Back to the Future

Do the Unix administrators in your company think you’re less than a real man (or woman) because you point-and-click your way through admin tasks? Do they snigger behind your back and call you “GUI Boy” because you can’t even write a simple logon script?

It’s true that Windows is visually driven, and a whole (at least in Internet time) generation of admins grew up learning with a GUI. But those Windows admins are slowly beginning to realize the value of scripting, if the popularity of our print and online scripting articles and attendance at scripting sessions at our TechMentor conferences is any indication. And why not? Scripting can save you hours of time over straight GUI usage.

Microsoft also supports this move to go “back to the future,” only without Marty and Biff, by building more scripting capabilities into its latest products. Case in point: Today’s release of Exchange 12 Beta 1 has a scriptable command shell based on the Monad scripting shell. Given the complexity the new, 64-bit version of Exchange is likely to have (I think I’d faint if a new version of any Microsoft product actually had a smaller footprint), scripting could free up so much of your time that you could leave work most nights at the ridiculously early hour of 8 p.m.!

Virtualize This!
The January issue of Redmond magazine has an article about three IT managers who are using virtualization technologies to help make their work environments more efficient and secure. Well, the VMware people have added another usage for their virtual machines and it has a real “Doh! Why didn’t we think of that before!” effect: a pre-built virtual machine for the Firefox Web browser. What this means is that once you put the browser in its own little sanctuary, it won’t affect the rest of your network, no matter how many viruses or how much spyware it picks up. Neato, huh?

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The View
Speaking of Firefox, I got a great tip from a reader yesterday that I thought I’d pass along:

“One of the best Firefox extensions I've found is IE View. IE View allows you to right-click on a Web page and have it open in IE. It's a nice way to excuse those sites that are stuck with IE-itis.”

That tip is from Charlie Jarman. I’ve been using IE View since yesterday, and it’s great. Find it here.

What are Your Best Troubleshooting Tips?
The feedback I’ve gotten from you folks yesterday (my pitch for a column name, along with your worst IT experiences) was so phenomenal that I’ve decided to try it again. We’re running a feature soon on hardware troubleshooting methods, and I’d like to include tips and tricks from our readers in the article. Please give me a brief (75 words or less) description of your favorite hardware troubleshooting tip, along with your name, job title, and city and state. The best ones will be featured in the print version of the story, and the crème de la crème will win a $50 Amazon gift certificate. Send your tips to kward@redmondmag.com, and put “Hardware Troubleshooting Tip” in the subject line.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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