Vol. 21, #47 - November 28, 2016 - Issue #1108
Reader feedback: Do certifications matter?
- Editor's Corner
- Ask Our Readers - Slow network access times on Netapp filer with Windows 10 (one response)
- Ask Our Readers: File Explorer hangs when creating a new folder (another response)
- Ask Our Readers - Win10 resetting file associations (question still open)
- Ask Our Readers - Windows 10 and Skype problem (new question)
- Ask Our Readers - Problem with Network Discovery and File and Printer Sharing in Windows 10 Professional (new question)
- Where does it stop?
- The value of IT certifications
- Certifications vs. apprenticeship
- Certifications vs. university degrees
- Certifications vs. university degrees (2)
- The cost of certification
- Are we even asking the right question?
- Certification -- more can be less
- 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
- Active Directory - Get last logged on time of user
- Office 365 - New "mentions" feature in Outlook
- Windows Server 2016 - Tool for building Nano Server images
- Events Calendar
- North America
- Add Your Event
- New on TechGenix.com
- Recommended articles from TechGenix.com
- Tech Briefing
- Enterprise IT
- Exchange Server
- Windows Server
- Other Articles of Interest
- Don't migrate apps to the cloud without considering the costs
- Understand the basics of VMware Blast Extreme vs. PCoIP
- End the battle between the system admin and the security team
- Virtualization lightens IT application management load
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Calvin and Hobbes Animated Short: Calvin In School
- Kid Rides A Zip Line To School
- Ringo The Baby Rhino Walks A Friend To School
- Megan Fox & Mike Tyson - Language School
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- Proactively Alert on Active Directory Performance
- Proactively Alert on Active Directory Performance
- 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 another follow up to our earlier newsletter Issue #1105 Reader Feedback: Should IT pros be licensed? which generated so much helpful feedback from readers that we had to split it into two extra issues of WServerNews, the first being last week where in Issue #1107 Reader Feedback: Should IT pros be licensed? we listened to what our readers have to say about whether the IT profession should be regulated and licensed in the way that the engineering profession is in most corners of the world. But since a number of readers keyed in on the topic of IT certifications and where they fit into the matter of regulating the IT profession, we've split out some of the reader feedback on that subject so we could share it with you in this week's newsletter.
BTW this Dilbert comic strip is an absolute classic on the topic of certification--you gotta see it:
Ask Our Readers - Slow network access times on Netapp filer with Windows 10 (one response)
Last week we included this question sent to us by Steffen from Germany:
We are evaluating W10 in the IT team. We are experiencing slow network access times on our Netapp Filer, while Win7 does good on same hardware. Locally we are using all flash drives for OS Disk. No spindles around anymore.
Bill Bach from GoldStar Software sent us the following detailed response to Steffen's question:
There is a pretty simple diagnostic for this. First, install the open source network analyzer tool Wireshark:
Install this onto both a Win7 and Win10 test machine. Second, reboot the machine. Third, launch Wireshark and start capturing ALL network traffic from the machine. (Do not use remote control for this, or you'll need to filter this out of your test data.) Fourth, access the Filer -- in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY ON THE TWO MACHINES -- to show the good (or bad) performance. Finally, compare the results.
The last step is the tricky part, of course, and may require some knowledge of networking protocols (DNS, TCP, IP, etc.), as well as some other cleverness. For example, the Wireshark "time" column defaults to "Seconds Since Beginning of Capture", which is OK, but spurious network traffic can make comparing the two traces more difficult. To fix this, look for the FIRST attempt to contact the Filer in each trace, right-click THAT packet, and select "Set Time Reference". Now, both traces will show times from the same starting point. It should be a simple matter to display both traces side by side, then page through to see where the time-lines diverge. When you find the divergence, look to see what was happening right then.
A few things to check for:
- Did you see both NICs at the same speed, such as Gigabit Ethernet?
- Did you see packet retransmissions, indicating cabling or driver problems?
- Did you see DNS lookups that were taking too long or going to the wrong server, indicating a DNS or DHCP configuration problem?
- Did you see SMB traffic on one, and SMB2 or SMB3 on the other? (Microsoft had some big issues with SMB2 caching, and many companies disabled SMB2 on their Win7 boxes, though it might be still enabled on the Win10 boxes.)
- Did you see slowness indicated from the CLIENT side? Perhaps the newer Win10 boxes are not configured for High Performance mode?
If you get this far and still cannot find the root cause, then sharing your network traces with experts may be the best solution. However, be careful that some network traces may contain sensitive data, too.
Ask Our Readers: File Explorer hangs when creating a new folder (another response)
Back in Issue #1105 Should IT pros be licensed? we included the following question from a reader named Tom along with several reader responses concerning the problem:
I have an issue when I have an File Explorer window open on drives in Windows 10 when telling it to create a new folder (and sometimes when re-naming) -- Explorer will hang for 1 to 4 minutes while trying to create it -- It says Non-Responding in the title bar -- then eventually it creates it. Sometimes it creates a "New Folder" folder name and not the name I told it to use. Does not matter how many Explorer windows are open -- the one being used to create a new folder just hangs for some reason. I have each Explorer in its own process.
One more reader whose name is Bob has sent us some thoughts concerning this:
I was having the same problem with long delays until I unplugged my WD My Cloud. These external backup/storage devices may be doing something that causes the delay.
Hope this helps.
Ask Our Readers - Win10 resetting file associations (question still open)
Back in inIssue #1106 Waiting for Godot 2016 a reader named Roy told us he had been experiencing the following annoyance with Windows 10:
I sub-titled the subject line "Beyond Annoyance" because this is "Big Brother" at its worst. Windows 10 continually resets file associations to its own programs no matter how many times I set them back to my original settings. For example I have PDF files associated with Adobe Acrobat but Windows 10 keeps resetting the file association to the Edge Browser! This is but one example.There are many other file types that Windows 10 keeps forcibly resetting to its own programs. I need a way to stop this heavy-handed approach that MS has instituted to forcibly point file associations to their software. P.S. I googled the problem and tried the registry changes mentioned, but MS still changes my file associations. Does anyone have a real fix for this MS insanity?
One reader named Mark commented on Roy's problem as follows:
I have seen this, but this is a case of blaming Windows 10 for a program fault. Applications (before W10) started changing the upgrade process to remove/reinstall which is much cleaner, leaves less trash in the registry and less orphaned files, while reducing installation files (otherwise installer needs to count for countless different versions of files to "update"). So a lot of programs do not necessarily update, as much as migrate to new versions. In the process, they remove the file association (because the program is being uninstalled), and then they are supposed to set it back, but not all programs do. I have seen it a lot with Adobe Reader, not as much with Foxit Reader (but it still happens with Foxit reader), LibreOffice occasionally, and so on. Why you notice more in W10? Because the system is more secure and it is harder for programs to set your file associations. And this is not a problem. People have been complaining about bad programs taking over file associations for years. In the rush of patching programs sometimes something is not done right, and W10 will err in the safe side and not set association if it is not programmed right (I think Adobe Reader does not even try anymore and just opens a window that explains what you need to do, and then opens the Default Programs applet from control panel).
Roy has since responded to Mark's comments with the following:
In response to Mark's comments in the last issue, this is not a problem with the apps. I have reset the default app file associations literally dozens of times and Windows 10 keeps hijacking it back to their apps. Windows 7 did NOT do this. I'm glad he is not having this problem but that should not mitigate the onerous problem that I (and probably many others) face day after day.
So perhaps we're still looking for a solution to this problem. Does anyone else have any ideas? Email us at [email protected]
Ask Our Readers - Windows 10 and Skype problem (new question)
Alain asks our readers the following question:
I used Skype to chat with voice for a long time. But recently on all my computers I can use Skype to chat by writing but no more with voice. My speaker and mic are working with every other program but Skype. I did all the trouble shooting that I could find with the helps of google. I did go as far as removing Skype and all link to it in the registry. After I reinstall still no sound in Skype I hear no one and no one hear me. Don't know if this is a Skype problem or a windows update that goes badly with Skype. Anyone else with the same problem???
Can anyone help Alain? Email us at [email protected]
Ask Our Readers - Problem with Network Discovery and File and Printer Sharing in Windows 10 Professional (new question)
A reader named Dayman sent us the following he's been having trouble with:
Hi guys, I have been chasing this problem since I upgraded various Laptops to Windows 10 Pro: It is impossible to get 'network discovery' and 'file and printer sharing' to remain on. I have tried lots of different suggested remedies to this issue, but none seem to work. I can access my 'shares' on different machines only by using their IP address, but if I try and use their network name, it just states that 'Network discovery is turned off'? I have noticed that this problem is not evident on Windows 10 home, it seems 'network discovery' and 'file and printer sharing' are on by default. Does anyone have a definitive fix for this?
Can anyone suggest anything that might help this reader? Email us at [email protected]
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]
Now let's hear from some of our readers about the value and/or necessity of obtaining IT certifications in today's career marketplace...
Where does it stop?
In Issue #1107 Reader Feedback: Should IT pros be licensed? in the section titled The view of a professional educator a comment was made by the reader speaking that drew the following response from another reader named Clare from Ontario, Canada who indicated she is a former licensed automotive technician, a former secondary school automotive technology teacher, a former automotive trade college instructor, a former Automotive Dealer Service manager, has a diploma in microcomputers and microprocessors, and is currently a self-employed computer and network support technician for the last 22 years:
The statement "I suspect you could make a similar argument for auto mechanics in terms of supporting life, but I don't see a push to professionalize that line of work. The trouble is creating a profession that doesn't have an academic legitimacy leaves it open to commercial exploitation." Shows he does not know about the college of trades in Ontario, and the system of licensing trades (which, with the advent of the college of trades taking over from colleges and universities has handed control of the trades pretty much into the hands of the unions). To "practice" as an auto mechanic in Ontario (and I believe most other provinces of Canada) you REQUIRE a mechanics license or certificate of qualification.
I finished my training and apprenticeship as a "class A Interprovincial Motor Vehicle Repair Technician" back in December 1971. This certification moved from the department of labor/apprenticeship boards to Colleges and Universities before the current scam was implemented by the Ontario government (if it works, privatize it).I have been in the IT world for 26 years but just relinquished my MVR license last year. Now they have added another layer of regulation to electricians and other contractors with the TSSA registrations etc.
The situation with Information Technology would be even worse than the trades when it comes to enforcement. Who would enforce? Who would pay for enforcement? Who would determine what constitutes "information technology" when it is so deeply entrenched in building controls, appliances, automobiles, entertainment systems, communications, -- just about ALL aspects of today's world (and even more tomorrow).
Would I need my IT professional designation to repair the adaptive cruise control on a car? To install or repair a cable TV or internet modem? To repair the oven control on a kitchen range??? Would an electrician or HVAC tech need the professional designation to connect a "smart thermostat" to a furnace or air conditioner? What about connecting a "smart switch" to control the lights in an office, or a washroom? Or would the designation (only) be required to reprogram it??? Would the company employing these "professionals" also need to be part of some "association" like TSSA??? WHERE DOES IT STOP??????
I guess as Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over till it's over."
The value of IT certifications
A reader who prefers to remain anonymous and has worked as a Systems Infrastructure Specialist and IT Pro with 15+ years of experience in Support, Administration, and Networking, wrote us the following insightful analysis of the value of and problems associated with IT certifications:
For the most part, certifications within the IT industry are seen as either a way to get your foot in the door if you have no experience, or a method to improve your ability to advance in an organization, a way to prove you're serious about climbing the corporate ladder with having to obtain an advanced degree (Masters, PhD).
However, there are multiple issues with existing certifications and I suspect not much would change with required certifications, should they be instituted.
1) Many people feel certifications are primarily just for HR and the hiring process, as many reps in charge of finding IT people have no idea what to look for as they have no technical knowledge themselves. I can speak to this personally, as earlier this year I experienced this in a phone screening for a new position within my company. The gentleman asked me if I had experience working with Active Directory, and I informed him that I did, as I would add/remove new users/workstations/servers as well as create AD groups and assign permissions, among many other things. He thanked me for my answer, I could hear some paper shuffling, and then he asked what kinds of things I did that directly correlated to Active Directory. Seriously? I calmly and politely pointed out that I just answered his question, and he laughed and admitted he had no technical knowledge at all, he was just helping out with the phone screenings for his boss. This happened 3 times in 2 months, with 3 different employers.
2) Just like with the automotive industry, I have seen numerous IT "pros" obtain their certifications, and have no idea how to apply that knowledge in the actual field. There's a big difference between studying IT, and working with it. For example, let's take printer issues -- a known annoyance of many support professionals. When faced with a printing problem, many certified IT "pros" with no experience will start looking to see what's wrong with the network, trying connectivity tools, checking for software conflicts, etc. Meanwhile, I'm going to look to make sure the thing has power, paper, and toner. This happens with random, non-important computer issues as well - certified IT "pros" with no experience are googling error messages like crazy, with signs of panic starting to creep in as they try to remember the current settings before making significant registry changes because TechNet told them to. Meanwhile, experienced IT pros are going to bounce the box, and see if it resolves the issue.
3) Technology changes quickly, and sometimes so do the certification exams. I recently took a class offered by a well-known training provider, offered through my employer, that was supposed to be in preparation for the CASP. The instructor had passed the first edition of the exam, but we were learning/studying for the 2nd edition. The materials he provided us to prepare us for the exam were completely different than what was on the exam, as the 2nd edition of the exam had recently been released and was completely different than the first rendition. The company paid $40k for us to take this training - not one person passed. There were no additional study materials to supplement with, as the exam was too new at the time.
4) Some people are just not good at taking tests. I work with numerous individuals that can do their job with extreme ease. Some of these people have certain conditions (ADHD, etc) or family situations (sick parent or child) that make it difficult for them to study/sit for an exam that lasts hours. They excel in their daily job, and shouldn't be penalized for not being able to take an exam.
There are clearly some issues like these that temper the value of IT certifications. On the other hand, people have to get the "foot in the door" somewhere to build a career, and in olden days many a famous Wall Street banker or broker started off as a lackey in the mailroom. Do the benefits of certifications outweigh the problems, or the other way around? Email your thoughts to us at [email protected]
Certifications vs. apprenticeship
Matthew from the UK who sounds like he's just starting out in IT work sent us these comments:
Regarding the IT professionals and licensed practices topic, I think the main issue is that you just can't buy or teach experience. Being a new apprentice in IT it is clear that there is a lot to learn. Having passed CompTIA Network+ and Security+, I can confidently say I am able to understand some fairly defining concepts when it comes to the logical process of how a network operates (and well on my way to understanding real life uses for said knowledge). Could I set one up? Not yet! Can I assist in supporting one even at this level? Yes absolutely.
The governing factor in my opinion is the capacity to learn how to find support and to teach one's self to find answers. Often times my manager admits to using TechNet, Google and other support forums to find answers to problems he can't resolve, and he's been in IT for 10+ years! So even years and years of experience in IT... staff STILL have to reach for a manual, or find a support forum to work out what they need to accomplish. Other times, and often, it is also trial and error until you get to the desired result. The main task being that we keep our customers' networks running at all costs! Making decisions to reboot servers out of office hours, checking for services running needed for software (like CRM) to function as the customer intends; this to me is a common sense driven decision more than it is a technical one.
Licensing to be a vet, a builder, or a brain surgeon makes sense, because often the safety to another human being's life is at risk... with IT the only thing at risk under normal circumstances is the network downtime. We can live without internet/emails, can't we? But we won't live if a house falls down on us, or a brain surgeon makes a critical mistake?
I thanked him for his comments and suggested that perhaps the risk these days is becoming more than just network downtime. What I meant was that with our rapidly increasing reliance on IT systems and the Internet for both the private and public sector, shutting down a critical infrastructure like the Internet could basically shut down entire countries. Matthew responded with:
I see your point. How difficult would it be to break the internet though (so to speak)? Power stations/power grid, traffic control systems and street lighting might arguably be some of a few systems that perhaps need to be under such scrutiny... but here it becomes a more specialist role and would be down to the company who run the service to provide adequate training in that field. But I feel that for the support type businesses, licensing would be a fairly difficult and costly hurdle. Would it be fair to estimate that organizations and businesses like customer services and sales forces make up a strong portion of IT reliant companies? I wouldn't like to wager on the actual % of regular IT support/Network support engineers, but it would certainly be a majority proportion. These types of businesses are always looking at ways to save money and they are the ones those savings matter to the most; its make or break for them. What's more is, on top of me going through training, learning on the job (through forums or by shadowing), I would then be required to be licensed as well? How does one ensure that a person is capable of doing the job?
Does licensing involve some kind of assessment/certification? Is that not already being under-taken when becoming certified? I do feel that apprentices have the benefit of being able to shadow in a real-world environment, take certifications as required by the business and be assessed at the end of their training. Maybe all IT professionals could undergo some form of probationary/apprentice style training, where they are paid to work, study for certifications putting into real-life practise what they've learned, and be assessed in order to become licensed; and so to be considered a professional?
Again I do feel that only certain systems require more in depth experience. Anyone can be taught command line configuration or logical processes, but experience cannot be taught. How do you grant licenses to new IT staff? And someone like me after their first 2 years of training wouldn't likely very easily get work down at the power grid or the water company, not least without supervision of an experienced professional of course.
I think Matthew has a good point here that perhaps some form of apprenticeship is the way to go in certain areas of the IT profession. I actually argued for something like this in my recent Techgenix.com article titled Should the IT profession be regulated? where I talked a bit about my own personal certification journey and ended with the (somewhat facetious) idea of creating something akin to medieval guilds. I'd be grateful if some of you WServerNews readers would read the article I penned and add comments to it if you feel you have something helpful to contribute to the discussion. And while you're at it check out some of the other new articles on our revamped Techgenix.com website which are listed in the New on Techgenix.com section further down in this newsletter.
Certifications vs. university degrees
A reader named John from Ontario, Canada had some interesting comments regarding whether having a university degree qualifies you to teach computer courses:
Certifications can become somewhat silly when a government ministry becomes involved but I do understand that they may be necessary in order to at least certify those who pronounce us 'qualified' or 'not qualified' have met some standard acceptable to those who pay the bills. I share below an example of how the 'silly' aspect played out in my own career.
My Master of Education degree in Computer Applications to Education from the University of Toronto was deemed sufficient in qualifications to TEACH all 3 parts of the Computers in the Classroom certificate course required by the department of education for computer teachers. However my MEd was deemed NOT sufficient to be awarded the Computers in the Classroom certificate which I was qualified to teach??? Fortunately the bureaucrats did skip me over parts 1 and 2 of the course when I drew the situation to their attention but they still required Part 3 attendance (and fee payment!) before I would be certified and that certificate was required for a position I was considering. This was the same ministry that paid me for a software project used in their ICON computers, and the hardware vendor liked the project well enough to use it in sales pitches to other educational jurisdictions for the hardware/software combo. Lucky for me, the Part 3 instructor was a fellow U of T graduate from the same program and he used me as a resource rather than treating me as a student.
Most of my useful IT skills have come from 'hands on' hardware and software work and most of those skills were acquired doing 'unpaid' work on computers either as a student or as a volunteer. My formal degree mostly provides me with the skills to find out and understand things I don't already have in my 'bag of tricks'.
I think John makes a good point there that "going the distance" by finishing a university degree can provide you with some basic learning skills that help you succeed in other endeavors like repairing PCs or troubleshooting software problems. Do readers agree or disagree? Email me at [email protected]
Certifications vs. university degrees (2)A reader named Tom continues with the above topic as follows:
The problem with "certification" is what does it certify? Basically, it certifies that a person can pass a test or tests. Let be honest from the start, I have no certifications. However, I do have a BSEE (1973) with large minor in Computer Science and an MBA. For the last 15 years, I have worked as an IT consultant, without certifications. And most of my customers came from situations where certified or knowledgeable individuals couldn't perform the necessary tasks well or correctly.
Sadly, while the concept always seems great, certification seldom leads to an improvement in quality of service. Just as a college degree does not guarantee knowledge or skill, neither do certifications. I can't tell you the number of "certified" individuals that I have run into that couldn't troubleshoot a problem they were certified in. The certification process simply is a barrier to entry for competitors, which is the purpose of this process, protect the existing jobs and salaries from "new" upstarts. Sadly, certification does not guarantee quality or knowledge or expertise.
And, then let's say you do require certifications, are you going to arrest or fine everyone who works on their neighbor's home or friend's business computers? And who will enforce this -- the police, another government agency, a new one? There aren't enough people now to enforce all the good laws let alone the silly ones. And what about the "certified" individuals or businesses that perform poorly, will the certification process be able to eliminate those who can't actually do the work despite the certifications.
If individuals or businesses want to require individuals or businesses who work on their computers to be certified in certain areas, that is their right. And if they want to hire uncertified that is their right also.
Yes, even a university degree doesn't guarantee skills or ability. I know PhDs who can't repair their own lawnmowers.
The cost of certification
Tony from the UK had some interesting comments about the cost of getting certified and also about whether engineers are really "professional" at least as viewed by the greater public:
I am actually a chartered engineer, started in Electronics; Computer Science was not even a course when I started.
There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. Take vendor specific courses -- back in the days of BackOffice Small Business Server you needed to know pretty much everything Microsoft -- Exchange, Active Directory, Networking etc. Now a week long course costs £2.5k and the loss of earning time is about the same, so a week's training costs £5k. If you needed 2 weeks per year to keep up, this is £10k and would add 10-20% to costs. How many small businesses would want to pay that extra costs? Also, it means that the trained person then has to be using that pretty much all the time -- if only half their time was spent supporting customers requiring those skills, then this becomes an extra 40%.
Most of the vendor specific education is about knowing certain basics; they rarely teach problem solving approaches, and even a simple PC is a complex set of interacting systems. This is why large companies have a default machine/set of software and don't allow exceptions -- to cut support costs. Small businesses often have whatever was cheap at the time when they had to replace a machine or buy a new one.
An interesting question in the debate would be something along the lines of
a) Are you prepared to pay 50% more for fully qualified IT support
b) If so, do you, and if not, why not?
c) Give that there are no certainties in life except death and taxes, how would you like to judge the competence of an IT pro -- paper qualifications (relatively easy to test) and/or experience (relatively hard to test/prove, but potentially a better indicator of the ability to solve a problem).
If there is not a big enough customer base prepared to pay better for the costs and effort I have to put in to be better qualified, then where is my incentive to take that risk?
As an aside, here in the UK a similar debate over what an engineer is has raged for at least the last 45 years that I know of -- to the public, an engineer is someone who fixes their washing machine (because that is the sort of engineer they deal with) and not the designer of a jumbo jet (those things just magically happen).
I thought someone who fixed washing machines was a washing machine repairman!
Are we even asking the right question?
In the past couple of issues of WServerNews we've been discussing whether the IT profession should be licensed and regulated like the engineering profession or whether the existing pool of IT certifications provides enough value that such regulations are not necessary. Barry, an Author and Management Consultant who holds CISSP, CISM, CGEIT, and CRISC certifications wrote to us that perhaps we need to ask something else first:
I have worked in the IT field since 1969, focusing on information security and governance since 1987. On this topic one of the biggest differences I feel between our field and those such as accounting or engineering is the pace of change. How do we "formalize" an IT Pro when many of the technologies they are managing or maintaining have changed by the time they might be licensed?
An engineer or accountant undergoes change for sure, but I believe they fundamentally remain the same year over year whilst in IT our first issue might be - an IT Pro but in what area? Networks? Operations? Software? Security? Windows? Unix? Linux? Or IoT. Mobile? All of the above? I think our first question is - What is an IT Pro? Answer that and perhaps licensing might be able to follow.
Finally someone has given us a place where we can start thinking rationally about this subject. What do you, our readers, think is a good definition of what an IT pro is? What do you think is the common perception of what an IT pro is to the man on the street? Do we need to change that common perception? How might we do this? Email your thoughts to us at [email protected]
Certification -- more can be less
Finally, of the many other reader comments we received on this topic, we've selected the following one which we felt was insightful enough to warrant publishing:
I've been in IT way too long, starting with mainframes. One thing I've found more often than not is that there are a lot of people out there that get certifications but have no real world experience and their certifications mean squat. I've also found that when I'm communicating with others in IT the more certifications the person lists in his signature the less information I get. --Terry, IT Specialist in North Dakota, USA
And we've probably been discussing this topic way too long too, so it's time to move on!
Send us your feedback
Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]
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Factoid of the Week
Last week's factoid and question was this:
The greater wax moth can hear sounds that are more high-pitched than any known animal can make. What's the highest-pitched sound that a human being has been confirmed to have heard?
Joel the Chief Information Office at a university in Tennessee, USA said:
My 3yr old daughter screaming :-)
Mark from Belgium was a bit more technical in his response:
Hello Mitch, I'm 51 now and still good of hearing but in my twenties, I could enter an open space office and immediately point in the direction of a monitor (old CRT type) of which the high-voltage coil was whistling at a very high frequency (which I can't really express in Hz). Many people thought I was either acting up, overreacting of imagining things. It could drive me crazy, most of the time, I just switched the squealing monitor off and that was instant relief.
However I believe the most accurate (and surprising) answer might be the following which I found on a website of the US National Institutes of Health:
Hmm, I wonder, if you listened underwater to a CD recording of music that's been encoded at 44.1 kHz, would it sound basically the same as if you listened to it in air? Or would you also hear supra-auditory (greater than 20 kHz) frequency "artifacts" due to the approximating nature of digital encoding? Any audio engineers out there who can weigh in on this? Or perhaps conduct an experiment? (Don't drown!) Email us at [email protected]
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: St Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman.
Question: What other interesting stories are there about how countries got their names? Or states? Or cities? Let's see who can come up with the weirdest, strangest story...email us at [email protected]
Until next week,
GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
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The Certification Test Tool Preview for Windows Server 2016 can be used to validate application compatibility and certify your application for Windows Server 2016 certified logo and Hyper-V certified logo:
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GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Active Directory - Get last logged on time of user
This post on the OneScript Team Blog has a link to a PowerShell script on the TechNet Script Gallery that Active Directory admins can use to determine the last time a user logged on:
There's also another script that can get you the last logged on time for all Active Directory users:
Office 365 - New "mentions" feature in Outlook
The Electric Wand blog says, " Mentions is a new feature that helps to get someone's attention, much like mentioning them on Facebook, Twitter or Yammer. When you type an @ symbol in Outlook, you'll see an inline pop up showing the a list of frequent and/or recent email recipients." You can read more about this new feature in this blog post:
Windows Server 2016 - Tool for building Nano Server images
Nano Server Image Builder is a graphical interface to create Nano Server images, bootable USB drives and ISO files. The CanITPro.Net blog has a short walkthrough of this new tool here:
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
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Tutorial: Build a simple project plan with Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project is a powerful tool that helps you build and track detailed project schedules. Here’s how to get started.
Buy the BI: IT must embrace business intelligence
Does your company suffer from information underload? IT pros have a slew of business intelligence tools that can make information more readily available.
6 tips to increase small business WiFi security
Is the WiFi network of your business as secure as it should be? These simple steps can keep you safe from hackers and snoopers.
Can you rely on Windows.old?
Numerous users have reported problems relying on Windows.old folders when restoring a failed upgrade to Windows 10. Is there a good alternative?
Meet Hicurdismos, a Windows scareware that is fooling many
A new Windows malware known as Hicurdismos pretends to be a legitimate message from Microsoft. Don’t fall for it.
AzureCreate Azure RM VM Using Existing VHD (250 Hello)
Understanding subscriptions, licenses, accounts, and tenants (Cloud Adoption Advisory Board)
CitrixUpgrading a XenDesktop 7 (Part 2) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)
Office 2016 O365, Get Visio and Project MSI to work via Citrix (Office Integration & SharePoint)
Enterprise ITCloud-first enterprise backup: Why architecture matters (Hybrid Cloud Blog)
Domain Controller Patch/Hotfix Level Double Check (Chads Notes)
Exchange ServerHow to deploy exchange server 2016 (MSExchange.org)
Update on Windows Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2016 (You Had Me At EHLO)
Windows ServerWindows Failover Cluster Storage Quick Test (Ask Premier Field Engineering Platforms)
Chad’s Quick Notes -- Installing a Domain Controller with Server 2016 Core (Chads Notes)
Don't migrate apps to the cloud without considering the costs
While many organizations tout cost efficiency as one of the main benefits of cloud computing, the reality is that roughly 30% to 40% of enterprise apps cost organizations more in the public cloud than on existing, on-premises systems. Discover three warning signs when you shouldn’t migrate apps to the cloud.
Understand the basics of VMware Blast Extreme vs. PCoIP
For years PCoIP has been the go-to remote display protocol for View shops, but recently VMware’s in-house protocol, Blast Extreme, is ready to take over. So what platform should organizations use? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? Find out in this exclusive resource.
End the battle between the system admin and the security team
Today’s systems admins and security professionals are often locked in a tight battle between trying to keep systems running and ensuring apps are secured against internal and external threats. So how can these two teams come together? Learn how they can set aside their differences in order to maintain security and performance levels and protect the bottom line.
Virtualization lightens IT application management load
In recent years, the server virtualization market has matured rapidly, with many organizations seeing adoption rates exceeding 75%. Even more, core business apps are increasingly being deployed on virtualized systems. Find out the benefits of running applications on VMs in this exclusive resource.
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]
Getting certified in IT is almost feels like going back to school sometimes. Lets look at a few classic Flixxy videos about school:
Calvin and Hobbes Animated Short: Calvin In School
Italian animators bring life to one of the greatest comics of all time. This short was created for the CFP Milano Film School final exam:
Kid Rides A Zip Line To School
This 11 year old girl rides a zip line twice a day to go to school:
Ringo The Baby Rhino Walks A Friend To School
An adorable three-year-old girl takes a stroll with a baby white rhino at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya:
Megan Fox & Mike Tyson - Language School
Megan Fox and Mike Tyson star in an ad for a Brazilian language school, illustrating the benefits of being able to communicate in a foreign language:
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.