Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Nov 17, 2003 (Vol. 8, #46 - Issue #452)
"Tech Websites" Exposed
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- Free Software For Employees at Home?
- TECH BRIEFING
- Some "Tech Websites" Are Not What You Think They Are
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- Redmond's Monthly Patch: Three Critical Security Problems
- Microsoft RTM's Virtual PC
- MS Ships SMS 2003
- World's Biggest Production Databases Now Include Windows
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Spam Categorization Breakdown October
- Double-Take De Facto Standard for Data Replication
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
- Secure Your AD with Directory Inspector For Just $495
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Free Software For Employees at Home?
W2Knews was the first to break the story about Panda giving away
its professional AV to IT Managers in the US. Now here's another
one. These days, Panda gives away free product to customers for
their employees at home. Yep, every employee gets a free consumer
antivirus... a one-for-one matching program that starts at just
50 seats. Not too bad, don't you think?
Seems that this is a common practice at the big AV companies -
but the small guys sure don't get to hear about it! Panda loves
to blow the whistle on this kind of thing and so they made it a
policy. Can they afford to do it? You bet. Take them up on the
The bigger question is, why don't the big AV shops extend
giveaways for their big customers to everyone? I'd like to know
what you think. So here's your new SunPoll:
Full Disclosure of Special Offers:
"Should business software vendors make their special unpublished
offers for large enterprises official for all corporate
Vote here, rightmost column:
- No, enterprise customers deserve special treatment
- Yes, every corporate customer deserves to be treated right
- It's really the business of the software vendors
- I'm unaffected by special offers
The results from last week's SunPoll were interesting too:
Do You Archive Your Email?
Last week we redirected 3 XML feeds and some of you are using the
redirects in your RSS Readers (instead of the real feed). These
redirects will be disabled early next week, and will not redirect
XML feeds in the future. The real feed addresses are here:
- Nope, not at all: 30.68% - 197 votes
- We keep it 0-6 months - 14.48% - 93 votes
- We keep it 6 months to a year - 9.65% - 62 votes
- We keep it 1-5 years - 20.71% - 133 votes
- We keep our email 5 years or longer - 24.45% - 157 votes
Microsoft Watch from Mary Jo Foley:
ENT Magazine RSS News Feed:
Your very own W2Knews:
Quote Of The Day:
"I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it."
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
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Some "Tech Websites" Are Not What You Think They Are
I was surprised to learn that a few websites that position
themselves as independent resource & review sites, are really a
hidden marketing vehicle for one of the players in our tools
First of all, let me start with a full disclosure. We try to
make sure everyone knows that W2Knews is published by Sunbelt
Software as a service to the NT/2000 system admin community.
We write about the market, events and the tools we sell. We
are open about it. Sunbelt also publishes WinXPNews, which
is for consumers running WinXP. The ads in there often are
"house ads" that refer people back to the Sunbelt OnLine Shop.
Sunbelt has always been above board with its marketing. So far
Now, how about some other sites? Are they as overt about their
marketing? Some apparently are not. I got a bit suspicious, as I
tried to place an ad for iHateSpam Server in the msexchange.org
site. Our emails were never answered, but the products of a
competitor of iHateSpam Server were prominently and consistently
Then I started to do some research on this site, simply by
googling it. Turns out it is run by a gentleman by the name of
Stephen Chetcuti out of Malta. Now, Malta is not your 'next door'
and logical location for a site or a site operator like that,
(the island of Malta is south of Italy):
Moreover, he seems to be very active and runs several sites, that
link back to each other often. Here they are:
www.ISAserver.org - Positioned as:
"The #1 unofficial ISA Server resource site"
www.msexchange.org - their banner states:
MSExchange.org is in no way affiliated with Microsoft Corp.
www.serverfiles.com - Presents itself as a Server software
directory for Network administrators & IT professionals, and
rates products by "votes". Products of one specific vendor are
very often #1.
www.windowsecurity.com - I quote: "WindowSecurity.com provides
Windows security news, articles, tutorials, software listings
and reviews for information security professionals covering
topics such as firewalls, viruses, intrusion detection and
other security topics". The site features individual authors,
but does not make any statements about affiliations.
Turns out all these sites are run by the same organization called
'isoftmarketing' that hosts its sites at Rackspace in San Antonio
in Texas: I found them here: http://www.isoftmarketing.com and who
is behind all these sites? The same Stephen Chetcuti. Google
shows this definitively, put his name in the search box and click
through a few pages.
Now, all these sites somehow magically have products from one
company advertised, featured, and often voted on as being the
leader in their category. The company? Sunbelt's competitor GFI
Software who has their European headquarters in... you may have
guessed it by now: Malta. And guess who is on the payroll of GFI
Software? The very same Stephen Chetcuti, also from Malta. You
can see over here (end of the page) that he also contributes to
sites with his GFI credentials:
Then we started looking a bit more in detail, and found this
A quick search on the author of that article Alex Zammit shows
that he's a GFI employee (search Google groups). So a GFI
employee posting articles on that site, but without mentioning
where they work...
A bit of surfing on these above sites will show you what I mean.
None of these sites have any disclosure of the fact the site owner
works for GFI, they just claim that they are sponsored by the
advertisers. This may be true, but the content on these sites
needs to be filtered with this new knowledge in mind. So,
whenever you are on the Net, and browse a site, keep in mind the
old expression "consider the source". Buyer Beware!
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
Redmond's Monthly Patch: Three Critical Security Problems
MS released patches for three security problems called "critical
and a fourth labeled "important". This is their second monthly
summary of security bulletins. Get your patching gear out again!
Microsoft RTM's Virtual PC
You may remember MS acquired the Connectix assets. Redmond is
now close to "Release To Manufacturing (RTM)" the fruits of this
purchase. They will ship Microsoft Virtual PC 2004, which was
formerly known as Connectix Virtual PC. It's a direct competitor
With the desktop software, you can run multiple versions of
Windows on the same machine, as well as Mac and Linux on virtual
machines. For a system admin, running multiple OS-en on virtual
machines on the same PC is ideal. If you want to test out and
ensure the quality of apps before you upgrade, or need to support
several versions of software on different OS environments, this
type of software is a godsend. More over, it helps a lot if you
plan server consolidations and have sufficient hardware capacity
to run several virtual servers on the same 4-way or 8-way machine.
The server equivalent of the product, which at the moment is
called Microsoft Virtual Server, was originally expected to ship
by the end of 2003 but will probably be released in Q1, 2004.
MS Ships SMS 2003
It's finally happening. MS began shipping its Systems Management
Server 2003 software this week. It is their first step in a long
term strategy to make Windows self-managing. (Redmond recently
launched its "Dynamic Systems Initiative", which is geared to
make Windows software more self-managing / self-healing). Some of
the new stuff in the 2003 version are enhanced management
capabilities for patches, application deployment and server
Microsoft also announced their SMS 2003 SDK (software-development
kit). Third-party software makers can use the SDK to tie their
products into SMS. The obvious goal is to create more Windows
applications that SMS will be able to manage and also deploy.
Redmond also announced third party companies that specialize in
integrating SMS with their own products. Some examples are
Vintela, that does Linux and Unix management software, and 1E, a
U.K. developer security patch-management utilities.
SMS 2003 is priced at $1,219 for a server and 10 client access
licenses (CALs). It costs $1,909 with 25 CALs. Additional CALs
sell for $279 in packs of five, or $1,089 in packs of 20. Keep in
mind you want a dedicated SMS server for this, if your
environment is a bit bigger. Play around with SMS 2003 after
downloading it here:
World's Biggest Production Databases Now Include Windows
ENTMag reported that Windows servers and SQL Server 2000 now
power some of the world's biggest production databases, according
to an annual survey from data management analysts at Winter Corp.
For instance, Verizon Communications (Telecom) is running a 5.3-
terabyte SQL Server database that is the sixth largest database
found in Winter's survey. Read more over at ENTMag's site:
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Spam Categorization Breakdown October
And what is the monthly spam categorization breakdown over
October? Here is the graph. It's an ever-changing ugly picture,
and it seems to come in waves. Now it's ads for medications that
seem to be the major money making scheme. It's getting quite
annoying to have ads for strong addictive painkillers in your
inbox all the time. The breakdown pie chart is here:
And FYI, iHateSpam Server is going great guns, dozens of new
licenses are installed every week, and the amount of mailboxes
protected by iHateSpam server already runs in the hundreds of
thousands. More over, Sunbelt is developing hard to add features
you asked for and the new V1.5 which I expect before the end of
the year is going to kick butt: everything you wanted to have and
then some. Download current version here:
Double-Take De Facto Standard for Data Replication
The developer of Double-Take (NSI Software) continued its growth
trend with revenues up 118 percent year over year.
In the last quarter, 321 new customers embraced Double-Take as
the de facto standard for data replication including Grant
Thornton, O'Melveny & Myers, First Banks Inc. and Naval War
College. Sales to The Bank of New York, Citigroup and E*TRADE
reinforce the company's strong foothold in the financial services
industry. NSI's financial customers include 10 of the top 11
securities companies as listed in the Fortune 500 rankings.
Customers rely on NSI's Double-Take and GeoCluster data
replication and failover software for tasks including disaster
recovery and centralized data backup to eliminate the risk of
leaving key applications and information unprotected.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, also a repeat customer in the
third quarter, is using Double-Take as part of a centralized
approach to disaster recovery and business continuity. "One vital
piece of our disaster recovery plan is the ability to
consistently provide point-in-time backups for the entire
enterprise. With real-time replication, we have consolidated all
our company backups to one physical site, facilitating the 'hot-site' approach to business recovery," said Andy Bomboy, technical
support specialist. "This concept is important because it allows
us to maintain our backup plan with a much greater degree of
"Data replication is the cornerstone to any comprehensive data
protection strategy. It mitigates the risk of not having access
to critical data that can affect the performance of a company's
business," said Bill North, research director at IDC. "NSI
provides affordable products and services that leverage their
customers' existing hardware investments to provide reliable data
protection." 30-day Evals here:
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
A very interesting article. Safe Solar Energy from ... the moon.
And if you are interested in an alternative boat ride, here's an
I WANT ONE!
The XBOX is going to change its CPU to a more powerful chippie.
Things to do on the Net when you're dead:
Miss Digital World is the first ever virtual beauty contest:
One of these classic "IT Project" illustrations, 15 years ago
they were black & white and photocopied.
Ever seen the Northern Light (Aurora) from SPACE:
This spreadsheet shows what network ports are used by the system
services utilized by the Microsoft Windows Server System
products. Quite useful:
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Secure Your AD with Directory Inspector For Just $495
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provides you with a suite of analyzers addressing topics such
as directory structure, security and integrity, standards and
policy compliance. Supports directories from IBM, Microsoft,
Netscape, Novell and generic LDAP-based directories. The
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