IT Jobs: A Total Crapshoot

The IT job market is not only challenged, but demand for certain skills comes and goes faster than NASCAR crew chiefs. What's hot today may be a dud tomorrow, says consulting firm Foote Partners.

The firm believes hiring today is based almost entirely on skills, not to fill a certain title or job opening. So if you're an expert in applications and Web development, you may land a sweet gig -- even if there's no real opening.

Other hot areas? SAP expertise, database and Cisco skills. But before you start training in these areas, remember: They may not stay hot very long.

What's your shop looking for? Send your needs our way at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on November 18, 2009 at 11:53 AM5 comments


Microsoft Forensic Tool in the Hands of Hackers

Microsoft has a special computer forensics tool designed only for law enforcement. Now, the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) has been leaked on the Internet, and the fear is that hackers can use the tool to sidestep these very forensic techniques.

The tool is designed to nab computer information including evidence of child pornography and other crimes -- the same approach I see on every other episode of "Law & Order."

This may not be a huge deal. Hackers already have plenty of tools for snooping, and I'm not sure having COFEE out in the wild is a game changer. Tell me where I'm wrong at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on November 16, 2009 at 11:53 AM1 comments


Google Talks Enterprise

For years, pundits claimed that Google was Microsoft's biggest enterprise rival. Back then, Google had a search engine and some low-function Web productivity apps. The company has grown since then, and is starting to emerge as a real enterprise player as its cloud apps -- especially messaging -- mature.

Our news hound, Kurt Mackie, cornered Matthew Glotzbach, director of Google Enterprise, to talk about apps, browsers and operating systems. After reading this extensive and insightful interview, you'll have a better appreciation for all that Google has done.

Posted by Doug Barney on November 16, 2009 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Network Business One Vendor Smaller

I spent six years of my life as news editor at Network World and there was plenty to cover. Like the early days of software, there were vendors galore -- Cabletron, 3Com and a little company called Cisco. Today, most of the independent networking companies are gone, having either gone out of business or been bought by Cisco.

A former powerhouse, 3Com, just got snapped up by HP for a bit less than $3 billion. That's chump change compared to what the company used to be worth.

This market change has been hell on networking publications. Network Computing, where I was editor in chief for a while, died a few years ago, as did Network Magazine. Meanwhile, Network World, which has outlasted nearly all of its rivals, just went from a weekly to a biweekly.

What is your favorite old networking company and favorite dead networking magazine? Vote at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on November 16, 2009 at 11:53 AM2 comments


Holiday Spam Overload

I get a lot of spam. Part of it is because I put my real e-mail address ([email protected]) in all my newsletters. I'll put up with a few hundred spam messages a day just so I can hear directly from Redmond Report readers.

But come this holiday season, I may be eating my words. Security experts believe that spam will increase dramatically this month and next as we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and others. There could be as many as 2 billion holiday spam messages every day. Bah humbug!

Posted by Doug Barney on November 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM2 comments


Did You Get the Exchange 2010 Message?

Microsoft is now shipping Exchange 2010, giving a much-needed upgrade to Redmond's widely deployed messaging platform. Among other things, it provides higher availability and improved administration, and will be welcome to Outlook Web Access users.

If you've made the upgrade or tried the beta, we'd like to hear what benefits you're seeing and how you intend to use it to improve the way messaging is used in your organization. If you're on the fence about making the upgrade, what's holding you back? Write [email protected] and you may be quoted in an upcoming feature story.

Posted by Doug Barney on November 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM1 comments


I Got Glitches

I'm generally happy, very happy, with Windows 7. When I upgraded, I also went to Office 2007 and IE 8. But a few months in, two glitches have suddenly appeared. When I highlight and bold text in Word 2007, huge portions of the document also turn bold. Only when I hit Ctrl+Z to go back is the intended highlighted text bolded. Rather bizarre.

IE 8, meanwhile, now hangs when I try to go back to the previous page. Sometimes I click again, and of course it goes back two or three pages. I'm waiting for the next release of Firefox and will likely switch back then, but in the meantime it's a little frustrating.

Any of you have these problems? Any fixes? Help me at [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on November 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM3 comments


Bing Gains Wolfram Muscle

We just finished a cover story on Bing, due to run Dec. 1, that's entirely based on your opinions. Apparently, you like it, you really like it! Now there's more to like: Bing will soon display results from Wolfram Alpha, a rather unusual search engine.

Based on Mathematica, Wolfram does not index the Web. Instead, it builds its own ever-growing mini-encyclopedia or database. If I search for my name, it won't give links to my articles, but will give information about the commonality of my name and other stats. It's also a compute engine; it can solve equations or play notes when you search on C# (the note, not the computer language).

Wolfram is very cool and Bing is cool for tying into it.

Posted by Doug Barney on November 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM1 comments


Dopey Theory: Part 2

I'm shocked at how so many people come up with so many dopey theories, while many other dopes believe them and spread them around. Keith Curtis' idea that Microsoft should can Windows and move to Linux registers a solid 9 on the dope scale.

What registers as a 10? The theory espoused by dimwit Jay R. Galbraith (not sure if he's related to the actually brilliant late John Kenneth Galbraith) from CNNmoney.com that Windows 7's success will kill Microsoft.

According to this over-educated dunderhead, having a popular fat client will keep Microsoft from putting all of its attention on smartphones and other lightweight devices and clients. This is the same nonsense spewed by Gartner recently -- that Microsoft is too slow and stupid to move to the Web, thin clients and mobile devices.

I'm not sure how Microsoft is stupid for having a fat client, while Apple with the Mac is God's gift to technology.

Meanwhile, Windows 7 is going great guns, so I guess Microsoft really is in trouble.

Posted by Doug Barney on November 11, 2009 at 11:53 AM7 comments


Cisco, EMC and VMware: A New Virtual Team

Microsoft has Citrix as a huge virtualization partner, and now VMware has Cisco and parent company EMC to fight back.

The three have formed an alliance to sell blocks of virtual capacity to IT. Cisco can not only handle the networking, but has a new server line built for virtualization and unified communication. EMC has services and plenty of storage to go around. And VMware has the core virtualization and cloud software.

In fact, the three talk less about virtualization and more about clouds. I'm not clear on whether this is focused on external clouds (where they just sell capacity) or internal clouds (where IT can build its own utility-style computing infrastructure). Do either of these approaches wet your whistle? Who's your favorite virtualization vendor? Fire off answers to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on November 11, 2009 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Slim Patch Tuesday

Last month was a fat Patch Tuesday, with a record number of fixes keeping IT grunts busy. This month is far less onerous with only six tweaks on the way, most aimed at remote code execution exploits with a scoop of denial-of-service on top.

One critical fix is aimed at all versions of Windows with the sole exception of Windows 7. (Is this some kind of marketing ploy?)

While this month is not nearly as serious as the last, with any patch, it pays to be careful out there.

Posted on November 09, 2009 at 11:53 AM0 comments


An Exchange 2007 About-Face

Who says Microsoft doesn't listen to customers? Because it clearly paid attention to those of you who want to move to Windows Server 2008 R2, but don't want to throw out a perfectly good Exchange 2007 installation in the process.

Microsoft originally had its messaging code monkeys making sure that Exchange 2010 was a perfect fit for Windows 2008 R2. After more than a few howls, it changed course, re-assigned a bunch of programmers, and voila! Exchange 2007 works.

Actually, the two don't work together quite yet -- and Microsoft isn't saying exactly when the compatibility update will arrive.

Posted by Doug Barney on November 09, 2009 at 11:53 AM0 comments