Certified Mail

December 2002

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 issue. 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
Washington, D.C.

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
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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
Middletown, Connecticut

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+
Westfield, Indiana

Yes, these templates can be downloaded, along with a rather nice document on security for Win2K. It’s the Security Operations Guide available at www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/
. Download the scripts to get the .inf files. More information is available in my October column.
—Roberta Bragg

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 PAB file.

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+
Tustin, California

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.
—Jeremy Moskowitz

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=/
), 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 this fall.
—Chris Sfanos
Redmond, Washington

License This
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 software.

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
Macon, Georgia

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
Norfolk, Virginia

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
Brighton, Colorado

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 forceful.

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


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