Vol. 22, #19 - May 08, 2017 - Issue #1130
IT, coffee, and the gig economy
- Editor's Corner
- From the Mailbag
- IT, coffee, and the gig economy
- 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
- Cortana - List of speech commands
- Windows 10 Creator's Update - Issue with MBAM and Office 2016
- Windows 10 deployment - ADK 1703 now available
- Events Calendar
- North America
- Add Your Event
- New on TechGenix.com
- Recommended articles from TechGenix.com
- Tech Briefing
- System Center
- Other Articles of Interest
- Three cloud computing skills to make your resume stand out in 2017
- 9 steps to a successful Hyper-V to VMware migration
- How to pick between VDI vs. DaaS for desktop virtualization
- Office 365 vs. Office 2013: What are the key differences?
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Magic By Josephine Lee
- The Most Amazing Mountain Biking You'll Ever See
- Chicken Fulfills Her Dream Of Flying
- People Are Awesome 2017 - Best Of The Month April 2017
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring
- Deep Packet Inspection for Quality of Experience Monitoring
- 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 being an IT pro in a shifting world where the gig economy is on the rise. This week's newsletter is also about coffee. What does that have to do with gig IT? Read on and you'll see! Plus we have some new tips, tools, and various other sundry stuff to inform and amuse you as your workweek begins.
Coffee is a big thing in Dilbert's world. In fact, a search for the word "coffee" in Dilbert comic strips turns up an astonishing 265 results! I like this one the best:
From the Mailbag
Last week in Issue #1129 Reader feedback: Reconsidering biometric security we took a second look at issues surrounding biometric security by hearing some of the feedback we've received from readers concerning Issue #1127 Reconsidering biometric security. One reader named Chris sent us one more piece of feedback to share a personal story that highlights one of the basic problems that can happen if you rely too much on biometric authentication:
I keep well away from anything to do with biometric authentication. A long time ago when the first HP laptops came out with a fingerprint scanner on it I had one of my clients, against my advice, set it up for himself. Then he went away for a few days and asked me to do some work on the laptop in his absence. To my surprise I could not get in (he had also disabled the password initially issued). So nothing happened to his laptop and he came back to a nonfunctioning machine. Ever since then I have told all my customers that if they want the fingerprint scanner working then they were on their own. It is just too hard to operate around it in the event of a fault. I can see the temptation to use biometrics but the downside is too great in the event of anything out of the ordinary.
And in the This Week's Tips section of last week's issue we included a tip titled "Non-profit organizations (NPOs) - Get a donation of $5000 towards an Azure subscription" where we said a reader named Bob had informed us that Microsoft offers a $5000 donation to qualifying non-profits towards their annual Azure subscription. A reader named Mark responded to this by sending some additional information we thought we should pass on to our readers:
Mitch, re the Azure non-profit benefit, here's the MS link that describes it:
There are some comments on my August 2016 article that may be useful to some:
And now on to our main topic for this issue…
IT, coffee, and the gig economy
I dropped by one of our local Starbucks coffee shops the other day to catch up with an IT pro colleague who I hadn't seen for several years. Being a rabid fan of Nespresso and having several of these machines in our offices, I rarely go into coffee shops these days. And since most of my work at present involves writing whitepapers, articles, books, and editorials for this newsletter, I don't do much travelling either, so I'm not one of those road warriors who spends much of their time in hotels and coffee shops.
I was taken aback however by the general atmosphere I encountered when I stepped through the door into Starbucks. At almost every table was someone using a laptop, taking advantage I presumed of the free WiFi and table space available at the coffee shop. The floor around each table was so littered with laptop bags and knapsacks that I had to pick my way carefully over them to reach the small table where my friend was sitting nursing his Grande Sugar-Free Non-Fat Vanilla Soy Double Shot Decaf No Foam Extra Hot Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Light Whip Extra Syrup or whatever.
As I started talking with my friend I found out he was no longer employed by the network services company he had been working for several years ago. He was now operating as an independent contractor or "gig IT pro" and moved from job to job every 6-12 months. Bob (not his real name) told me that he had mixed feelings about his new lifestyle. On the plus side it gave him more freedom and provided greater initiative that often led to greater earnings than when he was a salaried employee of a company. He admitted however that his actual income had gone down when his downtimes were factored in, plus there were the many hours he had to spend each month trying to line up future work for when his current gig was over. And while he felt "more of a man" since he had to step up and take control more over his destiny, he also experienced bouts of insecurity about his future since he was now in his 40s.
I love being a business owner myself, and not just for the freedom, self-image, and earning power it gives me. I also enjoy the responsibility of having other people work for me. But most of all I just enjoy the whole milieu of the business world. To become successful I've not only had to learn how to stay at the forefront of my profession where IT technology and communicating intersect, I've also had to become something of an expert in fields like accounting, project management, human resources, legal contracts, and general entrepreneurship. There are times in fact when the IT side of my work is the least interesting part and I fantasize about starting a business that doesn't directly involve IT, maybe something like Tom Cruise's idea of cornering the fulgelbinder industry from this scene from his classic movie Cocktail:
Which brings me back to the topic of coffee. As careered IT positions decline and the gig economy for IT rises, the need for just-in-time office space for transient independent IT workers and consultants has grown. Hence the glut of laptops and cluttered floors in your typical franchised coffee shop. Here you'll find freelancers writing reports and small clusters of professionals holding business meetings. You'll also find students too of course, especially when the coffee shop is near a college or university. For the ordinary customer who just wants to hang out and have coffee with a friend or check his phone for messages, this can be something of an inconvenience. It's probably inconvenient too for the coffee shop since laptop warriors can often spend several hours tying up a table while slowing nursing a single large coffee.
Which may be why some independent coffee shops are now pulling the plug on offering free WiFi to customers as this article from the Globe and Mail newspaper reported this week:
I asked my friend about this and he agreed that his top requirement for a good coffee shop was that they offer free WiFi, the quality of the coffee was of less importance to him. In fact he told me that the only reason he suggested we meet at Starbucks was because there was no McDonald's in the vicinity. He said he actually preferred doing his work at McDonald's because the WiFi was better there than at Starbucks, the food was decent, coffee was not that bad, and there were always tables available because few road warriors (especially the younger, trendier sort) would be caught dead being seen at McDonald's. He also told me that he had a short gig working in Europe last year and the coffee shops there charged a couple of euros an hour for using their WiFi, but the bandwidth was good and the coffee and food terrific.
I asked Bob whether he had ever considered renting space in one of those rent-a-workspace buildings where you can have your own tiny little dedicated office plus access to services like printers, fax machines, document shredding, a lockbox for receiving couriered deliveries, a boardroom for holding meetings with clients or colleagues, and even a lounge and kitchen for relaxing or making a fast meal. He said he had in fact been considering doing something this since the monthly rental fee he would be paying could actually be cheaper than the bill he had been running up each month buying coffee he never finished and carb-heavy snacks that expanded his waistline.
Our coffees were almost finished, so I finished off by asking him if he had any advice for other freelance IT pros out there who spend a lot of their time working in other coffee shops. He said he had a few rules that he tried to follow, the most important of which was that when he arrived at the coffee shop he asked if their WiFi was working (duh!) and then asked politely if it was OK to use his laptop for a while as he drank his coffee. Politeness like this works wonders, he said, and the barista usually replied with a nod and a smile. He also tried to avoid abusing the privilege by frequenting coffee shops if possible during down hours and by packing up and leaving if the cafe became full and no tables were available for new customers who stood looking around after they had purchased their coffee. He also pulled out a piece of cardboard with the words "This seat is FREE" which he said he placed on the other side of a two-seater table whenever he sat at one in a coffee shop so others would know they were free to join him (usually it would be another laptop user who would sit at his table). He also hung his bag over the back of his chair whenever possible instead of leaving it sprawled on the floor, and he always made it a point to tip the barista when he finally left the cafe.
My friend rose and left for a meeting he had arranged with a potential new client. I sat their staring at my half-finished coffee and thinking about the Nespresso machine waiting for me in my office. These are just a few of the random thoughts I've been having lately about corporate IT freelancing, and I'd be happy to hear any thoughts our readers have about this from their own personal experience and observations. Email me at [email protected]
Meanwhile, my favorite Nespresso blend is Roma. What's yours?
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]
Recommended for Learning
Hyper-V.nu is the Dutch Microsoft Server Virtualization User Group that was founded in 2008. The goal of this user group is sharing knowledge acquired through experience and interacting with the Microsoft community worldwide. This blog is updated frequently with great content on various topics around Hyper-V, Azure Pack, Azure Stack and Azure.
Microsoft Virtual Academy
Windows 10 Security in Real Life
Network Administrators, join experts Erdal Ozkaya and Raymond Comvalius for an in-depth look at the most secure Windows ever. See how Windows 10 can help you protect your organization against everyday security threats. Watch practical demos, and find out how to guard your systems at the device level. Plus, learn to detect, investigate, and respond to Advanced Persistent Threats, and much more. Watch now!
Factoid of the Week
Last week's factoid and question was this:
Canadians like myself have a reputation for being nice and polite. But just try saying something to us using a fake "Canadian accent" and you'll quickly raise our ire! What might arouse a similar hostile response if someone from another country came to your own country and spoke with you?
It seems that France is the touchstone for some readers on this subject. A reader named George from Florida, USA shares the following experience he had when he visited France:
If you visit any country and try to speak their language, they will be flattered by your attempt. Not so France. Serving with the Air Force in Germany, I frequently drove into France and used my best French to order food and converse with the locals. Although I was fluent in six languages, my American accent gave me away, and the French either ignored me or responded grumpily in English. Never once did they continue the conversation in their own language. I guess they were telling me that my French (be it grammar or pronunciation) wasn't good enough for them.
On the other hand, here is what happened to Tony from the UK when he was in France:
I was opposite the Arc de Triomph in Paris (France) when an American came up and asked me straight out (in English, no "do you speak English") if I could tell him how to get across to the Arc itself. I gave him directions and he thanked me and said I spoke very good English, to which my replay was "maybe that is because I am English".
So maybe the problem is with Americans? Or more accurately, when American and French people interact with each another?
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: Safety Beach, a bayside suburb in Melbourne, Australia, was renamed Safety Beach to attract tourist trade to the peninsula.
Question: What other interesting "rebranding" of products, services, or anything else have you observed or heard about that make a 180 degree change like this in what they try to communicate?
Email your answer to us at: [email protected]
Until next week,
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Tool for granular recovery of individual AD objects and entire containers. It quickly browses your AD database from the backup of domain controller VM, finds & restores what you need.
Sysax Secure FTP Server provides SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, and SSH shell access for Windows. Authentication methods include Active Directory, Pub Key, and External DB. Supports Event triggers and automation:
Simple Kiosk turns your PC into a web kiosk:
RegtoText is a command line utility that converts a Windows Registry exported file (.reg) into a human readable text (.txt) file:
SQLDocKit is a SQL Server administration tool that enables you to auto-discover and document SQL Servers, match SQL server settings according to best practices, compare different SQL environments, and more:
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Cortana - List of speech commands
Do you use Cortana in Windows 10? Check out this TechNet Wiki which has a list of currently supported Cortana speech commands you can try using:
Windows 10 Creator's Update - Issue with MBAM and Office 2016
If you're considering upgrading to Creator's Update and are using Office 2016 and MBAM you may want to check out this thread on MalwareBytes:
Windows 10 deployment - ADK 1703 now available
Microsoft MVP Harjit Dhaliwal has some information concerning an issue with the new v.1703 version of the Window 10 Automated Deployment Kit (ADK) you should know about if you're deploying Windows 10:
Microsoft Build in May 10-12, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Microsoft Ignite on September 25-29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida
Add Your Event
PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]
Join the conversation: Chatbots and the enterprise
Understand how enterprises are developing and using chatbots to transform the way they function.
Google Cloud Spanner finally available to the public
Google has released its Cloud Spanner, a regional database service that is both strongly consistent and horizontally scalable. Here's why that matters.
Windows 10 Creators Update includes new Hyper-V features
Windows 10's new Creators Update features several improvements and fixes for Hyper-V. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.
Are we overdependent on the AWS cloud?
An AWS cloud outage took down many popular websites recently. Is this a case of putting all our eggs in one basket or a onetime event unlikely to reoccur?
VMware vSan 6.6 includes plenty of new features
VMware has released an update to vSAN that is loaded with new features aimed at making the product faster and more secure. Let's look under the hood.
Editing VMConnect session settings (Virtualization Blog)
Linux Integration Services 4.1.3-2 (Virtualization Blog)
What's New with Microsoft Threat Modeling Tool Preview (Secure Development at Microsoft)
One Liner: Get TLS Cipher Suite Details with PowerShell (PoSh Chap)
When using SharePoint, don't use $ (Nose to the Grindstone)
Interview with a SharePoint and C# Wiki Ninja -- Prashant Bansal (Wiki Ninjas -- Official Blog of TechNet Wiki)
Convert ConfigMgr 2012 R2 Active Directory Site Boundaries to IP Subnet Boundaries (Chris Jones)
Using SCOM to Capture Suspicious Process Creation Events (Working with System Center)
Three cloud computing skills to make your resume stand out in 2017
As today's cloud strategies evolve, new must-have skillsets are emerging across organizations. Inside, find out the key cloud skills and certifications you need to stick out from your peers as trends like containers, machine learning and more continue to impact enterprise cloud initiatives this year.
9 steps to a successful Hyper-V to VMware migration
When migrating from hyper-V to VMware, there are factors to consider to avoid common pitfalls. Explore 9 essential steps to follow to ensure you cover all the bases during your migration when it comes to inventory, scheduling and communicating the potential impact to all relevant parties.
How to pick between VDI vs. DaaS for desktop virtualization
When it comes to desktop delivery, is VDI or DaaS the best option for your organization? While each offers similar use cases, there are distinct difference to consider when it comes to ease of management, level of control, performance needs, security and costs. Find out more inside.
Office 365 vs. Office 2013: What are the key differences?
For many organizations, the SaaS benefits offered in Office 365 may be enough to overlook Office 2013, but before you throw in the towel, take a closer look at the pros and cons of each when it comes to ownership models, endpoints covered, upgrade requirements, collaboration features and more.
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]
Magic By Josephine Lee
29-year-old magician and yoga instructor Josephine Lee impresses the judges and audience of Britain's Got Talent 2017:
The Most Amazing Mountain Biking You'll Ever See
The Red Bull Rampage is a freeride mountain bike competition held near Zion National Park in Virgin, Utah, United States:
Chicken Fulfills Her Dream Of Flying
A chicken gets to take a once-in-a-lifetime flight in a sailplane high above the Austrian Alps:
People Are Awesome 2017 - Best Of The Month April 2017
Amazing people doing incredible things - from extreme sports to fitness to gymnastics and trick shots!
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.