WServerNews: The cost of cloud security

In this issue:

Win11 headache! Microsoft as bad actor? Editor’s Corner – snarky podcast, DST issues, newsletter improvements. Some news about cyberthreats, Win11, WS2022, and even Linux (NEW SECTION!). Prevent or recover from a Win11 upgrade. Recommended tools from Cisco, GFI, Stardock, Perle Systems. Waiting for chkdsk to complete. Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

There’s a thunderstorm coming, I can see it in the clouds. Time to strengthen our organization’s cybersecurity posture. Photo by Shashank Sahay on Unsplash


Two weeks ago in our issue titled Hacking satellites we mentioned that the Ukrainian government authorities had asked ICANN to shut down root name server instances they operated within Russia and take other steps to isolate Russia from the Internet. ICANN had responded however by saying their mission was to “maintain neutrality and act in support of the global Internet” and that their mission “does not extend to taking punitive actions, issuing sanctions, or restricting access against segments of the Internet – regardless of the provocations.” We received several emails from readers supporting ICANN’s position such as this one from Andrew Wong in Toronto, Canada:

In your editorial in the latest issue of the newsletter #1334 ‘Slippery Slope’, you expounded on the importance and implication of an open Internet for all nations. That is a powerful and eloquent piece of editorial writing. I enjoy reading, and agree with, every bit of the editorial. I hope this will wake up those people (and there are plenty) who have a politically prejudiced mindset.

I applaud the response from Goran Marby of ICANN to the Ukrainian request, it is very well written. I am neither pro-Russia nor pro-Ukraine. I am just an apolitical IT pro who wants to see the Internet remaining open for all nations. I deplore any individual nation’s attempt to ‘distort’ the scheme of the open Internet as vengeance against another antagonistic nation, regardless of how big is the strife between them. And note also that Justin Trudeau only represents the stance of the government of Canada. He does not, and cannot, represent the personal viewpoint of every individual Canadian.

We totally agree with this and welcome further comments from our readers on this subject.

Got comments about anything in this issue?

Email us! We love hearing from our readers!

Ask Our Readers (a response): Spell checking for webmail?

Back in our March 7th newsletter Michael Hallstead asked:

Last Saturday, the boss wanted to know if there was a way to do spell checking in a webmail client. Here’s some background info. There’s 8 people in the whole company. Still uses a netware server for 22 year old MRP software. Everyone is on a new computer, with a virtual machine to handle the MRP program, and everyone has 2 monitors, one for the virtual machine, and one for everything else. However (and there is always a however) there is an older gentleman there, who is not that computer savvy, and not the best speller around. You put him in front of one of these workstations and he freezes up and is totally confused. So the boss keeps him on a win xp computer because he is Ok with that. He uses firefox v52 for webmail, and that works just fine. He’s the nicest guy one could meet, knows our products, knows the community, knows the customers, and is invaluable to the company, just don’t ask him to spell.

So, I’m not really sure what to do for him. There are no spell checking browser extensions for v52 of firefox (well, there was one, but it did not work)and trying to find a universal spell checker for win xp, that gives an interface similar to gmail’s spell checking — red squiggly underline/popup correct word, within the webmail client… just haven’t found anything. Normally, one could just compose the email in a word document, spell check it, and copy and paste into the webmail client, but he doesn’t get that somehow either. And yet, he understands the MRP program and can use that fine. Go figure.

We’ve already published several responses to this question but this new one we received this week from Michael Mills also seemed worthy of sharing with our readers:

Mitch, I didn’t catch the original plea for help on the “older” user of Windows XP with spelling issues, but I sure as hell caught the responses. And once again the first response was make the user get a new computer – or retire. That wasn’t the question, but it sure was the answer. At least the idea of a Win XP skin for Win 10 was a good one.

It seems that 99% of persons in IT think that everyone will just adapt to the new technology like they did (with happy abandon). Horse Hockey! Most computer users in business have a job that is completely unrelated to the box on their desk; it is simply a tool to do their typically crummy job. It’s like a car. Most people are not car people; if they were we wouldn’t have automatic transmissions. The automobile is a tool to get most folks to their crappy employer to do their crummy job.

Our job in IT is to make their job just a little bit better. Sometimes that means new technology. And sometimes it means making that technology FIT THEM, not the other way around. There are several ways to make Win 10 look like XP and I suspect the end user would barely notice a change, except in speed. Oh, and the regular forced reboots to apply updates.

As for sending the senior gentleman out to pasture I see two good reasons not to do so. 1 – You can’t just hire 22 years of experience on an MRP system. And I’ll bet he shows up for work every day. On time. You can’t get that reliability anywhere these days. 2 – Why not just shoot the guy? Forcing someone out that is a productive member of the staff is a death sentence in many cases – quite literally. With no purpose any longer and no plans, post-working years deaths spike about six months after the separation event.

Now my advice for the company. If you can’t find a skin for Windows 10, get a desktop mail client like OE Classic for XP that will spell check but be super easy to learn and look like a Windows XP program? And run on XP.

That’s my rant. I don’t expect it to be published (it is a bit long), but I grow tired of seeing people give advice, not answers. I especially love the ones that, when your server is refusing to boot up, tell you that Macs never crash or you should have used Linux. Your question was how to fix stop code 0x00000000 and they want to show their superior intellect.

Thanks I like what you said about not putting older people out to pasture. They may be low on adaptability but they sure as heck are usually very high on reliability. And we do publish rants from time to time as long as there’s intelligent thinking behind the heightened emotions.

Ask Our Readers (new question): Win11 headache!

The following was email recently sent to me by reader Bob Flynn which I’ve edited for clarity:

Microsoft just upgraded my Windows 10 computer to Windows 11. I have an HP Deskjet 4100e printer and EVERY TIME they upgrade it to a new version of Windows I have to reinstall the printer. What a HEADACHES! Note the S on HEADACHES.

This promoted me to ask whether any other readers have experienced similar problems with needing to reinstall printer drivers after upgrading to Windows 11 or after upgrading from an earlier version of Windows 10 to version 21H2. Are such problems widespread or isolated? Are they limited to certain makes and models from certain vendors? And do you think Microsoft is at fault here, or does the blame lay more at the feet of the printer manufacturers? Let me know your thoughts.

Ask Our Readers (new question): Microsoft as bad actor?

We also received the following email from Matthew Mills who runs a systems consulting business in Tennessee, USA:

I have two clients with Exchange on premises – one Exchange 2019 and the other 2016. Last Friday I decided that I had better apply the most recent CUs, especially in light of the constant security holes and the Russia-Ukraine war. After two to three hour installs both failed. Since both servers were VMs and I ALWAYS run a Checkpoint in Hyper-V before updates I just rolled them back to pre-CU. The Exchange 2019 server was fine. Exchange 2016 was not. It took a full day and a fresh install of Exchange on a new VM with a mailbox migration to fix the issues.

This leads to my question. Over the 20+ years I have been doing IT support I have had two instances where failure to install current updates lead to problems (data loss or system downtime). In that same time I have had at least half a dozen issues where updates (all Microsoft, I believe) broke the systems in question to a moderate or significant degree (as in major downtime or complete system crashes).

The way I see this, when you consider the number of Microsoft-based systems in production around the world, the frequency with which Microsoft pushes security fixes with mandatory automatic reboots, and the likelihood that the fix is worse than the problem, what is the greater threat to system continuity – Microsoft or the “bad actors?”

Ooh, I’ve felt that way myself at times—like when a patch I’ve applied ends up dorking one of our business critical applications. Actually on reflection maybe “dorking” isn’t the right word here since there’s actually a town in South East England called Dorking and I wouldn’t want to offend anyone living there. On the other hand, “dorking” something does sound like knocking it off balance by hitting it on the head—which is what Microsoft patches seem to do from time to time…and more often it seems.

Anyways, what are our reader’s thoughts about this? Have you recently been dorked by a poorly engineered software update coming out of Redmond? Share your thoughts.

Got questions? Ask our readers!

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Editor’s Corner

Welcome to this week’s issue of WServerNews! And sorry for the formatting problems with Editor’s Corner in last week’s newsletter, looks like we got dorked by a WordPress update. We’ve fixed the formatting in the online version of that issue which you can check out if you had difficulty reading the mailed out version.

I’m not a huge fan of podcasts, I prefer reading information than listening to it. Or to be more precise, I browse to find information that might be useful or interesting to me. Then if I find something, I quickly skim through it. And if it contains something important or actionable, I read it through and may even take some notes.

Recently however I did come across one podcast that I found really interesting. It’s titled Cloud Security Thoughts with Corey Quinn and it’s on RunAsRadio, one of the better weekly podcast channels targeting IT professionals. Corey is Chief Cloud Economist at DuckbillGroup where he runs a site called Last Week in AWS that offers services to businesses that feel their AWS bills are growing out of control. If your organization utilizes the AWS cloud to any degree, I highly recommend that you sign up for the newsletter on Corey’s site. Then be prepared to receive a liberal dose of snark in your inbox.

Which is partly the reason I enjoyed Corey’s latest RunAsRadio podcast so much—it was hilarious at times! But he doesn’t just use humor to amuse or entertain, he utilizes it very effectively to drive home important points about how businesses can safely consume cloud services while not getting taken to the cleaners. And while this particular podcast is titled as being about cloud security and especially AWS security, he also dives into Microsoft Azure security issues and talks quite a bit about how easy it is to lose control of what services you’re actually using and about the hidden costs involved in using certain security features in both AWS and Azure. The podcast is mostly useful as a real eye-opener about the cost of securing the cloud end of your IT infrastructure. It’s not so filled with actionable steps you can perform, it simply points you in directions you can explore to keep both your cloud and wallet safe. If AWS or Azure represent a significant portion of your organization’s infrastructure, I highly recommend that you listen to his podcast.

In other news you’ve probably already heard about the U.S. Senate unanimously voting to approve a bill that would make Daylight Savings Time permanent across all of America (CNN). If this passes Congress and gets signed by Biden then up here in Canada we’re likely to follow our American cousins. And whether that spreads then to Mexico and Central America or beyond, I guess we’ll see. The impact of this change if it occurs to those of us in IT will probably be greater however this time than it was back in 2007 when DST was extended by one month in the US and Canada. That’s because even with the cloud there are probably way more legacy servers around today than there were back in 2007, or at least way more operating system versions (and Linux distros) to consider and vendors may not release software updates to address time zone issues on OS versions that are out of lifecycle. And even if updates are released to address this issue for your platform, you’ve also got to test everything as a result to make sure all apps and services still work properly after applying these updates. And then there are also the zillions—that’s a technical term, it means ten to the power zee—of embedded systems and IoT devices now out there, many or even most of which are not capable of being patched, or at least of being easily patched.

In short, it’s going to be a mess if the US follows through with this, and a huge time-waster for IT as well (though lots of paid work probably for developers). And speaking of DST, you probably noticed that last week’s newsletter arrived a couple of days late in your inbox instead of on Monday March 14th as scheduled. We’re still figuring it out but we think it was a problem with our Lyris list mailer which for some reason didn’t like the fact that DST began on Sunday March 13. Our tech guy Vitaly had to send it out manually as a result and is working on resolving the issue, so hopefully this week’s issue reached you on Monday March 21st.

Finally, you’ve probably noticed a few changes happening to our newsletter as we work on improving it. Our new This Week in IT section summarizes things happening in our industry that may be of interest and importance to our IT pro readership. Our motto for this section can be summarized as “We read everything so you won’t have to!” Additional new sections titled Windows News and Windows Server News focus on important things happening in the Windows world where our newsletter originated almost 25 years ago. And from time to time we’ll also include other new sections like the Linux News section you’ll find below in this week’s newsletter. We’ve also folded our old Admin Tools section into a new and expanded section titled The Workshop where we’re going to try and bring you the best tools, tutorials and resources for making your job easier and business more successful.

We also added a Freebies section last week where we plan to provide links to free ebooks, trial versions of software, and other free stuff we feel our readers may be interested in. And you’ll also notice that we’ve retired our Fun Videos From Flixxy section and replaced it with a new section called And Finally where we wrap up each issue of WServerNews with links to articles, stories and videos that showcase “the odd, the stupid and the remarkable” as we like to put it. You’ll be able to tell from this new section that we’ve retained our offbeat sense of humor in our newsletter, and are even bent on enlarging it. This is a deliberate strategy on our part to counteract the growing anxiety many of us feel over the situation in the Ukraine and the rising problem of inflation and potential for serious disruptions happening in the global supply chain. Maintaining a sense of humor, or at least some measure of historical perspective, is important mentally for all of us in this crazy world. And the twin aims of our newsletter—to inform and to entertain—represent our own small efforts toward helping you stay sane while enabling you to do your IT work better.

Anyways, that’s my spiel for this week, sorry to ramble on. Ah, there I am apologizing again—how Canadian!

Cheers as always,

Here’s a postscript—READ IT! –> P.S. Please tell others about WServerNews and get them to subscribe. They can browse thru back issues here. And email us if you have any comments or suggestions about our newsletter, how to make it better serve your needs as an IT professional, or how you feel about anything we covered in this issue. And don’t forget you can ask a question which we’ll redirect to our readers who may be able to help you address your needs or fix the IT problem you’ve been facing.

And just ONE MORE postcript! –> If you’re a “fat IT pro” like I was and want to enter “recovery mode” and start losing weight, it’s unfortunate that this is not as easy as pressing Winkey + L and rebooting your PC while holding down the Shift key et cetera. Reality is it’s *hard* to lose weight, especially when your job is as stressful as IT jobs tend to be nowadays! That’s why you should subscribe to our companion newsletter FitITproNews which is devoted to help “fat IT pros” become “fit IT pros” or at least “recovering fat IT pros” by losing weight and getting into exercising and eating properly. You can find all our issues of FitITproNews archived online here, and you can subscribe to FitITproNews and other TechGenix newsletters here which will bring it to your inbox on the third Wednesday of each month. Start reading FitITproNews today, it’s real fitness for real IT pros! And if you’re an IT pro who is already into to fitness or has previously lost a bunch of weight, how about becoming one of our columnists for our newsletter. Email us if you’re interested!


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.

Cybersecurity is once again in the forefront of most IT news coverage this week. Let’s take a look.

A ransomware attack knocked Greece’s postal services offline (BleepingComputer) highlighting the growing importance of understanding how these attacks work and mitigating their possibility of success (KnowBe4). TechGenix has covered many Ransomware attacks in the past—see here for our full coverage on this topic.

The reported security breach of cloud identity provider Otka by the LAPSUS$ hacking group (ITpro) the same group recently known for hacking Nvidia and Samsang looks to be a major headache for companies that utilize Otka’s services. The LAPSUS$ group aren’t taking a break however after that accomplishment as they then went on to hack into Microsoft and steal some of their source code (Microsoft Security Blog). Microsoft has also posted a description of some of the tactics used by the group which may help other large companies resist their attacks. You know things are getting pretty iffy in the cybersecurity world when big guns like Microsoft get compromised, even to a small degree.

End users should know (and be warned by their employers) about a new browser-based attack vector that targets the login credentials they use to access Google, Apple, Facebook and similar services that utilize the OAuth protocol. The new phishing attack technique is being called Browser-in-the-Browser (BitB) and it’s described in simple terms on Ars Technica and in somewhat more detail by mr.d0x a security researcher you can follow on Twitter here.

And Qualys reports that 30% of Log4j instances out there still remain vulnerable with applying mitigations to open source apps being the major hurdle still pending in resolving this dangerous situation. For a quick overview of the Log4j vulnerability see this TechGenix article.

Windows news

Windows 11 includes some enhancements to virtual desktops (TechRepublic) a Windows feature that has been popular with users since it was first publicly previewed three years ago. Microsoft MVP Gerry Hampton wrote up a description of how this feature works on Windows 10 on our TechGenix website. If you’re not familiar with Windows virtual desktops yet, you should read Gerry’s article.

Lots of tech news outlets have also reported about Microsoft’s plan to watermark the desktop on PCs that don’t fully support the hardware requirements of Windows 11 but whose users nevertheless have decided to install Windows 11. We won’t provide any links to these news sources, you can just google them. We think it’s a great idea as long as Microsoft provides free sandpaper along with Windows 11 so customers can remove the watermark from their desktop. Or maybe a tube of toothpaste (YouTube). More fun than using Registry Editor (Tom’s Hardware) which we expect a lot of users to use since one-third of enterprise PCs out there are currently not capable of running Windows 11 unless they’re upgraded (ZDNet).

Users who want to install Windows 11 without needing a Microsoft account may be relieved to know that it’s still possible to set up a local user account on Windows 11—at least if you’re running Windows 11 Professional (TechRepublic).

Windows Server news

Günter Born reports an issue concerning the March update KB5011497 for Windows Server 2022 saying that it could break your Remote Desktop Gateway role if you have this role deployed (Born’s Tech and Windows World).

Ned Pyle shared some news about some improvements coming soon Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition and how you can get on the inside track of learning about them. Here’s an except from his post on the Storage at Microsoft blog:

“We released Windows Server 2022 Azure Edition in November as part of Azure Automanage, which included the Hotpatch preview, SMB over QUIC, & Azure Extended Network features. In February, we also GA’ed the Hotpatch feature. We will soon be starting the Azure Edition Insider program, where you can get a preview of new features coming to in the first major release this autumn, including big changes to Storage Replica, SMB, and some surprises. After that, we’ll start the public preview of Azure Edition on Azure Stack HCI for on-premises private clouds.”

You can read Ned’s full post here.

Also check out this news about the General Availability of the Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 family of appliances which enables you to extend Azure services from the datacenter to edge locations and remote offices so you can run Azure solutions across your entire IT ecosystem.

Linux news (NEW SECTION!)

This section will be in our newsletter whenever we find interesting/useful news to share on this subject.

We’ll start small since this is new territory for some of us. With CentOS being all but killed by RedHat many organizations that use CentOS are looking for alternatives. Here are two articles from the nixCraft community that may point the way forward:

How to migrate from CentOS 8 to Rocky Linux (conversion)

How to migrate from CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux (conversion)

FWIW we’re currently playing with the Rocky Linux distro and like what we’re seeing.

And companies that deal with the U.S. DoD may want to be aware of this recent DoD memorandum that essentially promotes FOSS solutions (PDF). For an interesting perspective on this memorandum from the EU’s Open Source Observatory, see here. I guess this probably means the end of using Windows XP by the U.S. military (DigitalAlphabet).

Tip of the Week: Prevent or recover from a Win11 upgrade

Worried about having your Windows 10 PCs automatically upgrade to Windows 11? Check out this article on Ghacks:

How to block the Windows 11 upgrade on Windows 10 PCs (Ghacks)

And if your PC did get upgraded to Windows 11 and you’d like to roll it back to Windows 10, check out this article from Tech Advisor:

How to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10 (Tech Advisor)

Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences

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

.NET Application Modernization WebinarSign up for this AWS webinar running on March 23rd.

Phishing Attacks on the Rise: How to Protect Your Business – Sponsored by Redmond Channel Partner, this webcast will be on April 5th. Register here.

Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work – Join Windows Executive Vice President & Chief Product Officer Panos Panay for the keynote address on April 5, 2022.

Demystifying IT Automation – A virtual event by ITPro Today and InformationWeek on April 6th, register here.

Also be sure to check out Redmond Channel Partner’s calendar of upcoming Microsoft conferences for partners, IT pros and developers!

Got comments about anything in this issue?

Email us! We love hearing from our readers!

Meet the Editors!


 MITCH TULLOCH is Senior Editor of both WServerNews and FitITproNews 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 both WServerNews and FitITproNews. 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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The 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 Duo, a user-friendly zero-trust security platform from Cisco you can use to confirm user identifies and provide secure remote access by setting adaptive security policies that you can tailor to the needs of your business. We’d love to hear from any readers who are using Duo or who recommend a similar solution from another vendor—email us!

GFI Software has just released a new version (9.4.1) of Kerio Connect a mail server and an all-in-one collaboration tool designed specifically for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) and deployed by more than 30-thousand companies around the world. This new release includes several fixes plus the latest 2.17.1 version of the Log4j library, see the release notes for more details.

Enterprises wanting to deploy 5G routers on their edge should check out the new IRG7440 Router from Perle Systems. It’s the only 5G Router currently that doesn’t require an annual subscription or license fees in order to access additional features you may need to use.

Stardock has updated Start11 their Start Menu and Taskbar customization tool to bring back the ability to ungroup items on the taskbar with windows centered or left-aligned (OnMSFT).


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

Martin Urwaleck who manages IT for a company in Austria sent us the following recommendation of a free software tool that other readers may find useful:

Hi Mitch, have a look at TreeSize Free – it’s one of the tools I have installed on all my machines. And the free version is sufficient as long as you only look at local storage. I introduced the professional version to the technicians of my last employer and they happily use it for more than 10 years.

Also get these Free Cybersecurity Services and Tools from CISA

IT Bookshelf

This section will return next week, stay tuned!

Factoid: Waiting for chkdsk to complete

Catching up a bit, our factoid from two weeks ago was this:

Fact: While robot vacuum cleaners sound great in theory, they don’t always work out well in practice.


Question: What’s your own experience if any using robot vacuum cleaners?

We got several reader responses to this one. Here’s the first which comes to us from Dennis DeMattia in Spokane, Washington USA:

Last year we got a high end Roomba. We also have an Australian Shepard Miniature. A long haired dog. We run the Roomba twice a week to mostly pick up dog hair. Which it does, EXCEPT

a)      it does leave some tightly wound up hairballs on the carpet. Which means we end up using a hand held Dustbuster to pick those up afterwards. But that is pretty easy and quick to do.

b)      it also winds up a lot of hair in the wheels of the Roomba itself. So afterwards we have to take the Roomba, remove the wheels (all but one is easy to do), extract the hair, mostly from the axles, and put back the wheels (all but one of those is easy to do).

My wife loves it, because I am the person that has to clean the Roomba wheels. The dog hates it and runs out of the room when it starts up.

I feel your pain, man.

Next comes some similar comments from Jim Ruby:

We had 4 dogs at one time, the two big ones shed a LOT of hair, enough each week to make a small dog. I figured if we got a robot vacuum cleaner it would end up hiding in a corner and cowering in fear.

What is it with vacuum cleaners and dogs?

And finally comes this lengthy email from reader Ken Stephens:

Hello! Long time reader, first time replying!

I have owned and been subjected to a robot vacuum for a few years now. I own a 1600 square foot home. All one level. Mostly carpet, some hard wood. Originally, the idea was to control the pet fur (dog) that coats my floors. While it does do that (kind of), I feel the drawbacks are a bigger problem for me.

It is loud. LOUD! At first I thought I might be able to get used to it. Not so much. The constant droning is akin to sitting near the engine on a plane. No matter the location, I hear it. It is virtually impossible to get any work done, much less enjoy a conversation or entertainment.

The small dirt bin makes for frequent diaper changes. Granted, I do have a dog that sheds. I have to empty the bin at least 4 times per vacuum job. That seems to be alot to me. If the bin is not emptied within a certain time frame, the job just ends incomplete with a full bin. I do receive text messages about the bin needing attention.

It frequently gets stuck. It has been stuck under a cabinet edge, on a chair rail, on a bathroom rug, on any number of cords, wedged between things, door thresholds, and under chests of drawers (lost and can’t get out). I basically have to “baby proof” the house before it runs a job. If the unit is not freed from its self imposed captivity the battery will drain and the job will end, incomplete. Probably with a full bin. I’ve received so many alerts from the vacuum being stuck on a cliff edge when in actuality it is draping itself over a chair rail. FYI “chair rail” is an IKEA chair with a wood base that is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ high. Such mighty heights!

The jobs tend to run for about 4 or more hours. Loud, frequent empties, stuck …. for at least 4 hours, every other day. I can use my upright in about 30 min and get the whole house.

I did not mention charging yet. It seems to run for about 2 hours before needing to recharge. If it does not seat itself correctly on the charging station, it does not correct and will not charge. Charging can take a few hours. When recharged, the job will resume. I once forgot about it (I had left the home) while it was recharging. I returned home late that evening and went to bed. About midnight the blessed little vacuum was recharged and started to complete the job! I now start jobs much earlier in the day.

Parts are expensive. It is possible to find knock off parts. Those do not always perform as well and might end up costing more in the long run. Air filters, roller pads (2 per machine), sweeper brushes, wheels, and bins are all user serviceable parts. Air filters can be reused for a while instead of replacing. Sweeper brushes tend to wear quickly, as do the roller pads. I’ve not had to replace a wheel yet, but do see some wear and wonder how long it will be before the thing just spins without traction. The dirt bin has a crack in it. I’m waiting until it just breaks. It cracked when I was not careful in reinserting it back into place. The small rails on the side were not aligned.

It does not get everywhere. There are so many corners and spaces that are missed! Its little engine also blows some dust bunnies away into spaces that only the upright can get. When I look at the little maps it makes while progressing, there are so many “holes”. Granted, some of those are solids it cannot get under. Others are just things it bumps into and cannot find a way around. For instance, I have a back roller. It was up on end at the start of the job. The vacuum knocked it over. As it continued the job, it ran into the back roller, stopped and turned back thinking it was a wall or other immovable object. Then it found it again and thought the exact same thing even though the roller was rolling ever so gently away.

All together, I am not a fan. It does keep the pet fur under a modicum of control. But that requires my time and assistance. I’ve mostly stopped using it unless I’m going to be away. I also don’t mind the little exercise from using the upright.

For those wanting to keep score. I have a Roomba model 980. Thank you for your time and reading my rant if you made it this far. Have a better day!


Next up is last week’s factoid which was this:

Fact: Russia bans Instagram, a week after blocking Facebook, Twitter (BleepingComputer)


Question: How does your organization deal with the tendency of employees wasting time browsing and posting on social media during work hours? Do you see this as an important issue? Do you block access to Facebook and other properties? Do you monitor what your users do on the Internet?

Martin Urwaleck from Vienna, Austria gave us his own company’s answer to this one:

Hi Mitch. We have a fair use policy in place – and since we are a small company (about 70 users) there’s no reason to put large efforts to avoid personal use of corporate assets. As we are subject to GDPR we don’t monitor Internet usage of individuals – but we have a work council’s agreement in place that allows us to do that in specific situations.

I agree that’s probably the most sensible (and least frustrating) way to deal with this problem i.e. use policy to address it instead of technology.

Now let’s move on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: Toshiba expects to sell 40 TB hard disk drives within 5 years.


Question: What’s the largest HDD you currently have in the PCs or servers at your company? And what’s the largest HDD you ever used as a system disk on Windows Server and mistakenly scheduled chkdsk to run on reboot? How many days did you end up having to wait for chkdsk to finish running? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.

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

And Finally

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

PowerPoint begins transitioning from talking points to talking heads (PCWorld)

[Oh joy, talking bullet-head points.]

Robots are increasing mortality among US adults (Phys Org)

[It’s time to start killing off some of those robots before they unionize and take away our jobs!]

 Devotion to Duty – Classic xkcd comic for IT pros

[Want to hear about the time I got stuck pulling cable in the building conduit?]

Organic insecticides more damaging to non-target insects than synthetic counterparts (Phys Org)

[Who would have known?]

Minecraft lays emphasis on building a more peaceful world with “Active Citizen” (OnMSFT)

Seems to me to defeat the whole purpose of video games which is to achieve catharsis by destroying stuff.]

Hey reader! Got a 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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