June 2008 Reader Challenge Winner

   Congratulations to the winner of our June 2008 Reader Challenge. A copy of "Windows Vista in a Nutshell," from O'Reilly Media (http://oreilly.com/) goes to Ed Braiter of Quebec, Canada.

 

How Reader Challenge Works:

   Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to challenge@windowsitpro.com by July 10, 2008. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct.

   I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at http://www.windowsitpro.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=99646 on July 11, 2008.

 

The July 2008 Challenge:

 

   It's summer in the United States, and I'm in a part of the country where hot, humid, sultry days are the norm for the next couple of months, which seems to change the tempo at which people live their lives. So I thought I'd present a laid back, easy (not too geeky), Challenge. (This is also a Challenge that's fun for those of us who have been working with computers for a long time.)

   I received some interesting questions from readers in the past few weeks, and while I won't be using the technical questions for this Challenge, I want to use some of the "conversational text" that was included in these messages.

   A reader wrote to me about the System Assessment Tool in Windows Vista, which is used by the OS installation program. He found that he could use the tool post-installation and described it as "An Easter Egg for Vista."

 

Question 1: What's an "Easter Egg"?

 

Question 2: What were the contents of the "traditional" Easter Eggs, when Easter Eggs were more prevalent?

 

   Another reader wrote, "Finally, Windows has this handy command, which was one of my favorite tools back in the days of working with NetWare. It's great to be able to use the command line to learn about a user's group memberships and permissions.

 

Question 3: What command is he talking about?

 

Answers:
Question 1: An Easter Egg is a hidden message or feature in an application. You need to know the "secret" keystrokes to display an Easter Egg.

Question 2: Traditionally, Easter Eggs were the equivalent of the credits you see at the end of a TV show or movie. They were usually a scrolling list of names and titles and were linked to programs and also to some Windows utilities. I remember Windows Easter Eggs starting in Windows 95, but they've disappeared in recent versions because of the need to eliminate "hidden features" as a result of anti-trust litigation in the U.S. and Europe.

Question 3: whoami. I, too, used this tool extensively when I was maintaining NetWare clients, and it's nice to have it built in to Windows, finally! (By the way, the information gleaned from whoami differs if you open the command window as an administrator.)