Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Dec 2, 2002 (Vol. 7, #73 - Issue #404)
MS Blinks On Licensing 6.0
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- Certification and Elearning / Q4=DealTime
- TECH BRIEFING
- Elearning and The IT Professional
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- MS Blinks On Licensing 6.0
- Upgrading to AD? Careful, This Domain Name Bug May Bite
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Examcram.com Lives On!
- Certifications Pay ? Even in A Down Market
- Latest MS02-065 Breaks Iomega ZIP 250 Drive
- Buffer Overrun in MS's MDAC Could Lead to Code Execution
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
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Certification and Elearning / Q4=DealTime
This issue we've got a lot of articles about certification and
the fast increasing development of Elearning in the enterprise.
You are going to be confronted with whole applications dedicated
to this. See the article in Tech Briefing below.
Another point is that Sunbelt just finished a completely automated
quote system. Your sales rep can now have a quote sitting in your
in-box within a minute, or while you are even on the phone with them.
This year, IT has been in somewhat of a crunch, so the developers
are really eager to make deals and make their Q4 look good. This is
your chance to get software that is really sweet on the budget.
Check out the specials page every week, as these offers come
and go fast!!
Quotes of the day:
- Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.
- Some minds are like concrete: all mixed up and permanently set.
- When you're in it up to your ears, keep your mouth shut!
- And the last one, which you could CC to your legal beagles:
"Insofar as manifestations of functional efficiencies are agreed
by any and all concerned parties to be imperceivable, and are so
stipulated, it is incumbent upon said heretofore mentioned parties
to exercise the deferment of otherwise pertinent maintenance
procedures." In Other Words: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
"Automate IT-based business processes"
OpalisRobot automates a broad range of tasks including system
monitoring, routine maintenance chores and production jobs. It
detects and corrects system errors to ensure reports, batch jobs,
scripts and IT-based business processes run uninterrupted.
Download FREE white papers & fully functionally demo software.
Visit Opalis for more information.
Elearning and The IT Professional
Cisco's CEO, John Chambers, has been quoted as saying that, as a
killer internet application, elearning will make email look
like a rounding error. The elearning market has gone from 0 to
several billion in sales annually in the last few years. It is
predicted by IDC to grow at a 37% compounded annual growth rate
through 2006, which would put the market well over 10 billion
less than a decade from when it started!
IT professionals will have an increasing role in the deployment
and administration of the "Learning Management Systems" (LMS)
and "Learning Content Management Systems" (LCMS) that enable
elearning. This has inspired us to ask a friend of ours to write
a multi-part series on elearning, what implications this has for
IT professionals and how to deal with this latest enterprise
wide system that "will make email look like a rounding error".
Part 1 ? Definition of Learning Management/Learning Content
Guest article by Larry Byrnes, founder of Competence Software.
An LMS or LCMS (the distinction is becoming increasingly blurred)
is a knowledge transfer (training) solution that facilitates the
creation, storing, assembling, delivering and administering of
training courses to individuals. These are large database systems
with extensive user and administrator interfaces that help match
up an inventory of personnel and an inventory of courses. The
systems will, ideally, deliver the personnel skills needed for
any organization to achieve its strategic objectives.
These LMS/LCMS systems could also be called knowledge management
systems. We like the knowledge system term as it communicates the
basic, simple purpose of these systems ? to help transfer knowledge.
The role of the IT professional in the selection and deployment
of these systems will become increasingly vital. These articles
will cover some of the basics of learning management and learning
content management systems and how this relatively new enterprise
priority is leading an evolution from an information economy to
knowledge based economy.
Several years ago, while I was proposing to implement our interactive basic business finance course on the network of a very large insurance company, the IT Manager was heard to say, "What's next, gardening?" His priority was training his staff on how to make a network reliable, secure, high performance and cost effective. The idea of a basic business finance course running on his
network was obviously a bad joke to this IT manager. With CFOs of
major corporations being carted off to jail in handcuffs on prime
time TV news, he may feel differently today. The realization is
arriving that financial statements are seldom if ever read, never
mind understood. This opens the door to falsified numbers reported
by ethics deficient "experts". Thus financial literacy has become
a major issue. Priorities have obviously changed, but unless the
relevancy and value of an LMS/LCMS is fully grasped by IT pros, the
very high potential return on investment is unlikely to be realized.
We certainly don't want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime to
"embrace and extend" the inevitable preeminence of enterprise
Increasingly you will hear these terms "Knowledge Systems" and
Human Capital Resource Systems. Putting aside whether or not one
likes to be referred to as "capital", the concept here is that an
investment in training will enhance the value of an individual
employee. This investment will pay off in terms of increased
productivity, expansion in chosen markets, increased profitability
and increased shareholder/stakeholder value. There are also
indications that investment in training will pay off in increased
employee loyalty ? an important benefit given today's "free agent"
economy where job-hopping is an every day occurrence. All of this
should add up to helping to achieving the strategic objectives of
This brings us to the purpose of an LMS/LCMS which is to rapidly
provide employees with the knowledge and skills they need to do
their jobs competently, enhance their value to the corporation
and help achieve the strategic objectives of the corporation.
In the next article we will give some of the "drivers" that give
management incentive to invest in learning management systems.
You will want to know these and use them at budget time.
A good elearning glossary:
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
MS Blinks On Licensing 6.0
I think they have listened to all the noise we have made. Yesterday they came out with the announcement of a program starting early 2003 which is supposed to make it a bit easier for small and medium-size companies that sign multiyear contracts to license MS wares. The new option targets small and medium businesses that own five to 500 boxes, but Microsoft put no cap on who qualifies for this new payment plan. Look for it around the end of Q1 2003.
They are calling it "Open Value", and this new scheme will allow
you to spread out Windows and Office payments over a period of
three years. Think of "zero-down" financing, as opposed to the
current upfront fees if you license the stuff for two or three
years. And it looks like they have piloted this out in Europe
already, starting September this year.
If you want to buy upgrade protection for Windows, Office and Core
client access licenses, and make a companywide commitment, you can
choose any combination of these three products and get extra discounts. Open Business or Open Volume agreements must be used for buying licenses without SA. Licensing options through Open License Business and Open License Volume remain unchanged.
At the moment, it looks like this is a good deal if you plan to
upgrade faster than once every 3.5 years. MS is currently training
its channel partners. We have seen the emails that announced the
new program. I'll keep you in the loop on the progress.
Upgrading to AD? Careful, This Domain Name Bug May Bite
When you upgrade your servers to W2K and when you upgrade your
existing domain to AD, MS just released a bug fix that correctly
sets the DNS domain name, and if we can believe them, the DNS
suffix in Network Identification. Here is the KB Article. Have a look:
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Examcram.com Lives On!
For the last four years you guys have relied on the best-selling
Exam Cram series and the examcram.com website as valuable resources for your certification news, study tips, and practice questions and answers. Now, the same great services you have counted on to ensure your certification success are back?better than ever! On November 25th, 2002, examcram.com went live and
will offer the following top-of-the-line content:
Be sure to look for new Exam Cram titles on examcram.com; they
are now published by Que Certification in the Exam Cram2 series.
Que will produce six new Exam Cram2s in the fourth quarter of 2002.
A division of Que Publishing, Que Certification is an imprint of
Pearson Technology Group (PTG), the world's largest provider of
consumer and professional computer, information technology,
engineering and reference content. Check out the new site here:
- Free Practice Exams
Get ready for your exam right now! Our practice tests help prepare
you for your exam. Tests are available on a wide variety of exam
topics; visit the site to scope out our offerings.
"Question of the Day" newsletters help sharpen your skills and
knowledge by delivering one question per day on the exam topics
of your choice. Detailed explanations provide the background you
need to make sure you answer these questions correctly, and to
help you understand their real focus and intent.
- Great Content
Mentoring, Salary Surveys, Career Guides, daily content updates,
- Stimulating Discussions!
Talk with other test takers, post questions, read interesting
Q&As, and offer tips to your peers and colleagues in our forums.
- Special discounts for examcram.com visitors!
Check out special prices on certification books and practice tests
available through the site.
- The best study tools!
Find out more about Exam Cram2, the Smartest Way To Get Certified?
and our popular Training Guide series that offers a Complete
Certifications Pay ? Even in A Down Market
Certification Magazine salary survey spawns a salary calculator.
IT may have taken hits during recent economic struggles, but
technical certifications still bring benefits to IT professionals,
with programs bringing an average raise of $3,487 and with 69
percent of respondents crediting certification as providing
additional job security.
Those are just some of the results of the 2002 Salary Survey
conducted by Certification Magazine. The results of the annual
survey are reported in the December 2002 issue of Certification
For the first time, Certification Magazine has also leveraged
results from nearly 10,000 respondents to create an interactive
salary calculator that provides Web visitors with average IT
salaries based on primary certification, years of experience and
"This year's study is the most detailed we've done to date, and
we know our readers and Web visitors will benefit from the data
we've compiled," said Norm Kamikow, editor in chief of Certification
Magazine. "With the incredible amount of information we've received,
we were not only able to report in-depth information on the fiscal
impact of certification, but we're also introducing the salary
calculator to provide a year-round resource for updated fiscal data.
Readers and CertMag.com visitors now have a new resource on which
to rely as they advance professionally."
The salary calculator is available at:
To read the full 2002 Salary Survey article, visit:
Latest MS02-065 Breaks Iomega ZIP 250 Drive
Robert Sendek sent me this: "Re the MS02-065 security patch:
installing the patch on our Windows NT 4.0 system caused our
Iomega Zip 250 drive to stop working. Downloading Iomega's
latest drivers (3.1.1) and re-installing back security patches
seems to fix the problem although the ZipToA service now fails
to start which the Iomega web site seems to indicate can be
disabled in most cases". Check:
Buffer Overrun in MS's MDAC Could Lead to Code Execution
Microsoft released an advisory regarding a critical vulnerability
in MDAC and Internet Explorer. This vulnerability is present in
almost all versions of Windows and could easily let a hacker take
control of a personal computer or a Web server.
The vulnerability affects IIS Web servers using MDAC for database
communication. Versions Affected: MDAC versions 2.1, 2.5 and 2.6,
Internet Explorer 6.0 Gold, 5.5 SP2, and 5.01 SP3 all running on
Windows NT/2000. Servers running the latest software, MDAC 2.7,
are free from the security hole.
Because the MDAC software is not installed by default, widespread
vulnerability to attack should be contained. Nevertheless, this
vulnerability is critical and immediate measures to install the
appropriate patch must be taken.
Here are three tools that you should leverage to protect your
- Scan your network with Retina to uncover affected servers:
Retina has been updated by eEye Digital Security to scan for this
vulnerability. In addition, Retina can be used as a discovery
tool in order to find all affected IIS servers on your network.
You may utilize Retina's Policy Management capability to conduct
a Web server specific scan and to search for those servers that
are susceptible to the MDAC vulnerability.
- Install the patch provided by Microsoft at:
As always, we highly recommend immediate patch management of your
servers. Post scan, Retina can guide you through this process.
Regardless of the security protection tools you use, installing
patches is a necessary, albeit painful, evil.
- Install SecureIIS from eEye on your IIS servers:
SecureIIS protects from this vulnerability through its intrusion
prevention against buffer overflows. Current users of SecureIIS
are already protected and were protected even before this hole
was discovered. Buffer overflow is the means by which a malicious
hacker can leverage the MDAC vulnerability to gain access to your
SecureIIS incorporates a number of protections against common
hack attack methods, including buffer overflow, directory
traversal, high-bit shell code protection and others. Because of
this advanced technology, SecureIIS can protect web servers even
against unknown vulnerabilities. SecureIIS will even protect your
server if left un-patched, giving you more time to test patches
and rollout according to your timeframe.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
Marney Morris, one of the original user interface designers
for the Apple Mac, has created (with her team) a very cool
site called SprocketWorks. Amazing little "Sprockets"
providing education and fun. Warning: High bandwidth is a must.
What Is A Greater Threat than Software Viruses? Article about
The History Of Operating Systems According To Microsoft:
Good article about maintaining credible IIS Log files:
Great site to detect radio stations in your area. US and World:
Vmyths is a pretty interesting site:
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Check out our Webmaster's review in the last issue of W2Knews for
XBOX Live and the games that he tested:
XBOX Live Starter Kit
Want to intimidate your opponents with a deep, threatening voice?
Always wish you could sound like a robot? Now you can! With the
XBOX Live Communicator and the XBOX Live online gaming service
it's easy to do. Use your voice like never before. This headset
allows for games to do really amazing things, like changing the
sound of your voice for starters. And, if your game character is
in a cave, your voice could echo off the walls. You can even catch
up with old friends while you play. Who knew chatting with distant
relatives could be this fun?
Based on the immensely popular sport of Grand Prix Motorcycle
racing, MotoGP is an ultra-realistic bike racer for the XBOX
which puts you, the player, behind the handle-bars of some of
the meanest, fastest, most thrilling machines on two-wheels.
With a variety of innovative gameplay elements, supported by
amazing graphics and revolutionary technical features, MotoGP
brings the perfect mix of speed, style, bravery and technology
to your XBOX console.
NFL Fever 2003
You say you're good - now prove it. NFL Fever 2003 delivers the
hard hits and great plays, plus hard-core realism and online
competition that lets you go head to head or build a team to
take on the world. Whether you like the power and control of
an NFL Gerneral Manager or the shudder of knocking an opponent
into next week, from draft day to the Superbowl, this is your