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Seek and ye shall find

Fish’s team gets a new boss who rubs them the wrong way on Day 1 by saying he knows “everything about computers.” So they figure a little prank should be harmless enough. They put a tiny wireless mouse receiver in the back of his computer, and then wiggle it from time to time while he’s working, causing his cursor to jump around the screen.

Boss tears his PC apart a few times looking for the source of the movement. Time goes on, and the team goes through three different office moves, where computers had to be completely disconnected and set up again, which the boss does himself for his own PC.

And one day he does indeed find that little USB dongle. It took him about two years.

Be Sharky’s chum — er, best buddy — and send me your true tales of IT life at [email protected]. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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News to use, for youse: Where to find info about Office 365

Once in a while Computerworld comes across an informational bit that’s so good – no, great – that it deserves to be shared with as many as possible even though we didn’t think it up.

Call it “News to use, for youse” – we are – or a PSA (public service announcement) – we aren’t – even though it’s not really news: It’s more like news about getting news.

Call us Office 365 confused

“One of the main challenges when using Office 365 products and services is to stay aware of announcements, updates and upcoming features,” Christian Heim and Christian Keller, two senior premier field engineers in the Microsoft Services group, wrote in a March 2 post to a company blog.

No kidding.

Heim and Keller not only acknowledged a problem – not just with Office 365 but with a lot of what Microsoft does, that the Redmond, Wash. company spreads information hither and thon – but they also stepped up to document half a dozen online sources, ranging from Office 365 and Microsoft 365 roadmaps to a YouTube-located monthly “what’s new?” video of 10 to 15 minutes.

The duo even categorized each source as suitable (or not) for specific job functions, such as Office 365 developer, Office 365 global administrator and IT service firm owner. After selecting one of the pre-made job descriptions, users will be offered a list of the most appropriate Office 365 informational sources.

Heim’s and Keller’s work, “Staying on top of Office 365 updates” is available online. The same information, but packaged as a PowerPoint deck, can be downloaded from here.

If you’re involved with Office 365 at work – you don’t just use it, you administer it or service it or decide whether or not to pay for it – you need what Heim and Keller wrote. It’s that simple.

Like we said, “News to use, for youse.”

More sources of Office 365 info

Heim and Keller didn’t explain every source of Office 365 information. “This list is not claiming to cover all existing options or information sources,” the two wrote. They then asked readers to suggest others.

No one took them up on that. Computerworld did, though. Here are some other online locales to keep in mind.

  • Update history for Office 365 ProPlusThis is a good starting place in Office 365 support when you need to know when a specific version of ProPlus – the application collection at the heart of the subscription – was released and what was in it. Clicking on the links in the table take you to the release notes for that version, with brief descriptions of fixes made and features introduced in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and the other apps. This .pdf is a duplicate of those release notes, and because it can be saved as a document, it may be more easily found later.
  • What’s new in Office 365Each month’s release gets a quick once-over for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, with short explanations of the new features Microsoft’s touting.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Good tech talent is still hard to find (how to bridge the gap)

In today’s era of digital business, companies are intoxicated by the potential of technology-driven transformation. Manufacturers eye the internet of things (IoT) as a springboard for predictive maintenance and new product-as-a-service revenues.

Retailers are wielding big data analytics to drive new customer experiences and increase sales while players in banking, insurance, and pretty much every other industry are making a beeline to machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate and reimagine key business processes.

[ IT skills: Guide to top big data certifications ]

The possibilities are endless, and the future of digital business seems bright. Yet a persistent trouble spot remains the serious shortage of IT talent, particularly among candidates with proven expertise in coveted skills in areas like cloud, security and AI.

The 2019 State of the CIO confirmed that finding and nurturing the right skills to support digital transformation and the ongoing IT agenda is a significant hurdle for many IT organizations. Technology skills were the biggest gap — half of respondents cited technology integration and implementation skills as the most elusive — but finding people with the right set of soft skills in areas like change management, strategy building and relationship management was equally challenging.

Data science and analytics skills were flagged as the most difficult to find (42 percent) with security and risk management (33 percent), AI/ML (31 percent), and cloud services/integration (22 percent) not far behind, the 2019 State of the CIO survey found. Business process experts, cloud architects and data scientists were among the experts in high demand, but short supply.

While it’s hard to find tech talent now, the situation is likely to worsen, according to

 

In today’s era of digital business, companies are intoxicated by the potential of technology-driven transformation. Manufacturers eye the internet of things (IoT) as a springboard for predictive maintenance and new product-as-a-service revenues.

Retailers are wielding big data analytics to drive new customer experiences and increase sales while players in banking, insurance, and pretty much every other industry are making a beeline to machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate and reimagine key business processes.

[ IT skills: Guide to top big data certifications ]

The possibilities are endless, and the future of digital business seems bright. Yet a persistent trouble spot remains the serious shortage of IT talent, particularly among candidates with proven expertise in coveted skills in areas like cloud, security and AI.

The 2019 State of the CIO confirmed that finding and nurturing the right skills to support digital transformation and the ongoing IT agenda is a significant hurdle for many IT organizations. Technology skills were the biggest gap — half of respondents cited technology integration and implementation skills as the most elusive — but finding people with the right set of soft skills in areas like change management, strategy building and relationship management was equally challenging.

Data science and analytics skills were flagged as the most difficult to find (42 percent) with security and risk management (33 percent), AI/ML (31 percent), and cloud services/integration (22 percent) not far behind, the 2019 State of the CIO survey found. Business process experts, cloud architects and data scientists were among the experts in high demand, but short supply.

While it’s hard to find tech talent now, the situation is likely to worsen, according to research from Korn Ferry Institute. The digital skills gap is hampering digital transformation at more than half (54 percent) of companies surveyed by Korn Ferry, and by 2020, the technology, media and telecommunications industries may be short more than 1.1 million skilled workers globally. By 2030, Korn Ferry estimates the deficit will reach 4.3 million people. The need for software development skills is particularly acute: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them.

Filling the pipeline

SUSE, a provider of open-source Linux software, is grappling with a shortage of technology skills across a host of areas, especially given the shift towards a dynamic, hybrid, and multi-cloud application environment, said Melissa Di Donato, the firm’s CEO.

To remain at the forefront of innovation, SUSE is in constant need of tech skills such as general open-source software development, documentation, quality assurance/engineering, packaging and maintenance and support. Knowledge of containers is another critically important area as are roles that require layered skills — for example a software engineer who also has a command of networking. “There is a huge demand for such skills and a chronic shortage of supply,” Di Donato explained.

Related: How university partnerships are priming tech talent pipelines

To fill in the gaps in its talent pool, SUSE puts a lot of energy into fostering relationships within the open-source communities, leveraging what it calls SUSE ambassadors within these networks to help attract key talent. Specifically, SUSE leverages developer communities like Stack and Git in addition to specific job boards and its own career site to keep its pipeline flush. The company has also implemented a strong employee referral program while promoting extensively from within.

Yet even with a solid presence in all of these channels, recruiting remains a challenge, Di Donato says. “We have found that developers and engineers are spending less time updating their LinkedIn profiles and are increasingly limiting their professional digital footprint within developer communities,” she said. “Given this shift, it’s important for SUSE to play an active and influencing role in these communities.”

At LivePerson, a provider of conversational commerce and AI software, you would think ML and AI talent would be most coveted competency set, but that’s not where the company is struggling to find skills, according to Alex Spinelli, the company’s CTO. Given all the hoopla over AI and ML, universities have stepped up their curriculum in these areas, which has led to better prepared graduates, Spinelli said. At the same time, current software engineers are pretty good about self-training to keep current, and they have much of the AI/ML skill set covered, he added.

The bigger problem is finding robust talent in the area of human computer interaction — specifically, people who understand how humans use and consume information and can translate that knowledge into appealing and engaging user experiences, he said. “During the whole mobile trend and web 2.0, a lot of technologists spent time thinking about user interface …, but as things have swung towards AI, ML and math, we now have a dearth of those other skills,” he said. Swelling interest in AI and ML have also kept technologists from focusing on how to build massively scalable systems, which is another skills area LivePerson has had trouble sourcing, he said.

Related: IT turns to employee resource groups to attract, retain tech talent

To keep its talent pool refreshed, LivePerson relies heavily on recruiting from target universities as well as on employee referrals. As part of the employee recruitment process, Spinelli believes it’s imperative to make the company’s values and mission clear. “People who share the company’s values can rise above the others,” he explained. “We have to make sure we find the people our mission excites because you make a better connection.”

Back to school

For many companies, the best solution for closing the talent gap is reskilling employees and filling much needed positions from within. Deloitte Consulting LLP has always made training a priority, but it recently released a new program to empower the next-generation workforce with much needed skills in areas like AI, ML, blockchain and IoT. The new Cloud Institute, part of the firm’s Cloud Practice, is a pilot program that includes a mix of instructor-led classes, e-learning and hands-on capstone labs to focus on reskilling and preparing Deloitte developers, engineers and architects with the skills they need to be fluent in cloud technologies, according to Ken Corless, CTO of Deloitte’s Cloud Practice.

One of the key differences between this and other Deloitte training initiatives is that the content and delivery is focused on where the employee wants to evolve their career. For example, if they want to be an AI developer, the platform will steer them to the necessary learning tracks and skills they’ll need to make that leap. Once the coursework is completed, the system updates that information on the human resource record, tags that employee with the skill set, and feeds that information into the staffing system so they could be tapped for new positions requiring those skills.

“We’re making a commitment to prepare them for the next better job and we hope that it’s with Deloitte, but if not, that’s okay too,” Corless said.

Given its brand recognition and company reputation, it’s not that Deloitte can’t fill its talent pipeline with new hires, it’s that the process is time consuming and expensive. In addition, Corless said the company has tens of thousands of talented employees so the best approach is to make the commitment to take them from the middle of the pack to the front edge of technology skills. “Even if we were to hire 1,000 people, it’s a drop in the bucket,” he said. “Leveraging the existing people assets we have is absolutely key to scaling our cloud practices with the changes coming this way.”



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5 Google Search Alternatives to Find Something New

Google is the default search engine for most of us. But did you know you can give to charity through search engines, or even earn cryptocurrency by searching? Check out these cool alternatives to Google.

You don’t need to quit Google cold-turkey or switch to any of these search engines immediately. Both can co-exist happily, and you can pick and choose when to use it. The idea is to try going away from Google to discover features and results that you won’t see otherwise.

1. Mojeek (Web): Search by Emotion, While Staying Private

Mojeek is a privacy protecting search engine that sorts results by emotion

Anything published on the internet gets a lot of reactions. Mojeek, an alternative to the likes of Google, says it can filter search results based on how people feel about that link. And it surprisingly works well.

There are five emotions currently available: love, wow, haha, sad, and angry.

Type your keywords and click the emoji to get search results that match the emotion. Click a different emoji and the results will change. It actually works, and you might discover links that you wouldn’t find otherwise. I found it a truly different, cool way to browse search results.

Mojeek is also a full web-crawling search engine, which means it uses its own results unlike many of the metasearch engines that repackage Google or some other search giant’s results. It is also completely private, does not track its users, and prides itself on hosting its servers with an eco-friendly partner.

The company’s founders conducted an extensive AMA on Reddit, if you want to know more about their philosophy or product.

2. Givero (Web): Raise Money for Good Causes Through Web Searches

Donate money to charity by doing web Searches through Givero

How awesome would it be if every time you searched for something on the web, the money went to a good cause instead of lining the pockets of a private company like Google or Microsoft? Well, that’s what Givero is offering to do.

The idea behind Givero is similar to Ecosia and a few other such charity-focused tech companies. How does it work? Like Google or Bing, Givero earns revenue through advertising when you use it to search for anything. But unlike the others, half of the ad revenues from these searches will be given to a charitable cause.

You can choose the causes too. This includes global organizations (Mozilla Foundation, WWF, ocean cleanup) and local Danish causes since it’s a Denmark-based website. Add a charity to your causes, and the ad revenue from your searches will be diverted to only those causes.

All you have to do is search on Givero instead of Google. This might be one of the easiest ways to change the world


Is This the Easiest Way to Change the World?




Is This the Easiest Way to Change the World?

Feel like helping people but don’t have the time, money, or energy? Well, there are apps for that. Try these five apps and be charitable online.
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3. Gibiru (Web): Uncensored, Privacy-Protected Google Results

Gibiru gives you Google's search results while protecting your privacy and showing uncensored results that Google won't

You like Google, but you don’t like how it invades your privacy? Gibiru might be the best way for you to see Google search results while protecting your privacy. And you’ll also see some of the results that Google might censor.

Branded as an unfiltered, private search engine, Gibiru claims to have a modified version of the Google algorithm. So you will likely see the same results as you would on a Google search, and in fact, the interface is a little similar too.

But there’s a second tab called Uncensored. This tab shows links that you won’t see on Google or would be drowned into the back pages. Be warned, some of these are a bit out there, and you need to be wearing a tinfoil hat to click them.

But at its core, Gibiru does a good job of protecting your identity while doing search queries. It uses 256 bit encryption for all searches and does not keep search logs. It does not store any cookies on your device and doesn’t sell your data.

4. SearX (Web): Metasearch to Get Results From Multiple Search Engines

Search Google, Yahoo, Bing and other multiple search engines at once with SearX

Different search engines use different methods to find the best results. SearX is a privacy-friendly metasearch engine that aggregates results into one central page. It’s based on open-source software.

In the Preferences, you can set which search engines you want to use.

These include popular giants like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, as well as smaller names like Qwant and Startpage. In fact, you can choose specific engines for each type of search category, namely General, Files, Images, Map, Music, Videos, News, and Social Media.

The About page says SearX does not store any data, doesn’t generate a profile on your behavior, doesn’t share what you search with a third party, and can’t be used to compromise you. Website choices are saved locally on your computer, and you can clear all cookies through Preferences.

5. Presearch (Web): Earn Cryptocurrency Through Searches

Presearch lets you earn cryptocurrency by doing web searches

Presearch is a fun little search engine that lets you earn some cryptocurrency with every search. It’s called PRE tokens and is not of much value at the moment. CoinMarketCap values one PRE token at $0.001 USD. But hey, it’s something.

Each search gives you a few decimals of PRE tokens, with a maximum of 32 searches per day giving that payout. Presearch’s tokens can be redeemed at an online store for merchandise like stickers and beanies. But it might be wiser to stack them up and use them to buy advertising space on Presearch.

The search app itself is quite cool though. It uses its own search engine by default, but you can add shortcuts to other services like Google, DuckDuckGo, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc. One click and you can search their catalogs.

Find What Google Can’t

It’s surprising to discover how many other great search engines there are. There’s Ecosia, which plants trees around the world to offset your search results’ carbon footprint. There’s Yippy, which clubs search results into “clusters” so you can find more links in the sub-category of what you’re looking for. And there are many more.

In fact, you might be shocked to know that Google can’t even find everything on the web. Heck, can it tell you which streaming service to play a movie or TV show on? No, you need a different app for that. There is much more to the world of online search results, which you can see through these alternative search engines to find what Google can’t


13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can’t




13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can’t

Google Search still can’t do everything. These 13 alternative search engines can take care of a few niche jobs for you.
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Use Findation to Find the Perfect Shade of Foundation

When you’re shopping online for clothes and accessories, you can usually make a decent guess at what fits best due to sizing charts and knowing your own measurements. But what if you’re shopping online for other things? How do you ensure that you’ll get exactly what you need?

A start-up called Findation wants to help you find the right foundation color when you’re searching for makeup. They are an incredibly useful tool.

Here’s everything you need to know about the company and how to use its website.

1. Why Use Findation?

Use Findation for Retail Makeup Sales

Findation’s concept is very similar to Brayola, which is an online bra-matching service that you can use to buy great bras that fit great.

Findation allows you to use the company’s website to find foundation colors that will look great on your skin. It does this by pulling color matches to the cosmetic brands that you already have on hand, using data that you enter through a series of dropdown menus.

They also have a merchant-only side to their service that specifically helps retailers foundation-match for their clients.

Note: Findation was an active start-up in the early 2010s, but their online activity on Facebook and Twitter has wound down significantly. The risk of outdated makeup information is higher.

2. Sign Up to Findation

Access Findation Through Twitter Account

When you use Findation, you don’t need to sign up for anything.

If you’re just looking to try out the service to see how it works, or you want to get a one-time recommendation on what foundations to buy, simply open the website and go from there. Findation’s handy dropdown list on the main page will help you find your foundation ASAP.

If you’re unsure of your choices, however, or you want to save your results, you can log into Findation using Twitter or Facebook to save your recommendations in Findation’s system.

Note: If you log out, you’ll need to start the selection process of narrowing down your foundation matches all over again.

3. Find Your Best Foundation Shade

Find Foundation Shade Findation

To find your foundation matches, Findation will first ask you to enter the brand of foundation or concealer that you currently wear.

To locate your brand, you can either scroll through Findation’s massive list, or you can use the Search function.

I use Missha, but “M” is far down the list. I typed the name of my cosmetic brand into the search bar to quickly pull it up instead.

Note: If your favorite brands are not on the list, you can let Findation know that it needs to be added. Otherwise, it’s likely that in the hundreds of brands offered, you’ll find at least one or two that you’ve used before.

Product Match Foundation and Concealer Findation

After you pick out your brand, Findation is going to ask you for the specific name of your concealer or foundation. Once again, you can scroll through the list, or use the search bar to quickly pull up your product.

I typically use various types of BB Cream, so I typed in “BB” to find my product. They didn’t have my current favorite, but they did have a product that I’ve tried out before and really enjoyed: M Signature Real Complete BB Cream.

It’s not perfect, but it’ll do. I added it as a close alternative for this article.

Color Match Foundation With Findation

Once you pick out your individual product, Findation will ask you to name the shade of the product that you use.

This part is important, as it will help you find your foundation color match with more accuracy. After all, there’s no point in using this service if it gives you a recommendation that is wildly different from your own skin tone. It just won’t work.

Color Match Missha BB Cream With Findation

When you pick your shade, Findation will automatically take you to a screen where it will tell you that it’s “calculated your matches based on what you’re currently using.” Underneath that, it will tell you the name of the product that it’s drawing the data from.

Tips on Finding the Right Color Match

  1. For best results, Findation recommends that you add as many different products as you can, provided they are all a good match for your skin, and you’ve entered the details correctly.
  2. If you want to add another product, click on Add another match.
  3. If you don’t want to add another product, click on Find my matches anyway. It will take you to the results.
  4. If you don’t know the details of your product, such as its specific shade, don’t guess. Makeup is expensive, so it’s better to read the label first.
  5. Don’t enter details for a foundation or concealer that wasn’t right for your skin. If you wouldn’t buy the product again, the data is irrelevant.
  6. If you’re only entering details for foundations that are sheer or tinted moisturizers, you won’t be able to get a good result for a full-coverage foundation.
  7. Make sure you enter at least one full-coverage foundation to your list.
  8. For people who use a different foundation shade in the summer or winter, it’s recommended that you choose a product that works best for you year-round.

4. Your Findation Results

Findation Makeup List

Once you’ve entered at least two to three foundations, Findation will be able to make a good recommendation about which foundation shades will suit you. Each result in the list will have:

  • The brand name.
  • The product name.
  • The shade.
  • A picture of the product.

While you’re on the results page, you can find a specific brand faster by clicking on Look for a match in a specific product. If you’re contemplating a particular product and just trying to narrow down the shade you should buy, this option is ideal for you.

On the right side of each search result, you’ll see a button that says Tried It?

If you’ve tried this product before and either loved it or hated it, you can improve further matches for everyone by clicking on the text and giving Findation your feedback.

Does Findation Work

Explore Product Details

Under each search result, there will also be a blue button where it will tell you if your product is available. If you click on this button, you will be taken to the product’s individual page. There, you’ll find out more about it.

Product Details Findation

Here, you can see a picture of the product and an excerpt on what it’s for. You’ll also see a list of locations where you can buy the product if it’s still available. That list of locations is at the bottom of the page.

Next to the product being listed, there will be a collection of related products that you might be interested in. You can buy them through Amazon.

If you haven’t shopped for makeup on Amazon before, we recommend that you read our index on Amazon features and services.

And that’s it. That’s all you need to know on how to use Findation.

Make the Most Out of Recommendation Tools

Buying makeup online can always make a person feel anxious because of the price tag involved. Fortunately, product-matching tools like Findation will give you an educated guess on what to buy.

If you like recommendation sites, check out these fashion and style apps to find the right outfit


5 Women’s Fashion and Style Apps to Find the Right Outfit




5 Women’s Fashion and Style Apps to Find the Right Outfit

Finding the right dress can be a world of pain. Here are some of the foolproof women-centric apps to find the right outfit.
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