Vol. 20, #15 - April 13, 2015 - Issue #1025
Eyestrain solutions for IT pros
- Editor's Corner
- Short personal note
- Special offer for Organizations up to 100 users - UPDATED
- From the Mailbag
- Eyestrain solutions for IT pros
- Microsoft unveils containers
- Australia passes data retention into law
- Microsoft is 40 and fabulous
- Send us your feedback
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- This Week's Tips
- Getting help with Windows Sysinternals utilities
- New version of RDCMan - Version 2.7
- Passphrases That You Can Memorize - But That Even the NSA Can't Guess
- Events Calendar
- Webcast Calendar
- MSExchange.org Webinar: Virtualizing Exchange Server without Losing Control
- MSExchange.org Webinar: Exchange and Office 365 Archiving and eDiscovery in the Cloud
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Enterprise IT
- Security and Privacy
- System Center
- Windows PowerShell
- Windows Server
- Recommended TechGenix Articles
- Recommended articles from websites in TechGenix Network
- Windows Server News
- Public cloud numbers stable, while private cloud stalls
- Trends changing virtual infrastructure design
- Is VMware's Workspace Portal right for you?
- Windows 10 features include a modernized Command Prompt
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Parallel Parking Solved In 1927
- What Happens At Night In The Woods?
- Audi Autonomous Office Chair
- Funny Cat Compilation
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Auditor suite to ensure security and compliance of IT network
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about mitigating eyestrain, a common problem experienced by IT pros and other professionals who spend numerous hours each day looking at monitors, tablets and smartphones. Your Editor will share a solution he's found that has helped save his eyes from further deterioration and may help save your own eyes as well. We also have the usual news, tips, tools and other stuff in this issue so be sure to read it all!
But our eyes aren't the only thing that gets strained in our profession. Unfortunately we IT pros sometimes have to meet with sales people, and as Wally demonstrates in this Dilbert comic, such meetings can often strain a different part of our body:
Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]
Short personal note
I just found out that I've been re-awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status for the eleventh year in a row so I guess some self-congratulations are in order--time to eat some cake!
Special offer for Organizations up to 100 users - UPDATED
Last week we included an offer from Netwrix fororganizations of up to 100 users. Unfortunately, we posted the wrong link! So here it is again, corrected.
Netwrix Corporation recently announced that Netwrix Auditor for Active Directory is available to small businesses with no more than 100 user accounts absolutely for free during April 2015. This solution helps to detect security incidents and prevent data breaches, enables continuous compliance and optimizes operations by providing complete visibility into all Active Directory and Group Policy changes.
To download Newtrix Auditor for Active Directory for free and find out more about the solution, please follow the link: http://www.wservernews.com/go/1429012737609
From the Mailbag
In the Mailbag section of the previous Issue #1024 Inside a Microsoft datacenter, several readers recommended MalwareBytes as part of their defense-in-depth strategy. Based on their recommendations a reader named Simon tried it and had this to say about it:
As a longstanding reader not employed in IT I enjoy the weekly email and sometimes investigate your/readers' recommendations. So I tried Malwarebytes. Download and installed no problem and did a full scan with no issues (nothing detected). But since installation neither Chrome nor IE worked other than to allow Google searches (not Bing). After some head scratching, router resetting, Chrome tweaking, etc found only way to fix it was to uninstall Malwarebytes. Don't know if any other readers had similar issues or whether this was a clash with AVG 2015 free or that I needed to tweak settings in Malwarebytes but it caused a half hour of panic that a proper IT pro would have investigated properly and resolved (rather than the simple uninstall approach). Keep up the good work.
And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter...
Eyestrain solutions for IT pros
Before I start let me begin by stating the following disclaimer: I am not trying to provide medical advice in this article but simply expressing my own personal opinions and experience. So please take everything I say here "as is" with no warranties or guarantees.
Having authored or been series editor for more than fifty books and having also written hundreds and hundreds of articles for IT pros over the last 20 years, my eyes have suffered as a result. For example, until recently I've had to turn the brightness of my widescreen monitor way down to the lowest brightness setting available, otherwise my eyes get sore and tired pretty quickly. My eyestrain was compounded considerably when I began using a tablet two years ago, and I almost never use my smartphone as my eyes tend to go out of focus from trying to read stuff on its tiny screen. I went to see an eye specialist and she ran a bunch of tests and said, "You've got eyestrain--try not to use your computer too much." Gee, thanks a lot.
I was beginning to get annoyed by my limitation, so a few months ago I began looking for a solution. One of the things I quickly stumbled upon was that my problem might be caused by too much blue light coming from the digital screens I constantly look at:
So I decided to see whether blocking out the blue light from my monitor and other screens could help relieve the eyestrain I've been experiencing. A little research let me to Uvex, a brand of safety glasses produced by Honeywell:
I then found this brochure (PDF, 2.3 MB) describing the different types of Uvex lenses and what they are used for:
From this bruchure I decided that the type of lens I needed was called Uvex SCT-Orange. This tint is designed for people like dentists who work with UV lamps for curing materials, and it absorbs greater than 99.9% of UVA and UVB radiation. Take a look if you're interested at the spectral transmission graph for SCT-Orange on page 13 of the brochure which shows transmission quickly dropping to zero at around 550 nanometer wavelength.
So I went onto Amazon and ordered this product which is shown in Figure 1 below:
Figure 1: Uvex S0360X Ultra-spec 2000 Safety Eyewear, Orange Frame, SCT-Orange UV Extreme Anti-Fog Lens
The reason I purchased wraparound goggles like this is because I wear extended focal length prescription reading glasses when I work on a computer so I needed blueblocking lenses that I could wear over top my reading glasses. To my delight, my eyes immediately felt much more relaxed when I wore these goggles, but unfortunately they fit too tight on the sides of my head making them uncomfortable for wearing them for long periods of time, and they also fit poorly over my prescription glasses.
So my next attempt at a solution was to try and track down a supplier that produced blueblocking tinted plastic in large sheet form which I could use to cover the surface of my monitors. This turned out to be more challenging than I expected, but eventually I stumbled across Amber Plexiglas 2422, a product by a company named ePlastics:
This amber-tinted plastic looked like it might block UV light but the specs on the website weren't clear concerning this, so I did some more searching around and came across this blog post on PlasticGenius that shows the transmission graph for the Amber Plexiglas 2422 product:
So I contacted ePlastics and ordered a sheet large enough to cover the widescreen monitor I use for most of my writing work. The company pre-cut the plastic for me according to the measurements I sent them, and they also sent me the remnants so I could use them as well. Figure 2 below shows a sheet of Plexiglas 2422 partially on top of the cover of one of my books, and you can see that the blue cover of the book appears almost black when viewed through the plastic.
Figure 2: 0.125" x 24" x 48" Amber Plexiglas 2422 Acrylic Sheet Paper Masked from ePlastics.com
I attached the plastic sheet to the top of my monitor using an advanced adhesive material (duct tape) and positioned my two Logitech speakers under the side edges of the plastic to tilt it slightly away from vertical (about 70 degrees) to minimize the reflections I was seeing from the window behind my desk. Once I had done this I discovered that my monitor, with its brightness turned down all the way, was too dark to view properly. So I changed the monitor from Custom to Standard setting. In the past the Standard monitor setting was far too bright for me to look at for more than a few seconds, but with the blueblocking plastic over it I found I could now use the Standard setting for hours without any feeling of eyestrain--problem solved!
Well, almost. I didn't want to have to tape amber plastic over my tablet or smartphone, so I went back to Amazon and found one more product to order:
These goggles, which are shown in Figure 3, are ones that I've found to be far more comfortable than the wraparound ones shown earlier in Figure 1. The limitation of course is that they don't fit over prescription glasses, but I only need my prescription glasses when I'm working on a computer. I don't need glasses when I use a table or smartphone as the accommodation of my eyes is still good i.e. I can still focus clearly on objects that are about 30 cm (1 foot) away from my eyes.
Figure 3: Uvex S1933X Skyper Safety Eyewear, Black Frame, SCT-Orange UV Extreme Anti-Fog Lens
I've also found the glasses shown in Figure 3 to be useful to wear when I'm sitting outside as the make the world brighter yet reduce feelings of eyestrain. There's also some evidence that wearing glasses like these before bedtime can lead to better sleep:
So basically, I think I've solved my eyestrain problem so I can go on writing books and churning out articles (and this newsletter) until some other part of my body fails (lol). There are a few caveats though. First, if you use my solution you'll discover of course that the colors appear wonky on your monitor. For example, you can't use yellow highlighting in Word documents as the highlighting won't be visible. And obviously you won't be able to do any graphic artwork or photo processing, which is why I suggest you only attach the sheet plastic to the top of your monitor so you can lift the bottom and flip it backwards if you need to do any work that requires color accuracy.
Second and most important, don't wear blueblocking glasses or goggles while driving a vehicle as it can change the colors of traffic lights and signs, especially at night, which can result in an accident.
And remember, I am not trying to provide medical advice here but merely expressing my personal opinion and sharing my own experience using these products. So everything I've said here is presented to you "as is" with no warranties or guarantees. And feel free to send me your comments concerning any of this to [email protected]
P.S. Based on this recent report from TreeHugger, I wonder if the reason I' m nearsighted is because I spent too much of my childhood reading astronomy books and playing chess instead of playing football outside in the sun:
As they say however, correlation does not equal causation...
Microsoft unveils containers
The Microsoft Azure blog has some announcements about a new technology called Hyper-V containers that provide a third deployment option besides using Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V virtual machines, and also about a new minimal footprint version of Windows Server called Nano Server which is optimized for cloud usage. You can read all about it here:
Australia passes data retention into law
Our understanding of this new law is that metadata of all Australian citizens will be freely available to law enforcement agencies with the exception of metadata of journalists. Here's more from iTnews:
It would be interesting to hear what our newsletter readers in Australia have to say on this matter. Email us at [email protected]
Microsoft is 40 and fabulous
Well, at least ABC News thinks so:
Microsoft releases MS-DOS Mobile
More nostalgia, this time from WinBeta, but this one is a lot of fun if you have a Windows Phone:
Here's the link to the app in the Microsoft Store:
One neat thing about this is that when you try running the command cd a:\ the phone vibrates like the floppy drive used to do in a PC when there was no floppy disk in it :-)
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this newsletter? Let us know at [email protected]
Recommended for Learning
From the Microsoft Press Blog:
Get a free eBook by passing a qualifying MCP exam by June 30
Take and pass a qualifying MCP exam between March 24, 2015 and June 30, 2015 and earn a free Microsoft eBook! If you pass an exam, expect an email within 3 weeks containing an eBook rewards code. Only one eBook will be given regardless of the number of exams taken and while supplies last. For more details on this offer, check out the Born to Learn blog post here. For more details on this offer, check out the Born to Learn blog post here:
Microsoft Virtual Academy
One announcement this week from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
April 23: Microsoft Intune Core Skills Jump Start
A lost device shouldn't also mean lost data. Learn to implement a mobile device management (MDM) strategy and empower data control, with Microsoft Intune. Get the details on April 23, from Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson, Microsoft Technical Evangelist Simon May, and Microsoft engineers! Register here:
Quote of the Week
"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." --Princess Leia
Until next week,
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Getting help with Windows Sysinternals utilities
Windows Sysinternals are the go-to utilities for IT pros needing to troubleshoot issues involving Windows and Windows Server operating systems and applications. If you're not familiar with these tools, go here right now and learn more about them:
Even if you've used some of these utilities you may not be aware that there is a special forum devoted solely to answering questions concerning their use, so the next time you try using a tool like Psexec and get stuck trying to figure out why it doesn't work as expected, try posting the details of your question to the following forum:
New version of RDCMan - Version 2.7
This isn't really new news but some of our readers might not be aware of it. Joseph Lundback has a great post in his blog that demonstrates the new Smart Group feature included in version 2.7 of Remote Desktop Connection Manager, which is Microsoft's free utility for manages multiple remote desktop connections:
You can download version 2.7 of RDCMan from the Microsoft Download Center here:
Passphrases That You Can Memorize - But That Even the NSA Can't Guess
How can you come up with a passphrase that's easy to remember but basically uncrackable? This article from The Intercept shows you how:[email protected]
AmericasMicrosoft Build on April 29 - May 1 in San Francisco, California USA
Microsoft Ignite on May 4-8, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois USA
Microsoft TechDays 2015 on May 28-29 in the Hague, Netherlands
Add Your Event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
MSExchange.org Webinar: Virtualizing Exchange Server Without Losing Control
Virtualization offers significant benefits, including improving availability, lowering costs, and increasing IT productivity. But IT Managers and Administrators must be confident they will still have the required functionality, security, and control before making the move to virtualize this critical piece of IT infrastructure.
Join experts Steve Goodman, Microsoft MVP and Jason Acord, Veeam Inside Systems Engineer, Manager for an informational webinar on Thursday April 16th at 1PM EDT, 12N CDT, 10AM PDT, 6PM GMT that will outline the key benefits of virtualizing your Exchange environment, identify best practices and pitfalls to avoid, as well as show you some free tools for agentless eDiscovery, Backup and Recovery.
Learn how you can successfully virtualize and protect your Exchange platform while maintaining the necessary levels of control and functionality. In this live interactive webinar,you’ll also discover:
- Best Practices and Tips for Virtualizing Exchange today
- Key Requirements so your Virtualization Doesn't Go Wrong
- Free Tools for Agentless Backups, eDiscovery and Granular Recovery
- Strategies to Minimize Downtime & Data Loss
And you’ll have the opportunity to ask our expert presenters top virtualization questions!
MSExchange.org Webinar: Exchange and Office 365 Archiving & eDiscovery in the Cloud
According to IDC, email archiving makes up 66% of the archiving market, and many organizations are currently benefiting from a third-party solution with MS Exchange. But as organizations consider upgrading MS Exchange and moving to hybrid environments or Office 365, they have an opportunity to take advantage of the promise of centralized cloud archiving to enhance eDiscovery capabilities, add newer data types like social media, and lower overall archiving risks and costs.
Join Eric Young, VP of Enterprise Information Archiving for Actiance, for a 30-minute educational overview of archiving in a cloud environment and the challenges most organizations face when using the built-in or legacy archive, and a demonstration of the Alcatraz cloud archive. This live webinar takes place on Thursday, April 22, 2015, at 1PM EDT, 12N CDT, 10AM PDT, 6PM GMT and will answer questions like:
- Why should archiving go beyond simply capturing and storing email?
- What are the key legal and compliance risks with weak or non-existent eDiscovery or social media solutions?
- What challenges can you expect with legacy or built-in archiving as you update your messaging platform?
- What are the advantages of cloud-based archiving with MS Exchange Enterprise, Hybrid, and Office 365 environments?
- How can a centralized archive lower compliance risks and eDiscovery costs?
- What should you look for in your next archiving solution and what does Alcatraz do?
You will also have the chance to ask your top MS Exchange and Office 365 archiving questions.
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Windows 10 features include a modernized Command Prompt
Windows 10 is finally making some long-overdue modifications to the Command Prompt window, a long neglected part of its OS. Check out the new Windows 10 Command Prompt and discover some of its most welcome improvements and capabilities for yourself.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Parallel Parking Solved In 1927
They solved parallel parking in 1927 - and we totally forgot about it!
What Happens At Night In The Woods?
Many people are afraid to walk in the woods at night for fear of danger. As you can see, it is not so bad:
Audi Autonomous Office Chair
Love Audi cars but can't afford one? The German automaker today unveiled its 'Audi Autonomous Office Chair.'
Funny Cat Compilation
This is why we love cats so much. They are so adorable!
WServerNews - Editors
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 7 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 www.mtit.com.
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.