I did something really stupid tonight. I was trying to get a little bit of work done while I was talking on the phone with my grandmother, and I accidentlly deleted the Recycle Bin on one of my workstations. Actually, I don’t feel too bad, because the option to delete the Recycle Bin is on the same menu as the option to empty the Recycle Bin (which is what I was trying to do). It’s easy to click on the wrong option. Fortunately, it is also easy to get the Recycle Bin back.
To do so, open the Control Panel, and click on the Appearance and Personalization link, followed by the Personalization link. The pane on the left contains a Change Desktop Icons option. Click on this option, and then select the Recycle Bin check box, and click OK. That’s all there is to bringing the Recycle Bin back!
Lately, it seems as though I have been getting a lot more spam in my spam filters than I have had in a while. Yesterday though, I got something new that I thought was worth mentioning. The message appeared to be an IT related newsletter that I actually subscribe to. I don’t want to mention the name of the newsletter, but I will tell you that it wasn’t a TechTarget publication.
At any rate, I was about to click on a story that I wanted to read, and I got distracted. It was just dumb luck that when I turned back toward my computer screen my mouse was still above the link, and the URL was showing. As you have probably already figured out, the bogus newsletter was directed toward a phishing site.
Phishing messages are certainly nothing new, and I like to think that I am up on all of the latest ways to keep myself safe from these types of scams. This one almost got me though. After I realized that the newsletter was fraudulent, I started looking for tell tale signs. The scary part was that the newsletter appeared 100% legitimate in every way. It appears that the spammer took this site’s current newsletter, changed the embedded URL, and then sent it back out while spoofing the organization’s identity. The wierd thing was that I got the fake newsletter before I even got the real one. The two newsletters were identical aside from the embedded URLs.
My point is that you can no longer implicitly trust messages that were previously considered trustworthy. I would never advise anyone to give up the newsletters that they subscribe to. Newsletters are a great way to keep up with the latest information, and I rely on them myself. What I am saying is that it may not be a bad idea to get in the habit of verifying URLs before you click on them, even if the message seems to come from a trustworthy source.
As someone who writes about technology for a living, I pretty much have to use the latest version of all of the software that I write about. As such, it is easy to forget that there are people out there who do not always keep their systems up to date.
Yesterday I got a phone call from an old friend who is a business owner, but who is not involved in the IT industry. He had been seeing all of the Windows 7 commercials on TV, and wanted to know what I thought about it. After giving him my honest critique of the new operating system, he asked me a question that just floored me. The question was “Is it better than Windows 98”.
Obviously, WIndows 98 has worked well for my friend, or he wouldn’t have continued to use it for all this time. I shudder to even think about what the migration process is going to be like though. I guarantee that Microsoft doesn’t have a Windows 98 to Windows 7 migration path documented on the Internet anywhere. I just can’t help but wonder if there are other organizations who are still running pre-Windows XP operating systems and have decided that this is the time to upgrade.
I was playing around with Windows 7 earlier today, and I stumbled on to something that I had to pass along. Like every other version of Windows in recent memory, Windows 7 comes with some built in themes and wallpapers, and also allows you to use custom themes. What I didn’t realize until today though, is that Windows 7’s themes are regional in nature. For example, I live in the United States, so many of the wallpapers that are available to me by default are photos that were taken at different locations in the USA. If you activate the various international themes though, you can get wallpapers from around the world. Maybe this isn’t such a big deal for some people, but I absolutely love foreign travel, so I got a real kick out of this.
To get to the themes, just open WIndows Explorer and go to \Windows\Globalization\MCT\. From there, there are several regional folders. Open the folder of your choice and then go into the Theme sub folder and double click on the theme file within the folder to activate the theme.
A few days ago, I mentioned that I was schedule to speak at a virtual conference today, and that I was curious how the attendance would be. I have no way of knowing how many people were at the conference, because there were multiple tracks going on. I couldn’t keep a constant watch on the participant counter because I had to focus on my presentation, but it seemed that about 60 people attended my session. By way of comparison, the last live presentation that I did at a physical conference only had about ten people. I am really starting to think that there might be something to virtual conferences.
My presentation was on disaster recovery for virtual servers. Yes, I spoke about virtualization at a virtual conference. Kind of ironic isn’t it? At any rate, I am told that a recording of my presentation will soon be available for download. Whenever I get a link to the recording, I will pass it along.
Every year I make it a point to travel to as many technology conferences as I can in the interest of keeping my education current. Given the state of the economy, I don’t think that it would come as much of a surprise to anyone that attendance at IT conferences has been way down this year. Between the price of admission and travel expenses the costs of attending a conference really add up, and IT conferences make an easy target for managers who are looking to trim the bottom line.
Next week I am scheduled to speak at a virtual conference. I have done Webcasts before, but I have never done a virtual conference before. This afternoon I got to take a tour of the virtual conference “facility”. I have to say that I was really impressed by how well thought out the Web application was. It kind of makes me wonder if virtual conferences are going to be the big thing in the future. I really hope that traditional conferences still continue to have their place because I enjoy traveling, and there is nothing like being able to talk to other IT professionals face to face. Even so, it is hard to argue with the cost savings that virtual conferences provide. It will be interesting to see how attendance is next week.
Those of you who assumed that I had completely abandoned my blog will be happy to know that I’m finally back online. I am sorry for having such a prolonged absence but unfortunately it could not be helped. Without going into too much detail, an injury resulted in three weeks of blindness. Even though I continued to write some articles during that time the process was painfully slow and required the assistance of others. I am happy to report though, that I have most of my eyesight back and can use a computer without assistance.
On a more technical note, I have been using Windows 7 on my primary workstation since it was released last month. So far, the operating system seems to be rocksolid. I have run into a few unexpected glitches that there hasn’t been anything major. For example, my soundcard driver refused to work even though it was designed for Windows Vista. Thankfully, Creative Labs offers a Windows 7 version of the driver. I also discovered that after I switched to Windows 7, Dragon Naturally Speaking version 10 had to be reactivated. Aside from those particular issues, Windows 7 appears to be working well for me.
I ran into something interesting this morning that I wanted to tell you about. As you are no doubt aware, Windows 7 is built on the Vista kernel. In fact, some critics have referred to Windows 7 as Windows Vista 2.0.
Being that Windows 7 and Vista are so closely related, I had assumed that I would be able to use Windows Vista device drivers. Apparently that isn’t always the case though. This morning I had to replace the sound card in one of my computers. When the new sound card didn’t work, I decided to look for Windows 7 specific drivers. Sure enough, once I downloaded the Windows 7 drivers, the card began working.
Last week Microsoft released Windows 7 to some of their customers. Over the weekend I decided to try installing Windows 7 on a couple of machines. One of the machines was an older desktop that had already been upgraded from XP to Vista. Rather than doing a clean install, I wanted to see if Vista could be used as a way of indirectly upgrading from WIndows XP to Windows 7. I am happy to say that the process worked flawlessly.
For my other deployment, I wanted to see how well Windows 7 would do with a Vista upgrade on a newer machine that had never had XP installed. The machine that I ran the test on was a brand new Toshiba laptop. During the installation process I received a warning message indicating that my wireless network adapter wouldn’t work after the upgrade. I wanted to see what would happen, so I went ahead with the upgrade. Surprisingly, the wireless NIC continued to function after the upgrade with no adverse side effects.
In a recent post I mentioned that Windows 7 would be available, preloaded on new PCs in October. Today Microsoft sent out a much more detailed E-mail message disclosing the release dates. Here is when Windows 7 will be available through various channels:
Volume license customers with the software assurance plan: August 7th
TechNet subscribers: August 6th
Non English versions of Windows 7 should be available through these channels as of October 1st.