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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Oct 31, 2005 (Vol. 10, #44 - Issue #549)
The New Certifications Are Here!
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • Results of: "Tell Me, How Am I Doing?"
    • Big Brother Is REALLY Watching...
    • Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
    • Storage For 2 Bucks Per Gig!
    • E-mail Archiving: One Size Doesn't Fit All
    • Best Practices Checklist: Exchange DR Planning
    • Four Patch Management Myths
    • Skype Could Pose Security Problems For Companies
    • The New Certifications Are Here!
    • Microsoft Q1 Does Well, Profits Up On Windows Sales
    • Redmond Retires Exchange 5.5 by Year's End
    • NSI Software On Inc. 500 List For 2005
    • VMWare: New Free Player
  6. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • New CISSP Cert Exam Guide: All-in-One is All You Need
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Results of: "Tell Me, How Am I Doing?"

First of all, more than two thousand of you took the time to answer the survey, thanks very much. It was enlightening, and very helpful. Let me give you some of the highlights.

  • 22% of you have read it 1-2 years, 46% have read it 2-4 years and 24% have read it 4-6 years. Thanks for the loyalty!
  • 28% spent 1-5 minutes reading it, and a whopping 45% spends 5-10 minutes. Then, 26% spends 10 minutes or more.
  • Not entirely unexpected, the most popular sections are the Editors Corner and the Fave Links, but Tech Briefing and NT/2000 News are not far behind!
  • And now for a surprise. 53% wants to keep TEXT format, but 47% want HTML back. So you're going to get both!
  • And for a blog format, 9% said they'd like to see that. But 91% preferred to keep it in a weekly "magazine" format. So that's what we'll do, we'll stick to the current frequency.
  • I got some great feedback about the content of the different sections, and we'll improve this in the coming issues. We'll also tone the marketing hype down just a bit. [grin]
  • The biggest news is that a whole bundle of you said that "W2K" was getting dated. They associate it with something now being phased out. So we are going to change name. The name that a lot of you proposed was WinServerNews, and so we'll call it that! We already own the domain and we'll make the change in the next few weeks. Make sure that this does not get caught in your spam filters though.

You will get the option to get the new WinServerNews in TXT or in a brand new HTML version which will be a surprise. We will make all these changes soon and you'll hear more about it in coming issues. For now, thanks for all your excellent feedback.

Big Brother Is REALLY Watching...

A research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document. The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. You can see the dots on color prints from machines made by Xerox, Canon, and other manufacturers of the printers investigated so far. The dots are yellow, less than one millimeter in diameter, and are typically repeated over each page of a document. In order to see the pattern, you need a blue light, a magnifying glass, or a microscope (for instructions on how to see the dots, see):

Quotes of the Week:
"IT is like the CIA. Nobody knows our successes, but our failures are public knowledge" -- Shawn Schwegman, CIO, Overstock.com
"The only thing that ever interfered with my education was going to school." -- W2Knews subscriber Rick Burner
"The time is always right to do what is right". -- Martin Luther King Jr

Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])


Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without


Storage For 2 Bucks Per Gig!

News.com has a pretty good story! You can build your own multi-terabyte storage system. Here goes: "Enthusiasts learned to build their own PCs decades ago. Now you can assemble a storage system in your living room that could make the Pentagon jealous."

San Francisco-based Capricorn Technologies has crafted blueprints, available from the Internet Archive on an open source basis, which effectively lets people build multi-terabyte and multi-petabyte storage systems fairly inexpensively. The company also builds its own line of storage systems, called the PetaBox, and has landed deals with several universities and research departments with its low-budget approach." Here is the link:

E-mail Archiving: One Size Doesn't Fit All

The rules for e-mail archiving vary from one organization to the next. IT should start the ball rolling on rules for message archiving before it gets the legal department involved. At SearchWin2000.com.

Best Practices Checklist: Exchange DR Planning

Whether you are new to Exchange or a seasoned administrator, the prospect of designing an e-mail disaster recovery plan can be intimidating and overwhelming. The latest checklist by Exchange guru Richard Luckett offers nine tried-and-true practices for creating an Exchange disaster recovery plan at SearchExchange:

Four Patch Management Myths

Well-known Windows security author Orin Thomas dispels four common myths surrounding patch management. Myth #1: You should always wait a month before applying a new patch. For three more, read the article at the SearchWindowsSecurity site:

Skype Could Pose Security Problems For Companies

ComputerWorld reported that the growing popularity of Skype free Internet telephony software could soon pose the same kind of security challenges for companies that other peer-to-peer (P2P) software technologies have created in recent years, according to security experts. The warning comes after the disclosure this week of two critical flaws in Skype's software, one of which could allow malicious hackers to take complete control of compromised systems.

One of the flaws is a buffer overflow error in Skype's user client for Windows that could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code on compromised systems, according to a statement from the company. The other vulnerability is a heap overflow flaw in a networking routine affecting Skype clients for all platforms. That flaw could crash the client software. More at:


The New Certifications Are Here!

This week, Redmond announced their new three-tiered certifications for IT pros and developers. They claimed they are more focused on real jobs in real organizations, more than the MCSE cert, which is technology-focused.

The "big" MCSE will be split up in smaller parts, so that one can look deeper into a specific technology required for a more dedicated job role. New are the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, the Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Professional Developer and the Microsoft Certified Architect.

The 'Professional' certs indicate a higher level of expertise; compare it to a Masters Degree. To get the Architect cert, you need apart from the IT knowledge, also in depth insight into issues that are more general business-related.

There will be modules for Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, Windows Vista, Office 12 and BizTalk Server 2006. A trainer called the new program an improvement compared to the old scene, as these modules were a bit too generic. In the future, people will better understand what for instance a certified Web developer really can do, as opposed to the current MCSE, which encompasses a bit too much. MCSE does continue its life though. In the coming 6 months a lot of new material will be developed that you can use to orient yourself on the new certs. More at MS PressPass:

Microsoft Q1 Does Well, Profits Up On Windows Sales

Microsoft posted an increase in their Q1 on robust sales of its Windows software but offered a forecast of revenue for the current quarter that was below the Street's expectations.

Microsoft earned $3.14 billion, or 29 cents a share, up a comfortable 24% in the September quarter, on revenues up 6% to $9.74 billion.

Excluding the legal settlement with RealNetworks (which snipped two cents off earnings), Redmond said it earned 31 cents per share in the first fiscal quarter. Revenue rose to $9.74 billion from $9.19 billion a year earlier.

They also said they would accelerate their stock repurchase plan, planning to complete the remaining $19 billion buyback no later than December 2006.

Expectations for 2005 are $1.26-$1.30 per share on revenues of about 44 billion, with an operating income of roughly 18 billion. Microsoft bases its assumptions on PCs being up 9%-11% and servers up 11%-13%.

Redmond's Server and Tools unit posted very healthy double-digit revenues of 13% year-over-year to $2.53 billion, which they said was due to SQL Server, up 15%, Exchange and Windows Server. And another management shuffle has Bob Muglia running Server and Tools, reporting to Jim Allchin, until he retires next year.

Redmond Retires Exchange 5.5 by Year's End

Yup, it's finally happening. They are retiring V5.5--along with support for the product--at the end of this year. And they want you to upgrade to E2003.

According to Redmond, the number of E5.5 users dropped by roughly 40% over the past 12 months, which shows that customers have been upgrading, knowing about V5.5's phase-out.

They also reminded customers that E2000 will be moved out of their mainstream tech support and into extended support, end of this year. Once it does, you have to pay for support and non-security-related hotfixes. Ouch. They are serious about it.

They plan to release the next version of Exchange (code-named Exchange 12) to manufacturing late in 2006 or early in 2007.


NSI Software On Inc. 500 List For 2005

Inc. Magazine, the premier publication for small/medium businesses, released its annual Inc. 500 ranking of the fastest-growing private businesses in the country. NSI Software, the developer of Double- Take made the list ranking #464.

The Inc. 500 ranks privately held companies according to sales growth over the past five years. NSI's growth is a direct result of major sales from their award-winning software, Double-Take.

Double-Take is the solution of choice for thousands of customers, from SMEs to the Fortune 500 in a range of information intensive industries, including Financial Services, Legal Services, Government and Healthcare. From remote availability to centralized backup to disaster recovery, Double-Takes protects your business critical data.

VMWare: New Free Player

I saw something earlier about VMware coming out with a new free player. I didn't pay it much attention - didn't quite know what it was and didn't have time to check it out. Then I read ToaSecurity's mention of it and realized...this is a VMware that anyone can use. If you do ANY spyware research, beta testing, playing with software, you need this. We run Vmware ourselves but it's usually too pricey for the average user. So now is your chance - get the free VMware Player. And hats off to VMware for doing this wonderful service. (Tip 'o the hat to Alex)


This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff


New CISSP Cert Exam Guide: All-in-One is All You Need

Now you can prepare for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam with help from this in-depth reference. This comprehensive resource fully covers all exam objectives--as developed by the International Information Systems Security Cert Consortium --and offers essential information on IT security. Each chapter contains practice questions, sidebars with technical discussions, real-world examples, and test-taking tips, making this book a premier study tool. You'll also get valuable information on current trends in security, disaster recovery, and the benefits of obtaining this highly-coveted and advanced security certification. Get complete details on all ten subject areas covered on the exam:

  • Access control systems and methodology
  • Applications and systems development
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning
  • Cryptography
  • Law, investigation, and ethics
  • Operations security
  • Physical security
  • Security architecture and models
  • Security management practices
  • Telecommunications and network security
I just received it a few days ago, and have not had time to look into it in depth, but the first impression is pretty good. I took the blurb from the back cover, as that pretty well describes it!