Microsoft's Advance Bulletin Lists 13 Fixes

The security team in Redmond has released its monthly preview of fixes, and it looks like it has a baker's dozen coming your way. It's a hefty number after last month's rather small (in comparison) fix list. Among the critical fixes is one that will affect just about any Windows user, from corporate to home users.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 08/04/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Happy SysAdmin Day!

It's another Friday in July for most of us. But it shouldn't be. Instead, you might find some time today to thank your resident systems administrators, because without them, you and you alone would be responsible for maintaining the lifeline to your company, your career. For 365 days a year, sysadmins make sure our systems, devices, iPads and whatnot stay connected, whether it's to the WAN or to the cloud, so that the enterprise machine can keep churning. When services are knocked off, we run to them first to give us estimates on our downtime. When viruses render our PCs inneffective, they get us feeling back to normal, usually without scolding us (because, really, you're not the only one to go visit some of those nefarious sites).

Yes, it's the unofficial day of appreciation for their services all year long. That's right -- it's Systems Administrator Appreciation Day. Have a good one, and thanks for keeping us connected.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/29/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Windows Explorer Draws on Raw Support

Kurt Mackie, Redmond's news hound, alerted me by e-mail to this interesting find that might only be interesting to my fellow photographers who shoot in raw format. Microsoft now enables Windows Explorer to view raw files. I've installed the 32-bit version on my Windows Vista PC (it's here if you want to download it) and it works flawlessly with my files, many in the newer Canon .CR2 format. There's a bit of a lag as you open each new folder, since it's drawing up new thumbnails. I think you get the picture....

Windows Explorer preview pane; raw files just icons

Figure 1. Windows Explorer, sans Raw add-in, shows a generic icon for Canon raw files. (Click image to view larger version.)


Windows Explorer preview pane with Raw add-in installed now shows image previews

Figure 2. Windows Explorer with Raw add-in installed now shows a preview of the raw image as if it were a native image file. No more hunting around these files with Picasa Picture Viewer or IrfanView or Adobe Bridge or whatever.... (Click image to view larger version.)

(I don't have any other camera equipment to test it against, so if you come across this blog post, I'd love to hear about your experiences, Nikon shooters!)

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/28/2011 at 11:59 AM4 comments

Self-Professed Microsoft Word Fanatic

A killer who uses Word? I've heard that before. But it's unusual to hear that the Oslo killer was such a fanatic (of a different kind) of Microsoft Word.

I once worked for a database developer magazine a few decades ago. I was in charge of the mail and I was shocked to receive a letter from a customer, who wanted to thank us for providing an invaluable service (we published database code snippets for Clipper, dbase III, Paradox and others) that helped him manage his newsletter publishing list. The publication? A white supremacy "fanzine" based in north San Diego county. And it wasn't Word, but another Microsoft/Sybase technology, which, at the time, was bleeding edge.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/28/2011 at 11:59 AM4 comments

Assessing Ballmer's Skills Off, On Court

Pundits can rally to put Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's head on a pike, but this Seeking Alpha piece puts forth a dozen or so more valid arguments that prove he's the best man for the top job at Redmond.

Meanwhile, I have to give props to the big man in the middle -- the middle of the paint that is. Here's Ballmer practicing his baller skills prior to a charity event.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/28/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Are You a Microsoft MVP? Should You Be?

Many of the writers for and have at some time in their IT careers earned the highly respected Microsoft MVP badge. Folks like current Redmond/MCPmag contributors Don Jones and Jeff Hicks, MCPmag forum moderators Andy Barkl and Andy Goodman, are just a few who've been deemed MVP-worthy (and there have been dozens more).

Brien Posey's another, and he's written a guide on improving your chances of getting Microsoft's attention on the way to earning those letters here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/21/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Windows OS, Online Take Bite Out of Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft's Q4 earnings report was mainly good news in that the company exceeded analysts' expectations, but there are signs that cash cows like the Windows OS may not be delivering in the quarters to come. Mainly, it seems businesses are still ready to buy and upgrade older systems, but consumers are looking elsewhere. (Venture to guess what they're buying?)

Other highlights: The Entertainment division came through, though, with its incredibly popular Xbox and the ecosystem growing around it. And the Business Division has delivered 12 percent more revenue in the year-over period. The Online Division's Q4 was $66 million in the red, due to operating costs of $728 million.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/21/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Forefront Exam Beta

Microsoft last week put 70-158 TS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring, to beta testers at Prometric testing centers worldwide. Those who pass this exam will get the MCTS title of the same name. Lest we forget to mention it, beta exams are free and if you pass, you don't have to take the live version to earn the cert.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/21/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Got Exchange 2010 SP1? Don't Get RU4 (Yet)

Microsoft is warning customers with Exchange 2010 SP1 not to update with Update Rollup 4 that just came out. Customers who had already done so reported problems with files being deleted. What was happening was that files only looked like they were deleted, but they were pretty much sitting in Exchange purgatory. Where's that? The recoverable items folder, of course. Microsoft expects to fix this issue, so hold on and don't do the update just yet.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/14/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Does Your Certification Have Career-Value?

I know this is an apples/oranges comparison, but I thought I'd do it anyway to highlight some interesting data from the BorntoLearn bloggers that was posted a few weeks ago. Check out this link, which charts people they polled around the world on their partnership with Microsoft, Microsoft certifiability (not sure that's a word/appropriately used in this context), and job roles.

What I find interesting is that 58 percent claim to be Microsoft-cerified. Yes, that means 42 percent don't have a basic MCP title. It's quite a bit lower than our readership, which is at just a tick under 70 percent. That data comes from our own 2011 Salary Survey, so bear in mind that that data only comes from U.S.-based readers. As well, most of our readership have come to us because they were certified at one time or another or were seeking certification information (certification, in other words, is a priority to them).

With that, I'd like to share a little bit of data on the readers that we didn't provide in our own salary survey piece online.

When asked why respondents pursued their Microsoft certification, only 20 percent cited it had to do with salary. Rather, most respondents said they attained their title mainly due to personal or career-related reasons (respondents were able to choose more than one reason):

Why did you pursue your most recent Microsoft certification?
by percent
Personal goal
To distinguish my skills from others
To get a better job
Promotion/raise from current employer
To obtain employment
Required for job
For project I’m working on
Recommended by friend/boss/co-worker
Required to attain Microsoft Partner status
To access priority support
Peer pressure

While certification seems to be something personal, it does seem to carry weight with employers, at least that's how employees see it. Here are the results of two questions we asked in regards to certification's bearing on employability:

Did certification improve or enhance your ability to find or keep employment or lead to a job promotion in the last 12 months? (Numbers show percentage.)
Yes, it is the primary factor
Yes, it is one of several factors
Not sure


Do you believe certification will improve or enhance your ability to find or keep employment or lead to a job promotion in the next 12 months? (Numbers show percentage.)
Yes, it is the primary factor
Yes, it is one of several factors
Not sure

I'm working on a hiring survey, in which I'll be asking hiring managers this same question. I'm sure we won't be too surprised with the results here for some reason. 

There's lots data like this in our survey (we ask a lot of questions!). Let me know if this kind of data interests you and I'll continue to look through the results (and if you have a specific question, I'll see if our results can provide the answers you seek).

For now, be on the lookout for the next salary survey later on this year.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/14/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Calling Windows Phone 7 Experts

Your Windows Phone should have already sent you the alert: Exam 70-599 PRO: Designing, Developing Windows Phone Applications was released to Prometric centers worldwide last Friday. The exam is aimed primarily at Windows Phone 7 developers, and it's the last one (of three) that must be completed to earn a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Windows Phone Developer title (the other two are 70-506 TS: Silverlight 4, Development and 70-516 TS: Accessing Data with .NET Framework 4).

If you've taken this exam, I'd love your thoughts on this degree of difficulty and whatnot here.

Posted by Michael Domingo on 07/14/2011 at 11:59 AM0 comments

How To Ruin Your Career, IT or Otherwise

One sage piece of advice a boss told me once: "Never burn your bridges on the way out of the village; you'll just make it harder to return here or anywhere." It wasn't original, but heed I did and that career advice has always been useful for me.

I don't know what transpired to make Walt Powell burn bridges with his employer, but suffice it to say that he's probably not going to be working in IT from now to forever. Some folks would chuckle at the incident, but a bigger picture view (no pun intended) shows that he's really done some damage to a program that is trying to help many people battle substance abuse. The tens of thousands of dollars that his mess created was money that programs like them can't spare.

(Sure, this article is old, but I espied it on another blog just posted recently and it's a good lesson on how to kill your career, if you really hate IT or employment in general.)

Posted by Michael Domingo on 06/24/2011 at 11:59 AM1 comments

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