 365?

Use Delve to manage your Microsoft 365 profile and to discover and organize the information that’s likely to be most interesting to you right now – across Microsoft 365.

Delve never changes any permissions, so you’ll only see documents that you already have access to. Other people will not see your private documents. Learn more about privacy.

Delve is a content curation platform for the person it’s most relevant to…you. It gives the appearance of a user experience similar to carousels of video streaming apps. There are “Popular Documents” carousels and other carousels that are based on the most recent access. Based on how files are saved based on who can access content is how the platform gives you a treasure trove of documents you never knew you had access to or existed. It actually paints a potential compliance nightmare if people select the default document access as “…anyone within my organization…”.

Outlook.com / Best of MSN

Another portal of information focused around you: your email, your calendar, your To-Dos, and your contacts/people. It’s not just your communication with anyone, e.g., your project team members; it’s organizing your life on a smaller scale, e.g., To-Dos. You can also access other shared calendars, such as a team release schedule or a PTO schedule.

The Best of MSN is information, i.e., news around your interests, a digest of information relevant to you, delivered in an email format. Other digests of information from other sources may be curated and sent if subscribed.

Mediums to Traverse Information: AR, VR…

The visual paradigms used to query and access information may drastically influence the user’s capacity to digest the relevant information. For example, in an Augmented Reality (AR) experience, querying, identifying information, and then applying it, serving up the content in a way most conducive to a user’s experience is vital.

Users can’t just “Google It” and serve up the results like magic. The next evolution of querying information and serving up content in a medium to maximize its usability is key and is most evident when using Augmented Reality (AR). If you’re building something, instructions may be overlayed by the physical elements/parts in front of the user. Even the context of the step number would allow the virtual images to overlay the parts.

Automated and Manual Content Curation is a MUST for all Portals

Categories, Tags, Images, and all other associations from object A to everything else, the Meta of Existence, are essential for proper information dissemination and digestion. If you can tag any object with metadata, you can teach an AI/search engine to identify it in a relevant query. Implementing an Induction Engine, a type of Artificial Intelligence that proposes rules based on historic patterns is a must to improve query accuracy over time.

Next level, “Information applications” – Improved Living with Alzheimer’s

Next Ecosystem: Google..?

2020 posts that never were

Occasionally, when a thought gets bubbled up in my brain, I pop open Twitter, and tweet the thought. In some cases, the fleeting idea seems larger than a tweet, so I open up WordPress, and start a post. I may save it and come back to add content to the post. I’ll come back to the post, and say to myself, what was I thinking, and don’t pursue publishing post. Here’s the list of blog posts that I drafted this year, but decided for one reason or another, I wouldn’t post it.

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT MICROSOFT BING

THE ANATOMY OF A TWILIO STUDIO PROGRAMMABLE VOICE WORKFLOW

LOW COST, PLATFORM AGNOSTIC, BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE, PROLIFIC REPORTING TOOL

RADICAL TRANSFORMATION OF K-12 EDUCATION SYLLABUS

AFTER THE PANDEMIC: GETTING PAST THE FEAR FROM SOCIAL DISTANCING

STOP WORDS: MODEL TRAINING

AI – BEST IN SHOW

BUY AND BUILD – DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS

Roblox, Massive Tween Gaming Platform, Goes Public

Popular tween gaming platform Roblox filed to go public on Thursday. The company declined an interview, citing a quiet period.

Source: Roblox, massive tween gaming platform, goes public – CNN

My son and I, OneWildRide,  are hooked on the Roblox game Theme Park Tycoon 2   I’m fixated on building out my park.  For beginners, there are the “out of the box” rides you can buy, and the amount of items you can use to accessorize your park is staggering.    Not only can you add “canned” rides, such as the Gravatron, but the theme park builder can add all different types of roller coasters, water rides, park transportation, etc.

Users of the Theme Park Tycoon 2 are Graded by:

  • number of active users in your park
  • the amount of money you make based on park admission, pay per ride, and concession stands
  • People can “like” your park, and provide feedback at the entrance

Commoditizing Roblox Games

I will shamefully admit that I purchased Roblox Bucks, with real dollars, that can be used on a plethora of items to build my Theme Park.  For example, the Theme Park has a height limit for how high you can build your roller coasters, so naturally, the builder/user has the ability to purchase to lift the height requirements.  You can also purchase additional “packs” that provide the builder enhancements to their rides, such as running the ride in reverse or looping the ride three times instead of the default single loop.  There’s also the conversion of USD to Roblox $$ because builders need to buy the components to build water rides or roller coasters.  You can even purchase concession stands (e.g. Popcorn Vendors).  The builder of the amusement park must also buy/build restrooms and spread out trash cans throughout the park.  There is also the concept of day and night, so make sure to buy/place lamps across the park.

Pay to Play – AI Bots = Theme Park $$

These “auto” bots/characters paying to play in your park may leave if they are dissatisfied, such as no bathrooms.  Also, without trash cans, there will be visible trash on the ground that must be painfully cleaned up, pile by pile, or left there to pile up.  On the flip side, these AI amusement goers will pay:

  • Park Entrance Fees
  • Pay Per Ride
  • Pay to use the loo
  • Pay for Concession Stands, such as Soft Drinks, Popcorn, and Pizza
  • Pay for Theme Park Memorabilia, such as Santa Hats, Tis the Season!

The Theme Park Builder sets the prices for EVERYTHING.  The AI Bots have “thoughts”, such as “This ride is really cheap.” to help you gauge your ride pricing, or “I’m Hungry”, to imply you should buy/place concession stands throughout your park.

Minecraft Anyone?!

I should say someone should have seen this coming, several someones.  You build this Theme Park at the “block” level, very similar to Minecraft, however, it seems, as far as I can tell, the graphics of Roblox seem somewhat superior to Minecraft, although this is a very debatable topic.  Minecraft has lots of 3rd party “mods” or customizations/modifications to the game.  Minecraft has had a lot of time to cultivate its userbase as well as a marketplace for users to buy these modifications.  Roblox as an application/gaming platform seems intriguing in light of the IPO.  I wonder what the highest-grossing games are on the Roblox platform.

Availability

Roblox Theme Park Tycoon 2 is available on Xbox, iPad / iPhone, and Windows to name the environments we use, jumping from device to device wherever is convenient.

Multiplayer Environment

My son constantly wants me to go over to his Theme Park, and go on rides he has just built.  It’s really a lot of fun to go to other builders’ parks.  There is a basic transit system to move between amusement parks.  You can get LOTS of ideas by looking at other builders’ parks, some of these parks put the “real world” amusement parks to shame.  So far, I’ve seen six (6) people playing concurrently, where you can see who has the most Roblox Bucks, and who’s park has the most visitors currently.  Naturally, if you’re not the big kahuna, you’ll want to stroll by the other builders’ parks.  If you are in close proximity, if you time it right, you can log in to the same server, and play with friends.  Doesn’t always seem to work quite right when people jump on and off the game.  There is probably a feature I’m not using to guarantee the same server with friends, maybe the “Premium” version of Roblox?

Build Your Own Roblox Games?  Monetary Incentives?

Wow, I really didn’t contemplate it that much.  I didn’t even think about the possible monetary returns from building one’s own Roblox game.  Not sure what the requirements would be to be a developer, how easy or hard it would be to build Roblox games, i.e. is there a coding language to use, a proprietary language, or just a simple graphical tool to build games.  No clue if there is a “developer/partner” annual cost, which is what I paid when developing applications for the iPhone / iPad.  Also, playing on the iPad / iPhone Roblox platform hosting the Theme Park game, would Apple get a percentage of “In-App” purchases for Roblox dollars?  We purchased Roblox bucks from the PC, and XBOX, so it didn’t occur to me there would be margin paid to the platform on which it runs.

Disclosure – I am not a “Premium” Roblox member or a “game” builder.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Structured Data Sources

When people think of Data Loss Prevention, we usually think of Endpoint protection, such as Symantec Endpoint Security solution, preventing the upload of data to web sites, or downloaded to a USB device. The data being “illegally” transferred typically conforms to a particular pattern such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII), i.e. Social Security numbers.

Using a client for local monitoring of the endpoint, the agent detects the transfer of information as a last line of defense for external distribution. EndPoint solutions could monitor suspicious activity and/or proactively cancel the data transfer in progress.

Moving closer to the source of the data loss, monitoring databases filled with Personal Identifying Information (PII) has its advantages and disadvantages. One may argue there is no data loss until the employee attempts to export the data outside the corporate network, and the data is in-flight. In addition, extracted PII data may be “properly utilized” within the corporate network for analysis.

There is a database solution that provides similar “endpoint” monitoring and protection, e.g. identifying PII data extraction, with real-time query cancellation upon detection, leveraging “out of the box” data patterns, Teleran Technologies. Teleran supports relational databases such as Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server, both on-prem, and cloud solutions.

Updates in Data Management Policies

Identifying the data loss points of origination provides opportunities to update the gaps in data management policy and the implementation of additional controls over data. Data classification is done dynamically based on common data mask structures. Users may build additional rules to cover custom structures. So, for example, a business analyst executes a query against a database that appears to fit predefined data masks, such as SSN, the query may be canceled before it’s even executed, and/or this “suspicious” activity can be flagged for the Chief Information Officer and/or Chief Security Officer (CSO)

Bar none, I’ve seen only one firm that defends a company’s data assets closer to the probable leak of information, the database, Teleran Technologies, See what they have to offer your organization for data protection and compliance.

Prevalent Remote Work Changes Endpoint Strategy

Endpoints in our corporate environments of prevalent remote working may highlight the need that relying on endpoints may be too late to enforce data protection. We may need to bring potential data loss detection into the inner sanctum of the corporate networks and need prevention closer to the source of data being extracted. How are “semi-trusted” third parties such as staff augmentation from offshore dealt?

Endpoint DLP – Available Breach Tactics

Endpoint DLP may capture and contain attempts to extract PII data, for example, parsing text files for SSNs, or other data masks. However, there are ways around the transfer detection, making it lofty to identify, such as screen captures of data, converting from text into images. Some Endpoint providers boast about their Optical Character Recognition (OCR), however, turning on this feature may produce many false positives, too many to sift through in monitoring, and unmanageable to control. The best DLP defense is to monitor and control closer to the data source, and perhaps, flag data requests from employees, e.g. after SELECT statement entered, UI Pops up a “Reason for Request?” if PII extraction is identified in real-time, with auditable events that can flow into Splunk.

AR Sudoku Solver Uses Machine Learning To Solve Puzzles Instantly

Very novel concept, applying Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence (i.e. Machine Learning) to solving puzzles, such as Sudoko.  Maybe not so novel considering AR uses in manufacturing.

Next, we’ll be using similar technology for human to human negotiations, reading body language, understanding logical arguments, reading human emotion, and to rebut remarks in a debate.

Litigators watch out… Or, co-counsel?   Maybe a hand of Poker?

Source: AR Sudoku Solver Uses Machine Learning To Solve Puzzles Instantly

Cloud-native as the Future of Data Loss Prevention – Nightfall AI

An interesting approach to Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data loss prevention (DLP) is one of the most important tools that enterprises have to protect themselves from modern security threats like data exfiltration, data leakage, and other types of sensitive data and secrets exposure. Many organizations seem to understand this, with the DLP market expected to grow worldwide in the coming years. However, not all approaches to DLP are created equal. DLP solutions can vary in the scope of remediation options they provide as well as the security layers that they apply to. Traditionally, data loss prevention has been an on-premise or endpoint solution meant to enforce policies on devices connected over specific networks. As cloud adoption accelerates, though, the utility of these traditional approaches to DLP will substantially decrease.

Established data loss prevention solution providers have attempted to address these gaps with developments like endpoint DLP and cloud access security brokers (CASBs) which provide security teams with visibility of devices and programs running outside of their walls or sanctioned environments. While both solutions minimize security blind spots, at least relative to network layer and on-prem solutions, they can result in inconsistent enforcement. Endpoint DLPs, for example, do not provide visibility at the application layer, meaning that policy enforcement is limited to managing what programs and data are installed on a device. CASBs can be somewhat more sophisticated in determining what cloud applications are permissible on a device or network, but may still face similar shortfalls surrounding behavior and data within cloud applications.

Cloud adoption was expected to grow nearly 17% between 2019 and 2020; however, as more enterprises embrace cloud-first strategies for workforce management and business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re likely to see even more aggressive cloud adoption. With more data in the cloud, the need for policy remediation and data visibility at the application layer will only increase and organizations will begin to seek cloud-native approaches to cloud security.

Source: Cloud-native as the Future of Data Loss Prevention – Nightfall AI

Going Solo – Gig to Gig

Having the Stamina to Last…

Going the consulting path, on your own, is no small feat. Do you have what it takes to persist, survive, and thrive?

  • Army of One – Not only do you need to perform your CONSULTANCY role, but you also have to be bookkeeper, sales and marketing, looking for new opportunities.
  • The Gap Between Gigs – To all recruiters and hiring managers – it’s not a bad thing to have gaps in a candidate’s resume. Its the way of life in our gig economy. We are constantly hunting for just the right opportunity in a sea of hundreds or thousands of candidates per role.
  • Keeping Up With Market Trends – Online learning platforms such as Pluralsight, keep their content fresh, relevant, and in line with your career path.
  • Networking, Networking, Networking – at every opportunity, build your network of contacts and keep them in the know