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Showing posts from 2018

2018 Assistance and Access Bill

This is a cross post from my less technical blog at Passed the Senate last night, rushed through in a day by a bunch of politicians that probably haven't read any of the submissions or listened to anyone in IT about the impact on privacy these encryption changes will make. Man it makes my blood boil. There was an article on Business Insider about it quoting a software consultant in Melbourne Tom Sulston and he summed it up really well: 1. The bill is bad for security because encryption keeps us safe from criminals. This bill will make it easier for them to hack us. 2: The bill is bad for jobs because software companies will choose not to work in Australia, as this bill is fundamentally incompatible with GDPR. 3: The bill is bad for workers, as it opens up all sorts of penalties if we conscientiously object to being drafted into the security services. 4: The bill is bad for democracy as it will make it easier for a sitting government to access the priva

A month with the 2017 MacBook Pro

I reviewed the new MacBooks awhile ago and I wasn't all that impressed by them, in particular I was critical of the keyboard and the trackpad. Over the last month, however, I've been using one full time and I've come to accept the keyboard and even enjoy using the big, super sensitive and useful trackpad. So here's what we're talking about: Latest version of macOS, and a pretty solid machine spec to boot. I have to say the Retina display is really nice. I can happily look at it all day without any eye strain issues or headaches as a result. The machine itself is a silver 13" MacBook, no touch bar or any of that silliness and was around $2000, plus accessories. I managed to get a USB-C adaptor with HDMI, USB3 and USB-C charging and access ports for this laptop. It's pretty cool actually but I do have to plug it into the computer and then reboot it to get the HDMI to work. This gives me essentially a dock to use, with my Time Machine backup drive, USB to

Office 2019 vs Office 2016 - a comparison

So with my new Mac has come a new suite of productivity tools from Microsoft - Office 2019. Yes I was indeed reluctant to try this out, but here it is. First, a couple of comparisons between the ribbons in Outlook: Outlook 2019 Ribbon (Mac) Outlook 2016 Ribbon (PC) And the Calendar part of Outlook: Outlook Calendar 2019 Outlook Calendar 2016 Fundamentally it all handles the same, but the UI change is quite marked. In fact, this is reflected across all the suite - Word, Excel and Powerpoint all have tidier interfaces on the Mac. Whether this is reflective of the difference in styles between Apple and Microsoft or not I'm unsure about. It's definitely tidier and less busy - this appeals to me. The actual driving of the applications is largely the same. Here is the compose window in a new email: New Email Outlook 2019 It's all pretty much the same, but you can see a more clean approach has been taken with the newer applications. I like it. I

Review: Linux Mint 19 "Tara"

Since I changed jobs and no longer use my big Linux box day to day, it's been harder to find the time to work with Linux, and in particular Mint. I love Mint and I've been delighted to use it for many years now. When I took my work PC home, and fired it up I was poignantly reminded how much I enjoyed working in the Linux desktop world and how I'd missed it. Windows 10 just doesn't compare and even Mac OS X (while very good) still lacked a certain something. I've been using Mint 18 for some time and enjoyed it, so when I finally caught up to checking out "Tara" I was very interested to see what the go is. Here is the link to the release blog post about it: It's a Long Term release (LTS) so it'll be good until 2023. I've found Mint to be updated and looked after for the full term of their LTS releases - something to commend the team on. Now, what to run the test install on? I managed to get my hands on a 4

osTicket Lessons - Filtering and Exchange

Here is a thing I’ve discovered and it will hopefully save someone else hours of time.  I have osTicket installed, with IMAP enabled to download emails from our Exchange mail server into the system. I then have filters enabled to apply rules to these emails to automagically point them at the right team / department / user – we use osTicket for marketing, reporting and so on as well as for IT Support. For example – need to go the Reporting Department, not support. Seems simple right? There is a problem though – I do not want to have 10 email accounts (and associated logins) set up for my osTicket emails. In an Exchange environment, you can’t just have a shared folder – it needs to have a full user account and an associated Exchange mailbox to use POP3 or IMAP and this costs us a CAL (Client Access License) every time. Frustrating! So I thought – let’s use an alias instead. I called the actual user account something like and then a

osTicket - updated review

Some time ago I published a comparison of OTRS and osTicket. I've now had the chance to use osTicket as a daily task management tool, so I thought it might be worth updating my initial impressions. It has taken a bit to get used to osTicket coming out of a CRM and OTRS as my task management platforms. Specifically, understanding how tickets and tasks relate to one another. The way I've been thinking of it is this: A ticket is almost like a mini-project - it can be used standalone, with references back to a client creating the ticket and keeping it updated, with tasks (like a work breakdown structure) applied against the ticket. The ticket can't be closed until all the tasks are completed. Tasks on the other hand, can be autonomous of a ticket and are quick and easy to start, fill in and then to close. There is no link back to a creating user though. I've used both extensively - many of the tickets I have running have numerous tasks dependent on them (although it