WServerNews: Keeping some skin in the game

Editor’s Corner

In this week’s newsletter we share how some of our readers responded to questions which we posed in last week’s Factoid such as: Are you over 65 and still working in IT in some fashion? Or are you expecting to be? Why or why not?

Our Mailbag has some reader feedback on last week’s main topic of how IT pros are increasingly stuck between a rock and hard place due to ongoing problems with Windows 10 and the difficulty of finding a good alternative for an operating system for business users.

We also have a Tip on where you can download ISOs of older versions of Windows and Microsoft Office, plus a new Factoid that asks whether an upcoming social media platform is going to help draw neighbors closer together or simply further drive them further apart.

Plus we also have links to various articles and fun videos to fill your brain and lighten your heart.

Enjoy this week’s issue of WServerNews and feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered — we love hearing from our readers 🙂

Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor

An adrenaline junkie

A reader named Ron Allen who is an independent consultant based in Michigan who provides small businesses with IT advice and technical support assistance shared some thoughts with us about working in IT past 65 years of age. Be sure to read Ron’s comments carefully as there’s a lot of wisdom there we can learn from:

Mitch, normally I am just a reader and digester… not much of a responder. Yes, at the age of 67 I am still pushing my envelope as a consulting systems engineer ( 25 years my own business) wearing many hats for small businesses. Although I am currently down to two clients, I am holding on because… I’m still an adrenaline junkie. I love the mission, I love the small business people and find myself able to provide therapeutic counseling to those who are totally overwhelmed by the Microsoft and cloud juggernauts. Yes, juggernauts. I am also an ex-GI, yes GI and an old Vietnam vet crew chief once on rescue helicopters, so that may explain the sense of mission and need for adrenaline rushes.

My degree is Manufacturing Engineering Technology with a second Aviation major and have worked in CAD\CAM\CIM (yes Computer Integrated Manufacturing), Shop Floor and Quality Control systems before doing more IT or MIS stuff. Those days there was such a rift between us CIM guys and the business systems guys. So I thought, we need to integrate and joined the ranks of IT and brought the first Windows for Workgroups and Windows NT into a startup company and integrate it through their shop. I think old timers bring a sense of duty to the profession and help balance younger people entering or in the industry. They love war stories… i.e,. “you can have any color you want, as long as it is green”. I apply and teach this philosophy often to help preserve and protect an operating (IT) system as well as tolerance to give the customer what they need not necessarily want.

The rub. We enter the era of the cloud, IoT, Windows 10 and Windows Server 20XX and Office 365 with the juggernauts pushing smaller companies to the costly cloud. Often these people (small business) have little resource, i.e. a backup WAN or a strong enough one to even run email. Controlling Malware, Phishing and Ransomware confuses the heck out of common people let alone anyone in IT so is the struggle to find affordable firewall protection and time for user training is ongoing. I have my doubts in the future and rightfully so as many small businesses will continue to give up so much control of their systems (i.e. MSPs, cloud) that subscription costs can run them out of… business. Small employers are still a backbone of jobs in the country and when the juggernauts lay waste to them, buying them out or putting them out of business, where does it all go from there? Well… my crystal ball just processed an update and is now blue screened so for now my guess is, who knows.

There is a lot to think about there. Certainly as professionals (and professional engineers and ex-military types are usually more professional than the average joe IT pro) it’s often hard to stop when you’ve been on a roll all your life, especially when you have your own business instead of working for someone else. The best way to slow down is usually to let your clients go by attrition (and fire your worst ones) until you only have a handful of good customers to support, at which rate you can probably keep going until the gas tank is empty.

He also makes a good point about giving your clients what they need, not what they want. And if a client insists on saying Yes I want this solution even though you say it’s going to cause me problems, then it’s usually best to let that customer go and move on, otherwise you’ll just be causing problems for yourself later on.

Ron’s last comment though about how the push to cloud services as a means for simplifying small business operations may backfire by putting many small businesses out of business is something to think about. I’m personally all for ownership not rental when it comes to running a small business. You can own your hardware and software. You can own your office equipment. You can even own your office space. You can amortize your capital expenditures to save costs. You can hire expertise on a contract basis to handle your accounting and legal matters. None of this requires paying a monthly fee to let someone else run critical aspects of your business. None of it requires paying a monthly subscription cost for a cloud-based service whose security is opaque and that provides no personal contact for support. What do other readers think about all these cloud-based MSPs popping up everywhere to “assist” (suck dry?) small businesses? Email us at [email protected]

I still need income!

Rita Bowman who works for a company that does research and consulting for the financial services industry shared about another reason why more and more of us continue to work in IT beyond the age when most people retire:

I am not over 65 (yet) but very close. I will probably be working until I’m at least 70 — at least if my health holds out. I need the money and retirement funds, I love what I do and the people I’m working with, and what else would I do? I already read about 5 books a week — working full-time — my library would ban me! My kitty is already spoiled — imagine being able to order me around full-time! She’d be impossible to live with!

And just for Rita we’ve included lots of videos about cats in our Fun Videos section near the end of this newsletter 🙂

Once a nerd…

Mike Wyckoff who styles himself as a nerd (actually Head Nerd, Emeritus) and who probably owns that title as you’ll see after reading this, said:

Mitch, first time writer here. Started ready the various forms and iterations of this newsletter shortly after each one came out. Still do. The one I look forward to each week for the information and comments.

I’ve been in the IT business since it was about EDP. I played with electronics in the 50’s, and took my first EDP training course (wiring programming punch boards for IBM card readers and sorters) in the mid 60’s. The first computers I maintained had gears, vacuum tubes, servos, synchros and selsyns. Parenthetically, spell check doesn’t even recognize synchros or selsyns; How ironic and emblematic of the progress in 55 years. What these “young whippersnappers” of today don’t acknowledge is that somebody had to create and improve computers until they are what we accept as today’s technology. I ran my own business renting nerds to support computers, and even in the 90’s I had more than one person in their 70s who had retired from a job in computer service, and came to me to work on the PCs that were replacing the behemoths they had worked on. Mid-career, the systems I worked on had doors, so you could access their innards and change out defective circuit boards which were roughly 20 inches in a side. I worked into my mid 60’s until some fortunate circumstances allowed me to retire, but my goal was to continue working until computers became self-repairing. The progress that has been made, and continues to be made (albeit at a somewhat slower pace) fascinates me. Even in retirement I still have at least 20 computing devices floating around. PC, Nook Android, Amazon Fire, probably a dozen tablets and laptops running everything from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Once I get through with my gruesomely long post-retirement flurry of reorganizing and cleaning out Fibber McGee’s closet, I intend to go back to loading up Virtual Box on a behemoth of a machine and start playing again. Linux is a toy, and I want to keep my hand in on older versions of Windows. I still use Windows Media Center for my TV watching. Nothing else of the MANY others I’ve tried can hold a candle to it for home entertainment. Just don’t expect to see any Apple products anywhere near me. Tried ’em. Couldn’t stand the restrictiveness of the hardware and OS philosophies. Plus as I often said, “why pay twice as much for half the power and a tenth of the versatility”. Anyway, please put 1 vote in the “I’m no quitter” column.

Thanks for the many years of knowledge and support.

And thank YOU for reading our newsletter all these years 🙂

For the benefit of our younger readers, EDP means “electronic data processing” see the Wikipedia article on this if you want to know more. As for Apple products, I feel pretty much the same way that Mike does, though by iPad is always handy near me, mostly for consuming media. I’m actually dreading iPadOS and hoping my iPad is too old to support it.

A few more comments

While I’m not quite yet 65, I can see myself working in IT for a few years beyond that, mostly because I’ve been in IT for over 35 years and I think I’d miss it – getting paid to learn new technology is a heckuva benefit. That and the free coffee….. –Jim Ruby

Very simple, the pure hardware design market I trained for no longer exists, all current hardware engineers are really embedded software engineers. After multiple layoffs I re-invented myself into IT, due to many years of un or under employment I am playing catch-up for retirement. I am not mowing grass, now too busy and I have a lawn service. –Tom Overeem

Got more thoughts on this subject?

Email us at [email protected]!

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Tip of the Week

>> Got any IT pro tips you’d like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

Download older versions of Windows and Office a site run by Jan Krohn provides links to Microsoft servers that let you download genuine ISO disk images of older versions of Windows and Microsoft Office:


Admin Toolbox

>> Got any admin tools or software you’d like to recommend to our readers? Email us at [email protected]

This web site lets you manage access to local admin passwords managed by Microsoft LAPS:

This collection of tutorials helps you learn how to use Docker with various tools:

Pupy is an opensource, cross-platform (Windows, Linux, OSX, Android) remote administration and post-exploitation tool mainly written in python:



In last week’s newsletter your Editor reflected on that fact that Windows seems to be getting worse and there are no good alternatives for either business or personal users. This drew a couple of thoughtful comments from our readers.

Hello Mitch, just my personal experience: Windows 10 has been the least reliable operating system from Microsoft since Windows 98SE. I place the blame at Microsoft’s feet for pushing drivers. In the past, we could control what drivers were installed and avoid using unstable drivers. Not anymore. Microsoft tells you want drivers you will get and forces them onto computers with standard Windows updates. My favorite example of this was when Microsoft pushed a driver update and we saw a system that could not be shut down from the UI for nearly eight months before a new update fixed it. For that system to shut down or reboot we had to have the end user enter the shutdown command-line command or the system would just log them out. Linux should be a great option. Given all the servers out there running Red Hat, or VMware, or Citrix there is plenty of evidence that it can be a great option. LibreOffice is easy to use and has very good compatibility with Microsoft Office files. The problem with Linux is Linux; there are far too many distributions all with their own quirks. I started with Linux and Slackware back in 1994. It was very painful back then. Since that time Linux has come a very long way in ease of use, but without some sort of management tool like JAMF Pro I cannot see enterprises running Linux. (For easy projects to get your feet wet with Linux I would recommend Raspberry Pi solutions since projects like setting up a Pi-Hole get some Linux time and provide a useful service.) –Mark Van Noy

Mitch, you will probably get a big response to this one. For me personally, I simply want an operating system to support the software that I want to run, to provide some utilities for file management, searching, and such, and very importantly, have an easy to use user interface. Windows XP was good, Windows 7 is much better, but I don’t need all the bloat, Cortana, and bells-and-whistles that come with Windows 10. Some of the update problems may be because Win 10 is so complex and multi-featured under the hood, additionally complicated by having to work with numerous complex applications and devices. The small company that I work for has pretty much the same feeling and plans to hide behind our firewall and put off the inevitable as long as practical (which could be as soon as a year from now). –Jim Shaffer

Any other readers who would like to comment on this subject can email us at [email protected]


Factoid – Using Nextdoor instead of going next door

We already answered last week’s factoid and question at the start of this issue so let’s move on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: Nextdoor launches in Canada, promising a more intimate, neighbourly social network (Financial Post)


Question: Golly gee whiz, you mean this will mean I’ll be able to like and unlike my neighbor’s photos, comments and behavior without needing to open my front door and walk 25 paces and wave Hello? How is a platform like Nextdoor going to make the world more neighborly? Isn’t it simply going to further isolate and insulate us from one another instead? What do readers think about this?

Email your answer to [email protected]


Conference calendar

>> Got an IT conference or event happening that you’d like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]

Microsoft Ignite 2019

Nov 4-8, 2019 in Orlando, Florida

Other Microsoft conferences

Microsoft Licensing Boot Camps

  • Oct 15-16 in Dallas, Texas
  • Dec 9-10 in Seattle, Washington

Infosec conferences

SecTor – Oct 9-10 in Ontario, Canada

Global Cyber Summit – Oct 13-16 in Miami Beach, Florida

Cyber Security Summit – Oct 17 in Scottsdale, Arizona

Cyber Security Summit – Nov 7 in Boston, Massachusetts

Cyber Security Summit – Nov 21 in Houston, Texas

Cyber Security Summit – Dec 5 in Los Angeles, California

Other conferences

VMworld – Nov 4-7 in Barcelona, Spain

Midwest Management Summit – Nov 11-13 in New Orleans, Louisiana

European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference – Dec 2-5 in Prague, Czech Republic

SharePoint Fest – Dec 9-13 in Chicago, Illinois


Podcast Corner

Kubernetes security with StackRox CEO Kamal Shah (The T-Suite)

You Thought We Were Done With Acronym Soup? (Microsoft Cloud IT Pro Podcast)

Cutting Cloud Costs and Cloud Competition (Microsoft Cloud Show)

Securing Your Cloud with Paula Januszkiewicz (RunAsRadio)

Data Analytics and BI With Incorta (This Week in Enterprise Tech)


New on

Quick tip: Saving PowerShell cmdlet output to the clipboard

Here’s a neat little tip that will make your job easier. You can save your PowerShell cmdlet output to the clipboard. Here’s how.

8 telltale signs your system has been infiltrated by spyware

While most spyware is software-based, concerns are also being raised about hardware-based spyware, which is much more difficult to detect.

My Exchange Server is dead! So what do I do now?

If you’re the admin who gets the message your Exchange Server is dead, you’re in for a bad day. These tips might make your day…

Forcepoint VPN patches privilege escalation vulnerability

If you are a Forcepoint VPN customer, there’s a privilege escalation vulnerability you should know about. Fortunately, there is also a patch.

Review: NoSQL database RavenDB

RavenDB is an up-and-coming NoSQL database that is making a lot of noise in the enterprise. Here’s our review of this product.


Fun videos from Flixxy

These are for Rita 🙂

Cats Who Love Vacuum Cleaners

A collection of funny cats who like the interaction with vacuum cleaners:

Cat Riding A Roomba In Style

Looking as if it has no care in the world, this cat’s mode of transportation has us all wishing we could do the same:

Grocery Shopping Cats

Cats going grocery shopping – featuring cat pushing trolley, cats in boxes, hipster cat, cats vs. cucumbers, surprised kitty , OMG cat, nonono cat, and keyboard cat:

How The CIA Tried To Train A Cat To Be A Spy

The history of the CIA is heavily punctuated with strange, expensive and questionable decisions. This is definitely one of them:


More articles of interest

When should IT use thin clients for VDI?

Thin clients are less expensive than PCs, but they also come with limitations. Find out if thin clients will work well within your organization.

5 steps to enroll Windows 10 devices in Windows Analytics

Windows Analytics can provide some helpful information, but you must enroll your organization’s devices before you can start using it. Here are five steps to get started.

Pros vs. cons of CASB tools

When choosing a CASB, enterprises face two primary options: a stand-alone service from a third party or a bundled tool set from some of the large cloud providers. It’s important to pick your flavor wisely.

VM cost calculation guide

Proper VM cost assessment is a critical element of meaningful showback and chargeback practices in a virtual data center.


Send us your feedback!

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

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