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Submission + - Why don't we buy sysadmin books anymore? ( 4

Bandman writes: Our needs for good information and documentation have not changed, but the way that we get it has. The ebook revolution has made physical shelves of sysadmin books endangered species. A bigger issue may be that even ebook sales of books related to system administration have not been selling. Somewhere along the line, people stopped buying things like "DNS and Bind" or "Sed & Awk".

Has our need for documentation changed, or just our sources of it?


Computer Competency Test For Non-IT Hires? 369

wto605 writes "As computers are used for more and more vital business functions, small businesses must have office employees who understand the dangers of, and how to recognize and avoid, malware, spam, and phishing. After having been stung by monthly virus cleanups (at $75 an hour) due to an otherwise competent office manager, my parents have realized they need to be aware of their employees' computer skills beyond the ability to type a letter in Microsoft Word (currently the closest thing they have to a test of computer competence). The problem is, as a small business, they have no IT expert who would be able to judge a potential employee's competency. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good way to test these security/safety awareness skills, such as an online test, a set of questions, etc. I have already pointed them to Sonicwall's Spam and Phishing test, but it definitely does not cover all of the issues facing computer users."

Submission + - Dell Removes (then reinstates) 3rd Party Drive Sup (

Bandman writes: Back in February, a posting by Dell rep Howard Shoobe alerted us to the fact that Dell was removing the ability to use non-Dell branded drives in the Poweredge server line, when configured with the PERC H700/H800. There was immediate backlash.

Recently, however, Dell backpedaled on their stance, saying that third party drives would be able to be used, but not officially supported. This much more agreeable stance was brought about by the thousands of Dell customers who railed against the change. The news is that, apparently, Dell listens.

Comment Re:budget stuffs (Score 1) 290

For the average, locked-down business user, Vista is virtually the same as XP. The only real difference is the start menu, and if that posses such a problem - it can be reverted through Group Policy.

Besides, I thought you open source fanboys only cared about licensing costs and not TCO (at least according to Slashdot, no training is required to move to Open Office or Ubuntu.)

Comment Been there...done that... (Score 2, Insightful) 958

Your first step is to dig through all of the documentation you have to find any and all software purchases. This included going through the previous guy's email (hopefully it's still available) and digging out the license cards from those boxes stashed in the corner. If you are lucky, someone in accounting can start pulling invoices from you. Also, go to the resellers your company has been using to see if they can pull a purchase history or license report (CDW is great for this). Don't forget to try sites like Microsoft's eOpen ( or Adobe's license site (

The next step is to audit your workstations and servers to see exactly what commercial software they are running. Try to match that up with what documentation you found to start with. My rule of thumb is that if I don't have a PO/invoice, license key or box, then I don't own the software. Then go and get quotes from your favorite reseller to see what the costs are to "true-up".

Take all of this to your manager (or the owner) and show them the situation. Be sure to explain the consequences of not licensing the software you are using, and leave the decision up to him whether to true-up, stop using the software, or use it unlicensed. I would personally document this meeting just to cover your own ass, especially if the last option is chosen.

In order to prevent this situation in the future, make sure all software purchases come through your department. Then keep all license documentation in a single physical or electronic location. Be prepared to dig your heels in when someone tries to bypass IT to install illegal/unlicense software.


Outage Knocks Gmail Offline For Many Users 209

Many readers noted an outage affecting Google's gmail service last night. Firmafest points to a statement from Google, according to which only a small subset of users were affected. According to reader CaptHarlock, mail itself remained accessible through IMAP clients, and the chat feature via external applications. jw3 asks "Of course, gmail is just one of the many providers of web-based e-mails. When I look around, almost everyone seems to be using them nowadays. So — what do you do? Do you trust that the site of your web-based e-mail provider will never go down? Do you make backups of all your e-mails?" (Some readers still seem to be unable to reach the site, too.)

China Aims To Move Up the Food Chain 257

krou notes reporting in the Christian Science Monitor that the current economic crisis is helping China's push into higher-end manufacturing by shaking out low-profit companies. The hope is that, instead of just assembling iPods, Chinese companies will be able to invent the next big thing instead. In this move China is following the well-worn path taken by Japan and the Asian tigers before it. "Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission announced revised plans to transform Guangdong and neighboring Hong Kong and Macau into a 'significant innovation center' by 2020. One hundred R&D labs will be set up over the next three years. By 2012, per-capita output in the region should jump 50 percent from 2007, to 80,000 yuan ($11,700). And by 2020, the study predicts, 30 percent of all industrial output should come from high-tech manufacturing."

Comment Re:My antivirus research for my IT department (Score 1) 170

We when through the same process as the parent post (replacing Trendmicro Officescan as it has gone to crap). I ended up deciding on NOD32 over Kaspersky, but they were two we liked best. NOD32 has had a few minor problems, and the initial configuration can be time consuming, but overall it is a huge improvement over Trend at a considerably better price.

With Trend, it frequently missed malware and viruses but NOD32 has been great (our infection rate is probably 10% of what it used to be).

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