Vol. 22, #42 - October 16, 2017 - Issue #1153

WServerNews: Will automation kill IT jobs?

Free Tool: Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory 


SolarWinds® Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory™ gives you instant visibility into user and group permissions and a complete hierarchical view of the effective permissions and access rights for a specific NTFS file folder or share drive – all from a user friendly desktop dashboard.  Browse permissions by group or individual user, and analyze user permissions based on group membership combined with specific permissions.  Unravel a tangled mess of file permissions: network share, folder, Active Directory, inherent, explicit, calculated and more.

Download the Free Permissions Analyzer Tool Today. 

Editor's Corner

  • 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!

Last week's newsletter Issue #1152 Best (and worst) IT jobs generated some interesting feedback from readers on the subject of how automation may impact our IT profession in the coming years, so we're focusing this week's newsletter on this topic. We also have some tips, tools, links and fun stuff to keep you occupied as worry about being replaced at work by a robot. Mind you, not everyone worries about robots taking their jobs as this Dilbert comic illustrates:


I have to say that I admire Scott Adams for keeping in touch with the concerns of the corporate workforce as the above comic published only last month shows. Some cartoonists run out of steam over the years and their comic strips end up in a rut, but Adams seems to keep finding fresh inspiration in today's corporate environment that keeps his comic strip funny and relevant.


Coming up this week in FitITproNews

In this week's issue of FitITproNews we take a close look at calories and expose several fallacies associated with monitoring your caloric intake. We also have some exercise and nutrition tips and fitness "tools" to recommend, so be sure to read FitITproNews when it arrives in your Inbox on Wednesday because it's REAL fitness for REAL IT pros!

Ask Our Readers: WServerNews now has over 220,000 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]

From the Mailbag

We'll start by catching up on a few missed emails that we discovered when we dug into the bottom of our Mailbag--our apologies for missing these.

On Issue #1148 Should we end large IT projects:

Whenever I hear of a large IT project that has failed, I always think of the book The Mythical Man Month. i.e. If one IT person can do the project in one month then 30 IT people can get it done in one day:


--Carl Webster the Accidental Citrix Admin

On Issue #1149 Reader Feedback - Should we end large IT projects:

Sad news about Jerry Pournelle, I didn't know he had passed away until I read the newsletter. I subscribed to Byte magazine, not a cheap thing to do living in Australia back then, I think it may have cost over $100+! What a great magazine, I used to read it and actually learn stuff. Back then I commuted to work on a train and buried myself in it. I kicked off reading Byte as an Electronics Tech, then later as an IT Pro. Byte was great in that it actually presented things technically, no salesy crap. I can still remember I was very saddened when I found out it was no longer being written/made/produced. --Matt from Australia

On Issue #1151 Videoconferencing, ransomware, rescue disks, and more:

Thanks a ton for the great newsletter. I have followed it for years. On the Video Teleconferencing solution we use Bluejeans and it works great:


We are a worldwide company and it is well received application. It works great on PCs and Smart phones as well. Just my two cents. --Jeff a System Administrator in Washington State, USA

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


Will automation kill IT jobs?

The answer of course to this question is yes of course! Most technological changes result in certain kinds of jobs being lost, but there are often new kinds of jobs created as well. In fact the very nature of IT work is constantly evolving as a result of new automation technologies. Remember when Windows NT came out with its Event Viewer utility? I still remember manually checking these logs from time to time to make sure everything was humming along well with my servers. Of course it wasn't long until third-party companies began offering software that automated the monitoring of Windows event logs and raised email or text alerts when specified conditions occurred. That's just one obvious example of how automation made the job of the sysadmin easier--or rather it freed sysadmins up from one task so they could focus on another.

So automation while disruptive can also be beneficial in many ways. The question of course is who really benefits from major kinds of disruption like the (supposedly) coming AI revolution. Two emails in particular that we received brought this subject into focus for us and we want to share them here for our readers to comment on. First, here is a "Dear Sir" email we received from a DevOps and Cloud Administrator named Mayank:

Dear Sir, I have heard many people talking about that fields like system administrator, QA engineers, software test engineers are been threatened by automation. People say that companies would use machine learning and have robots to do that works but your article on what IT jobs are best and worst you consider system administrators and it support staff comes under the category of the best IT jobs. Well my question from you was are these obligations true and at what point of time these things are going to take place and at what extend it is going to happen. With regards, Mayank.

Well that's a good question. I guess I included system admins as a "good IT job" simply because I've done it and found it can be a lot of fun (and stress too) or at least it's certainly not boring! But I do wonder how advances in automation and especially AI are going to impact the sysadmins job in the near future. Perhaps sysadmin jobs will steadily decline over time as AI replaces many of them. Or maybe they'll decline and then a reaction will set in and they'll rebound in number again. Or perhaps sysadmin jobs will remain about the same in number but will change in nature. What do our readers think about this? Email me at [email protected]

We also received the following lengthy rumination from a reader named John:

Mitch, you've brought up something I was thinking about not too long ago myself. With everything automated and scripted today, what does a computer operator do these days outside of monitoring the hardware for failure, and ensuring that everything stays glued together? Do they run batches on various jobs? All I can say is I was pretty busy on my shifts, but I doubt it happens today with everything monitored by the customer rather than the corporate datacenter, which we're used to.

From 1988-1995, I worked as a computer operator for two organizations. During the second shift operations, there were things to do such as monitoring the VAXs and Sun OS machines at one location, and running the usual backup routines and batch jobs. This wasn't a terribly difficult job, and there was quite a bit downtime to do other stuff. I found I could time the backups to 20 minutes per tape so if I had projects to do, I could wind up various phases just in time to flip tapes. Things here could go wrong, but not very often being old hard-working and reliable VAX 11/780s and the Sun equipment. The worst thing I faced on one shift was a blown transformer that took out one of the power-phases to the building, which shut us down for the night. Other times it was usually a broken band on the LP27 printer, which required a service call. The second operation was a mix of VMS, MVS/TSO, and custom applications running on a Novell Netware platform. This was quite the busy places with various jobs which ran concurrently or dependently on other jobs run during the shift or on other shifts. Being a life insurance operation, we had to remain in operation 24/7, 363 days per year. There were no holiday breaks for us, summer Fridays off, or office parties. We had to keep the ship running no matter what.

During the shifts there was a bit of downtime, as the jobs processed stuff, but like cooking a meal you had to get up and check things. For some the shift went smooth sailing and ended painlessly, but this wasn't always the case. For some of us, however, things would always happen at night. The VAX would decide that it would eat the backup tapes and get them stuck in the tape elevator loader, or one of the Novell servers would decide that its SCSI RAID was no longer mountable no matter how much we rebooted it and gave it the evil eye. This didn't include some of the batch-job issues we'd run into due as someone on the first shift forgetting a step even though they signed off their check-off sheet. We also had team projects and individual projects, as if the shift wasn't busy enough. My personal project was documenting the job cycle, and all the steps and processes, procedures for every batch we ran, this project lead to less downtime due to job errors so it was a worthy cause. The team projects varied from computer room maintenance type things to do such as come in during the downtimes to replace UPS batteries and assist the network services group with server upgrades.

This email really got me thinking. Has the job of the systems administrator basically become a kind of custodial function nowadays? We repair things when they break and we hang around in case something goes wrong so we can be there to try and fix it (or take the blame if it can't be fixed quickly). Sounds a lot like being a caretaker in a school to me--is that what IT work has evolved in general to become?

Of course there are also those who design and implement systems and network infrastructures, the architects and engineers. And there are those who sell stuff to customers and who therefore have to have at least some working understanding of how the stuff they're selling works. Maybe a better analogy would be the automobile industry where you have those who design new cars, those who build them, those who sell them, and those who repair and maintain them. Which of those four job sectors (architect/design, implement/build, sell, fix) is likely to be most affected by AI? Which least affected? How might this dictate our choice for a career path if we're just starting out in IT? What impact does this have for those of us who have already worked in IT for 10, 20, or more years? And if I'm currently working in IT how should I prepare for the rise of the robot army of IT workers? Maybe I should just switch careers and become a trucker instead?

Oh wait, maybe not:


Argh. Anyways, love to hear your comments on this subject--email me at [email protected]

Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

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Factoid of the Week

Last week's factoid and question was this:

Research shows that people with autism have a stronger aptitude for focusing on tasks. Is mild autism a success indicator for the IT profession?

I also shared a personal story last week about how I had my hearing tested years ago with some surprising results. This generated some interesting feedback from several of our readers. Susan from Minnesota, USA shared this story of how working as an IT helpdesk person seems to have affected her ability to hear certain kinds of sounds:

I haven't had my hearing checked, but probably should. My first year or so as an IT helpdesk person, I sat next to a couple of servers in a small building that didn't have enough office space, so that's where they sat me. As you can imagine…that left an impact. I have an issue with low tone, especially with guys with deep voices that speak quietly. Most of the time, I can't hear what they're saying. But I also have that problem where in a large, noisy crowd, it all sounds like hens clucking and I have a heck of a time keeping up with the conversations going on around me. Much to say, when out in social situations, I find that I don't talk a lot and generally don't enjoy them much. As you can imagine, it makes going to IT gatherings interesting when 90% or more of the attendants are men!

Well, maybe that's not such a bad thing as I find the conversation when IT guys get together can often be pretty dull and boring :-P

Another reader named John who is a classically trained pianist (as I myself am, I can actually trace my lineage through my piano teacher to Chopin and Busoni) shared the following:

Mitch, that's an interesting observation by your audiologist, but did he take into consideration that you have been working around computers? I recently visited an audiologist myself due to tinnitus and vertigo issues. During the tests, she tested my hearing range and determined I had lost the 4khz to 6khz range, and the tinnitus is caused by nerve damage. The vertigo issue comes and goes and it's not related to this. Anyway, as a classically trained pianist, this is disheartening to hear and reaffirmed my observations of loss of audio fidelity, but this also got me thinking about the workplace noise. As a music student, I was careful of my hearing. I played a real piano and ensured that my practicing wasn't too loud in my practice rooms and at home, and that my room didn't produce harsh noise. Then much later, even with a digital piano and headphones, I ensured that they have never been too loud as to cause pain or ringing.

With that said, however, as an IT professional we're exposed to low frequency noise, which we never take into consideration. Let's face it, we work in a noisy environment. It's not always a loud environment, but one which is constantly hammering at our ears. There is that low frequency hum of computer fans, and cooling fans for our CPUs, GPUs and other peripherals. Individual computers are noisy enough, but then there are those datacenters with a multitude of systems running. Sound is additive and the DBs are exponential, so all this is making the environment very noisy. In the olden days, relatively speaking, we were also exposed to the higher frequency switching from CRT monitors. In my case I used to repair video terminals, which would be out of vertical synch and throwing out high-pitched whines and whistles that would drive any dog crazy. So yeah, as a computer geek, we may have the signs of autism as you've said, but the doctors need to take the environment into consideration as well from whence we've come. I agree after putting in hours trying to fix a problem, we can become a bit curt on response. :-)

Interesting, I hadn't thought about the additive nature of sound decibels at different frequencies. Next up is this interesting info communicated to us by Matt who works in an agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

I don't know about the IT industry, but the movie industry has been using people with autism for a few years now. With digital photography, it is easy to "clean up" or remove things from scenes such as telephone lines in the background. People with autism are an asset to do such work since they do well focusing on tasks. Here is a sample article talking about it:


Fascinating, that certainly got my Mr. Spock ears raised up.

Here is one more email from one of our retired readers named Larry from Michigan, USA who makes a really good point at the end about the give and take of the decisions we make in our lives:

Hello Mitch, your article struck a chord with me and I would like to share my experience with you. I am 77 years old and repaired my first digital machine at 19. I had a security clearance and was in the north Atlantic for the U.S. Navy. These were purpose-built machines for a missile program since declassified in the eighties. I have been repairing computers ever since. From Honeywell mainframes to Digital minis to various micros. Classically, while on night duty at Ford's I fired up a computer and a keypunch to teach my self Cobol and Basic. After graduating college I switched to software and the last thirty years I supported a dozen cities with my accounting software. I did not have friends (a wife of fifty-some years but you know what I mean) I had employees that I liked and clients for over twenty years, but not classically friends. I have five children so my calendar and lap were full. I could not read faces or voices and was scrupulosity honest because of not being able to read people. I was proud of my short-term memory and felt real pain when a client would interrupt me while I was coding.

At 63 I retired. I dropped the computer world cold. No service calls no magazines no books. Cold. We bought a "farm" and I have chickens and ducks and tractors and gardened. Built chicken coops and small barns and it was wonderful. It took several years but one day I felt my mind dumping memories, really old stuff would come out of nowhere, pass through and be gone. Sitting on the tractor seem to trigger the most. Around that time volunteered to do income taxes for low-income families along with a team of fifty other people, mostly guys. I was afraid I would lack the social skills to sit with a stranger and talk about personal stuff. Shock! I was funny, I could look at a person in pain and make them smile and bring out a laugh. I could read their face I could listen to what they would say and I could picture details they did not say. I went out to lunch with the guys and we formed a fun team. My take away is that in order to be really good at something, we have to shortchange something else. In my case, it was social skills. It took several years for my mind to clear but I am not autistic.

I hope some of the younger readers of our newsletter can learn something from Larry's story because we're all going to end up in the farm in one way or another ;-)

Now let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Apple computers were the general purpose computers to impose censorship over what programs the user can install.

Source: http://www.wservernews.com/go/a0hb1ye9/

Question: So why do we still use Apple products? I don't use Macs but I've used iPods, iPads, and iPhones over the course of the years and currently have an iPad Air 2 and would buy an iPad Pro tomorrow if the price weren't so outrageously high.

Email your thoughts to me if you have any: [email protected]

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 [email protected]

New Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5 brings significant scalability improvements by introducing the distributed architecture to support largest Office 365 deployments. 


This script calls a SQL Agent Job from another Job on a remote server in SQL Server:


MHDD is a popular freeware program for low-level HDD diagnostics:


Gargoyle is a free firmware upgrade for your wireless router that lets you monitor bandwidth, set quotas and throttles, block forbidden websites, and more:



This Week's Tips

Windows 10 - New Group Policy settings

Rod Trent's myITforum site has begun a series of articles that will highlight some of the new Group Policy settings that will be introduced with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. The first such article can be found here:



OpsMgr - Better HTML reports

The GERMANageability 365 Degree blog on TechNet has an article about creating helpful HTML reports from SCOM Management Packs:


Networking - Monitoring connections

Chris's Performance Testing Blog has a new post about how you can use PowerShell to load test network connection monitoring using Netstat:


Events Calendar

IT/Dev Connections on October 23-26, 2017 in San Francisco, California


SharePoint Unite on October 24-26, 2017 in Haarlem, Netherlands


DEVintersection on October 31 - November 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada


European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference on November 13-16, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland


SharePoint Fest on December 609, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois


Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

New on TechGenix.com

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Nested virtualization now available in Microsoft Azure

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Azure confidential computing keeps data secure while in use

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Looking for a disaster recovery service vendor? Don't sign that contract until you read this

Signing a contract with a disaster recovery service vendor may be a good idea for your business. But signing a bad contract may be a disaster in itself.



Tech Briefing - System Center

Monitoring and Analytics with Microsoft SCOM & OMS 

From the blog of Thomas Maurer


Host Virtual Receive Side Scaling and System Center VMM 2016

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Modern Driver Management using Web Services during OSD with ConfigMgr

From SCConfigMgr


How to Setup SCCM CB and InTune Co-Management

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SCOM 2016 with Powershell Desired State Configuration Part 3

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Other Articles of Interest

Citrix releases XenApp/XenDesktop 7.15 Long-Term Service Release

Citrix has just released the XenApp/XenDesktop 7.15 Long-Term Service Release (LTSR). With this version, upgrading is both a technical and business decision, and IT departments must consider the LTSR program in general. Take a look at what it is, and what's new. 


Why should IT virtualize Windows 10?

There are several key benefits to virtualizing Windows 10, including making the entire deployment process easier, simplifying patch management, better security and much more. Read on to discover additional benefits.


VMware gets in tune with Office 365 mobile app management

VMware's support for the Microsoft Graph API for Intune means Workspace One users can manage Office 365 mobile apps directly, without using a separate console.


Set up a virtual hard disk and perform a Windows 10 dual boot

Dual booting Windows 10 can come in handy in a variety of ways. The process requires that IT knows how to build a virtual hard disk and install Windows 10 on it. Find out how here.



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 [email protected]

Extreme Cycling At The Grand Canyon

Bike Trial World Champion and 10-times Guinness World Record holder Vittorio Brumotti explores the Grand Canyon:


How Wolves Change Rivers

This is the story about how a pack of wolves were released out in Yellowstone National Park, and how they ultimately changed the whole eco system:


Amazing Billiard Trick Shots

It is amazing how well he can keep his eye on the ball with that fetching woman sitting on the pool table:


Enter Pyongyang - North Korea Timelapse

This extraordinary time-lapse video shows the North Korean capital of Pyongyang as it has never been seen before:


WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool: Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory 


SolarWinds® Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory™ gives you instant visibility into user and group permissions and a complete hierarchical view of the effective permissions and access rights for a specific NTFS file folder or share drive – all from a user friendly desktop dashboard.  Browse permissions by group or individual user, and analyze user permissions based on group membership combined with specific permissions.  Unravel a tangled mess of file permissions: network share, folder, Active Directory, inherent, explicit, calculated and more.

Download the Free Permissions Analyzer Tool Today. 

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.