WServerNews: Employee monitoring

In this issue:

Mailbag. How do you feel about employee monitoring? Datacenter fires and other looming disruptions. Goodbye, Microsoft Office. Windows, Windows Server and Linux news. Upcoming events. New 1U HCI solution from Dell. Windows 11 tips. Free Microsoft Learn module. DO WHILE Tower of Babble RETURN. Awesome Mountain Coaster Ride In The Swiss Alps. Do bots dream? Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

Do you sometimes feel like you’re just some property of the company you work for? Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Reader Gustavo Diaz followed up with us on the subject of last week’s newsletter with the following comments:

Regarding your editor’s corner, where you discussed the BIOS upgrade to your Dell computer.

I’ve seen that behavior (driver updates happening automatically) when Dell utility called “Dell Command Update” is installed on the newer models.

You can find that utility here.

The first time you open the utility, this screen will show up:

If you select default option, I believe that’s when the situation happen: drivers updates (including BIOS) will be installed automatically when they are available.

I always prefer to use second option “No, I do not wish …”.

Eventually you will get reminders when login into that computer, like this:

You even have the choice to “View details” and check what exactly is being updated, you can remove some of those updates, etc.

Not sure if that was the case with your Dell computer …

…Thanks and much appreciate the detailed walkthrough, but this was a refurbished PC and no Dellware is installed on it so the BIOS update must have come directly from Windows Update.

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Editor’s Corner

IT has created some powerful tools in recent years that can be used to track and monitor the activities of employees who work for your organization. Such capabilities have raised serious privacy concerns however, and workplace legislation in many jurisdictions have been enacted to limit or control how such employee monitoring may be done.

But as software and cloud platforms and their use continue to grow and evolve, new issues constantly arise in this area. One news item that caught my attention along these lines is an article that appeared in in the Seattle Times recently that describes how your boss can monitor your activities without special software. Simply by deploying and utilizing popular collaboration platforms like Zoom, Slack and even Microsoft Office, you’re actually empowering your employer to look over your shoulder to some degree as you perform your work.

Sometimes workers fight back against such control measures, especially when they may violate existing privacy regulations. For example The Verge reports that a Dutch court has ordered a company to pay tens of thousands of dollars in compensation after they fired the worker for refusing to leave his webcam on while he worked. The court cited Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in their decision, stating that the “right to respect for private and family life” would be violated by the company’s demands.

Has this issue ever impacted you at your own organization? Are you monitored to some extent as an employee? Or as an IT pro have you been asked or required by management to implement some sort of employee monitoring solution? Are you opposed or in favor of employee monitoring? What regulations cover this sort of thing in your part of the world? Start a discussion of this issue by sharing your thoughts with us.

We hope that you enjoy this week’s issue of WServerNews, feel free to email us your comments or questions about anything in this newsletter.

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. And for more tech news coverage see the News section of our TechGenix website.

Datacenter problems are in the news of late. For example a datacenter fire took out South Korea’s top two Internet companies for several hours last Sunday (The Register). Perhaps they didn’t pay attention to some lessons learned from Google’s earlier datacenter fire incident (DataCenter Knowledge). Meanwhile looming power shortages in Europe threaten to cause problems for energy-hungry datacenters. The UK government is facing this matter head-on by holding discussions with large datacenter operators about how to avoid blackouts from happening (Bloomberg).

TIP: If you’re relatively new to the subject of datacenters you should check out these two articles on TechGenix:

In other news the expanding use of sanctions internationally is having a knock-on effect on tech giants like Apple. For instance, Tom’s Hardware recently reported that the U.S. Government export block could block Apple from using Chinese 3D NAND, and Apple Insider soon followed up to inform us that Apple bowed to pressure and dropped plans to buy Chinese memory chips. We expect dislocations like this in the tech market to continue for several years given the current direction the political world seems to be heading.

Finally, is Microsoft throwing their Microsoft Office brand under the bus? RCPMag says Office To Be Absorbed into Microsoft 365 which we feel is a pretty stupid move on Redmond’s part given the cachet the Office brand has earned over the last few decades. Can you imagine Coke rebranding their drink as something different? Or maybe it’s the first stage of Microsoft’s grand rebranding strategy that will soon see Windows renamed Doors.

Windows news

Günter Born asks if Microsoft has accidently shown a GUI prototype of the next Windows at their Ignite conference. Personally, I’m suffering from an advanced case of GUI fatigue, so let’s hope the answer is No.

BetaNews reports that Microsoft is bringing a HOSTS file editor to PowerToys. Good grief—when was the last time I needed to edit the HOSTS file on a PC?

Businesses still using Windows 7 for whatever reason may be relieved to know that 0patch plans to release new patches for Windows 7 for at least the next two years (Born’s Tech and Windows World).

And in case you’ve forgotten, Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 10 21H1 this December (Bleeping Computer). Time to migrate to Linux and forgo all this upgrade madness?

Windows Server news

Not much happening of interest here in our opinion except maybe this article by Ned Pyle about some new file and storage options for Windows Server that were recently announced at Ignite.

Linux news

A few Linux news items have sparked our interest recently as they crossed our radar:

Canonical launches free personal Ubuntu Pro subscriptions for up to five machines (Ubuntu Blog)

VirtualBox 7.0 is Now Available For Installation (Linux Magazine)

Debian Votes To Include Proprietary Drivers, Amends Social Contract (Tom’s Hardware)

EuroLinux could be the ideal desktop Linux distribution for businesses (Tech Republic)

Also a few Linux-related news items to worry about:

Intel Laptop Users Should Avoid Linux 5.19.12 To Avoid Potentially Damaging The Display (Phoronix)

Linux devices ‘increasingly’ under attack from hackers, warn security researchers (ZDNet)

Document Foundation starts charging €8.99 for ‘free’ LibreOffice (The Register)

And finally there’s this news item:

Senators introduce a bill to protect open-source software (The Washington Post)

Whether that’s good or bad news depends on your views concerning intervention by government in the marketplace.

Upcoming webcasts, workshops and conferences

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

October 25 – Windows Autopilot: notes from the field – Hosted by Microsoft’s Customer Acceleration Team – Add to calendar

November 15-16 – The Ransomware Crisis… From every business perspective – SC Media event – Register

Also be sure to check out the following event listings:

Got comments about anything in this issue?

Email us! We love hearing from our readers!

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, guides and useful stuff

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 RPort a free open-source tool that allows you to easily perform remote maintenance on the hosts of your firewalled network. Learn more about RPort in this article in Admin magazine.

Want to run Azure cloud services on-premises? You can do this using Microsoft Azure Stack. And now according to NetworkWorld you can start off small with a single 1U server by using Dell’s new mini hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) system for Azure Stack.

Which is best to use, a single-tenant or multi-tenant cloud architecture? Learn more about both options and which best suits your business in this article from TechGenix.

Need to audit the activities of Office 365 in your organization. Get these 15 Useful PowerShell Scripts to Audit Office 365 Activities from Office 365 Reports.

Which might be best for your organization: LibreOffice or OpenOffice? Linux Update has a good take on this issue.

Tips and Tutorials

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

Let’s focus our eyes on Windows 11 this week and see what tips and tricks we can learn so we can get the most out of using the new platform (or at least make it more bearable to use!):

Hate Windows 11? Here’s how to make it work more like Windows 10 (ZDNet)

How To Dual Boot Linux and Windows 11 (Tom’s Hardware)

Using Snap Layouts in Windows 11 22H2 (Tip o’ the week)

Senior Program Manager at Microsoft reveals a great volume adjustment secret for Windows 11 (BetaNews)

How to enable Efficiency Mode for apps in Windows 11 (TechRepublic)

Working with enhanced phishing protection in Microsoft Defender SmartScreen (Peter van der Woude)

How to use the Clipchamp app in Windows 11 22H2 (TechRepublic)

How to display updated Windows 11 system information with BgInfo (TechRepublic)

Microsoft uses a series of Windows 11 tips to highlight what is new in Windows 11 2022 Update (BetaNews)

How to Factory Reset a Windows 10 or 11 PC (Tom’s Hardware)


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

FREE Microsoft Learn module – Manage Cloud PCs and Virtual Desktops ­– Start here

From TechRepublic – 9 top Dropbox alternatives: Free and premium tools

Factoid: DO WHILE Tower of Babble RETURN

Our previous factoid didn’t garner any responses so here’s a new one for you:

Fact: Why Are There So Many Programming Languages?


Question: From your own experience what’s the *best* programming language? And the *worst*?

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

Fun videos from Flixxy

Awesome Mountain Coaster Ride In The Swiss Alps – First-person-view of a mountain coaster ride with amazing scenery in the Swiss Alps.

Flying Leaf Blower RC Airplane – Amateur mad scientist Peter Sripol turns an unmodified leaf blower and some foam board into a radio-controlled airplane.

Igudesman & Joo: Rachmaninov Had Big Hands – In their unique and hilarious theatrical show, Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo combine humour, classical music and skill.

A Day in London 1933 in High Resolution and Color – London 90 years ago in stunning restoration quality. Amazing!

And Finally

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

Doom Runs at 60 FPS in Notepad (Tom’s Hardware)

[It must be frightening being trapped in Notepad like that.]

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 is the latest major gadget to ditch the headphone jack (The Verge)

[What? Can you repeat that? I didn’t hear what you said.]

DOT to map out nation’s time zones after report shows no official map exists (CNN Politics)

[No wonder my mail is always late!]

People who distrust fellow humans show greater trust in artificial intelligence (PennState)

[Hey, I don’t trust anybody! But the real sixty-four dollar question is, Can an AI bot trust a human? I mean, what if we just pull the plug on them? I’ll bet it keeps them awake (or at least processing bits) at night. But do bots ever sleep? And if they sleep, do they dream? Hmm…]

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!

Please tell others about WServerNews!

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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