Vol. 24, #5 - February 04, 2019 - Issue #1217

WServerNews: Reinventing the Office suite

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 


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Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter looks at how the wave of new office productivity apps threatens to upend Microsoft's reliance on their Office suite as one of their primary streams of revenue. Your Editor also shares a few more thoughts about web browsers including one he's never heard of. We also have a new Ask Our Readers question we need our readers' help with, and if anyone has some ideas about last week's items please help us out by emailing us at [email protected]

We've added a bunch of new Microsoft events, infosec conferences, and other IT gatherings to the Conference Calendar section of our newsletter, and if you know if any we've missed you can suggest them for inclusion in our newsletter by emailing us at [email protected]

Plus we have all the other usual stuff -- tips, tools, links to articles and fun videos etc.

Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor

YAWN (Yet Another Web-browser Noted)

A colleague clued me into one more option available as far as web browsers are concerned. Midori Browser markets itself as "a lightweight, fast, free & open-source web browser":


Apparently Midori has been around since 2007 but this is actually the first I've ever heard of it. From what I've heard it can run on very bare-bones Windows systems and it's easy to use with fewer customizable options than most other browsers. Have any of our readers tried it yet? Email me at [email protected]

One browser I haven't talked about yet is Mozilla Firefox, and a reader named Albert from Ontario, Canada wrote to me to ask about this:

Regarding browsers, how did Firefox fare with your tests - performance and do you consider it as privacy focused? I have used for a couple of years primarily to get away from IE and Chrome. Seems okay and *seems* to be focused on privacy.

I responded to Albert by explaining why I had been avoiding using Firefox:

And as for Firefox, I decided not to try it out because of some of the negative views expressed concerning it recently on certain tech discussion boards e.g.:


Not sure how other readers feel about Firefox but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts concerning using it as your main web browser. Email me at [email protected]

Finally, we've all heard I'm sure about how Microsoft is embracing Chromium going forward as their main rendering engine for their Edge web browser:

Microsoft is embracing Chromium, bringing Edge to Windows 7, Windows 8, and macOS (VentureBeat)


What just came out this week however is interesting: apparentlya main man at Microsoft has publicly said that Mozilla should gut Firefox and replace it's rendering engine with Chromium:

Microsoft guy: Mozilla should give up on Firefox and go with Chromium too (ZDNet)


Wouldn't that create a monoculture as far as HTML rendering engines for web browsers be concerned? That might make life simpler for website/webapp designers as they could optimize their sites/apps for Chromium. On the other hand that might stifle innovation and give Google the upper hand over how the future web evolves.

What do readers think about this? And what are your thoughts about Firefox in general? Email me at [email protected]

The new wave of productivity apps

I still use Microsoft Office daily as a workhorse for many of my business activities, and many of my colleagues in both IT and business do the same. But cracks are starting to appear in the walled garden that Microsoft Office has created with their integrated suite of productivity apps for information workers. There's a whole slew of new productivity and collaboration apps out there and more coming out all the time, and these new apps are threating to upend Microsoft's domination in Cubicalville where many of us still live from 9-5. And they probably also threaten the Google Apps ecosystem, but that's something I've been avoiding because of my increasing privacy concerns with Alphabet. 

I've been surveying some of my colleagues to find out which productivity apps they see becoming more popular in collaborative work environments and I wanted to share what I heard back from them with you here.

From taking notes to collaborating on documents, some of the apps they see being used now include the following:




For work that traditionally involves using spreadsheets there are now these solutions:





And for project management there is:


Personally I can get by 90% of the time with MS Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint. If I add to that Workzone and Slack plus occasional use of Skype then that just about covers all of my office-type work activities. 

I haven't had time myself to play around with any of these "chatty" productivity apps listed above, and I'm wondering whether any of our readers use any of them (or others that I haven't listed here) and what you think about them. So please send me your feedback if you have any on the new wave of productivity apps and services that have been encroaching on Microsoft Office's dominance in mid- and large-sized businesses and organizations. Email me at [email protected]

Meanwhile, for those of you who feel that fracturing the Microsoft Office edifice like this with new collaboration technologies and standards might actually be a *bad* thing and not a good thing, there is always this XKCD comic to fall back upon:



Tip of the Week

Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

Create email lists based on attributes

Tim McMichael says on his TechNet blog that one request he often receives is how to "create a distribution list for everyone that has their primary SMTP address within a certain domain". He then explains that by using Dynamic Distribution Lists in Office 365 you can do this several ways:



Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without 

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

LIMITED-TIME OFFER. Small and Medium businesses get a FREE Enterprise Edition Upgrade when buying Veeam Standard Edition for VMware and Hyper-V


TestDisk is powerful free data recovery program designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again:


ConvertPOLtoDCM is a utility to convert Group Policy .pol files into Configuration Manager 2012 compliance configuration items:


Monitor and view Hyper-V VM guest performance on your Hyper-V hosts with this PowerShell tool:




Ask Our Readers - OneDrive trashes Mac volumes (new question)

A reader named Ron reports the following:

Hello and hope someone may be able to help here… 

The APFS partitions on my Mac disks have been trashed somehow and from what I;'ve heard it looks like M$FT Onedrive may be the culprit. When I try to repair them I get "APFS fsroot tree is invalid" msgs ie root folder dead.

Has anyone else using Macs experienced something like this? Can it be fixed? & Can it be prevented somehow? 

All suggestions welcome, thx. 

If any Mac-savvy readers can help out here, please email us at [email protected]

Factoid - Eyes in the sky

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

Fact: Allowing tech devices that have cameras by your front door or inside your home may not be that great an idea.

Question: What could possibly go wrong with this approach?

No one wanted to comment on that one so let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: U.S. authorities will soon have the authority to shoot down private drones if they are considered a threat. 

Source: TechCrunch - http://www.wservernews.com/go/256fpquj/

Question: Are you concerned about drone privacy? Have you ever seen a drone fly near or over your home? 

Email your answer to [email protected]



Conference calendar

>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

Microsoft Ignite 2019

Nov 4-8, 2019 in Orlando, Florida



Microsoft Ignite -- The Tour

Register for your city's Tour event here:


More Microsoft conferences

IoT in Action - Feb 26-27 in Nuremburg, Germany


Microsoft Business Applications Summit - June 10-11 in Atlanta, Georgia


Microsoft DevDays - June 17-21 in Redmond, Washington USA


Microsoft Inspire - July 14-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA


Infosec conferences

CPX 360 (Check Point Software) - Feb 4-7 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA


Cyber Security Summit - Feb 13 in Atlanta, Georgia USA


CPX 360 (Check Point Software) - Feb 18-21 in Vienna, Austria


RSA Conference - March 4-8 in San Francisco, California USA


Black Hat Asia - March 26-29 in Singapore


Cyber Security Summit - April 4 in Denver, Colorado USA


Cyber Security Summit - April 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


European Identity & Cloud Conference - May 14-17 in Munich, Germany


Cyber Security Summit - May 15 in Dallas, Texas USA


Infosecurity Europe - June 4-6 in London, England


Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit - June 17-20 in National Harbor, Maryland USA


Cyber Security Summit - June 27 in Washington D.C. USA


Other conferences

MicroStrategy World - Feb 4-6 in Phoenix, Arizona USA


SPTechCon: The SharePoint and Office 365 Conference - Feb 10-13 in Austin, Texas USA


Think by IBM - Feb 12-15 in San Francisco, California USA


SQLBits: The SQL Server Conference - Feb 27 to Mar 2 in Manchester, England


Technology and Solutions Summit 2019 - March 11-15 in Paris, France


IT Nation Connect - March 25-27 in Gold Coast, Australia


Dell Technologies World - April 29 to May 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA


SharePoint Fest - April 29 to May 3 in Washington D.C. USA


VeeamON (Veeam) - May 20-22 in Miami, Florida USA


Citrix Synergy - May 21-23 in Atlanta, Georgia USA


SharePoint Conference - May 21-23 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA


Computex - May 28 to June 1 in Taipei, Taiwan


Microsoft Azure + AI Conference - ;June 10-13 in Atlanta, Georgia


Cloud & DevOps World - June 12-13 in London, England



New on TechGenix.com

Big Data security: Proven best practices to lock it down

Companies are collecting more useful data than ever. But data breaches put this valuable asset at risk. These Big Data security practices can keep you safe.


Xtreme Podcast: My network neighborhood looks different from the cloud

In this week's Xtreme Podcast: Networks aren't what they used to be, Macs are where they shouldn't be, and CES wanders into the wild side of town.


ERP implementations: 5 major problems and how to avoid them

ERP implementations are fraught with challenges. But there are ways to clear the hurdles and ensure that your company reaps the benefits.


Keep the bad guys out: Top firewalls for enterprises and SMBs

Firewalls are aptly named: They keep your business from getting burned by cybercriminals. Here are a few top firewalls you might want to consider.


IoT trends and predictions for 2019

IoT has been a buzzword for years, but expect the buzz to get even buzzier this year. We expect these IoT trends and predictions to become true in 2019




Fun videos from Flixxy

Xiaomi Double-Folding Phone

Both sides of this double-folding phone can be folded backwards to transform it from a tablet into a phone:


Freeride Mountain Biker Andrei Lacondeguy - Red Bull Rampage 2018

Freeride mountain biker Andreu Lacondeguy from Barcelona, Spain impresses the spectators and judges at Red Bull Rampage 2018:


People Are Awesome - Best of Week 3 - 2019

This week's amazing compilation from People Are Awesome featuring ordinary people doing extraordinary thing:


Hello Good Morning

This short video clip is bound to get you into a good mood in the morning, even if it is snowing outside:



 More articles of Interest

How to Create a Custom Windows 10 Image for Deployment

IT pros can build a Windows 10 image with custom apps, Start menu tools and more that they can easily deliver throughout the organization.


How can you Improve Google Chrome Management?

IT professionals should deploy Group Policies to their browsers to improve the user experience. Check out this step-by-step guide on applying Group Policies to Google Chrome.


How do I Convert VMDK to VHDX Using PowerShell Commands?

Download and install Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter to gain access to several PowerShell commands that enable VMware VMDK to Hyper-V VHDX conversions.


In the Cloud Era, What's the Role of Exchange 2019?

Naturally, plenty of organizations want to keep mail on premises, but there are a few other reasons, too.



Need help from the IT pro community?

WServerNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at [email protected] 


Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]


WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 


SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.