Vol. 22, #9 - February 27, 2017 - Issue #1120


TCO: Mac vs PC


Editor's Corner

In this week's newsletter we're going to explore the possible benefits of businesses giving users Macs to do their work instead of PCs. We also have some tips, tools and other stuff to while away your time as you watch those nasty packets bounce against your firewall.

Jim Ruby sent us another unusual road sign in response to our Factoid of the Week question in Issue #1118 Circumventing controls:

Image

Jim adds "I still haven't figured out if I'm allowed to park there or not."


Ask Our Readers - Accessing clipboard history (one more suggestion)

Back in Issue #1117 Fashion over function a reader named Wayne asked us to redirect the following question to the almost 100,000 IT pros around the world who receive our newsletter each week:

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.

Last week in Issue #1119 Reader feedback: Fashion over function we published several reader recommendations and since then we've received one more from Barry in Alberta, Canada:

I use "Shapeshifter"

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3bucxmv0/

I like it because it utilizes the traditional CTRL-C and CTRL-V functions for copy and paste. Version 5x was more configurable, but 6x is more functional in that it can maintain select files in clipboard even after reboot. It however does not allow searching the history.

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 wsn@mtit.com

 

From the Mailbag

In Issue #1119 Reader feedback: Fashion over function we shared some of the feedback we received concerning Issue #1117 Fashion over function where we examined the recent trend in web and software development to focus on style over usability, or as clothing designers and architects say, fashion over function. Feedback on this subject continues to trickle into our Mailbag, here's one choice piece from a reader named John:

What is it with the font size now? Am I the only one Kvetching about this? Sure I'm getting older and now wear my glasses, but it seems as though software has been written for the 20-somethings in mind with text about the size of ants. There are websites that look like a sea of text because the developers have used 8 point text instead of 12 point which is more comfortable. Yes, I know I can CTRL-Plus to increase the text size, but why should a website visitor need to do this?

Then there's packaging. My brother got something in the mail which required some assembly. He's quite mechanically inclined, but asked me to read through the package as he was busy. The tech writer must've used 4 point text on the page. There was plenty of white space so there's no reason to have reduced the text to ant footprints because they wanted to fit 8 languages on the small 2 x 4 instruction sheet. I worked as a typesetter for about 10 years initially on a proprietary system then later using desktop publishing. In all those years, I never, ever saw a design that required fonts that small unless it was the back side of a coupon - you know that blah, blah text with 0.01cents and everything gets mailed to El Paso Texas.

We've also published several other reader comments below under This Week's Tips.

And now on to the main topic of this week's newsletter…

TCO: Mac vs PC

A few months ago the following article on CIO.com caught my interest:

IBM says Macs save up to $543 per user

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wscf5gga/

The blurb beneath the headline for this article said this:

"IBM already has the world's largest enterprise Mac footprint, and it adds 1,300 new Macs every week. The company says its Apple devices save IT time and money, but the cultural changes at the 105-year-old company may be even more valuable."

I read this with some skepticism thinking, "Well that's just IBM of course, I guess they're probably still pissed at Bill for the deal he made with them back in 1980 and are still trying to get revenge". You can read more about this deal here if you've forgotten or were too young at the time to appreciate Bill's smarts:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/d2j6sxfb/

http://www.wservernews.com/go/bwr7fwpx/

http://www.wservernews.com/go/lbvpx69c/

Anyways, I decided to lay aside my skepticism for a few minutes and quickly read through the CIO article to see whether it was hype or actually had a kernel of truth in its assertions that Macs can offer businesses a better total cost of ownership (TCO) than PCs when it comes to providing computers for their end users.
 
As I read through the article I found myself beginning to side with IBM on a couple of issues. For example, I think I agree that end users generally welcome Macs more than PCs as their company computer. Of course we're talking laptops here not desktops since the desktop is dead--at least for the millennial audience which is rapidly overtaking the workforce.

I also thought the article had a good point that the purchase-to-deployment process for PCs is more complex than for Macs. But companies that want to customize and lock down end-user systems still probably want to use PCs together with Microsoft customization and management tools like MDT and System Center. I have a feeling however that fewer companies opt to go the customize-and-control route nowadays as the pace of technological (and social) change is so great that they end up playing a losing game of catch-up.

What the article also fails to address is that while the pace of innovation in the PC market seems to be quickening (think Surface Book for example) the evolution of Mac laptops seems to have stalled or even regressed:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/zjd7res3/

This article on Mashable puts it bluntly: "Admit it: Microsoft is now a braver, more innovative company than Apple"

http://www.wservernews.com/go/l53obr5d/

So maybe IBMs strategy works today, but will it continue to work going forward?

Not everyone seems to agree with IBM's assessment that Mac laptops can offer better TCO than Windows laptops can for businesses. A poll of over a thousand individuals in the Spiceworks Community favors PCs over Macs by almost 3:1 as far TCO is concerned. However polls like this may not be objective in their conclusions since PCs are probably much more widely used by community members than Macs are (which is reflected by the fact that one-quarter of respondents selected the "Don't know" option):

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4bg68qtv/

What do our WServerNews readers think about this subject? Do you have both Macs and PCs deployed for end users? What's it like managing and maintaining each platform? And if you had a choice to begin again from scratch, which would you rather provision to all your users, Macs or PCs? Why?

Also, have any readers deployed Microsoft Surface or Surface Book devices to their end users? What sort of experience have you had managing these devices?

As usual you can email your comments to us at wsn@mtit.com

Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

 

Recommended for Learning

Ignite Recap: Remote Desktop Services

For those who didn't make it to Microsoft Ignite back in October you can view a MS Mechanics video about the RDS innovations in WS2016 here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/b024safv/

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Deploying Shielded VMs in a Windows Server 2016 Guarded Fabric

If you need help setting up a guarded fabric in Windows Server 2016, watch this course. Our expert instructors provide a step-by-step walkthrough of a live Windows Server 2016 guarded fabric deployment. Start with a look at the Host Guardian Service (HGS), configure TPM-based attestation on the Hyper-V host, deploy Shielded VMs, and much more. See how easy it is, with the right hardware and software, to set up this security.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/moxu65pb/
  

Factoid of the Week

Last week's factoid and question was this:

In 2013 in Turkey, thieves stole an entire 22 tonne, 82 foot metal bridge overnight. Question: Do you know of any heist that was more remarkable than this one?

Unfortunately, we didn't receive responses from any of our readers to this question. Maybe that's a good sign though as it could mean WServerNews readers are all upright, honest people who would never steal, thieve or pilfer anything from their workplace. OK go put that pad of sticky notes back in the storeroom…

Anyways, here is this week's factoid:
 
Fact: 98% of British homes have carpeted floors. In Italy, only 2% do.
 
Question: Why do the British favor having carpets so much? (Hopefully some of our UK readers will weigh in on this one!)

Email us your answer: wsn@mtit.com
 
Until next week,

Mitch Tulloch


Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

ETViewer is an easy to use ETW / WPP trace viewer:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hxfkgyev/

InSSIDer is an essential wireless troubleshooting tool that will quickly help you get the best possible performance from your network:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/lrd2adoj/

Tiny Deduplicator is a file deduplicator which can scan for duplicate files, and allows the user to control which duplicates they are going to keep or recycle:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/68zdc1oh/

 

This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Windows 10 - Using the Microsoft Edge address bar

In Issue #1119 Reader feedback: Fashion over function we included a comment from a reader named Germanas who expressed annoyance with the following feature of the new Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10:

Edge address bar. Unless I miss something, invisible address bar where I am supposed to enter an URL is reaaally annoying. Every time I need to enter an URL I am unsure where to click. That vertical thin bar isn't always visible on all devices. This is one of the reasons I am still on IE11.

Mary, a Software Engineer for a company in California responded with this tip for Microsoft Edge users:

Alt-D drops you right into the address bar, in Edge and IE.

Thanks for pointing this out!
 

Windows 10 - Setting a background photo

Also in Issue #1119 we published this comment from a reader named Susan:

Windows 10 has many examples where the developers changed a perfectly functioning setting to something they felt was cooler. Take changing the wallpaper or theme on your desktop. Windows 7/8.1 were very simple. Right click in the middle of the screen and go to Personalize. Pick your theme or wallpaper (picture) and off you go to the races. Fast forward to Windows 10…and let the frustration begin. Personalize now puts you into that "fantastic" *yes that's sarcasm* Settings area, where you now have to click on Themes then Theme settings to get to the window to choose a different theme. What used to be two clicks is now three. But what if you want to change just the picture to one of your kids, dogs, etc. Well, click on Desktop Background, which in Windows 7/8.1 used to let you into a screen to change the picture, now you're sent back to the Settings page and Background. For the non-computer tech, trying to figure out how to just add that picture of your dog/child/grandchild has just gotten a whole lot more complicated.

John, a Senior Analyst/Programmer in London, England responded with:

I agree that not all changes in Windows have been for the better but I think Susan has this one wrong. First, the Windows background: Right-click on the desktop, click 'Personalize' and then under 'Choose you picture' click 'Browse'. I don't see that it could be a lot simpler.

Windows 10 - Showing taskbar notification icons

And in Issue #1119 we also included another comment from Susan:

My next example, and even more irritating, adding icons to the Taskbar notifications area. Once again, Windows 7/8.1, very simple. Click on the little white arrow down in the taskbar and choose Customize. Now in Windows 10, you have to click on the Action center icon (little white box), choose All Settings to open up the Settings page, and depending on which version of Windows 10 you have, because Microsoft decided to change this in 1607 from the 1511 version, you either go to System then Notifications and actions, and finally Select which icons appear on the taskbar or in 1607, you go to Personalization, Taskbar, scroll all the way down and choose Select which icons appear on the taskbar. Either version, two clicks just went to five. Someone explain to me how that's more efficient??

John also responded to this one as follows:

Secondly, the notification area: I admit I could have misunderstood Susan on this one but if I've got it right then here's what you do. Click on the white arrow to display the hidden icons. Drag the icon you want showing permanently down to the notification tray. Again, what could be simpler. Here's the bottom right corner of my screen:

Image

You can see the little arrow pointing upwards just to the left of the system tray. When I click that this is what I get:

Image

Any of those icons can be dragged down to the tray. Anything in the tray can be dragged off it and back into the hidden area again.

Great tip, thanks!


Events Calendar

Microsoft Build in May 10-12, 2017 in Seattle, Washington.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qb9opurg/

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rumh37uq/

Microsoft Ignite on September 25-29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rw1hxlnp/

Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact info@techgenix.com

New on TechGenix.com

TechGenix on the go

Too busy to read the news? Getting bored on your commute to work? We have you covered. The brand new TechGenix multimedia offerings let you watch and listen to the latest developments in IT while making your morning coffee, stuck in traffic, relaxing in your armchair after a hard day at work, or anytime in between.

Podcasts

The TechGenix Xtreme podcast series explores everything information technology. We love to talk about the industry, what it means to be working in IT, and all the absurd and hilarious situations we encountered in our professional careers. Of course, prepare for a lot of hardcore tech stuff too, including servers, virtualization, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and more.

Listen on SoundCloud

http://www.wservernews.com/go/znasc6gx/

Listen on iTunes

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fji6n6pn/

Videos

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then at 24 frames per second a video is worth... a hell of a lot. This is especially true for explaining complex ideas, where a video can be the fastest and most efficient way to understanding. The TechGenix YouTube channel serves exactly this purpose by providing quick overviews of new technologies and diving deep into the most convoluted tools and topics that an IT Pro might need to deal with. Subscribe today to see when we upload a new video!

Subscribe on YouTube

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8v0xrer5/

Alexa Skill

Listen to the latest TechGenix news and articles as Flash Briefings on Alexa devices. Works with Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap as well. No extra hardware or account is needed. Head over to the Amazon portal and enable the TechGenix Alexa Skill today! Our podcasts are also available on Alexa devices by default. Simply use the command: "Alexa, play the program TechGenix Xtreme." or "Alexa, play TechGenix Xtreme podcast on TuneIn."

Enable the Alexa Skill

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ah16x17f/

 

Tech Briefing

Azure

Testing AADConnect – Series (Praveen's Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wsi92n2m/

Azure AD Security – Protect Those Accounts, Services, and Audit Access! (Mobility and Security Blog by Courtenay Bernier)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/okz5aqfb/

Enterprise IT

A Brief History of Clustering (Virtualization Review)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4ebrzqsl/

Private Clouds, Datacenters and Azure, can't we just all get along? (Wilson Woo)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/rx1gk100/

Hyper-V

Introducing the Host Compute Service (HCS) (Virtualization Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hmehvnq0/

Hyper-V Performance - Networking (Nick Eales' blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/bi1d25e5/

Mobile Device Management

Protecting Corporate Data on Devices using Microsoft Intune MAM Policies (Part 1) (MSExchange.org)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ok8241hg/

Perspectives on the New Intune Console (Enterprise Mobility and Security Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/65qcab34/

Office 365

Microsoft Teams - The Chat Based Workspace in Office 365 (US SMB&D TS2 Team Blog)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mgbtcb4u/

O365 Migration that completes with warnings due to insufficient rights (Chris Allen)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/44bo7dhi/

 

Other Articles of Interest

Ten ways to improve your private cloud self-service portal

Cloud computing is known for its self-service model, which allows users to provision and manage resources without the need for direct IT intervention. But while many of these self-service interactions take place through a portal, simply creating that portal isn't enough. Discover ten criteria to create a superior private cloud self-service portal.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8r9wotai/

Citrix HDX SoC technology empowers VDI shops to use cheap thin clients

The Citrix HDX System-on-Chip program aims to help VDI shops use thin clients instead of desktops and laptops, which reduces costs, power consumption, and maintenance needs. In this tip, learn more about Citrix's HDX and SoC platform, the benefits of SoC architecture, and the future of SoC technology.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4q10uf9n/

Identify bottlenecks and resolve VM performance problems

When it comes to bottlenecks, CPU, memory, network, and storage are the main culprits. Since these are typically the infrastructure pieces that make up a virtual environment, adjusting one can have both a positive and negative effect on the others. In this tip, find out how you can identify and eliminate each of these bottlenecks.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/50t0g1vv/

Build a data center shutdown procedure to prepare for the worst

Although policy and process are critical for modern IT, data center admins are often unprepared to shut off things when the need arises. A well-conceived and tested data center shutdown procedure plays a key role in business continuity planning. In this tip, learn the major elements found in a basic shutdown document.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/vnal0gvc/

 

WServerNews FAVE Links

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 wsn@mtit.com

As Seen From A Drone Camera: SpaceX Falcon 9 First Stage Landing

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gjsi8fgu/

Halldor Helgason - Snowboarding Champion

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wfokxvws/

Amazing Color Changing Dominoes

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3mum4n29/

Lucky Moments

http://www.wservernews.com/go/eh3abl9e/

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

 

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.