In this issue:
Mailbag. Do you live in your browser? Stay or leave your tech job? Windows 11 22H2 no longer supports Software Restriction Policies (SRP). Ubuntu WorkSpaces now available on AWS. Simplified disaster recovery for VMware machines. Sign up for registration notifications for the next Microsoft Ignite! Intro to Secret Management with PowerShell (Video). Get the most out of Microsoft 365. Free ebooks on networking, cloud security. What else can I do with my smartphone? Amazing Wingsuit Footage (Video). Aliens are baaaad! Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!
Two weeks ago in this newsletter I talked for a while about employee monitoring and how popular collaboration platforms like Zoom, Slack and even Microsoft Office actually enable your employer to monitor your activities without the need of installing any additional software. Employee monitoring has its pros and cons I suppose, depending upon your perspective, and I asked our readers if they had any thoughts about the subject. Here’s what Martin Urwaleck from Austria says:
Employee monitoring reminds me of Bentham’s Panopticon. The possibility of surveillance is good enough to scare people…
[Oooh, that’s creepy. –ED.]
Personally, I’ve never used such tools, neither as an employee nor as an implementing IT guy – it’s impossible to get it in line with GDPR. For me employee monitoring is just another tool in the toolbox of bad managers with no leadership qualities. Managers who lead have followers and don’t need any intrusive tools to keep staff doing what they are supposed to do.
Good point! Unless you’re the typical control-freak kind of manager, I suppose. Does anyone else have any thoughts about employee monitoring? Email me.
And back in thesetwo issues of our newsletter we talked about BIOS updates, planned and unplanned. Our discussion sparked the following comments from reader John Bridson who lives in Paraparaumu, New Zealand:
Further to previous comments on this issue, we have two Dell Laptops at home, one a Vostro 3500 about one year old and the other a Latitude E7470 that is now over six years old. I’ve seen (and deployed) Dell BIOS updates on both machines on several occasions, starting several years ago now. None of those updates has caused any issues.
However, being somewhat suspicious of updates from any source after nearly 39 years in the business of supporting PCs in one way or another, I’ve always taken the step of cross-checking with another reputable provider before allowing an update to proceed. In the case of BIOS updates from Windows Update, the Dell Support Drivers & Downloads page for the particular model is a valuable cross-check resource. Indeed, when checking there on several occasions, I’ve found a later BIOS release than the one that WU is offering.
I have one curious observation to make about installing BIOS updates downloaded direct from the Dell website – when Windows Update is also offering an update (not necessarily the same version), installing the copy from the Dell site does not always result in the version on Windows Update then being marked as “installed” and subsequently disappearing from the list of optional updates. I’ve seen the Windows Update version still being offered more than a week later, even after forcing a new search for relevant updates!
One of the earlier comments on this topic referred to the “problem” being noted on a “refurbished” PC which did not have the Dell Command Update program installed on it. This program has been available via the Dell Support Drivers & Downloads page for almost all consumer and business models (desktop and laptop) going back at least 10 years. In my view, it’s well worthwhile installing it and running it periodically as it can still pick up the release of later drivers than those provided by Microsoft as part of a standard Windows installation
Thanks for the suggestion about downloading and installing Dell Command Update!
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I caught wind of something interesting this week. It’s an article on The Verge titled Why one web pioneer thinks it’s time to reinvent the browser. It’s about a software engineer named Darin Fisher who spent 16 years at Google building ChromeOS and the Chrome web browser. He’s now moving on to a new company called The Browser Company. And the goal of this new company? To build a better browser of course! Here’s the blurb that shows up when you google their company name: “We’re building a better way to use the internet, starting with your browser. Let go of the clicks, clutter, and distraction with Arc.”
Arc, the new browser being built by The Browser Company, is intended for people who spend most of their computer time working in their web browser. And that’s many of us nowadays, whether we’re office workers or sysadmins managing workloads in the cloud. Fisher apparently has lots of ideas about how to make the browser better. As the article from The Verge says, Fisher “likes to compare a browser to an operating system, which matches with The Browser Company’s idea that Arc isn’t just a browser but rather an iOS-like system for the open web.” The article then goes on to say that Arc “combines bookmarks and tabs into one app switcher-like concept; it makes it easy to search among your open tabs; it has built-in tools for taking notes and making shareable mini websites.”
I almost choked when I read this because I could immediately see where things are going:
- Let’s add a photo editor to Arc.
- How about email? Let’s add some email functionality.
- Oh, and messaging too!
- And a space for collab. Gotta have that!
- Hey, how about…
Reminds me of Windows!
Anyways, 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.
Some good news this week for experienced IT pros working at tech companies. Our TechGenix news hound Vuk Mujovic says that while the fact that tech companies’ stocks continue to lose value as their profits dwindle may be bad news for investors and the economy, top tech talent remains in high demand and should be secure from the massive layoffs that are plaguing the industry. On the other hand SC Media says that nearly one-third of cybersecurity leaders have considered leaving their organizations, mainly because of burnout from constant firefighting, fewer opportunities for strategic security strategies, and poor work-life balance. So while the job situation for us in IT seems pretty secure, not all of us like our jobs!
On the cybersecurity front comes word from Bleeping Computer that hundreds of U.S. news sites are being used to push malware in a supply-chain attack upon the country’s infrastructure and economy. Various new measures and initiatives are being implemented or proposed to mitigate the growing tidal wave of cyberthreats that threaten to undermine the world order. One measure that may not be so popular is a plan by the UK National Cyber Security Centreto scan all Internet devices hosted in the UK. Another “soft power” approach reported by Associated Press is the proposal by the Red Cross to seek universal support for the creation and use of a ‘digital emblem’ to protect socially important sites against hacking.
And finally we want to wish Mary Jo Foley a fond farewell as she leaves ZDNET after a long and entertaining ride covering news about Microsoft for the last 16 years. We’ve very much enjoyed reading her blog All About Microsoft over the years, let’s hope that they can find someone else who can do a good job covering Microsoft news as she has done. Enjoy your retirement—or whatever new ventures you plan on pursuing!
Things are now getting troubling at both ends of Windows 11 with BetaNews reporting that Microsoft is now showing ads in the Windows 11 Start menu while Bleeping Computer says that Microsoft is also showing ads in the Windows 11 sign-out menu. And Günter Born tells us that Edge is now suggesting Bing and PC training notifications. Sheesh!
In other news more relevant to those of us who administer Windows systems in our organizations:
Microsoft WinGet package manager failing due to CDN issues (Bleeping Computer)
Windows Server news
Only one news item this week on the server side of the Windows platform:
Microsoft: Server Manager disk resets can lead to data loss (Bleeping Computer)
BetaNews reports that Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu WorkSpaces on AWS. This is cool as until recently the Amazon WorkSpaces cloud desktop solution only offered the option of choosing either Windows or Amazon Linux machines.
Redmond Channel Partner reports that a survey commissioned by Veeam Software shows that cloud services are mostly used by organizations for data protection. And speaking of data protection, Microsoft recently announced the general availability of simplified disaster recovery for VMware machines using Azure Site Recovery.
Upcoming webcasts, workshops and conferences
Got an event, conference or webcast you want announced in our newsletter? Email us!
Nov 15-16, 2023 – The Microsoft Ignite live show has ended, but preparations for the next Microsoft Ignite event have just begun. Mark your calendars and sign up for registration notifications so you can secure your spot early!
Dec 6 – Thomas Maurer will be speaking at the Windows Server Summit 2022 to show how you can run the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Hybrid deployment options on Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI as well as manage it through Azure Arc. Find out more on his blog.
Also be sure to check out the following event listings:
- Redmond Channel Partner’s calendar of upcoming Microsoft conferences for partners, IT pros and developers.
- Past and upcoming Windows Events from Microsoft.
- TechRepublic’s 2022 tech conferences and events to add to your calendar.
- FOSS Force’s list of upcoming Open Source Events.
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 GFI FaxMaker Online is a cloud-based faxing service from GFI Software that delivers easy-to-use, secure online faxing.
WIM Witch is a GUI driven tool used to update and customize Windows Image (WIM) files and ISOs. It can also create WIM configuration templates and apply them either with the GUI or programatically for bulk creation. Download it today from the PowerShell Gallery.
OSDBuilder is a PowerShell module to help you perform Offline Servicing to a Windows Operating System Image. You can get it from osdbuilder.
VIDEO: Intro to Secret Management with PowerShell – by Command Line Ninja
Tips and Tutorials
Got tips or tutorials you’d like to recommend for our readers? Email us!
Many organizations use Microsoft 365 nowadays, but not all of them know how to get the most out of using it. Here are seven articles from our TechGenix website that can help you set up properly and troubleshoot problems that may arise:
Got a freebie you want to offer our readers? You can reach almost 200,000 IT pros worldwide with our newsletter—email us!
From TechRepublic comes this article on 6 free alternatives to Microsoft Word
Hurry and get this offer from The Hacker News – Cloud Security Handbook ($41.99 Value) FREE for a Limited Time
And here’s an offer from BetaNews – Get ‘Networking All-in-One For Dummies, 8th Edition’ ($30 value) FREE for a limited time
Factoid: What else can I do with my smartphone?
Our previous factoid drew no responses so let’s move on to this week’s factoid:
Fact: Your smartphone is ’10 times dirtier than a toilet’ (The U.S. Sun)
Question: Do you ever clean your smartphone?
Email us your answer and we’ll include it in our next issue!
Fun videos from Flixxy
Amazing Wingsuit Footage – Jokke Sommer and Niccolo Porcella’s amazing and exhilarating wingsuit flight over the Jungfrau mountain in Switzerland.
DeLorean Electric Supercar 2024 – It’s been just over 40 years since the first DeLorean DMC-12, and now the company and car has been resurrected into a fully electric supercar – the DeLorean Alpha5.
Largest Human Tower In History – The Castellers de Vilafranca made history after successfully building a nine-level human pyramid for the first time ever on Nov 1, 2022
The Evolution of Cinema in 1 Minute (1878 – 2017) – A speedy visual review of how film has evolved over the decades – from 1878 to 2017.
[Hey I saw all of those movies! –ED.]
The odd, the stupid and the remarkable. Good for your mental health.
Mondrian painting has been hanging upside down for 75 years (The Guardian)
[But it looked fine to me since I always stand on my head when I look at modern art!]
Refreezing Poles Feasible and Cheap, New Study Finds (IOP Publishing)
[I don’t think my Polish friends would enjoy that very much.]
Do You Act Before You Think or Think Before You Act? (UC Riverside News)
[Well, come to think of it I think I act before I think. Or maybe I just act like I think I act before I think. Or maybe…]
Space Junk Found on Sheep Farm (ABC News)
[Look out for aliens disguised as sheep. Aliens are baaaad!]
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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