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Comment Use a service provider? (Score 1) 114

Disclosure: I work for a small company that provides Systems Administration for other small companies.

There are products like Labtech that allow you to install a management program on every computer, and then the management program reports back to the server with each system's details: Serial number, make, model, software installed, hardware installed, and much more. When we get to a new site, we install the management tool on a server, push it out to each device with a logon script, and pretty quickly have a very detailed overview of the local network. Each geographic location can be scanned in a similar manner, and report back to the central management server.

These types of products are probably cost-prohibitive for the size network that you described, but you may be able to find a local company to work with you to get your stuff documented. If not, there are probably similar tools that are available for a setup of your size.

The advantage of these types of tools is that they track your devices for you, and allow you to query them quickly for almost any information that you would like. You can set up alerts to tell you when a system is three years old, for example, and potentially up for replacement.

These types of tools free you up to do what is probably more important in your case: Dealing with what will make your users more productive.

Good luck! It sounds very exciting.


Seinfeld's Good Samaritan Law Now Reality? Screenshot-sm 735

e3m4n writes "The fictitious 'good samaritan' law from the final episode of Seinfeld (the one that landed them in jail for a year) appears to be headed toward reality for California residents after the house passed this bill. There are some differences, such as direct action is not required, but the concept of guilt by association for not doing the right thing is still on the face of the bill."

Fifth Cable Cut To Middle East 676

You may have noticed a number of stories recently about undersea cables getting cut around the world. Apparently the total is now up to 5, but the scariest part of this is that Iran is now offline. You can also read Schneier's comments on this coincidence. Update: 02/06 17:42 GMT by Z : As a commenter notes, though the country of Iran is obviously experiencing some networking difficulties, it is not offline.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Another Nerdcore Movie????

If there weren't enough trailers about nerdcore hip hop's ANOTHER one This one actually looks really good and made me go "I want to go see this movie."

Submission + - Potty mouth: reading e-mail in the bathroom

coondoggie writes: "In a rather disconcerting find, almost one in five small business managers read work-related e-mails and other documents in the bathroom, presumably at work. It's worse that almost 50% of them said they work while driving, but the bathroom? What could be that interesting? (This study follows another one that indicated more Americans are logging wirelessly into the Internet — from their bathrooms.) The survey of 300 small business owners (with up to 20 employees) was sponsored by Staples and conducted by International Communications Research. Here are some other findings: One in five (21%) work while eating dinner at least 4-5 times per week... 8"
The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Laptop Recipient Auctioning Laptop 363

Salvance writes "While most bloggers who received the controversial Vista powered Acer from Microsoft are keeping them, Laughing Squid has decided to auction off his free laptop from Microsoft and donate all proceeds to the The Electronic Frontier Foundation. (EFF) He saw this as a great opportunity to support a worthy cause, and some other bloggers are following suit. What's funny is that Microsoft is now backpedaling and telling bloggers to send back the laptops. Do they even have a legal right to do so?"

Google Patents the Design of Search Results Page 114

prostoalex writes "ZDNet is reporting that USPTO issued a patent to Google, Inc. for 'ornamental design for a graphical user interface'. This is not, as ZDNet points out, a software patent (which is usually issued as a utility patent), but a design patent, which governs the look and feel of the product and prevents others from directly copying it." Ironic, given Google's recent slip-up of copying a Yahoo page. In news on the flipside, Google has launched a patent search service (in beta).

World's Largest Atom Smasher Nears Completion 227

evanwired writes "The last magnet was put in place this week at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. When the device is completed about a year from now it will be the world's largest particle accelerator, putting scientists in reach of new data and possible answers to questions dominated by theory over observation for the past two decades. Wired News recently visited the installation — awe-inspiring in its scale — as part of an in-depth, three-part series on the collider exploring the engineering, science and politics of high-end theoretical physics in the 21st century."

Vista's EULA Product Activation Worries 439

applejax writes "SecurityFocus is running an article regarding some concerns about Vista's activation terms. Do you have the right to use properly purchased but not validated software? What happens if Microsoft deactivates your OS that was legally purchased? The article goes into some detail about Vista's validation and concerns." From the article: "The terms of the Vista EULA, like the current EULA related to the 'Windows Genuine Advantage,' allows Microsoft to unilaterally decide that you have breached the terms of the agreement, and they can essentially disable the software, and possibly deny you access to critical files on your computer without benefit of proof, hearing, testimony or judicial intervention. In fact, if Microsoft is wrong, and your software is, in fact, properly licensed, you probably will be forced to buy a license to another copy of the operating system from Microsoft just to be able to get access to your files, and then you can sue Microsoft for the original license fee."

Every Vista Computer Gets Its Own Domain Name 388

c_forq writes, "According to APC magazine, every new Windows Vista computer will be given its own domain name to access files remotely. There is a catch though: to use it one must be using IPv6. Is the push for Vista also going to be the push finally to switch everything from IPv4 to IPv6?" Microsoft, meanwhile, is trying to convince businesses to adopt both Vista and Office 2007 at once. An analyst is quoted: 'In all likelihood, enterprises will tie deployment of both Vista and Office 2007 with a hardware upgrade cycle.' His reasoning is that it will be easier for companies to handle one disruption to IT systems than two. Or three.

Yahoo's Time Capsule Project 167

eldavojohn writes, "Yahoo is compiling a time capsule (Flash required). This massive project, which accepts donations from anyone, is no ordinary time capsule, though. This time capsule will be digitized and beamed into space from the ancient pyramid of Teotihuacan in Mexico. From the article: 'Starting on Tuesday, enthusiasts from around the world will have a chance to submit text, images, video and sounds that reflect human nature to be included in the message.' I highly doubt this 'time capsule' will reach anyone, but it is a neat idea. After browsing through some of the pictures posted, I would hope extraterrestrial life would be more hesitant to exterminate us — if not for anything else than curiosity. We constantly strive to have our legacy live on in the galaxy." Yahoo worked with Internet artist Jonathan Harris on this project.

ICANN Meeting Puts Off XXX Domain Again 157

An anonymous reader wrote to mention an International Herald story about a recent ICANN meeting on the proposed .XXX domain. Australia, the U.S., and the EU have moved to block the idea, with most commentators surmising this will prevent the concept from ever moving forward. From the article: "Some people maintain that a triple-x domain name, and the ability to enforce rules to qualify for it, would rein in an out-of-control Internet phenomenon. In registering, a company could have to abide by ratings agency standards, require proof of age for entrants, maybe even pay for Internet filtering research. The company pushing the idea, ICM Registry, also argues that dot-xxx would be good for customers of pornography sites, assuring them of certain business benchmarks, like being free of adware or computer viruses."

It's not hard to admit errors that are [only] cosmetically wrong. -- J.K. Galbraith