Exploring @Spyrus_inc Windows To Go (Part 2)

A short time ago, I posted Part 1 of my review of SPYRUS Windows To Go live drive, which essentially gives you a computer on a USB stick with a LOT more “oomph.” I’m actually writing Part 2 of this blog entry on my Surfacebook, and it’s humming along without any issues.

Find out more at Spyrusnews

Here are a few takeaways:

Takeaway #1 – Consistent Across Win10 Devices

When I began the adventure with Spyrus, I started on a Lenovo W540 Thinkpad. I did a lot of configuration before saving my settings and shutting down the machine. I expected there to be a few issues when I hooked up the Spyrus Windows To Go drive to my Surfacebook, but, believe it or not, there wasn’t a one! The start up process worked flawlessly. All I had to do was click on SHIFT at Shut Down time, select USB Storage as my startup/boot, and Spyrus loaded without any problems.

As I type this, Windows 10 on Spyrus live drive is pulling down all the drivers for my connected devices, everything from my Apple USB ethernet Adapter (hey, I already had one laying around, why buy a Microsoft only one?) to connected monitors, Surface keyboard, mice, etc.

Takeaway #2 – Installing Apps…Easy

You might think that installing programs on a portable drive would result in a performance hit, but that was NOT the case! I was able to quickly copy my installer files onto the live Drive from my own Windows 10 machine, then once booted up, install the programs. The process was quick.

Takeaway #3 – Storage Capacity

You may not have noticed on the images I shared in Part 1 of the actual Spyrus I received, but the capacity is 32GB. Surprisingly, I wondered if this would be enough. Of course, it is. Even after loading more programs on the device, there seems plenty of room left over for files and more. I can just imagine that if I’m using cloud storage (e.g. OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox) I will be able to easily access content and save more online. Right now, I have about 5.92 gigs of space available. I’m sure I could lighten the load but 5gigs can go a long ways without cloud storage enabled.

Overall Takeaway

You know, this is pretty nice. I’m wondering what would be the easiest way to get a registered Windows 10 Pro loaded on the Spyrus Windows To Go live drive. This makes jumping from device to device so much easier!


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Exploring Windows To Go @SPYRUS_inc (Review Part 1)

Will Spyrus Windows To Go live drive work on a Lenovo W540 Thinkpad?

Need to carry your Windows 10 computer in your pocket, but don’t really want to lug around a laptop? One alternative to carrying around a laptop (e.g. Surfacebook) or tablet (e.g. Surface tablet) is a Windows To Go USB drive (watch linked video in this tweet). This can be useful in a computer rich environment where you have the need to keep custom tools on your USB Solid State Drive (SSD) along with a Windows 10 operating system.

I’m going to take a look at the Spyrus Windows To Go Drive. Why don’t you come along?

What is Windows To Go?

If you aren’t familiar with Windows To Go, you might want to decipher this bit of info from Microsoft with me:

Windows To Go is a feature in Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education that enables the creation of a Windows To Go workspace that can be booted from a USB-connected external drive on PCs.

PCs that meet the Windows 7 or later certification requirements can run Windows 10 in a Windows To Go workspace, regardless of the operating system running on the PC. Windows To Go workspaces can use the same image enterprises use for their desktops and laptops and can be managed the same way. Windows To Go is not intended to replace desktops, laptops or supplant other mobility offerings. Rather, it provides support for efficient use of resources for alternative workplace scenarios.

Who doesn’t like to sit down at a computer that reflects their choices, their software, desktop wallpaper and more? I know I do! Most professionals in education and business do. One roadblock, though, is that even in a PC-rich environment, you may find yourself longing for YOUR particular setup. That’s where Spyrus Windows To Go Drive may come in handy.

Real Use Scenarios

As I reflected on the various times I needed a Windows 10 computer in my pocket, I realized that I actually had a list of situations where it would come in handy:

  • This past year, I found myself traveling to Texas to Washington to attend specialized training. Computers were provided, but I would have loved to have had Spyrus Windows To Go Drive in my hands. I would have the chance to setup my Spyrus Windows To Go Drive ahead of time and not had to worry about limitations you often encounter in a computer lab situation.
  • Carrying around a Spyrus Windows To Go Drive makes travel a LOT easier. It’s fairly small, shorter than your middle finger, and starts up robustly. I know I’d rather just drop that lightweight drive in my sling bag than have to carry a full-sized laptop or tablet computer.
  • Friends often call me to provide assistance on their malware-infested device. Having Spyrus Windows To Go Drive to start up from, then run scans on the infected PC could be a real life-saver.

There are many possibilities for using Spyrus Windows To Go Drive. How many can you think of for your situation?
https://player.vimeo.com/video/126919337?color=ff6c3b&portrait=0 SPYRUS WTG Drive from Anifex Animation Effects Studio on Vimeo.

About Spyrus Windows To Go Drive 

The drive arrived in my mailbox. When I first opened up the envelope, I neglected to read the instructions included letter. For the sake of full disclosure, I provide the relevant excerpt below:

Congratulations on being chosen to review a Spyrus Windows To Go drive! SPYRUS Windows To Go live drives turn personal computers, including most Mac, into compliant enterprise Windows desktops–with or without connectivity.

SPYRUS Windows To Go drives are bootable drives and boot at the BIOS level of the motherboard and completely bypass the host computer’s own hard drive and native Operating System (OS). There is no impact on the host computer and no footprint left behind when the drive is shut down. SPYRUS has spent over 20 years exclusively focused on the problem of remote access and data protection–“security on the edge.”

As you can imagine, it was a USB drive and I just plugged it into a Lenovo W540 Thinkpad laptop (i7 processor, 16gigs RAM) to see what would happen.

Did You Know? The Spyrus WorkSafe Pro is the only USB 3.0 certified Windows to Go 8.1 drive with XTS-AES 256 hardware encryption and internal FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated PKI. (Source)

At first, my UEFI enabled laptop ignored the USB drive…at least, until I remembered UEFI was turned on!

START UP

To start up, I needed to go into my BIOS settings (click SHIFT on SHUT DOWN in Windows 10, then press F12 at power on) to select the UEFI/Legacy “Both” option. When I powered on the drive, I pressed F12, and was able to select Spyrus as my startup device (as opposed to my hard drive).

After that, it took a few minutes while the Spyrus Windows To Go drive got going.

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions, you can find them online at Spyrus’ website. They have a handy chart that tells you what keys to press when turning on your computer.

REVIEW

My first experience with Spyrus Windows To Go Drive was wonderful. I was expecting to encounter a lot more technical difficulties, but those didn’t show up. My next steps after initial setup involved customizing the installation.

A few questions that came to mind included:

  • Could I install all my favorite apps?
  • What was the storage capacity of the Windows To Go drive Spyrus provided?
  • How well would this work on my Surfacebook (i7, 8gigsRAM)?
  • Would the experience be consistent across devices?

In Part 2 of this review, I’ll share my findings. In the meantime, what questions do you have about this handy drive? Please share your thoughts/questions in the Comments section.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Q&A with a CTO: Striving for Balance

A few weeks ago, I received a Twitter DM from a colleague in another state. After going back-n-forth in Twitter DMs, I decided to explore the topic as a full blown blog entry. Here’s the lead for the TCEA Technotes blog entry that just came out earlier this week:

Dear TCEA Responds:

I am a new CTO/Tech Director and love this article at TCEA’s Technotes blog (First Things First). I need to better understand how my staff works. A part of that involves tracking their work to better understand the organization as you recommend. We have the break fix tracking software. I’m thinking more of something project oriented and time tracking. My concern is my coaches are spending too much time on fixing broken equipment and not enough on curriculum support. My network and hardware specialists may be spending too much time waiting for things to go down, if that makes sense. Do you have any software recommendations for doing that?
Thanks, Mike

Dear Mike:

Thanks for the wonderful feedback about the First Things First blog entry. Now, on to your question, What’s the best way to track your staff’s work?  Several approaches can work. Before we jump into those, it’s worth asking the question, “What will you do with the data you gather about your staff’s work tasks?”

If you want to read the rest of my response, you’ll want to read the complete blog entry.


Dear TCEA Responds:

I am a new CTO/Tech Director and love this article at TCEA’s Technotes blog (First Things First). I need to better understand how my staff works. A part of that involves tracking their work to better understand the organization as you recommend. We have the break fix tracking software. I’m thinking more of something project oriented and time tracking. My concern is my coaches are spending too much time on fixing broken equipment and not enough on curriculum support. My network and hardware specialists may be spending too much time waiting for things to go down, if that makes sense. Do you have any software recommendations for doing that? Thanks, Mike

Dear Mike:

Thanks for the wonderful feedback about the First Things First blog entry. Now, on to your question, What’s the best way to track your staff’s work? Several approaches can work. Before we jump into those, it’s worth asking the question, “What will you do with the data you gather about your staff’s work tasks?” You need to ask that question. You can’t tell your end users (e.g. teachers, principals, central office staff) that your team needs to focus only on completing work orders. That would send the wrong message about your department’s customer service. You can provide valuable data and information to your stakeholders. Valuable information about their own practices can help them make connections about their own needs. It will also make it easier for your to provide informed customer service.

Providing the Best Customer Service

As a new CTO, put the following strategies in place. The strategies may better address the needs of those you serve. These strategies are multi-faceted and can help you overcome the challenges of a beginning CTO.

Strategy #1 – Implement a Single Point of Contact

tcea respondsEstablishing a single point of contact, such as an online system, eliminates the confusion that results from incoming phone calls or in-the-hallway interruptions. The main benefit is that it ensures prompt access for the end user, anytime and anywhere. This solution should meet the following criteria:

  • Work on a variety of devices, including iOS/Android devices
  • Allow for the end user to check the status of their problem
  • Email-to-ticket conversion
  • Active Directory and LDAP authentication
  • Auto ticket routing
  • Parent/child ticket mapping
  • Balancing/re-assigning tickets
  • Graphs and reporting
  • Ability to rank the importance of incoming calls
  • Make it easy to set up types or categories of work orders that are understandable to end users

A few possible solutions widely used in Texas school districts include:

Of course, you can also take advantage of free solutions, such as Google Forms and/or Microsoft Forms.

Strategy #2 – Differentiate Between Jobs

If your instructional technologists, a.k.a. digital coaches, are performing technical support, why are technicians needed? Or if technicians are serving as digital coaches impacting instruction, the district is wasting critical funding. While it’s nice to have a jack-of-all trades staff member, you need to remember that the more specialized your team members are, the better it is for your district. Instructional technologists and technicians should train together, learn new technologies, and be able to solve problems. When you do this, you are growing future CTOs. But if a significant amount of time is spent with crossover duties, then you are under or over paying someone. Here is one example document aligned to Texas objectives: tcea responds Below is another example from Beaverton Public Schools (Oregon-based): tcea responds These charts establish a clear separation of the work to be done and better define the job roles. Communicate this information to all stakeholders. Sharing this information on social media, at superintendent’s cabinet and principals’ meetings, can speed this process.

Strategy #3 – Clarify Expectations for Response Times

Defining job roles is insufficient. In addition, you need to set up a service level agreement (SLA). This agreement lets everyone know what is critical and what is not. Without an SLA in place, you will have technicians running from one campus to district office, then back again. Is a computer lab top priority at the high school or is the superintendent’s locked iPad top priority? tcea responds

Final Thoughts

As you plan, remember the cardinal principle of your work: relationships matter. Move forward with care, building and deepening relationships as you go. Cut loose those on your team who refuse to embrace better customer service for those you serve. Be transparent about what you do, and revisit those SLAs. Be fearless in holding yourself accountable and make it safe for your team to hold themselves accountable.  


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Managing Your Chrome Add-Ons

This is a test…the screen for this blog entry should be blank, but if viewed in an RSS reader, all the content appears. 🙂

These add-on managers not only allow you to disable or remove add-ons you may get while exploring; they may also work conditionally, meaning they work differently depending on the website you happen to be on.

Two fantastic Google Chrome add-ons that you might want to consider include the following:

  • SimpleExtManager: A simple menu to enable, disable, and access extension options
  • Extensity: Quickly enable/disable Google Chrome extensions

These image add-ons that can enhance how you interact with images via Chrome.

  • Unsplash Instant: Every time you open a new tab, you will see a beautiful “high-resolution Unsplash photo that you can save and/or use as you like.
  • Hover Zoom: Enlarge image thumbnails on mouse over while surfing the web. Works on many sites, including Google Image Search, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Reddit, Amazon, Tumblr and others. An alternative is Imagus.
  • TinEye Reverse Image Search: Find out where an image came from, how it’s used, or find resolution versions. This is a great one for projects where you or your students forget just exactly what the source for a internet-garnered image is.
  • Pixabay Image Search: Hoping to find great pics that are copyright friendly? Pixabay Image Search will take you straight to available images.
  • Image Downloader: Allows you to get and save all the images on a web page with many options.
  • Images On/Off: This allows you to turn images on or off when visiting a web page, which can be handy.
  • Save to Google Drive: Save web content or screen capture directly to Google Drive.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: The Value of an Education

In the Huffington Post piece, Has higher education lost the battle of public perception?, a question is asked that some already have answered. “No,” said a 10K student district superintendent, to my great disappointment, “our kids need to look at other opportunities aside from college.”

Part of what made America’s world leadership possible is that higher education provided a safety valve that prepared millions of Americans for the change from a manufacturing to a post-industrial global economy.

As America evolves, there is no single straight or even clear path toward the future. Some Americans have been left behind, economic disparity has grown, and a growing split between economic classes – represented by the chasm between the rhetoric and reality in the current national tax plans – are persistent issues. It may be that higher education has lost the battle over the language that describes what its colleges and universities do in this hyper-charged partisan environment.

Yes, higher education has lost the battle of public perception. Getting a college degree, including graduate degrees, may become harder and tougher for middle class families. This is true as the Republican tax code sets out to slay tuition waivers and scholarship options that affect my own children.

Of my family of three (Mom, Dad, and I), I am the first to earn a Master’s degree.
In my wife’s family, she was the first generation to earn a Master’s degree.
In my family (two kids, my wife and I), my children hope to earn a graduate degree, if not a doctorate, before entering the workforce.

Without scholarships, tuition waivers, not one of us would have made it. That is, “but for the grace of Government, we would be mucking it out with America’s forgotten.” No doubt, we’d have voted for Trump, fallen for his lies and those of the Republican administration.

Thank goodness, I went to college. I can usually see a lie coming.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: A Cog’s Game

Are you a cog in the machine, a piece of machinery that does only what it must do for the greater good? Well, what’s wrong with that? Imagine building trust without being reliable, trustworthy. I can’t imagine putting my trust in someone who couldn’t get the job done every day, right? Hmm….

A writer who has an angle always appears smarter than one who does not. As such, I try to put an angle in every bit of writing I do. I succeed and fail with some regularity (you tell me which). While looking for the quote, I found myself reading this piece:

Once you have a good angle, the actual writing is a snap, because you know what to put in and what to leave out. In fact, once you have an angle, what often follows is the easiest thing in the world to write: a list. (Source)

The power of the list, fondly referred to as the listicle (an article full of lists), made writing easier for me. For inspiration, I often re-read Writing the Ed-Tech List Article. None of this would have come to mind if Seth Godin hadn’t reminded me of the power of having a point of view.

A point of view is the difference between a job and a career.
It’s the difference between being a cog and making an impact.

The truth is, you can be a cog with an angle. That’s what makes being a cog fun…cogs have an important job. They transfer energy.

a wheel or bar with a series of projections on its edge that transfers motion by engaging with projections on another wheel or bar.

Ok, let’s break that down a bit. A cog transfers motion (energy). It does that by engaging with other elements that get things done. Maybe, the problem with POV is that they confuse making an impact with being disruptive and not getting things done. Maybe, cogs get things done that need to be done…and that makes it all work.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

AL DíA: STEM Tools, DIY Projects and More

Wow, I had a lot of fun putting this blog entry together on a subject that is near and dear to many people’s hearts. I was trying for a blog entry about STEM toys, but failed miserably. Instead, I stumbled on a treasure trove of STEM DIY projects in Pinterest. A second grade teacher in San Angelo, Tx had hinted that such troves were the source of her STEM awesomeness.

Here’s the excerpt where I share that story in the blog entry, along with a kazillion DIY ideas in Pinterest for STEM Projects:

“Where did you get your idea for that project?” I asked a second grade teacher who was sharing a STEM project at a San Angelo, Tx TCEA area conference. “Pinterest!” she replied with a smile. “I find most of my ideas there.”

You can also find a STEM Awesomeness Padlet featuring lots of great ideas online. I’ll be adding to it over time.


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure