This Week in IT History: Get Some Green!

You know how sometimes if you're using a paper calendar or a datebook, yo umark an X for the days that have passed? You might use a big black Sharpie X for this dark day in IT history: On April 12, 1994, marketers Canter and Siegel sent out the first commercial spam message on Usenet. They were shotgun-aiming for people who needed a green card to stay in the U.S.

Personally, I think Spam gets a raw deal here, since for someone like me, Spam is a delicious canned meat that will likely keep me alive long into a nuclear winter. Instead, we should come up with special names that incorporate Canter and Siegel in some way, to commemorate the darkness they introduced into the IT world. Suggestions are welcome.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/12/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Patch Tuesday Is Gonna Be Ugly

When next Tuesday rolls up, admins will be scrambling to make sense of 17 fixes that Microsoft will be pushing out. The most critical one affects those using IE, as it's cumulative, but the rest are Windows OS fixes. Microsoft's advanced bulletin mentions fixes rated as "important" coming for several tools in the Office suite.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/07/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

How To Take Down the Internet

One would think you'd have to be near-genius, understand sophisticated hacking code, or bring a world leader to his knees through massive protests in order to shut down the Internet. No, all you need is a shovel.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/05/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Microsoft Turns 36

Microsoft was founded 36 years ago this week by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Yes, the company was founded nearly a year before Jobs/Wozniak/Wayne founded Apple Computer. Quick quiz: Where was Microsoft founded?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/04/2011 at 11:59 AM3 comments

This Week in IT History: Call Me

What do horses, satellites and texting have in common? They've all been deployed to get us closer together through communication. And this week was a pivotal one in telecommunication history. Call the first event old school telecomm: In 1860, the Pony Express was established and the first messages taken on horseback started in San Francisco, with the communication endpoint being St. Louis.

We have to skip all the way to 1965, when the U.S. launched Intelsat 1 into orbit. And that made wireless communication possible and less expensive than laying down more trans-Atlantic cable. While Intelsat was mainly used for transmitting telephone and T.V. signals between Europe and North America, the satellites launched thereafter (including the latter Intelsat models) would have wider range, and be instrumental in our third event: transmitting the signals for the first mobile phone call made by researchers on April 3, 1973. Isn't it kind of weird that those mobile phones are now used mostly for texting?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 04/03/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

This Week in IT History: The Apple/Beatles Connection

With the frequency with which we cover Apple in TWITH, you'd think we'd have to change the name of the magazine to Apple Certified Professional or something. Bear with me, this week, as I tell you an interesting fact about the company prior to its founding on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne...

So the story goes that when Jobs and company were set to show their invention for the first time at a meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club, the computer actually had a tape drive in it.

On their way over to the meeting, they forgot the tape containing the programs they were going to impress the club with. The Woz, being the quick thinker he was, ejected the tape in the tape player, but Jobs stopped him. No joke, it was Jobs' own mix of Beatles music. So he handed him another tape off the car floor, Woz quickly wrote out some programs on that one from memory (no pun intended), and the rest is history.

Ron Wayne doesn't figure much in the history of Apple too much after the company incorporated. But his legacy lives on in the products, since his name is etched inside the case of every Apple product ever manufactured.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/31/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments

WHS 2011 Joins 'Em

Windows Home Server 2011 has gone public (and yes, SBS 2011; news here), and what's interesting about this release is that it has built-in support for Mac clients. I find that intriguing, but maybe you don't. I've been seeing Macs pop up around me with more frequency, that there seems to be a battle brewing on the corporate front now that Macs are becoming more acceptable desktop hardware (even for non-graphics types). The Windows/Mac battle has been raging for some time at home, though. Thus, WHS 2011 supporting them seems necessary.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/30/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments

Thin is In, But Only If You Have Software Assurance, Says MS

Microsoft has a public test version of Windows Thin PC out now, but when it's released, it can be had only by companies who have Software Assurance licenses. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Are there readers out there who work for companies who could benefit by using it, but can't justify SA? If so, share your stories here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/30/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Microsoft Co-Founders Not BFFs

When Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen left the company for health reasons, the other cofounder, Bill Gates tried to steal MSFT shares from his ailing pal. At least that is the allegation leveled in a memoir Allen recently wrote, recounting his days co-running one of the most powerful software companies in the world. As the saying goes, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/30/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments

Windows Phone 7 Beta Soon; BizTalk 2010 Exam Live

Microsoft Learning had a few issues with its registration process for the 71-599 PRO: Design/Develop Windows Phone 7 Apps exam that's going into beta. The problem was mainly outside the U.S., but it looks like the group should have those issues ironed out by the time you read this. (Speaking of Windows Phone 7, IDC predicts that it'll be hotter than Android in 2015. Too bad, because the world ends next year.)

On another note, 70-595 TS: BizTalk 2010 just went live.

I'd love to hear from folks taking either of these exams, particularly the WinPhone one in beta.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/29/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Systems Center 2012 Will Manage That Corporate-Issued iPad

Microsoft just released a second beta of System Center 2012 and in the words of Eli Khnaser, it's awesome. Eli blogs about it at MCPmag sibling site,, and besides cool style points on its desktop virtualization improvements, he's excited even more about its ability to manage more mobile devices, including the iPad, via the Server App-V component in SCVMM.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/24/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

This Week in IT History: X Marks a Decade

Apple might be looking back at its Mac OS X, which debuted 10 years ago this week, as the beginnings of its corporate resurrection. Just four years earlier, Apple was on the brink of destruction when Bill Gates and Microsoft announced a $150 million investment in Apple. That was enough operating capital to keep Apple bobbing until it introduced OS X. That year was also pivotal, as the company also opened its first retail store and unleashed the incredibly popular iPod. For Apple, it probably seemed like money did grow on trees.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/24/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

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