Censorship

Bit of an old link, but worth a read (especially the comments):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17894764

Ties in nicely with reading “You are not a gadget”.

Ultimately, the internet is a tool. The sole responsibility with using a tool lies with the person in charge of it. Of course, children are generally less experienced to make judgment calls than adults, so the responsibility gets proxied to the parents. And I think that’s where it should end.

You can use a flint axe-head for a lot of things. Digging. Cutting up a potato. Skinning an animal. Or killing someone. There is clearly more and less acceptability in these examples depending on your viewpoint. Skinning an animal might be fine for some people but not for others. Some people might find it fine to skin certain animals but not others. And parent’s should be there to teach children the rights and wrongs of life until they can decide for themselves (and even then, you can’t guarantee they will continue to have the same views you had).

The keys are education and making it easy (and free?) to obtain per-household filtering solutions. Example: NetGear make a line of wireless routers that talk to their own filtering servers, or you could set SmoothWall to perform filtering.

Freedom is very hard to obtain. And the tricky thing is, we won’t suddenly be plunged into a 1984-style world. We’d get there slowly (like grass growing), and wouldn’t even know when we got there because we wouldn’t have anything to compare it to. No-one would remember being able to access any website you wanted, and you might not be able to read 1984. If you think this somewhat overly negative, just think of the degree to which we put up with CCTV today. Or how gleefully we’ve adopted smartphones and (near)-pervasive internet access because of the “benefits” we get (FaceBook?)- without thinking for one second about the fact that actually these mean we’re being tracked pretty much all the time (yup; although of course it might not be you carrying it, your phone is tracked from cell-to-cell and from access point to access point.

Big Brother is watching you? Well, maybe not you just yet, but it is watching all those lovely devices you use (and of course, Google is watching your house :)). Do you really want to risk reducing your liberty while watching surveillance being increase?

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Symantec Backup Exec

Funny that this should pop up today:

http://searchstorage.techtarget.co.uk/news/2240160322/Symantec-dumps-CEO-vows-to-fix-Backup-Exec-2012?asrc=EM_USC_18171460&track=NL-1023&ad=878648&

Because actually, the bits I’ve seen of 2012 look a lot better and more streamlined than any previous version. Still, I think I’m going to be wary of Symantec for a good while. Let’s face it, the fault uncovered in BE2010 (below- “NDMP duplicate backups”) is a major fault- we’ve been running backup software that hasn’t actually been backing up even though it says it is. There was no hotfix for this specific version, the link I posted was a hotfix for R3 so I’m assuming no-one picked up this exact fault with the original 2010.

In some ways we had a lucky escape; this fault got identified by chance when trying to restore a small amount of CIFS data, which is far preferable (tho’ maybe not on an individual level) to finding out your tapes haven’t worked when all your storage has been burnt to a crisp.

NDMP duplicate backups

Just a quick word of warning- if you’re using Backup Exec 2010 to duplicate disk-based NDMP backups to tape, I’d upgrade to 2010 R3 SP2 (+ 3 associated hotfixes). The long and the short of it is that, chances are those disk backups aren’t being duplicated to tape, regardless of what the job logs say.

This article has further information: Backup Exec 2010 R3 revision 5204 Hotfix 173790 (something to do with DirectCopy). As you can see this is a hotfix for R3 without going to SP2, but I was advised to go straight to SP1 then immediately allow LiveUpdate to install SP2 and hotfixes 180429,176937 and 191248.

This now seems to be working, as I’ve successfully run a restore from tape. Quite why the job histories and logs were giving the thumbs up when it blatantly wasn’t working is beyond me but at least it’s working now.

NextGen Microsoft

Well, from what I’ve seen so far the touch-enable generation of Microsoft products is looking extremely good. Even their website is going more and more towards Metro now, and Windows 8 looks bizarre but should be brilliant (granted, I’m using it on a non-touch screen inside VMWare, so not exactly the ideal platform).

You can download Windows 8 here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/download

And office 2013 here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/evalcenter/hh973391.aspx?wt.mc_id=TEC_114_1_6

 

Web 2.0 or: the day technologists fiddled while something real happened.

If you want a refreshing (i.e. realistic) take on Web 2.0, try this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Are-Not-Gadget-Manifesto/dp/0141049111/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343058721&sr=8-1

Not got that far into it yet but it’s an eye opener- and puts down on paper some of the things I’ve been thinking for a while (such as- really- what is the point of twitter and facebook? I can see a use for them in a tiny number of cases, but realistically they’re 99% junk).

YouTube video of the week! update #01

Where to even start. After watching Bill Gallop’s video right through, this struck me as the most blinkered, shallow defence of adopting Apple products I’ve ever seen. Essentially his case falls down on two counts: his encouragement for adopting Apple products simply because people want them, and his avoidance of the issue of spending more on management tools than the actual devices.

To go into more detail, very early on Mr Gallop essentially says that one reason for adoption is that “everyone’s using iPads”. That’s a terrible excuse. I can’t decide to start telling the press everything about my company just because I want to- there are guidelines about talking to the press and I have to abide by them. The same should apply to IT kit.

Which brings me to another issue Bill Gallop avoided: that ultimately, any IT infrastructure is there to support the business, not pander to the whims of staff. If the iPad is the best tool for the job, fine. But it must be the best tool. If it takes 2 weeks work to get an app onto an iPad that the user only uses for 2 days a year in the office, then surely that’s not cost efficient? In the same way, no employee could justify needing a VW Golf to get somewhere. You might need a car, but that car should be chosen based on the requirements of the journey.

I also found his interchangeable use of “Malware” and “Device driver crashes” a bit confusing, and picking on Citrix as a case study is slightly obvious as Citrix is a product designed almost exclusively to enable Windows products to work on just about any other device imaginable. It’s hardly surprising that a cross-platform company went en masse to another hardware platform as it should have no impact whatsoever on their ability to use whatever solutions they have.

The final phase of the presentation- “Why do you want to manage Macs?”- started off unfortunately enough with a really stupid question. It should have read “Why do you want to manage anything?” Because if you don’t manage devices, you’ll end up in chaos. How can you comply with licensing, audit, security and a raft of other requirements if you don’t manage the devices on your network? Forget the platform for a minute; if you don’t manage any of your devices, you’ll pretty quickly end up with illegal software on your network. You’ll be susceptible to malware (and the old “this doesn’t affect Macs” routine no longer washes I’m afraid) infections. You won’t be able to stop people walking away with confidential company data. All your data will be accessible to everyone. And so on and so on. I’m not saying your IT infrastructure should become a police state, but you do need a certain level of management.

To top it off, he went on to list the many ways in which Apple products are compatible with a Windows network, but only after spending more money on 3rd party software. So the reviews of SharePlus were glowing, but it enable you to cache files on the device- not brilliant from a security point of view. He went on at length about how iPads love WebDAV, but in fact iPads don’t support WebDAV out of the box- you have to buy a third party product. Another interesting fact was that Mac Office Enterprise comes with a Lync client- ideal! Except that he completely forgot the bit about needing a Lync CAL too (which, granted, is the same for any Lync client).

I’ll carry on buying the right equipment to do the job, thanks, and not make hardware decisions based on what’s trending on twitter.

YouTube video of the week!

Wonderful. Possibly the most bigoted presentation I’ve ever seen.  I had my suspicions when he seemed to confuse malware with driver crashes. I really hope this goes viral, as it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen since looking at his own massively out of date web page (7 years and counting).