- Sign-up Now!
 - Current Issue
 - Edit Your Profile/Unsubscribe

Subscribe | Media Kit | About Us | All Issues | Subscriber Feedback | Contact Us | Privacy Statement
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:
    • Certification and Elearning / Q4=DealTime
    • Elearning and The IT Professional
    • MS Blinks On Licensing 6.0
    • Upgrading to AD? Careful, This Domain Name Bug May Bite
    • 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
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • XBOX Live
FREE SQL Tool from NetIQ
Need to know what's going on in your database environment?
Quickly and accurately identify and investigate specific SQL
Server problems with NetIQ's FREE diagnostic dashboard,
SQLcheck. Get the critical information you need about your
database server hardware, its operating system and SQL Server.
Download SQLcheck today!
Visit NetIQ for more information.

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".
Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])
  SPONSOR: Opalis
"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

Publisher's note:

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 Management systems.

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 "knowledge systems".

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 the corporation.

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:


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:


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:

  • 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.
  • Newsletters
    "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, and more.
  • 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 Certification Solution!?
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:

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 Magazine.

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 geographic location.

"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 network:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 IIS server.

    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.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=021202FA-SprocketWorks
  • What Is A Greater Threat than Software Viruses? Article about "Active Content":

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=021202FA-ActiveContent
  • The History Of Operating Systems According To Microsoft:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=021202FA-OS_History
  • Good article about maintaining credible IIS Log files:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=021202FA-IIS_Logs
  • Great site to detect radio stations in your area. US and World:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=021202FA-Radio_Stations
  • Vmyths is a pretty interesting site:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=021202FA-Vmyths

    XBOX Live

    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 game.