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Congratulations to all of the 2020 vExperts

I am humbled and honored to have been accepted into this community for the third time. A warm #Congratulations to all of the 2020 vExperts who received the award this year

Block Level Clone of HDD

I am attempting to pull this info into a script that would prompt the individual running it for details. Info such as the name of the output name, credentials used to mount network shares, selection of the drive which will be cloned.

Below are steps that work, wondering if I can build a script around this to simplify my task.

#Make Mount Location
sudo mkdir /mnt/backup-folder

#Mount Network Share (in this case its a windows file share)
sudo mount -t cifs -o username=jermsmit // /mnt/backup/

#Validate Mount of Share
ls /mnt/backup

#Use fdisk to display disk device to be cloned
# example /dev/sda
sudo fdisk -l

#Clone and Provide MD5 has of Disk
#We change into root with the sudo -i command: 
sudo -i
#We issue the following command replacing 'pc1' with a friendly name
pv < /dev/sda | tee /mnt/backup/pc1.img | md5sum > /mnt/backup/pc1.md5

Why block-level vs file-level clone?

Block-level clones are beneficial because they copy all recognized files, in addition to those that have been deleted, corrupted, from the original disk and filesystem. If you have inadvertently deleted an important file and do not have a file recovery tool, using a cloning program to immediately create a block-level clone will increase your chances of recovering the file since it lessens the chance that the file’s data blocks will be overwritten.

How Your Business Can Finally Take Control of Inventory Management

Most companies deal with the occasional inventory problem. A late reorder or incorrect item can be frustrating for small business owners operating on tight margins. However, when inventory problems become a systemic issue, it does more than lose a sale.

Chronic inventory problems cause serious damage to your company’s reputation. That’s because, on top of creating internal disorganization and inefficiency, mismanaged inventory has a direct impact on the end consumer. Whether it’s a late shipment, an oversold item, or recurrent stockouts, problems like these erode customer loyalty. Before long, inventory problems could have your small business bleeding customers.

While 73 percent of consumers are willing to give businesses a second chance after disappointing service, businesses that fail to deliver three or more times risk losing 92 percent of their customer base. And not only will those shoppers not return, but they’ll also tell their friends: two out of three people will warn others about a company after bad customer experience.

That’s a hit few small businesses can take, which makes inventory control a top priority.

Identifying Inventory Management Problems

Before you can take control of your inventory problems, you need to understand where they’re coming from. These are common causes of inventory management problems:

  • Disorganized warehouses.
  • Manual data entry.
  • Data silos across locations or sales channels.
  • Poor inventory rotation practices.
  • No or low-quality demand forecasting.

These practices lead to inventory problems such as over and understocking, fulfillment delays, overselling, and shrinkage. With the right tools, they’re also completely avoidable.

Affordable Inventory Management for Small Business

Don’t assume inventory management solutions are out of reach for your small business. There’s a lot that small businesses can do to optimize inventory management without spending a fortune on custom software and expanded warehouse space.

Instead of expensive software, many small businesses can use apps for their inventory management needs. Apps like Sortly, Goods Order Inventory, and Canvas let users scan items in and out, track stock in real-time, and instantly know when an item is running low. You can also download sales reports to see the bigger picture of your business’s inventory. Since apps are mobile-friendly and always connected, they’re a great solution for teams.

In order to maintain accurate data within the app, you need a way to easily track items. Manual picking and data entry is slow and error-prone, but businesses can easily upgrade to a barcode or QR code system that allows staff to scan items using handheld scanners and mobile devices. Barcodes also help your warehouse stay organized by tagging each item with data that corresponds to its warehouse location.

Of course, even an automated system can cause problems when it’s not properly managed. In addition to training staff on proper inventory control practices, managers should adopt proactive inventory management methods including stock rotation and cycle counting.

  • Stock rotation: There are two main stock rotation methods: first-in, first-out (FIFO) and first-expired, first-out (FEFO). Both practices minimize shrinkage, but the best method for your business depends on the type of product you sell. FEFO is best for perishable goods such as food and pharmaceuticals, whereas items like clothes that have a short demand cycle do best with FIFO.
  • Cycle counting: Many small businesses are in the habit of shutting down once a year for a physical inventory count, but what if you could audit inventory without unnecessary downtime? That’s what cycle counting accomplishes by taking stock in small chunks rather than all at once. Cycle counts also make it easier to identify and solve shrinkage problems before they spiral out of control.

Many small business owners shy away from formal inventory management systems for fear that they’re too costly or complicated, but as you can see, it doesn’t take a lot to get started with improved inventory management. With a few small changes, your business can adopt inventory management practices that keep your business profitable and your customers satisfied.

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Passwords are a common form of authentication and are often the only barrier between you and your personal information. There are several programs attackers can use to help guess or crack passwords. By choosing good passwords and keeping them confidential, you can make it more difficult for an unauthorized person to access your information.

How to choose good passwords

Avoid common mistakes

Most people use passwords that are based on personal information and are easy to remember. However, that also makes it easier for an attacker to crack them. Consider a four-digit PIN. Is yours a combination of the month, day, or year of your birthday? Does it contain your address or phone number? Think about how easy it is to find someone’s birthday or similar information. What about your email password—is it a word that can be found in the dictionary? If so, it may be susceptible to dictionary attacks, which attempt to guess passwords based on common words or phrases.

Although intentionally misspelling a word (“daytt” instead of “date”) may offer some protection against dictionary attacks, an even better method is to rely on a series of words and use memory techniques, or mnemonics, to help you remember how to decode it. For example, instead of the password “hoops,” use “IlTpbb” for “[I] [l]ike [T]o [p]lay [b]asket[b]all.” Using both lowercase and capital letters adds another layer of obscurity. Changing the same example used above to “Il!2pBb.” creates a password very different from any dictionary word.

Length and complexity

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed specific guidelines for strong passwords. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible (8–64 characters) when you can. For example, “Pattern2baseball#4mYmiemale!” would be a strong password because it has 28 characters and includes the upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. You may need to try different variations of a passphrase—for example, some applications limit the length of passwords and some do not accept spaces or certain special characters. Avoid common phrases, famous quotations, and song lyrics.

Dos and don’ts

Once you’ve come up with a strong, memorable password it’s tempting to reuse it—don’t! Reusing a password, even a strong one, endangers your accounts just as much as using a weak password. If attackers guess your password, they would have access to your other accounts with the same password. Use the following techniques to develop unique passwords for each of your accounts:

  • Use different passwords on different systems and accounts.
  • Use the longest password or passphrase permissible by each password system.
  • Develop mnemonics to remember complex passwords.
  • Consider using a password manager program to keep track of your passwords. (See more information below.)
  • Do not use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed.
  • Do not use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language.

Source and more info please see –

Something about:TikTok

What is Tik Tok (formerly The quick answer is that it’s anything you want it to be. That simple.

In a world of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Tik Tok could be just another digital fad in the Social Media space. With a reported 25 million monthly active users in the US alone, 500 million worldwide, this is one huge fad.

So back to the question: What is it?
I think of TokTok as a social media Karaoke platform for creating, sharing and discovering new ways of expressing oneself. My kids seem to enjoy using it to learn new dance moves and show their unique abilities with friends and family.

I too joined in on the fun and started using it myself to gain a better understanding and noticed some interesting things. A large amount of dancing, much of which is provocative, up until you train the AI displaying content to you by skipping past and disliking what some would say is not “safe for the workplace”.

Once I established a cadence with the app I started to see posts that that was interesting to me such a technology, art, politics and fitness. As I said before… Tik Tok could be anything you want it to be.

What Are the Potential Risks?
Users may be exposed to bad language and content of a sexual nature. Users can comment on other videos, this leaves the potential for online bullying or negative comments.

The app does make an attempt to promote positive comments and encourages users to ‘say something nice’, however, if you come across an inappropriate comment there is an option to report abuse. With anything shared online, it’s recommended that you as a parent learn how the app works, check your and your kids privacy settings and always use the Stranger Danger Rule.

Tik Tok does have a Digital Wellbeing center where you can monitor the screentime of your child, however, this is useless if they are permitted (and they are) to create multiple accounts. Link here.

Like all apps and social networks, Tik Tok does have community guidelines, so familiarizing yourself with them is a good idea

Age Restrictions?
TikTok has a minimum user age of 13 years-old. This means that you as a Parent need to monitor your child on this service. As I have done, create an account and use it to watch what your child is doing. It’s not a bad idea to also hold onto the login details and audit their accounts periodically. Again, the stranger danger rule does apply.

Community Guidelines
They are generic at best but you can get more info here:

Good Luck and be Safe