The Real Facts About Shutdown
In Solutions Plus: "Make Remote Shutdowns a Snap" (January 2005, InstantDoc ID 44710), Alex Angelopoulos lists a few limitations of the Windows Shutdown tool that aren't accurate. First, Alex mentions that "Shutdown lets you specify only one computer to be shut down each time you run it." That's true if you run it from a command line, but Shutdown has an interactive mode, which you invoke with shutdown –i, that lets you enter as many machines as you like. A second limitation Alex cites is "Shutdown doesn't let you specify a privileged account to use for performing a shutdown." This problem is easily solved with the Runas command—either from a command line (runas /user:\ shutdown.exe –i) or by putting the Runas command into a batch file or an icon shortcut.

Troubleshooting Group Policy
Darren Mar-Elia's "Troubleshooting Group Policy–Related Problems" (February 2005, InstantDoc ID 44983) is an excellent article. One small note: When Darren talks about custom .adm files, he doesn't mention that to see preferences in Group Policy Editor, you have to click Administrative Templates, View, Filtering, then clear the "Only show policy settings that can be fully managed" check box. Why Microsoft's default is to hide policies that are getting applied is beyond me.

Clustering Past and Present
Regarding Karen Forster's Hey Microsoft! "What's in Store For Microsoft Clustering Services?" (January 2005, InstantDoc ID 44689), in our data center, we have an ancient VAX 7000, which we'll soon replace with new equipment. But this machine's clustering capabilities are far superior to those of the new machines. Why is it that vendors today can't seem to overcome the clustering problems that big-iron vendors solved decades ago?

Women in IT
I came across Dianne Russell's Your Career: "Women in IT" (January 2005, InstantDoc ID 44690) the same month I returned to my job as an IT pro after a year-long leave. I think IT needs more women simply because we're wired differently from men. We solve problems and prioritize differently. We listen differently. We don't always think technical first and person second and can understand that sometimes a problem isn't really a problem so much as just a lack of understanding. We explain and teach differently, and sometimes that alternative perspective can make all the difference in the world in problem resolution.

"Women in IT" strikes me as the same old diatribe that the evil white man (only in this case, the evil white geek man) is keeping women down. What seems to be missing is a dose of common sense. Men and women are different! Maybe women don't go into IT as much as men do because they don't have the desire to.

My IT partner is a woman. We've faced many challenges, and we work well together. My strengths are in the technical areas of administration; hers are in telephony and management. She has proved her strengths time and again as well as I have. My point is that she's in IT because she wants to be in IT. Being the evil white geek that I am, I've sought to foster our work relationship by treating her as an equal. Am I better than she is in certain areas? Yes. Is she better than I am in certain areas? Yes.

I think your regurgitation of a tired old mantra doesn't help things. It just ticks people off and closes the door to the good reasons for having women in IT. Maybe things aren't as grim as they are pretended to be. Maybe it's just natural.

Because of the great response to "Women in IT," we're launching a forum and a blog devoted to questions, problems, and experiences of women in IT. I encourage IT pros of either gender to participate. To visit the Women's IT Forum, go to http://www.windowsitpro.com/forums. The "Talk About Women in IT" blog debuts on February 7, and you can access it through our Web site.