Fashion plate; reading the fine print; demystifying printing for users.
On the New Look
I just finished reading Dian Schaffhauser’s editorial in the October
. I must say I like the new cover very much! I often thought
the covers on previous issues looked rather cartoonish and too busy. As
you stated, you don’t have to “shout” to get me to read each issue cover
to cover! Now, onto the rest of the magazine.
—Brian D. Richards, MCSE+I, MCDBA, MCSA, MCSE
I'm not very stunned but surprised to see a change. I’ve been receiving
the magazine for a few years and have saved almost all of them. This new
look is nice, more professional looking. It took a few times to navigate
through the articles since the layout has changed, but in no time I eased
into it again.
—Christopher James Keim, MCP, A+, CCA
North Hollywood, California
I almost threw the latest MCP Magazine in the garbage with my
junk mail! I didn’t recognize it. I enjoyed the old, colorful look—that
was part of the fun. Now, it’s what art people call “earthy.” I think
earth tones are for living room furniture. The biggest word on the cover
should be “Professional,” because that’s the most important element—the
professionals, the people who make Microsoft certifications what they
are. Without them, you have no certifications and no Microsoft. Looks
are superficial, though. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. MCP Magazine
remains one of my favorites. I'll continue to read it faithfully no matter
what it looks like.
—Chris Weldon CERT
It's been months since I opened my issue of MCP, but I did with the October
issue. Why? Because, it looked professional! I grew tired of getting a
magazine that made my profession (and I consider myself a professional
in both business and technical), look like child's play. The cover is
clean, crisp and a great representation.
—Martin Weiss, MCSE, CISSP
Where’s the Template?
In the September “Security
Advisor” column, the baseline.inf and incremental.inf templates were
discussed. I’m running Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, and the templates
I get are the basicdc.inf, basicsv.inf, basicwk.inf, compatws.inf, DC
Security.inf, hisecdc.inf, hisecws.inf, ocfiless.inf, ocfilesw.inf, securedc.inf,
securews.inf and setup security.inf. Am I doing something wrong, or are
there other templates I need to download? I used the basicsv.inf in place
of the baseline.inf.
—Ron Williams, MCP, A+
Yes, these templates can be downloaded, along with a rather nice
document on security for Win2K. It’s the Security Operations Guide available
DEFAULT.asp. Download the scripts to get the .inf files. More information
is available in my October
Under Your Thumb
Many of your articles seem to present the common theme “Keep the
users ignorant,” including October’s article, “Printer
Magic,” by Jeremy Moskowitz. I admit that I have some high-touch users,
but most are willing to learn and do well once they’re educated.
Our information services team has a fresh approach to users. We don’t
hide server issues or problems behind “geek-speak.” We talk plainly and
openly about issues we encounter. Also, we’re willing to spend time educating
users about the PCs they use daily. In doing so, we get more time to do
things other than remote controlling Johnny’s PC to help him set up a
Most of your articles wish to portray network technology as some sort
of magic, untouchable by mere mortals like your end users. While I find
your articles to be helpful technically, I find most articles ethically
deprived in how they see the same employees who make a profit to pay their
wage. Although I wouldn’t take 10 hours explaining Active Directory to
a user who has no business understanding administrative tasks, I would
spend time with a user in hope that it would curb a future call.
MCPs and MCSEs need to step up the customer service level a tad. When
they buy or use products or services, I’m sure they don’t want a person
at the other end of the phone presupposing he or she is an idiot.
—Dana Nova, MCP, CNA, LCP, A+
As IT pros, I don’t think we’re particularly trying to "keep the
user ignorant." On the other hand, we do our job; they do theirs. Personally,
I have no in-depth knowledge of accounting, facilities or human resources—
nor do I want to, and they need no in-depth knowledge of the stuff I
do. One of the points I was trying to convey in "Printer Magic" is that
cube calls are simply antiquated and outmoded when so much can be done
from the server. Cube calls are costly, time-consuming (for us and for
them) and take away from the bigger picture of Group Policy, server-side
management for the client, remote control tools, remote diagnostics
and other innovations in the last several years. Sometimes there’s no
substitute for a cube call. However, I stand by my “No cube calls unless
it’s absolutely necessary” tack because if all we did all day long were
cube calls, we’d never get anything done, nor would our users.
More Security Guides on the Way
I liked Roberta Bragg’s column on “Security,
List by List,” in the September issue—especially because I work on
the team that created the guidance for these lists! In reference to the
request for Exchange help, PAG (Prescriptive Architecture Guidance) has
published the Exchange 2000 Security Guide (www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/
technet/security/prodtech/mailexch/opsguide/default.asp), as part
of our branded series of works “patterns and practices” (http://msdn.microsoft.com/practices/).
We’ll also be publishing “Building Secure .ASP NET Applications” later
In regard to the “Call Me Certifiable” October column, “Trust
Us, We’re Microsoft,” I suppose I’m optimistic, but I don’t see a
problem with trusting Microsoft. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a
stickler for legal software. I’ve never had an issue with possible violations
because, unlike a lot of my peers in the IT world, I don’t run illegal
I have enough guilt in my life without needing to lose sleep over getting
caught with illegal music or software. It’s like speeding. I have a foolproof
method of never getting a speeding ticket: I don’t speed.
—Scott McBride, MCP
Brown Summit, North Carolina
I think Auntie’s being way too paranoid. This DRM stuff will go away
eventually. Microsoft is only saying, “Hey, if DRM comes about and we
have to make our systems compliant with it, we will.” It’s no big deal.
I don’t look for DRM to really be enforced anyway because the public won’t
let it happen, just as they didn’t let the government outlaw VCRs.
Em, relax, reinstall WMP and have another lemonade with Fabio.
—Jim Roscovius, MCSE, MCP
Sioux City, Iowa
I can say, being raised in the country, hens get mad regardless of moisture
conditions. Though, if you spray them with water they seem to get in a
“fowl” mood quicker!
I’ve been accustomed to just clicking “yes” on agreements. But, after
reading your article, I’ve decided to give in and read every word of every
EULA I encounter. Unfortunately, it appears companies are becoming more
sneaky and believe they can do anything because we as consumers need their
software and will give up all our rights if they try to take them.
—Carl Williams, MCP
One thing is clear: Readers do care about EULAs. Auntie heard from
dozens of you. Many thanked me for raising this issue; others suggested
that they’d do what they like with software, EULA or no EULA; one especially
treasured writer called me “a seething anti-Microsoft zealot.” There
are many with neither time nor inclination to read such things, inasmuch
as the installations leave you no choice but to click “yes,” at least
if you want the software to install. I’m also moderately surprised at
how many of you certified professionals are moving to Linux or other
alternatives. Certainly EULAs aren’t solely responsible for this migration,
but certainly they’re one of the straws on the camel’s back.
The most sobering observation is that you don’t think you have a
choice: Leave your computer vulnerable to hacking or agree to a EULA
that waives significant rights. Auntie thinks that the case law in this
area may get mighty interesting over the next few years. Meanwhile,
we all need to let our consciences decide when to click.
—Em C. Pea
Regarding Auntie's October column, once upon a time they used to read
as follows: You can't sell or redistribute without our permission. You
can't disassemble or reverse engineer. You can't use this copy on more
than one computer. We aren't responsible for any damages incurred while
using our software.
Nowadays, they read more like this: You will sign over ownership to us
of your house, vehicle, children and soul. You will sign away all constitutional
freedoms. You will only run the software at our convenience. You will
only use hardware of our choosing. You will only use media of our choosing.
You will like our software. You still can't do anything that we didn't
let you do before. You get to do less with the software now than before.
You will trust us to not take advantage of you, the valued customer.
It's really sad.
—Jay Meeker, MCSE, MCSA
Should I trust Microsoft? Do I have a choice?
—Christopher James Keim, MCP, A+, CCA
North Hollywood, California
I read your editorial on EULAs and am in complete agreement. I'm disgusted
by the manner in which companies are attempting to take control of users
computers not with hacker tools, but with licenses. It's for reasons such
as this that I no longer recommend Microsoft software for any purpose
other than office desktop computing and AD logon servers. For any other
application or service, I recommend either Linux or Solaris solutions
that appropriately fill the need.
I hope that others who object to having their rights crushed via licensing
begin migrating to other solutions as well.
—Aaron Carr, MCP, MCSE, CCNA
West Chester, Pennsylvania
A patch to an already established version of a software package shouldn't
be able to alter the EULA. This is like taking your car into the shop
to fix a warranty-covered issue and being told that in order to fix this
problem, you have to agree to a new warranty. However, this new warranty
might just alter your warranty rights hereafter or affect how you use
your car in the future. Do you fix your car, or decide to run with it
broken so the car manufacturer can't take away some other feature of your
car? If any other industry tried these types of tactics, they would find
themselves on the other side of a class action law suit, or at the minimum,
some intense government scrutiny.
—Bryan MacLeod, MCSE
If only our friends in Redmond would put as much effort and thought into
designing good software as they do their EULAs! No, I don't read EULAs
anymore because if I really read and understood them, I wouldn't be able
to install the software with a clear conscience. Your vigilance, though,
is most appreciated. Say goodbye to WMP!
—Pete Helgren, MCP, MCSE
Salt Lake City, Utah
Growing up, we had our old grandmother living with us, who was named
Eula. She was a cantankerous woman with enough attitude for four lifetimes.
Well, my grandmother and I never got along. She was nagging and forceful.
Something about that name disturbs me. So it's no surprise that when
I read Microsoft's first EULA, I was disturbed. Now, it's nagging and
So what is it about the word EULA? Is it just one of those things that
make people want to punch holes in things, a bad omen or what? Is Microsoft
part of some plot to plague me with cantankerous guidelines, sort of like
my dear, sweet old grandmother?
My grandmother lived until she was 86. That Microsoft will be around
longer than 86 years makes me wonder: Should Redmond get its way? So,
the cantankerism will continue, unless Microsoft dies of old age.
—Rick A. Butler
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Well, of course I don't read EULAs any more. You mean I was supposed
to? Please, they have been spying on us for years. Remember back in the
Windows 95/98 days when you'd go to the Windowsupdate site to apply patches,
and that little dialog box would come up and say something like "…this
done without sending any information to Microsoft...."? Of course you're
not sending anything to them--they're just taking it. Don't kid yourself.
Gee, how many OS versions can Redmond pump out every couple of years?
What it comes down to it, if it's not Microsoft spying on you, it'll be
someone else. So what's the difference?
Maybe the next version of Ad-ware will scan your system and tell you
Windows is spyware.
—Ryan Heimbecker, MCP
Brantford, Ontario, Canada