WServerNews: After the storm

In this issue:

Canada conquers the world. IT pro rebuilds home network after terrific storm. Obligatory retro comic. NO mkore non-compete clauses? Building a better Notepad. Prevent desktop icons from getting scrambled in remote sessions. Presentation on secure access from the Nordic Infrastructure Conference. Add 2FA to your AD domain on the cheap. Are password managers too risky to use? Yes we even love VMware sometimes! Free pentest training with Kali Linux. IT Bookshelf: Next-Generation Enterprise Security and Governance. PC parts nostalgia. Watching aliens watching us. Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

Wow, lucky my laptop was in the trunk instead of on the front passenger seat! Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

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Last week we included a note from reader Andrew Wong on how Tim Horton’s the “Home of Canada’s favourite coffee” (according to their website) had been dinged by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada as having violated the privacy of Canadians by using their app to track the locations of their customers without express permission from them. Tim Horton’s (affectionately called Timmy’s by the brainwashed masses here in Canada) is of course a longstanding Canadian institution, something on a par with Canadian Tire and 747-sized mosquitos. But reader Craig Walls of Northampton, England informed us this week about something I wasn’t aware of concerning our beloved Timmy’s:

 Hi Mitch, I just thought I’d let you know that Tim Horton’s has even made it across the pond! Here’s our local in Northampton (about 60km or so north of London). Not mad about the coffee but the breakfast offerings (including coffee) are infinitely better and much cheaper than the golden arches next door! Great for those rollout weekends when I’m driving to London in the wee small hours…

Wow, this led me to google what countries Tim Horton’s can be found in and it turns out that as of March 2, 2022 there are almost 5,000 Timmies in 15 different countries! (Wikipedia) This means that CANADA IS CONQUERING THE WORLD!!!

Which reminds me of my favorite Tim Horton’s joke:

Question: What do you call a Canadian coffee shop with the lights off?

Answer: Dim Horton!!

Yes I know that’s pretty lame, but so IMO is their coffee!

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Editor’s Corner

Sometimes nature has its way with us no matter how well we think we have prepared for every eventuality as meticulous IT professionals. This was driven home to me this week when I read a blog post by Pierre Roman, a Senior Cloud Ops Advocate at Microsoft. Pierre lives in Ottawa, Canada and a few weeks ago a powerful storm hit the city with winds reaching up to 190 km/hr. A video on CTV News shows some of the devastation that resulted from this meteorological event. As one might imagine, the storm knocked Pierre offline and the resulting power surges and outages did a number on his router/firewall, so he had to rebuild by reconnect his home to his Azure Virtual Network through a Virtual Network Gateway. His illustrative blog post shows step by step how he did this, and it’s a great tutorial to follow if you’re thinking of using Azure this way—and there’s an added bonus of a great photo from Hydro Ottawa showing bizarre damage to some of the electric power infrastructure because of the storm.

I can’t imagine what would happen here in poor old Winnipeg if a storm like that came through our area. On the other hand, it might be a relief to be knocked offline and go cold turkey No Internet like the person who wrote this article on MUO did for a whole week. We experienced something similar some years ago when a strong winds knocked down a tottering tree at the end of our street, pulling down the power lines and the whole row of telephone poles on the street. It took three days for Manitoba Hydro to haul away the mess, put up new poles, string the powerlines, and get everything running again. Our office at the time was entirely reliant upon using Android phones as mobile hotspots so we could get online to keep our projects going.

What’s the worst disaster you’ve experienced personally or professionally as an IT pro? Did you prepare for it sufficiently, or were you caught offguard and experienced business loss as a result? Disaster planning sometimes seems like a superficial exercise instead of something life- and business-serious. I mean, a storm brandishing 190 km/hr winds in Canada? Really? Who could expect that? And if we can’t expect it, could we ever prepare for it?

Share your disaster—and disaster recovery—story with us, what you’ve learned and what you wish you had learned earlier, so that other readers can benefit from your experience and expertise. Email us. And enjoy this week’s issue of WServerNews!

P.S. Be sure to check out the expanded IT Workshop section in this week’s newsletter, it’s full of all kinds of goodies you’ll be interested in! Also be sure to take a look at our Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences this week as we have more events listed than usual and there might be some you may be interested in attending online or IRL (in real life).


Got comments about anything in this issue?

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This Week in IT

A compendium of recent IT industry news compiled by Your Editors. Feel free to email us if you find a news item you think our newsletter readers might be interested in.

Lots of shakeups happening in the tech industry this week. The biggest news in our opinion is that Microsoft says they’ll no longer ban staff from seeking similar job roles at competitor companies. And they also said that they plan on disclosing salaries in their job ads. But ditching those awful non-compete clauses is the big news, so get reading for the Great Migration as tech slaves burst their bonds to seek nicer masters, either by leaving Microsoft or joining the Evil Empire. See Insider for an interesting take on this news.

In other related news, a new US bill aims to stop disloyal competition from tech giants (TechGenix). And here in Canada where Your Editors reside, our Canadian government has just introduced new privacy legislation that’s purported to give us Canadians more control over our personal data and assert control over the use of artificial intelligence software (CBC News). While this initiative is commendable, what we would prefer is legislation that would finally put an end to all those annoying robocalls we get on our phones at all hours! What’s it like in your part of the world?

Windows news

Nothing much of interest to us regarding Windows unless you like tabs in File Explorer or spend a lot of time working with Notepad (BetaNews). Neither of these improvements interest us much so time to move on.

Wait just a minute! If you’ve been in a panic over the Follina Windows zero-day vulnerability, you’ll be relieved to learn that Microsoft has finally provided a patch for it in the June 2022 cumulative Windows updates. You can read more about this on BleepingComputer and on Born’s Tech and Windows World.

Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences

Got an event, conference or webcast you want announced in our newsletter? Email us!

The DISRUPT On Tour 2022 End User Computing Forum will make 21 stops in cities across North America and Europe. Find out where and when this event is happening in your area!

Virtual Threat Hunting Challenge, a hands-on program and gamified event presented by VMware Carbon Black – Tuesday June 21st at 1 pm EST – Register now for the challenge!

Live product demo: Veeam Basics – June 28 – Register for this 30 minute event

Only two weeks away! HPE Discover 2022 the edge-to-cloud conference in Las Vegas on June 28–30 – Last chance to register!

Microsoft Inspire on July 19-20 is the largest partner event of the year – Register now for this digital event

SCaLE 19X the 19th annual Southern California Linux Expo will take place on July 28-31 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport in Los Angeles, USA. Find out more!

SANS Security Awareness Summit & Training 2022 – Coming up in August – Attend online or in-person in Austin, Texas USA – Find out more

It’s back! – Microsoft Exchange Community (MEC) Technical Airlift 2022 – This free digital event is for IT professionals who work with Exchange Online and/or Exchange Server day-to-day, and ISVs and developers who make solutions that integrate with Exchange. Coming in September – find out more on the Exchange Team Blog.

Also be sure to check out the following event listings:

Meet the Editors!

MITCH TULLOCH is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written more than a thousand articles and has authored or been series editor for over 50 books for Microsoft Press and other publishers. Mitch has also been a twelve-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the technical category of Cloud and Datacenter Management. He currently runs an IT content development business in Winnipeg, Canada that produces books, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, courseware, documentation, newsletters and articles for various companies.

INGRID TULLOCH is Associate Editor of WServerNews. She was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press and collaborated on developing university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. Ingrid also manages Research and Development for the IT content development business she runs together with Mitch.

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IT Workshop – tools, whitepapers and more

Got a product or solution or some other resource you’d like to tell our readers about? Email us!

Our TOOL OF THE WEEK is DesktopOK. This freeware from SoftwareOK helps if you frequently change your screen resolution as it lets you save and restore the positions of icons on your Windows desktop. It can also be helpful if you RDP into a remote workstation as the desktop icons sometimes get re-arranged when you do this. And it can also be useful for multimonitor setups. Check it out!

Are you concerned as an IT Manager or decision-maker about how you can provide secure access for your users? Marius Sandbu presented a session on this topic at the recent Nordic Infrastructure Conference in Oslo, Norway and he summarizes his recommendations along with his PPT slides in this post on his blog.

Want to know how to get the most out of using Microsoft Defender for Office 365? Check out these new step-by-step guides! (Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Blog)

Are you the IT Manager or support person for a school or district in the USA? School Loop from IgniteTech is a content management system to quickly and easily build certified 508/ADA compliant websites for your school or district.

Need an affordable third-party 2FA solution you can use to add 2FA to your Active Directory domain? Check out AuthLite today!

Know the risks – Do you use a password manager for business or personal use? There may be some risks associated with doing that—check out what Stu Sjouwerman has to say concerning this on CyberheistNews.

Do you want to prevent users in your organization from accessing the Microsoft Store? If your PCs are running Windows 10 Enterprise or Education edition you can use Group Policy to do this – see this article on Microsoft Docs.

Is your small business looking for an alternative to using Microsoft 365 because of the high cost that can be involved? Check out some alternatives in this TechGenix article.

Microsoft Defender for individuals now available for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android (BetaNews).

Universal Print is a cloud print solution from Microsoft that eliminates the need for print servers and printer drivers. If you are a current or prospective Universal Print customer, you can now provide feedback to Microsoft by sharing your print experiences to help them shape future benchmarks for cloud printing. Complete the survey at the end of this post on the Universal Print Blog.

Tips and Tutorials

Got tips or tutorials you’d like to recommend for our readers? Email us!

A bunch of PowerShell tips and tutorials:

Also check out our vast collection of PowerShell articles on TechGenix.

Next we have a few carefully curated Windows tips for your Windowing enjoyment:

And finally we’ve got a few VMware tips we wanted to pass along to our readers:


Got a freebie you want to offer our readers? You can reach almost 200,000 IT pros worldwide with our newsletter—email us!

From Bleeping Computer:

“Offensive Security, the creators of Kali Linux, announced today that they would be live-streaming their ‘Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PEN-200/PWK)’ course sessions on Twitch later this month, which anyone can watch for free.”

Find out more in their article.

IT Bookshelf: Next-Generation Enterprise Security and Governance

If there is anything in the realm of technology large enterprises are worried about these days it’s cybersecurity and the growing compliance demands associated with institutional governance. That’s why I eagerly looked forward to digging in to a new book titled Next-Generation Enterprise Security and Governance (CRC Press, 2022). The book is a collection of research papers written by different experts in the fields of cybersecurity and governance, and they cover a diverse range of topics that include threat intelligence cybercrime, incident response, big data security, intelligent transportation, 6G security/privacy, and more.

Instead of browsing through the whole book, I decided this time to read one chapter carefully to get the flavor of the content. The chapter I fixed on was one that covers a topic that interests me very much as an IT professional: The Battle for Cloud Supremacy and the Remaking of Enterprise Security, a research paper by Matthew Ryan of the Macquarie Group and Frank den Hartog from the UNSW School of Engineering and IT in Canberra, Australia. What I found in this chapter both illuminated and informed me.

Large enterprises may have similar business profiles (e.g. revenue, number of employees etc.) but they can differ significantly in how they implement and use technology. One commonality however is that the drive for greater efficiency to achieve more revenue has led most large enterprises to wholeheartedly embrace the cloud for most if not all their IT needs. While the gains have been significant in most cases, the promise that moving to the cloud would strengthen the cybersecurity stance of these organizations has not panned out in most cases, as readers of the news items we cover in this newsletter will be very much aware. Incidents of cybercrime and breaches of privacy at large enterprises are, if anything, more frequent and more devastating in this present era of cloud computing than they were previously back in the time of traditional on-premises enterprise computing.

The question of course is why has the cloud not improved the security of enterprise systems and data, and this research paper offers some answers. One factor highlighted by the authors has to do with how responsibilities are shared between cloud service providers (CSPs) and their enterprise customers. Generally speaking, responsibility for securing endpoint devices, business data and user identities rests with the customer, while the responsibility for securing the physical hosts, network and data center that provide computing services to customers lies in the hands of the service provider. But there are also those portions of a cloud-forward enterprise’s IT infrastructure where the responsibility of securing them is often shared between the customer and the CSP, such as the identity and directory infrastructure, business applications, and network controls. And that is where the weak point usually resides when it comes to security, because if something bad happens both sides may claim the other side failed in living up to their responsibilities.

The solution offered by the authors is for CSPs to take on even greater responsibility for managing and securing these shared areas of infrastructure, that is, to abandon the shared responsibility model and develop new approaches for delivering cloud services where the provider accepts responsibility for the entire security of the IT assets and data of their customers. And in fact major CSPs have been slowing moving towards this in recent years, driven both by wanting to protect their brand image (since breaches at their largest customers reflect badly on them as service providers) and by intense competition with other CSPs over the diminishing pool of enterprise customers. The authors concede of course that the shift towards this new approach is both necessary and inevitable, it’s likely to occur in different ways not all of which are clear at present. And it will also probably take years before these changes are fully realized so that enterprises can benefit from them, with some missteps likely happening along the way. But with the exploding demand for trained cybersec professionals and the diminishing supply of demonstrable expertise in this area, consolidation of responsibility for securing corporate IT assets in the hands of a few big players in the CSP arena is probably both inevitable and desirable.

There’s much more that I learned from reading through this single chapter of this book, and when I have time over the summer I hope to dive into a few other chapters as well. But for now I’ll simply recommend that IT decision makers and CSOs should add Next-Generation Enterprise Security and Governance to their library of essential resources. You can get this book from Amazon.

Factoid: PC parts nostalgia

Our previous factoid was this:

Fact: Zoom is rumored to be building a new “Emotion AI” technology for their platform that can analyze your face and indicate whether you feel bored, annoyed, or are even lying. (Tanya Goodin)


Question: How would other readers feel about such technology if it was employed in their video conferencing sessions or when they communicate using email or text messages? More importantly, where and how much do you think such technology already in use??

Thomas Könen from Germany responds as follows:

Regarding the rumors around a new “Emotion AI” technology in Zoom: This is another “progress” rather frightening me for at least three reasons:

  • Using such technology extensively will probably weaken our life-long learned human ability to judge other people and to react on their behavior accordingly.
  • It might also lead us to avoid face-to-face meetings where we can’t rely on those little software “helpers”.
  • I don’t want a machine to judge my emotional state. It should be absolutely OK to show you’re angry or sad or whatever, depending on the situation.

Totally agree with all three points Thomas mentions, especially the second one. Technology seems to be isolating us from each other nowadays instead of connecting us.

Anyways, let’s move on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: John Birkett the proprietor of the legendary eponymous surplus radio and electronics store on an unassuming street in the British city of Lincoln has passed away at the age of 93. (Hackaday)


Question: Remember heading over to your local computer store to buy some RAM to beef up the performance of your PC or snag a hub and cables to set up a LAN in your home? Do you miss doing that? Today of course we simply order our computer parts from NewEgg, Amazon or some other online vendor. So…what’s the best online source you would recommend to readers for buying parts to beef up their PCs?

Email us your answer and we’ll include it in our next issue!

Fun videos from Flixxy

Snowboarding The Perfect Track – Olympic Champion snowboarder Pierre Vaultier sends his snowboard down another incredible snow pump track in the Alps.

Bread Delivery In Cairo – Look at how this boy delivers bread by navigating his bicycle hrough busy traffic in Cairo, Egypt.

Dog Stops Tornado from Forming – When the world needed him most, he was there.

Theo Jansen’s ‘Strandbeast’ Evolution 2021 – For the past 31 years, Dutch artist Theo Jansen has devoted himself to constructing animals that can walk on the beach powered only by the wind.

And Finally

The odd, the stupid and the remarkable. Good for your mental health.

Rise of the bots — 42.3 percent of internet traffic in 2021 wasn’t human (BetaNews)

[And the other 58 percent doesn’t know how to read, they only watch videos online.]

Defeat Your Car’s Autostop Feature With A Little SwitchBot (Hackaday)

[Another use for this could be for making babies laugh by tickling them!]

Solar-powered desalination device wins MIT $100K competition (MIT News)

[Interesting story but I’ll take it with a grain of salt.]

U.S. Space Force sees future demand for surveillance beyond Earth orbit (SpaceNews)

[What if the aliens currently orbiting our planet Earth don’t like to have their privacy invaded?]

Hey reader! Got an amazing or weird or funny link you’d like to suggest for this section of our newsletter? Email us! But please make sure that it’s G-rated as in “Gee whiz”, “Golly!”, Good grief!”, “Gaaahh!!” and so on. Thanks!

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We hope you enjoyed this issue of WServerNews! Feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered—we love hearing from our readers! And please tell others about WServerNews! It’s free and always will be free—and they can subscribe to it here. Thanks!!!

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