June 21, 2006
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Global Address Book in OWA 5.5

stone5150 is the Page Editor for the Wireless topic areas, but in real life he is a systems administrator and IT manager. Recently, he put together some information for the employees he works with, and passed it along.

There's a more recent version of Exchange Server that a lot of organizations use, but not everyone has spent the money to upgrade from Version 5.5. So if you're using the older version of Outlook Web Access, the online email client, finding someone's address in a very long list can be a little frustrating.

On the left side of the browser window, you'll see the tool bar. To find a particular person in the Global Address Book, click on the Find Names icon (it's the fourth one down on the list). When the window opens, type in the name of the person, and hit the Enter key. That will give you a list of matches.

Click on the name; you will then see a list of all of the email addresses associated with that person. You can then either click on the link that says "Send Mail To" (which is at the top of the window), or you can highlight, copy and paste the address into a new email. Hint: look for the "at" (@) sign.

Microsoft and the Times

We're fans of Steve Yelvington, having spent much of our lives in the news media. Yelvington sent us an email the other day with a report on a prototype of an online news reader being developed for the New York Times by Microsoft. Yelvington correctly calls it deja vú.

When we wrote last issue about the observations of Marshall McLuhan, we briefly touched on his notion that there exists an "official culture" that tries to use new technologies within the constructs of existing models. That is at the core of McLuhan's argument, and it says some interesting things about both the Times and about Microsoft.

We're really not terribly surprised that the Times would buy into what Microsoft is doing; we wouldn't have been terribly surprised if it was their idea in the first place, given that the new software was unveiled at the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention, and that Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. did the unveiling. The Times, which owns not just newspapers, but websites, paper mills, and television and radio stations is ultimately a media company, and as McLuhan wrote, "Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication."

The Times is a reflection of the people who run it, and who work for it, and all of them are products of a society built on what is essentially a one-way street; they find the news, and they tell you "all the news that is fit to print". We expect them to know what's going on, and we expect that they will tell us. It is a fairly recent phenomenon that the "mainstream" media have been questioned with regard to accuracy and truth; and more to the point, it is a fairly recent phenomenon that the accuracy has been questioned by someone other than another person who owns another printing press.

Today, while there is little question that mainstream media are controlled by the few (rather than the many), anyone with an Internet connection can challenge the big boys, as people like Dan Rather have found. The media can be manipulated; the urgency of competition for market share has become more important than any self-imposed requirement of double-checking for accuracy, with the predictable results. (One thing that hasn't changed: we shoot the messenger who delivers inaccurate news, but don't hold the person who originally told the falsehood responsible -- but that's another story.)

So one can almost forgive the Times for proceeding the way it is; given its history, it could hardly be expected to do anything else. It might be foolhardy in the long run, but it makes sense.

What makes a lot less sense is Microsoft putting resources into such a project. Microsoft built itself on the notion that the individual matters; that his computer is built for HIS use. Everything Microsoft created was an extension of the philosophy that individuals could use computers effectively; that the technology had been invented that made it unnecessary for an individual to rely on a large box for computing.

It is certainly a logical extention of "handware" -- copying files onto a floppy and taking the floppy to the person down the hall -- that the new technology of individual computers would be integrated with the already-existing technology of networked workstations. It is also a logical extention that given the omnipresent nature of the Internet, and given Microsoft's fundamental emphasis on the personal nature of computing, that allowing the user to experience information the way the user wants would be a fundamental underpinning of its systems.

That, apparently, is not the case. We have always presumed that Microsoft's inability to plug security holes in its software was due to its size as a target. We have always presumed that the delays and bugs Microsoft always seems to face with new releases are rooted in the fact that it is constantly playing catchup to smaller rivals that don't have to support as many users. It never crossed our mind that Microsoft is actually like any other large successful (and even some small successful) company: resistant to fundamental change.

Don't worry. Neither the New York Times nor Microsoft is going anywhere soon. But if this is any indication, wherever they're going is in the wrong direction.

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What was the name of that movie?

Back in our high school days, we saw a campy spy film in which the bad guys weren't SMERSH, but some mysterious outfit known only as TPC. At the end of the film, we found out that TPC stands for The Phone Company. We'll admit that the movie came out before the breakup of AT&T, but given the "revestiture" over the last couple of years, it seems that conspiracy theorists might not be all that crazy.

While the courts will probably decide if the NSA's eavesdropping on phone calls was legal, and whether the TPCs violated privacy laws by turning over records to the NSA, New Scientist has published an article saying that the NSA is funding research into culling information from social networking websites. We don't know whether to be worried about our online banking activities, or to laugh at the thought of the NSA taking some of the things we've seen seriously. What we do know is that the federal government isn't about to willingly reveal that it wants to spy on people, and is willing to fight to protect its "needle in a haystack" approach to the matter.

Equally scary is the potential -- given the telcos' willingness to give up information -- of cell phone tracking. It's not new technology, and there are all kinds of reasonably acceptable uses (locating your kids, for example) -- but there are all kinds of issues that need resolving first, like what the telcos should be handing over just because the government asks. We would be curious to know, for example, the substance of some phone conversations with columnists, but we'll bet that those aren't being tapped.

Still somewhere on the radar screen is the prospect of widespread adoption of VoIP systems. Regular telephone lines are pretty easy to tap, but tapping VoIP systems is a lot more complicated, so you can bet the telephone companies aren't objecting to proposals that subject VoIP to the same rules that apply to them. For one thing, designing the technology could just kill VoIP altogether, at least in the US.

Don't think that isn't on the minds of the phone companies either; the cable companies were also slapped by the House of Representatives, even as they were winning (following the lead of the telcos) their argument over Net Neutrality with the big Internet companies. Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives gave the broadband providers what they wanted: the right to set pricing higher for delivering premium content. But while the Senate is still thinking about it, you can bet that the top executives at Google, Amazon, eBay and Yahoo aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs. We're just not certain that their efforts are going to have any impact.

If you're not sure which side of the Net Neutrality fight you're on, here's an argument for and here's one against.

It's not that we didn't like AT&T -- or TPC -- back in the day. We grew up in a small town where all you had to do was dial the last four digits of the phone number to make a local call, and when calling grandma was as simple as Sunset 2-8865. We like having everything on one bill, with a reasonably good idea of what the bill will be. (We think there is a special place reserved in you-know-where for the person who invented those automated touch tone systems for navigating bureaucratic mazes, but that's another story.) What we don't like is the idea that our conversations are anyone else's business.

Tips from the Moderators

There's been some discussion lately about the "ping" messages left by the Cleanup Volunteers. They aren't required to leave them, so as often as not, the first message you might see that an abandoned question is going to be closed is the message the CV has posted with a recommendation.

It's important that if you're a participant in the question you respond to the post -- and that's especially true if you are the person who asked the question. Once a question has gone three weeks without a comment, there aren't very many good reasons for leaving it open, so the Moderator who closes the question is likely to accept the CV recommendation; saying "I didn't get an answer" is not considered a good reason. If you're the Asker, it is your responsibility to take care of your open questions; by leaving it to the CVs and the Moderators, you have essentially said that you don't care.

If you happen to be one of the Experts who has tried to help answer the question, it is just as important that you respond to the Cleanup "ping". The Moderators don't know the answer to every question, so they depend on the recommendation -- but that is all it is -- a recommendation. If you think you deserve the points in the question, then say so, and if you think someone else should get them, it never hurts to say that either.

Page Two: More News and Notes
Nata's Corner: Your hi-tech new ride

woman in specticalsHave you ever been somewhere and wanted to find a telephone number, but weren't near a computer and couldn't find a phone book? You can always dial 411, but at 50 cents a call, that seems a little pricey. I just found out that Google will give you telephone numbers for free (my favorite word); all you have to do is send a text message to GOOGL (46645) containing the ZIP code and name of the person or business you're looking for. Google will send you back not only the phone number, but the address as well -- but you pay for the text messages. If you don't want to use up those text messages, you can also call 1-800-411-METRO, but you'll have to listen to an advertisement.

It was only a matter of time. I got an email the other day that claims to be from a sergeant in the US military who wants to move a lot of money supposedly belonging to Saddam Hussein's family into the US so it can be "invested", and makes sure that I know the sergeant is constantly being attacked by insurgents using car bombs. I guess nobody believes Nigerian generals any more.

I know a lot of EE members use Yahoo for their email. Yahoo got hit with the Yamanner worm last week, but the company blocked it fairly quickly. As a stopgap, just make sure you've blocked any emails from av3@yahoo.com.

And while I'm on the subject, Microsoft released a study last week that says that 62 per cent of the computers its Malicious Software Removal Tool examined had a backdoor trojan on them, and a third had gotten the nasty through some kind of social engineering -- an email or P2P network. If you haven't checked, you might want to take a look at AOL's free security checker, unless, of course, you don't want anything to do with them.

If you think that last month was one of the worst ever for spam, you're not wrong. CipherTrust, which has a network of fake zombie computers, said last week that spam increased by 20 per cent in May, most of it coming from Taiwan. They also say it won't be easy to stop it because the messages are now being embedded in images. And if you think all the crackdowns on phishing and bots and the rest are having any impact, you would be wrong: they're getting worse.

Inside the numbers
ameba, one of EE's prominent Experts, provides us with a list of newly earned Certificates. His list of all of the Certified Experts is located at his site. The list below covers the period from June 5 through June 19.
Expert Certified in Topic Area
LenaWood jefftwilley iHadi junglerover77 List244 imran_fast bwdowhan folderol GGuzdziol sankarbha sammy1971 deanvanrooyen Sam_Jayander sukumar_diya prashsax Craig_200X pgm554 nprignano moh10ly netsmithcentral jsvor pravinasar basicinstinct rakeshmiglani Guru Master Master Master Master Wizard Master Master Master Master Guru Master Master Master Master Master Master Master Guru Master Master Sage Master Wizard MS Access MS Access Visual Basic Visual Basic Visual Basic Microsoft SQL Microsoft SQL Microsoft SQL Microsoft SQL ASP ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET Networking Networking Networking Networking Windows XP Windows XP Windows XP JavaScript JavaScript Exchange_Server
Expert Certified in Topic Area
Darwinian999 mpfister rrz@871311 ericwong27 ZhaawZ Jay_Jay70 TheCleaner gsgi Roonaan dr_dedo fibo Raisor fridom ClickCentric rockymagee jamietoner Idle_Mind MikeMCSD DLyall jeverist 73Spyder bwasyliuk pseudocyber upul007 Master Master Master Master Guru Sage Sage Master Genius Guru Master Wizard Master Master Master Master Guru Master Master Genius Master Master Master Guru Exchange_Server Windows 2000 Java VB.NET Delphi Win. Server 2003 Win. Server 2003 Win. Server 2003 PHP PHP PHP Programming Programming Web Development Web Development Hardware .NET .NET Oracle Excel ColdFusion ColdFusion Microsoft Network Outlook
Expert Certified in Topic Area
Tolomir Ramy_atef edkim80 dopyiii moh10ly garycase David_Fong gurutc JammyPak marilyng fridom shivaspk Scotty_cisco bruintje bira war1 RobWill Mikal613 Dave_Dietz Sembee TechSoEasy RQuadling gheist Master Master Master Master Master Wizard Guru Master Master Wizard Master Master Master Guru Master Wizard Wizard Sage Master Wizard Genius Guru Master Operating Systems Flash Linux MS Office Applications Storage Storage Storage Windows Security Lotus Notes/Domino C JSP Routers Word Unix Email VPN Handhelds/Wireless Web Servers Email/GroupWare SBS Small Bus. Server PHP for Windows Unix Setup
2161 experts have 3637 certifications: Genius:98 Sage:170 Wizard:219 Guru:656 Master:2494
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