User is required to permit SSO

Getting January sign in issues ?

Recently i’ve been getting SSO sign in issues in Microsoft Teams, Outlook and Remote Desktop App.

Error code: CAA2000C
Server message: User is required to permit SSO.

I’m running Windows 11 and it seems to be caused by: 2024-01 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 11 Version 23H2 for x64-based Systems (KB5034204)

Uninstall the KB, restart and everthing is back to working again.

it may be related to:

Reigniting The Passion for Science and Technology

It’s safe to say that science and technology have proven invaluable to humanity for thousands of years. When we look at examples of “innovation” just a few hundred years ago, it’s a much different dynamic than the innovation of today. Thinking about just a few short decades ago, let alone a thousand years ago, a lot of people may understandably not be impressed.

But everything we benefit from today has to start from somewhere. And similarly, centuries from now people will be looking at all our ‘fancy’ science and technological innovations without the same ‘wow’ factor we may have. In today’s article, we want to go over the great advancements of today. Explore work we are seeing from institutions such as the Pacific Science Center and Microsoft with Microsoft Ignite.

Why is all this important?

The simplest answer to this question is that science and technology just make our lives easier and more comfortable. I mean, just take the last few years as an example, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology made it possible to endure restricted movement and still keep in touch with our loved ones through video calls, phone calls, texts, etc.

Furthermore, it wasn’t just families and friends that benefited. A lot of businesses were able to maintain operations by having their employees working from home. These kinds of solutions helped maintain the sanity of countless millions. It simultaneously enabled businesses to keep the doors open.

The beauty of all this is that people all across the globe can benefit from great tech. Because of things like online courses, e-books, e-libraries, and more, people no longer need to travel great distances to acquire the knowledge.

It could be as simple as powering on a device with internet access. And you can meet people that you may previously never had the opportunity to learn from otherwise. Science and technology can help entire countries grow their economies. It’s innovation that improves healthcare, ensures food security, creates employment, and so much more.   

Pacific Science Center

When we talk about creativity and innovation in the field of science, it would be remiss to not mention the work being put in at the Pacific Science Center. This place provides an independent, not-for-profit institution that serves nearly 1 million people in the Pacific Northwest and beyond each year.

For over 60 years, it has been promoting innovation by trying to increase accessibility to science so that we can continue to build solutions to some of life’s greatest challenges. By attempting to get people interested in science from an early age, this institution can tap into the greatest minds out there. We can look forward to science and technology evolving at an even greater pace, making our lives significantly better.


All one has to do is visit the center, and the warm hospitality that will greet you should be enough to arouse the natural curiosity that exists in us all. At the center, there are several exhibits to be explored and immersive STEM experiences that are uniquely designed to stimulate the imagination. These experiences include:

The Tropical Butterfly House

This place is home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies that have been placed in their tropical habitats. The countless eye-catching butterflies with their rich colors are a sight to behold. Visitors can take advantage of the butterfly and plant identification guides to test their scientific skills of observation.

The Willard Smith Planetarium

Here, the visitors will get an incredible opportunity to discover space in a way that they’ve probably never done before through live, immersive experiences. You can indulge your curiosity about space by going off to the furthest parts of the universe, or you can stay closer to home and go exploring the planets in our solar system. To give you the best possible experience, the shows will be live and the content can be tailored to the interest of the guests.

The hands-on Tinker Tank Makerspace

This wonderful experience allows you to get physically involved by attempting the various engineering and design challenges. Guests can also pick up new skills that can help them build something from nothing and then develop that creation into something even more impressive. By carrying out experiments and getting involved in the innovative process, guests will get a complete experience of not just observing but doing as well.

The Salt Water Tide Pool

Here, guests will be given the exhilarating experience of getting a closer look at the local marine life from the Puget Sound region. You’ll have the chance to explore the vast marine life that exists in tide pools found at the local beaches. Guests can get up close and personal with these marine animals, learn more about them, and see how they act in this Salt Water Tide Pool that has been designed to replicate the conditions in the Puget Sound region where these animals are from.

Clearly, one of the main objectives of having these experiences is to encourage people to ask questions, test theories, and reassess just about everything they have come to accept in their lives. This is how humanity has changed things for the better over thousands of years.

There is a constant need for people to question what many may consider irrefutable facts. It is in doing so that discoveries are made, and innovation is brought into existence.

This is something that the Pacific Science Center (PacSci) has been trying to ignite in children since its birth at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. When it came into existence, it was the U S’ first science and technology center.

For over 60 years since then, PacSci has devoted a lot of effort to increasing the accessibility of science. It continues to ensure that the center can function as a vital resource for educators. The goal of this is to encourage discovery as well as experimentation while taking advantage of the available resources to essentially become one massive community laboratory.

Tech innovation

When it comes to technological innovation, there are few, if any, who can make a case for being better than the people working at Microsoft. For decades now, this tech giant has been one of the leaders in this space, bringing to market products and services that have introduced significant changes to not only how we operate our businesses but how we interact with technology in our homes.

And every year, Microsoft hosts an annual conference known as Microsoft Ignite for developers and IT professionals where we get introduced to the latest and most exciting tech innovations. Furthermore, for attendees, this presents an opportunity to engage with Microsoft leaders and experts, learn new things in hands-on labs, and get a first-hand experience of what the future may hold.

But it’s also worth noting that Microsoft Ignite does not only target the IT pro or developer. You’ll find content that will be helpful for individuals in all roles, including administrators, implementers, data architects, application engineers, cloud architects, senior advisors, security professionals, and decision-makers. So, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Additionally, you’ll get the benefit of networking with people from all across the globe who are experts in different areas of technology. The deep technical training, breakout sessions, keynotes, and immersive learning experiences will ensure that attendees get the best experience learning from the teams that are responsible for product-building.

Microsoft wants to help interested parties attend Microsoft Ignite so much that they even have a Convince your manager template to support you. This is specifically aimed at individuals who want to attend the event, but whose bosses may be reluctant to let them go.

Accommodation has also been arranged conveniently within the downtown Seattle area. So, Microsoft Ignite attendees remain within walking distance to Summit, Seattle Convention Center.

Microsoft Ignite 2023

The Microsoft Ignite conference typically runs over a few days and in 2023. The Microsoft Ignite event is in Seattle from November 14th to 17th. Unsurprisingly, the in-person attendance is already sold out. So, Microsoft Ignite is encouraging any other interested parties to attend virtually.

Attendees can expect to have sessions, discussions, and interactions. These sessions will increase their knowledge, build a greater network of connections, and enhance the vision they may have for a future. And it’s a future exploding with technological excellence. Experts will be available to help you understand how to leverage the latest technologies. You will also have guidance so that your business can strive towards achieving core objectives.

And with all the multidisciplinary experts in attendance, you are bound to gain more than you expect in such a short time.

Some of the key sessions to look forward to include:

  • Unlock Productivity with Microsoft Copilot – presented by Rajesh Jha, Executive Vice President, Experiences + Devices, and Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President, Modern Work and Business Applications. This session will enable attendees to learn how to unlock productivity and transform business processes for everyone across functions and industries.
  • The future of security with AI – presented by Charlie Bell, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Security, and Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance, Identity & Privacy. In this session, there will be plenty to learn concerning how Microsoft is delivering AI for security with Security Copilot. Also discover how enabled organizations will secure and govern AI with new capabilities.
  • AI transformation for your organization with the Microsoft Cloud – presented by Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud + AI Group. For this session, attendees can expect to gain a deeper understanding of how the Microsoft Cloud helps customers transform. They do so by building AI solutions and unlocking insights using the same platform and services that power all of Microsoft’s comprehensive solutions.
  • Inside Microsoft AI innovations – presented by Mark Russinovich, Chief Technology Officer and Technical Fellow for Microsoft Azure. In what should be another great session, attendees will be getting to see just what they will get with Microsoft’s AI architecture. This includes the technology behind supercomputers and data centers and AI-aware resource management. Additionally included are advancements in confidential computing to safeguard data during processing.

Improving the quality of life

As with anything in life, it’s just about impossible for everyone to agree on something. Regardless of what the issue may be, there will always be loyalists and antagonists. And when it comes to technology, the same applies as people forge alliances with certain technologies and solutions over others.

Set aside whatever you may think about the benefits of certain technologies out there. Not everyone who simply can’t or won’t agree with that point of view. So, in this section, we’ll be highlighting some of the ways that technology enables us to improve the quality of many people’s lives.


We all know just how important communication is to humanity in all aspects of our lives. Whether it’s family, business, social, etc., communication is key to how we live our lives. And I think we can sometimes take for granted how easy communication is for us today. Unlike in centuries or decades ago, today, you can have “face-to-face” conversations with just about anyone on any continent at any time.

The importance of this cannot be overstated. It’s mission-critical, especially when we consider the migration of people across the globe. Families can easily stay in touch regardless of where one may be. Businesses can seamlessly work with customers from other parts of the world. And within seconds, anyone can share crucial analytic information.


Most of us have probably experienced the frustration of endless hours spent in a waiting room to see a doctor. With the technologies at our disposal today, this no longer needs to be the case. Patients can set up their appointments according to what works for their schedules. They can easily check if their doctor’s office is open, as well.

Healthcare workers can also work more efficiently by leveraging the technologies available to them. Switching over to digital records means that patients’ files will be easily accessible and less likely to be misplaced. Physicians can easily consult in cases (or even surgeries) from other countries. And they’re brilliantly effective while sitting in the comfort of their homes or offices.


Technology has opened up access to information in a way that would have seemed fantastical a mere century ago. But today, anyone across the globe can access almost any information they need at the click of a button.

No longer do you need to spend hour after hour in a library to find answers. Say goodbye to scouring books, newspapers, research papers, etc., trying to find that elusive information. Provided internet access a strong, children in remote parts of the world can access most of the same educational resources as those from wealthy backgrounds attending expensive private schools.


It’s not surprising that with all the advances we have witnessed in the field of technology, the work environment would also change accordingly. In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about flexible working conditions with a particular emphasis on remote work.

There are now products and services on the market, such as the Windows 365 Cloud PC, that enable employees to work remotely. Virtualization services have allowed users to basically carry their desktops with them wherever they go. An added benefit is that it allows employees to work more flexibly. And this alone can help businesses boost efficiency and productivity.


Working remotely is not only possible because of virtualization services but it’s also made possible because of financial technology (fintech). This solution is what has enabled businesses to hire and pay employees from other parts of the world.

By leveraging the ability to transact through the virtual financial system, the business sector is making improvements in economic equity. We’ve also witnessed rising problems in the global economy. Those issues inspired the creation of a conducive environment for the development of financial technology.

Wrap up

Change is a part of the human fabric, and we should always be willing to welcome developments that can make life better for all. Not only should we be focused on short-term benefits. But we should be looking for solutions that will benefit the generations to come as well. This is part of what has made the Pacific Science Center the success that it is.

Encourage people to immerse themselves in breathtaking experiences that can change how they perceive the world around them. Doing so can only further the cause of science and technology. Combine that with events like Microsoft Ignite, and you can have the ultimate immersion experience of science and technology. We never know where or from whom the next big idea or development may come from.

Encouraging Diversity & Inclusion Through Microsoft’s MVP Program

Diversity and inclusion have never been more critical in all facets of culture. That includes IT, technology experts, and the technological infrastructures at large. Even the technology itself needs to take diversity and inclusion into consideration.

Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional program recognizes some of the greatest evangelists of their products and services, and helpers of the community of users at large. MVPs are proven experts in their fields. They go above and beyond in this capacity, with a  willingness and passion to help those seeking to better understand the technologies they’re using. And they’re advancing diversity and inclusion efforts for companies.

Microsoft also recognizes the critical importance of diversity and inclusion. They have it as their mission to use their influence on the world to encourage positive change in the workplace and in communities everywhere. They are leveraging their demonstrated history as innovators to look at diversity and inclusion in new ways, so that companies of the future always hold it as one of their key values and act on it too.

There is also a connection between the MVP program and Microsoft’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Here, we’ll be looking at exactly what the MVP program is, what it offers, and how it connects to diversity and inclusion initiatives at large.

How did the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional program get its start?

In 1993, developer Calvin Hsia created a list of the “Most Verbose People,” ranking the most active users in a CompuServe technology support forum. This list exists in fun to recognize the most active users. And Hsia didn’t necessarily expect anything to come of it.

But because at the time Microsoft offered a great deal of technical support to CompuServe, they took notice of Calvin’s List and those offering support of their own volition. Noting the difference these champions of technology were making for the community, they saw it as an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge their contributions in a more formal capacity.

We can guess with a fair bit of certainty that Microsoft also saw this as an opportunity to identify and leverage a talent pool, of which they weren’t previously aware.

Speculation aside, Calvin’s List identified the first ever 34 Most Valuable Professionals. The MVPs were invited to the first-ever Orlando TechEd conference. There, they could be recognized for their efforts in supporting Microsoft customers and promoting Microsoft products.

The initial list of 34 MVPs, including Hsia, got letters from Microsoft indicating their status as MVPs. This was the official beginning of the MVP awards program. Hsia would eventually join Microsoft and was also honored at the 20th Anniversary MVP Global Summit as a vital supporter of the program.

How many people are in the MVP program?

There are currently over 4,000 MVPs across 90 countries and regions – United States, Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Netherlands, India, Japan, Croatia, China, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and many, many others. This makes for a perfect environment for diversity and inclusion efforts, too.

Microsoft’s website is home to “Find an MVP” and “MPV Reconnect” portals, addressed later in this article.

What is a Microsoft MVP?

A Microsoft Most Valuable Professional refers to a technology expert who is passionate about what they do and freely shares their knowledge and expertise with the community, something they do in a “pro bono” or voluntary capacity.

MVPs are always “plugged in,” staying on top of new technologies and trends.They also have a deep understanding of Microsoft products and services. Most importantly, they are always willing to help others, a quality that can only stem from a passion for community.

One does not become an MVP, however, without demonstrating expertise in a variety of ways. MVPs must also demonstrate efforts in helping others through multiple channels (we’ll be covering what this might look like in a moment).

How to become a Microsoft MVP

The process to becoming a Microsoft MVP remains somewhat mercurial. Or, it may be better to say, it remains intentionally vague. Microsoft obviously applies their own criteria to identifying and finding potentials. However, visibility is obviously a big factor. So one must be able to create a public track record of productive technical support to others.

In Microsoft’s own words: “Be an expert, do lots of what you love, and let us know!”

More than anything, Microsoft is looking for people with a track record of engaging and supporting the community independently and voluntarily over the course of 12 months. This is difficult to accomplish without staying up to date with Microsoft products and continually educating yourself. So, if you’re looking to improve diversity and inclusion within your workplace, start with education.

There are a variety of activities to improve your chances of MVP recognition. For example:

  • Contributing to blogs, podcasts, and books
  • Helping users on forums and social media
  • Participating in user groups
  • Attending conferences and giving speeches
  • Building open-source software

Becoming an MVP, however, you will likely need to engage in a variety of activities. Focusing in one area often isn’t enough.

If you’re wondering where to put your energy and focus as a potential MVP, it would be good to know that Microsoft prioritizes the following award categories (this is where to put your focus):

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows development
  • M365 development
  • Developer technologies
  • Data platform
  • AI
  • Internet of Things
  • Cloud & datacenter management
  • Enterprise mobility
  • Windows & devices for IT
  • M365 apps & services
  • Business applications
  • Security
  • Mixed reality

However, there is a formal, defined process to getting on the map. To become an MVP, one must also receive a nomination referral by a Microsoft Full Time Employee (FTE) or Microsoft MVP. Having the right connections does make a difference.

How does The MVP program benefit IT Professionals?

People love recognition for their efforts. Of that there is little doubt!

Recognition as a Microsoft MVP can have a dramatic impact on one’s career. For example, employer, potential employer, and peer perceptions and reputations matter. But there’s so much more to it than perceptions alone. Being recognized as a cut above is just the tip of the iceberg.

IT professionals also benefit from:

  • Early access to Microsoft products.
  • Access to product teams.
  • Access to the Global MVP Summit.
  • Relationship with local Microsoft teams.
  • An executive recognition letter.
  • Visual Studio technical subscription.
  • An Office 365 subscription.

And these benefits continue to see improvements and augmentations by Microsoft, as they continue to look to the future of the MVP program.

And while these may be some of the “direct” benefits of becoming an MVP, MVPs enjoy a variety of other intangible and leveraged benefits we’ll be looking at momentarily. These include diversity and inclusion initiative advantages.

Find an MVP

Microsoft’s website features a Find an MVP portal where you can see:

  • The MVP’s picture
  • The MVP’s name
  • Their award category
  • Their country or region

If you know who you’re looking for, you can filter by keyword, award category, and country or region. You can also sort the entire list by award category, last name, first name, and country or region.

Additionally, you can learn more about each individual by clicking on their names. The amount of information on each MVP varies. But here are some of the tidbits you can expect to find on the Microsoft website:

  • Name
  • Country or region
  • Job title
  • Award category
  • The first year they achieved MVP
  • Number of MVP awards
  • Language(s) they speak
  • Certifications they’ve earned
  • Social media links
  • Biography
  • A timeline of recent activities

Anyone looking to reach out to a specific MVP for comment can learn something about them first by perusing this portal.

This portal also has a positive impact on the career of the MVPs as it gives them more visibility overall.

MVP Reconnect

There is a place for former MVPs as well. And it’s called the MVP Reconnect program. As with the Find An MVP function we just explored, you can search a database of more than 3,600 former MVPs who remain part of the greater MVP community using the MVP Reconnect portal.

What does it look like to be a Microsoft MVP?

Becoming an MVP takes commitment and hard work. But achieving this status opens the doors to valuable experiences, lucrative opportunities, support and collaboration, and a great deal more.

These are some of the ways MVPs benefit from the program and what their experiences are like:

  • MVPs are often the latest to hear about new developments in Microsoft. They also get to offer input and feedback on existing or new products. And if they have a stable of their own clients who are using Microsoft products, MVPs can offer timely, valuable, and specific guidance to them.
  • Some MVPs enjoy networking, sharing ideas, and collaborating with other MVPs. This should not come as a surprise, since MVPs have the answers to just about any question one might have about Microsoft products.
  • Being an MVP opens the door to new opportunities. The MVP program has a strong reputation. And anyone associated with it experiences a boost in their careers. Opportunities that may not have otherwise been available to them become available.
  • MVPs get to be on the cutting edge. The public isn’t privy to the latest developments at Microsoft, especially those not publicly announced. This gives MVPs the opportunity to build their awareness around new product features and incorporate them into their workflow.
  • Relocation matters. Some MVPs seek to establish themselves in new regions or communities. And with assistance from the MVP community, are able to find new jobs, homes, and more.
  • Getting answers quickly. In the MVP program, you have unprecedented access to like minded professionals with a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in their respective fields. MVPs get access to other MVPs, who can offer guidance.
  • Access to a larger community. Besides the current roster of MVPs, Microsoft also has the MVP Reconnect program, which gives way to the greater MVP community, consisting of over 3,600 members.

Wasn’t The MVP program canceled?

Microsoft ostensibly canceled the MVP program on October 22, 1999. There are speculations and different reasons circulating, too. At the time, AOL newsgroup leaders sued AOL because they felt they should have been paid for their work. And the cancellation of the MVP program may have been Microsoft’s response to this backlash for independent, unpaid help.

But it seems people felt differently about the MVP program, as there was an outpouring of support for it. Many emails were even sent directly to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. And the program was reinstated only three days later.

Having made the decision to keep the awards program, Microsoft then worked out the finer details and logistics of the program. This increased levels of success in the ensuing years.

Microsoft periodically evaluates the MVP program and considers what it might have in store for the future. Most new developments, however, center on additional benefits for MVPs.

How can MVPs support diversity and inclusion?

There are both obvious and less obvious ways MVPs can support (or are already supporting) diversity and inclusion.

Consider this broad overview of the many ways MVPs can (or already do) promote diversity and inclusion.

The MVP program already represents a very diverse group of people from across the globe

IT talent exists everywhere. Whether it’s Japan or Argentina, there are highly-skilled individuals within their roles. They enjoy their work and are passionate about helping the users who are in need of assistance.

While it may be too “obvious” a thing to say, the MVP program already represents diversity and inclusion in many ways. Whether male, female, young, old, or otherwise, there are established experts representing every possible demographic and ethnicity imaginable.

Promoting the MVP program promotes diversity and inclusion of its own accord, and it can have a very positive impact on companies everywhere, who will need to hold diversity and inclusion as a key tenant of their operations moving forward.

MVPs can use their status as influencers to share about diversity and inclusion

MVPs don’t simply enjoy recognition from Microsoft. They earn recognition within the communities they support. As they answer questions and solve problems for others, their faces earn additional respect. They experience increased recognition and appreciated for their efforts. Additionally, their participation in a community elevates them to influencer status.

Their influence represents an opportunity to create conversations around diversity and inclusion and broach the subject in a considerate, congruent, and tactful way. They can share meaningfully about their own experiences. And they share what diversity and inclusion means to them and why they value it.

MVPs have a built in platform already. They’ve been serving the community and have gained the favor of others by being of service to them. This gives them the platform they need to speak to matters of greater importance.

MVPs make Microsoft products more accessible to anyone

MVPs may be influential in their own right. This platform isn’t to be abused or disrespected. Instead, it should be a primary tool in affecting people positively in a variety of ways.

One of the very practical ways an MVP can promote diversity and inclusion is by doing what they already do best – helping a variety of people in different regions, even underrepresented people, better understand and utilize Microsoft products.

People can connect through technology. Technology is also empowering. People who may not have found a way to bring their projects to fruition may discover new approaches through technology. People who may not know what their passion is can find a new passion in software. And people who may have found it hard to find a job in the past may be able to find new work by becoming IT professionals themselves.

MVPs can empower a variety of people through their ongoing, tireless support work.

MVPs can share relevant issues with their communities

Whether it’s blog subscribers, a social media following, a forum or message board, email list, some combination thereof, or otherwise, MVPs are already in the know with their various communities. They’ve demonstrated their passion for their work and their willingness to add value to others.

Again, being mindful of when and where to share is critical to one’s success, but as relevant issues arise, MVPs can share these with their communities and open them to discussion. Usually, it’s about promoting more conversations. And by staying current with the issues, MVPs can bring a lot of value to the conversations as they unfold.

MVPs Encouraged to participate in community initiatives & speak at events

To become an MVP, an IT professional must support the community at large. These opportunities only grow as they are awarded and recognized for their efforts, and MVPs are often invited to speak at events too.

Every community initiative and speaking engagement represents an opportunity for an MVP to share on topics of value and interest. It would be unwise for an MVP to shoehorn a message about diversity and inclusion into a speech where it doesn’t belong, but in environments where it’s appropriate, it would be a good opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion.

Sometimes, the events themselves are held to promote diversity and inclusion, in which case the angle is baked into the initiative.

MVPs can contribute their expertise to creating & developing products that can be used by anyone

MVPs have access to development teams and first looks at products. They’re also the first to learn about new changes and features. Additionally, they’re afforded the opportunity to give their input and feedback on Microsoft products.

MVPs can leverage this knowledge in helping Microsoft develop products that are inclusive to all. MVPs can offer input on issues development teams may not be present to, and help them course correct so that their products and services aren’t exclusive or offensive to specific people.

Conclusion About MVP and Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

The Microsoft MVP program represents a significant opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion through multiple channels. The program itself is made up of a variety of people from across different regions, different ethnicities, at different ages and different genders too.

Beyond that, though, MVPs have access to Microsoft, its teams, and its projects to an extent no one else has (save for Microsoft employees). This means they can help steer the direction of projects and ensure everyone is included.

Thanks to their deep working knowledge of Microsoft products and services, MVPs can also impart their knowledge to underrepresented minorities and empower them with new skills, opportunities, careers, and more.

MVPs can also speak directly to their own following and communities, touching on relevant, current subjects as appropriate.

Finally, MVPs also take part in community initiatives and are invited to speak at various events. Some of these events represent good opportunities for them to speak out about relevant issues, especially if they have specific experiences to relay. It has never been more critical for companies to evaluate how people can connect through technology, and how this can encourage inclusion and diversity more broadly.

Philips Hue Bridge POE

IOT, Smart Home, Intelligent home; Meaning a lot of connected devices (and power adapters & cables!)
I have been using the Philips Hue system from the very beginning, recently upgraded to the Philips Hue Bridge 2.1 Square-shape bridge (supports Apple HomeKit)

After my last upgrade to the home infrastructure. with the new and improved UniFi Switch PRO 24 PoE I wanted to get the most out of the switch with POE (Power-Over-Ethernet)

I would have loved to see the Philips Hue Bridge with build-in POE, but unfortunately that was not the case of the 2.1 release. Luckily with a bit of creativeness this can be achieved with the correct equipment and cables.

The bridge comes with a regular DC barrel plug adapter

Parts list for the items you will need:

Barrel adapter to USB – NOTE: The V2 bridge barrel is 5.5 x 2.5 mm
Direct link: 5.5 x 2.5 mm DC USB
Moreover, if you buy a barrel adapter to USB, you will be able to use any POE adapter.
Ubiquiti Instant 802.3AF to USB adaptor requires not configuration plug and play!

NOTE: 2 Networking cables will be needed with this solution, 1 for POE, and 1 for the actual device connection.
Additionally, if you do not want to use 2 ports, go for a POE splitter with barrel adapters (802.3af POE splitter with 5 volts DC) 802.3af PoE Splitter with 5 Volts DC Plug | PLUSPOE Power Over  Ethernet for 5v Devices Like Foscam, Amcrest, Dropcam and More, 3.5x1.35mm DC  Barrel: Kindle Store

The wall mounts used printed on the Ender-5 Pro
– Philips Hue wall mount:
– Ubiquiti Instant wall mount:

Cleaning up shortcuts

So the issue at hand;
I was replacing a Office application on Windows systems, where i noticed that shortcuts created by the users, was not upgraded/removed when the new office version was installed.

The issue seems to be related to users creating custom shortcuts, directly to exe files.
I some cases the shortcut name was clear, but in other cases the users had chosen something they found fit.

The following PowerShell script was created to remove shortcuts (lnk files) based on the executable. This means you can specific the exe or use a wildcard if there is multiple executable files releated to an application.

$ShortcutLocations = Get-ChildItem -Recurse (“C:\Users”,”C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu”) -Include *.lnk -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

# This script searches for all *.lnk files to "C:\Program files (x86)\App\My Application.exe" or "C:\Program Files\App\My Application.exe"
# It searches in C:\users\* profiles paths, including Users Desktops, %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch and in ProgramData...StartMenu
# The name of the link file can have many different names, therefore we must find each shortcut based on path to target exectuable and not on lnk name.
# Then the lnk file must be deleted.
# The script should be run with admin rights, otherwise shortcuts will only be deleted for the user running the script.

### Specify shortcut's target executable here.
$AppExecutable = "C:\Program files*\Microsoft Office\Office15\*.exe"
# * Due to mask it contains "Program files" and "Program files (x86)" paths both.

### Paths to browse and search for shortcuts.
$ShortcutLocations = Get-ChildItem -Recurse ("C:\Users","C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu") -Include *.lnk -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
# * -Recurse = Includes all subdirectories.

### Get properties for shortcuts in the locations

Function Get-ShortcutsProperties {
$Shell = New-Object -ComObject WScript.Shell 
Foreach ($Shortcut in $ShortcutLocations)
$Properties = @{
ShortcutName = $Shortcut.Name;
ShortcutFullName = $Shortcut.FullName;
ShortcutLocation = $shortcut.DirectoryName
ShortcutTarget = $Shell.CreateShortcut($Shortcut).targetpath
New-Object PSObject -Property $Properties
[Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($Shell) | Out-Null

$ShortcutsList = Get-ShortcutsProperties

### Compare shortcut's target path with $AppExecutable and delete it in case of corresponding one
Foreach ($item in $ShortcutsList) {

if ($item.ShortcutTarget -like $AppExecutable) {

Remove-Item -Path $item.ShortcutFullName -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
######## End of the script

Download the PowersShell Script here: [download id=”877″]

Smart Card device integration into Windows 10

All the joys of Windows 10….. now on 1709

Last week after upgrading Windows 10, I came a cross this nice new integration for Smart Cards. (tokens)








Windows 10 new has support for eTokens (SafeNet Tokens)
I was very pleased with this update, it will save me yet another application to install.
I’ve been using the SafeNet Application from Gemalto and it has served me well for several years. So time for a changes, the integrated Smart Card application in Windows 10 works perfect for me.

I am using the following it with:

and my tokens? I ALWAYS use digicert for codesigning certificates:)

ps. A new version of Access Director Enterprise is on its way, signed and released to web.

Stay tuned!

Setting up the lab environment – DNS resolution puzzle

I would prefer to have access from my local vlan and wireless vlan to the servers.
But didn’t want to all dns traffic into the VM’s (and depend on a testing environment)

Basically I want host resolution, and being able to utilizing the domain services in the testing environment, without interruption of my other services.

This is the solution in went for was using Conditional Forwarders

First the Hyper-V host:

I Installed the DNS Server role within Windows Server 2016.
Setup forwarders to google dns:








After that i will add the Conditional Forwards for my testing domain
I  in my previous post I created 2 Domain controllers, both hosting DNS.








I will then add my Hyper-V hosts IP to the DNS server of my router/dhcp on the needed vlans.
When clients send requests for the testing domain, they will get forwarded to the Hyper-V guests (DCs) and all other requests will go to the Google DNS (, – more info: Getting started with Google Public DNS

I did want a backup as well, so I installed Synology DNS on my Synology DS1511+
Synology DNS supports forwarding zones, with up to 2 forwarders per zone.
That’s perfect for my setup, added the 2 Hyper-V guest DC’s.
The Synology DNS would of course also need Resolution services enabled, so we can forward requests to the Google DNS (,





Then I will go ahead an update the DNS servers handed out by my DHCP on my normal client network and wireless clients.
This configuration offers failover/backup, because both the Hyper-V hosts and the Synology will be able to handle DNS requests and forwarding.

Where is my cloud key?

During vlan configuration for my new lab (see previous post Home Data Center)
I had to change some vlans, for some reason my  Hybrid Cloud Device Management controller got “lost in translation”

The setup:
1 x Mikrotik CCR1036-12G-4S-EM
1 x UniFi switch 16 150w
1 x UniFI Cloud Key

It all starts with the adoption of devices onto the cloud key – no problems there.
But when your Cloud Key is lost in a vlan with no connectivity or access to other devices, then its back to basics.

My problem was that I deleted the valid networks/vlans added on ports – BIG mistake!
So nothing really works and you can’t change anything, but tuning a bit on the vlans on the router seemed to open up a bit.

I was able to SSH into the switch (It’s running BusyBox)




From there we can SSH to localhost on port 2222
Click anykey to get the Warning!: The changes may break controller settings and only be effective until reboot.

It will not give a response and will be awaiting a key stroke before your ready to go

Keep in mind all configurations will be lost, once connected back and provisioned by the cloud key.

To enter user privilege mode type: Enable
To enter Global Config mode type: Configure

And now we can configure the entire switch (also without the controller and more advanced settings.

In this case,
Selecting an interface (port 2): interface 0/2
adding a vlan to the interface (port 2): interface vlan participation include 22
and your lost Cloud Key should now be back on the correct vlan.
If you just need to bring back to management network on the switch, you can use: network mgmt_vlan 1
Note: 1 being the vlan you want to participate in.

If you need multiple vlan on 1 port – maybe with a UniFi AP AC Pro, you will see that the AP doesn’t have a configuration for management vlan, so we need to configure the native LAN for the device. It only requires 3 steps, it can be a bit confusing configuring and adding a bit more complexity.

– Defined Netowrk/VLANs in Controller Settings
– Manage or Create Network Profiles for the switch in the Switch Configuration
– Assign Networks/VLANS or Profiles to the Port(s)

There is a nice explanation here: A-non-expert-Guide-to-VLAN-and-Trunks-in-Unifi-Switches

Setting up the lab environment – Deduplication

The next step for the lab or so-called home data center: Installing and Configuring Deduplication

I was going to use a USB stick for the Windows Server 2016 OS.
The main reason for this: DEDUPLICATION.

I did start out with a USB stick, but due to performance issues this was changed – read the follow-up post (

The reason for having the OS on a separate volume: Deduplication is not supported on system or boot volumes. Read more about Deduplication here: About Data Deduplication

Let’s get started

Installing and Configuring Deduplication

  1. Open an elevated PowerShell prompt
  2. Execute: Import-Module ServerManager
  3. Execute: Add-WindowsFeature -Name FS-Data-Deduplication
  4. Execute: Import-Module Deduplication

Installing Deduplication

Now we installed data Deduplication and it’s ready for configuration.

My Raid 0 volume is D:
The volume will primarily hold Virtual Machines (Hyper-V)
I’m going to execute the following command: Enable-DedupVolume D: -UsageType HyperV

Enable Deduplication for volume

You can read more about the different usage types here: Understanding Data Deduplication

Some quick info for the usage type Hyper-V:

  • Background optimization
  • Default optimization policy:
    • Minimum file age = 3 days
    • Optimize in-use files = Yes
    • Optimize partial files = Yes
  • “Under-the-hood” tweaks for Hyper-V interop

You can start the optimization job and limited (if needed) the amount of consumed memory for the process: Start-DedupJob -Volume “D:” -Type Optimization -Memory 50




You can get the deduplication status with the command: Get-DedupStatus





The currently saved space on my volume is 46.17 GB
That is for a 2 ISO files and a reference machine for Windows Server 2016 and the reference disks copied to separate folder.

More usefull powershell cmdlets here: Deduplication Cmdlets in Windows PowerShell

I do love deduplication especially for virtual machines, hence most of the basic data is the same.
The disks are also rather expensive so getting the most out of them is preferred.