VoIP: You Can, and Maybe You Should?
I read Mark Minasi's Web exclusive article "VoIP: Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should" (InstantDoc ID 95980), and I think you're missing something important. If VoIP is such a Bad Thing, why is it that the wireline telephone companies are investing so heavily in it? Recall that the core of the Vonage lawsuit is a claim by Verizon that Vonage violated patents owned by Verizon. In my opinion, the wired-line telephone companies are milking their switched networks for all they're worth, while they prepare for the day when they're outdated, and must be dismantled.

Several things are leading in that direction. I suspect the one that is most likely to lead to the demise of the Public Switched Telephone Network is that we run out of telephone numbers, or must face the prospect of extending the area code, the exchange number (the middle digits), or the number itself (the last four digits). If you thought Y2K was bad, just think about the consequences of that sort of change.
—David Gray

I liked Mark Minasi's article, but I have Comcast phone service (which is VoIP) because I get unlimited long distance for a fraction of the wi red-line price.
—Rich (last name withheld)

I switched to VoIP last year because the price was significantly less than the traditional telco that held a near monopoly, and I got many more features for free than the telco could offer even at extra cost. I deliberately avoided Vonage because of the pending lawsuit and waited more than a year until the level of reported dissatisfaction with service and call quality for the company I chose had stabilized and improved.
—Marcus Patz

IT's Unintended Impact on Productivity
Karen Forster's IT Pro Perspective: "Discovering the Midmarket Opportunity" (May 2007, InstantDoc ID 95669) was an interesting take on the idea that IT contributes positively to general productivity. My 20 years of experience in distance education indicates that IT is the second greatest contributor to lost man hours next to sick leave.

I can remember times when I would arrive at work in the morning to find the database down because the overnight refresh failed. There were times when this would happen every morning without fail for weeks on end. We would have to wait for the technician to arrive, and a couple of hours later the database would be back up. With more than 250 workstations affected, we lost something like 500 man hours every day, and some weeks as much as 2500 hours. This was all Microsoft software.
—Bernie Kemp

See Associated Figure

Kudos to Ben Smith
I just noticed that Ben Smith won't be presenting at TechEd this year. That's unfortunate. I quite enjoy reading Ben's "The Business End" articles about technical management. I think this is one of the most overlooked areas in the IT profession—and it's something that's near and dear to my heart. If he hasn't already thought about it, I hope Ben considers writing a book about managing a technical staff.
—Hunter French

Office 2007 Deployment Without Group Policy Is a Mistake
I read Dan Holme's "Customizing and Deploying Office 2007" (May 2007, InstantDoc ID 95433). It's disappointing that Microsoft won't support Group Policy for Office 2007 installations, and I can't believe Microsoft would reduce such important functionality in an upgrade like this. I have used Group

Policy to deploy Office for years to small businesses that don't have Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) installed, and it has been a salient time-saver (clients are concerned about this when you're on the clock).

I think Microsoft should immediately rethink this errant policy and support Office 2007 installation via Group Policy. We hear so much from Microsoft about running as non-administrators or about user account control, but now you must install Office as an administrator. This doesn't make any sense and should be reversed because it will become an unpleasant surprise to many people when they attempt to deploy Office.
—W. O. Sully

Good on You, Eric Rux
Eric Rux's article "Let's Get Organized: File Server Basics" (May 2007, InstantDoc ID 95354) is excellent. Although Eric's recommendations seem to be the obvious way to configure a file server, you never see basic information like this presented so well. This is a real-world, practical article that I don't think we see enough of.
—Todd Lester