Vol. 22, #6 - February 6, 2017 - Issue #1117
Fashion over function
- Editor's Corner
- Ask Our Readers - Accessing clipboard history
- Fashion over function
- Send us your feedback
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Factoid of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- This Week's Tips
- Windows - Resetting admin password (revisited)
- Windows Server - Planning RDS
- SQL Server - Using the Query Store
- Events Calendar
- North America
- Add Your Event
- New on TechGenix.com
- Recommended articles from TechGenix.com
- Tech Briefing
- Enterprise IT
- Office 365
- Other Articles of Interest
- The what, why and how of the TOSCA cloud standard
- Familiarize yourself with Microsoft SCVMM features and uses
- Discover the top sources of shadow IT risk for VDI shops
- VMware makes welcome changes in vSphere 6.5
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Two Tourists Filming An Avalanche That Stops Right In Front Of Them
- 'What Is This?' 2 Minute Short Film
- People Are Awesome - Best Of January 2017
- "I've Got Faith" - Canine Freestyle
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Experience what WS2016 and ReFS provide for your backup repository
- Experience what WS2016 and ReFS provide for your backup repository
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about the recent trend in web and software development to focus on style over usability, or as clothing designers and architects say, fashion over function. I'll share a couple of examples from Windows 10 and Windows Server to illustrate my thoughts on this subject. And of course we have tips, tools, and other stuff both educational and entertaining so you can kick off your week on a high point.
Speaking of kicking something, guess how Dogbert replied when Dilbert told him he was thinking of getting a tattoo:
Ask Our Readers - Accessing clipboard history
A reader named Wayne asked us to ask our readers this question:
Has anyone got any decent suggestions for a basic widget or application that allows access to clipboard history? I find that many times I am editing databases with the same information and use ctrl-c/ctrl-v a lot, but I would like to be able to save information on the clipboard so that I can re-use it. I have tried Ditto but found it a little awkward in use.
If any readers can recommend something to Wayne, please email us at email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter…
Fashion over function
Let me start off with a real life example. The other day Ingrid felt her mouth was dry so she took a new pack of gum out of her purse:
Let's now carry this principle of fashion over function into the software world with some examples…
I hate it when web designers think that using a light grey font for their website looks cooler/trendier than a plain old clearly readable black font. Does using a light grey font in this TechCrunch article make the contents of the article seem more trendy?
For contrast check out the Guardian Egyptian font (similar to plain old Times New Roman) used in in the text of this Engadget article:
Guess which tech news site I'm going to enjoy reading more often…
When Server Manager was updated with snazzy new "tiles and an "anti-MMC" look in Windows Server 2012, I thought it was pretty cool at first:
I realized however that it would *remain* cool only if Microsoft eventually went all the way and migrated *all* of their existing MMC snap-ins for server administration into the new Server Manager UI.
But then after trying to use the new Server Manager for a while, I changed my mind and thought, OK so the old MMC console approach let to "property sheet hell" but really what's so hellish about clicking through a bunch of property sheets? Why is this new Server Manager better than the old Windows Server 2008 one? Or why is it better than creating a new MMC console and adding all the snap-ins you need into it? Sure, it *looks* nicer, but how is it more usable? Do I really want to scroll down to find the tile for a role when I want to view events relating to that role or collect performance data on it?
Windows 10 includes a new Settings page (or panel or frame or whatever you call this type of UI feature in Windows 10) that's supposed to supersede the ugly old-fashioned Control Panel in previous versions of Windows (but which is still around for now in Windows 10). But how is a Settings page better than a Control Panel utility, or even a Properties sheet? When I want to configure something in the Internet Explorer browser, I select Internet Options from the menu bar to open a familiar Properties sheet with various tabs, and no scrolling is needed. But when I want to configure something in the new Microsoft Edge browser, I have to click a "V" icon, then click Settings, and then scroll to find the setting I want to change:
Another great triumph of fashion over function. OK maybe it's easier this way on a touchscreen (tablet) than the old Properties sheet way, but I don't work with Windows 10 on a touchscreen, I use a laptop with a trackpad--and it sucks trying to configure Edge settings (or at least the few that are currently available for the lame new browser) on this kind of system.
App load times
As a final example of the perils of emphasizing fashion over function, take a look at the following VentureBeat article from about a year ago:
Fashion over function: Why app developers are losing users to slow load times
Do you think things have improved since then?
What about you?
What examples have you observed in operating systems and applications where style seems to have trumped usability and/or manageability? Do you feel this is a significant trend that needs to be addressed or reversed with software vendors? Share your thoughts and observations by emailing us at email@example.com and we'll include a selection of reader comments in an upcoming issue of WServerNews.
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended for Learning
Introducing Microsoft StaffHub for deskless workers
In this YouTube video Microsoft StaffHub Engineer Rich Halbert demonstrates the new StaffHub App for deskless workers. From how workers can gain access to their work schedule, communicate with others in their team and review important information; to how managers can easily create and manage schedules and share relevant information with their team, all the while ensuring IT manageability and control.
Microsoft Virtual Academy
SQL Database Fundamentals
Would you like to learn the basics of relational databases? Join us for this look at SQL Database fundamentals, along with those of database management systems and database components. Get an in-depth introduction to the terminology, concepts, and skills you need to understand database objects, administration, security, and management tools. Plus, explore T-SQL scripts, database queries, and data types. Start with a look at creating tables, inserting data, and querying data in tables. Then, learn about data manipulation, optimize database performance, and work with non-relational data. Get practical help on basic database administration, including installation and configuration, backup and restore, security, monitoring, and maintenance. Take this SQL Database tutorial to prepare for additional online courses for database administrators (DBAs), developers, data scientists, and big data specialists. Check it out!
Factoid of the Week
The biggest threat to the UK's critical infrastructure is the squirrel as described in this BBC News article:
Will the next front of technological warfare involve training squirrels for infiltration and combat missions? More importantly, what kind of countermeasures can we possibly deploy to safeguard our own nation's critical infrastructure from targeted attacks by elite units of highly-trained squirrels?
They will be AI robots that look like squirrels, but their movements will not be "jerky" enough. They will be too smooth. The best deterrent to smooth is tequila. Nobody is smooth after a couple shots. Placement of the tequila traps will be critical, as the lab techs may find them first.
George from Florida says:
David, an IT Manager in Indiana, USA says:
I had never truly considered the humble "tree rat" to be a threat to my cyber security. The last time I was viciously attacked was while eating breakfast in 1973, when a bright flash of light and a near deafening "boom" resulted in no electricity to my parents' house. I must admit that, with the media not being informed about terrorism at the time, there was no way for a teenager to know that he was a "victim" of a most despicable form of terrorism, that of the "suicide short circuit-er". Unfortunately, with the current (pun intended) war on guns, most teenagers are not adequately equipped with the BB guns necessary to fight this menace.
God! I miss the old days when all I had to worry about was whether my wind up watch was correct!
Wayne from somewhere in Australia says:
Maybe in the UK it is squirrels, but in Australia it can range from ants up to snakes. There have been a number of instances where data cables have been attacked by ants because of the insulation and caused major outages, and many linesmen are particularly cautions when going into underground pits because of the risk of disturbing snakes. As you know everything in Australia is out to kill you :)
BTW I would have thought that the backhoe operator who runs around the countryside digging up cables would be much more of a problem ;) We had one dig up the main CBD fibre in Perth and we were off the air for 3 days.
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at email@example.com
Introducing NEW Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows – backup and recovery for physical and cloud-based servers and workstations, as well as for endpoint devices that belong to remote users.
PHP Vulnerability Hunter is an whitebox fuzz testing tool capable of detected several classes of vulnerabilities in PHP web applications:
Dns Lock is a tiny free tool which prevents malware from modifying your IPv4 DNS server addresses:
ETViewer is an easy to use ETW / WPP trace viewer:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Windows - Resetting admin password (revisited)
One of our tips last week was sent to us by Ted Giesler of Cypress Consulting Group, Ltd who described a tool he has been using for years whenever he needed to reset the local admin password on a Windows computer. Wayne from Australia sent us some additional thoughts on this subject as follows:
I recently had to talk a user through downloading and burning a copy of Hiren's boot CD which has the offline password utility built in. This is a great resource if you have physical access to the machine where the local administrator password is unknown. This can also be built on a bootable USB as well.
The only proviso is that if you have encrypted files on your machine tied to that account, then resetting the password will make these files inaccessible. In most cases this is not a problem.
If any readers have additional suggestions on this topic, send them to us at email@example.com
Windows Server - Planning RDS
Shannon Green has a helpful tip on TechNet's Tip of the Day site that summarizes some resources you can use for designing and planning a highly scalable Remote Desktop deployment:
SQL Server - Using the Query Store
Liliam Cristman has posted an article on understanding and using the SQL Server Query Store feature to simplify performance troubleshooting by helping you quickly find performance differences caused by query plan changes:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Microsoft Ignite Australia on February 14-17, 2017 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, QLD
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13. 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Add Your Event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact email@example.com
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Upgrading System Center VMM from 2012 R2 to 2016
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Importance of Service Records (SRV) in an Active Directory Environment (WindowsNetworking.com)
Active Directory Insights (Part 15) - Investigating locked out accounts (WindowsNetworking.com)
Multi-Factor Authentication in Exchange and Office 365 (You Had Me At EHLO)
Deep Dive Into Office 365 PowerShell Cmdlets (Part 7) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
PSScriptAnalyzer deep dive – Part 1 of 4 (Hey, Scripting Guy!)
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5 Noteworthy Data Privacy Trends From 2015 (Iron Mountain)
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Running SharePoint Service Applications in Read Only Mode for Disaster Recovery Farms (Build on SharePoint)
SharePoint 2013 Search: Even Better Best Bets with Exact Matching (Eric Dixon's Search Blog)
The what, why and how of the TOSCA cloud standard
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Familiarize yourself with Microsoft SCVMM features and uses
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Discover the top sources of shadow IT risk for VDI shops
Although the term "shadow IT" has only gained popularity in recent years, it has been an ongoing but evolving problem for IT admins for decades. And even though VDI is often marketed as a technology that reduces shadow IT risk, it remains a problem. In this exclusive tip, explore the top sources of shadow IT risk for VDI shops.
VMware makes welcome changes in vSphere 6.5
VMware has rolled out a lot of new features in the latest version of vSphere – including features that focus heavily on simplifying the user experience and improving security with built-in security systems. Access this expert tip and take a more in-depth look at these features, how they work and what they do.
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Tourists Filming An Avalanche That Stops Right In Front Of Them
On a visit to the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, two hikers encountered an event one does not see every day.
'What Is This?' 2 Minute Short Film
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People Are Awesome - Best Of January 2017
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"I've Got Faith" - Canine Freestyle
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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 7www.mtit.com.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
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.