Certified Mail

October 2003

Getting Licensed; Security Calamity; Salary Stories

License to Run
I liked the August article about the new licensing benefits for Microsoft (“License, Please…”). One clarification on the vouchers and e-training: On July 1, the date a limited “pilot” test for the overall program went live, we had over 700 Certified Technical Education Centers (CTEC) signed up to accept training vouchers from customers. So, our benefit is now available. To date, we have nearly 1,100 CTECs ready to accept customer training vouchers. By the time the complete WW benefits program launches, I predict we’ll have more than 1,200 CTECs on board, covering more than 70 countries.

Today, qualifying licensing customers can choose from 38 courses, including Windows Server 2003 courses. Additionally, selected titles are available in multiple languages. We’ll refresh the list every calendar quarter beginning in January 2004 to ensure it’s relevant to customers and representative of the best-of-breed courses for technical professionals from Microsoft.
—Bobby Sadin, WW Program Manager
Certified Technical Education Center
Microsoft Training & Certification

Secure by Design
I recently came across a problem that Microsoft seems to have overlooked in the quest to promote its new security message. That is, some software won’t run unless you have admin rights. It isn’t a new problem by any means. I suspect that many users and administrators have just shrugged and accepted that they can only solve the problem by using local admin rights.

As part of working toward a deployment of Active Directory and XP, though, I’ve been working really hard to get various applications working under a normal “user” account. I’ve been accomplishing this by using FileMon and RegMon to see why an application is failing and then weakening the specific permissions on files and/or Registry settings in order to get the app working.

It’s particularly irksome when the software publisher is Microsoft! This was apparent when I tried to activate my copy of Microsoft Reader so that I could download the e-books they were giving away this summer. You have to be an administrator to activate the copy of Microsoft Reader. Fair enough, I think. You’re activating the device, so that isn’t a big deal.

Wrong! You also have to be an administrator to use an activated copy of Reader. If you don’t have admin rights, Reader works but says it hasn’t been activated. I’ve reported this to Microsoft but it just confirmed the behavior and told me to send an e-mail to mswish@microsoft.com.
—Philip Colmer, MBCS, CEng, CCSE
Cambridge, England

Where There’s a Will
As in Dian Schaffhauser’s August editorial, “A Different Take,” I have a salary story. After lining my employer’s pockets for the better part of a decade, I was laid off. I was in a panic, as I had no certifications to prove I was capable of working in the computer industry. Good fortune is often disguised. Canadian unemployment benefits would pay for up to 60 percent of my schooling. Nine months later, I had my MCP, A+ and Net+.

As soon as I finished school, I found Human Resources & Development Canada had an entrepreneurial program that extended my benefits for another year. This program helped me set up my own business.

The silver lining is that several of my past employer’s clients sought me out. I walked into a client base that knew and trusted me. I work an average of four hours a day and love it. I make more money in half the time I used to work. A friend told me I should sue my past employer for not laying me off earlier!

The bottom line is, it’s your life, so attack it with vigor and results will happen regardless of bad economic times.
—Zolly Simon, MCP, A+, Network+
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Fortunately, I’m employed by a small IT consulting firm that’s weathered the storm thus far. I see two pressures on the IT career world. First was the dot-com bomb, where the whole IT world over-expanded. Second is the move of IT support overseas. This, in turn, pushes more people into the non-telephone support areas. Case in point: Dell’s decision to move 3,000 phone tech-support positions to India. Dell’s not the only one that’s going this route, though.
—Gary Leavelle, MCSE, CCNA, CCA
Dallas, Texas

To those who have worked in the field since the time when you had to remove the rat that got caught in the teletype machine: I enjoyed work more back then because technology didn’t move so fast.

To those who say there are no jobs where they live: IT is like real estate: location, location, location.

To those who complain about money: I currently work outside the U.S. for less money than I could get flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s in the U.S. You either work in IT because you love it or because you thought it was going to make you a lot of money. The latter only comes true if you live by the former. Sometimes you have to take a few steps back to go forward.
—George Knops, MCSE, CCNA, Net+
Brasilia, Brazil

Agentless vs. Agent-based
After reading “A Patchwork Quilt” in the August issue, I wanted to comment on the statement that David Tschanz made about the scalability of Ecora Patch Manager. While the reviewer stated that Ecora’s agentless architecture makes Patch Manager best suited for a small network of no more than 100 or so nodes, I’d like to counter that by saying that we have many large, proven installs with thousands of nodes.

I believe the real issue that Tschanz had was with agentless vs. agent-based solutions, and that should ideally be the customer’s choice. The true value of an automated patch-management solution is in how fast it can secure vulnerabilities, such as the MS03-026 Windows flaw. Right out of the box, Patch Manager does exactly that. In fact, many of our customers state an immediate return on investment upon initial scan and analysis of their systems.
—Alex Bakman, CEO
Ecora Software

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