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Week of 13 August 2001

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Monday, 13 August 2001

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09:29 -The Register has more on the story of a Palm handheld destroying motherboards. From what they say, it seems likely that the problem isn't the Palm itself, but static electricity.

Thanks to reader Roger Ellison for bringing this to my attention. The Tecmar web site says that "Tecmar is no longer manufacturing, selling, or servicing Ditto, Travan, or DDS tape technology products." Too bad. They made excellent tape drives. We use their Travan NS20 and DDS-3 drives here for backing up the network and various workstations.

That's two for two on our recommendations. OnStream, whose tape drives we also recommended in the current edition, went bankrupt earlier this year (although it has since been revived). Yep. Just checked. They're still there. They've scaled back their product line--everything is now based on their 15/30 GB mechanism--but they've just introduced a follow-on to the DI-30 that runs at twice the speed of the original model, 7.2 GB/hour versus 3.6.

So what should you buy if you need a Travan or DDS tape drive? Seagate is probably the best bet. I've never used their DDS drives, but I have a Seagate Travan drive that's been doing yeoman service for years. Coincidentally, I'd just contacted Seagate last week about getting some eval units of current products, so we'll see what develops.

Right now, I'd better go revise things to mention that Tecmar is no more. Alas.

11:00 - A reader points out that my statement about OnStream scaling back their product line is deceptive. In fact, OnStream still manufactures the SCSI 25/50 GB drives, but they have repositioned them as "Server Solutions". I was considering only their "Desktop Solutions", which used to include the 15/30 and 25/50 GB product lines. Server Solutions used to be the 25/50 GB line and the ill-starred 35/70 GB line, which OnStream promised but never got to work.

So now OnStream's Desktop Solutions are all based on the 15/30 GB mechanism, in ATAPI, SCSI, USB, parallel port, and FireWire variants. Their Server Solutions are based on the 25/50 GB mechanism in various SCSI variants, as well as one SCSI 15/30 GB drive. No mention of the 35/70 GB ADR drives.

 

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Tuesday, 14 August 2001

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10:15 - In less than two weeks, Intel releases the "real" Pentium 4, the Socket 478 version. That and motherboards based on the i845 chipset. And, of course, there's the 0.13 Tualatin-core Pentium III. That core won't survive long in Pentium III clothing, but before long I expect we'll see Tualatin-core Celerons running at considerably more than 1 GHz. 

All of this is very bad news for AMD. It seems to me that Intel has AMD surrounded. The truth is that clock speed sells, not benchmarked performance. From the high end, the Pentium 4 running at 2 GHz (soon to be 3 GHz and then 4 GHz) is the hammer that Intel will use to pound AMD. From the low end, the Tualatin-core Celeron running at 1 GHz+ speeds is the anvil.

For the last year or more, we've gotten used to Intel playing catch-up on clock speeds. The 0.18 Coppermine-core Pentium III ran out of gas at about 1 GHz, and Intel had nothing to compete with faster AMD processors, which AMD seemed to be able to crank out effortlessly. Now the foot is in the other shoe. AMD's current core is about topped out, and they'll soon find their flagship Athlon processors being matched in clock speed by the new-generation Intel Celeron. When that happens, AMD will find themselves back in their old position of selling their best processor at low prices and low margins against Intel's entry-level processor. The Duron will no longer have a market niche. The fastest Athlons will be sold in low-end systems, leaving AMD unrepresented in mid-range and high-end systems.

The Palomino-core Athlons and Morgan-core Durons are incremental improvements, but they aren't the answer. To compete with Intel's 0.13 processors, AMD must ship their 0.13 Appaloosa-core Durons and Thoroughbred-core Athlons, and it looks as though it may be a year or more before they do that. In the interim, AMD is going to be battered by Intel. Given the drubbing that Intel has taken at AMD's hands over the last 18 months, if I were Intel I'd try to make sure AMD wouldn't be in a position to do that again any time soon. 

Even the current depression in high-tech works in Intel's favor. If processor and system sales were high, AMD could at least pick up crumbs. In our current depressed market, there may not be many leavings for AMD to subsist on. Times are going to be hard for AMD for the next year or more. And I see that IBM has abandoned AMD in the US and European markets. 

I wish AMD the best. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have the amazing choices in low-cost processors that we now have. To maintain my objectivity, I don't hold stock in any technology company. But if I was holding any AMD stock, I'd sell it.

Or am I missing something here?

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Wednesday, 15 August 2001

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09:05 - Barbara leaves tonight for a bus tour with her parents of the North Carolina lighthouses. Actually, they leave in the morning, but she's heading over to her parent's house tonight because they have to get up at oh-dark-thirty to meet the bus. She'll be gone until very late Sunday night. I tried to convince her to take Malcolm along, but as usual I failed. So it'll be just my mother, me, and the dogs for the next few days.

Here's an example of a type of message I receive about once a week. The details vary, but the request is always basically the same--"Please write a detailed white paper for me to answer my specific questions, and while you're at it please send me some money and/or hardware." And they sometimes don't bother with the "please" part. I have some sympathy for these people, or at least for the polite ones. The messages always come from poor countries, where something we consider inexpensive like a LAN card or an elderly computer is a major investment. But I don't have time to investigate these requests, let alone do anything about them.

-----Original Message-----
From: bani muslikun [moghol2000@yahoo.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2001 8:33 AM 
To: galan_city@hotmail.com; thompson@ttgnet.com 
Subject: Help me, please ?

Solo, August 5th, 2001
To
Mr. Robert Bruce Thompson
President of Triad Technology Inc.

Dear Sir,

Previouly I want to say very sorry if I had disturbed your job, Sir. Before I continuing my letter, I think it's good idea if I introduce myself first. My name is Bani Muslikun (it's my fullname). I come from Indonesia. My complette address is : Galan Rt10/IV, Pandanan, Wonosari, Klaten 57473, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia. 

I am 20 years old. I live in small village with my four brothers and my parents. My father is a teacher and my mother just a housewife. Today, I study a computer in El Rahma Education Surakarta for 1 year, and I will continue it in Yogyakarta for 2 years. In El Rahma, I get a Technician and Informatica Programm. At home I also have a PC, but it's only 486 with Windows95 on it. I think it's enough for my introduction to you, and I am very sorry if my Grammar in English very bad. I hope Mr. Thompson would be understand in every sentences in this letter. 

Sir, in this letter I would like to you to help me solving my problem about Networking. Because I am new in networking, so I don't have much experience on it. But, after I read your Book about "Upgrading and Repairing Network" which published by Macmillan Computer Publishing via CD, I got a new knowledge about Network. I'm very interesting on it, and I can understand the explaination given on that book. Studying those book, I have a problem and many questions which I don't know the answer. So, in this case, I would like to Mr. Thompson to help me answering my questions. All my questions bellow are about making Server with Novell Netware. 

This is my questions :

1. What PC should I prepare as a Server, if I want to build a Client/Server network

2. How do I create a partition on a Server. (I means DOS partition and Netware partition which one the first made).

3. From where I load the SERVER.EXE file. 

4. Should we Load Driver Disk in making Server. Why? and How?

I think that's all my questions for this time. My be next time I will ask for questions again. I hope Mr. Thompson would help me give the answer step-by-step, as clear as posible so I can understand it an practicing it.

Before I finished my letter, I want to ask one request again. I know this is crazy or whatever you say, but I have to tell it to you. I hope you wouldn't angry if you're not like it. Indeed, I want to practise about networking so I can directly study and analyze every mistake I've done and I can see my ability about it. But to perform it, I have a problem about the Hardware, because I only have one PC and I don't have any money to buy again eventhough I have tried to work while studying. I'm afraid ask money to my father because I know his sallary is quite small. So, I beg on you Mr. Thompson, would you like to help me solve my financing problem ? So at least I can buy a 486 Computer PC and two Card LAN to practise about network. I want to be able to making network becuase it's one of condition as a Technician. 

As a reward, you can ask me to do something that I able to do it. If you travelling in Indonesia, I will invite you to my village, and I will take you around my region becuase my village is near to the tourist spoot such as: Surakarta(Solo) Palace, Yogyakarta Palace, Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and Parang Tritis Beach. You can regard me as a Guide if you like and you don't need to pay me. I hope you will consider my request above, and the most important thing is : Please give me the answer of my questions as soon as possible. Thank you for your attention to read this letter and once more Thank You very much if you would help me.

Yours

Bani Muslikun 
moghol2000@yahoo.com

Barbara won't be posting while she's gone, so the next time she'll post an update will be next Monday. I'll have my hands full while she's gone, so I may not post much here either.

10:19 - Does anyone know an easy way to check the copyright status of old books? We're constantly ordering old books in support of our own reference e-book project. Yesterday, I received a book called The Poison Trail, written by a Dr. Boos in 1939. One of the items in that book is a forensic toxicology report, circa 1939, and I would like to reproduce that report verbatim. Now, in 1939, copyright was granted for 28 years, renewable for 28 additional years. On that basis, the book would have gone into the public domain in 1967 or, if renewed, 1995. So one might think that there was no question that the book was public domain. But there is, because, at the behest of corporate interests, Congress keeps screwing with the copyright laws.

To make a long story short, if the copyright wasn't renewed, this book is now in the public domain. But if the copyright was renewed, it did not expire in 1995 as anyone might reasonably think. Instead, it's still in force. So what I need to find is a convenient way to determine if a given title is under copyright protection or not. It needs to be cheap or free, because we'll have to check copyright status for a lot of material. Anyone have any ideas? 

11:11 - Someone, who shall remain nameless to prevent embarrassing him, writes to tell me in no uncertain terms that I'm wrong about copyright periods. I don't think I am. The original 1790 copyright statute granted a 14-year term, renewable for another 14 years. In the 1830's, that was extended to a 28-year term, renewable for 14 years. Then in the early years of the 20th century it was extended again to a 28-year term renewable for another 28 years. There it remained until 1976, when it was changed to a 28-year term renewable for 47 years, or a total of 75 years, with works published after 1976 copyrighted for the life of the author plus 50 years.

Additional extensions have been made since then, most recently with the Sonny Bono extension. It seems that every 20 years, Congress extends the period for another 20 years, which makes it seem likely that nothing is ever again going to go into the public domain. And, of course, corporate copyrights have been made effectively infinite. We need to eliminate corporate copyrights entirely and we need to return to the original 14-year term with a 14-year extension. Actually, I think that's too long, and I speak as a content creator. 

I think something like a 10-year term renewable for 10 years would be better. Copyrighting something for the first 10-year term should be cheap or free. Extending the copyright for the additional term should cost enough to eliminate routine renewals without placing an undue burden on authors. Say $100. That would mean that a copyright that was still useful to the author could be renewed readily, but one that was no longer generating income would be dropped, allowing the material to become public domain. Which was, after all, the original intent of copyright.

Thanks also to everyone who suggested the LOC. The problem there is that their online records go back only through 1978, which is worthless for my purposes. In one of their FAQs, they suggest three methods for determining whether a work is still protected under copyright, but then they note that even if you use all three methods exhaustively and find no copyright in effect you're still not guaranteed that no copyright is in effect. Geez.

12:41 - Thanks to Roy Harvey, who found me this page. This was exactly what I was looking for: digitized copies of the printed Catalog of Copyright Entries, published by the US Copyright Office. I searched the entries for 1967 Jan - June and Jul - Dec and found that William F. Boos had not renewed the copyright on his book. As I said over on the messageboard:

"Thanks. That does it (I think). There's no renewal showing in 1967 for William F. Boos, and I'm comfortable enough with that to assume that no copyright is in effect for that book.

I was already pretty sure that'd be the case. I'd guess that book probably had a print run of 1,500 or 2,000 copies and sank without a trace. Boos was one of the pioneering forensic toxicologists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He taught at Harvard and several European universities, and frequently worked for Massachusetts in such criminal affairs as the Sacco-Vanzetti trial (although I'm not sure what toxicology had to do with that) and had a lot to do with getting universal food safety laws passed.

Interestingly, given his prominence at the time, there's very little trace of him on the Internet. The only reference I found to "William F. Boos" (other than an eponymous but unrelated master plumber) was some whacko Christian site that thinks alcohol is evil."

 

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Thursday, 16 August 2001

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08:41 - An article in the newspaper this morning caught my eye. A recent poll establishes that a majority of Europeans disapprove of the way George W. Bush is doing his job. Their reason? He is perceived as acting in the best interests of the United States and its citizens. Well, duh. In whose best interests should he be acting, those of Lower Slobovia? It is Mr. Bush's job to act in the best interests of the United States and US citizens. You can bet that if the people polled learned that their own presidents and prime ministers were acting against their own provincial interests they'd be run out of office, and rightly so. 

Mr. Bush was elected by and represents the interests of the people of the United States. Period. To the extent that those interests are at odds with foreign interests, Mr. Bush is obligated to further domestic interests to the maximum of his ability, consonant with international law and treaties which the US has ratified. If he fails to do that, he is unfit for office, as Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore were unfit for office. If Mr. Bush takes actions for the benefit of US citizens that act to the detriment of French citizens, or Japanese citizens, or Brazilian citizens, well that's Mr. Bush's job.

I am neither a Republican nor a conservative. I did not vote for Mr. Bush, and I disagree with many of his policies. I would much prefer that the Libertarian candidate had been elected. But Mr. Bush has so far shown himself to be an honorable man, or at least as honorable as a politician can ever be. His decision on stem cell research, for example, shows me that he listens to rational debate, can rise above dogma, and is not too proud to reverse himself when he is proven wrong.

Many have argued, most of them Europeans, that Mr. Bush has taken too isolationist a position. But I hope that he will continue that trend. For example, I'd like to see him eliminate all foreign aid, withdraw all US troops from overseas, and resign from the United Nations. Withdraw, in fact, from all foreign entanglements of any sort. The US should take Switzerland as an example. Our only relationship with other countries should be voluntary trade. To the extent that Mr. Bush takes us in that direction, he is doing his job.

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Friday, 17 August 2001

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09:45 - The dogs are driving me nuts. Whining, whimpering, barking, demanding constant attention. Unfortunately, Barbara counted the dogs before she left, so she'd almost certainly notice if one or more were missing when she returned.

At least they let me sleep in this morning. I awoke to my face being licked by Malcolm at 07:48 this morning. When I gave the dogs their first time out and picked up the newspaper, I noticed that the recycling truck had already been through here. All the bins were lying upside down. I'm not sure how I missed that. If the sound of the truck itself didn't awaken me, the sound of the dogs barking at it should have. I'm forced to conclude that the dogs allowed the truck to pass without barking at it. Good dogs.

Of course, that raised the problem of a recycling bin that was full to overflowing. Barbara had put it near the front door before she left and asked me to put it out Thursday night. I decided to wait and do it this morning, so of course the recycling truck showed up early rather than at noon as usual. I had to do something, so I carried the recycling bin around back and dumped its contents in the garbage can, where they actually belong. I'll probably get a nasty note from the garbage men for putting recyclables in the garbage. Oh, well.

I'm not sure why we play this little game anyway. We carefully separate all our recyclables and put them in the green bin. A recycling truck comes along and picks up all the so-called recyclables. They toss plastic items into one bin on the truck, paper into second, glass into a third, and aluminum cans into a fourth. When they get back to Recycling Central, they recover the aluminum cans. Everything else goes into the landfill. We don't use aluminum cans. So what's the point? 

It'd be easier and a lot cheaper to get rid of the whole recycling effort. Nearly all of the stuff we "recycle" goes into the landfill anyway. Even before we had a formal recycling program, many people saved at least aluminum cans and dropped them off periodically at recycling centers. So we end up with a massive, expensive formal program that accomplishes exactly nothing except the "feel good" aspect of pretending to recycle. Actually, it's less than nothing, because the resources consumed and pollution generated are higher with the recycling program than they would be without it. And we pay heavily for this ridiculous program through our taxes. Give me a break.

I spent (wasted) another couple of hours last night trying to get my 802.11b wireless network link working again. I'm convinced that the WAP itself has a hardware problem. Everything worked fine for a while, and then I gradually started to get out-of-range messages on my notebook. I've reset and reconfigured the WAP and tried a different PC Card in the notebook, and it still doesn't work. Even when the notebook is sitting literally a foot from the WAP, I still get out-of-range messages.

I've been trying to get this to work because I want to be able to work with my notebook while sitting in the den. I really need to have access to the network while I'm doing that. I could synchronize my notebook to the server data and work off-line, but that doesn't give me Internet access, which I need at all times for looking stuff up and checking facts. So I'm just going to bite the bullet and run a cable from my office to the den and use a wired connection.

And speaking of checking facts, I just discovered something odd about Outlook. I've gotten in the habit of using the "Send Page" function in IE to send myself an HTML email message that includes interesting pages I encounter while surfing the net. For example, I might find an article on The Register that has information about an upcoming Intel chipset. I just forward that actual page to myself as an email and then file it in the appropriate Outlook folder.

The size of those messages is such that I thought Outlook had a copy of the actual page, but that turns out not to be the case. Yesterday I was checking through those messages in aid of the chapter I'm working on. One of them showed up as a 30KB message, but when I highlighted it it didn't display anything in the Preview pane. So I double-clicked the message to open it only to find that it was a blank message. That was very odd, so I checked several other messages and found a dozen or more similar empty messages. But not all of them were affected that way.

At first I thought it had to do with the data of the messages, that perhaps something I'd done while archiving had stripped out the message bodies or something. But then I found several messages older than some blank messages but that still had their contents. So message age could have nothing to do with it. Finally, I discovered the problem. The messages that were blank were all from The Register, and The Register web site was not responding. The Register web site later came back up, and all of the empty messages had again become non-empty.

Now, I could understand it if Outlook was actually storing only the HTML portion, with just pointers to images and so on. But even the HTML portion of these messages was missing while the web site was unavailable. So that means that "Send Page" is not a reliable method for filing interesting web pages. I guess I'll return to using the Save-As feature in IE to save interesting web pages to disk as single MHT archive files.

 

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Saturday, 18 August 2001

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09:54 - Duncan had a close encounter with a school bus yesterday. I was out in the front yard with the three dogs, with only Malcolm on leash. Malcolm and I were on one side of the yard, and Duncan was sniffing around the bushes out near the street. I heard a truck engine and saw a school bus turning onto our street from a long block away. I immediately shouted, "Duncan! In the house!", which usually works. Not this time. He took off on a dead run to herd that school bus. I stood there bellowing, "Duncan! Stand still!" with no effect. 

Duncan was running at top speed down the middle of the street to confront the bus. I started yelling, "Bad dog!" which sometimes works. Fortunately, the school bus driver braked and Duncan swerved off to the side to circle the bus. Apparently, having brought the bus to a stop, Duncan was satisfied, because he came back to the house on a dead run, with me shouting "Bad dog!" the whole time. "Bad dog!" gets his attention when other commands don't.

As he arrived back in our yard, I started smacking him with Mr. Stick, which is a flexible plastic stick designed for directing Border Collies while they work. Duncan knew he'd been a bad dog, but I kept smacking him and yelling "Bad dog!" to make sure he knew just how bad he'd been. He put his ears back and his tail between his legs and ran into the house and under the kitchen table, which is his "crate". He stayed there for quite a while. I suspect the next time he spots a school bus, UPS truck, or other truck he'll forget that he's not allowed to confront them and do it anyway, but I've done all I can do.

It's something about the sound of truck engine that gets him. He completely ignores cars. But as soon as he hears a large truck engine, his brain disengages and he charges. Being a Border Collie, he figures that at 70 pounds he's a match for a 14,000 pound school bus. And, of course, from his point of view, he's right, because so far every one he's confronted has allowed itself to be herded.

They're all like that. When Kerry was young he captured a UPS truck. As the truck came down the street, Kerry charged out and brought it to a dead stop. After it came to a halt, Kerry ran up and bit it in the tire. Showed that UPS truck who was boss. Then he paced around the truck to make sure it didn't make a break for it. The UPS truck was stranded until I went out and got Kerry on the leash.

We've had Border Collies for 40 years now. We've had only one killed by a car, but one was more than enough. I cringe every time one of our dogs confronts a truck, but I suppose that's just a risk of being a dog. We could keep them on leash or on a rope the whole time they're outside, but Border Collies aren't really happy unless they're free to run. I suppose we could install one of those invisible fences, but it wouldn't work. Duncan would barely notice a tingle as he accelerated through the fence on his way to confront a school bus or UPS truck. 

Perhaps we should plant a privet hedge. That'd stop him. Well, then again, maybe not. Border Collies can jump. You wouldn't believe how well they can jump unless you saw it for yourself. I remember once when I was young, my mother was visiting a neighbor whose back yard adjoined our back yard. There was a high solid wooden fence dividing the two yards. Our first Border Collie, Abby, was in our back yard with me, but she could hear my mother talking to the neighbor on the other side of the fence. For some reason, my mother screamed. She saw a snake or something. Abby took off running toward the fence. She had perhaps a 10 foot run and then she jumped. She cleared an eight foot high fence on the fly and landed in the pond in the neighbor's yard. My mother and the neighbor were surprised, to say the least. Super dog, leaps tall fences in a single bound.

Although Novell NetWare is a better NOS than anything Microsoft has ever shipped, Novell itself has always had a reputation for being clueless. Here's just one more example.

-----Original Message-----
From: Novell [mailto:EINFO@novell.com]
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2001 5:24 PM
To: THOMPSON@TTGNET.COM
Subject: CNE Self-Study Kit-Lowest Price Ever

Dear Novell Enthusiast,

Have you ever wanted to become a Certified Novell Engineer (CNE) but never had the time or money?

Novell Education announces the lowest price ever available for the NetWare 5.0/5.1 CNE Self-Study Kit- $970 USD ($1,495 USD retail value).

This kit is a bundle of all courses necessary to prepare you to become a NetWare 5 CNE. Each course includes a comprehensive student manual and a CD with animations, simulations and test assessment to ensure a thorough learning experience.

Now is a great time to add CNE to your credentials! Act soon, this is a limited offer.

To learn more visit: http://shop.novell.com/cne 

Novell, Inc., the leading provider of Net services software http://www.novell.com 
---
This message was sent to you as a result of your previous business interactions with Novell.

To have your e-mail address, [THOMPSON@TTGNET.COM], removed from Novell's Corporate e-mail file please visit http://www.novell.com/info/unsubscribe/ 

Now, let's see. I got my CNE years ago. I was one of the first people in North Carolina to be certified as an Enterprise CNE (ECNE) and the first in North Carolina and one of the first in the US to be certified as a Master CNE (MCNE). Novell knows this, or they should. A year or so back, I got a notice from Novell that I would be decertified unless I completed an upgrade test. I ignored that, because a CNE has become meaningless as NetWare self-destructs in the marketplace. It wasn't worth my time to study for the exam or the $100 or so that it cost to take the test. Hell, it wasn't worth my time to drive over to Greensboro to take the exam even if it had been free. I got more reminder notices, including finally one that was apparently actual personal mail rather than bulk mail. I replied to the last one, telling them that the CNE was no longer useful for me (I was trying to be polite). 

So now they're offering me a chance to start over? I can't imagine that many people who've let their CNEs lapse are very good candidates for going through that mill again. The CNE became a joke long ago, as the MCSE has since. People who'd never actually seen a NetWare server got "paper CNEs", and now the same is true for MCSEs. I guess people still get them as a way of getting their tickets punched, but if I were hiring a network admin I sure wouldn't accept the fact that a candidate held a CNE or MCSE as evidence that he knew anything whatsoever about the subject.

Actually, I suppose I contributed to that state of affairs by writing several MCSE on-line training courses for DigitalThink.

 

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Sunday, 19 August 2001

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09:20 - Several comments via private mail about my remarks on the CNE and MCSE mess. Most substantially agreed with me, and couple raised a good question. Why are Novell and Microsoft so quick to decertify people who haven't qualified on their latest versions? After all, there are many sites still running NetWare 4.X (and even 3.X) rather than 5.X, and more sites still run NT4 than have upgraded to Windows 2000. Well, the obvious answer is that the companies want to push upgrades, and one good way to do that is to have hordes of unpaid salesmen pushing their newest products.

And not just unpaid. In fact, those certified folks paid big-time for the privilege. There are supposedly 400,000 MCSEs. Assuming that each one paid testing fees totaling $1,000 to become certified, that comes to $400,000,000. That's probably quite conservative. I've failed exactly one of the 30 or so certification tests I've taken, but I understand the average candidate has to take each test twice to pass it. I've talked to quite a few people who averaged closer to three tries for each test they passed. So we can assume that $400,000,000 is an extremely conservative estimate for the testing fees paid by MCSE candidates.

Certainly part of the testing revenue is kept by the testing company. At a guess, say 50%. But $200,000,000 is a nice chunk of change in anyone's book. And that doesn't count the amount spent on classes, books, videos, courses, tutorials, and so on, many of which are produced by or licensed by the companies in question. If I had to guess, I'd say that, directly and indirectly, Microsoft probably made on the close order of half a billion dollars from those 400,000 MCSEs. I'm sure Novell made similar profits, albeit on a smaller scale.

There was a time when having a CNE almost guaranteed you a salary $10,000 to $20,000 a year higher than someone who was not certified. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, having a CNE or MCSE buys you nothing except consideration for a job. If everyone else is also certified, being certified yourself provides no competitive benefit. So in effect, the CNE and MCSE certifications have simply become a direct tax on those who want to be network administrators. What a racket.

Barbara is due back tonight around midnight. We'll all be happy to see her home. Especially the dogs, who haven't been getting the amount of attention they're accustomed to.

She's going to be very upset when she learns that we broke one of her porcelain birds. She has a whole cabinet full of them. Last night, I was playing hall ball with the guys. I tossed the ball, and Kerry lunged for it. It bounced off his snout and into the cabinet, where it knocked a bird to the floor. Fortunately, the bird part wasn't broken. The major damage was that the bird and its base are now separate. We should be able to superglue it back together.

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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All Rights Reserved.