PowerShell Basics: Don’t Fear Hitting Enter with -WhatIf

PowerShell Basics: Don’t Fear Hitting Enter with -WhatIf

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Chances are you’ve run into this situation. You’ve built a script, or a one-liner, to perform a specific task, but you don’t have a way to thoroughly test it without hitting Enter. That moment before hitting enter can be difficult. Knowing this need, there is a switch available with many PowerShell commands called -WhatIf.

With -WhatIf, PowerShell will run your command in its entirety without executing the actions of the command so no changes occur. It displays a listing of actions to be performed against the affected objects in the console window. This is great for the commands that do not display any output when executed, or if you are unsure of the overall impact of your command.

How do you know if a command supports -WhatIf? That’s pretty simple. Use get-help to view the syntax of the command.


PS> get-help remove-item
NAME
    Remove-Item

SYNOPSIS
    Deletes files and folders.


SYNTAX
    Remove-Item [-Confirm] [-Credential <PSCredential>] [-Exclude <String[]>] [-Filter <String>] [-Force] [-Include
    <String[]>] -LiteralPath <String[]> [-Recurse] [-Stream <String[]>] [-UseTransaction] [-WhatIf]
    [<CommonParameters>]

    Remove-Item [-Path] <String[]> [-Confirm] [-Credential <PSCredential>] [-Exclude <String[]>] [-Filter <String>]
    [-Force] [-Include <String[]>] [-Recurse] [-Stream <String[]>] [-UseTransaction] [-WhatIf] [<CommonParameters>]

    Remove-Item [-Stream <string>] [<CommonParameters>]

As you can see, [-WhatIf] is listed in the syntax for the command. Also it will be available as a tab-complete option when entering the command. If you do happen to enter it with a command that doesn’t support it, you’ll receive the following error:


PS C:\Users\mibender> get-help -Whatif
Get-Help : A parameter cannot be found that matches parameter name 'Whatif'.
At line:1 char:10
+ get-help -Whatif
+          ~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [Get-Help], ParameterBindingException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : NamedParameterNotFound,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.GetHelpCommand

Now let’s see an example of how this works. A common scenario is needing to clean up a file share by file type. In this case, I want to find all of the video files in an MP4 format and remove them from my c:\recordings directory. Here’s the process you would run through:

First, let’s find all of the MP4 files with Get-ChildItem:


PS> Get-ChildItem -File *.MP4 -Recurse -LiteralPath C:\Recordings\

    Directory: C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Attitude-Control

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
-a---- 9/7/2018 3:47 PM 58188931 Attitude-Control.mp4
Directory: C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Personal-KanBan
Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
-a---- 10/5/2018 1:56 PM 45875317 Personal-kanBan.mp4
Directory: C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Redmond-Week-1\Redmond-Week-1
Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
-a---- 8/3/2018 9:01 AM 19616170 Redmond-Week-1.mp4

So that shows us all of the MP4 files, but I’d like to see them in a standard tables format with just their name and directory location and not separated by directory. To do that, we use Select-Object:


PS> Get-ChildItem -File *.MP4 -Recurse -LiteralPath C:\Recordings\ | Select-Object Name,Directory

Name                         Directory
----                         ---------
Attitude-Control.mp4         C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Attitude-Control
Personal-kanBan.mp4          C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Personal-KanBan
Redmond-Week-1.mp4           C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Redmond-Week-1\Redmond-Week-1
SoundTest1.mp4               C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Soundtest

That looks better. What I did was use the pipeline and select-object to choose just the properties I wanted from the objects output from the initial command

After I’ve reviewed the list, I think that it includes all the items I want to remove. But being paranoid, I’d really like to know that it is going to remove just those files in a specific directory, and not all the files. That’s where -WhatIf comes in with the remove-item command:


PS> Get-ChildItem -File *.MP4 -Recurse -LiteralPath C:\Recordings\ | Remove-Item -WhatIf

What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Attitude-Control\Attitude-Control.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Personal-KanBan\Personal-kanBan.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Redmond-Week-1\Redmond-Week-1\Redmond-Week-1.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Soundtest\SoundTest1.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\Content-Development-AMA\Content-Development-AMA.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB10\HYB10-Demos-DryRun1-0.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB10\HYB10-Demos-DryRun1-1.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB10\HYB10-Demos-DryRun1-2.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB10\HYB10-Demos-DryRun1-3.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB10\DryRuns\HYB10-Dress-Run-GSL-01.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB10\DryRuns\HYB10-DryRun-01.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\MITT\HYB20\HYB20-Demo-SecureScore.mp4".

Based on the output, I’ve verified that on the MP4 files in the c:\recordings directory are being removed. Now I can go back to my command and execute it by removing the -WhatIf switch.

Now, let’s say it’s 2am in your time zone, and you need to perform multiple tasks through the PowerShell Console. If you are like me, 2am is not my ‘peak productivity’ hour so making mistakes, like forgetting the -WhatIf switch, could be dangerous. For those instances, you can modify the $WhatIfPreference variable in your console like this:


PS> $whatifpreference
False
PS> $whatifpreference = 'True'
PS> $whatifpreference
True
PS> Get-ChildItem -File *.MP4 -Recurse -LiteralPath C:\Recordings\ | Remove-Item

What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Attitude-Control\Attitude-Control.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Personal-KanBan\Personal-kanBan.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Redmond-Week-1\Redmond-Week-1\Redmond-Week-1.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\car-Talks\Soundtest\SoundTest1.mp4".
What if: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Microsoft\Content-Development-AMA\Content-Development-AMA.mp4".

When the command to remove all the files is run and I do not include -whatif since it’s 2am, it defaults to running ALL commands with -WhatIf. Now if you actually want to run the command and remove the files, you add the -WhatIf switch parameter and specify :$false like this:


PS> Get-ChildItem -File *.MP4 -LiteralPath C:\Recordings\Test-Recording\ | Remove-Item -WhatIf:$false -Verbose

VERBOSE: Performing the operation "Remove File" on target "C:\Recordings\Test-Recording\Test-Take-SA.mp4".

```powershell

PS CMD> Get-ChildItem -File *.MP4 -LiteralPath C:\Recordings\Test-Recording\
PS CMD>

One thing to remember with this and other preference variables you define in the console is they only maintain the setting in your current shell. When you close and re-open PowerShell, the preference will reset.

Another thing is a word of caution on using -WhatIf. Because it is functionality that is added into commands, the implementer may not implement it properly. I’ve never run into issues with Microsoft-built commands using -WhatIf like Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory, and many of the built-in commands I use below. However, I cannot speak for code samples you may find in the wild. To be safe, you should test -whatif against a smaller pool of targets vs. trying to modify every Exchange mailbox in your organization.

So the next time you need to perform some PowerShell tasks, add -whatif before you execute, and stop fearing the Enter key.

For more information on the commands used in this post, click on the links below:

For more information on PowerShell, check out the docs here

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February 20, 2019 at 10:39PM

Military training helped these veterans launch small businesses

Military training helped these veterans launch small businesses

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Having trouble finding an employer who understands your military skill set?

Why not be your own boss?

That strategy seems to be working for the veterans who showed off their small businesses Tuesday in southeast Washington, D.C., during Bunker Labs’ third-annual Muster Across America Tour.

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The participating veteran-run small businesses included a farm specializing in fresh produce, a subscription murder-mystery service, a home-fitness company, a military-apparel business, a retreat for first responders and a site that matches veterans with employers, among others.

Bunker Labs is a nonprofit dedicated to helping veteran entrepreneurs. It co-sponsored the 2019 Muster tour with JPMorgan Chase, which announced it would be investing $3 million in Bunker Labs to improve and expand its operations.

The event featured a keynote address from Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, an ex-Army Ranger with firsthand knowledge of the skills veterans can bring to any job.

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“They’re resilient people,” he said. “They can deal with a lot of stress. They know how to organize and plan for a problem.”

McCarthy — who quipped that the smallest business he has ever worked for was the House of Representatives — said he believes supporting small businesses is critical.

“It’s more important than ever,” he said. “When you look at the history of the Department of Defense, we’ve always been at our best when entrepreneurs are working with us. We encourage a lot of folks like you to bring us your ideas and work with us.”

The event included a pitch competition, the winner of which received $5,000. First-place went to Off Duty Blue, an online scheduling portal for police officers. A second-place prize of $2,500 was awarded to Hunt A Killer, a two-year-old business with 60,000 monthly subscribers that delivers murder-mystery boxes to the homes of true-crime lovers.

“We build communities,” said Joshua Holley, a Marine Corps veteran and Hunt A Killer’s executive vice president. “You can get the box and you can play by yourself, but we have a lot of members where this is their weekly date night, their family game night every month, or this is their wine club. So it’s a ton of fun.”

Holley said his military service helped prepare him to launch a business.

“The thing with entrepreneurship is that there’s no normal day,” he said. “The idea of bringing organization to chaos, relying on yourself and your teammates, those are the kind of skills taught in the Marine Corps.”

Joshua Holley, a Marine Corps veteran and executive vice president of Hunt A Killer, shows off his product during the Muster Across America Tour at District Winery in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2019.
Joshua Holley, a Marine Corps veteran and executive vice president of Hunt A Killer, shows off his product during the Muster Across America Tour at District Winery in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2019.

Some of the veterans at Muster started their small businesses to solve problems they faced after separating from the military.

Take Juan Biddix Jr., a retired Army master sergeant and the owner of fitness company Sarge FITT. He found that after exiting the military, he wasn’t as motivated to continue his usual workout routine.

“I was used to working out all the time,” he said. “Once I retired, I didn’t feel like going to the gym to work out again. So I had to figure out a way that I could work out at home with something that I like to do. So the FITT Rack allows me to do what I like to do.”

Others, like Army veteran and Beyond Lettuce owner Kelly Smith, discovered their business passions after re-entering civilian life. In Smith’s case, it was providing restaurants and local markets with fresh produce.

“We target the high-end restaurants,” she said. “We do not try to compete with Whole Foods; we’re not really on that sort of scale. We like the original, the unique, the interesting. So the chefs look to us to grow the things they want but can’t find.”

She credited her time in the military for teaching her logistical skills like organization, scheduling and time management.

One of the event’s biggest stars was Thor the service dog, who drew plenty of interest to the Badges United Foundation booth. That small business was founded by Kim DeFiori (Thor’s owner) and Sara Laszaic, two Army veterans who, after being diagnosed with PTSD, created the foundation to provide recreational therapy and lifestyle education to America’s first responders.

Thor the service dog hangs out with his owner Kim DeFiori at the Badges United Foundation booth during the Muster Across America Tour at District Winery in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2019.
Thor the service dog hangs out with his owner Kim DeFiori at the Badges United Foundation booth during the Muster Across America Tour at District Winery in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19, 2019.

“There are a lot of nonprofits out there that enhance the wellness of our veterans,” said Laszaic. “But for our first responders, there are hardly any.”

Laszaic also said that the military taught her networking and public-speaking skills that she has found useful in building her foundation from the ground up.

A few of the small businesses were started specifically to assist veterans. Assault Forward, which sells military accessories, was created to let veterans visibly identify as such both to civilians and their fellow vets.

“We hope it starts a conversation with people to give veterans a chance to tell their stories,” said Joe Himpelmann, a former Army field artillery officer and co-founder of Assault Forward. He brought up discipline and accountability as examples of military skills serving him well in the business realm.

Finally, there’s Oplign, founded by ex-Navy Seals Mike Grow and Alex Calfee. The two former defense contractors realized that both veterans and their potential employers were being underserved by current hiring practices, so they developed an online service to potentially streamline that process.

“I worked in a dynamic environment. I have small-team leadership skills. I’ve worked with complex and dangerous equipment. I’m safety-focused,” said Calfee of skills he picked up in the Navy. “So we put all of that information into the jobs that should be seeing them.”

Almost all of these veteran small-business owners advised fellow vets interested in entrepreneurship to just do it.

Or, as Hunt A Killer’s Holley put it: “Don’t tell me what you’re thinking about, tell me what you’re doing.”

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February 20, 2019 at 03:19PM

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342

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Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342 (19H1) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.

[UPDATED] PCs with the following chipsets processor model numbers will not receieve this build due to an issue with Connected Standby: Intel64 Family 6 Model 142 and Intel64 Family 6 Model 158. To check to see if your processor falls into these two buckets:

Step 1: Open Device Manager by right-clicking on the Start button on your taskbar.
Step 2: Open up the Processors group and right-click on one of the processors listed (you will see multiple for each core of the processor in your PC).
Step 3: Click properties and go to the Details tab.
Step 4: Choose “Hardware Ids” in the property dropdown. This will give you the model number of your processor.

If you are looking for a complete look at what build is in which Insider ring – head on over to Flight Hub. You can also check out the rest of our documentation here including a complete list of new features and updates that have gone out as part of Insider flights for the current development cycle (which currently is 19H1).

What’s New in Build 18342

Improving Gaming on Windows 10

Thanks to everyone who signed up to try out our new Windows gaming technology in Build 18334. With today’s new build (Build 18342), we have some fixes that we can’t wait to have folks try out: the game now runs correctly with parental controls enabled, and the install process is more stable (including a fix for the game being stuck in “Pending” instead of downloading).

  • If you have already tried State of Decay and everything worked: we’d appreciate you uninstalling State of Decay and then trying the install again, to make sure everything still works.
  • If you have already tried State of Decay and something didn’t work: please try again and see if your issue has been addressed. If not, it would help us a lot if you let us know using the Feedback Hub in Windows (instructions here in this post). Even if you already sent feedback on the issue before, it’s very helpful to know that it’s still happening on a new version of Windows.
  • If you were not able to get a slot for State of Decay: we’ve opened up more slots now, so just go to the Xbox Insider hub and click Insider content to join. NOTE: we’re still limiting availability as we roll out, so we recommend joining right away. If you miss out this time, don’t worry, we’ll be adding more again soon!
  • If you are trying State of Decay for the first time: just do the following:
    1. Install the Xbox Insider Hub app on the PC you’ll be flighting on.
    2. Sign in to the Xbox Insider Hub with your Gamertag. If you don’t have a Gamertag, see instructions.
    3. Select Insider Content in the upper left.
    4. Scroll to the bottom and select the Windows Gaming program (in the System section).
    5. Join the program.
    6. Follow the instructions in the previous post, skipping any steps you’ve already completed above.

If you see any problems downloading or installing the game, or if important functionality like game saving isn’t working, please be sure to use the Feedback Hub to tell us. And thank you again for helping us find any issues!

Linux Files inside of File Explorer

We added the ability for users to access Linux files in a WSL distro from Windows. These files can be accessed through the command line, and also Windows apps, like File Explorer, VSCode, etc. can interact with these files. Access your files by navigating to \wsl$<distro_name>, or see a list of running distributions by navigating to \wsl$. You can learn more about this here.

Screenshot of File Explorer showing Linux files.

Other Updates for Insiders

New Chrome Extension for Timeline: We’re pleased to announce an extension that collects activities from your Google Chrome browser and adds them to your Timeline in Windows. You can download the new Web Activity extension now from the Chrome Web Store. Just sign-in to the extension on your Chrome browser with your Microsoft account, visit a site in Chrome, then watch it appear on Timeline – and pick up where you left off. Your Chrome activities will also sync with Timeline on Android devices using the Microsoft Launcher app. Give the new extension a try and let us know what you think in the Feedback Hub. This is just one of many updates inspired by Insiders to make Timeline even better!

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • The new tamper protection setting in the Windows Security app protects your device by helping to prevent bad actors from tampering with the most important security settings. The setting is now on by default for Insider Preview builds.
  • We fixed an issue where Windows Sandbox would not start on localized builds.
  • We’ve done some work to improve error reporting in Windows Sandbox. Now the error dialog includes the error code and a link to the Feedback Hub.
  • We fixed an issue where Windows Sandbox was unexpectedly throwing an error due to referencing a deleted file under Windows.old.
  • Windows Sandbox now captures hotkeys in full screen.
  • Windows Sandbox now supports configuration files! These files allow users to configure some aspects of the sandbox, such as vGPU, networking and shared folders. A blog post to explain this new feature will be available here.
  • We improved the capabilities of the wsl.exe command line interface, by adding new features such as importing and exporting distros and consolidating existing features from wslconfig.exe, such as listing distros and setting defaults.
  • We fixed an issue where if the Magnifier was enabled and set to docked mode, machine would crash and reboot on sign-in creating a boot loop.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in build unable to log into WinRE with an admin account in the last couple of flights.
  • We fixed an issue where if you unpinned groups from Start, apps might end up thinking their tiles were still pinned.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in being unable to re-arrange pinned folders in Start’s tile grid.
  • We fixed an issue where the text explaining the Downloads section of Storage Sense had unexpected characters in it.
  • We fixed an issue where Settings would sometimes crash when opening “Advanced Display Settings” from Display Settings.
  • We fixed an issue where after changing an app’s audio endpoint, it might no longer follow master volume changes.
  • We fixed an issue where it wasn’t possible to add a drive to the list of folders to exclude when setting up Enhanced Search in Settings.
  • We fixed an issue with the Settings header at certain window sizes where long names might be truncated in the middle, rather than wrapping properly.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous flight where right-clicking the desktop would bring up a light colored context menu in dark theme.
  • We fixed an issue impacting Emoji Panel and Clipboard History reliability.
  • We’ve made another fix to address reports of devices getting stuck with “Hibernating…” text on the screen on resume from hibernate.
  • We fixed an issue that could cause Windows logon to forget the last logged on user, and instead would display the sign-in prompt for the default user from the list after dismissing the lock screen.
  • We fixed an issue where an issue where some of the Real-Time Protection options for Malwarebytes Premium are not able to be turned on.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Internet Explorer’s menu bar not always appearing if enabled.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in CDPUserSVC using an unexpectedly large amount of CPU for prolonged periods of time.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in DWM crashing frequently for some Insiders on the previous flight.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in certain games recently going into a black screen/not responding state if their resolution was lower than 1920*1080 and the game entered fullscreen.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in certain games no longer rendering UI updates (appearing visually stuck) after using Alt + Tab to quickly switch away and back to the game.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in significant video and audio lag when projecting videos from certain devices on recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue where turning off Location from the Action Center might take multiple clicks to react.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in single Unicode character insertion failing for IMEs, the touch keyboard, and the Emoji Panel in certain types of edit controls recently.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the left and right arrows on the touch keyboard inserting 4 and 6, respectively, in certain languages.
  • We fixed an issue where newly installed apps might not show up in search results.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Search pane becoming truncated if launched after rotating the device orientation from horizontal to vertical.
  • We fixed a high impact issue resulting in a decrease in Start reliability in the last couple of flights.
  • We fixed a recent issue where if you hid the search icon in the taskbar, a number of win32 apps would unexpectedly redraw when opening the Start menu.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in unexpected flickering if you used pen or touch in certain win32 apps to launch a second instance of the app when in tablet mode.
  • Have a need to create a file that starts with a dot? File Explorer will now allow you to rename a file to be something like “.gitignore” – previously there would be an error siting that you needed to provide a name.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in File Explorer potentially hanging when trying to rename, delete, or move MKV files in the previous flight.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders not being able to open Cortana when in Tablet Mode.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the taskbar blinking if an AC adapter was attached when the device had less than 20% battery.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the taskbar disappearing for a second when dismissing Start/Cortana/Search on a secondary monitor.
  • We’re updating the name of the “Windows Light” theme to now be “Windows (light)”.
  • We fixed an issue where Cortana’s icon on secondary monitors wouldn’t update colors after switching between light and dark theme.
  • We fixed an issue where when using light theme + small icons + a vertical taskbar orientation, text written on the taskbar would stay white and thus wouldn’t be readable.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in open apps not being shown on the taskbar (but being visible in Alt + Tab).
  • We fixed an issue resulting in greys having an unexpected slight pinkish/purple-ish tinge on some devices in recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in DWM crashing after enabling high contrast.
  • We fixed an issue in Ease of Access’s Cursor and pointer settings, mouse pointer size and color are now retained on upgrade. There is a remaining issue with mouse pointer showing white color instead of the selected color after signing out and signing back in.
  • When using the Magnifier with larger pointers, it pans smoothly as the pointers change shape.
  • We fixed an issue where navigation mode on Orbit display could not be changed.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator paused unexpectedly when reading through a PDF.
  • We fixed an issue where users were unable to join or switch between Windows Insider rings.
  • We fixed an issue where the Windows Security app may show an unknown status for the Virus & threat protection area, or not refresh properly.

Known issues

  • Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD).
  • Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
  • While we’ve done some work to improve night light reliability in this build, we’re continuing to investigate issues in this space.
  • When performing Reset this PC and selecting Keep my files on a device that has Reserved Storage enabled the user will need to initiate an extra reboot to ensure Reserved Storage is working again properly.
  • Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
  • In Windows Sandbox, if you try to navigate to the Narrator settings, Settings app crashes.
  • Mouse pointer color might be incorrectly switched to white after signing out and signing back in.
  • We’re investigating reports of the Chinese version of multiple games not working.

Known issues for Developers

  • If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring – optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

REMINDER: Getting the latest Windows 10 app updates

We have locked down the inbox apps in 19H1. These simplified versions of some of the inbox apps are what will ship with 19H1 when it is released. As a result, Insiders may have noticed that some features have disappeared from these apps. This was probably most noticeable with the Photos app. Insiders can get these features back by going into the settings of an inbox app like Photos and clicking the “Join preview” button.

Join the Bing Insider Program

The 91st Academy Awards will honor the best films of 2018 this Sunday. Find out everything you need to know before the ceremony with Bing. Check out this year’s nominees in each category, explore all nominated films, check out local showtimes, and even see who Bing predicts will go home with an award. Bing also gives you a red carpet rewind to see the best of Oscars fashion. Looking for something more competitive? Test your knowledge with the Bing Oscars quiz or cast your vote with the Oscar’s ballot.

If you want to be among the first to learn about these Bing features, join our Bing Insider Program.

No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona <3

The post Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342 appeared first on Windows Blog.

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February 20, 2019 at 05:06PM

Analyzing a Week of Blocked Attacks

Analyzing a Week of Blocked Attacks

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If you’ve never taken a few minutes to look at the information available in the Wordfence Live Traffic feature, I strongly recommend it. It gives you a detailed look at what attackers are trying to do to break into your site, and how Wordfence is blocking them.

For today’s post we analyzed all of the blocked attacks on Defiant.com for a week. In order to see them in Live Traffic, I simply selected “Blocked by Firewall” from the “filter traffic” drop-down above the data table.

What Attackers Were Up To

For the week there were a total of 223 attacks blocked. I was excited to see that all of them were blocked by the Wordfence real-time IP blacklist. We are used to seeing really high percentages blocked by our blacklist – usually in the high 90s. The real-time IP blacklist is a Premium feature that blocks all requests from IPs that are actively attacking WordPress sites.

Attacks originated from 14 unique IP addresses from around the world. Of the countries represented, Germany was the origin for the most attacks at 85. India was second with 61 and France was third with 45. Other countries represented were Ukraine, South Africa, China, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Next we’ll break down what they were trying to do to break in.

Reconnaissance

Five of the IPs appeared to just be performing reconnaissance, as they were simply requesting our home page or some other page on the site. They were likely just checking to see if the site was up and responding to their requests. Since all of the IPs were on the Wordfence real-time IP blacklist, their requests were blocked and they moved on after a couple of blocked page requests.

Author Enumeration

A Chinese IP attempted to retrieve a list of author usernames for the site. Since the authors of posts are very often also administrators, this information can significantly improve the odds of success for a brute force password guessing attack. The attacks all look like the following:

https://www.defiant.com/?author=1

The attacker worked through fifteen author numbers before giving up and moving on. In the Wordfence “Brute Force Protection” settings, look for the following option to enable this feature:

“Prevent discovery of usernames through ‘/?author=N’ scans, the oEmbed API, and the WordPress REST API”

Once you enable this, Wordfence will block these scans. This option is enabled by default and is available for both free and premium users.

We have blocked 382,131 attacks from that IP in the last 7 days across all of our customers. It seems quite likely that had the attempt to retrieve usernames been successful, attempts to log in using lists of common passwords would have followed.

Login Attempts Via XML-RPC

Sixty Three of the blocked attacks were attempts to log in to the site via the XML-RPC interface, which is an API developers can use to communicate with WordPress sites. We see a high percentage of brute force password guessing attempts hit this interface.

In our case we saw a single IP from Chennai, India attempt 61 login attempts in the period of just over an hour. Two other IPs, one in Hong Kong and another in Italy, made just one attempt each. They most likely moved on because they were blocked.

Login Attempts Via wp-login.php

We had just one IP attempt to login via the interface you use to login your site. The first attempt to login was followed immediately by an attempt to access our home page. The script was most likely checking to see if they were only being blocked from accessing the login page or the entire site. A second attempt following the same pattern occurred just two minutes later. We didn’t see additional attempts from that IP. I assume the attacker’s bot is programmed to move on if it’s blocked twice in a row.

A French IP Probes for Opportunities

A single French IP sent 43 requests in a 33 second burst. The first was a simple home page request, which I assume was an attempt to verify the site was up and accepting requests. Surprisingly the attack continued despite being consistently blocked by the Wordfence firewall. The following are a few examples of what the attacker was up to.

One request was checking for the existence of a known malicious file, commonly used by attackers to upload files to hacked websites. The request looks like this:

https://www.defiant.com/wp-upload-class.php

Another interesting request was looking for opportunities to exploit fresh WordPress installs, which we wrote about in July of 2017. Here’s what the request looks like:

https://www.defiant.com/wp-admin/setup-config.php?step=1

We also saw two attempts to find a copy of searchreplacedb2.php laying around. In July of 2017 we wrote about how hackers use the searchreplacedb2.php script to make malicious database changes. Here’s an example request:

https://www.defiant.com/searchreplacedb2.php

A German IP Probes for Opportunities

A single IP from Hirschfield, Germany attacked our site 85 times in just under two minutes. Most of the attacks were repeats of what we saw from the French IP. So it’s possible that it was a different bot at work for the same attacker. However, this IP also attempted to exploit a number of known theme and plugin vulnerabilities.

All of these attempts to exploit known vulnerabilities were trying to download the wp-config.php file, which is a WordPress file that includes the database credentials for the site. If successful, these attacks would give the attacker an easy route to obtaining administrative control of target website.

In one example, the attacker is attempting to exploit an arbitrary file download vulnerability in the “Epic” theme that was disclosed way back in 2014.

https://www.defiant.com/wp-content/themes/epic/includes/download.php?file=wp-config.php

In another, the attacker is trying to exploit a different arbitrary file download vulnerability – this time in the WP Hide & Security Enhancer plugin. The vulnerability was disclosed less than six months ago.

https://www.defiant.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-hide-security-enhancer/router/file-process.php?action=style-clean&file_path=%2Fwp-config.php

It’s important to note that we are not running any of the themes or plugins this attacker is attempting to exploit on Defiant.com. Many of the attacks on WordPress sites are what we often refer to as “spray and pray” attacks, where the attacker simply tries hundreds or thousands of exploit attempts hoping to get lucky. It’s likely that attack volumes are lower for Defiant.com because it’s protected by the Wordfence real-time IP blacklist. Like you, attackers don’t want to waste resources. If all of their attacks are being blocked they will move on to an easier target.

Conclusion

As you know, WordPress sites are under constant attack. There are many attackers, all of whom deploy different tactics. The free version of Wordfence includes protection for all of the attacks outlined above. For even better peace of mind, and likely lower attack volumes, consider upgrading to Wordfence Premium. For only $8.25 per month (billed annually) you can put the Wordfence real-time IP blacklist to work protecting your site around the clock.

Drew’s Business

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January 23, 2019 at 11:26AM

Protected: Growing tech firm BlackInk IT brings the ‘future-forward’ to historic headquarters

Protected: Growing tech firm BlackInk IT brings the ‘future-forward’ to historic headquarters

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The post Protected: Growing tech firm BlackInk IT brings the ‘future-forward’ to historic headquarters appeared first on TechPoint.

Drew’s Business

via TechPoint https://techpoint.org

February 18, 2019 at 04:26PM

How to deal with business stress (while improving profits)

How to deal with business stress (while improving profits)

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In our businesses, we always want to aim to grow and increase profit every year. But the reality is that there are other influences in our life that take away our time, focus and commitment. And many of them can lead to business stress.

When you get stressed — especially if your business relies heavily on your involvement — the business can suffer. Despite these moments, we still have to make important decisions to keep the train moving forward.

In this post we’ll explore ways you can still grow your business when you’re just trying to keep your head above water.

Related: 3 tips for solopreneurs to avoid burnout

First things first — Focus on you

It’s important to remember that we all have times of distraction or stress — we’re only human. Everyone, even our clients, know that there are ebbs and flows to business. Our best efforts, when not in these times, should be to prepare for these moments so that when they do happen, business can continue forward with little impact.

It’s also important to note that your health is most important. Sometimes we get caught up in sacrificing our mental health for our work.

Your No. 1 priority should always be to take care of yourself.

 

If you are feeling like you are hitting the business stress breaking point, step back and ask for help. Reach out to communities of like-minded people for resources to get professional help if needed. There are numerous ways to get support in your business should you need to step away for a short time.

Related: 5 essential steps to make space in your life for a digital detox

3 types of business stress and how to handle them

Let’s explore three business realities that are often difficult to execute when we are stressed, and learn ways to push our businesses forward despite ourselves.

  1. Not enough revenue.

  2. Mismanagement.

  3. Work has taken over your personal life.

We’ll dig into the causes of each stressor and a few key actions you can take to ease the burden. Let’s go!

1. Business stress: Not enough revenue

It’s a challenge to raise prices when you don’t have enough money coming into your business, there’s no new business coming in, or you’re having trouble meeting the bottom line. Often, you have to resist the urge to lower your prices. When you’re suffering from business stress, you react rather than being proactive to create new revenue streams and ideas for your business.

Action needed: Raise prices

So how do you increase prices when you fear losing clients or customers? Add value.

If you find you’re struggling with not enough revenue coming in, but you know your prices are too low, add more value to your existing services or products.

This doesn’t always mean investing more time or more expenses on your end. In the web design space, this can be as simple as purchasing a plugin that increases security efforts on your website care plans, or adding a new phase — such as a “Discovery Workshop” — into your project proposals.

The key takeaway about raising prices is adding value.

 

The extra revenue that comes in will allow you to grow your team, which will free up some of your time to focus on those areas that are causing business stress and come up with creative solutions for them.

Related: How to raise your prices and get better clients in 8 steps

Business Stress Team Fistbump

2. Business stress: Mismanagement

Having trouble meeting deadlines? Feeling like your business is chaotic and you have trouble creating processes to improve? Most certainly the stress is coming from you taking on whatever client — and whatever work — comes your way. This model is poised for maximum business stress!

Action needed: Choose a speciality or niche

Narrowing your business, even when you feel like you can barely make decisions because of stress, will actually free your mind to focus better on who you serve best.

You cannot be everyone to everybody and it will cost you more in the end.

 

To narrow your business into a niche or speciality, choose the clients or customers who are the most profitable and focus on that customer type or industry as your speciality. If you work in the web design space, it can be as specific as something like “customers who are single decision makers with online stores.”

Narrowing your efforts with that laser focus will allow you to build specific processes and marketing efforts toward that speciality or niche. Processes free your time and lower your levels of business stress, which gives you more time to devote to your personal life and doing what you love.

Related: 11 tips to meet deadlines in your freelance business

3. Business stress: Work has taken over your personal life

Business Stress Relaxing In A Hammock

My favorite phase is “Work smarter, not harder.” The most obvious way to reduce stress is to reduce your work hours. However, when you are caught up in the day-to-day business, this can feel almost impossible.

Action needed: Work fewer hours

Start with setting work hours and sticking to them. Having a online scheduler and a synced calendar, so clients can only book calls within a set time frame, allows you to set aside dedicated time for all parts of your business.

Editor’s note: The right tools make all the difference. Office 365 from GoDaddy includes Microsoft Bookings, which enables customers to easily schedule appointments from a customizable web page. And to keep your professional life from ringing into your personal space, consider adding a second phone line to your existing smartphone with GoDaddy’s SmartLine app.

On weekends, leave your work on your computer and at work. Practice coming “home” from work and not checking your phone by modifying your app setting to “do not disturb.” Let your brain rest.

If your business is a side job, carve out specific times for working instead of doing it every time you have a free moment.

You might be thinking, “With reduced work hours, how do I still get the onslaught of work completed?” Hiring help to focus on the parts of your business that you should delegate is one way. Implementing processes and raising prices also can reduce the quantity of work.

You’ll find that the time you save allows you to focus on sales and growth.

Related: Project management for web designers — Tips and tools to get the job done and The difference between client management and project management

Reducing business stress takes time and action

Raising your prices to the right value, specializing your services, and leaving work at the door all take time and practice.

The solutions might seem obvious, but in stressful moments, they are hard to execute.

 

That’s why the best advice is to take action now. You don’t have to go at it alone. Ask for help to get these areas in your life ironed out so you can decrease business stress — and lower its intensity when is does happen — so it doesn’t adversely affect your life.

You’ll continue to have stressful moments at work and at home. That’s life. But the way business stress affects you will lessen over time as you perfect these areas, increase revenue, and grow your business.

The post How to deal with business stress (while improving profits) appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Drew’s Business

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February 13, 2019 at 09:06AM

12 female thought leaders you need to follow

12 female thought leaders you need to follow

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As a female business owner, you need a team of other supportive, inspirational women to help you overcome challenges, discover new strategies and get the inspiration you need to push through and succeed. If you can’t find these women right around you, don’t fret. There are plenty of female thought leaders who can help you from afar.

Related: 5 inspiring female business owners to learn from

12 top female thought leaders to inspire you

Here are 12 top female thought leaders who can inspire you on all fronts of business, marketing and motivation.

  1. Amy Porterfield (online marketing).
  2. Marie Forleo (motivation).
  3. Brené Brown (leadership).
  4. Arlan Hamilton (venture capital).
  5. Ann Handley (content marketing).
  6. Joanna Wiebe (copywriting).
  7. Alex Beadon (social media).
  8. Sonia Thompson (customer experience).
  9. Annie Cushing (data analytics).
  10. Aleyda Solis (SEO).
  11. Sallie Krawcheck (investing).
  12. Denise Restauri (female empowerment).

Time to get inspired!

1. Amy Porterfield (online marketing)

Female Thought Leaders Amy Porterfield
Photo: Amy Porterfield on Facebook

Amy Porterfield got her start working for one of the most successful motivational coaches of all time, Tony Robbins. While she isn’t going to encourage you to walk across hot coals to get to your goal, Amy will give you the motivation and tools you need to master online marketing. Her weekly podcast is jam-packed with expert advice and actionable takeaways for using digital marketing to grow an online business.

Website | Instagram | Podcast

Ready to up your online marketing game? Check out GoDaddy’s suite of easy DIY and expert services tools for email marketing, social media, online business listings and SEO.

2. Marie Forleo (motivation)

Female Thought Leaders Marie Forleo
Photo: Marie Forleo on Facebook

Marie Forleo has inspired an entire army of women entrepreneurs through her popular B School program. Each year, thousands of women (and a few men, too) sign up for an eight-week, interactive, video-based training that teaches best practices for launching a successful business. The rest of the year, women are inspired weekly by Marie TV, a video web series featuring inspiring talks and interviews with people like Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and more.

Website | Video Web Series | Instagram

3. Brené Brown (leadership)

Female Thought Leaders Brené Brown
Photo: Brené Brown on Facebook

Brené Brown is well-known for her bestselling books focused on the hidden power of courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She’s recently taken this research and knowledge and translated it to relate directly to the workplace with her new book “Dare to Lead” that helps leaders “step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.”

Website | Dare To Lead Book | Instagram

4. Arlan Hamilton (venture capital)

Female Thought Leaders Arlan Hamilton
Photo: Arlan Hamilton on Instagram

Arlan Hamilton saw a problem that she was willing to do anything to fix.

Only 10 percent of all venture capital deals go to women, people of color and LGBT founders.

 

Arlan vowed to change this and started her own venture capital firm, Backstage Capital. To date, Backstage Capital has invested more than $4 million in 100 companies led by underrepresented founders. Follow Arlan on Twitter if you want a fresh perspective of what is happening and changing in the startup, venture capital world.

Website | Twitter

Related: 5 venture capital firms changing the investment game for women-led startups

5. Ann Handley (content marketing)

Female Thought Leaders Ann Handley
Photo: Ann Handley on Facebook

Between her work at MarketingProfs and writing multiple bestselling books, Ann Handley is the queen of content marketing and helping even those who don’t think they can write take control over their copy. Get a regular dose of content inspiration and laughs by subscribing to her bi-weekly newsletter “Total Annarchey” that shares “useful ideas, fresh links, and high-spirited shenanigans delivered to your inbox.”

Website | Twitter | Newsletter

6. Joanna Wiebe (copywriting)

Female Thought Leaders Joanna Wiebe
Photo: Copy Hackers on Facebook

When it comes to copy, whether it’s a small one-liner for a website homepage or a detailed 2,000-word landing page, no one knows words better than Joanna Wiebe. Founder and lead conversion copywriter for Copy Hackers, Joanna works with clients to improve their on-site conversion rates and offers detailed training to writers who want to improve their skills and freelance copywriting business.

Website | Twitter | Copy Tutorials

7. Alex Beadon (social media)

Female Thought Leaders Alex Beadon
Photo: Alex Beadon on Facebook

If you want to learn how to turn your social media presence into a powerhouse community of die-hard loyal followers, you have to connect with Alexa Beadon on Instagram. After her popular YouTube series was unexpectedly deleted by YouTube, Alex moved to Instagram to share her upbeat, uplifting content related to brand building and digital marketing. She also launched a podcast “On Purpose” to share more of working in Instagram marketing.

Website | Instagram | Podcast

8. Sonia Thompson (customer experience)

Female Thought Leaders Sonia Thompson
Photo: Sonia Thompson on Twitter

When it comes to creating memorable brand experiences that leave customers wanting more, Sonia Thompson knows what works. After conducting more than 150 interviews with experts, executives and business owners, Sonia has dissected their best practices and keys to success. She regularly shares what she has learned about corporate culture, diversity, customer loyalty, customer experience and more in her weekly Inc. column and podcast, “The Customer Magnet Show.”

Website | Podcast | Inc. Column

9. Annie Cushing (data analytics)

Female Thought Leaders Annie Cushing
Photo: Annie Cushing on Twitter

When it comes to data analytics, most of us are either all in and love collecting and dissecting numbers or we want to avoid spreadsheets and data at all costs. Annie Cushing helps those of us who want to run from data (even though we know we need it) by creating guides and templates that make data “sexy” and far less scary.

Website | Twitter

10. Aleyda Solis (SEO)

Female Thought Leaders Aleyda Solis
Photo: Aleyda Solis on Twitter

If you read any search engine optimization blogs, it’s likely that you’ve come across Aleyda Solis. A prolific SEO writer, Aleyda frequently contributes to leading SEO blogs such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal and Moz. She doesn’t just write about SEO, she is also an award-winning international SEO consultant, so if you want to keep up with what’s new and relevant in SEO, you must follow Aleyda on Twitter.

Website | Twitter | Blog

11. Sallie Krawcheck (investing)

 Female Thought Leaders Sallie Krawcheck
Photo: Sallie Krawcheck on Facebook

Money is a huge part of our lives, yet we barely ever talk about it. Sallie Krawcheck is changing that. Her company Ellevest is an investment company that caters to women in an effort to empower them by putting more money in their bank accounts. The Ellevest weekly newsletter “What the Elle?” also shares resources and stories that help women better understand and control their financial investments.

Website | Twitter | Blog

Related: 5 venture capital firms changing the investment game for women-led startups

12. Denise Restauri (female empowerment)

Female Thought Leaders Denise Restauri
Photo: Denise Restauri on Twitter

Denise Restauri is the last of the female thought leaders in this list because she is your connection to finding even more influential, successful and inspiring women in business. While her podcast, “Mentoring Moments,” is no longer releasing new episodes, it is a catalog of dozens and dozens of interviews with incredibly inspiring women worth checking out.

Twitter | Podcast

Female thought leaders FTW

Even if you are a solopreneur, you can’t succeed in business alone. You need others to inspire, educate, encourage you and push you in the right direction to find success. The 12 female thought leaders in this post will do just that.

So don’t go at it all alone. Find and follow these inspirational and intelligent women so they can help you reach even more success.

The post 12 female thought leaders you need to follow appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

Drew’s Business

via GoDaddy Blog https://ift.tt/1p4v1DZ

February 18, 2019 at 08:36AM

Female bloggers share tips for blogging for a living

Female bloggers share tips for blogging for a living

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The allure of blogging is still going strong. The idea that you could start a website, and build it into a money-making machine out of nothing? No wonder new blogs get launched every day. We’re all hoping that we will be one of the lucky ones who succeeds in blogging for a living. But just how possible is this?

According to MarketingProfs, bloggers are pumping out 2 million blog posts every day. Sadly though, Blog Tyrant reported that a staggering 69.4 percent of bloggers don’t make any money on their blogs. The report also states that more than 20 percent of bloggers make less than $10,000 per year, 2.5 percent make between $10,000 and $30,000, and a mere 1.2 percent of bloggers make more than $150,000 annually.

With odds like this clearly stacked against you, should you even bother trying blogging for a living? The truth is that it depends on how much effort you are willing to give to this blogging thing.

For some insight into what it takes to actually make money as a blogger, I went straight to the source — seven amazing women doing what they love and blogging for a living.

I asked each of them to tell me their best tips for launching and monetizing their blogs. Below is their advice. My hope is that it will inspire you, if you truly believe blogging is the best path to income for you.

Related: How to start a blog in 7 steps

Lauren McManus of Avocadu and Create and Go

Blogging For A Living Lauren McManus on Shoulders of Alex Nerney
Lauren McManus with her partner, Alex Nerney, of Avocadu
Image: Create and Go

Lauren McManus first found blogging success with her health blog, Avocadu. These days, while she and her partner, Alex Nerney, still run that site and make money from it, they also have launched Create and Go. The Create and Go site is all about starting a blog and actually blogging for a living.

I’ve been following their income reports for some time, and I am an avid reader of their Create and Go website. They have been featured on podcasts and in the media.

It took the couple a full year of blogging full-time to turn their Avocadu blog into a serious money-making site. They quit their day jobs and gave every waking moment to their blog to get it off the ground.

Related: Quiz — Do you have what it takes to be your own boss?

5 tips for blogging for a living from the founders of Create and Go

Lauren and Alex graciously gave me the go-ahead to share some of their best tips on blogging for a living.

1. Pick a topic you know well

Lauren said they started in the health and wellness space “because Alex had been a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist for over five years. I was a former vegan for two years and also was super passionate about all things related to health and wellness.”

But don’t fret too much over your topic of choice. Since blogging is fluid and malleable, you can always change it if your topic isn’t working.

2. Treat your blog like a business, but don’t start with money as the focus

If you choose a topic just because you think it will be financially successful, Lauren says, “you will build yourself a miserable job.”

Related: How to make money blogging

3. Use WordPress

Lauren said WordPress is the blogging platform of choice because it “stands miles ahead of the rest” in terms of flexibility, customization and ease of monetization.

Editor’s note: Interested in WordPress but not sure where to start? Check out GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting. With our exclusive Quick Start Wizard, we guide you through the setup and provide you with professional layouts and images to give you a site that’s both beautiful and professional — no technical expertise required.

4. Drive traffic to your blog with social media promotion

You need traffic to make money. Lauren says their “favorite traffic platform for new bloggers is Pinterest.” One of the reasons she loves Pinterest so much is because right now it’s still “one of the least-competitive platforms out there because most marketers and business owners don’t know about it and those that do generally don’t understand it.”

5. Create multiple revenue streams

Should you monetize with ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing or creating your own products? All of the above! Lauren says that affiliate marketing can be great for new bloggers because you can just sell other people’s products for a commission.

Beginning with affiliate marketing can also teach you how to sell so that when you ultimately create your own products, you’ll be ahead of the game in terms of what products work, and what customers are actually buying.

Related: How to start affiliate marketing on your blog

Elayna Fernández of The Positive MOM

Blogging for a Living Wholly Art Crew in Mickey Mouse Hats
Elayna Fernandez (center) with two of her daughters, Elisha and Elyssa, who are also money making blogging at Wholly Art.

Elayna Fernández is the powerhouse woman behind the incredible blog, The Positive MOM. Her storytelling combined with her can-do attitude creates a space that teaches moms how to overcome their trials and be more positive as they raise their families in the healthiest way possible.

3 blogging tips from The Positive MOM, Elayna Fernandez

During more than 13 years of blogging for a living, Elayna has discovered the formula that works for her. She calls it her monetization formula: Credibility + Visibility + VULNERABILITY = Profitability. While every blogger must find his or her own recipe for success, Elayna outlines some key tips.

1. Find your niche and your mission

“Success in blogging starts with really getting clear on why your blog exists, what contribution you want to make, and who the ideal audience is that you want to write for, serve and reach,” Elayna says.

Related: Why a target audience matters (and how to find yours)

2. Create compelling blog content

“In order to get the results you want from your blog, your blog content must be focused, consistent, helpful, authentic and strategic in positioning you as a trustworthy voice in your area of expertise,” Elayna says.

It really boils down to an authenticity that strikes a chord with your readership. So …

3. Tell a story only you can tell, like only you can tell it

“Being credible and visible is not enough,” Elayna emphasizes. “You must be vulnerable and tell your authentic stories.”

“Storytelling creates connection, community and conviction, and it is your key to own your space as a blogger.”

As a story strategist, Elayna helps moms craft and tell their stories. From her own experience and her work as a coach and mentor, she says finding the courage to tell a raw story is “the most healing, valuable, and profitable practice in the blogosphere!”

Amiyrah Martin of Four Hats & Frugal

One of the things I love so much about being a professional blogger is the community of women I get to learn from, get to know, and hang out with online. I learned about Amiyrah from my bloggy friend Elayna, above. By the way, that would be one of my top tips in blogging for a living — network and get to know people. You never know who you might need as an expert for a blog post, or want to work with in collaboration.

Now, on to Amiyrah’s top tip:

Take the time to fully plan.

 

“Your blog year should be planned way before you start to create content or build a community. Even a quick plan where you pick four to six topics to write about per month will make a huge difference in the amount of money you will make without it,” Amiyrah says. “A content creation plan, and a basic financial plan, will give you the proper foundation to turn your website into a valuable income source.”

Related: 5-step blogger business plan

Tania Lamb of LolaLambchops.com

Elayna also introduced me to Tania Lamb. Tania runs the mom blog Lola Lambchops, which (in her words) features “stories of a Latina mom raising five girls, travel adventures, running, Lip Sync Battles, Disney, Captain America love & overall tomfoolery.”

Tania’s 7 top tips for blogging for a living

What has Tania learned about pro blogging since launching Lola Lambchops? A lot! Here are her best tips for making blogging a business.

1. Narrow in on a super-specific niche

The blogosphere is a crowded space so you have to find your crowd. Tania echoed Elayna’s advice to find your unique niche.

2. Choose a WordPress theme that is mobile friendly

It’s all about mobile these days, so be sure your blog is easy to navigate on your readers’ smartphones and tablets.

Related: 40 of the most important digital marketing statistics for 2019

3. Prep blog content in advance

Scrambling to produce fresh and exciting content is never fun. Tania recommends having content written and ready to publish BEFORE you launch your blog.

4. Know SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to driving traffic to your blog via organic search. And there are many ways, besides using well-researched keywords in blog posts, to make your blog more attractive to search engines. Ever heard of structured data?

Tania advises doing your SEO research before you start blogging so you don’t have to fix things later.

Related: Beginner’s SEO guide

5. Have realistic expectations

Blogging for a living means treating your blog like a business, not a hobby. Tania says you should expect it to be hard work — so be ready to work. Make monetization a goal from the get-go and take the necessary steps to start making money with your blog.

6. Share, share, share

Don’t be afraid to share and syndicate your blog posts to friends, family and many social channels.

7. Figure out what sets you apart

Again, a huge part of success in the blogosphere centers around authenticity and finding your unique value proposition. Tania stresses being yourself and figuring out what sets YOU apart from the rest.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Cents

Blogging For A Living Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Husband and Dogs
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (right) was able to pay off $38,000 in student loan debt just seven months after starting her personal finance and lifestyle blog, Making Sense of Cents.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is one of my sheroes in blogging! I LOVE her income reports, and they were hugely inspirational to me in terms of my own monetization. She made $1.6 million in 2018 alone. If that doesn’t get you excited about blogging for a living, I don’t know what will.

Michelle’s awesome blog, Making Sense of Cents, is all about earning more money, saving more and living more. What I love about her site is that she started it to help improve her own finances, and it became a hub of knowledge for anyone looking to get their finance game in check.

Michelle’s 3 best tips for blogging for a living

I’m super-grateful to Michelle for sharing her blogging insights. After all, she’s been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, and even on Oprah.com!

1. Own your domain

Michelle told me that her top tip for a new blogger looking to make their blog into a business, is to own their domain name. “So many people start out with a domain that they don’t own, such as Senseofcents.blogpost.com (oh my, that used to be me!),” she says.

“It is a huge mistake because it shows that you aren’t as professional, and it just looks messy. It’s always best to own your domain name — and I’m so glad I made the decision to do that years ago.”

2. Use WordPress

Michelle also recommends going with a self-hosted WordPress site because “it will significantly increase your chances of monetizing your blog.”

Michelle has a gold mine of money-making ideas on her website. Check out those ideas here. By the way, the link also has a list of all her published income reports. I suggest reading through them and taking lots of notes that could help you make money on your own blog.

Alexis Schroeder of Fitnancials

I asked Michelle if she had anyone she thought I should talk to about blogging for a living, and she put me in touch with her sister, Alexis Schroeder, who runs the blog Fitnancials. Interestingly enough, Michelle mentored and taught Alexis a lot about the blogging world. After many different jobs, Alexis went full force into blogging.

Her site began as a space to document her weight-loss journey, and now it’s a site dedicated to helping women take charge of their finances and health. How cool is that?!

Not only are the articles packed with great advice and knowledge bombs, Alexis is making a steady $10,000 a month from her site.

Her top tip about blogging for a living?

Follow your passion, and what you enjoy writing about the most.

 

“Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme and takes a lot of patience. Some bloggers don’t see any money from blogging for months or years while building their business — and writing about something you’re passionate about makes the process much more enjoyable,” Alexis says. “Even better, you’ll be knowledgeable in your topic and will know how to best help your audience.”

Tracy Shaw of Having Fun Saving & Cooking

Blogging For A Living Tracy Shaw and Family
Tracy Shaw (center) turned her focus to saving money, and started blogging about it, in 2010. “I started blogging because I wanted to share my passion for helping others,” she writes on her blog Having Fun Saving & Cooking. “My husband had suffered 4 pay cuts and we had lost our health insurance for myself and the kids, so saving money turned into a huge priority for me. It was actually how I helped us survive.”

Tracy Shaw runs Having Fun Saving & Cooking. The blog combines lifestyle posts with recipes and tips for saving money and living your best life without breaking the bank. Tracy says there are so many ways to monetize your blog, and one way she does it is with sponsored posts.

Tracy’s tips for securing sponsored blog posts

Tracy says that in her experience, an easy way to get started with sponsored blog posts is by working with an influencer marketing agency such as Clever Girls, Social Fabric, Best Buy Blogger Network, Activate or Sway.

Personally, I’ll share that I have applied to many of these platforms, and have been denied because of things like not having enough page views or social media followers, or inconsistency in publishing new posts. Ideally, you should be a little more established, with a healthy number of page views and social media followers before applying. However, you could get lucky and get approved for sponsored posts right away.

Another of Tracy’s tips for securing sponsored posts? Pitch directly to the brands you want to partner up with.

Most of the bigger companies will have a PR firm or marketing agency handling their marketing needs (including sponsored blog posts). You can bypass this system with some well-considered pitching. Go directly to the source, Tracy suggests, and prove your worth.

Email the brands that you are passionate about and believe in, and see how you might build a mutually beneficial partnership. Tracy says that the words “mutually beneficial” are imperative when pitching. You want to make sure to show the brand how they can benefit from the relationship while ensuring that you are getting what you need out of the partnership, too.

More tips on blogging for a living

I’ve chatted with some amazing bloggers for this article, and I’m so grateful that they have all given such fabulous advice on blogging for a living. To close out this piece, I’ve rounded up some additional tips from my bloggy friends on Instagram and Facebook that I suggest you keep in mind as you’re navigating the waters of turning your own blog into a money-making machine.

  • “Write something you would want to read.” ~ Emily Eileen
  • “Do not expect this to happen overnight. I’d say focus on your content and make it good.” ~ Stephanie Pass
  •  “Be authentic and stay focused!” ~ Estrella Lezcano
  • “Help each other and be true to yourself.” ~ Ashley Saunders
  • “Make sure your blog name will stand the test of time. One that you can grow with and not be stuck in just one niche.” ~ Dean B of Little Steps
  • “Be consistent in your social networks and honest with what you publish.” ~ Gilda of El Tintero de Mamá on Instagram
  • “The best thing to do is connect with someone who is blogging full time and making good money… find out what worked for them. Getting advice and tips from them will make all the difference.” ~ Heather of the Super Mom Life
  • “Just be yourself! Write what you want to write and try to limit (or space out) sponsored posts.” ~ Diana at Forever My Little Moon
  • “Never stop working — it takes so much time and effort but it’s worth it!” ~ Adriana Nudo
  • “Don’t always show the perfect shots. The messy rooms are more interesting.” ~ Amber of Airing My Dirty Laundry
  • “Be fully present when you are writing. Be fully present in all you do. Be authentic. Write your own words, not someone else’s.” ~ Debra Pearlstein of Strange Daze Indeed

Bottom line: Be yourself, write what you know, give massive value to your audience, and never give up

You can become a full-time blogger who is actually making money. It might take time, but it is possible. I hope this post got the wheels in your head turning about the wild world of blogging. There’s so much to learn on the subject.

I will say this, though — if you want to be a blogger, at some point you have to actually begin blogging. Remember what Lauren said earlier, blogging is fluid and malleable. You can change it, start over, and keep trying until you figure out what works.

Who knows? Maybe your blog will become a case study for future writers aspiring to be blogging for a living.

Until next time, my bloggy friends, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

The post Female bloggers share tips for blogging for a living appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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February 19, 2019 at 08:36AM

NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports finds competitive edge with Microsoft Teams

NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports finds competitive edge with Microsoft Teams

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Legendary NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports has embraced technology for a competitive edge. Microsoft Teams plays a key role in keeping the team connected during competitions, between their Team Operations Center and the crew at the track. We joined the team as they prepared for the Daytona 500.

The post NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports finds competitive edge with Microsoft Teams appeared first on Microsoft 365 Blog.

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February 15, 2019 at 03:03PM

Using ProcDump.exe to monitor w3wp.exe for CPU spikes

Using ProcDump.exe to monitor w3wp.exe for CPU spikes

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Procdump is a light weight Sysinternal’s command-line utility whose primary purpose is monitoring an application for CPU spikes and generating crash dumps during such spikes which an administrator or developer can use to determine the cause or to share the dump with PSS for further analysis. It also can serve as a general process dump utility that you can embed in other scripts.

It completely eliminates the need to maintain different utilities like Debug Daig 1.1 for 32 bit processes and adplus for 64 bit processes on the same server.

The Problem

Looking at task manager we can see w3wp.exe process is spiking CPU between 49%-60% intermittently and then immediately it goes down.

In order to troubleshoot we need to capture 2 sets of dump for w3wp.exe when process reaches 50% CPU and stays there for 3 consecutive seconds or so.This, using Debug Diag 1.1 or Adplus could be a tricky task as it would require great deal of accuracy to manually generate dumps when the actual CPU spike happens or we may end up taking dumps without capturing real activity responsible for the spike.

The Savior

ProcDump.exe comes in handy in such situation to speed up the course of action and help in getting the right set of data. It would monitor the target process for CPU spike within specified time limit and take snapshot at that point.

For example:

procdump -ma -c 50 -s 3 -n 2 5844(Process Name or PID)

-ma Write a dump file with all process memory. The default dump format includes thread and handle information.

-c CPU threshold at which to create a dump of the process.

-s Consecutive seconds CPU threshold must be hit before dump written (default is 10).

-n Number of dumps to write before exiting.

The above command would monitor the w3wp.exe till CPU spikes 50% for 3 seconds and it would take full dump at least for two iterations.

C:\Users\jaskis\Downloads\procdump> procdump -ma -c 50 -s 3 -n 2 5844

ProcDump v1.1 – Writes process dump files
Copyright (C) 2009 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals – www.sysinternals.com

Process:            w3wp.exe (5844)
CPU threshold:      50% of system
Duration threshold: 3s
Number of dumps:    2
Hung window check:  Disabled
Exception monitor:  Disabled
Dump file:          C:\Users\jaskis\Downloads\procdump\w3wp.dmp

Time        CPU  Duration
[23:48.35]  59%  1s
[23:48.36] CPU usage below threshold.
[23:48.37]  54%  1s
[23:48.38]  55%  2s
[23:48.39]  61%  3s
Process has hit spike threshold.
Writing dump file C:\Users\jaskis\Downloads\procdump\w3wp_080309_114839PM.dmp… Dump written.

[23:48.44]  61%  1s
[23:48.45]  59%  2s
[23:48.46]  57%  3s
Process has hit spike threshold.
Writing dump file C:\Users\jaskis\Downloads\procdump\w3wp_080309_114846PM.dmp…
Dump written.

Few of other interesting switches

   -64     By default Procdump will capture a 32-bit dump of a 32-bit when running on 64-bit Windows. This option overrides to 64-bit dump.

   -o      Overwrite an existing dump file.

Another area worth investing time would be to write  a batch file and run it as window service to take dump on CPU spike even when the user logoff from the server.

Stayed tuned for more on this….

Author: jaskis

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February 15, 2019 at 07:40PM