WSUS and ConfigMgr – additional product listing for Windows 10 1903 [EN]

Microsoft has posted on their Windows IT Pro blog about a new temporary requirement related to Windows 10 1903. This new Windows 10 version will have changes to UUP (Unified Update Platform), which require to introduce new product in the list of Windows – Windows 10, version 1903 and later. Administrators will have to enable that product along with regular Windows 10 product to be able to sync updates for 1903 version (once they have upgraded their machines). This is a temporary requirement and there will be no similar product for 1909 version and newer. Once you upgrade to 1909 you should be able to uncheck this product and leave only regular Windows 10 selected. This applies both to WSUS and Config Manager (SCCM). But ConfigMgr also has to be updated to at least 1902 version to support this new product. Even if your older ConfigMgr is showing 1903 upgrade as available. This requirement is about updates that will come out later for 1903 version and not related to upgrade itself.

NOTE: after a few comments on MS blog it seems that maybe this new category will be used not temporary, but for all next feature updates going forward. And then old “Windows 10” category won’t be needed. Still waiting on clarification from Microsoft.

Google Analytics alternative – Matomo [EN]

I have started this blog in September of 2015 by installing WordPress on my hosted domain (which i had for 7 years then and only used for email, sharing files and occasionally trying some stuff like web RSS client). I’ve used my providers (IV) Installatron service to install and configure everything. At first i wasn’t very interested in statistics, wasn’t expecting to get many visitors. So only about a year after i’ve decided to hook my site to Google Analytics, which i have used a bit at work. I have also installed Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin in WordPress and added a widget to my Dashboard. It is nice. Minimal, but has a lot of views and slices. Sometimes can be buggy and show you two days old information as one day old. But it is convenient to quickly glance at the stats when going into WP dashboard. Maybe once in a month i would also go to Google Analytics page and view more graphs and details.

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Testing free trial of Google Cloud [EN]

I already did an overview of basic features and possible issues of AWS and Azure offerings for a free tier or trial. This is not an in-depth and detailed review and comparison of platforms. Just a first look from a completely new to this thing person’s view. I’m not sure why i have skipped Google’s option at that point. Maybe i thought there is no free or trial tier. It appears there is. If you are signed in into your Google account, you can go to https://cloud.google.com/ and press the “Get started for free” button. Google gives you 300$ credit for 12 months and tells you a few times, that it won’t automatically convert you into a paying customer and charge you suddenly.

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Current state of Windows 10 Feature Updates in WSUS [EN]

After quitting my job i didn’t have a chance to manage WSUS again. But i was curious how Windows 10 updates were handled in the recent months. So, i have spun up a Windows Server 2019 VM and installed WSUS. In the image above you can see all 1809 versions (Fall 2018 Update) currently available. 1809 first was released in the beginning of October and i was annoyed by the fact that by the end of that month there were still no separate install packages for x86 and x64 (which were introduced for previous versions to cut the size of install). It shows that separate x64 packages were released on November 27th. So it took Microsoft almost 2 months to do this. By that time i would usually already have all my PCs updated to the latest version. Ideally i would like to have separate packages be available at the same release date. Or we don’t even need combined packages. Anyway, turned out 1809 was a mess, so nobody hurried to install it. You can see that there was another build release in 2019 March (2019-03B), which probably had fixes for all 1809 nasty issues included. Interestingly, this time they released just separate packages for x86 and x64 at the same time and no combined one. Maybe they will keep this procedure. Will keep this VM around to check later. Obviously, there is no 1903 packages yet in the general Windows 10 product category (it is still in testing and wide release is planned for a second half of May). Although i saw “Windows 10 1903 and later” category in the list, but haven’t tried to sync it. This can be handy though. If your network only has PCs with say 1809, you don’t have to sync older updates, if you are setting up new WSUS service. Just pick the 1809 and later category and get only relevant ones.

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Enabling SSL could be easier than expected [EN]

Today i have enabled SSL for my blog, which is based on WordPress installed locally on my domain. I was postponing this task for a while now coping with browser warnings, because i always thought this would be a very complex thing, would involve lots of manual config tweaking and so on. But after some brief reading it actually took me 10 minutes in total probably. Partly because of the existence of Let’s Encrypt. This free and automated Certificate Authority is serving millions of pages with automatically renewing certificates at no charge. Many hosting providers already have tools to use this CA. So, i went to my domain provider’s (Interneto vizija) DirectAdmin panel, SSL Certificates menu. Enabled Secure SSL option and selected the option to use Let’s Encrypt’s service. After pressing Save it has generated SSL certificate for my domain and stored it on the server. Then i went to Plugins menu in WordPress admin panel and installed Really Simple SSL plugin. Activated it and pressed a button to activate SSL for my site. That’s it. My website started using https and old links pointing to http are now redirected to https. Of course, i could probably do this manually. But why bother if i can just click a button 🙂 There are also a few more additional settings and even more in a Premium version of this plugin. Actually there was another thing to do that i have read in that blog post earlier.  Went to my Google Analytics page > Admin > Property Settings and changed Default URL to https. Now, let’s see if my certificate actually renews automatically in 3 months.

Testing free tiers of Azure and AWS [EN]

I’ve heard and read a lot about Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud services, but never really had to look into them. On my previous job we only just have started using local provider’s cloud services and Azure was only on our minds. So, being a complete noob in this area i have decided to give it a try, especially as i have found out they have a temporary free tier or trial modes. I also needed to run a few tests on recent Windows Server versions for www.igniterealtime.org products (Openfire) and i didn’t want to pirate just to be able to install into my virtual machine. This won’t be a helpful read for seasoned cloud users, but might be insightful for those thinking to dip their toes into this. Especially on the “free” matter. Read More

WSUS 3.0 SP2 mandatory SHA-2 support update [EN]

Microsoft is planning to stop using SHA-1 algorithm when signing their updates (to prove they were not tampered with). Based on support article though it seems it only affects older, stand alone version of WSUS (3.0 SP2). If you are using WSUS as a role on Windows Server 2012 or higher, it should be 4.0 version and probably already supporting SHA-2. Anyway, there is still time before the switch. Microsoft should release SHA-2 support for 3.0 version of WSUS and older operating systems (Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/R2) in March/April of 2019 as security updates and the switch to use only SHA-2 signing will be executed on June 18, 2019.

What’s on my phone [EN]

After watching similar video on Youtube recently i’ve decided to also post such thing 🙂 There won’t be many apps though. I never was big apps user with my last devices. But with my latest purchase of Google Pixel XL (1st gen) i’ve even decided to go past that. Less changes from standard behavior, more usage of Google’s intended features and less apps (just what i absolutely need). So it might look a bit too ascetic. Read More

Next game – The Oracle of Delphi [EN]

I haven’t posted a review before after just playing a few games (actually still on my second play of it right now). But this game already looked interesting and intriguing after watching a few reviews and seeing comments. Once i tried it, i knew my hunch feeling wasn’t wrong. The Oracle of Delphi is an unusual game for Stefan Feld. Although some mechanisms remind usual for him point salad euro style aspects, this one is actually a race. Yes, you don’t have to compete who will have more points at the end, you just have to be the first. One can say that main mechanism in this game is pick up and deliver. You take something from one place, then sail and deliver to another. And for more fun there is also a luck element. You have to find your islands to build temples by looking randomly at cards or have to roll a die when fighting monsters. But you also can find special abilities which help in search or take heroes into your team to help you with fighting. Even your main source of resources in this game is 3 dies, which you roll at the beginning of every turn to get “mana” to be able to do various actions. Again, you can alter the results with special tokens. But the main idea behind the game is – planning and effectiveness. When to sail to the opposite corner of the map to gather offerings for the gods, should you stop on the way to slay a monster, which can give you an ability to sail faster? Have your opponents already completed most of their task and now you have to take a risk and fight monsters with bare hands? This is what attracts me in this game the most. And this can scare beginners in the board games world or those who dislike being presented with too many options (same problem in Five Tribes). I myself still find it hard to be able to keep everything in mind. The map is so confusing with all the different colors. And vast selection of options can make you dizzy at first. Good thing is that by the end of the game there are less options and you can be more focused on a few things. Overall game’s time and complexity are well balanced. It doesn’t feel too long or too short. Well, i would still remove the last part with having to go back to Zeus after completing all your 12 tasks (build 3 temples, deliver 3 offerings and 3 statues and slay 3 monsters). I get that it’s thematic (in a fairly abstract game) and gives one hope to still win by a small chance if your opponent has completed all tasks before you. But it is a bit anticlimactic having to do that one last sail after you have actually completed everything. That’s a minor thing though. I have probably tried just one other Feld’s game (Castles of Burgundy, not my cup of tea), but this one truly captivated me. Planning and racing. Good combination – 9/10.

Next game – San Juan [EN]

I’ve always heard comparisons between San Juan (or Puerto Rico – The Cards Game) and Race for the Galaxy and was wondering is it true, that they play so similarly. Many even prefer the former game. I saw a few reviews and knew mechanisms, but it wasn’t the same as to play it yourself. So, i was happy to see it appearing on Yucata. And.. i was disappointed. It was nothing like Race for the Galaxy. Well, after playing 6-8 games i kind of started to like it a bit more. And with more buildings from the expansion (which is included now with the base game) it has some variety. But Race for the Galaxy still has something more. Yes, in San Juan you also build producing buildings (settle planets), produce goods (same), sell goods for cards. It is also similar how one selecting an action gets a bonus and others can take regular action. You also use cards to pay for building. There are also 6 points buildings that give your lots of points at the end of the game. It is hard to pin point the difference, but RftG (Race for the Galaxy) just feels more dynamic, you work with more very different cards, it seems that you also draw more cards during the game and have more choices. There is also military power in the base game of RftG, which gives another path to victory. And 6 points buildings in RftG just are more exciting. RftG also has another category with developments. I guess all not producing building in San Juan can be called developments, but many of them are so simple and standard. There are also a lot of just straight points at the end buildings (monuments). Actions in San Juan feel a bit more bland than in RftG. I rarely take Councillor action as it is easier to just produce and trade and get lots of cards this way. And in RftG you always choose also your own action, not just do what other player selected. The theme itself is not giving me much either. And the whole art style and color palette is very pastel and bland. I don’t want to bash on this game, it is still a very good card game and i can see how one can prefer its maybe milder play and easier icons (or no icons actually) to RftG, but i prefer the latter. 7/10