English, Grammar and Business Writing Tips

English, Grammar and Business Writing Tips

Request for information

I am writing to inquire about . . .

I am writing in reference to . . .

I read/heard . . . and would like to know . . .

Could you please send me . . .

at the address below/above

Thank you for your assistance.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Response to request

Thank you for your interest/inquiry

Enclosed is the information you requested.

You can learn more about this at . . .

If you have further questions,

If you require assistance, please contact:

If I can be of more help, please feel free to contact me at . . .


Sample Sentences: Requests

Could you please send me your most recent brochure?

Could you fax me the results of the market survey?

I would like to order ten copies of the book, Touchy Situations.

I would be very grateful if you could send me this information.

Please return the enclosed envelope with your payment.


Sample Sentences: Goodwill

Thank you for your hospitality.

I enjoyed having lunch with you last week while I was in New York.

Congratulations on your promotion to General Manager.

I want(ed) to congratulate you on your new position.

I was happy to hear that contract negotiations went well.


Sample Sentences: Introduction of Product/Service.

I am writing to tell you about . . .

(Our new product) is coming out next month.

This product/service is designed to (help you) . . .


Sample Sentences: Reference

I am writing in regard to . . .

I am writing in reference to . . .

Please refer to the enclosed invoice/brochure.

I hope you have had a chance to look over the materials we sent.


Sample Sentences: Confirmation

I am writing to confirm . . .

I would like to confirm what we discussed last Friday.

I would just like to confirm the main points we discussed . . .


Sample Sentences: Notification

I am writing to let you know that . . .

Please be aware/informed that . . .

I would like to inform you of a recent policy change.

I am happy to inform

you that . . .

Your request for funding has been approved.


Sample Sentences: Offering Assistance

We would be happy to . . .

If we can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Sample Sentences: Collection

According to our records . . .

Our records show that . . .

Your monthly installment is past due.

Please send payment as soon as possible.

  •  Use Best Regards
  • Don’t use explanations
  • “The meeting was led by Tom,” write: “Tom led the meeting.” Use a straightforward sentence structure–subject, verb, object–that people can read quickly.
  • Choose pronouns wisely, and don’t be afraid to use “me.” “I often read versions of ‘Send the memo to Bob and myself,’” says Fogarty. “For some reason people think that ‘myself’ sounds more important or formal.” To avoid this mistake, Forgarty recommends thinking about how you would say the sentence if you removed mentions of other people. “Send the memo to me” sounds correct. If you add “Bob” to that clause, the “me” pronoun still works.
  • Beware of common grammatical mistakes, like subject-verb agreement. The number of the subject (whether it’s singular or plural) determines the number of the verb. Use a singular verb form after nobody, someone, everybody, neither, everyone, each and either.
  • Know when to use “that” and “which.” “That” introduces essential information in what’s called a “restrictive clause.” “Which” introduces extra information in a “nonrestrictive clause.” Here’s an example: “I’m interested in speaking with you about our new product, which has the potential to increase sales.” The second clause provides extra information, and it isn’t essential to the first clause. Therefore, “which” is correct. In a sentence such as “Computers are the only products that we sell,” the clause “that we sell” is essential to the meaning of the sentence, so the correct word is “that.” You can’t remove the “that” clause without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Accept vs. Except

These two words sound similar but have very different meanings. Acceptmeans to receive something willingly: “His mom accepted his explanation” or “She accepted the gift graciously.” Except signifies exclusion: “I can attend every meeting except the one next week.” To help you remember, note that both except and exclusion begin with ex.

Affect vs. Effect

To make these words even more confusing than they already are, both can be used as either a noun or a verb. Let’s start with the verbs. Affectmeans to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. “Your job was affected by the organizational restructuring” but “These changes will be effected on Monday.” As a noun, an effect is the result of something: “The sunny weather had a huge effect on sales.” It’s almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles: “The patient’s affect was flat.”

Lie vs. Lay

We’re all pretty clear on the lie that means an untruth. It’s the other usage that trips us up. Lie also means to recline: “Why don’t you liedown and rest?” Lay requires an object: “Lay the book on the table.” Lieis something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay. It’s more confusing in the past tense. The past tense of lie is—you guessed it—lay: “I lay down for an hour last night.” And the past tense of lay is laid: “I laid the book on the table.”

Bring vs. Take

Bring and take both describe transporting something or someone from one place to another, but the correct usage depends on the speaker’s point of view. Somebody brings something to you, but you take it to somewhere else: “Bring me the mail, then take your shoes to your room.” Just remember, if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take.

Ironic vs. Coincidental

A lot of people get this wrong. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s not ironic—it’s coincidental (and bad luck). Ironic has several meanings, all of which include some type of reversal of what was expected. Verbal irony is when a person says one thing but clearly means another. Situational irony is when a result is the opposite of what was expected. O. Henry was a master of situational irony. In his famous short story The Gift of the Magi, Jim sells his watch to buy combs for his wife’s hair, and she sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch. Each character sold something precious to buy a gift for the other, but those gifts were intended for what the other person sold. That is true irony. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s coincidental.If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow back at your house, that’s ironic.

Imply vs. Infer

To imply means to suggest something without saying it outright. Toinfer means to draw a conclusion from what someone else implies. As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers.

Nauseous vs. Nauseated

Nauseous has been misused so often that the incorrect usage is accepted in some circles. Still, it’s important to note the difference.Nauseous means causing nausea; nauseated means experiencing nausea. So, if your circle includes ultra-particular grammar sticklers, never say “I’m nauseous” unless you want them to be snickering behind your back.

1

Comprise vs. Compose

These are two of the most commonly misused words in the English language.Comprise means to include; compose means to make up. It all comes down to parts versus the whole. When you use comprise, you put the whole first: “A soccer game comprises (includes) two halves.” When you use compose, you put the pieces first: “Fifty states compose (make up) the United States of America.”

Farther vs. Further

Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. “I can’t run any farther,” but “I have nothing further to say.” If you can substitute “more” or “additional,” usefurther.

Fewer vs. Less

Use fewer when you’re referring to separate items that can be counted; use less when referring to a whole: “You have fewer dollars, but lessmoney.”

Bringing it all together

English grammar can be tricky, and, a lot of times, the words that sound right are actually wrong. With words such as those listed above, you just have to memorize the rules so that when you are about to use them, you’ll catch yourself in the act and know for certain that you’ve written or said the right one.

Difference between Service and Incident in-terms of ITIL Definition

Difference between Service and Incident in-terms of ITIL Definition

This might be super simple, but the text book ITIL definitions really cause confusion.

ITIL Definition:

  • Service Request – A formal request from a user for something to be provided.
  • Incident Request – An unplanned interruption to an IT Server or reduction in the quality of an IT Server. Failure of a configuration item that has not yet affect services is also incident.

This is a much easier way to interpret the difference:

  • Service Request – Request for a new service
  • Incident Request – Alert or Request to remediate an existing service

HowTo: Find and/or cleanup old computer accounts in AD

HowTo: Find and/or cleanup old computer accounts in AD


Dsquery is a command-line tool that is built into Windows Server 2008.
It is available if you have the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) server role installed.
To use dsquery, you must run the dsquery command from an elevated command prompt.
To open an elevated command prompt, click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

To find inactive computer accounts (number is inactivity in weeks):
dsquery computer -inactive 2

To find computers with stale passwords (number is stale in days)
dsquery computer -stalepwd 45

There is also a combination to disable / delete the accounts:
combined with dsmod/dsrm

dsquery computer -inactive 4 | dsmod computer -disabled yes
dsquery computer -stalepwd 45 | dsrm computer

You can get additional info on both of these tools with dsquery computer /? ,dsmod computer /?, and dsrm computer /?

HowTo: Configure IE Proxy Settings via Group Policy

HowTo: Configure IE Proxy Settings via Group Policy

This might seem simple, but there was a few tricky issues doing this via GPO. There is already allot of information on this subject already and all of the back ground is here :-  How to apply “The content of IE Settings” in GPO (which used IEM (IE Maintenance) before IE10) to IE10+ Version since IEM have been deprecated from IE10 :- http://blogs.msdn.com/b/asiatech/archive/2014/05/12/how-to-apply-the-content-of-ie-settings-in-gpo-which-used-iem-ie-maintenance-before-ie10-to-ie10-version-since-iem-has-been-deprecated-begin-from-ie10.aspx

I will just document exactly how to configure this setting

  1. Setup  the correct IE Proxy Setting on a existing Workstations
    1. Use INETCPL.cpl
  2. Export the Settings for the following keys:
    1. reg query “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Connections” /v DefaultConnectionSettings
    2. ProxyServer
    3. ProxyOverride
    4. ProxyEnable
    5. DefaultConnectionSettings (This setting changes based on the other settings)
  3. Create a new Group Policy and create the following Registry keys and set to UPDATE
    1. User Configuration \ Preferences \ Windows Settings \ Registry
    2. Create each of the Registry keys as per Step 2

HowTo: Design a Secure Windows 2012 R2 Standard Operating Environment (SOE)

HowTo: Design a Secure Windows 2012 R2 Standard Operating Environment (SOE)

2014-10-20 17_28_17-Tripwire SecureCheq

It does’t matter the size of your organisation or the compliance posture that it must adhere to. Every device on the network should be hardened and maintained.  I worked for one of the largest IT companies in the world and it was the only company that had proper Windows Operating System hardening and Security Compliance Management. I also worked for a very large bank and the Security Team numbering in the 50+ just didn’t understand how develop a proper basis line for Security Compliance and copy and pasted information from another IT Vendor! What I am trying to say is . They are different levels of Security Experts..

So here is a basic Overview of how to create a Secure Windows 2012 R2 SOE. This method can be applied to any support OS.
Firstly, understand your security posture requirements:- I have listed a few here : https://virtualizationandstorage.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/compliance-information/

It is also important to understand SAN Critical Controls and Defeating Kill Chains.

This course is also a good starting point -SEC505: Securing Windows with the Critical Security Controls:-  http://www.sans.org/course/securing-windows

Understand the Critical Security Controls – https://virtualizationandstorage.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/critical-security-controls-and-defeating-kill-chains/

Security Standards

These are the core Security Standards and vital information for Windows harderning

The above website and tools can be used to develop the require base line for your environments.. The Microsoft Security Compliance manager is the starting point for this process. You can use this software to understand all the settings and then export them into a Group Policy that can be used to harden the Operating System.  Once you have a policy setup, you need to maintain that posture  using Desired State management and Continuous Monitoring

Desired State

Security Scanners

Once you have the base policy using the above methods, You need to run a two types of scanners on your base OS.. The first is to use a Security Scanner against your OS and make adjust as required.. The other one I recommend is to run a tool to check and update all your software on the base OS image.. Key tool to use is Nessus which can be configured to scan and alert on items for PCI compliance,etc..

The follow three tools are required to create a sold secure SOE: These tools are NIST Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP 1.2) Validation approved tools.

** you can not create a Secure hardened OS without a Security Scanner..

Implement OS Encryption

Implement Bootlocker

Bitlocker

Install Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/jj653751

Here is a link to my own SOE settings – https://virtualizationandstorage.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/windows-2012-r2-soe/

HowTo: SCCM 2012 R2 Endpoint Protection Comprehensive Virus Scan Exclusions List

HowTo: SCCM 2012 R2 Endpoint Protection Comprehensive Virus Scan Exclusions List

Here is a full list of all Virus Scan Exclusions list. Its best to just only excluded what is required per server.. So this is just a reference.

  • Excluded files and folders
  • Excluded file types
  • Excluded processes

Here is the Full Configuration File for SCCM 2012 R2 Antimalware Policies. Just create a .XML File and Import – AllServerExclusionsSCCM

Full

2014-09-10 12_31_55-System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (Connected to RES - Resimac)

Reference

HowTo: New Tricks

HowTo: New Tricks

DOS F7 History

Everyday you learn new things, or maybe week or month.. I been using DOS since IBM DOS 3.x and MS-DOS 6.x and just found out about the F7. I am positive allot of you out there never seen this either, because i am sure I would have seen someone use it in the past. Its been there since the start!!!!

2014-09-09 08_56_59-New Tab

Windows Steps Recorder

2014-09-15 17_05_21-Program Manager

C:\Windows\SysWOW64\psr.exe

Ever struggled to create step-by-step install or configuration instructions for software. Well all these years, there has been something built into Windows called Windows Steps Recorder.  Its much better than StagIT and just works the way you want to record a Install Steps instructions. Check it out, it will improve your environment straight away. Gota hand it to Bill Gates..

Walkthrough: Problem Steps Recorder –  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=22292

While we are here, Check out the Microsoft Snipping Tool – C:\Windows\System32\SnippingTool.exe ; http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/snipping-tool

Anti-Mail Ware Test File

Here is another one for you:

If you need to test your End Point Security use the following Anti-Mail Ware Test File software:-

http://www.eicar.org/86-0-Intended-use.html

Now go and show off these tips to your colleagues. 🙂 Kudos

HowTo: Become a great Leader

HowTo: Become a great Leader

  1. Communication: A great boss is a communicator who has the ability to relate deeply to others, someone who is able to empathize and recognize the talents in their employees and peers. They have strong emotional intelligence and self-awareness, and speak and act with integrity.
  2. Delegation: Great leaders know when and how to delegate and, for the most part, remain removed from the project, trusting their employees to be professional and produce results. They know that being involved in the granular details of these projects is a waste of their time, and inhibits their employees from feeling free to do great work. They know that they should trust their employees and don’t micromanage to the point of distraction.
  3. Fairness: There is a difference between treating employees equally and treating them fairly. Let’s face it: Not all employees are equal. Everyone is different. Some employees create different value within the organisation. A great boss treats everyone fairly, but not equally.
  4. Humility: Great bosses understand that the business is not about them. Leaders have to be able to talk and listen to their employees on all levels of the company. At the same time, they must have the respect of their employees, the kind of respect that’s earned by being honest, having integrity, and being humble.
  5. Responsibility: Leaders take responsibility for their actions. If you make a mistake, own it. Don’t blame others for your lack of self-awareness, or make excuses for failed projects and blown deadlines.
  6. Motivate –  Intrinsically and extrinsically motivate. Companies call this employee engagement.
  7. Provide Career guidance – This might including being frank about finding a role elsewhere.. Acting like people will never quite is foolish.
  8. Understand the stages of Team development – Forming, Storming and Norming.
  9. Deal with Toxic People – http://qz.com/285758/how-successful-people-handle-toxic-people/
  10. Adhere to UN Global Compact Ten Principals – https://www.unglobalcompact.org/abouttheGC/thetenprinciples/index.html

HowTo: Install Nested ESXi 5.5

HowTo: Install Nested ESXi 5.5

 

  1. Enable Promiscuous Mode on the vSwitch
  2. Edit ESXi : echo ‘vhv.allow = “TRUE”‘ >> /etc/vmware/config
  3. Use the Web Client to Create a VM:
    • 2 vCPUS
    • 16 GB RAM
    • 4 GB HD (LSI Logic Parallel)
    • 2 NICS (Driver E1000)
    • Options CPU/MMU Vitulization (Select 4 the option)
    • Guest OS : Other / VMware ESXi 5.x
    • Hardware virtualization : Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS

    • To enable virtualized HV, use the web client and navigate to the processor settings screen. Check the box next to “Expose hardware-assisted virtualization to the guest operating system.” This setting is not available under the traditional C# client.

  4. Edit the .vmx and echo ‘vhv.enable = “TRUE”‘ >> *.vmx
  5. Check all the settings if you get the following error at ESXi Install:<HARDWARE_VIRTUALIZATION WARNING: Hardware Virtualization is not a feature of the CPU, or is not enabled in the BIOS>
  6. update ESXi
  7. Install VMware Tools VIB
    • </li>
      	<li>esxcli system maintenanceMode set -e true
      esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/[VMFS-VOLUME-NAME]/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.0-0.0.00000.i386.vib -f
      esxcli system shutdown reboot -r “Installed VMware Tools”</li>
      	<li>
    • </li>
      	<li>esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
      esxcli software vib install -v http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmw-tools/esxi_tools_for_guests/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.0-0.0.00000.i386.vib -f</li>
      	<li>
  8. Inject the VMware Tools VIBs into the ISO
  9. Clone to Template
    1. </li>
      <li>esxcli system settings advanced set -o /Net/FollowHardwareMac -i 1</li>
      <li>open <b>esx.conf </b>and delete the entire <b>/system/uuid</b></li>
      <li> run /sbin/auto-backup.sh</li>
      <li>esxcli storage vmfs snapshot resignature -l [VMFS-VOLUME]</li>
      <li>

 

 

Reference : –