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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 12 declined, 3 accepted (15 total, 20.00% accepted)

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Submission + - Microsoft Office 365 Service Issues 1

Vrtigo1 writes: Microsoft's Office 365 service is now in it's third day of an outage affecting software activation. This affects customers who lease their Microsoft Office software instead of purchasing it and prevents any users that have been added during the outage from activating or using their desktop office software. Microsoft's response has been that frustrating, with no real updates being posted to their status board and their support staff telling customers there is no way to activate software until the outage has been resolved (for which there is, of course, no ETA). Yet another reason why always-on DRM doesn't work and needs to die a horrible, painful death.

Submission + - Reliable enterprise phone tracking apps?

Vrtigo1 writes: My company hasn't embraced BYOD yet and still provides company iPhones to a large portion of our workforce of about 100 people. Every few weeks someone calls us because they've lost one and want us to help find it. We do use MDM software, but have found the location tracking feature to be useless because the location data is almost always stale. Our MDM vendor tells us this is due to restrictions builtin to iOS. Apps like Google Latitude work perfectly and the MDM company can't satisfactorily explain to me why free apps works and their app doesn't. Unfortunately, I considered switching MDM providers but others have told me they have the same limitations. The three companies I spoke to are the market leaders as ranked by Gartner. Surely there has to be a reliable, enterprise grade device tracking app that works with iOS. Please help me find it!

Submission + - Cost effective TV services for sports? 1

Vrtigo1 writes: I watch most of my TV on Hulu or Amazon, but neither of those sources has much in the way of live sports coverage. With college football season right around the corner, I ask Slashdot: how do you watch sports if you don't have a cable or satellite TV subscription? I know some games are broadcast online, but not all of them are. I've previously gone the route of a Slingbox to the cable TV at my office, but my wife doesn't like having to fiddle with the computer. I've also subscribed to cable TV just for the duration of football season, but $50/mo seems excessive just to be able to watch a few games a month. I'm perfectly willing to pay for a service provided it's simple and reasonably priced. We have Apple TV2, Roku 1, Xbox 360 and Wii. Something that works on one of those platforms would be great!

Submission + - Best software for ad-hoc sql reporting?

Vrtigo1 writes: I work for a small business (100 employees) that has a lot of data, but no easy way for the business users to get it in a self service fashion. We've used MS Access and SSRS to build reports that are frequently requested so the users can run them anytime they want, but we still get tons of unique requests and handling these eats up a large amount of our time. We'd like to find a reporting engine that allows users to build these queries themselves using an intuitive GUI interface. We're a Microsoft shop, but aren't opposed to a non-Microsoft solution as long as it can talk to MSSQL. We've found a lot of enterprise systems, but can't justify spending $30k+ on reporting software. If someone told you they had a budget of $10k to purchase a reporting package what would you recommend?

Submission + - How do you get your geek nostalgia fix?

Vrtigo1 writes: I keep a Pentium Pro CPU on my desk underneath my monitor because it reminds me of simpler times. Every once in a while I want to revisit the old days of the original Doom, the phonebook-sized Computer Shoppers, when you looked forward to the demo CD that came with Computer Gaming World because the Internet was too slow to distribute software, and when Falcon Northwest's Mach V was the envy of many a geek. IRC is just about the only technology I can think of that's still in use today and still looks the same as it did in the early nineties. So where do you go when you need to regress back to simpler times and get your nostalgia fix? I foolishly trashed my old tech mags, and there isn't a whole lot online that has survived from that long ago.

Submission + - How to monitor your Internet data transfer amounts 1

Vrtigo1 writes: With many ISPs either already using bandwidth caps or talking about them, I was wondering how other Slashdot readers are keeping tabs on how much data is being transferred through their home Internet connections. None of the consumer routers I've used seem to make this information easily accessible. I'd like some way to see exactly how much data has been sent and received by the WAN port facing my ISP's modem so I can compare the numbers I get with the numbers they give me. I don't want to pay for their modem firmware updates and other network management traffic, so I'd like to see how the two numbers line up.

Submission + - Staying connected amidst government repression

Vrtigo1 writes: We've all read the stories about how Libya has been cut off from the outside world after Gaddafi disconnected Libyan citizen's access to the Internet and phone network. What would happen if something similar happened in the US? My only methods of communication are e-mail, cell and VoIP. If the Internet and phone networks shut down, I would be unable to communicate. I know there are satphones, but it's not realistic to expect people to buy them until an emergency happens and demand far exceeds supply. What other options are out there? I know it's unlikely that the US govt would do such a thing, but this would have applications in other areas as well, such as natural disaster areas.

Submission + - Best corporate web filtering apps? (google.com) 1

Vrtigo1 writes: "My company is getting to the point where we spend so much time removing spyware and other unwanted software from our PCs that we're looking at implementing some sort of web filtering software. We're looking for something that'll block spyware and adware, so if a user tries to download Webshots or AnthVirus 20XX the system will tell them the content is blocked. We need something that has good prebuilt categories / classifications and that is updated on a regular basis, but it would be helpful if the "this content is blocked" page has an option to send a note to IT to explain why a particular user needs to get to a blocked site. It needs to be able to integrate with active directory, and should be able to have different filtering classes for different users/groups. We have about 100 users, and are looking for something in the sub-$5,000 range. It should be able to run in a VM, or include the hardware in that sub-$5k figure. I know a lot of shops use Websense, but it looks like Barracuda and a few other vendors with good name recognition offer solutions, and I want to see what's out there that really works."

Submission + - Free, reliable URL or IP spyware blacklist? 1

Vrtigo1 writes: "Is there a free equivalent to real-time e-mail blacklist databases for spyware and other malware? We've had an increasing problem with users clicking on the Antivirus popups and hosing their PCs. It's getting to the point in our 125 employee company where we're spending 20+ man hours per week reghosting machines. I wouldn't mind it so much if it was an easy thing to do, but reghosting, copying data, installing updates, and then re-encrypting the user's HDD with PGP takes a good 4-5 hours. I tried to find something online that listed IPs or URL that were known to contain spyware. I know Google has their safe browsing plugin, but it looks like that only addresses forgery sites. I'd like to get something that has a list of URLs or IP addresses that I could pull down a couple times an hour and then automate a script to create block filters based off the list."

Submission + - AT&T brings visual voicemail to Blackberry Bol

Vrtigo1 writes: "AT&T and RIM released updated software for the Blackberry Bold yesterday which brings one of the iPhone's best features (visual voicemail) to the Blackberry. I was forced to temporarily switch my work phone from a Bold to an iPhone 3G so i'd be familiar enough to support employee's iPhones, and visual voicemail was one of the things that kept me from switching back. Perhaps this will get some of the iPhone's market share back in to the RIM camp?"
The Internet

Submission + - Dealing with ISPs that use NXDOMAIN redirection

Vrtigo1 writes: "I work for a small company that has about 50 staff on the road relying on VPN back to our office at any given time. Many ISPs have implemented NXDomain redirection services that hijack DNS traffic to show you sponsored links and other related ads when you mistype a domain name. These services are incompatible with most VPN software, since they prevent the computer from resolving internal hostnames. Large ISPs typically provide an opt-out on their sponsored links page that immediately opts you out of the DNS redirection, but I've noticed that some smaller ISPs and CLECs have opt-out links that don't actually appear to do anything. I don't have a good solution for employees using these ISPs, and our employees are getting frustrated because the problem is becoming more prevalent and we can't fix it for them. I've tried calling a few of these smaller ISPs for help, but it's been like talking to a wall. Manually changing DNS servers works temporarily, but the user can't resolve internal hostnames when they connect to the office LAN again. Have you had to deal with ISPs using non-standard DNS servers? What is your solution?"
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Legal ramifications of running open WiFi? (fredwick.com)

Vrtigo1 writes: Over the years, I've seen lots of stories here on slashdot discussing open WiFi networks and the potential legal implications that come with them. My home WiFi is secured, but I'd like to set up an open hotspot for guests to use. With so many stories out there spinning different takes on this issue, I thought I'd see if anyone here has any first hand experience they could share. I live in a gated community so I don't think I have to worry about wardrivers, but there are lots of kids that live close to me, and I don't know if I trust them not to connect to my network and fire up their favorite BitTorrent client. I'd employ a splash page that requires the user to agree to some terms, but how much protection does that really offer me? Here's a scenario: I get a settlement letter from the MPAA for downloading a movie, how do I go about proving that it was someone else using my open WiFi? I can give them a MAC address and maybe some firewall logs, but somehow I don't think that will appease them. Is there any way to go about this without opening myself up to legal liability?
Data Storage

Submission + - Best tools for home / SMB online backups?

Vrtigo1 writes: "My parents own a small business (10 employees) and recently implemented a electronic document management system that they use to cut down on their printing costs and the amount of paper records they have to store. Since much of their information will now only exist electronically, I need to determine a backup strategy. The software stores everything as standard PDF files, and they currently do a full backup of the data folder on their Windows server to a 1TB USB HDD every night, and overwrite the oldest backup with the newest. The amount of data is relatively small (~10 GB), so I was thinking about some type of once a week online backup, which would give them A) backups retained for more than a few months and B) offsite storage in case the office burnt down, server gets hit by lightning, etc. I have FTP access to a colocated server where I can store the data securely, but am not sure what the best way to go about doing the actual backups is. Is there free or cheap software available for this, or am I best off rolling my own solution with something like rar and a few batch files?"

Submission + - Identity theft by second hand computers?

Vrtigo1 writes: "While reading this morning's Craigslist postings for my area, I noticed (as I do most every morning) that there are several PCs listed in the free category. Most of these are listed by computer illiterates who've purchased a new computer and no longer need the old one, or have recently had a child go off to college with a new laptop, leaving a desktop behind. The likelihood of personal data having been properly removed from these systems strikes me as extremely low. Saved banking, MySpace, e-mail, and other important passwords are probably easy to find on these systems, so I wondered why I haven't read much about people having their identities stolen this way. I'll admit, I've grabbed a computer or two that people have put out as garbage, and was shocked to see the amount of personal data still present. I'd imagine getting a system from a business' dumpster would be even more revealing. Has anyone you know ever had their identity stolen this way? What can be done to convince people to eliminate their private data before disposing of an old PC?"
Data Storage

Submission + - Best backup strategies for home users?

Vrtigo1 writes: "As an IT guy, I can readily quantify the importance of having a solid backup strategy in place. In the corporate world, the overlords are afraid of losing data so they give us money to buy tape drives, disk arrays, offsite colo etc. As a home user with ~1.5TB of data, I'm looking for advice as to what others home users do to keep their data safe. My current solution is to duplicate my storage hierarchy on two different computers and synchronize from primary to backup every few days. This works well for smaller amounts of data but as I have recently crossed the 1.5TB mark, I've started carting my PC in to the office every month or so and backing up to tape, since it's cheaper than backing up to disk. This raises the obvious issue of the data being up to a month out of date in the event of a crash. RAID is great, but doesn't help you in the event of human error, or a natural disaster. How do other Slashdotters deal with this? If I had to sacrifice and only backup the data that I absolutely, positively wouldn't want to lose, I could get down to 20 or 30 GB, but that's not to say that losing the rest of it wouldn't seriously ruin my day."

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