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Doug's Mailbag: Dream IT Jobs, Ballmer a Bradshaw Look-Alike?, More

Doug asked readers this week what their ideal IT jobs would be if money were no object (an unlikely thing in this economy, but still). This is Glenn's

Here's mine: I would like to be a news writer. Not simply a mainstream media reporter but a technical information news source writer. I am currently employed full-time by an Fortune 100 firm as a programminer in the engineering group for one of their facilities. However, I moonlight at night as a reporter for a local newspaper, dabble in blogging, have written a few technical articles in the past (primarily for the HP 3000 NewsWire), and done some conference presentations. If money were no object, I would turn the technical news writing into a full-time gig and dabble in presentations as my sideline.

Unfortunately, except for the very young (who can afford to be patient) and the well-entrenched established technical journalists, it is difficult to find fulfillment at a level that also pays the bills.

Got any suggestions for future Redmond magazine topics? If you do, make sure to send them Doug's way at Here are a couple of your ideas:

What about desktop/kiosk setups and lockdowns? Using DeepFreeze right now, but would love suggestions for idiot-proof interfaces for kiosks like Best Buy does to demo computers. My need would be to display prominently a few Web pages for customers to use to fill out credit apps, surveys, etc.

Also, what about point-of-sales programs, or RFID implementations using some open products to piece your own together? Might not be Windows-centric, but would be interesting.

How about the subject of telework being hindered by concerns with security? Specifically, those who deal with sensitive or personal information in their work may only be able to telework using primitive means, such as burning CDs with data then taking organization laptops home to read those CDs. How legitimate are the security concerns with connecting from home computers to enterprise servers or PCs when personal information is involved?

Earlier this week, reader Michael wrote in to say that he still doesn't understand all the anti-Vista comments out there. But Scott, for one, does:

Here is what Michael is missing about the Vista hating: those "Vista Capable" low-end machines that are dog slow. I have removed Vista from many of these machines (mostly Dells) at the request of my customers who purchased them for internal company use (before I specified their new hardware). XP was no longer available from Dell. Load the same machine up with XP, and suddenly it is a usable PC for small office applications. Why Dell even sold Vista machines with Celeron processors and 2GB max RAM (shared with the GPU!) is beyond me, but XP runs just fine on those low-end PCs.

And finally, a question for the ages: Does Steve Ballmer, in fact, look like Terry Bradshaw?

Yes, from the forehead up.

Bradshaw? I don't think so. Ballmer still looks like a dork -- even cowboy boots won't fix it.

No, Steve Ballmer looks just like John Minko, one of the update men on WFAN in New York.

Better question: Does Terry Bradshaw look like an onion in a peanut patch? Oh, the question was about Ballmer. OK...does Ballmer look like like an onion in a peanut patch?

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/25/2009 at 1:17 PM


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