Vol. 24, #2 - January 14, 2019 - Issue #1214
Three-part webinar series: Active Directory Deep Dive
This week's newsletter takes a fresh look at some old technology: web browsers and search engines. Your Editor offers some thoughts on this subject and describes his current preferences which are the Brave web browser and DuckDuckGo search engine. We're also in the process of reorganizing and updating the Conference Calendar section of our newsletter to make it more useful for our readers, so be sure to take a look below. And be sure also to check out the below article by Benjamin Roussey on our TechGenix website which describes some other important tech conferences coming this year:
Plan Your Year: The Most Anticipated Tech Conferences Of 2019 (TechGenix)
Finally, if your company or organization is hosting a tech conference that you'd like to promote, feel free to contact us about getting your event mentioned in our newsletter. Just email us at [email protected]
Mitch and Ingrid Tulloch
I haven't been happy with Microsoft lately with regard to the web browser arena. Internet Explorer is definitely showing its age now, and we stopped using it about two years ago when some of the sites we visited with it didn't work properly or displayed a message saying they no longer supported IE. We tried Microsoft Edge for a while, and while it works much faster than IE it's very, very limited in its features. And despite Microsoft having almost three years now to beef Edge up, the number of features it has built into it still compares poorly with what I used to be able to do with IE. But we can't go back to IE, the future lies elsewhere. But where??
So we tested a few of the popular alternative browsers to see what they'd evolved into. We tried Chrome first, but were dissatisfied with its performance -- and we're reluctant to let Google have a foothold on our business information infrastructure considering they're more an ad company than a software vendor or service provider. Then we moved over to Opera and gave it a shot for a while, but again we felt its performance lacked somewhat.
Then a colleague clued us into a relatively new browser called Brave:
Brave blocks ads and trackers by default, and it automatically upgrades to HTTPS connections whenever possible. They also say on their site that their servers neither see nor store user browser data, which means they won't (or can't actually) sell your data to third parties.
The fact that Brave includes ad blocking functionality by default means it loads sites much more quickly than other browsers do unless they have ad blocking add-ons installed. So far myself and those who work with me who've tried Brave have been more than happy with its performance, and it's likely that we're going to stick with it for the foreseeable future. Have any other WServerNews readers tried Brave? Email me: [email protected]
I should mention though that there's one other browser we're thinking of trying out, and that's Epic:
Like Brave, Epic too is built on the open-source Chromium web browser project founded by Google. Epic describes itself as the most private and secure browser around by saying that it blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting, cryptomining, ultrasound signaling and more. Hopefully we'll have some free cycles in the near future to evaluate how Epic performs compared to Brave, but we welcome comments from any of our readers who use Epic or have already tried it out. Email us at [email protected]
For many years Google has been my go-to search engine for finding stuff online. But with criticism of Google's stance on privacy now having risen to the point that there's a section of Wikipedia article devoted solely to this matter:
myself and many of my colleagues have ditched Google as their default search engine and gone over to DuckDuckGo instead.
So now, instead of googling stuff when I want to find it, I just quack it.
How happy have I been using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine? Initially, it was difficult to avoid going back to Google when I really wanted to find something. DuckDuckGo, at least a couple of years ago, seemed to miss out on some of the nitty gritty stuff I was looking for, while Google surfaced that kind of stuff quite easily. But about two years ago I decided "No more googling" and I stuck with DuckDuckGo from that point on. And if I couldn't find something I wanted by quacking, I decided it probably didn't exist.
Fast forward two years later and I recently tried to evaluate how DDG is doing relative to Google nowadays. Well I must say, I was surprised. DDG now seemed to frequently bring up exactly what wanted in the first or second page of search results. Google by comparison now confronted me with a bunch of sponsored ads I had to ignore before I could get to my search results. Google also frequently includes news and videos in their search results when I query for something; DDG doesn't usually do this, but that's OK as I'm not looking for that type of format.
DDG News sucks unfortunately. When I quack "Winnipeg" the name of my city, all I get are links to sports news -- mostly hockey because of the Jets, our NHL team. Google News is worse however -- their latest rev to their news GUI now shows several news sources for each story which makes the simple act of browsing for local news much more tedious.
A new feature of DDG -- at least I think it's new because I never saw it before, but then I often don't notice things when I'm focused on doing something -- is a menu item called Maps which appears under the search box when you quack something. What's très cool about this feature (yes that's French, I'm Canadian so yes I can speak French -- at least to the Grade 4 elementary school level) is that DDG lets you select which mapping service you want to use:
I think that's pretty cool. But the main advantage of DDG of course is their commitment to privacy and not exposing or making use of your personal information when you use their engine to search for stuff. Of course the tinfoil hat crowd (of which I'm an affiliate member) has some skepticism concerning whether your info is really safe and secure when you quack something. But IMO anything is probably better than googling.
And who in their right mind would say "I binged that"?
Send us your questions, comments, and feedback: [email protected]
Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
Victor Butuza has a fascinating short post on his blog that explains why you sometimes see weird GUID accounts in your logs, and what can happen if you delete these accounts:
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Veeam is happy to provide you with a study guide for Microsoft Certification Exam 74-409. The guide will take you through the exam objectives, helping you to prepare for and pass the examination.
Trouble managing your emails? Try email archiving from MailStore: Increase your productivity, reduce IT costs and never lose important emails again.
MHDD is a popular freeware program for low-level HDD diagnostics:
Gargoyle is a free firmware upgrade for your wireless router that lets you monitor bandwidth, set quotas and throttles, block forbidden websites, and more:
Use this Excel Unlocker Software that securely performs to recover lost and forgotten Excel file password and also unlock Excel file:
Last week's factoid and question was this:
Fact: Sometimes it takes an earthquake to make you realize there is life outside of IT
Question: If you could change your career from IT to something else, what would you want to do?
Our best answer came from reader Bruce Anderson who works in IT services for a government agency in the USA:
If I were to transition from IT, I'd be a professional wrestler. I would have fun as a 5'6" (1.6764 meters) tall, 175 lb guy in the ring with some monsters. But then, we did raise this guy so big guys don't intimidate me at all:
And previously in our end of year newsletter for 2018 we included the following factoid and question:
Fact: Luxembourg is set to become first country to make all public transport free in order to prioritize environment and end some of world's worst traffic congestion.
Question: When was the last time you took public transport instead of driving, cycling or walking somewhere? What's it like to use public transport in your city or country, and would you use it more often if it was free?
Craig Hollins who manages the business side of an IT support company in Western Australia sent us the following thoughts on taking public transport in his locale:
Hi Mitch, I thought I'd give you a little bit of info on how it's being promoted in Perth, Western Australia.
We've got this shiny new sports stadium that seats 60,000 people. Designed for cricket and Australian rules football – both of which are played on much larger fields than other sports. It has been designed with public transport in mind.
On game days the roads around the stadium are closed and there is no parking for miles. You can't even get your dad to drop you off and come and collect you later. Only buses and taxis are permitted through.
There is also a nearby train station.
As you can imagine, after the game, the trains and the buses have to move 60,000 people as quickly as possible. I went to the first big game there (full capacity) and I can tell you it simply worked. From the time the game ended to the time I put my key in the front door was 55 minutes. It's normally a 25 minute drive.
To further encourage public transport use, all public transport is free on the day of the game for ticket holders. Just show your game ticket when you board. This is city wide and applies even to routes nowhere near the event.
Of course not everyone had the experience I had and there were plenty of stories of people queuing for up to an hour to get on a train. I'd hate to think how long they would have waited in the carpark trying to get out if driving was an option.
From a pure logistics point of view, public transport is by far the most efficient way of moving lots of people around.
To answer your question tho – I usually catch a bus into the city centre for IT functions, especially if they're going to put drinks on afterwards. I then either bum a lift or Uber it home.
If others would like to express their thoughts on this subject you can email me at [email protected]
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: Legendary PDA pioneer Palm is back as a zombie brand, and it's launching a tiny smartphone.
Question: Who here used to own a Palm Pilot? Tell us some stories of how you used to used it to keep your life organized and what you use today for this purpose.
Email your answer to [email protected]
>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
Nov 4-8, 2019 in Orlando, Florida
Register for your city's Tour event here:
For more tech conferences happening in 2019 see this article on our TechGenix website:
How the battle for cloud supremacy is shaping up for 2019 and beyond
The pace of warfare is accelerating as the battle for cloud supremacy heats up. Here's a snapshot of how things stand and where they are headed.
Good housekeeping for messy server rooms and datacenters
Cleanliness is better than chaos when it comes to server rooms and datacenters. Here are some tips on how to keep everything tidy and in order.
Here's how businesses or organizations that have relied until now upon legacy mainframe platforms can leverage the power of the cloud.
It's not that hard: Why soft skills for helpdesk personnel are vital
Yes, your helpdesk personnel must know the technical ins-and-outs of your products. But unless they also have soft skills, customer service will suffer.
It's nothing personal: The decline and fall of the PC empire
The Romans had a good run: Their empire lasted 500 years. But with PC sales down, Microsoft's domination of the personal computer market is teetering.
Rally Driver Ken Block Drifting Through Guanajuato, Mexico
Rally car champion Ken Block drifting with incredible precision through the narrow streets and alleys of the beautiful city of Guanajuato, Mexico:
Epic and amazing video by Jeb Corliss and friends living their dream and flying like birds:
Mid-Air Airplane Repair (1924)
Gladys Ingle of the '13 Black Cats' changes planes and fixes new landing gear on disabled plane in mid-air:
Incredible Balance, Strength & Flexibility - Stefanie Millinger
An amazingly strong and flexible girl puts on glasses with her feet while hand balancing on a ball:
Top server sizing strategies for VMs
How many VMs can you put on a server? That depends on whether your hardware and virtual environment are well-matched. Read more about four criteria that will help you select the right servers.
What does Windows Virtual Desktop mean to Citrix? Citrix might look more like a systems integrator
Citrix is going to be a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider and resell Microsoft 365 and Azure compute. Read more about how being a combination software vendor and systems integrator can be a great position.
Use these PowerCLI cmdlets to automate VMware vSphere
Learn more about how to take advantage of these PowerCLI cmdlets to copy files to and from local machines to VMware VMs. For complex tasks, a programmatic interface enables easier management than GUI.
What are the most common virtualization automation mistakes?
Avoid automation issues by coordinating with the wider organization to ensure employees know how to provision resources and remain aware of evolving business needs and policies. Learn more here.
WServerNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at [email protected]
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]
Three-part webinar series: Active Directory Deep Dive
Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7www.mtit.com.Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see
Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.