Knight Capital's $440M Loss Blamed on Developers

I'm surprised that my inbox wasn't spammed by every software testing company last week, telling me how they could have prevented the Knight Capital Group financial software fiasco. Knight on Tuesday last week installed new trading software and immediately the software went to work, but not in a good way. Instead, the trades made by the new software bled the company of $440 million in stock value after two days of trading. Once company officials pinpointed it to software, the trading system was knocked offline, but the damage had already been done.

Indeed, company officials pinned the blame on its software developers, which makes me wonder: a) How could a bug as damaging as that one gone undetected all the way to its installation onto production servers? b) What kind of testing regimen did the software developers put the code through? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the developers did rigorous testing of the system ahd that those developers are being made scapegoats.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 08/03/2012 at 11:59 AM3 comments

Windows 8 Upgrades, Anyone?

Windows 8 is around the corner, what with Microsoft announcing that it has been released to manufacturers. What this means is that we'll be seeing the new OS on new brand-spanking new machines. But upgrading is going to be a stretch for most of the Windows computing generalists, as most of us who own older desktops and laptops won't be able to take advantage of the touch capabilities. So, imagine that on a bigger scale, with IT folks in medium and large enterprises who in the past might usually opt to roll it out in the coming months, but now have to make serious considerations for hardware as well as software when contemplating the move to this newer OS.

I've worked with Windows 8 on a test machine that has no touch features, and it seemed odd and I did feel lost at times navigating the OS. The in-development version of Windows 8 on the tablet prototype loaner from the PDC earlier this year -- much easier on the brain when you can swipe and resize and tap to get to where you need.

Still, I'm not compelled to upgrade when I pit the new Windows and the upcoming devices to what's already available from Apple.

Upgrade? Doubtful. What about you?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 08/01/2012 at 11:59 AM5 comments

Microsoft Learning Meets Reality TV (Online)

Think of the most unsexy idea for a reality online show there is and you might come up with this: Four SQL programmers/Microsoft employee wannabes put to several challenges trying to squeeze information out of databases. And the title? Not one dreamed up by Microsoft marketing, for sure, because it's pretty straightforward: "Be the Next Microsoft Employee."

Well, I did watch one episode, and unless they bring in a loud, overbearing matriarchical dance teacher or drunk and spray-tanned malingerers or even a supermodel who can compile some C, it's probably my last.

Be the Next Microsoft Employee

Be the Next Microsoft Employee: Contestants meet the judges for the initial challenge. (Click image to view the first episode.)

I watched every minute of this one, but the next episode's teaser just wasn't compelling enough for me to waste another 15 minutes of my life that I could otherwise spend on Lizard Lick Towing.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/30/2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

College Credit for MCSE?

College students matriculating toward a computer science, IT, or CIS degree can often achieve a Microsoft certification and gain college credits. Courses must be taken at colleges that are accredited and are participating in the program, and there are more than 1,500 of those schools across the country. The American Council on Education is the organization that makes it possible, and lists all participating schools on its Web site here.

To find out more and to figure out which MCP exams and certifications are eligible, go here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/26/2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

SysAdmins Need Love, Too

The last Friday of July is no ordinary day, well, at least to IT admins. On every last Friday of July for the last 13 years -- about as long as Nick Burns has been trying to pass his MCSE exams -- Ted Kekatos has been trying to get end users everywhere to recognize enigmatic, long-suffering and underappreciated IT admins at their companies for their hard work keeping their networks and endpoints up and running. Mostly, he's done this by pointing people to his SysAdmin Appreciation Day Web site.

We've told you about it in the past, and this time out, IT management solutions company ManageEngine is trying to push Kekatos's unofficial holiday by running a contest. Starting today and running through Aug. 17, users can nominate deserving sysadmins in its SysAdmin Time To Say Thank You contest. Nominations can be made at, with some cool prizes (Nexus 7 smartphone, skydiving gift certificate, or equipment for a game room) going to the lucky IT teams getting the most votes.

Oh, by the way, sysadmins, "You're Welcome!"

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/26/2012 at 11:59 AM2 comments

The Cloud Will Rain Down with 14M Jobs into 2015

The cloud is supposed to bring efficiencies to computing that, at times, can also mean efficiencies in the IT personnel needed to launch and drive cloud initiatives. In short, the cloud can seem like a job killer. At least that's the general perception among many of our Redmond readers. Popular perception often trumps facts and figures, even with good evidence to the contrary in the form of an IDC report -- albeit, commissioned by Microsoft -- that shows cloud computing will effectively create about 14 million jobs in the next three years.

The study show that a third of cloud-based hiring will form around mainly communications and media, banking, and manufacturing; also, half of all cloud-related jobs will originate in emerging markets (mainly China and India). IDC derived the data from forecasts it made from cloud spending trends globally.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/08/2012 at 11:59 AM3 comments

Is Windows 8 Ballmer's Last Stand?

A Fortune article that has some pretty positive things to say about Microsoft's future makes a side note about Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer likely retiring after the launch of Windows 8. The thinking goes, Ballmer will take the opportunity to leave the company in the wake of a highly successful launch, with the OS'es success vindicating Ballmer's mission to provide Windows throuugh various form factors (PCs to mobile phones to tablets to embeds).

I believe it'll happen -- do you? The article names Stephen Sinofsky as a likely successor, but a likely successor isn't often the best one. If Ballmer indeed retires, who would you want to see at the helm?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/17/2012 at 11:59 AM3 comments

Big, Big News on the Windows 8 Logo

Microsoft's Official Windows 8 logo has been revealed and it seems to be the most talked about tech story, albeit on a quiet Friday afternoon. Personally, I think it's a non-story, but you tell me why it matters that Windows 8 now has a logo that's an actual window and not a flag this time out.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/17/2012 at 11:59 AM5 comments

Microsoft Gives

I'm sure many of you are familiar with former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' philanthropic efforts through his foundation to rid the world of disease and pestilence. You might be less familiar with Microsoft itself providing matching funds to nonprofits through its Employee Giving Program, a program that has been running since 1983. A press release indicates that the program broke a company record last year, contributing $100.5 million in employee and corporate-matched funds.

A more interesting aspect of the program: Microsoft also contributes a matching gift of $17 for every hour that a Microsoft employee contributes through volunteering, up to $12K for qualified NPOs. Last year, employees volunteered more than 420K hours, which resulted in Microsoft matching that time to the tune of $7.2 million.

Is your company a giver? Tell us about it here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/09/2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Expect Nine Fixes for February

February's patch cycle will break IT hearts everywhere: Microsoft's advance security bulletin calls for nine fixes. On Valentine's Day, to be exact. Most of those fixes will take dead aim at flaws in more recent OS versions.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/09/2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Certification Tidbit: Exam Prep for SQL Elites

You've earned your MCITPs for both SQL Server 2008 certification tracks, so you must be an expert. If that's the case, you might consider taking a step upward and attempting the Knowledge Exam for the Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008. The exam will set you back $500, even for retakes, so only those with supreme confidence in their SQL mastery should even consider sitting for this exam without prepping for it. For all others, Microsoft offers online training on a periodic basis, and one of those training periods is coming up March 6 through April 19. Details on that training are here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/09/2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

20 Years of the MCP Program

The Michelangelo virus wreaking havoc with computers worldwide was big enough news 20 years ago that CNN reported on it. The debut of Microsoft's certification program didn't even register then, but the program's longevity and impact probably makes it much more newsworthy in retrospect. Microsoft Learning is celebrating 20 years of the program by the slow reveal of 20 special events and offers over the next 12 months.

To start off, Microsoft's "Get 1, Help 1" program provides for one free exam to an "aspiring IT professional" for each exam you pass from now until April 15. The offer applies only to a specific number of exams. Details on those exams as well as how to participate in the program is here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/02/2012 at 11:59 AM2 comments

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