Friday, February 17, 2023

Bing Plus AI . . . Let the Testing Begin!

Write down these numbers (or bookmark this post):

The latest available data shows that Google has about 86% of the US market share, and 92% of the global market share for search. Bing enjoys less than 8% of the US market share, and right at 8% of the global market share.

Number three in the global market is Baidu, the Chinese search engine that's dominant in China and growing in other Chinese-influenced markets. Number three in the US is, Nobody Cares because there's basically no market share to divide among Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, and DuckDuckGo.

See and (Or Google it youself.)

I say write down these numbers because Microsoft is betting the $13 Billion farm on their new search strategy, integrating OpenAI's "chat" artificial intelligence into their search engine. Theoretically, this will change everything. In reality, Google is one centimeter behind them and just hasn't had the mindshare fun-factor of ChatGPT. It's possible that New Improved Google +AI will keep people from switching.

I was recently "accepted" into the elite group of millions of users with access to the full new Bing search feature plus AI. There really should be a catching name for this supposed name-changer. But don't worry, Microsoft stockholders: They haven't wasted a single penny on branding, naming, or logos.

I'm going to dive into the New Improved Bing +AI (which is what I'm calling it in hopes that Microsoft adopts that name. Not like New Coke. Just different from old school Bing.)

Search Needs a New Approach!

I have tried Bing every few years and always found it wanting. The primary reason is that it was designed to sell you things, not give you information. Way back when it was new (2009), Bing hoped to diminish Google's ad dominance by helping people buy things, even when they didn't want to. 

If you need proof that Bing assumes you're looking to buy something, enter a search for something you know is out there, like "managed services SOP video." It's very likely that you'll see an information box asking, "How much does managed services SOP video cost?" This will appear above videos on managed services SOPs.

Meanwhile, Google has designed their search to keep you on their site as long as possible and serve you more ads, more ads, and then some more ads. And their key differentiating factor for search (page authority) has been muddled by their own advertising. So it's better at give actual information and answers, but you have to dig through the digital detritus to find it.

Let me demonstrate. Today (February 2023), I searched for some facts: "best chemical mix for 350 gallon hot tub" on both Bing and Google.

Page One of Bing results were:

- Ad for Amazon - not actually relevant to the search term

- Ad for a chemical retailer - very relevant to the search

- A featured ad from Leslie's pool supply - also relevant

Page Two of Bing results were:

- Information window with two callouts - Related to which products to by. Not directly related to search question posed

- Information windows with videos - Again, related to chemicals but not related to the search question

- Organic link about the "best" chemicals to buy, but not relevant to the search question

Summary for Bing: Three ads; three links relevant to the search; zero direct hits on the question posed.

Page One of Google results were:

[Note: No ads. This seems odd to me, but there you go.]

- Organic link about the "best" chemicals to buy, but not relevant to the search question

- Information block will callouts for related question. Close, but not a direct hit on the question posed

- Organic link "for beginners" - Direct hit! Relevant and appears to address the question posed in the search

- Organic link - On Target! Relevant and addresses the question posed in the search

Page Two of Google results were:

- A link to a relevant chemical reseller product - "Relevant" but no information that actually addresses the search request

- The organic link to Leslie's pool supply - Again, relevant to the topic but not the search request

- YouTube video link - On Target! Relevant and addresses the question posed in the search

- YouTube video link - On Target. Relevant and addresses the question posed in the search

- Organic link to a spa store - On Target. Relevant and addresses the question posed 

- Organic link to a spa store - Close, but somewhat less relevant to the question posed

Summary for Google: No ads; four links relevant to the search; five direct hits on the question posed.

This is not a scientific, random sample. And it's odd that this search did not generate Google ads on this day. BUT this is my experience! This is why I try Bing, am disappointed, and go somewhere else: I mostly search for information, not things to buy.

In my opinion, search has become less and less relevant to fact-finding missions. Clayton Christensen would not see the move to AI as a "disruption" of search, but it's certainly a welcome evolution.

So: I'm going to try to relay on the New Improved Bing +AI as much as I can. I'll keep some notes and report back on my findings. If Microsoft's reports are accurate, millions of people will be joining me. We shall see.

Stay tuned. And your feedback and comments are always welcome.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Proposed California Right to Repair: First Look

Please take a look at California Senate Bill 244 – which extends “right to repair” to include electronics and appliances.

While YOU might not own a screwdriver, many IT companies make their living repairing things that break. And if you do make money fixing computers, laptops, cell phones, and other electronics, this should be of interest.

But this bill is certainly not law yet - and has a massive uphill climb. First, it has to survive the opposition of some of the largest, richest companies in the world. As of 2021, the following companies are on record opposed to right to repair, and most have spent money actively lobbying against it:

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Tesla
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AT&T
  • Lilly, Inc.
  • T-Mobile
  • Medtronic
  • Caterpillar
  • John Deere
  • General Electric
  • Philips
  • eBay

Second the bill has to avoid being watered down to the point where it is useless. New York's "first ever" right to repair law is a BIG warning sign. It was amended at the last minute because the governor refused to sign unless the law was neutered. New York's law was signed at the end of December 2022 and goes into effect July 1st.

The Verge reports that it the New York bill was amended to remove almost all of it's teeth. For example, the bill as enacted does not require OEMs to provide information to bypass security features such as a "locked" phone. So, even if a phone would be 100% functional if unlocked, the OEM does not have to provide the information needed.

The New York law also excludes hardware sold under contract to government agencies or in business-to-business contracts that are not offered to all clients of a reseller. In other words, IT consultants and repair shops that have business contracts will not have the right to repair the equipment they sold, even if they have a valid OEM reseller agreement.

California is a big state - and the home of some of the largest opponents of right to repair. It would be easy for a mostly-useless and watered down version to emerge. One option would be to limit the cost of items subject to the legislation. Another would be to only address warranties that are voided if the device is opened during the warranty period.

Please read the legislation. It’s quite short. Again, it's here:

Before you head to Wikipedia . . . 

What is Right to Repair?

Right to Repair is much bigger than electronics. Notice, on the list above, that farm equipment manufacturers are on that list. Makers of electronic cars and new age toasters are on the list. The issue is much broader than cell phones.

The right to repair movement advocates for the legal ability for consumers to repair, modify, and maintain their own devices or have them repaired by a third party of their choice, rather than being forced to go through the manufacturer. Here are some arguments in favor of the right to repair:

1. It reduces electronic waste. When devices can be repaired, their continued usable lifetime expands. Therefore, they reduce the amount of electronic waste.

2. It saves money. You might be committed to a new $1,200 phone every year, but many people are not. They want a good, usable [phone, tablet, laptop, television, etc.] whose lifetime can be extended for a fraction of the cost of a new device. 

3. It encourages competition. Many small repair shops will compete more effectively with manufacturers and large OEMs. While this is the most visible group of businesses in the "SMB IT" community, it's not the only one. If you fix electronics as part of your job, this will give you more options and opportunities. 

4. It's a step back from "Planned Obsolescence." If you're alive today, you have grown up in a world of planned obsolescence. And nowhere is this more true than with electronics. Extending the life of you rfavorite electronics would save a great deal of money for a lot of people.

5. It narrows the "Digital Divide." If you live in a big city, you might have hundreds of options to get your electronics fixed (whether or not it voids the warranty). But if you live in a remote area, you have less access to these repair shops AND you are not allowed to repair your own devices. Whether it's a local shop or ordering the repair kit by mail, Right to Repair will make it easier for many people repair old devices.

It's All About Parts and Information!

Ultimately, the right to repair comes do to making parts and information available. But there are many possible levels of access to both of these. My suspicion is that weak laws will be the norm. Over time, stronger laws will emerge. 

As electronics shrink (as they always do) more and more components will be built into circuit boards and into integrated circuits themselves. This has been going on since "electronics" became a field. The line between what can be replaced and what cannot will change over time as technology evolves. This is not an all-or-nothing scenario. 

The important question is not about whether this or that component can be replaced. The bigger question is whether manufacturers can maintain absolute control over the repair of products they have sold and which they no longer own.

You may not want to fix your stuff. I do. But your clients should be able to make this choice for themselves. And all of the thousands of repair shops all across the world should be allowed to serve those customers without breaking laws and voiding warrantees.

This has been a hot topic for a few years, and it will be a hotter topic in the years ahead.

I know we'll be discussing this over at the National Society of IT Service Providers. I encourage you to join the conversation at

And, to be honest, you should join the group and the conversation no matter how you come down on this issue. Your voice deserves to be heard. It can be at


Some recent information on this topic to consider:

(2021) Who opposes right to repair?

Feedback welcome.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Lessons in Delayed Maintenance - What Small Businesses Should Learn from Southwest Airlines

Lessons in Delayed Maintenance

What Small Businesses Should Learn from Southwest Airlines

By now, you've heard the statistics on the Southwest Airlines meltdown from the 2022 holiday season.

More than 15,000 flights cancelled. Millions of passengers stranded all over the country. Old, outdated software left flight crews stranded as well as passengers. Disruptions started December 21st and lasted through the New Year.

Pilots and flight attendants have been asking for software updates for over a decade. 

SWA estimated that they lost $800 million in December due to the incident. And they plan to lose at least another $300 million when the dust settled. In all, that's over one billion dollars lost . . . due to delayed software updates.

Note: These losses are not due to ransomware, or any of the various malware attacks you've heard about. They are due to using old, outdated software to run an otherwise modern company. Believe it or not, there are some real lessons here for small businesses. 

First: Delaying maintenance and updates never saves money.

Most people know this from maintaining (or not maintaining) their house or car. You can rotate your tires on a schedule . . . or pay for new tires long before you should because all the tread is worn off of one side of your tires. You can paint one or two rooms in your house each year, or wait until the entire house needs to be painted.

Waiting (delaying maintenance) always has an extra cost. Replacing things "before their time" means that you end up buying more of those things than you should need to. Delaying small jobs until they become one big project adds a layer of project management. This is often invisible because you end up being the project manager. But don't kid yourself that your time is free or has no value.

There are endless examples of this with software. I have had several clients that didn't want to buy regular software updates for some critical software. Eventually, after four or five generations of updates, they were forced to buy the updates. And guess what? They had to pay for all the updates they missed as well as the current version. So they lost five or six years worth value because they continued to use the older, outdated version with fewer features. 

Second: Many short-sighted decisions result in short-term savings and long-term expenses.

Imagine that you have a leaky roof. There's always the problem you see (the water dripping) and the problem you don't see (the water damage inside your attic). You can play the roofing tile version of whack-a-mole and continually patch pieces of your roof. But if you delay too long, you have to fix more than the roof. Now you need to replace plywood or even rafters that would have been fine if the roof were maintained in a timely manner. 

One of the great benefits of "keeping up" with anything is that you don't have to play catch-up. More often than not, the catch-up project involves fixing things that would have been just fine with regularly scheduled maintenance. 

Many small businesses delay getting the latest hardware or software, thinking they're saving money. But most of the time, the eventual move to modern software requires that they also upgrade the computer hardware or operating systems, or both. Keeping up is always cheaper than catching up in this case. 

Third: Delayed maintenance and updates often results in catastrophic failure.

If you do just enough to get by, the result is usually not a big problem, it's a catastrophic problem. A great example here is yard work. You don't trim the tree on a regular five-year basis. It's never a problem . . . until it crashes through your roof or catches on fire because it's grown into the electrical wires.

We've all seen this with computer systems. You keep replacing parts until the only thing you haven't replaced is the biggest, most important part. And it just gets older and slower every year until it fails. Eventually, everything breaks. With regular maintenance, it lasts a lot longer. But there's a limit. 

Fourth: Your service partner can usually help you figure out how to make updates as part of a long-term plan.

If you have no choice but to be frugal, a good adviser will always save you money. Again, homeowners and car owners often learn this lesson as well. One fix might be very expensive, but another will give you a good solution that is forward-looking and costs a lot less. For example, a repair with a five-year roof certification might last until your mortgage is paid off, and then you'll have the cash flow for the roof replacement you need.

With certain car engine problems, a "top end rebuild" refurbishes the key components involving the heads and valves, but helps you delay a total engine rebuild. Under the right circumstances, this kind of repair will save a lot of money and dramatically increase the life of the engine.

A good computer consultant can save you a great deal of money. Too often, business owners want to spend money on the obvious things they see, which is natural. But a good consultant can help you understand all things that you can't see, but which are critical to your company's productivity and profitability.

There are things you can maintain at a less rigorous pace. Some things (like printers and monitors) can last almost forever. So they don't need to be on the same schedule as servers and backup systems. 

It used to be the case that businesses waited until there was a catastrophic failure (e.g., the hard drive) and then replaced everything. Today, we have a much more modular world, thanks to cloud services. A very common "upgrade" today is to move older, slowly-dying systems to cloud services.

That's where a good consultant can really help you make the most of your technology. A great example is your old backup system or onsite storage. You don't have to move everything to the cloud at once. Keep that backup going as long as it works. But you have to understand that it will die one day. Plan now to move the backup to a cloud service when the day comes. You can legitimately save money by using the current system until it fails. Then, don't replace it: Move the service to the cloud.

This is, ultimately, what a managed service provider does. They take control of your technology and manage the maintenance. Just like your car, your technology will last longer and give you greater value if you invest in scheduled maintenance.

When people think they're saving money by waiting until something breaks, I refer to that as "Saving the wrong pennies." There are good ways to save money and extend the life of your technology, and there are bad ways to save money, which won't extend the life of your technology.

If you wait until something breaks, and then you fix it, you are guaranteed downtime. Your company is guaranteed to be losing money. With proper preventive maintenance, you can avoid catastrophic failures. You make more money because you never have the unscheduled downtime.

Engage your technology service provider in a conversation about your technology. After all, it's literally their job to help you make good decisions about you technology.

Save the right pennies.

Feedback welcome.

Note: No, I will not be your technology consultant. But I can help you find one. Drop me an email and tell me where your business is located. I know people.


Thursday, February 02, 2023

Trustifi Introduces Spanish Language Plug-in for its Award-Winning Cybersecurity Solutions

Trustifi Introduces Spanish Language Plug-in for its Award-Winning Cybersecurity Solutions

— Trustifi adds its 1st foreign language module which translates all instructions & data, allowing it to expand its global footprint across Spanish-speaking countries —

LAS VEGAS, NV – January 30, 2023 – Major SaaS email security provider Trustifi announces it is launching a new Spanish language plug-in module for its best-in-class email security solution, including the Inbound Shield, Data Loss Prevention, and Email Encryption product portfolio. The plug-in concurrently displays translations of all text and instruction involved in the use of the Trustifi solutions into Spanish, allowing speakers of both languages to easily utilize the software. The Spanish language plug-in is available now and will be automatically bundled into Trustifi’s solution suite for all its customers, at no extra cost.

Due to this plug-in, Trustifi’s award winning data protection can now be successfully marketed in a range of countries that claim Spanish as their native language, including much of Central and South America, areas of Europe; as well as accommodating a second language for heavily Spanish-speaking areas of the United States. This is the first foreign language module that Trustifi has introduced thus far, allowing the company to expand its geographic presence, and consequently, its revenues. 

“Global threats to cybersecurity continue to become more devastating and difficult to detect through traditional solutions, like those based on security gateways and blacklisting techniques. Trustifi is seeing a high amount of client activity in the Latin American market, where businesses are looking for more effective cybersecurity solutions,” said Rom Hendler, CEO and co-founder at Trustifi. “Trustifi addresses these threats much more comprehensively than traditional solutions through powerful AI-based tools. With a new Spanish language plug-in, we can extend the power of these sophisticated technologies to a greater and more inclusive range of users, delivering superior protection to a wider geography. We’re thrilled to enhance the capabilities of our best-of-breed solutions.”

Trustifi will be attending a string of events in the LATAM market in 2023, including Get Cybersecurity Smart events in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica. Trustifi currently serves customers in countries across the globe, including in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the UK, the Netherlands, India, the UAE, China, Japan, Cyprus, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Australia, in addition to its North American client base. 

Visit Trustifi’s Spanish language landing page here: 

Trustifi’s solutions have been acknowledged by awards and media features from prestigious sources such as Expert Insights, CRN magazine, Source Forge, the American Business Association, the Golden Bridge Awards, and Channel Visions magazine. In acknowledgment, Trustifi was also recognized by Gartner® as a Representative Vendor for its Outbound Shield, Inbound Shield, and Email Account Compromise Detection solution in the 2021 Gartner Market Guide for Email Security*. 

*Gartner, “Market Guide for Email Security”, Mark Harris, Peter Firstbrook, Ravisha Chugh, Mario de Boer, 7 October 2021. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. 

About Trustifi

Trustifi is a cybersecurity firm featuring solutions delivered on a software-as-a-service platform. Trustifi leads the market with the easiest-to-use and deploy email security products providing both inbound and outbound email security from a single vendor. The most valuable asset to any organization, other than its employees, is the data contained in its email, and Trustifi’s key objective is keeping clients’ data, reputations, and brands safe from all threats related to email. With Trustifi’s Inbound Shield, Data Loss Prevention, and Email Encryption, clients are always one step ahead of attackers.

Follow Trustifi: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The ASCII Group Welcomes Apple Solutions Marketing Corporation to Community

My friends as ASCII slipped this over the transom . . . 

The ASCII Group Welcomes Apple Solutions Marketing Corporation to Community

Bethesda, Maryland – February 1, 2023 – The ASCII Group, a membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers, is pleased to announce that Apple Solutions Marketing Corporation (ASMC) has officially joined the group.

ASMC is a network of authorized independent Apple professionals committed to delivering top tier services and solutions to enhance user experience of Apple products. They are the largest community of Apple authorized resellers, service providers and consultants throughout the US and Canada. This collaboration will enhance the overall knowledgebase of the ASCII community as it brings together an expert team of Apple sales and technical specialists to the group.

 “ASMC evaluated other communities within the industry and chose The ASCII Group for their shared commitment to knowledge sharing amongst members,” said Jeffrey Loy, President, I.T. Worx Inc. and Board Member of ASMC.

“ASMC’s alignment with The ASCII Group will enable both organizations to become stronger by expanding the solutions and partnership opportunities available to ASMC and ASCII members,” said Garret Cleversley, President, ASMC Board of Directors.

“We are delighted to have ASMC join the group and further enhance ASCII’s ability for members to collaborate and partner on opportunities,” said Alan Weinberger, Chairman & CEO, The ASCII Group. “By having Apple experts in our community, it enriches the collective environment and expands business capabilities and opportunities for all.”

By collaborating with ASMC, the membership base of The ASCII Group is broadening their technology and service portfolio offerings. Like The ASCII Group, AMSC members are dedicated to helping each other with best business practices and delivery.

To learn more about becoming a member of The ASCII Group, please visit

About Apple Solutions Marketing Corporation: 

The Apple Solutions Marketing Corporation (ASMC) is a network of Authorized independent Apple professionals. These businesses are committed to delivering top tier services and solutions to enhance use of Apple products. ASMC members are consistently recognized by Apple for providing exceptional service and innovative solutions. As the largest trade organization in the Apple Channel, their mission is to enhance the success and profitability of their members through positive actions and cooperative efforts. For more information,

About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers. The Group has members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national and international reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of leading and major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit