Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Domains in Office 365

In our personal life most of us are more than happy to have email accounts that end in googlemail.com or hotmail.co.uk or apple.com. It actually makes it easier for people to find us, they need to only learn our prefix. The problem is few of us have our names as googlemail accounts, we end up using cute phrases or putting numbers at the end of our names.

 When you get an Office 365 account you get a domain inside of the onmicrosoft.com domains. 

This means if you register something like loveworks as your company name you will get emails and logins that end loveworks.onmicrosfot.com and your emails will be of the form <username>@loveworks.onmicrosoft.com.

Again for a smaller company this might be fine, but for a larger firm or a firm with more established presence on the web you might want to use an existing domain, or register a new domain so your users can got to a URL like loverorks.com rather than loveworks.onmicrosoft.com. This is probably a minimal step for users who are moving to Office 365 and here is the easiest clearest video I have found to do this:

Now say you are an even more mature company with an existing Active Directory on premise and lots of applications running using your Active Directory. You still want to use Office 365 for mail, messaging and collaboration but you want to keep your existing Active Directory and manage your identities on AD. This makes things much more complex. You can sync your identities between the on-prem and Office 365.

I will cover steps to do this in later blog posts.

For now let me say this is something you really need to think about.  If you can live with a separate AD in the cloud and your users have two logins and two passwords to remember its probably best to live with it.  By synching your on-prem AD to Azure AD used by Office 365 you are inviting a lot of work.  If you only have less than 100 employees, or a lot of contract workers who never get in your AD, or no onsite AD then its best to keep everything in the Cloud.

Sync can be great and this is an amazing features of Microsoft, but its worth thinking that millions of people have email addresses in the cloud that they use everyday, without worrying about online sync.  It might be good to start thinking Cloud-First, keeping things off premise as much as possible.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Tracking tweets from #OccupySLU protest

Map above gives real time level of tweeting activity around #OccupySLU protest, tweets below show what people are talking about.
For perspective look how much lower it is in downtown Saint Louis.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Another Twitter Protest Case Study: Hong Kong

The current protests in Hong Kong are giving us another case study to see how twitter mobile usage and retweeting are becoming tools of modern protest.  Above is a map of the levels of tweeting from 1 KM radius of the site, and below you see the actual tweets coming fem the area.

One of the things that make this interesting in Hong Kong is that users are well informed about security, and though twitter is active we see not as much tweeting as at a Taxim Square, reports say users are opting for Firechat to hide their identity from Chinese authorities.  If true the days of using Twitter to spy on protests in much of the world may be numbered.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tweeting History

The app bellows measures the intensity of tweets coming from, or being RT from, the site of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mapping tweets from Ferguson Riots

Ferguson is a small town, but the riots there have given it global presence, reflected in the massive amount of twitter activity taking place there as opposed to the major city of Saint Louis right now. That said most of the tweets are retweets of Ryan J. ReillyVerified @ryanjreilly and Michael Calhoun
@michaelcalhoun.  This reflects the high level of global review of events in Ferguson, which can be measured by the ratios of RT to Tweets for the location.

Tweets and RT geo-tagged for Ferguson at 5:00 AM 14 of August 2014, at the height of riots

The same levee at the same time in Saint Louis, a city of 300,000 residents.  That is 15 times Ferguson's 20,000. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Why Hackers Won't Save the World

Recent tweets from Hacker Of Planet Earth HOPEX conference, with popular meme 'speaking truth to power.'

I was a bit disturbed that so shortly after the MH17 was shot down using Russian supplied weapons that a self proclaimed Hackers conference, Hackers of Planet Earth no less, would carry out a massive love feast for Snowden.  I was surprised by such bad taste.  

This failure to deal with, or even understand, the political clumsiness of giving Putin's guest a platform at such a time underlines serious issues with hackers, and why hacker activism is not going to give us freedom anytime soon.  

Here are the key reasons I hackers are essentially useless as political and social agents for change:

  1. Hackers are elitists. In the communities hackers create they have shown themselves not able to create equality of either gender or race.  Hackers quickly become members of the elite programmer community, and thus are vested in the system as is no matter what they may say
  2. Hackers have terrible mental health.  We all know this terrible ugly generalisation is sadly pretty true. From Impostor Syndrome to Aspergers much of what makes a hacker a talented technologist is purchased at the cost of mental health. Skills of obsession, mass amounts of time to concentrate on a project and necessary isolation from social activities to do the work do not come with mental health. 
  3. Hackers are cowards. Taking on power takes courage. Hackers like to talk about how much courage their leaders and members have but in reality on the ground metal and valour are pretty rare.  Not to mention any names, but a political movement where the shinning stars kill themselves when facing a few months in jail, run to embassies to hide when accused of rape, or flee to dictatorships rather than face the power directly is not going anywhere.  Try to image a resistance to Fascism of Communism which involved running, hiding or killing oneself at the threat of prison time.  When you look at leaders who did change the world, for good or bad, like Che, Mao, Martin Luther King, Mandela, and others you see a willingness to face long prison terms and sacrifice their lives.  Nothing like this exists in the hacker activist community, which will go to great length to avoid any persecution at all.  Cowards never changed history. (for the record I am a coward as well, but I don't present myself as a leader speaking truth to power)
  4. Hackers cannot be trusted. Hackers have a long history of selling out to power, and a large number of hackers have ended up working for state entities to avoid prison time.  I would go as far as to say that anyone who is certain that Snowden is not helping the FSB must be a fool.
  5. A hack is not a solution. Hackers mistake specific technical skill learned via hands on playing around with wisdom gained through reading, thinking and discourse.  Rather hackers rely on re-usable often copied solutions to fudge or work around a problem.  Hacks promote short term shallow thinking.  A world view composed of hacks creates an isolated view of items without connections, histories or meanings.  Rather the world is a collection of hacks, short solutions or work arounds that exist by themselves. 
  6. Hackers are not social. This one is so obvious one wonders why it is not mentioned more often. Hackers tend not to know very much about what other people are thinking and writing who are not hackers.  Hackers tend to lack breath to concentrate on insane levels of depth, understanding a technical discipline and something about popular culture to extreme extents. 
  7. Hackers are shallow. Hackers rarely know much about larger political, economic and social issues. Educational system that producers programmers, or self taught programming, has not given the grounding to political discourse.  Hackers tend to be more interested in popular culture and technology, and often treat the entire world of history, sociology and economics as empty planes.  Kevin Kelly is an amazing example of this, he and the other Whole Earth Catalogue crowd in California have a long history of writing on social issues as if they were the first person in history to even notice that issues existed.  Many nerd types are today writing on issues of society, which they confuse for social networks, as if no human in history had ever noticed society existed.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Moncton Case Study

Above shows a map of the area where the Moncton shootings took place, below is a picture shortly after the event of tweets from inside that area.

And outside that area but still in Moncton.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Arsenal wins, twitter goes nuts

This picture shows the tweeting around Arsenal stadium where a lot of fans are celebrating a major victory in the pubs and street.  Below you can see the real time flow of tweets form 1KM radius around the stadium,
London is a very dynamic community and though at midnight about 7% of tweets mentions 'Arsenal' 9% mentions 'Allah'

To put it in perspective there is 70% less tweeting coming from Covent Garden London at the same time.

Monday, 12 May 2014

London's twitter heart pules: a case study in geo-tagged social media usage

Abstract: Geo-tagged twitter heart beats show a mixture of pattern and singularity that likely defects the usage of space in which they come.  For this study twitter geo-tags were taken for a 1KM radius from a number of London locations each hour from Nov 2 through Nov 6 2013.
For this study I look at a week in the life of London, looking at key locations to see the pattern of geo-tagged tweets over a week.

Canary Wharf chart of geo-tagged tweets from 1 KM from Nov 2 to Nov 7 2013; a regular pattern by the work day, with collapse at nigh

The key thing you can say about Canary Wharf above is that clearly no one lives there, Tweet levels sink down to about 0 tweets per hour in the late hours to surge suddenly about 9 am, stay high during the day and then sink back down at night, this is the signature of a place where lots of people go but no one lives.

This shows a real time twitter map of the location, Canary Wharf, you can search anywhere in the world with this tool to see geo-tagged real time tweets for any location.

Hip Sunday Market  


Brick Lane, notice the surge of Sunday Market

Brick Lane is a hip area with a major Sunday Market.  See the massive surge of tweets on Sunday.  At first I thought that was an error in my code but I checked it and on Sunday Nov 3 2013 there was a massive surge in tweets coming from the Sunday market.  Notice also that tweeting remains pretty high most days, but this is clearly a weekend location.

The Commercial Centre

Oxford Street, full of hotels and even some rich homes keeps tweeting 24 hours, but clear surges during the week
Oxford Street is full of hotels and apartments, and therefore never sees an end to tweeting.  At all hours someone is tweeting in Oxford Street.  Surges seem to happen in the afternoon.

The Public Space

Parliament Square, surges during the week, notice the Million Mask Walk and PMQs cause major surge in public and political space.
Parliament Square is another place few people live but many people visit.  You see two surges here, one in the evening of Nov 5 for the Million Man Mask and one in the noon of Wednesday, which is when PMQs tend to charge tweets.