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[Megathread] XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel)


On September 6 at IFA, press released their first reports about our collaboration project with Intel: XMG FUSION 15.
Community Links:

Press Links:

Video Links:

The following key facts have already been revealed:
Prices and availability will be announced on September 17. → Countdown to xmg.gg
Teaser Trailer on YouTube: XMG FUSION 15 Laptop | A Design Collaboration with Intel
We look forward to your questions and your feedback!

XMG FUSION 15 - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

This FAQ represents Q&A's over the last few days here. Fellow redditor u/iterateandgit was so kind to help me putting this document together. Big shout out to him please! The FAQ will be further extended over the coming days and weeks. Please keep the questions coming!

Sales, Shipping, Warranty


Q: Are you going to sell this on Amazon in the EU?
A: We are working on getting the product up and running on Amazon. But our own BTO shop at www.bestware.com will always be our primary sales channel and will be the only one where you can customize and configure memory, storage, OS, extend your warranty and pick other options.

Q: Do you offer student discounts or other sales compaigns like black friday?
A: In general, we don't offer student discounts. Sales campaigns are planned just in time, depending on stock level and cannot be announced early. If you want to keep up to date about sales campaigns, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Q: Do you ship to the UK? Can I pay in GBP?
A: We ship to the UK - the pricing will be in EUR, so your bank will do the conversion. Warranty services will be available from UK, shipping to Germany. Currently, in the single markets, these resturn shipments are free for the end-user. In the worst case there might be additional customs fees for shipping.

Q: What warranty options do you offer?
A: All our laptops come with 2 year warranty. Warranty repairs in the first 6 months are promised to be done within 48 hours (+shipping). Both the "instant repair" service and the warranty itself can be extended to up to 3 years.

Q: Do you sell outside of Europe?
A: We are able to ship anywhere, but warranty for customers outside the region would always involve additional customs cost and paperwork for sending the laptop back to Germany in the rare event of an RMA. There is currently no agreement to let other Local OEMs (like Eluktronics in the US) carry the warranty for XMG customers and vice-versa. Some parts are customized (in our case the LCD lid and the keyboard) and it won't be easy to agree on how to share handling fees etc. - so I wouldn't expect a global warranty anytime soon.


Hardware, Specs, Thermals


Q: What is the difference between XMG FUSION 15 and other laptops based on Intel's reference design?
A: The hardware of the barebone will be identical. Other Local OEMs might use different parts for RAM and SSDs. Our branding and service/warranty options might be different. We apply our own set of performance profiles in the Control Center. This will rebalance the differentiation between Silent, Balanced and Enthusiast modes.

Q: What is the TGP of the NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q?
A: Officially, it is 80W in Balanced profile and 90W in Enthusiast profile. You can toggle between these modes in real-time with a dedicated mode switch button. Inofficially, the TGP can go up to 115W in Enthusiast profile thanks to the Overboost mechanic, working in the background. However, those 115W may only be sustained until the system has reached thermal saturation, i.e. when the GPU is approaching the GPU Temperature Target of 75°C.

Q: Can I upgrade the storage and memory after I buy?
A: On storage: The laptop has two m.2 PCI-Express SSD slots. This will give you currently up to 4 TB of SSD storage. There is no 2.5" HDD slot available. Instead, the battery is enlarged to 93.48Wh. You can see pictures of the interior layouts here, here and here.
On memory: the laptop has two SO-DIMM DDR4 memory sockets. You can chose during BTO configuration, if you want to occupy both of them when you order the product. We recommend running the laptop in Dual Channel for high-performance usage.

Q: How easy is to upgrade and repair this laptop?
A: Here are the key facts:
We would give this a solid 8 out of 10 which is pretty high for such a thin&light design. The 2 remaining points are substracted for BGA CPU and GPU, which is unfortunately unavoidable in such a thin design.

Q: Does it support Windows Hello?
A: A Fingerprint-Reader is not available, but the HD webcam comes with Infrared and supports Windows Hello.

Q: Can I get a smaller, lighter charger for this laptop?
A: XMG FUSION 15 requires a 230W power adaptor to provide full performance. If you max out CPU and GPU with furmark and prime, the 230W adapter will be fully utilized.
There are currently two compatible 230W adapters. They have different dimensions but similar weight. Please refer to this comparison table:
XMG FUSION 15 Power Supply Comparsion Table (Google Drive)
Includes shop links. Will be updated with precise weight numbers in the next few days. I also included 120W, 150W and 180W in this table. They all share the same plug (5.5/2.5,, diameter, 12.5mm length). But 120W and 150W are only rated for 19V but the laptop expect 19.5V. Usually this will be compensated by tolerance but we haven't tested how a system would behave under long-term usage with such an adaptor.
In theory, 120W to 180W are enough for charing the laptop and for browsing/web/media. Even a full CPU stress test could easily be handled. But as soon as you use CPU and GPU together, you'll run into the bottleneck and your performance will be reduced.
Comparison pictures:
These 5 pictures show only the relevant 230W chargers.
Again, the weight is about the same.

Q: Is it possible to boot and run the laptop while the lid is kept closed?
A: Closing the lid under load is not recommended because it will limit the airflow and have a bad effect on keyboard and screen. The laptop likes to take air in from the keycaps. With lid closed, the performance might be limited due to reaching temp targets earlier.

Q: Can I get the laptop without the XMG logo? I will be using it in public presentations and I would not like any brand names visible.
A: We cannot ship without XMG logo, but you can use a dbrand skins to cover our logo. We have not yet decided if we want to invest into integrating XMG FUSION 15 into the dbrand shop. But you can already buy 100% compatible skins by using the page of the Eluktronics MAG-15 at dbrand. The chassis dimensions are exactly the same. Please be aware: you have to manually select the option "No Logo Cutout" if you want to buy these skins for your XMG FUSION 15. According to dbrand, there will be most likely no import fees when ordering from the EU as long as the order is below 100€. Check this thread for details.

Q: Will you offer thermal paste upgrades like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut or Liquid Metal?
A: Our ODMs are using silicon-based, high-performance thermal compund from international manufacturers like Shin-Etsu (Japan) and M.G. (USA). Intel is using MG-860 in this reference design.
These products are used in the industrial sector, so they have no publicly known brand name. Nevertheless, their high thermal conductivity and guaranteed durability provide optimal and long-lasting cooling of your high-performance laptop. The thermal compounds are applied and sealed automatically by the vendor of the thermal components. They are applied in a highly controlled, standardized manner and provide the best balance of thermal performance, production tolerance and product lifetime.
We are considering offering an upgrade to Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut due to popular demand. Will keep you posted on that.

Q: Could you please provide an estimate for how much regular usage (~10 browser tabs + some IDE) battery backup would this have? Will there be any way to trade-off battery backup with performance?
A: Battery life vs. peak performance can be traded off by using the "Silent" performance profile. You can switch between profiles using a dedicated button on the machine. Your scenario (10 tabs + some IDE) sounds like mostly reading and writing. I would estimate to get at least 7 hours of solid battery life in such a scenario, maybe more. We have achieved 8 hours in 1080p Youtube streaming on WiFi with 50% screen brightness. Adblock and NoScript helps to keep your idle browser tabs in check.


I/O Ports, Peripherals


Q: Why are there not more USB-A 3.1 Gen2 or even USB 3.2 Gen2x2 ports?
A: USB-A 3.1 Gen1 is basically the same as USB 3.0. There aren't a lot of USB-A devices that support more than USB 3.0 speed. Faster devices typically use USB-C connectors and can be used on Thunderbolt 3, which is down-compatible to USB-C 3.1 Gen2. One of the USB-A ports actually supports Gen2 speed.
For the following remarks, please keep in mind that I am not an Intel rep, so everything is based on our own experience.
The mainboard design and the I/O port decisions have been made by Intel. Feedback and requests from LOEM customers have been taken into consideration. We would assume that USB 3.2. Gen2x2 (20 Gbit/s) was not considered to be important enough to safe space for 3rd party IC (integrated circuits) on the motherboard. Right now, all the USB ports and Thunderbolts are supplied by Intel's own IC, so they have full control over the hardware, firmware and driver stack and over power saving and performance control. The more IC you add, the higher your Idle power consumption will be, plus adding potential compatibility or speed issues as it often happens with 1st generation 3rd party USB implementations. I very well remember from my own experience the support stories during the first years of USB 3.0, before it was supported in the Intel chipset. On the one hand, Intel is aiming high in terms of performance and convenience, on the other hand: support and reliability still seem to be Intel's goal #1. Thus they seem to play it safe where they deem it to be reasonable.
Intel is gearing up for USB 4.0 and next-gen Thunderbolt. USB 3.2 2x2 is probably treated as little more than a roadmap accident. Peripheral vendors might see it the same way.

Q: Do you support charging over USB-C/Thunderbolt? Does it support docking stations?
A: The Thunderbolt 3 port in Intel's reference design does not support charging. As you probably know, the 100W limit would not be enough to power the whole system and it would make the mainboard more complex to combine two different ways of charging. Intel consciously opted against it and will probably do so again on future high-end gaming/studio models.
The USB-C/Thunderbolt port supports Dual-Link DisplayPort signals, directly connected to the NVIDIA Graphics. This makes proper docking station usage very convenient. The user still needs to connect the external power adaptor. Both ports (Thunderbolt and DC-in) are in the back of the laptop, making the whole setup appear very neat on the desk.

Q: How many PCIe lanes does the Thunderbolt 3 provide? Are they connected to CPU or Chipset?
A: XMG FUSION 15 supports Thunderbolt 3 with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0. The lanes come from the chipset because all of the CPU lanes (x16) are fully occupied by the dedicated NVIDIA graphics. We are not aware of any side-effects of running Thunderbolt from the chipset. It is common practice for high-end laptops with high-end graphics. The Thunderbolt solution is of course fully validated and certified by Intel's Thunderbolt labs.

Q: Does it have a standby USB to power USB devices without turning on the laptop?
A: Yes, the USB-A port on the left side supports this feature.


LCD Screen


Q: Which LCD panel is being used? Are there plans for 1440p or 4K panels in the laptop? How about PWM flickering?
A: The panel is BOE NV156FHM-N4G. It is currently not known if the panel will change in later batches. This depends on logistics and stock. At any rate, the panel key specs will remain the same. There are currently no plans to offer resolutions above FHD in the current generation of this laptop.
There are very wide ranges on reports of Backlight Brightness PWM control on this panel in different laptops. Ranging from 200Hz to 1000Hz to no PWM at all - all on the same panel model number. Intel informs us that there are many factors (e.g. freq., display driver, BIOS settings implementation, type of dimmers & compatibility with the driver etc.) that impacts the quality of panel dimming performance. To Intel's knowledge, no kind of flickering has been reported during the validation process. Furthermore, first hands-on data from Notebookcheck indicates that no PWM occurs on this panel. With a DSLR test (multiple burst shots at 1/4000s exposure time) I can confirm that there is not a single frame of brightness dipping or black screen, not even at minimum LCD brightness. Hence, we can confirm: BOE NV156FHM-N4G in XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel) does not use PWM for backlight control.

Q: Some BTO shops, for an additional fee, manually pick out display panels with the least back-light bleed. Do you offer that? Even better, do you do that without the extra fee?
A: Intel has validated this design to avoid backlight bleed as much as possible. Currently no plans to do further binning. All dozens of MP samples we have seen so far have been exceptionally good.

Q: I'm coming from a 13" MacBook with Retina display. How am I going to fare with this 15.6" FHD screen in content creation?
A: If you got used to editing high-res visual content (photography, artwork) on your 13inch retina, things will change. On the one hand, your canvas will be larger and more convenient and ergonomic to work with. On the other hand, you will find yourself zooming in more often in order to make out fine-detail. Assuming that you have sharp 20:20 vision.
As it is, the screen resolution and specs are not planned to change within the lifetime of this product. The first realistic time-window for a refresh would be whenever Intel is releasing the next "H" series CPU generation. But even then, an upgrade on resolution will not be guaranteed.
Comparison:
Laptop Resolution Pixel per inch dot pitch
13.3" MacBook Pro Retina (late 2013) 2560x1600 226.98 PPI 0.1119mm
15.6" XMG FUSION 15 (late 2019) 1920x1080 141.21 PPI 0.1799mm
To compare: 141.21 is ~62% from 226.98. This represents the the metric difference in pixel density and peak sharpness between these two models.
If you know the diagonal size and resolution of your screen, you can make this comparison yourself with the DPI/PPI calculator.


Keyboard, Backlight, Switches, Layout


Q: What can you tell us about the mechanical keyboard of XMG FUSION 15?
A: The keyboard has already been reviewed in our XMG NEO series as being more crisp than typical membrane keyboards. Most reviewers attested it a very good score, both for gaming and for writing long texts.
The keyboard backlight can be configured per-key. Default mode is all white.
Keyboard Switch Specs:
Having no frame around the keycaps actually helps the thermals. The fans can pull in additional air from the top. This improves airflow and helps to keep the keyboard temperature at low levels during gaming. It also prevents long-term RMA issues on the keyboard. This specific keyboard switch is already in its 3rd generation and very mature by now.

Q: Is it possible to dampen the mechanical keyboard with o-rings?
A: The switch design does not lend itself to further dampening. The switch mechanic is too complex and has more moving parts than cherry. The 2mm travel distance also plays a role in not allowing more dampening.
For reference, please use this video (Youtube). We compared XMG NEO with another membrane-type keyboard. XMG NEO and FUSION share the same keyboard mechanics with the silent tactile switch and the same sound profile.

Q: Do you have LED keyboard backlight on the secondary key function, like Fn key icons?
A: Please have a look at this picture.
Btw, my working sample has blank keycaps. I took the 3 printed keycaps (F8, F9, F10) from a different sample just to demonstrate the Fn lighting for this picture.
Facts:
In my assesment, the Fn function symbols are clearly visible from the backlight in a dark room. A user should have no difficulty to recognize the icon and reach its function.

Q: Which keyboard layouts do you offer in the EU?
A: The following layouts are available, in alphabetic order: Belgium, Czech, Danish, Dvorak German, Dvorak US, Estonia, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish for Typists, Portuguese, Russia Latin, Slovakish, Spanish, Swedish / Finnish, Swiss, Turkish, UK, US International (ISO)All these layouts are based on the ISO matrix. See differences between ANSI vs. ISO here.


Operating System


Q: Do you support Linux and dual-boot on XMG FUSION 15?
A: We are in discussion to sell XMG FUSION 15 over Tuxedo with official Linux support. It might take 1 or 2 months to get this running.

Q: Which LAN, Audio and WiFi card vendors will be used? Asking for a friend.
A: From our HWiNFO64 report. (Google Drive link)
LAN: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 [PCI\VEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_15]Audio: Intel(R) Smart Sound Technology (Intel(R) SST) Audio Controller [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A348&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_10]WiFi: Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200 [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2723&SUBSYS_00848086&REV_1A], can be replaced.
For more information, please check the linked report file.


Other questions


Q: What would you say are the advantages and differences with other laptops due to the fact the laptop was designed in collaboration with Intel?
A: Disclaimer: I am \not* an Intel rep. The following remarks are based on my personal experience and opinion.*
Advantages:
  1. Very strict quality control on all levels. I can't quote numbers due to NDA, but Intel NUC has extremely low RMA rates, compared to average PC mainboards and systems. Intel is driven by strict internal regulation that strifes for perfection - this applies to the whole chassis, assembly and firmware, not only the mainboard. There are also certain regulations in place, for example in terms of electro-magnetic regulation and skin temperatures. The rating label is littered with regulatory seals from every region of the world, making this laptop especially safe to use.
  2. Access to high-quality material: we have not seen any Gaming Laptops based on Magnesium alloy yet, especially not in the ODM/LOEM ecosystem. The battery cells are also much more dense than what we usually see. Intel has the buying power and the vision to not settle for mediocre parts.
  3. Down-to-earth design: Intel has made this reference design for the ODM/LOEM eco-system. The design does not try to follow any specific corporate identity, thus it does not have any unneccessary "bling bling" like all the others have. Even the Razer Blade with it's sleek shape is quite obnoxious (iny my oppinion) with it's big backlit green snake logo. With XMG FUSION however, we can continue our typical style of "Undercover Gaming".
  4. Security: you can expect stellar support in terms of BIOS and Firmware (TPM, Management Engine) updates whenever any security issues are found. This might also apply to global brands, but ODM/LOEM systems have not always been so quick to react. This is due to the huge fragmentation/customizations in ODM/LOEM systems. Intel however does now allow any fragmentation: every LOEM partner is getting the same firmware. There are many hooks for configurations in this firmware, but the source code / binaries are always the same. This makes support much easier down the line.
Disadvantages:
  1. I can't name many, of course. But I would say the strict validation also makes the partnership less flexible from a product management perspective. There is no plan currently to phase-in any 4K or 300Hz screen (FHD/144Hz ought to be enough for everyone this year) or any Core i9 in this system. Other ODMs might be more open for costly modifications based on low quantities. Intel however has streamlined their production and logistics in a way that gives us (the LOEM) very short lead times and competitive pricing, but will not allow any short-notice upgrades or customizations.

Q: Will there be a 17 inch version?
A: We can neither confirm nor deny plans for a 17 inch version at this point.


[to be continued]
submitted by XMG_gg to XMG_gg [link] [comments]

Part 2: Tools & Info for Sysadmins - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

(continued from part 1)
Unlocker is a tool to help delete those irritating locked files that give you an error message like "cannot delete file" or "access is denied." It helps with killing processes, unloading DLLs, deleting index.dat files, as well as unlocking, deleting, renaming, and moving locked files—typically without requiring a reboot.
IIS Crypto's newest version adds advanced settings; registry backup; new, simpler templates; support for Windows Server 2019 and more. This tool lets you enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows and reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, change advanced settings, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions.
RocketDock is an application launcher with a clean interface that lets you drag/drop shortcuts for easy access and minimize windows to the dock. Features running application indicators, multi-monitor support, alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons, auto-hide and popup on mouse over, positioning and layering options. Fully customizable, portable, and compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y'z Dock skins. Works even on slower computers and is Unicode compliant. Suggested by lieutenantcigarette: "If you like the dock on MacOS but prefer to use Windows, RocketDock has you covered. A superb and highly customisable dock that you can add your favourites to for easy and elegant access."
Baby FTP Server offers only the basics, but with the power to serve as a foundation for a more-complex server. Features include multi-threading, a real-time server log, support for PASV and non-PASV mode, ability to set permissions for download/upload/rename/delete/create directory. Only allows anonymous connections. Our thanks to FatherPrax for suggesting this one.
Strace is a Linux diagnostic, debugging and instructional userspace tool with a traditional command-line interface. Uses the ptrace kernel feature to monitor and tamper with interactions between processes and the kernel, including system calls, signal deliveries and changes of process state.
exa is a small, fast replacement for ls with more features and better defaults. It uses colors to distinguish file types and metadata, and it recognizes symlinks, extended attributes and Git. All in one single binary. phils_lab describes it as "'ls' on steroids, written in Rust."
rsync is a faster file transfer program for Unix to bring remote files into sync. It sends just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring both sets of files to be present at one of the ends. Suggested by zorinlynx, who adds that "rsync is GODLY for moving data around efficiently. And if an rsync is interrupted, just run it again."
Matter Wiki is a simple WYSIWYG wiki that can help teams store and collaborate. Every article gets filed under a topic, transparently, so you can tell who made what changes to which document and when. Thanks to bciar-iwdc for the recommendation.
LockHunter is a file unlocking tool that enables you to delete files that are being blocked for unknown reasons. Can be useful for fighting malware and other programs that are causing trouble. Deletes files into the recycle bin so you can restore them if necessary. Chucky2401 finds it preferable to Unlocker, "since I am on Windows 7. There are no new updates since July 2017, but the last beta was in June of this year."
aria2 is a lightweight multi-source command-line download utility that supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. It can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces. Recommended by jftuga, who appreciates it as a "cross-platform command line downloader (similar to wget or curl), but with the -x option can run a segmented download of a single file to increase throughput."
Free Services
Temp-Mail allows you to receive email at a temporary address that self-destructs after a certain period of time. Outwit all the forums, Wi-Fi owners, websites and blogs that insist you register to use them. Petti-The-Yeti says, "I don't give any company my direct email anymore. If I want to trial something but they ask for an email signup, I just grab a temporary email from here, sign up with it, and wait for the trial link or license info to come through. Then, you just download the file and close the website."
Duck DNS will point a DNS (sub domains of duckdns.org) to an IP of your choice. DDNS is a handy way for you to refer to a serverouter with an easily rememberable name for situations when the server's ip address will likely change. Suggested by xgnarf, who finds it "so much better for the free tier of noip—no 30-day nag to keep your host up."
Joe Sandbox detects and analyzes potential malicious files and URLs on Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux and iOS for suspicious activities. It performs deep malware analysis and generates comprehensive and detailed reports. The Community Edition of Joe Sandbox Cloud allows you to run a maximum of 6 analyses per month, 3 per day on Windows, Linux and Android with limited analysis output. This one is from dangibbons94, who wanted to "share this cool service ... for malware analysis. I usually use Virus total for URL scanning, but this goes a lot more in depth. I just used basic analysis, which is free and enough for my needs."
Hybrid Analysis is a malware analysis service that detects and analyzes unknown threats for the community. This one was suggested by compupheonix, who adds that it "gets you super detailed reports... it's about the most fleshed out and detailed one I can find."
JustBeamIt is a file-transfer service that allows you to send files of any size via a peer-to-peer streaming model. Simply drag and drop your file and specify the recipient's email address. They will then receive a link that will trigger the download directly from your computer, so the file does not have to be uploaded to the service itself. The link is good for one download and expires after 10 minutes. Thanks to cooljacob204sfw for the recommendation!
ShieldsUP is a quick but powerful internet security checkup and information service. It was created by security researcher Steve Gibson to scan ports and let you know which ones have been opened through your firewalls or NAT routers.
Firefox Send is an encrypted file transfer service that allows you to share files up to 2.5GB from any browser or an Android app. Uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and offers security controls you can set. You can determine when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add a password. Your recipient receives a link to download the file, and they don’t need a Firefox account. This one comes from DePingus, who appreciates the focus on privacy. "They have E2E, expiring links, and a clear privacy policy."
Free DNS is a service where programmers share domain names with one another at no cost. Offers free hosting as well as dynamic DNS, static DNS, subdomain and domain hosting. They can host your domain's DNS as well as allowing you to register hostnames from domains they're hosting already. If you don't have a domain, you can sign up for a free account and create up to 5 subdomains off the domains others have contributed and point these hosts anywhere on the Internet. Thanks to 0x000000000000004C (yes, that's a username) for the suggestion!
ANY.RUN is an interactive malware analysis service for dynamic and static research of the majority of threats in any environment. It can provide a convenient in-depth analysis of new, unidentified malicious objects and help with the investigation of incidents. ImAshtonTurner appreciates it as "a great sandbox tool for viewing malware, etc."
Plik is a scalable, temporary file upload system similar to wetransfer that is written in golang. Thanks go to I_eat_Narwhals for this one!
Free My IP offers free, dynamic DNS. This service comes with no login, no ads, no newsletters, no links to click and no hassle. Kindly suggested by Jack of All Trades.
Mailinator provides free, temporary email inboxes on a receive-only, attachment-free system that requires no sign-up. All @mailinator.com addresses are public, readable and discoverable by anyone at any time—but are automatically deleted after a few hours. Can be a nice option for times when you to give out an address that won't be accessible longterm. Recommended by nachomountain, who's been using it "for years."
Magic Wormhole is a service for sending files directly with no intermediate upload, no web interface and no login. When both parties are online you with the minimal software installed, the wormhole is invoked via command line identifying the file you want to send. The server then provides a speakable, one-time-use password that you give the recipient. When they enter that password in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs and the download begins directly between your computers. rjohnson99 explains, "Magic Wormhole is sort of like JustBeamIt but is open-source and is built on Python. I use it a lot on Linux servers."
EveryCloud's Free Phish is our own, new Phishing Simulator. Once you've filled in the form and logged in, you can choose from lots of email templates (many of which we've coped from what we see in our Email Security business) and landing pages. Run a one-off free phish, then see who clicked or submitted data so you can understand where your organization is vulnerable and act accordingly.
Hardening Guides
CIS Hardening Guides contain the system security benchmarks developed by a global community of cybersecurity experts. Over 140 configuration guidelines are provided to help safeguard systems against threats. Recommended by cyanghost109 "to get a start on looking at hardening your own systems."
Podcasts
Daily Tech News is Tom Merrit's show covering the latest tech issues with some of the top experts in the field. With the focus on daily tech news and analysis, it's a great way to stay current. Thanks to EmoPolarbear for drawing it to our attention.
This Week in Enterprise Tech is a podcast that features IT experts explaining the complicated details of cutting-edge enterprise technology. Join host Lou Maresca on this informative exploration of enterprise solutions, with new episodes recorded every Friday afternoon.
Security Weekly is a podcast where a "bunch of security nerds" get together and talk shop. Topics are greatly varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. The show typically tops out at 2 hours, which is perfect for those with a long commute. If you’re fascinated by discussion of deep technical and security-related topics, this may be a nice addition to your podcast repertoire.
Grumpy Old Geeks—What Went Wrong on the Internet and Who's To Blame is a podcast about the internet, technology and geek culture—among other things. The hosts bring their grumpy brand of humor to the "state of the world as they see it" in these roughly hour-long weekly episodes. Recommended by mkaxsnyder, who enjoys it because, "They are a good team that talk about recent and relevant topics from an IT perspective."
The Social-Engineer Podcast is a monthly discussion among the hosts—a group of security experts from SEORG—and a diverse assortment of guests. Topics focus around human behavior and how it affects information security, with new episodes released on the second Monday of every month. Thanks to MrAshRhodes for the suggestion.
The CyberWire podcasts discuss what's happening in cyberspace, providing news and commentary from industry experts. This cyber security-focused news service delivers concise, accessible, and relevant content without the gossip, sensationalism, and the marketing buzz that often distract from the stories that really matter. Appreciation to supermicromainboard for the suggestion.
Malicious Life is a podcast that tells the fascinating—and often unknown—stories of the wildest hacks you can ever imagine. Host Ran Levi, a cybersecurity expert and author, talks with the people who were actually involved to reveal the history of each event in depth. Our appreciation goes to peraphon for the recommendation.
The Broadcast Storm is a podcast for Cisco networking professionals. BluePieceOfPaper suggests it "for people studying for their CCNA/NP. Kevin Wallace is a CCIE Collaboration so he knows his *ishk. Good format for learning too. Most podcasts are about 8-15 mins long and its 'usually' an exam topic. It will be something like "HSPR" but instead of just explaining it super boring like Ben Stein reading a powerpoint, he usually goes into a story about how (insert time in his career) HSPR would have been super useful..."
Software Engineering Radio is a podcast for developers who are looking for an educational resource with original content that isn't recycled from other venues. Consists of conversations on relevant topics with experts from the software engineering world, with new episodes released three to four times per month. a9JDvXLWHumjaC tells us this is "a solid podcast for devs."
Books
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a comprehensive technical guide designed to help you optimize Microsoft's Configuration Manager 2012 according to your requirements and then to deploy and use it successfully. This methodical, step-by-step reference covers: the intentions behind the product and its role in the broader System Center product suite; planning, design, and implementation; and details on each of the most-important feature sets. Learn how to leverage the user-centric capabilities to provide anytime/anywhere services & software, while strengthening control and improving compliance.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam is a practical guide to network infrastructure. Provides an in-depth view of routers and routing, switching (with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches as examples), SOHO VoIP and SOHO wireless access point design and configuration, introduction to IPv6 with configuration examples, telecom technologies in the data-networking world (including T1, DS3, frame relay, and MPLS), security, firewall theory and configuration, ACL and authentication, Quality of Service (QoS), with an emphasis on low-latency queuing (LLQ), IP address allocation, Network Time Protocol (NTP) and device failures.
Beginning the Linux Command Line is your ally in mastering Linux from the keyboard. It is intended for system administrators, software developers, and enthusiastic users who want a guide that will be useful for most distributions—i.e., all items have been checked against Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE. Addresses administering users and security and deploying firewalls. Updated to the latest versions of Linux to cover files and directories, including the Btrfs file system and its management and systemd boot procedure and firewall management with firewalld.
Modern Operating Systems, 4th Ed. is written for students taking intro courses on Operating Systems and for those who want an OS reference guide for work. The author, an OS researcher, includes both the latest materials on relevant operating systems as well as current research. The previous edition of Modern Operating Systems received the 2010 McGuffey Longevity Award that recognizes textbooks for excellence over time.
Time Management for System Administrators is a guide for organizing your approach to this challenging role in a way that improves your results. Bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli offers a collection of tips and techniques for navigating the competing goals and concurrent responsibilities that go along with working on large projects while also taking care of individual user's needs. The book focuses on strategies to help with daily tasks that will also allow you to handle the critical situations that inevitably require your attention. You'll learn how to manage interruptions, eliminate time wasters, keep an effective calendar, develop routines and prioritize, stay focused on the task at hand and document/automate to speed processes.
The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition introduces beginners to advanced frameworks while serving as a guide to best practices in system administration that is helpful for even the most advanced experts. Organized into four major sections that build from the foundational elements of system administration through improved techniques for upgrades and change management to exploring assorted management topics. Covers the basics and then moves onto the advanced things that can be built on top of those basics to wield real power and execute difficult projects.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Third Edition is designed to teach you PowerShell in a month's worth of 1-hour lessons. This updated edition covers PowerShell features that run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, PowerShell v3 and later, and it includes v5 features like PowerShellGet. For PowerShell v3 and up, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later.
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools is a guide to the powerful Sysinternals tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis provide a deep understanding of Windows core concepts that aren’t well-documented elsewhere along with details on how to use Sysinternals tools to optimize any Windows system’s reliability, efficiency, performance and security. Includes an explanation of Sysinternals capabilities, details on each major tool, and examples of how the tools can be used to solve real-world cases involving error messages, hangs, sluggishness, malware infections and more.
DNS and BIND, 5th Ed. explains how to work with the Internet's distributed host information database—which is responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and listing phone numbers according to the ENUM standard. Covers BIND 9.3.2 & 8.4.7, the what/how/why of DNS, name servers, MX records, subdividing domains (parenting), DNSSEC, TSIG, troubleshooting and more. PEPCK tells us this is "generally considered the DNS reference book (aside from the RFCs of course!)"
Windows PowerShell in Action, 3rd Ed. is a comprehensive guide to PowerShell. Written by language designer Bruce Payette and MVP Richard Siddaway, this volume gives a great introduction to Powershell, including everyday use cases and detailed examples for more-advanced topics like performance and module architecture. Covers workflows and classes, writing modules and scripts, desired state configuration and programming APIs/pipelines.This edition has been updated for PowerShell v6.
Zero Trust Networks: Building Secure Systems in Untrusted Networks explains the principles behind zero trust architecture, along with what's needed to implement it. Covers the evolution of perimeter-based defenses and how they evolved into the current broken model, case studies of zero trust in production networks on both the client and server side, example configurations for open-source tools that are useful for building a zero trust network and how to migrate from a perimeter-based network to a zero trust network in production. Kindly recommended by jaginfosec.
Tips
Here are a couple handy Windows shortcuts:
Here's a shortcut for a 4-pane explorer in Windows without installing 3rd-party software:
(Keep the win key down for the arrows, and no pauses.) Appreciation goes to ZAFJB for this one.
Our recent tip for a shortcut to get a 4-pane explorer in Windows, triggered this suggestion from SevaraB: "You can do that for an even larger grid of Windows by right-clicking the clock in the taskbar, and clicking 'Show windows side by side' to arrange them neatly. Did this for 4 rows of 6 windows when I had to have a quick 'n' dirty "video wall" of windows monitoring servers at our branches." ZAFJB adds that it actually works when you right-click "anywhere on the taskbar, except application icons or start button."
This tip comes courtesy of shipsass: "When I need to use Windows Explorer but I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard, I press Windows-E to launch Explorer and then Ctrl-L to jump to the address line and type my path. The Ctrl-L trick also works with any web browser, and it's an efficient way of talking less-technical people through instructions when 'browse to [location]' stumps them."
Clear browser history/cookies by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE on most major browsers. Thanks go to synapticpanda, who adds that this "saves me so much time when troubleshooting web apps where I am playing with the cache and such."
To rename a file with F2, while still editing the name of that file: Hit TAB to tab into the renaming of the next file. Thanks to abeeftaco for this one!
Alt-D is a reliable alternative to Ctrl-L for jumping to the address line in a browser. Thanks for this one go to fencepost_ajm, who explains: "Ctrl-L comes from the browser side as a shortcut for Location, Alt-D from the Windows Explorer side for Directory."
Browser shortcut: When typing a URL that ends with dot com, Ctrl + Enter will place the ".com" and take you to the page. Thanks to wpierre for this one!
This tip comes from anynonus, as something that daily that saves a few clicks: "Running a program with ctrl + shift + enter from start menu will start it as administrator (alt + y will select YES to run as admin) ... my user account is local admin [so] I don't feel like that is unsafe"
Building on our PowerShell resources, we received the following suggestion from halbaradkenafin: aka.ms/pskoans is "a way to learn PowerShell using PowerShell (and Pester). It's really cool and a bunch of folks have high praise for it (including a few teams within MSFT)."
Keyboard shortcut: If you already have an application open, hold ctrl + shift and middle click on the application in your task bar to open another instance as admin. Thanks go to Polymira for this one.
Remote Server Tip: "Critical advice. When testing out network configuration changes, prior to restarting the networking service or rebooting, always create a cron job that will restore your original network configuration and then reboot/restart networking on the machine after 5 minutes. If your config worked, you have enough time to remove it. If it didn't, it will fix itself. This is a beautifully simple solution that I learned from my old mentor at my very first job. I've held on to it for a long time." Thanks go to FrigidNox for the tip!
Websites
Deployment Research is the website of Johan Arwidmark, MS MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management. It is dedicated to sharing information and guidance around System Center, OS deployment, migration and more. The author shares tips and tricks to help improve the quality of IT Pros’ daily work.
Next of Windows is a website on (mostly) Microsoft-related technology. It's the place where Kent Chen—a computer veteran with many years of field experience—and Jonathan Hu—a web/mobile app developer and self-described "cool geek"—share what they know, what they learn and what they find in the hope of helping others learn and benefit.
High Scalability brings together all the relevant information about building scalable websites in one place. Because building a website with confidence requires a body of knowledge that can be slow to develop, the site focuses on moving visitors along the learning curve at a faster pace.
Information Technology Research Library is a great resource for IT-related research, white papers, reports, case studies, magazines, and eBooks. This library is provided at no charge by TradePub.com. GullibleDetective tells us it offers "free PDF files from a WIIIIIIDE variety of topics, not even just IT. Only caveat: as its a vendor-supported publishing company, you will have to give them a bit of information such as name, email address and possibly a company name. You undoubtedly have the ability to create fake information on this, mind you. The articles range from Excel templates, learning python, powershell, nosql etc. to converged architecture."
SS64 is a web-based reference guide for syntax and examples of the most-common database and OS computing commands. Recommended by Petti-The-Yeti, who adds, "I use this site all the time to look up commands and find examples while I'm building CMD and PS1 scripts."
Phishing and Malware Reporting. This website helps you put a stop to scams by getting fraudulent pages blocked. Easily report phishing webpages so they can be added to blacklists in as little as 15 minutes of your report. "Player024 tells us, "I highly recommend anyone in the industry to bookmark this page...With an average of about 10 minutes of work, I'm usually able to take down the phishing pages we receive thanks to the links posted on that website."
A Slack Channel
Windows Admin Slack is a great drive-by resource for the Windows sysadmin. This team has 33 public channels in total that cover different areas of helpful content on Windows administration.
Blogs
KC's Blog is the place where Microsoft MVP and web developer Kent Chen shares his IT insights and discoveries. The rather large library of posts offer helpful hints, how-tos, resources and news of interest to those in the Windows world.
The Windows Server Daily is the ever-current blog of technologist Katherine Moss, VP of open source & community engagement for StormlightTech. Offers brief daily posts on topics related to Windows server, Windows 10 and Administration.
An Infosec Slideshow
This security training slideshow was created for use during a quarterly infosec class. The content is offered generously by shalafi71, who adds, "Take this as a skeleton and flesh it out on your own. Take an hour or two and research the things I talk about. Tailor this to your own environment and users. Make it relevant to your people. Include corporate stories, include your audience, exclude yourself. This ain't about how smart you are at infosec, and I can't stress this enough, talk about how people can defend themselves. Give them things to look for and action they can take. No one gives a shit about your firewall rules."
Tech Tutorials
Tutorialspoint Library. This large collection of tech tutorials is a great resource for online learning. You'll find nearly 150 high-quality tutorials covering a wide array of languages and topics—from fundamentals to cutting-edge technologies. For example, this Powershell tutorial is designed for those with practical experience handling Windows-based Servers who want to learn how to install and use Windows Server 2012.
The Python Tutorial is a nice introduction to many of Python’s best features, enabling you to read and write Python modules and programs. It offers an understanding of the language's style and prepares you to learn more about the various Python library modules described in 'The Python Standard Library.' Kindly suggested by sharjeelsayed.
SysAdmin Humor
Day in the Life of a SysAdmin Episode 5: Lunch Break is an amusing look at a SysAdmin's attempt to take a brief lunch break. We imagine many of you can relate!
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments or suggestions.
u/crispyducks
submitted by crispyducks to sysadmin [link] [comments]

Tools & Info for MSPs #2 - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

(continued from part #1)
Unlocker is a tool to help delete those irritating locked files that give you an error message like "cannot delete file" or "access is denied." It helps with killing processes, unloading DLLs, deleting index.dat files, as well as unlocking, deleting, renaming, and moving locked files—typically without requiring a reboot.
IIS Crypto's newest version adds advanced settings; registry backup; new, simpler templates; support for Windows Server 2019 and more. This tool lets you enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows and reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, change advanced settings, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions.
RocketDock is an application launcher with a clean interface that lets you drag/drop shortcuts for easy access and minimize windows to the dock. Features running application indicators, multi-monitor support, alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons, auto-hide and popup on mouse over, positioning and layering options. Fully customizable, portable, and compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y'z Dock skins. Works even on slower computers and is Unicode compliant. Suggested by lieutenantcigarette: "If you like the dock on MacOS but prefer to use Windows, RocketDock has you covered. A superb and highly customisable dock that you can add your favourites to for easy and elegant access."
Baby FTP Server offers only the basics, but with the power to serve as a foundation for a more-complex server. Features include multi-threading, a real-time server log, support for PASV and non-PASV mode, ability to set permissions for download/upload/rename/delete/create directory. Only allows anonymous connections. Our thanks to FatherPrax for suggesting this one.
Strace is a Linux diagnostic, debugging and instructional userspace tool with a traditional command-line interface. Uses the ptrace kernel feature to monitor and tamper with interactions between processes and the kernel, including system calls, signal deliveries and changes of process state.
exa is a small, fast replacement for ls with more features and better defaults. It uses colors to distinguish file types and metadata, and it recognizes symlinks, extended attributes and Git. All in one single binary. phils_lab describes it as "'ls' on steroids, written in Rust."
rsync is a faster file transfer program for Unix to bring remote files into sync. It sends just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring both sets of files to be present at one of the ends. Suggested by zorinlynx, who adds that "rsync is GODLY for moving data around efficiently. And if an rsync is interrupted, just run it again."
Matter Wiki is a simple WYSIWYG wiki that can help teams store and collaborate. Every article gets filed under a topic, transparently, so you can tell who made what changes to which document and when. Thanks to bciar-iwdc for the recommendation.
LockHunter is a file unlocking tool that enables you to delete files that are being blocked for unknown reasons. Can be useful for fighting malware and other programs that are causing trouble. Deletes files into the recycle bin so you can restore them if necessary. Chucky2401 finds it preferable to Unlocker, "since I am on Windows 7. There are no new updates since July 2017, but the last beta was in June of this year."
aria2 is a lightweight multi-source command-line download utility that supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. It can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces. Recommended by jftuga, who appreciates it as a "cross-platform command line downloader (similar to wget or curl), but with the -x option can run a segmented download of a single file to increase throughput."
Free Services
Temp-Mail allows you to receive email at a temporary address that self-destructs after a certain period of time. Outwit all the forums, Wi-Fi owners, websites and blogs that insist you register to use them. Petti-The-Yeti says, "I don't give any company my direct email anymore. If I want to trial something but they ask for an email signup, I just grab a temporary email from here, sign up with it, and wait for the trial link or license info to come through. Then, you just download the file and close the website."
Duck DNS will point a DNS (sub domains of duckdns.org) to an IP of your choice. DDNS is a handy way for you to refer to a serverouter with an easily rememberable name for situations when the server's ip address will likely change. Suggested by xgnarf, who finds it "so much better for the free tier of noip—no 30-day nag to keep your host up."
Joe Sandbox detects and analyzes potential malicious files and URLs on Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux and iOS for suspicious activities. It performs deep malware analysis and generates comprehensive and detailed reports. The Community Edition of Joe Sandbox Cloud allows you to run a maximum of 6 analyses per month, 3 per day on Windows, Linux and Android with limited analysis output. This one is from dangibbons94, who wanted to "share this cool service ... for malware analysis. I usually use Virus total for URL scanning, but this goes a lot more in depth. I just used basic analysis, which is free and enough for my needs."
Hybrid Analysis is a malware analysis service that detects and analyzes unknown threats for the community. This one was suggested by compupheonix, who adds that it "gets you super detailed reports... it's about the most fleshed out and detailed one I can find."
JustBeamIt is a file-transfer service that allows you to send files of any size via a peer-to-peer streaming model. Simply drag and drop your file and specify the recipient's email address. They will then receive a link that will trigger the download directly from your computer, so the file does not have to be uploaded to the service itself. The link is good for one download and expires after 10 minutes. Thanks to cooljacob204sfw for the recommendation!
ShieldsUP is a quick but powerful internet security checkup and information service. It was created by security researcher Steve Gibson to scan ports and let you know which ones have been opened through your firewalls or NAT routers.
Firefox Send is an encrypted file transfer service that allows you to share files up to 2.5GB from any browser or an Android app. Uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and offers security controls you can set. You can determine when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add a password. Your recipient receives a link to download the file, and they don’t need a Firefox account. This one comes from DePingus, who appreciates the focus on privacy. "They have E2E, expiring links, and a clear privacy policy."
Free DNS is a service where programmers share domain names with one another at no cost. Offers free hosting as well as dynamic DNS, static DNS, subdomain and domain hosting. They can host your domain's DNS as well as allowing you to register hostnames from domains they're hosting already. If you don't have a domain, you can sign up for a free account and create up to 5 subdomains off the domains others have contributed and point these hosts anywhere on the Internet. Thanks to 0x000000000000004C (yes, that's a username) for the suggestion!
ANY.RUN is an interactive malware analysis service for dynamic and static research of the majority of threats in any environment. It can provide a convenient in-depth analysis of new, unidentified malicious objects and help with the investigation of incidents. ImAshtonTurner appreciates it as "a great sandbox tool for viewing malware, etc."
Plik is a scalable, temporary file upload system similar to wetransfer that is written in golang. Thanks go to I_eat_Narwhals for this one!
Free My IP offers free, dynamic DNS. This service comes with no login, no ads, no newsletters, no links to click and no hassle. Kindly suggested by Jack of All Trades.
Mailinator provides free, temporary email inboxes on a receive-only, attachment-free system that requires no sign-up. All @mailinator.com addresses are public, readable and discoverable by anyone at any time—but are automatically deleted after a few hours. Can be a nice option for times when you to give out an address that won't be accessible longterm. Recommended by nachomountain, who's been using it "for years."
Magic Wormhole is a service for sending files directly with no intermediate upload, no web interface and no login. When both parties are online you with the minimal software installed, the wormhole is invoked via command line identifying the file you want to send. The server then provides a speakable, one-time-use password that you give the recipient. When they enter that password in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs and the download begins directly between your computers. rjohnson99 explains, "Magic Wormhole is sort of like JustBeamIt but is open-source and is built on Python. I use it a lot on Linux servers."
EveryCloud's Free Phish is our own, new Phishing Simulator. Once you've filled in the form and logged in, you can choose from lots of email templates (many of which we've coped from what we see in our Email Security business) and landing pages. Run a one-off free phish, then see who clicked or submitted data so you can understand where your organization is vulnerable and act accordingly.
Hardening Guides
CIS Hardening Guides contain the system security benchmarks developed by a global community of cybersecurity experts. Over 140 configuration guidelines are provided to help safeguard systems against threats. Recommended by cyanghost109 "to get a start on looking at hardening your own systems."
Podcasts
Daily Tech News is Tom Merrit's show covering the latest tech issues with some of the top experts in the field. With the focus on daily tech news and analysis, it's a great way to stay current. Thanks to EmoPolarbear for drawing it to our attention.
This Week in Enterprise Tech is a podcast that features IT experts explaining the complicated details of cutting-edge enterprise technology. Join host Lou Maresca on this informative exploration of enterprise solutions, with new episodes recorded every Friday afternoon.
Security Weekly is a podcast where a "bunch of security nerds" get together and talk shop. Topics are greatly varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. The show typically tops out at 2 hours, which is perfect for those with a long commute. If you’re fascinated by discussion of deep technical and security-related topics, this may be a nice addition to your podcast repertoire.
Grumpy Old Geeks—What Went Wrong on the Internet and Who's To Blame is a podcast about the internet, technology and geek culture—among other things. The hosts bring their grumpy brand of humor to the "state of the world as they see it" in these roughly hour-long weekly episodes. Recommended by mkaxsnyder, who enjoys it because, "They are a good team that talk about recent and relevant topics from an IT perspective."
The Social-Engineer Podcast is a monthly discussion among the hosts—a group of security experts from SEORG—and a diverse assortment of guests. Topics focus around human behavior and how it affects information security, with new episodes released on the second Monday of every month. Thanks to MrAshRhodes for the suggestion.
The CyberWire podcasts discuss what's happening in cyberspace, providing news and commentary from industry experts. This cyber security-focused news service delivers concise, accessible, and relevant content without the gossip, sensationalism, and the marketing buzz that often distract from the stories that really matter. Appreciation to supermicromainboard for the suggestion.
Malicious Life is a podcast that tells the fascinating—and often unknown—stories of the wildest hacks you can ever imagine. Host Ran Levi, a cybersecurity expert and author, talks with the people who were actually involved to reveal the history of each event in depth. Our appreciation goes to peraphon for the recommendation.
The Broadcast Storm is a podcast for Cisco networking professionals. BluePieceOfPaper suggests it "for people studying for their CCNA/NP. Kevin Wallace is a CCIE Collaboration so he knows his *ishk. Good format for learning too. Most podcasts are about 8-15 mins long and its 'usually' an exam topic. It will be something like "HSPR" but instead of just explaining it super boring like Ben Stein reading a powerpoint, he usually goes into a story about how (insert time in his career) HSPR would have been super useful..."
Software Engineering Radio is a podcast for developers who are looking for an educational resource with original content that isn't recycled from other venues. Consists of conversations on relevant topics with experts from the software engineering world, with new episodes released three to four times per month. a9JDvXLWHumjaC tells us this is "a solid podcast for devs."
Books
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a comprehensive technical guide designed to help you optimize Microsoft's Configuration Manager 2012 according to your requirements and then to deploy and use it successfully. This methodical, step-by-step reference covers: the intentions behind the product and its role in the broader System Center product suite; planning, design, and implementation; and details on each of the most-important feature sets. Learn how to leverage the user-centric capabilities to provide anytime/anywhere services & software, while strengthening control and improving compliance.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam is a practical guide to network infrastructure. Provides an in-depth view of routers and routing, switching (with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches as examples), SOHO VoIP and SOHO wireless access point design and configuration, introduction to IPv6 with configuration examples, telecom technologies in the data-networking world (including T1, DS3, frame relay, and MPLS), security, firewall theory and configuration, ACL and authentication, Quality of Service (QoS), with an emphasis on low-latency queuing (LLQ), IP address allocation, Network Time Protocol (NTP) and device failures.
Beginning the Linux Command Line is your ally in mastering Linux from the keyboard. It is intended for system administrators, software developers, and enthusiastic users who want a guide that will be useful for most distributions—i.e., all items have been checked against Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE. Addresses administering users and security and deploying firewalls. Updated to the latest versions of Linux to cover files and directories, including the Btrfs file system and its management and systemd boot procedure and firewall management with firewalld.
Modern Operating Systems, 4th Ed. is written for students taking intro courses on Operating Systems and for those who want an OS reference guide for work. The author, an OS researcher, includes both the latest materials on relevant operating systems as well as current research. The previous edition of Modern Operating Systems received the 2010 McGuffey Longevity Award that recognizes textbooks for excellence over time.
Time Management for System Administrators is a guide for organizing your approach to this challenging role in a way that improves your results. Bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli offers a collection of tips and techniques for navigating the competing goals and concurrent responsibilities that go along with working on large projects while also taking care of individual user's needs. The book focuses on strategies to help with daily tasks that will also allow you to handle the critical situations that inevitably require your attention. You'll learn how to manage interruptions, eliminate time wasters, keep an effective calendar, develop routines and prioritize, stay focused on the task at hand and document/automate to speed processes.
The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition introduces beginners to advanced frameworks while serving as a guide to best practices in system administration that is helpful for even the most advanced experts. Organized into four major sections that build from the foundational elements of system administration through improved techniques for upgrades and change management to exploring assorted management topics. Covers the basics and then moves onto the advanced things that can be built on top of those basics to wield real power and execute difficult projects.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Third Edition is designed to teach you PowerShell in a month's worth of 1-hour lessons. This updated edition covers PowerShell features that run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, PowerShell v3 and later, and it includes v5 features like PowerShellGet. For PowerShell v3 and up, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later.
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools is a guide to the powerful Sysinternals tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis provide a deep understanding of Windows core concepts that aren’t well-documented elsewhere along with details on how to use Sysinternals tools to optimize any Windows system’s reliability, efficiency, performance and security. Includes an explanation of Sysinternals capabilities, details on each major tool, and examples of how the tools can be used to solve real-world cases involving error messages, hangs, sluggishness, malware infections and more.
DNS and BIND, 5th Ed. explains how to work with the Internet's distributed host information database—which is responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and listing phone numbers according to the ENUM standard. Covers BIND 9.3.2 & 8.4.7, the what/how/why of DNS, name servers, MX records, subdividing domains (parenting), DNSSEC, TSIG, troubleshooting and more. PEPCK tells us this is "generally considered the DNS reference book (aside from the RFCs of course!)"
Windows PowerShell in Action, 3rd Ed. is a comprehensive guide to PowerShell. Written by language designer Bruce Payette and MVP Richard Siddaway, this volume gives a great introduction to Powershell, including everyday use cases and detailed examples for more-advanced topics like performance and module architecture. Covers workflows and classes, writing modules and scripts, desired state configuration and programming APIs/pipelines.This edition has been updated for PowerShell v6.
Zero Trust Networks: Building Secure Systems in Untrusted Networks explains the principles behind zero trust architecture, along with what's needed to implement it. Covers the evolution of perimeter-based defenses and how they evolved into the current broken model, case studies of zero trust in production networks on both the client and server side, example configurations for open-source tools that are useful for building a zero trust network and how to migrate from a perimeter-based network to a zero trust network in production. Kindly recommended by jaginfosec.
Tips
Here are a couple handy Windows shortcuts:
Here's a shortcut for a 4-pane explorer in Windows without installing 3rd-party software:
(Keep the win key down for the arrows, and no pauses.) Appreciation goes to ZAFJB for this one.
Our recent tip for a shortcut to get a 4-pane explorer in Windows, triggered this suggestion from SevaraB: "You can do that for an even larger grid of Windows by right-clicking the clock in the taskbar, and clicking 'Show windows side by side' to arrange them neatly. Did this for 4 rows of 6 windows when I had to have a quick 'n' dirty "video wall" of windows monitoring servers at our branches." ZAFJB adds that it actually works when you right-click "anywhere on the taskbar, except application icons or start button."
This tip comes courtesy of shipsass: "When I need to use Windows Explorer but I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard, I press Windows-E to launch Explorer and then Ctrl-L to jump to the address line and type my path. The Ctrl-L trick also works with any web browser, and it's an efficient way of talking less-technical people through instructions when 'browse to [location]' stumps them."
Clear browser history/cookies by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE on most major browsers. Thanks go to synapticpanda, who adds that this "saves me so much time when troubleshooting web apps where I am playing with the cache and such."
To rename a file with F2, while still editing the name of that file: Hit TAB to tab into the renaming of the next file. Thanks to abeeftaco for this one!
Alt-D is a reliable alternative to Ctrl-L for jumping to the address line in a browser. Thanks for this one go to fencepost_ajm, who explains: "Ctrl-L comes from the browser side as a shortcut for Location, Alt-D from the Windows Explorer side for Directory."
Browser shortcut: When typing a URL that ends with dot com, Ctrl + Enter will place the ".com" and take you to the page. Thanks to wpierre for this one!
This tip comes from anynonus, as something that daily that saves a few clicks: "Running a program with ctrl + shift + enter from start menu will start it as administrator (alt + y will select YES to run as admin) ... my user account is local admin [so] I don't feel like that is unsafe"
Building on our PowerShell resources, we received the following suggestion from halbaradkenafin: aka.ms/pskoans is "a way to learn PowerShell using PowerShell (and Pester). It's really cool and a bunch of folks have high praise for it (including a few teams within MSFT)."
Keyboard shortcut: If you already have an application open, hold ctrl + shift and middle click on the application in your task bar to open another instance as admin. Thanks go to Polymira for this one.
Remote Server Tip: "Critical advice. When testing out network configuration changes, prior to restarting the networking service or rebooting, always create a cron job that will restore your original network configuration and then reboot/restart networking on the machine after 5 minutes. If your config worked, you have enough time to remove it. If it didn't, it will fix itself. This is a beautifully simple solution that I learned from my old mentor at my very first job. I've held on to it for a long time." Thanks go to FrigidNox for the tip!
Websites
Deployment Research is the website of Johan Arwidmark, MS MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management. It is dedicated to sharing information and guidance around System Center, OS deployment, migration and more. The author shares tips and tricks to help improve the quality of IT Pros’ daily work.
Next of Windows is a website on (mostly) Microsoft-related technology. It's the place where Kent Chen—a computer veteran with many years of field experience—and Jonathan Hu—a web/mobile app developer and self-described "cool geek"—share what they know, what they learn and what they find in the hope of helping others learn and benefit.
High Scalability brings together all the relevant information about building scalable websites in one place. Because building a website with confidence requires a body of knowledge that can be slow to develop, the site focuses on moving visitors along the learning curve at a faster pace.
Information Technology Research Library is a great resource for IT-related research, white papers, reports, case studies, magazines, and eBooks. This library is provided at no charge by TradePub.com. GullibleDetective tells us it offers "free PDF files from a WIIIIIIDE variety of topics, not even just IT. Only caveat: as its a vendor-supported publishing company, you will have to give them a bit of information such as name, email address and possibly a company name. You undoubtedly have the ability to create fake information on this, mind you. The articles range from Excel templates, learning python, powershell, nosql etc. to converged architecture."
SS64 is a web-based reference guide for syntax and examples of the most-common database and OS computing commands. Recommended by Petti-The-Yeti, who adds, "I use this site all the time to look up commands and find examples while I'm building CMD and PS1 scripts."
Phishing and Malware Reporting. This website helps you put a stop to scams by getting fraudulent pages blocked. Easily report phishing webpages so they can be added to blacklists in as little as 15 minutes of your report. "Player024 tells us, "I highly recommend anyone in the industry to bookmark this page...With an average of about 10 minutes of work, I'm usually able to take down the phishing pages we receive thanks to the links posted on that website."
A Slack Channel
Windows Admin Slack is a great drive-by resource for the Windows sysadmin. This team has 33 public channels in total that cover different areas of helpful content on Windows administration.
Blogs
KC's Blog is the place where Microsoft MVP and web developer Kent Chen shares his IT insights and discoveries. The rather large library of posts offer helpful hints, how-tos, resources and news of interest to those in the Windows world.
The Windows Server Daily is the ever-current blog of technologist Katherine Moss, VP of open source & community engagement for StormlightTech. Offers brief daily posts on topics related to Windows server, Windows 10 and Administration.
An Infosec Slideshow
This security training slideshow was created for use during a quarterly infosec class. The content is offered generously by shalafi71, who adds, "Take this as a skeleton and flesh it out on your own. Take an hour or two and research the things I talk about. Tailor this to your own environment and users. Make it relevant to your people. Include corporate stories, include your audience, exclude yourself. This ain't about how smart you are at infosec, and I can't stress this enough, talk about how people can defend themselves. Give them things to look for and action they can take. No one gives a shit about your firewall rules."
Tech Tutorials
Tutorialspoint Library. This large collection of tech tutorials is a great resource for online learning. You'll find nearly 150 high-quality tutorials covering a wide array of languages and topics—from fundamentals to cutting-edge technologies. For example, this Powershell tutorial is designed for those with practical experience handling Windows-based Servers who want to learn how to install and use Windows Server 2012.
The Python Tutorial is a nice introduction to many of Python’s best features, enabling you to read and write Python modules and programs. It offers an understanding of the language's style and prepares you to learn more about the various Python library modules described in 'The Python Standard Library.' Kindly suggested by sharjeelsayed.
SysAdmin Humor
Day in the Life of a SysAdmin Episode 5: Lunch Break is an amusing look at a SysAdmin's attempt to take a brief lunch break. We imagine many of you can relate!
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments.
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud
Fyi - I've set up a subreddit /itprotuesday, where we feature / encourage posts of some additional tools, tips etc. throughout the week. Pop over and subscribe if you’re interested.
submitted by crispyducks to msp [link] [comments]

IT Pro Tuesday #64 (part 2) - Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs & More

(continued from part 1)
Captura is a flexible tool for capturing your screen, audio, cursor, mouse clicks and keystrokes. Features include mixing audio recorded from microphone and speaker output, command-line interface, and configurable hotkeys. Thanks to jantari for the recommedation.
Unlocker is a tool to help delete those irritating locked files that give you an error message like "cannot delete file" or "access is denied." It helps with killing processes, unloading DLLs, deleting index.dat files, as well as unlocking, deleting, renaming, and moving locked files—typically without requiring a reboot.
IIS Crypto's newest version adds advanced settings; registry backup; new, simpler templates; support for Windows Server 2019 and more. This tool lets you enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows and reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, change advanced settings, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions.
RocketDock is an application launcher with a clean interface that lets you drag/drop shortcuts for easy access and minimize windows to the dock. Features running application indicators, multi-monitor support, alpha-blended PNG and ICO icons, auto-hide and popup on mouse over, positioning and layering options. Fully customizable, portable, and compatible with MobyDock, ObjectDock, RK Launcher and Y'z Dock skins. Works even on slower computers and is Unicode compliant. Suggested by lieutenantcigarette: "If you like the dock on MacOS but prefer to use Windows, RocketDock has you covered. A superb and highly customisable dock that you can add your favourites to for easy and elegant access."
Baby FTP Server offers only the basics, but with the power to serve as a foundation for a more-complex server. Features include multi-threading, a real-time server log, support for PASV and non-PASV mode, ability to set permissions for download/upload/rename/delete/create directory. Only allows anonymous connections. Our thanks to FatherPrax for suggesting this one.
Strace is a Linux diagnostic, debugging and instructional userspace tool with a traditional command-line interface. Uses the ptrace kernel feature to monitor and tamper with interactions between processes and the kernel, including system calls, signal deliveries and changes of process state.
exa is a small, fast replacement for ls with more features and better defaults. It uses colors to distinguish file types and metadata, and it recognizes symlinks, extended attributes and Git. All in one single binary. phils_lab describes it as "'ls' on steroids, written in Rust."
rsync is a faster file transfer program for Unix to bring remote files into sync. It sends just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring both sets of files to be present at one of the ends. Suggested by zorinlynx, who adds that "rsync is GODLY for moving data around efficiently. And if an rsync is interrupted, just run it again."
Matter Wiki is a simple WYSIWYG wiki that can help teams store and collaborate. Every article gets filed under a topic, transparently, so you can tell who made what changes to which document and when. Thanks to bciar-iwdc for the recommendation.
LockHunter is a file unlocking tool that enables you to delete files that are being blocked for unknown reasons. Can be useful for fighting malware and other programs that are causing trouble. Deletes files into the recycle bin so you can restore them if necessary. Chucky2401 finds it preferable to Unlocker, "since I am on Windows 7. There are no new updates since July 2017, but the last beta was in June of this year."
aria2 is a lightweight multi-source command-line download utility that supports HTTP/HTTPS, FTP, SFTP, BitTorrent and Metalink. It can be manipulated via built-in JSON-RPC and XML-RPC interfaces. Recommended by jftuga, who appreciates it as a "cross-platform command line downloader (similar to wget or curl), but with the -x option can run a segmented download of a single file to increase throughput."
Free Services
Temp-Mail allows you to receive email at a temporary address that self-destructs after a certain period of time. Outwit all the forums, Wi-Fi owners, websites and blogs that insist you register to use them. Petti-The-Yeti says, "I don't give any company my direct email anymore. If I want to trial something but they ask for an email signup, I just grab a temporary email from here, sign up with it, and wait for the trial link or license info to come through. Then, you just download the file and close the website."
Duck DNS will point a DNS (sub domains of duckdns.org) to an IP of your choice. DDNS is a handy way for you to refer to a serverouter with an easily rememberable name for situations when the server's ip address will likely change. Suggested by xgnarf, who finds it "so much better for the free tier of noip—no 30-day nag to keep your host up."
Joe Sandbox detects and analyzes potential malicious files and URLs on Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux and iOS for suspicious activities. It performs deep malware analysis and generates comprehensive and detailed reports. The Community Edition of Joe Sandbox Cloud allows you to run a maximum of 6 analyses per month, 3 per day on Windows, Linux and Android with limited analysis output. This one is from dangibbons94, who wanted to "share this cool service ... for malware analysis. I usually use Virus total for URL scanning, but this goes a lot more in depth. I just used basic analysis, which is free and enough for my needs."
Hybrid Analysis is a malware analysis service that detects and analyzes unknown threats for the community. This one was suggested by compupheonix, who adds that it "gets you super detailed reports... it's about the most fleshed out and detailed one I can find."
JustBeamIt is a file-transfer service that allows you to send files of any size via a peer-to-peer streaming model. Simply drag and drop your file and specify the recipient's email address. They will then receive a link that will trigger the download directly from your computer, so the file does not have to be uploaded to the service itself. The link is good for one download and expires after 10 minutes. Thanks to cooljacob204sfw for the recommendation!
ShieldsUP is a quick but powerful internet security checkup and information service. It was created by security researcher Steve Gibson to scan ports and let you know which ones have been opened through your firewalls or NAT routers.
Firefox Send is an encrypted file transfer service that allows you to share files up to 2.5GB from any browser or an Android app. Uses end-to-end encryption to keep data secure and offers security controls you can set. You can determine when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add a password. Your recipient receives a link to download the file, and they don’t need a Firefox account. This one comes from DePingus, who appreciates the focus on privacy. "They have E2E, expiring links, and a clear privacy policy."
Free DNS is a service where programmers share domain names with one another at no cost. Offers free hosting as well as dynamic DNS, static DNS, subdomain and domain hosting. They can host your domain's DNS as well as allowing you to register hostnames from domains they're hosting already. If you don't have a domain, you can sign up for a free account and create up to 5 subdomains off the domains others have contributed and point these hosts anywhere on the Internet. Thanks to 0x000000000000004C (yes, that's a username) for the suggestion!
ANY.RUN is an interactive malware analysis service for dynamic and static research of the majority of threats in any environment. It can provide a convenient in-depth analysis of new, unidentified malicious objects and help with the investigation of incidents. ImAshtonTurner appreciates it as "a great sandbox tool for viewing malware, etc."
Plik is a scalable, temporary file upload system similar to wetransfer that is written in golang. Thanks go to I_eat_Narwhals for this one!
Free My IP offers free, dynamic DNS. This service comes with no login, no ads, no newsletters, no links to click and no hassle. Kindly suggested by Jack of All Trades.
Mailinator provides free, temporary email inboxes on a receive-only, attachment-free system that requires no sign-up. All @mailinator.com addresses are public, readable and discoverable by anyone at any time—but are automatically deleted after a few hours. Can be a nice option for times when you to give out an address that won't be accessible longterm. Recommended by nachomountain, who's been using it "for years."
Magic Wormhole is a service for sending files directly with no intermediate upload, no web interface and no login. When both parties are online you with the minimal software installed, the wormhole is invoked via command line identifying the file you want to send. The server then provides a speakable, one-time-use password that you give the recipient. When they enter that password in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs and the download begins directly between your computers. rjohnson99 explains, "Magic Wormhole is sort of like JustBeamIt but is open-source and is built on Python. I use it a lot on Linux servers."
EveryCloud's Free Phish is our own, new Phishing Simulator. Once you've filled in the form and logged in, you can choose from lots of email templates (many of which we've coped from what we see in our Email Security business) and landing pages. Run a one-off free phish, then see who clicked or submitted data so you can understand where your organization is vulnerable and act accordingly.
Hardening Guides
CIS Hardening Guides contain the system security benchmarks developed by a global community of cybersecurity experts. Over 140 configuration guidelines are provided to help safeguard systems against threats. Recommended by cyanghost109 "to get a start on looking at hardening your own systems."
Podcasts
Daily Tech News is Tom Merrit's show covering the latest tech issues with some of the top experts in the field. With the focus on daily tech news and analysis, it's a great way to stay current. Thanks to EmoPolarbear for drawing it to our attention.
This Week in Enterprise Tech is a podcast that features IT experts explaining the complicated details of cutting-edge enterprise technology. Join host Lou Maresca on this informative exploration of enterprise solutions, with new episodes recorded every Friday afternoon.
Security Weekly is a podcast where a "bunch of security nerds" get together and talk shop. Topics are greatly varied, and the atmosphere is relaxed and conversational. The show typically tops out at 2 hours, which is perfect for those with a long commute. If you’re fascinated by discussion of deep technical and security-related topics, this may be a nice addition to your podcast repertoire.
Grumpy Old Geeks—What Went Wrong on the Internet and Who's To Blame is a podcast about the internet, technology and geek culture—among other things. The hosts bring their grumpy brand of humor to the "state of the world as they see it" in these roughly hour-long weekly episodes. Recommended by mkaxsnyder, who enjoys it because, "They are a good team that talk about recent and relevant topics from an IT perspective."
The Social-Engineer Podcast is a monthly discussion among the hosts—a group of security experts from SEORG—and a diverse assortment of guests. Topics focus around human behavior and how it affects information security, with new episodes released on the second Monday of every month. Thanks to MrAshRhodes for the suggestion.
The CyberWire podcasts discuss what's happening in cyberspace, providing news and commentary from industry experts. This cyber security-focused news service delivers concise, accessible, and relevant content without the gossip, sensationalism, and the marketing buzz that often distract from the stories that really matter. Appreciation to supermicromainboard for the suggestion.
Malicious Life is a podcast that tells the fascinating—and often unknown—stories of the wildest hacks you can ever imagine. Host Ran Levi, a cybersecurity expert and author, talks with the people who were actually involved to reveal the history of each event in depth. Our appreciation goes to peraphon for the recommendation.
The Broadcast Storm is a podcast for Cisco networking professionals. BluePieceOfPaper suggests it "for people studying for their CCNA/NP. Kevin Wallace is a CCIE Collaboration so he knows his *ishk. Good format for learning too. Most podcasts are about 8-15 mins long and its 'usually' an exam topic. It will be something like "HSPR" but instead of just explaining it super boring like Ben Stein reading a powerpoint, he usually goes into a story about how (insert time in his career) HSPR would have been super useful..."
Software Engineering Radio is a podcast for developers who are looking for an educational resource with original content that isn't recycled from other venues. Consists of conversations on relevant topics with experts from the software engineering world, with new episodes released three to four times per month. a9JDvXLWHumjaC tells us this is "a solid podcast for devs."
Books
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a comprehensive technical guide designed to help you optimize Microsoft's Configuration Manager 2012 according to your requirements and then to deploy and use it successfully. This methodical, step-by-step reference covers: the intentions behind the product and its role in the broader System Center product suite; planning, design, and implementation; and details on each of the most-important feature sets. Learn how to leverage the user-centric capabilities to provide anytime/anywhere services & software, while strengthening control and improving compliance.
Network Warrior: Everything You Need to Know That Wasn’t on the CCNA Exam is a practical guide to network infrastructure. Provides an in-depth view of routers and routing, switching (with Cisco Catalyst and Nexus switches as examples), SOHO VoIP and SOHO wireless access point design and configuration, introduction to IPv6 with configuration examples, telecom technologies in the data-networking world (including T1, DS3, frame relay, and MPLS), security, firewall theory and configuration, ACL and authentication, Quality of Service (QoS), with an emphasis on low-latency queuing (LLQ), IP address allocation, Network Time Protocol (NTP) and device failures.
Beginning the Linux Command Line is your ally in mastering Linux from the keyboard. It is intended for system administrators, software developers, and enthusiastic users who want a guide that will be useful for most distributions—i.e., all items have been checked against Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE. Addresses administering users and security and deploying firewalls. Updated to the latest versions of Linux to cover files and directories, including the Btrfs file system and its management and systemd boot procedure and firewall management with firewalld.
Modern Operating Systems, 4th Ed. is written for students taking intro courses on Operating Systems and for those who want an OS reference guide for work. The author, an OS researcher, includes both the latest materials on relevant operating systems as well as current research. The previous edition of Modern Operating Systems received the 2010 McGuffey Longevity Award that recognizes textbooks for excellence over time.
Time Management for System Administrators is a guide for organizing your approach to this challenging role in a way that improves your results. Bestselling author Thomas Limoncelli offers a collection of tips and techniques for navigating the competing goals and concurrent responsibilities that go along with working on large projects while also taking care of individual user's needs. The book focuses on strategies to help with daily tasks that will also allow you to handle the critical situations that inevitably require your attention. You'll learn how to manage interruptions, eliminate time wasters, keep an effective calendar, develop routines and prioritize, stay focused on the task at hand and document/automate to speed processes.
The Practice of System and Network Administration, 3rd Edition introduces beginners to advanced frameworks while serving as a guide to best practices in system administration that is helpful for even the most advanced experts. Organized into four major sections that build from the foundational elements of system administration through improved techniques for upgrades and change management to exploring assorted management topics. Covers the basics and then moves onto the advanced things that can be built on top of those basics to wield real power and execute difficult projects.
Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches, Third Edition is designed to teach you PowerShell in a month's worth of 1-hour lessons. This updated edition covers PowerShell features that run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, PowerShell v3 and later, and it includes v5 features like PowerShellGet. For PowerShell v3 and up, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and later.
Troubleshooting with the Windows Sysinternals Tools is a guide to the powerful Sysinternals tools for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. Sysinternals creator Mark Russinovich and Windows expert Aaron Margosis provide a deep understanding of Windows core concepts that aren’t well-documented elsewhere along with details on how to use Sysinternals tools to optimize any Windows system’s reliability, efficiency, performance and security. Includes an explanation of Sysinternals capabilities, details on each major tool, and examples of how the tools can be used to solve real-world cases involving error messages, hangs, sluggishness, malware infections and more.
DNS and BIND, 5th Ed. explains how to work with the Internet's distributed host information database—which is responsible for translating names into addresses, routing mail to its proper destination, and listing phone numbers according to the ENUM standard. Covers BIND 9.3.2 & 8.4.7, the what/how/why of DNS, name servers, MX records, subdividing domains (parenting), DNSSEC, TSIG, troubleshooting and more. PEPCK tells us this is "generally considered the DNS reference book (aside from the RFCs of course!)"
Windows PowerShell in Action, 3rd Ed. is a comprehensive guide to PowerShell. Written by language designer Bruce Payette and MVP Richard Siddaway, this volume gives a great introduction to Powershell, including everyday use cases and detailed examples for more-advanced topics like performance and module architecture. Covers workflows and classes, writing modules and scripts, desired state configuration and programming APIs/pipelines.This edition has been updated for PowerShell v6.
Zero Trust Networks: Building Secure Systems in Untrusted Networks explains the principles behind zero trust architecture, along with what's needed to implement it. Covers the evolution of perimeter-based defenses and how they evolved into the current broken model, case studies of zero trust in production networks on both the client and server side, example configurations for open-source tools that are useful for building a zero trust network and how to migrate from a perimeter-based network to a zero trust network in production. Kindly recommended by jaginfosec.
Tips
Here are a couple handy Windows shortcuts:
Here's a shortcut for a 4-pane explorer in Windows without installing 3rd-party software:
(Keep the win key down for the arrows, and no pauses.) Appreciation goes to ZAFJB for this one.
Our recent tip for a shortcut to get a 4-pane explorer in Windows, triggered this suggestion from SevaraB: "You can do that for an even larger grid of Windows by right-clicking the clock in the taskbar, and clicking 'Show windows side by side' to arrange them neatly. Did this for 4 rows of 6 windows when I had to have a quick 'n' dirty "video wall" of windows monitoring servers at our branches." ZAFJB adds that it actually works when you right-click "anywhere on the taskbar, except application icons or start button."
This tip comes courtesy of shipsass: "When I need to use Windows Explorer but I don't want to take my hands off the keyboard, I press Windows-E to launch Explorer and then Ctrl-L to jump to the address line and type my path. The Ctrl-L trick also works with any web browser, and it's an efficient way of talking less-technical people through instructions when 'browse to [location]' stumps them."
Clear browser history/cookies by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-DELETE on most major browsers. Thanks go to synapticpanda, who adds that this "saves me so much time when troubleshooting web apps where I am playing with the cache and such."
To rename a file with F2, while still editing the name of that file: Hit TAB to tab into the renaming of the next file. Thanks to abeeftaco for this one!
Alt-D is a reliable alternative to Ctrl-L for jumping to the address line in a browser. Thanks for this one go to fencepost_ajm, who explains: "Ctrl-L comes from the browser side as a shortcut for Location, Alt-D from the Windows Explorer side for Directory."
Browser shortcut: When typing a URL that ends with dot com, Ctrl + Enter will place the ".com" and take you to the page. Thanks to wpierre for this one!
This tip comes from anynonus, as something that daily that saves a few clicks: "Running a program with ctrl + shift + enter from start menu will start it as administrator (alt + y will select YES to run as admin) ... my user account is local admin [so] I don't feel like that is unsafe"
Building on our PowerShell resources, we received the following suggestion from halbaradkenafin: aka.ms/pskoans is "a way to learn PowerShell using PowerShell (and Pester). It's really cool and a bunch of folks have high praise for it (including a few teams within MSFT)."
Keyboard shortcut: If you already have an application open, hold ctrl + shift and middle click on the application in your task bar to open another instance as admin. Thanks go to Polymira for this one.
Remote Server Tip: "Critical advice. When testing out network configuration changes, prior to restarting the networking service or rebooting, always create a cron job that will restore your original network configuration and then reboot/restart networking on the machine after 5 minutes. If your config worked, you have enough time to remove it. If it didn't, it will fix itself. This is a beautifully simple solution that I learned from my old mentor at my very first job. I've held on to it for a long time." Thanks go to FrigidNox for the tip!
Websites
Deployment Research is the website of Johan Arwidmark, MS MVP in System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management. It is dedicated to sharing information and guidance around System Center, OS deployment, migration and more. The author shares tips and tricks to help improve the quality of IT Pros’ daily work.
Next of Windows is a website on (mostly) Microsoft-related technology. It's the place where Kent Chen—a computer veteran with many years of field experience—and Jonathan Hu—a web/mobile app developer and self-described "cool geek"—share what they know, what they learn and what they find in the hope of helping others learn and benefit.
High Scalability brings together all the relevant information about building scalable websites in one place. Because building a website with confidence requires a body of knowledge that can be slow to develop, the site focuses on moving visitors along the learning curve at a faster pace.
Information Technology Research Library is a great resource for IT-related research, white papers, reports, case studies, magazines, and eBooks. This library is provided at no charge by TradePub.com. GullibleDetective tells us it offers "free PDF files from a WIIIIIIDE variety of topics, not even just IT. Only caveat: as its a vendor-supported publishing company, you will have to give them a bit of information such as name, email address and possibly a company name. You undoubtedly have the ability to create fake information on this, mind you. The articles range from Excel templates, learning python, powershell, nosql etc. to converged architecture."
SS64 is a web-based reference guide for syntax and examples of the most-common database and OS computing commands. Recommended by Petti-The-Yeti, who adds, "I use this site all the time to look up commands and find examples while I'm building CMD and PS1 scripts."
Phishing and Malware Reporting. This website helps you put a stop to scams by getting fraudulent pages blocked. Easily report phishing webpages so they can be added to blacklists in as little as 15 minutes of your report. "Player024 tells us, "I highly recommend anyone in the industry to bookmark this page...With an average of about 10 minutes of work, I'm usually able to take down the phishing pages we receive thanks to the links posted on that website."
A Slack Channel
Windows Admin Slack is a great drive-by resource for the Windows sysadmin. This team has 33 public channels in total that cover different areas of helpful content on Windows administration.
Blogs
KC's Blog is the place where Microsoft MVP and web developer Kent Chen shares his IT insights and discoveries. The rather large library of posts offer helpful hints, how-tos, resources and news of interest to those in the Windows world.
The Windows Server Daily is the ever-current blog of technologist Katherine Moss, VP of open source & community engagement for StormlightTech. Offers brief daily posts on topics related to Windows server, Windows 10 and Administration.
An Infosec Slideshow
This security training slideshow was created for use during a quarterly infosec class. The content is offered generously by shalafi71, who adds, "Take this as a skeleton and flesh it out on your own. Take an hour or two and research the things I talk about. Tailor this to your own environment and users. Make it relevant to your people. Include corporate stories, include your audience, exclude yourself. This ain't about how smart you are at infosec, and I can't stress this enough, talk about how people can defend themselves. Give them things to look for and action they can take. No one gives a shit about your firewall rules."
Tech Tutorials
Tutorialspoint Library. This large collection of tech tutorials is a great resource for online learning. You'll find nearly 150 high-quality tutorials covering a wide array of languages and topics—from fundamentals to cutting-edge technologies. For example, this Powershell tutorial is designed for those with practical experience handling Windows-based Servers who want to learn how to install and use Windows Server 2012.
The Python Tutorial is a nice introduction to many of Python’s best features, enabling you to read and write Python modules and programs. It offers an understanding of the language's style and prepares you to learn more about the various Python library modules described in 'The Python Standard Library.' Kindly suggested by sharjeelsayed.
SysAdmin Humor
Day in the Life of a SysAdmin Episode 5: Lunch Break is an amusing look at a SysAdmin's attempt to take a brief lunch break. We imagine many of you can relate!
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments.
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud
submitted by crispyducks to ITProTuesday [link] [comments]

[OT]Ask Nate: Field Manual FM-02W SciFi Military Fiction

    Field Manual FM-02W

       SciFi Military Fiction

 
"What a gang of apes! Maybe if you'd all buy it this drop, they could start over and build the kind of outfit the Lieutenant expected you to be."      - Career Ship's Sergeant Jelal Starship Troopers 1959. Robert A. Heinlein
 

Intro

     Before we get started here, I want to send a huge shoutout to everyone who participated in FM-01W. Especially, WarriorPoet02 who has a in-depth knowledge of both modern and historical combat, as well as a validated expert (with actual experience) in modern Marine Combat. He was able to fill in some gaps in my knowledge and even I learned some stuff. On that point, while I may have a wide-range of general knowledge, I'm not an expert in things I'm not an expert in. Don't ever be afraid, no matter how much you think you know, to consult others. You can always learn more.
     Time for Hot Shots: Part Deux; SciFi. As for the quote, it comes from one of my all-time favorite SciFi MilFic books; which was turned into a campy movie that pretty much only shares the same title. The book itself was once on the Commandant of the Marine Corps reading list, because despite being an old SciFi action romp; there are a number of deep reflective themes in the book that transcended genera fiction. Themes that did not make it to the film. Neither did their awesome power armor.
     Enough about Starship Troopers. What am I going to cover here today? This guide and the Fantasy one are designed more to provoke inspiration and creativity, rather than to give you established precedent. These are just my recommendations, so feel free to pick and choose what you want. SciFi and Fantasy universes have their own rules, just stay consistent. I'll tell you how I (and a few others) have gone about using existing military concepts and apply them to straight up fiction. And remember, no matter how cool your tech is, the best stories are always about the people and their struggles.
 

Frame the Universe

     Before you take your first step out that airlock, you need to decide what your restrictions are. Unlike the other three guides which are locked to a single planet (Earth or your Fantasy world, don't make me go down a magic portal rabbit hole for other worlds there...) SciFi is usually out in space. But not always.
     Why is there conflict? You can write SciFi all day without political conflict (personal conflict, not so much). But military SciFi needs an excuse to break out diplomacy through other means. Just having a squad run around breaking sh*t and engineering chaos, while exciting, isn't very interesting. Who are your aggressors and why? Develop the reasons, they tend to make for a better read than just blatant xenophobia. Old Man's War has some interesting angles to this regard. I'm sure you can all cite a few more (Dune, also comes to mind).
     And as goes with all stories, your characters need to be relatable. So if you have no humans, there better be some threads you can attach to as a reader.
 

Force Building

It's like world building, but for the military.
Me, I like to ground things in a heritage of the existing. Why? Because it's what humans do, either because of heritage, relatability, or because we aren't very original. This is more relevant (I feel) in SciFi based off human futures (moreso than let's say High Fantasy), deviate accordingly.
Rank and Structure      Most of the best SciFi/Fantasy militaries are based on real world examples. Yes, you can start from scratch and create completely alien military structures. However, the more off-the-beaten-path you go, the harder it will be for the reader to relate to and follow. As much fun as it is to create a 27-tiered rank structure of a thirty-seven layered hierarchy, your readers aren't going to be able to keep track without constantly referring back to the 30-page appendix in the back of your novel.
So… Kreckel Jip Paccku of the 4th Gregglan Raggers… ok so a Kreckl outranks a Jiggag, but not a Opperg. And a Ragger unit is bigger than the J'hest, but subordinate to the Max Headroom?
     Yeah, confusing as hell without constant references. Titles like "Lord Imperator" or "Knight Commander" might not be modern ranks, but at least make enough sense for someone with an average IQ to follow. This is why you generally see authors stick to basic concepts of Private, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant in their works. It's not just that future military concepts are rooted in history, it's that the reader has to follow it.
     Is it ok to make up new unit types and ranks? Sure, just be careful not to make it insanely confusing. I have a universe where I replaced line company Captain (O-3) with a rank called "Aegis". It's the same rank, I just did away with the confusion created by also having ship "Captains" (O-6). The other officer ranks mostly follow the traditional Marine/Navy structure. (Ignore the two "non-combat" columns on the right.) This problem actually exists in our own military, though it seldom causes any actual problems. Navy Captains out rank Army, Air Force, and Marine Captains by three levels.
Navy or AirForce?      Who took the lead? In SG-1, it was the Air Force, so they were very focused around their behavior and structure (though the other US DoD branches and Russians were also in the picture). In many SciFi tales they try to shape their fleets around Naval traditions. Feel free to blend/meld them… just try not to be too confusing.
Mega-Stupendo Heroes      Is your MC overpowered? Overtrained? Do it, don't do it, I don't care. But seriously, be careful with it if you do. Master Chief is a great video game character whose story became relatable because he struggles with his humanity. Having said be cautious of making super soldiers, I've done it myself. Yet, they too struggle with what it means to be human and are vulnerable at the loss of those around them.
     I actually started this point to ponder on an old scifi show Space: Above and Beyond which struggled to try and stay "realistic". Real pilots take years to train. Typical pilots hit the fleet as senior First Lieutenants who're about to be promoted to Captain. You don't risk all that training sending pilots on infantry missions. The show did that a number of times. There were other weak plots I caught watching it as an adult who had served, that never dawned on me as a kid. (I still enjoy the hell out of S:AAB.) Yes, your MC might be an elite, super warrior… but there better be logical explanations for why before you end up with a magic Mary/Marty Sue.
Warrior Generals      I suppose this largely depends on the universe you build out, but even some of the most hardcore modern Generals don't see frontline combat. In the real world, you'd be lucky to see anyone above a Major on the ground/in the fight or a LtCol/Commander in the sky trading shots with the enemy. You tend to trade rank for boring desk jobs and rear-echelon leadership roles. The "warrior general" is really something of the bygone era and has more of a place in Fantasy, than SciFi. That's not to say the rules of your force can't dictate that, just be mindful. In Starship Troopers, everyone dropped and everyone fought. Pretty sure one of the big Generals bought it in a bug fight too.
 

Technology

      War, in the most extremely basic mathematical approach, is all about rendering more of the enemy combat ineffective than they can inflict similarly on to you. Conflict is all about the 5 D's: Defend, Delay, Disrupt, Destroy, or Divert. Technology has evolved over time to do those five things. I'll cover a handful of popular concepts, but this isn't even close to the full list.
Space Battles      Massive fleets of capital ships and squadrons of fighters are often woven into the fabric of an epic space opera. So how does one describe this dance of behemoths?
     Scarecrowsid, also pointed out: Using Navy structure as a base, the value of studying the ways in which a CIC and Bridge operate can have a significant effect on how battle sequences play out in Ship to Ship combat. There are a number of options here, but to name a few:
Drone warfare      On the note of space battles and the argument for human pilots vs drones: Light has a current finite speed. 299,792 kilometers per second. We'll assume no one is jamming your comms. That's still millisecond lag in close engagements. We put current drone operators as near as we can to avoid lag in terrestrial situations. Even then you get some lag. Not just data travel, it's processing too. I can't go into actual lag times or the differences in responsiveness for drone operators in CONUS vice in Theater (not only because it's likely classified, but because I don't know the details other than it exists). These are drones not engaged in 1-on-1 sorties. So imagine in your space combat drone vs piloted and how the signal-decision-command-execute delay is for a live pilot vs a drone that is getting further and further from the base station. If you have pushed the magic insta-communications "I believe" button, then go ahead…
Communications      Back to the speed of light… physics is a bitch. Ok, we can assume even in an FTL world, light still takes time to travel. Some EU gets around this a number of ways.
Power ArmoMECHs      I enjoy a nice suit (the HIMYM/Avengers gag was brought to you by MajorParadox). The US military is currently working on a few prototypes, but the biggest hangup is still power. It will likely continue to be a problem for the near future before we see Space Marines dropping on us. But this is your Nuka-Cola™ powered future. Bring on the Jeagers, Power Armor, and Battlemechs. Things you might want to toy with are scale issues (stepping on friendly forces), power (might still run out of those Fusion Cores), Ammo (it's still gonna run out), crossing large swaths of terrain (are you limited to human running speed, there still is a human in that suit), and the shortcomings of human anatomy (there still are restrictions on how much punishment a body can take even in the nicest padded cell and a body has to fit into the armor somehow).
Superweapons      I'll show you my Galaxy Gun if you let me see your Death Stars. (I'm already ashamed at that joke.) Yes, superweapons are a trope. As are the: Lost Superweapon, Forgotten Superweapon, Superweapon Surprise, and the Ancestral Weapon. I'd say not to, but the Mouse now owns an entertainment Empire born on the back of them. My advice…make sure your thermal exhaust port isn’t showing. (cringes) Ok, bad jokes aside; if you want to go the superweapon route, don't build me a third Death Star (cough, cough JJ?). What do I mean? Get to it, fight it, but don't dwell on it forever. (Seriously, don't spend pages on building it for me.)
Robotics      I actually was going to skip this for the sake of running long, but two of the reviewers pointed out it would be a good topic to cover. Macro and micro (regular and nano?) robots are likely to be a large part of space exploration since humans are fragile (we squish good) and take a lot of logistics to support. Human-sized or larger combat troops might just be the answer. On the other hand, smaller nanobots might be used for repairs/construction or in a swarm/cloud attack approach.
     (Will insert quote here if permission is given, don't like using people's words without their consent.) The gist of the argument made, however, is that continued human combat would be unlikely given a robust AI robo-troop force.
     It's a valid point. I could see it go a few ways as a story teller:
  1. You could write from a sentient AI robot perspective and keep to the above ConOps
  2. You could be one of the Robot Handlers. A commander of robotroops.
  3. Your society banned AI after a Terminator-like Rise of the Machines, so only basic (or no) robots are assisting humans in space.
     Also, from my buddy /Merklynn:
I'd throw Phillip K. Dick's short story "Second Variety" into the discussion. It's focus on a post-apocalyptic Earth, where a small rabble of surviving military from both sides try to rendezvous for a truce while avoiding the lethal "claws", disguised AGI killing machines, is about as close as I've seen PKD come to military sci-fi. The story isn't pure military sci-fi, but it is one of the earliest examples I can think of in which artificial intelligence has gone out of control, infiltrated humanity and constantly upgrading itself, making a terrifying enemy. The 1995 film adaptation Screamers is hit and miss, but the surviving enemy units being forced together and dealing with a total loss of communication with their superiors on Earth is one of the most compelling things about the story for me.
 
     Stuff I didn't cover: killer robots, nanobots, superviri, cyborgs, and more… I'd be here all week.
 

Battlespace

     Alright, back to your combat. So now you have your universe, how are you going to play in your sandbox? A lot of the stuff covered in the previous guide still applies (make sure to skim the comments of that guide for some great commentary on combat). Some additional things to consider:
 

BONUS: Mercs / Parma-Military Contractors

     penguinzeppelin asked me about Mercs. Well IRL, most Military Contractors (even the ones without guns) heavily draw from the retired/veteran pool. It's a steryotype for a reason. I would likely approach my characters as such, or conversely how difficult they had blending into a group of all vets -OR- as a company/grioup the hard time they had getting work without that on their CV.
     While entertainment media likes to portray corporate military orgs like crazy wildcards (yes, Blackwater was bad m-kay) the ones that don't adhere to strict business practices tend to flash and fade as they die the death of a million lawsuits. Blackwater did end up in very hot water.
     Mercs that don't have business acumen tend to become pirates, privateers, or freelancers at least in decent SciFi. Morals tend to get in the way (or become great story points). Is it a big team of hundreds and your MCs are just a small cog in the wheel (maybe they break off and go it alone)? Are they a small (12 or less) team that does independent contractor work? Do they look for a specific type of work that suits their personalities or are they so desperate for work that anything goes?
Big Orgs
Small Orgs
Again, this "article" is more designed to generate ideas and concepts to be applied to the normal rules of good story telling.
Questions, Comments, Complaints for your Congressman?
Ask your questions and I will get to them as soon as my day allows. Everyone is encouraged to participate and share your own thoughts. This is an open discussion. If people bring up good points, I will edit this accordingly. Also feel free to list your favorite SciFi military books, shows, etc in the comments.
the Military Fiction (MilFic) Field Manuals FM-01W - Modern Military Fiction FM-02W - SciFi Military Fiction - (this guide) FM-03W - Fantasy Military Fiction (High and Low) - TBD FM-04W - Historical Military Fiction - TBD – Will cover ancient armies (Roman/Egyptian) up to early-Industrial/pre-WWI
submitted by Nate_Parker to WritingPrompts [link] [comments]

New Atlantia: The ruins of Greenway "concept pitch" 01.01.03.1

name of the game:

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New Atlantia: The ruins of Greenway

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project pages:

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https://docs.google.com/document/d/13PHPZeRcitKKL6JtJd1Aod5JtPcPNMHfHqcG_4jYQQs/edit?usp=sharing

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some descriptive terms:

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an open source cross-platform title (also works on mobile), openGL powered and created in conjunction to blender

uses Godot Engine and is fully moddable through use of mod.io API (softwares)

makes heavy use of procedural generation and uses a random HEX seed that you can enter manually to set the generation environment up

persistent sandbox game with fully destructible environment including ablation of the ground and hill/mountain-sides through use of explosives, lasers, and drills/diggers

game makes use of other open source projects such as chromium for the integrated web-browser and tox for chat and voice. The game automatically starts an instance of I2P and plays exclusively over the darknet, though exit nodes should be available and darknet can be disabled for censorship related purposes, but games/server instances needs to have exit node enabled to allow censored players to join the I2P network through the exit node

the only advertising is the official greenway splash in teh beginning of the game when you start it up that explains a bit about the game and asks you to please join operation greenway and join the effort to create a green and good greenway

the game is meant to be played online, but there is a single player offline option as well

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licensing:

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open source honestyware
https://defuse.ca/honestyware.htm

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funding:

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the game will be funded by a 30 second timed monero miner that deposits the crypto into the operation greenway "trustfund". donations in other currency will be accepted and then converted directly into monero deposited into the secured fund for this project. no funds from teh project may be diverted into other government projects, but other relevant government projects may deposit funds into this one if their funding structure supports the transfer of funds to relevant projects. GreenSoft will receive 20%=
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mission:

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"to provide the most playable and fun sandbox on the open source market, and make the first fully open source 3D game of its kind, to simulate Greenway up from the ruins, and bring civilization back into outer space. to foster creativity and fun along with promotion of greenway and awareness to issues with various political systems in the civics mode of the game. to gather support for operation greenway through a donate and involvement buttons right on the front loading screen of the game"

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disclaimer and excitement:

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this may sound like a coders nightmare with all the parallel integrations and imbedded VMs running linux with open ended compilers within the code, but trust me, in the future, people will look back at this project as one of the most noble software engineering feats ever pulled off for the sake of open source community (and advertising a micronation!). the goal is to blow not only the people but developers themselves away with an entirely new set of in game mechanics based ont only on useability but underlying software paradigms like cloud resource computing and network cluster driven computation acceleration (experimental distant scene rendering over network). I guarantee that after all is said and done and if the project ever gets finished or damn near close, that the payoff will be big and the greatest reward will be hearing all the happy people talking about THE KILLER APP FOR ALL SYSTEMS.

one major issue is game overhead, and the fact that the game will need to run either a lot of processes or one large bloated process with an internal task manager to manually adjust game settings to get compatibilities just right and fine tweak the system; the game will be small enough and huge at the same time, with the inclusion of multiple tools and imbedded software releases in each version

this is a HUGE PROJECT for a HUGE OPERATION, one for all, and all for one, to promote and secure domestic tranquility, greenway's government will most likely be releasing "New Atlantia: The ruins of Greenway" before the artificial island is built, which will foster a flood of hoestyware payments and donations (honestyware payments disable the 30 second donation and cryptocurrency miner script)

don't feel daunted by the task. when you are in doubt, turn to something else on the LONG LIST OF THINGS TO DO or even just make some concept art sketchups on the computer or play the currently progressed version of the alpha/beta game

i think that an etherpad based editor for making the game would increase the flow of ideas sharing. more open source collaboration softwares should be researched and discussed for greenway and for the purpose of this document, particularly focusing on the digital side of things such as this game concept

!create this decade's killer app, "New Atlantia: The ruins of Greenway" and help support operation greenway's mission to gather attention in the international public's eye and earn free advertising forever!

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plotlines:

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based loosely off of ideas found in atlantis (a lost civilization), fallout 3 (video game), ark: survival evolved (video game), eve online (video game), space engineers (video game), half life 1/2 (video game), halo wars (video game), no man's sky (video game), aliens versus predator 2 (video game), metal gear solid 3: snake eater (video game), altered carbon (show on netflix), crysis series (video game), defcon (video game), portal (video game), xxx

an alternate universe with some parallel timeline characteristics (E.g. the lost civilization of atlantis, heisenburg {"heisenbohr"}, xxx)

antimatter warheads were launched in a global nuclear war on an alien planet in a distant galaxy far far away, star wars, with humanoids called prometheans who had advanced technology all over the planet because of developments in private industry that took off with the freedom in Greenway

you start off in the ruins of greenway, everything looks like fallout 3
you are born to parents who lived in the sewers (common spawning story at a random sewer in game)
you quickly learn to make fire and weapons from wood and rocks, moving to slingshots and crossbows, and later eventually graduating to ar-15s and plasma casters
raid the ruins to find useful items including tools, weapons, and ammunitions
you also learn to make a shelter, house, fort, and even an entire city with the blueprints you will discover throughout the game
later in the game, you will be able to build a spaceship, spaceport, and even a frigate and mothership, all in the spirit of space mechanics, where you first forge the pieces and then put them together either by template (blueprint) or manually by hand
like ark survival evolved, you will need to scavenge and hunt for resources on your own time
destroyed objects typically contain scavengeable parts

adventure through the ruins of a highly-advanced technological civilization
advance from meager sewer person to founder of New Greenway
re-create greenway in all its glory and adventure into space to explore and colonize

form a clan and play through the game to decide your faction. you can declare a truce with a player of that faction and work with them to earn respect in that faction again, getting to neutral and then friendly again. factions work like a tree with branches, you start in the trunk neutral with everybody and as you progress through the game, you naturally will align with one of the branches and finally a sub-set branch, where your position is indicated by a coloration of each branch (and a "leaf"?)

your goal is th befriend bots and real people to help you rebuild civilization and re-establish greenway, from anarchy to law and order. the game has persistent bots with progressively learning AI that will learn from your previous actions and interaction dialogues. you first make a city, then you unlock civics, and then your goal is to rebuild greenway and launch into space to colonize and scavenge for blueprints in engineers manuals and high tech including fully working antimatter powered ships in the holding bay of some ships.

game style is all vs all and cooperative through factions and clans, with PvAI and PvP gameplay, such as shooting a friend to steal their blueprints or having your fort attacked by a mob of angry AI. there is a setting to disable PvP in private servers but PvP is enabled in the official servers. there are "quests" you perform like in fallout 3 that progress you further towards colonizing outer space. players and AI can work together to build up civilization again from the ruins. one cooperative element is a donation library where books/blueprints are available from donations by players for checkout for limited periods of time (1 week of in game time). there is a clan management interface

greenway was an artificial island mass created in 1200bce relative to the game time by the prometheans as an escape from the authoritarians growing up around and warring among them. greenway eventually fell to the world war and the civilizations surely crashed beneath them. the startup videos show animations of greenway when it was green and good, being nuked with antimatter weapons in the year 1120bce. greenway took off into space but dies out due to an infection of aliens who are still lurking in intact ships within the galaxy waiting for you to discover the horror; by the year 400bce most of the underground cities died out and only the sewer dwellers in between remained; you are spawned in 0ce and the game has its own progression of time from there

you must first develop a boat and explore the surrounding islands to find the blueprints needed to create an airplane and fly to the nearby landmass about 250km away from greenway, then from there procedural generation takes place and all is free game, but there you will discover triangle craft blueprints and now you can fly around the world and into outer space once you reach the tech level to build them.

players can barter with each other and bot traders will trade with you too based on your disposition towards them; you can eventually find small towns with bazaars and markets to browse; open a store and start a business, evolve into an enterprise including enforcing security and/or mercenary contracts that you can pickup at a local bar or from select bots or any real player

players work together to make the civilization thrive again, from anarchy and ruins to a metropolis in outer space, greenway needs you to join the efforts on this game

realistic game mechanics where habitable worlds are within the goldilocks zone for their sun. deploy a garrison of bots you employ to terraform and colonze the planet's surface for greenway or your own nation

political simulator and sim city / tycoon like overview of your installation/s; Write a constitution for your state and federal government; Machine readable converter automatically marks up your document in AIML to simulate your text as a civilization (experimental); also you can choose the easy version which has templates of various useable texts for your political experiment!

the game is the first of its kind with an open universe fully destructible sandbox with persistent bots with deep-learning AI

the game also houses several mini games including the ganja seed card trader game (cryptocurrency backed seed growing and collector card game) and new atlantia: pirates which is based off of otys (board game)

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game features and mechanics:

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hire private security to protect your installations/bases/forts

work jobs to earn items

real time strategy war elements for fights like halo wars (video game)

imitate the jurassic world evolution game and make it possible to extract dinosaur DNA from fossils/amber and create dinosaurs (requires high tech level); downside is that in the future their could be hella dinosaurs everywhere

imitate the alien/predator movies and make it so that you can discover dead xenomorph or predator DNA and resurrect them by incubating in a sea mollusk or embryo, which you can discover the method by finding a journal or random chance

realistic DNA editor and genome sequence simulator that uses cloud resources of all gamers to compute and is redirectable to a local cluster computer with optional resource share (all resource sharing is adjustable in game with defaults based on hardware performance ratings versus settings and adjustable system overheads)

life on other planets; collect specimens to keep in a panspermic zoo and collect DNA from specimens to create splices

jumpgate codes and star maps for foreign systems (requires 0% discovery to have all solar system details)
puzzle solving and "hacking" to get into locked down areas, enable power, decode transmissions on your full-spectrum broadband transceiver, and disarm bombs for example

panspermia stuff with contagions on ships as a possibility which will form a biofilm in your shuttle and make you sick or cause a zombie plague

player ownership is primarily established by dominance but later on in the game there will be private security for hire to protect your shit and also police in the cities and sheriffs on the outskirts until the anarchist nomad zones which are areas that do not have enough established dominance or near enough to a city to be considered claimed territory since claims are too heavily disputed and non-enforced; you respawn naked back in the sewers where you started and need to work your way back up to get into your stashes until you are back in business

mining can be done for multiple reasons along with archeological digs to find artifacts and lost underground areas/cities

enable craft to dive into the oceans/lakes/rivers/streams for cover and enable underwater cities

bug reporting with screenshots and "frapping" (video/audio camera roll) built in and crash reporting directly to the team

underground cities and caves that go into pockets of underground water (clean water)
bullet time (single player only)

fog of knowledge (like fog of war)

grow a garden outside or indoors and even inside of your personal cruiser a few plants in a little closet, like cannabihopa plant that is effectively hops and cannabis in one with smokable buds rich in myrcene and thc/cbd/etc...

the ruins in space will be the most interesting, with scavenging having big payoff for big danger, like reactors that melted down after the craft were struck by antimatter rockets, and having to pass through a reactor room in your suit and get to the "Detox station" in time before you are fully radiated and your health drops to zero
i would also like to have HEV suits you discover in a partial map of the black mesa compound in a desert area on your home planet. the black mesa compound has all sorts of tech you can scavenge but is highly disputed by private military (bots) which also have robots and drones who will chase after you to kill you

the space component of the game will have dead highways of jumpgates that require power supplies to be repaired and the correct system and code sequence to be entered to bring you where you want to go. some gates have unlocked systems, but those owned by a foreign nation will have a passport code you will need to have a valid passport for to use or know a skeleton code (skeleton codes only work for their player and are a very rare random thing to find, sometimes the best place to look is a pirate ship or an anarchist lifeboat

you can fly all over the planet (flight simulation), but you start off in the ruins of greenway, in new atlantia, where the library of congress is, and you have to discover it among the ruins after you travel to a completely distant part of the map in your country of ruined greenway

advanced players will have entire industries under their control, and an "empire manager" is available as a "HUD" in game where micromanagement of your industry can take place all over in outer space and your commands be transmitted at the speed of light through a wormhole (you must create all the necessary infrastructure)

realistic solar systems and procedurally generated goldilocks planets that also enable non-goldilocks planets to be used with realistic heat, chill and bio-zones

heavy focus on user interface and user experience; futuristic steampunk look

other bots and players on the map can start forts and make cities and start their own nations, particularly the bots on other parts of the map who will work with or against you and your fledgeling nation of new civilization.

eventually there will be dinosaurs and aliens along with predators running around which will slow down everybody, and we need to try and ensure that the mechanics of the game make reproducing viable offspring require a high tech level to create so there are far less instances of "festering plagues"; aliens/predators and dinosaurs can sneak into your forts, cities, and even ships and come along for a ride to kill you and your crew and screw up everything; this feature will be disabled in at least one of the official servers to prevent infected plagues of servers which you die in 10 seconds every time since the aliens are everywhere since their bots and AI keep reproducing (evolutionary genetic based algorithm for AI traits)

discoveries and quest accomplishments along with defeating enemies and hitting certain wealth proportion and empire goals earn you XP which levels you up, building will increase your construction level for example, with no cap on available levels

extensive server administration interface with "resource injection" commands and "bot spawning" commands

dynamically changing environment with real erosion from water flows and seasons and weather and daytime nighttime, and procedurally generated fauna which are harvestable and actually follow population mechanics and statistics; it is possible to hunt animals down to extinction but unless every part of the animal is used, DNA can be extracted and it can be made again in a lab with high enough tech skill even viable to reproduce in the wild

splice dna from different fauna to create new creatures; custom create dna from scratch to make newer creatures with the creature designer

tame creatures to work for you and even ride them; use creatures to form a caravan and carry your stuff; creatures will stay loyal to you as long as you do not hit them much and cause damage, otherwise they will flee (some will immediately fight back based off of intrinsic aggression and predatory traits); imprint on creatures created in the lab often like the alien to make them your loyal children and unleash hell upon your enemies

your camouflage pattern will hide you when you are in a suit. change camo on the suit in the menu like in metal gear solid 3: snake eater; you will have an alertness indicator on your HUD that shows whether or not you have been seen and from who and what angle; become a master of sneak and sabotage, use your skills to rob installations and build up your stock (no penalty for selling stolen items as long as it is not sold to a narc or undercover who is aware of the theft)

there is an ingame internet based on TOR that a user can accumulate through raiding military journals to learn how to build a computer and a mesh-networking router (gigahertz {land/craft} @ 10GB/s & tertrahertz {space} @ 3.333333333333TB/s limited speeds) with b.a.t.m.a.n, which actually runs a simulation of this network protocol and realistic packet failure over wireless networking based on distance and obstruction type

drive a plethora of craft and design your own with either blueprints or from scratch, with every level of detail available (complete mechanical diagrams are modifiable and entirely custom designs can be implemented)

neural design in AI to solve complex puzzles by trial and error and probability based shortcuts to learn new foes and environments quickly as real life does; use of OpenAI (an e_musk/tesla company)

the ship can be set to autopilot either on a set route and defend itself and try to refuel and repair at a nearby station if available (costs items placed in the auto-barter section)

dynamic economy simulation and insights once you attain a high enough bartering skill, when greenway is up and running, a metatrader (software) like interface of available tradeable resources and their relative values tied to the closest thing to a credit in the game, a unitoshi which is the base numeric value of all items traded in game and used to compare item's values to one another by the in game engine

there is a low light amplifier (like in avp2 video game), and vision modes (like in avp2) along with cyborg enhancements such as a telescoping eye with rangefinder and "FLIRed" (technology name for forward looking infrared) binoculars for the poor men who need to stash their tech

dying does not affect your levels and knowledge, because you are re-created as a clone at a cost, including debts where people will come after you after a long enough time has gone by from your last clone, this is from altered carbon (show on netflix), where your new clone body is called a sleeve, and your consciousness is uploaded via satellite and other wireless transmitters to the clone corporation which is always anarcho-capitalist and always has more power than the government because it owns all the "reboots"; rebooting into a sleeve is a phrase in the game; this is equivalent to respawning, but it incurs debt for the bounty to recover your disk. there is always rolling charge to upload your consciousness which is rolling autosaving but on average through an insurance algorithm your rolling update will pay off more than the bounty to recover your disk each time you die, and the charges are lower the less often you die vs the bounty on your disk which only rises each time you die till it is maxed out at like 100,000,000 credits which you have to get by bartering or working for the company collecting disks for bounty; the disk is dropped in a nearby system and you have to go and pick it up for a pittance, or with a high enough tech level and enough contract experience, you can go on deep space missions and travel to distant star systems to collect as many disks as will fit in your cargo bay; disks are a genetically engineered biological computer that stores information quantumly through nanocellulose and diamene coating to make nanotubes that are indestructible and can operate in the tetrahertz microwave range, they are also bioluminescent and ink photovoltaic based, capturing their data through a biological optic cavity system near the pineal gland. they must be inserted as a clone is growing and the pineal gland must have this disk copied into the new biologically formed disk through transcranial magnetic stimulation

plenty of maze like portions of procedurally generated dungeon like caverns and interiors of buildings with no labels inside vast underground cities; plenty of dungeon crawling style excitement; use portals like in portal (video game) to cross into difficult areas secured within the black mesa compound

puzzle solving will also be an important step in fixing things that you do not have a blueprint for

join and exit formations at your leisure and command armies from near and afar

form a strategy and create a work team to build your forts and cities

global map overview like defcon (video game) has the ability to strategically place your formations around a planet, and a 3d outer space voxel based layout grid allows you to command in space and the air, with the grid center projected from the center of the galaxy

build and battle mech suits like the alice combat system (avp2 video game) and iron man (comic book) or animatrix (movie) suits

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game features:

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in game DTV broadcast systems project national games and tournaments when they come online in the official servers, and can be hacked to display avi, mkv, and mp4 files of the users desire; smart tv systems that can recognize spoken words from the user mic and follow commands

computers in game have access in an in game internet with websites createable by the user and virtual camera phone/tricorder devices that can capture pictures, audio from the mic, and record video; use webcams to create a security surveillance grid (uses ispyconnect and/or ZoneMinder and virtual camera/s in the game); use a laptop in the field to pilot a drone or an army of drones from your cluster computer in your tribe's fort; there is an in game instance of openStack running enabling limited cloud computing for the DNA sequence calculations; create a real life cloud service computer system or order one to gain computing power in the game (can be a profit point for the team to maintain the dedicated server); multiple cameras available to access reminds me of red faction (video game) or even duke nukem 3d (video game); get military security with encrypted computers running veracrypt, prevents computers from being nearly as hackable; KeePass software protects the computer from easy break ins and bruteforcing is required from another computer; each computer running needs a small amount of system resources and there is cluster computing under openstack (software project) within the game as well as cloud servers hosting the game to bruteforce 8-char max passwords; computers store data on cloud servers hosted by "GreenSoft" alongside the dedicated servers and outproxy nodes for "bridging" into the I2P network; experiment in distributed computing to enable network accelerated VMs though virtualbox tweaks and re-writes

in game internet is wifi mesh networking over b.a.t.m.a.n with (sharded?) tahoe-lafs storage for each user account on each dedicated server cluster

learn to hack in the game using legitimate hacker tools like the kali linux (distro) collection where you collect programs you find in military bases and on holodisks scattered throughout the game

the storage of user datas is distributed throughout the network via multiple redundant shards or shard seeders. the network automatically balances the shards based on checksums of data stored locally on their machine within a veracrypt container that only the zero-trust distributed system knows the master key to (the ceremony is a distributed trust system where all peers generate a portion of a master key, the more people contribute the better, this is part of the initialization time for the game and all servers for through a ceremony

there is an ingame spoof of cryptocurrency where fake FLOPS are taken from machines you build or find/steal/hack and a monero style cryptocurrency using moneta verde mining schema, you have to collect this greencash source code from the state bank ruins in New Atlantia

interstellar mesh networking using lasers as optical network inside the jumpgates which connect to a wormhole device that pipes the signal as UV lasers

smartphones in the game are achieved via QEMU in VM running a legitimate version of replicant that can run apps off of the internal flash or holodisk memory

make microchips in a lab that the gnu octave engine will simulate outputs for and translate to useable elements in game like outputs in a serial console on an atmega (microchip brand name); specifically the microchips will be simulated down to the assembler level and FPGA language (Verilog) will be used to code the logic circuits

audio and video streaming provided via tox and all streams are password protectable

the programming studio built into the game computers debian linux mint is eclipse studio (software) for all programming languages comes with compilers for all major human programming languages, enabling people to create homebrew ingame; includes godot, blender, and mod.io api. capable of compiling FPGA Verilog and running an instance of QEMU and virtualbox within itself;

antimalware engine in game computer is based on real antivirus definitions for linux (clamav, Chkrootkit, xxx)

in game linux has clone mirrors to real versions of the software available to people, with the server administrators manually enabling or disabling separate packages to make available to their users (uses more disk space the more packages are available; repositories point towards the dedicated server and fetch through regular I2P; dedicated server serves as a whitelister and access restriction program that only allows connections to eepsites created using the same server token, effectively creating a sub-darknet because outside access is restricted by token signed in conjunction with the user account public key for that server instance

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program features:

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updates implemented through torrents and auto-update scripts and automatic md5 hash checking for integrity with fetch from main server; source code borrowed from qBittorrent; xxx

game available over torrent as alternative to synaptic package manager or download from the ftp/http web server (resume supported from server)

game music is streamed via TOX to all connected clients via the dedicated servers song tracklist; mp3, oog, and wav are all supported (along with experimental midi + instruments over network); single player server runs an instance of tox signed in as the music stream ande you can select the songs like the server admin

sleek interface integrates dedicated server to gameplay and you can play as the mod and spawn items while controlling your server from the same in game UI

possible to run in a VM with guest extensions for 3d rendering installed (makes compatibility for other hardware and distributions "complete")

can order DVD from "greensoft" that means paying postage and cost of the DVD (lightscribed), that is a live CD (debian linux mint) that has the game installed to run with all necessary dependencies and install distro to disk (for the drafts of the greenux OS); .iso is available for download from "greensoft" website

extensive use of procedural generation for textures, landscapes, fauna, in game buildings and crafts, internal mazes, etc...

built in chatbots with bot characters are marked up in AIML and become unique based on independent interactions you have with them

built in spellcheck! and markup check! (borrowed spellchecking from chromnium)

in game console with accessible scripting engine in GDScript (Godot native scripting engine) help includes "cheats" which includes how to enable cheats and each individual cheat with its parameters explained

extended options with expert mode including expanded server operator options

nginx server running to host friendica page for game social media functions, routes over I2P; web server administration like webmin and ispconfig; web site generator WYSIWYG editor for making a frontpage and complete website in game;

in game computers use virtualbox to make a debian linux mint instance run within the game on the player's screen

"anon grade" secured against data leaks and tracking, being the first video game known to be used exclusively on the darknet (outproxy nodes are run by the official servers that are made available as "bridges" into the network); defuse passgen code used to generate hexadecimal keys and also used for cryptography in game

dedicated physics simulation with GNU Octave code and interpreter for events like craft maneuvering and weapons collisions, is used for the waveform in audio playback and for compiling screens on electronics in game (live textures);

an instance of hashcat is included within the game VM to literally bruteforce codes in the game

aircrack-ng is included as an instance to run on your in game computer to crack into neighboring networks including ancient military service lines which go into every sector of the known universe

extensive support for trainers and "auto-minedefender" bots/scripts which are allowed in the official servers

compatible with VR (opens two renders from different vertical positions)

video monitor selection in game and 4k support, triple monitor support

gnu octave used to simulate circuits for design for your electronics
see an electronic simulation software package for GNU octave @ https://github.com/jlmayfield/quantumCircuitSandbox

decentralized login server for cross platform gamers using blockchain technology, auto syncronize with gamer profile in the game; credentials stored with KeePass (software) to protect from hackers

in game chat using tox has nicks for all server players and also there is a global server chat. experiment with chat rooms including audio and video in tox. chat supports announcements that can be recurring or once with scheduling; hexchat (software) repurposed with TOX for the protocol; password locked chats and openPGP interior text encryption support; alternative to tox.io is the eepsite that the integrated browser seamlessly navigates to and enables you to search for friends ingame online

game will run in windows under Cygwin, and all released files are compiled for cygwin

cheats in console require server cooperation or they won't enable; private servers can disable individual commands from running or keep their values within ranges

hard imbed in the source code of each release the most current draft constitution of greenway and when greenway is finally established, hard code in the constitution into the source code (use commenting on the whole thing, put at very bottom of source code, make non-essential to run game {can be stripped out by compilers on demand})

console versions (xbox one and playstation 4) will run an instance of debian linux mint with no xwindows just the game screen, but it should be hackable re-initialize the desktop of lxde which is available through command switch when you execute the game binary (hold down "control" key combination on controller to enable pre-initialization console and use the console screen of your keyboard to type in the command which is available from the greensoft website), and adds wireless keyboard and mouse support for usb devices, allows people to softmod their system using the game as a side loader instead of the system default dashboard

complete forking guide and detailed documentation for all aspects of the game and included programs including the console and a detailed section on "cheats" like god mode and noclip; all lines in source code are commented in a clear and concise fashion that is machine readable

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message to developers:

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are you interested in working for this project but not sure if you are up to joining? talk to ghost liberty in operation greenway chat @ https://discord.gg/9RtrTZh or email them at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). make sure to make your subject about "new atlantia game" and we will get back to you about opportunities to join and help foster our project. this game is a much smaller part of a much bigger project to create a new nation for citizens of the world. please understand that you may be paid little to nothing if you work on this game but your name will be legendary for all time amoung the opensource community

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xxx

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