Most Admired Companies? Microsoft Moves On Up

Microsoft has been a punching bag in the press lately. So, let's point out one piece of good news today. Forbes' list of World's Most Admired Companies, which is posted online from its March 2011 issue, has Microsoft at No. 9. That's an improvement of two spots from last year.

Redmond is still well liked, but three tech companies rank better: Apple (1), Google, (2), and (7). Chime in here.

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

Which PC Got You into IT?

So, I'm not really in IT, but I do pretend somewhat. If anything, I know a bit (really, just a little, enough to edit this online rag). And what got me here might sound familiar to you: "I was my company's help desk." But how did I really get here? Well, looking around the intarwebs, I was reminded by this nifty link, and among the 25, at slide #10, is Commodore PET, the very first computer I ever worked with. Little did I know I was gettting a glimpse of my future.

What got you into IT? Chime in here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/24/2011 at 11:59 AM6 comments

Windows 8 Might Be Just in Time, in 2012

I'm still on a Vista machine. Yes, I tread dangerously at work and at home. Besides the PC going on about eight years and needing to be replaced (just look at the technology I've been missing out on in those eight years!), the two-year-old OS might need a reinstall to speed it up. And from what is rumored, 2012 might be the year I move uptown to Windows 8. Or a Mac.

Still, in eight years, I've done fine. So, what have I missed, technology-wise? Brag about it here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/24/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments

Silent Updates Making Noise

Admins who care have suspected for some time that Microsoft might be periodically pushing out patches to computers without so much as informing the receivers of said patches. And now, it's documented, as
Microsoft has revealed some of the secrets behinds its sleuth patching process in an article posted on its TechNet site.

Microsoft said there's a difference in what's being fixed with the silent patches, as opposed to the fixes that are known and fixed via the typical security bulletins. Some of the silent patches, Microsoft contends, are updates to code that Microsoft said is thoroughly tested before being sent out.

Are silent updates a good idea, or should Microsoft explain any changes it makes to your systems? Tell us here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/18/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments

This Week in IT History: In Man vs. Machine, Machine Wins (Again)

Watson, the computer built by the smart folks at IBM, was pitted against human competitors on the game show "Jeopardy!" and beat 'em up. It wasn't a domination, but a victory nonetheless. In any case, it appears the seeds of true artificial intelligence have been planted. Or maybe it was already planted when Watson's predecessor, Deep Blue, soundly beat chess master Gary Kasparov 13 years ago. You can check out a summarized version of the show on IBM's site here.

Coincidentally, as Watson came to public life this week, it was this week 136 years ago that IBM founder Thomas Watson was born.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/17/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Google OS Goes To School

Should Microsoft be worried that the most realistic OS competition outside of Apple, Google's Chrome OS, is being put under live test conditions at a high school in Oregon? Well, we haven't heard any rumblings or panic emanating from the Pacific Northwest yet, but Google already plans to expand testing as it gets ready to deliver more Cr-48 laptops sporting the Chrome OS to several other high schools across the country.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/16/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Internet Search Gets Nasty

No, we're not talking suggestive pictures. Rather, Google and Microsoft have started a game of "yes you did/no I didn't," with the search giant accusing Redmond of deriving some of Bing's results based on data collected via Google's search data. Or something like that. Google is calling it stealing, but Microsoft says it's more nuanced than that. Or something like that.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 02/03/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

This Week in IT History: Wasting Time

Are you on Facebook? Probably. A study claims that among the many time-wasting activities, nearly 7 percent is wasted on checking Facebook during the day. The company was launched this week in 2004, and it's been looking up ever since. Interestingly, another study says that 50 percent of SMBs have blocked Facebook on work computers.

Does your company block Facebook, Twitter or all social media programs like this? Why or why not?

Posted by Michael Domingo on 01/31/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Testing Your IT Memory

Check out the findings summarized in this article that shows that test takers are probably retaining important information better than their non-test-taking counterparts.

It's a bit more complicated than that, but the study, published in Science, shows specifically that those who used a fairly simple method of just plain reading and studying, then taking a test, got better results on their tests than those who used another method, called "concept mapping," in which students diagrammed what they learned. I'm unfamiliar with the idea, but then again, I've been out of school for a while (and maybe I should head back and take some classes).

The Science study offers up a good argument for making sure to take Microsoft Learning up on its Second Shot program. Take the test and if you fail, perhaps you'll have identified the gaps in your knowledge before the next time you take the exam, for free the second time.

(The study from Science is available here for a fee, but some other info is also available without pay, so check out the link anyway.)

Do you usually sign up for the second-shots when taking a test? Tell us about your experiences here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 01/31/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

This Exec Move Heads to Courts

It's probably not big news, but besides all the big moves that happened lately -- mostly out of Microsoft, like this and this -- it seems Redmond was more than miffed when hired away Microsoft's government strategist. Yes, enough to sue.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 01/27/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Tricks of The IT Trade

As long as you've been in IT, what tips or tricks do you keep coming back to to make your work as an IT professional as smoothly as possible? Is it a tool or software suite you use that has proven itself to be invaluable? Is it something you learned from a training kit that seemed to save you or a colleague?

We want to hear it. It can be something you've learned from someone else or took from a book, as long as you provide us with the source from which it came and can tell us how it saved you. Send it to [email protected] and if we use your tip or story, we'll send you some tip money. Deadline is Feb. 4.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 01/27/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Windows Phone 7 A Somewhat Bright Spot

Ahead of Microsoft's latest earnings news (out just minutes ago, the results are awesome but not Mac-tacular), the company revealed some data ahead of time worth sending to its Windows Phone 7 devices, all 2 milllion of them (tip of the cap to So far, Redmond's mobile strategy appears to be a qualified success, as long we're talking units shipped rather than sold.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 01/27/2011 at 11:59 AM2 comments

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