Hyperbole, Embellishment, and Systems Administration Blog

Sep 16, 2014
blog

30 Common Tasks You Perform Using the GUI that You Can Do Faster in Windows PowerShell

Last week at TechEd New Zealand in Auckland I presented the session "30 common tasks you perform using the GUI that you can do faster in Windows PowerShell." One of the tips I provided the audience with was that I use a Razer Tartarus to store my commonly used PowerShell commands. While it got a few laughs, I also got a lot of feedback that this was an idea that others were going to pursue....More
Sep 8, 2014
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The rise of mobile malware

An IT Wire story published on the 8th of September is suggesting that Android may be becoming the target of choice for malware authors over Windows. There is a lot of ways that you can parse the meaning of the data cited in the IT Wire story, with some reasonable and some unreasonable conclusions being drawn by commentators on social media....More
Aug 15, 2014
Article

Locating derelict data with File Server Resource Manager

A constant battle for the average systems administrator is managing the amount data stored on file servers. File servers are a bread and butter workload. That’s one of the reasons that they don’t get much attention. The general problem is as follows:...More
Jul 24, 2014
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IT Pros must constantly learn, but they don’t all learn in the same way 3

The first time I saw my favorite professor present a lecture, he declared to the lecture hall “everything I’ll be teaching you this semester is written down over in the library by people far more eloquent by myself. As that is demonstrably true, ask yourself why should you give up several hours each week to hear me provide you with the same information in this format?”...More
Jul 18, 2014
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Some reasons why iOS and Android aren’t replacing the traditional desktop anytime soon

Read any recent breathless account of the future of desktop computing and you’ll be constantly assured that the desktop computer is deader than a Dodo that’s been cast in a Monty Python skit as a parrot. According to certain sections of the IT commentariat, the future is “Tablets! Tablets! Tablets!”, with offerings from Apple and Samsung replacing the dinosaur chassis that are produced by Dell, HP, and Lenovo. This drumbeat has gotten louder...More
Jul 17, 2014
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Desktop hardware lifespan is increasing

The lifespan of the traditional desktop computer is expanding. Fifteen years ago the pace of change was so fast that a desktop computer you deployed was slow compared to whatever was current, to the point of often being written off completely, 5 years later....More
Jul 16, 2014
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Migration Procrastination

I was teaching a desktop OS deployment course a few weeks back to students from some large organizations. Each organization still had a large number of XP desktops that they were intending to migrate away from. Even though the deadline for support passed several months ago, none of the organizations expected to have finished migrating from XP by the end of the year....More
Jul 15, 2014
blog

Data is more expensive to replace than equipment.

Data is expensive. We usually don’t think of it that way because it seems so ephemeral. If a laptop is stolen or lost, we worry about the replacement value. We don’t think as much about the cost of replacing the data. You can’t reach out and touch data in the way that you can an expensive laptop. The value of a laptop is easy to calculate. We can just look it up on the internet and order a replacement as easy as adding it to a shopping card....More
Jun 24, 2014
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Controlling access to data is as important as managing devices.

There is an interesting statistic from the Ponemon institute that I’m always reminded of when I think about the security of computers. That is that the cost of replacing a lost or stolen laptop computers can total tens of thousands of dollars, with the cost growing with the seniority of the person that owns the device. The primary cost wasn’t in replacing the hardware, but instead related to the data that was stored on the laptop....More
Jun 16, 2014
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BYOD: Not living up to its aspirations? 3

A recent article on CIO.com reports on a survey done by CompTIA on attitudes towards BYOD. The birds eye view is that the benefits of BYOD aren’t providing a substantial enough counterweight to the drawbacks of the strategy....More
Jun 10, 2014
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Embrace defensive learning: Become an expert on new technologies that threaten your job. 1

Some IT Pros are worried that “The Cloud” will take their job. Others are worried that automation will take their job away. While there is a bit of “worried about getting attacked by a shark when you are more likely to be in a car accident on the way to the beach” about these fears, it’s also fair to say that these fears aren’t entirely groundless....More
Jun 9, 2014
blog

You never stop learning

A truth of the IT profession is that everything changes and that if you don’t keep moving, your skills become quickly irrelevant. This isn’t a job where you get trained once and then you’re good for the next few decades. If you’re an IT Pro, any knowledge that you gain has a half life. The clock is ticking on anything you learn. The way you stay relevant is to stay up-to-date....More
Jun 9, 2014
blog

PC sales growth is flat because people keep their computers longer 1

Today many of us replace our phones when a new model comes out. In the past this has been because the new model phones do a heck of a lot more than the old model phones did. This trend is slowing though, and don’t be surprised if people start hanging on to their phones because they’ve become “good enough”....More
May 25, 2014
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Bring Your Own Recovery

Things went a bit “pear shaped” when the BYOD laptop of one of the senior muppets wouldn’t boot because of a failed SSD....More
May 19, 2014
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System Center Cortana: Automation, the future, and Virtual Systems Administrators

If you’re thinking out beyond the next 5 years, and you’ve been playing around with tools like Cortana, you’ll realize that it’s not too much of a leap to have something like the Cortana that looks after your phone as a personal software assistant eventually morph into something like Cortana, the Virtual Assistant Systems Administrator....More
Apr 23, 2014
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Remote Desktop for Windows Phone 8.1 available

As someone who uses the Azure management console on my phone to spin up and spin down VMs (generally my son's Minecraft server) - I've been frustrated that I can't RDP into a server from my Lumia 1520, even though I can remote desktop from my iOS and Android devices. Well my frustration has been sated as finally a Remote Desktop app that runs on my Lumia 1520 with the Windows 8.1 Dev Preview has been made available in the App Store. You can find it here:...More
Apr 20, 2014
blog

3 Reasons why Network Access Protection is being phased out. 4

The announcement that NAP was being deprecated wasn’t trumpeted. Most people who knew the technology only found out that it was going away when they studied the features removed or deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2 in some detail. Even then NAP’s inclusion on this list was a surprise. Most of the other features marked as deprecated or removed were fairly old and often a bit arcane. NAP isn’t really either....More
Apr 18, 2014
blog

Four Terrible Service Account Management Habits

When it comes to bad habits of server administrators, one of the worst is what goes on with service accounts. Here are four bad habits that I’ve noticed server administrators regularly indulge in when it comes to the configuration and management of service accounts: Bad Habit One: Setting up service accounts with passwords that don’t expire....More
Apr 16, 2014
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The increasing need for two factor authentication

One of the many takeaways from the Heartbleed bug is that username/password combinations are only as secure as the servers they are stored on. A mate of mine, Troy Hunt, runs a site called Have I been Pwned.  Right now he has records of over 161 million accounts where the e-mail address/password combination has been stored in an account database that has been compromised and uploaded to somewhere on the internet. To find out if one of your accounts may have been compromised, you type in your e-mail address....More
Apr 14, 2014
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Incentive to hunt for exploits.

One of the shibboleths of Open Source development is that many eyes make shallow bugs. While this makes intuitive sense, one thing that Heartbleed shows us is that something in plain sight can remain unfound if no-one is looking for it....More
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IT pro Orin Thomas provides true tales, snafus, news, and urban legends for Microsoft Windows system administrators.

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Orin Thomas

Orin Thomas is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and a Windows Security MVP. He has authored or coauthored more than thirty books for Microsoft Press, founded the Melbourne System Center,...
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