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Your Technology Problems...SOLVED

AUGUST 29, 2012

Featured Content

What's New at Experts Exchange
From the SLO and beyond

Nata's Corner
A new laptop and Windows 8

Wink At The Moon
Remembering Neil Armstrong

A Sign of the Future?
tigermatt on SBS

In Brief
Things you might have missed

Who did what through Aug. 25

What's New at E-E

No ads [mostly]: For a decade or more, one of the benefits of Premium Services and Business Accounts has been that you don't see any advertising. Now, that has been extended to the logged-out view of Experts Exchange as well, meaning that EE is 100 per cent member supported on both the website and mobile views.

TEDx San Luis Obispo: There are a few tickets still available for the EE-sponsored TEDx San Luis Obispo, set for Friday, September 28, at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. The event will include talks on The Power of Community by three of our own: mark_wills, tigermatt and matthewspatrick. Early bird purchasers save $12 off the regular price, so get your seats while they last.

Webinar: CSI-Windows_com will off an introduction to Windows 7 64-bit on Thursday, September 13 at 11 am Pacific time; he will also offer up a few tips on keeping your 32-bit applications running smoothly. Limited space is available, so reserve your spot today!

Expert profiles: kfanandays was looking for a job as a teacher, and found herself teaching people about computers, turning it into a successful consulting practice. Karen is the subject of an Expert profile, as is Tolomir, who is trying to solve the puzzles related to having four young children.

Podcasts: EE's latest podcast includes a discussion of AT&T's restrictions on the iOS application FaceTime and a conversation with TechMommy on what's new in Access 2013. Podcasts are achived on iTunes or SoundCloud channels, and now it's available using Stitcher.

Most Valuable Experts: There are only a few days left to file your nominations for our second round of Most Valuable Experts, the people who will be considered the "best of the best" at Experts Exchange for the coming year. Awardees will be hard-pressed to follow our inaugural group, but we know they're out there.

Kudos: lrbrister's question on selecting an XML string got a reasonably quick (and very accurate) response from lwadwell, promping lrbrister to ask for the Moderators' attention: "lwadwell definitely went the extra mile on this answer. It's code is well thought out, and self explanatory."

jennifer_EDI_Gal joined EE a couple of weeks ago, and her first question -- about searching strings in a DOS shell script -- got responses from dragon-it (who got the "Good Answer!" email) and Topic Advisor Qlemo: "BTW Guys, this is my first experience with "Experts Exchange". I am blown away by the rapid responses I have received and the thoughtful solutions suggested. Kudos to all of you for taking your time to help those with questions like mine."

lherrou responded to a Neglected Question alert on TheLastOfTheDukeStreetKings' issue with a exuberant Droid RAZR: "Looks like it was just a slight lag between the phone & Gmail synching. Thanks for everything!"

aikimark and zorvek teamed up to help Rayne figure out how to clean a [spread]sheet: "You guys are awesome. With so many options to choose from.... Hail the Great EE!!"

Finally, take a quick glance at robert_schutt's blog post on his first 18 months at Experts Exchange. It says, in part, "The very best moments so far have been some (closing) comments from questionEErs that were clearly so happy with the provided solution that they really went all out with their compliments. I must admit some of them have sent shivers up and down my spine. Really though more credit than I feel I deserve as often it's just taking code from the net and stitching it together."

Mentor program: The Admins and Experts Exchange have been kicking around the idea of a techology mentorship program for a while, and we would like to hear from you about what EE's members would like to see.

Customer Service contest: If you have a reason to deal with the CS department, you can win one of the very nice EE polo shirts just for filling out the survey after your experience. The contest runs through the end of the month, so post about your experience today!

A Wink At The Moon

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wink at the moonNeil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, died August 25 at the age of 82.

For anyone coming of age in the late 1960s in the United States (and probably most everywhere else), the world seemed to be falling apart at the seams. 1968 had two unfathomable assassinations, riots in Washington and later Chicago, and of course, a war that made places like My Lai and Khe Sahn almost as familiar as Los Angeles and London. The nation had elected a President who, by most calculations, would have lost had the election been a week later. The first half of 1969 didn't seem to be much better; students were taking to the streets around the world and riots were weekly events.

It was against that backdrop that at a summer school we crowded around a black and white television (joining an estimated 500 million people worldwide) on a Sunday afternoon to watch grainy images being transmitted from 250,000 miles away, where Apollo 11 hand landed. Six hours later, we were still there when Mr Armstrong fulfilled the promise made by President Kennedy to land a man on the moon and return him to Earth by the end of the decade; those "small steps" reminded us of what great things people could do.

Tributes poured into an honorary Twitter account and the Twitter hashtag #WinkAtTheMoon; there's a website, and there will be thousands of words, none of which can adequately measure the profound inspiration of what Mr Armstrong and crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins provided to a world almost desperate for something to admire.

Perhaps it's best that we all simply do as the Armstrong family asked: "For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Then let's think about walking in his footsteps.

SBS is Going! A Sign of the Future?

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tigermatt is one of the Topic Advisors in Microsoft server technologies and a student at Cambridge University; this post is republished from the his blog.

The recent news that Microsoft are discontinuing their all-in-one Small Business Server (SBS) offering sent a shockwave through the entire IT community. In a blog post on the SBS product group's blog at the start of July, the news was made very clear: the end of an era is upon us. However, it is not just small businesses or those who specialise in working with them who should listen up and take note. This development is one of many which will define lasting change in the way we do computing, in this decade and beyond.

For those who are not in the Microsoft or the SMB market, SBS rapidly became a valuable product for companies with 75 users or fewer when it was introduced to the market. The platform was an instant winner because it combined a good number of products from the Windows Server portfolio into a single server which was very easy to manage. For the first time, small businesses were able to compete in the global marketplace alongside their enterprise rivals -- realising the benefits of identical technologies, but without breaking the bank. Many companies sought a collaboration server like Exchange to manage all their communication better than they could achieve with conventional email systems. This was undoubtedly one of the most popular products to be bunded with SBS, and one which enabled many to thrive and flourish.

I owe a lot to SBS -- in fact, without it, I would not be writing this article. Regular contributors at Experts Exchange may be aware that I began learning about networks and servers when I built my first server at the age of 11 to run the family computers. That server was running SBS 2003. Back then, my knowledge of networking was non-existent, but over time and with the supportive guidance from my peers at Experts Exchange, I was able to learn. I work now with a few organisations from 5 users up to several thousand, managing their infrastructure and developing solutions to help them integrate technology into their business model to position themselves and grow. For one such company, having an office staff and a snazzy computer system is unheard of in its industry, yet I have watched them develop from a small setup with a single laptop and a home office to a very successful company in their own right -- and they give credit to their SBS server for helping make that happen.

So what's the alternative?

Well, it's not all bad news, and no, that's not because I'm advocating we make what we already have the de facto standard for the next umpteen years and stop innovating. The replacement product comes from the Windows Server 2012 range, which has been massively revamped and simplified. It's called Windows Server Essentials. This supports a maximum of 25 users on a single physical server and provides many of the services expected of a local server. Unfortunately, there's a drawback. No Exchange Server. Companies are encouraged to push email hosting away from the local premises to Office 365 in Microsoft's public cloud. The Essentials server provides integration with the Office 365 cloud to manage and control the service. It does still provide support for an on-premises Exchange Server and there is the option to use Windows Server 2012 Standard, which now allows a physical host and 2 virtual servers under a single license. However, the licensing for that must be acquired separately. Quite understandably, this strategic change in the rules of engagement has caused much controversy.

I understand and fully appreciate the intention of cloud-based computing - moving the infrastructure away from individual companies to service providers and large datacentres, increasing reliability and managing cost for the end-user. The model makes sense on the surface and has been enjoyed by many for years - consider Hotmail, one of the first cloud-based email services, joined rapidly by Yahoo! and Gmail in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The technology is not new. Indeed, Google, Microsoft, Apple et al. have been successfully pushing it for years. What is new and scary is the paradigm shift which is trying to immerse the business sector kicking and screaming into the cloud before the technology is proven. There are many issues blocking adoption of the cloud: compliance, conflicting privacy laws between countries (where the service provider is in one and the user in another) and the lack of affordable, high-speed Internet connections in all corners of the globe. For these reasons, I am not convinced that cloud is the way forward for business (and apparently, neither is Steve Wozniak). I want to know exactly where my data is and have complete control over who is permitted to access it. I cannot afford to entrust such data to another individual. If everything is in my hands, it's my fault and my fault alone if something goes wrong. On the contrary, in the cloud, it's impossible to know exactly what is happening to your data, nor is there any guarantee today's data will still be there tomorrow.

There is always difficulty effecting change in just about any situation, but this becomes very prominent when the impact is global. At first, I was saddened by the loss of SBS, but at least I know there are valid options for the future. I am concerned over the direction of the IT industry and the forced shift of companies to the cloud. It is a very big worry, and many IT professionals feel their entire livelihoods have been torn from beneath their feet. However, we cannot stand still. As Paul Cunningham of exchangeserverpro.com says in his news article on this story, This is IT. Things change. You either change with them, or you die too. We do, however, need to be very careful how we play the hand we have been dealt, and moving leaps and bounds into the cloud is not a card I am about to play any time soon.

Nata's Corner

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Nata's PictureDon't believe everything you read on the Internet.

One of the reasons I'm really not in any hurry to jump on the whole mobile payments bandwagon: unreliable connectivity. Then again, there was a time when I couldn't imagine using a piece of plastic to pay for almost everything I buy, either.

For his birthday, the other half just bought me a new laptop, which is cool because when Windows 8 comes out -- I really hope nobody has a reason to start calling it "Microsoft W8" -- I'll get to upgrade for $15 while he's going to have to pay $39.

Let's face it: for whatever reason, there are a lot of people out there who keep spreading a lot of bad information, and a lot of it is targeted at your children. Microsoft has a pretty good page that gives you some ideas for teaching your children how to decide whether what they're reading is really accurate.

I mentioned above that I have a new laptop... and one of the things that has always driven me nuts is when the computer asks me for my login and password, so I guess it's finally time I stopped worrying about someone getting into a computer that is almost never more than about twenty feet away from me. If you're running Windows 7, here's how you get rid of the extra step when you automatically login:

  1. Tap the Windows key -- the one in the lower left corner of the keyboard that has the old Windows logo on it -- and the R key at the same time. That will open the "Run" command line.
  2. In the command line box, type control userpasswords2 to open the User Accounts window
  3. Go to the Users tab, and highlight the account you want to use as the default account.
  4. While the account is highlighted, uncheck the box that says "User must enter a user name and password to use this computer." (When you have unchecked the box, all of the other user accounts shown will be grayed out.) Then click Apply.
  5. A new box will open up asking for the password for the account you've selected. Enter the password (you'll have to enter it twice), and click okay. If you don't use a password for the account, just leave the boxes blank.

Now when the computer boots, it will automatically log in to that account. You can still change to another account by opening the Start menu, clicking the arrow icon to the right of the Shut Down button, and clicking on Switch Users.

Finally, it's back to school time, and if your kids are of that certain age, they'll want either a new computer or a new car. Given the way the economy is, I'd think twice about both.

In Brief

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Oh, what a tangled web: Everyone knows about the nasty little dustup between Samsung and Apple (Apple won, in case you missed it), but a billion bucks is almost chump change when you think about Apple versus Google, not to mention Motoroloogle, especially with Microsoft lurcking out there. This could be an entertaining winter; Apple may be the most valuable company ever, but it also doesn't hurt to have good lawyers. Of course, Samsung will appeal.

Google, predictably, had a "no comment" comment, but anyone who's paying attention knows who Apple's real target is, and that if there are no devices on which Android can be run, there's not a lot left to do with Android.

Elsewhere, a South Korean court said "a plague on both your houses", and the judge in the Facebook "sponsored stories" lawsuit rejected a proposed settlement, saying that the number was far too low.

logosWelcome to the 21st century: Microsoft has a new logo. HP, where they're trying to overcome record losses, went one better and gave Palm a new name to go with a new logo and a new domain. Apple is trying to hide new ads, and Oracle's Larry Ellison has a new place to hide.

In a galaxy (the Mojave Desert) far, far away: Aerofex is developing a personal hovercraft.

We'll see if we can dig up a nice prize: Seriously, the folks at Kapersky are looking for some help figuring out what the Gauss virus does and who it's intended to attack. If you're interested, details of their request are publicly available.

Now don't go getting all huffy: Inc. has some tips for managing social media that aren't really all that different from letting a non-designer manage your website.

In requiem: Phyllis Diller. Still hanging in there: RIM.

And on the same subject, what, exactly, does "nontransferable rights" mean? Probate lawyers beware...

Confession: Everyone who knows your humble editor knows his thoughts on Facebook (he'll still never join, but he's willing to let a big serving of humble pie soften his antipathy), but that doesn't mean he is against browsing through a bunch of photos of celebrities if they weren't famous. Tom Cruise looks eerily familiar.

Safe to go back in the water: We love the headline ("... quietly closes security hole...") considering it was all over the news. Anyway, Amazon has plugged the hole that cost a writer his [digital] life.

What goes around, comes around: Get ready for the next big thing in computing, communications and data storage: analog (and DNA).Now where did I put my rabbit ears?

Off to your room without dessert! That's what you get for collecting data on children. It's worse in Great Britain.

Oxymorons of the Week: "Government planning" and "Peer review" (thanks, Jason!).

DOH! Maybe they should schedule an IPO. After all, they fit the profile: No business plan, no consistent marketing, and irrelevant, overpriced products.

The best of times, the worst of times: The mobile carrier industry has no clue where it's going. On the one hand, you have Sprint and T-Mobile recognizing that it's better to have someone under contract (and therefore your customer), even if they use a little more bandwidth than almost everyone else. On the other hand, you have The Monopoly Formerly Known As Ma Bell that wants to wring every penny out of you that it possibly can.

Take a number: The United Nations agency that deals with telecommunications was in a bit of hot water for secretly planning a "global conference" on the future of the Internet -- like what anyone says is going to make a difference -- but at least they've now opened up to comments from all 2 billion Internet users. Chime in here, but please don't be a troll.

Sign of the Apocalypse: You can now delete your photos on Facebook. Also, why it's not safe in Oakland.


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New Geniuses: hanccocka, who is far and away the leader in this year's Expert of the Year race, has earned his third Genius certificate, in Windows Server 2008, and also went over the 7,000,000 point level in VMware. Roonaan has picked up his second Genius t-shirt, this one in JavaScript; he is the 14th member of EE to reach that rank. Earning their first 1,000,000 point certificates were paquicuba in Oracle and Rancy in Exchange Server. Congratulations to all!


  • CEHJ has become the 14th member of EE to reach 13,000,000 points overall.
  • mlmcc is the fourth member of EE to reach 15,000,000 points in a single topic area; he is the top-ranked Expert in Crystal Reports.
  • kaufmed has earned 7,000,000 points since joining Experts Exchange.
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