Thursday, March 8, 2007

Jesus Camp and TechNet

Last night, Jeannette and I saw Jesus Camp. I thought it was really short, poorly produced, and the message wasn't clear. It's really easy to pick out crazy fundamentalists, and make a movie about a handful of them. I don't know if it was supposed to be more striking because these were children. One thing I felt from the movie is the attachment of social conservative values into services. This is where I believe the power of the conservative movement comes from, tying your emotional response to one issue, and you're roped in. For example, the abortion issue. If you are pro life, it's like you have to vote republican. The republicans don't even have to take that issue seriously, they can introduce bills now and again, which will fail, just to prove to the masses that they are working for the cause. Then they are sure to win votes, no matter how much money they waste on pet projects, send people to war, or eliminate civil liberties, the most important issue to these people is saving unborn babies. As a guy, I don't feel like my opinion matters much, but I believe the decision rests with the woman on what to do. As long as it's within the first trimester. I also think that counseling should be mandatory, and all options should be discussed beforehand. I'm by no means "pro abortion" in that I don't want every unwanted pregnancy to be terminated, but I think it as an option, within reason, and throughly though about, is the safest option. I do think abortion should be rare, but not illegal.

Anyway, on a completely different note, I attended a TechNet event in Eden Prairie this morning about Office 2007, Exchange 2007, and Vista. It seems like all three platforms are a huge shift in technology. All products will require significant training for anyone who plans to use them, even if they are familiar with their previous versions. Office has an issue with opening old versions of files, and older office applications can't open the new files without a converter. Yes, the converter is free, but that's a hassle. Exchange 2007 can't upgrade a 2003 box, you must perform a full migration. The migration isn't too hard, but the management is totally different. Also, Exchange 2007 must be installed on a 64 bit server. I don't have any extra servers around for that upgrade, and certainly none with 64 bit processors. Vista does have good features on the back end that make for better management. For example, Microsoft bought an Anti Virus company, and will be offering AV for servers and workstations. I think it only covers XP and Vista, which stinks if you have 150 Windows 2000 workstations like I do. There are some new features, like Network Access Protection. This can keep a computer off of your network, or provide limited access if the AV on the client is out of date, or security patches aren't applied. There's also policies to control devices, like USB drives. With that, you can keep your staff from plugging in a drive, and anonymously copying files off to do whatever they want to later. One thing I thought was interesting was the evaluation questionnaire. In it, they asked twice about linux, about what you are using currently, and if you plan to implement linux soon. I think with this large shift in technology, the cost to upgrade becomes the same between the two platforms. If you have to spend time training anyway, do it with the less expensive software. Granted, linux is more secure, but only if you know how to admin it. It's the same with Windows, if you know how to properly secure your systems, you can save yourself from vulnerabilities. If you're a novice with linux, you'll make the same mistakes a novice on Windows will make regarding security. By the way, the annoying Cancel or Allow crap was recommended as mandatory by the presenter. People in the audience wanted to know how to remove it. It's UAC, or user access control. It's an annoyance, and provides no additional security. If a user has admin rights, they shouldn't be alerted each time they open a control panel. If a user doesn't have admin rights, then it's ok to prompt for authentication of an admin. This does nothing but annoy the user at their desk. It does nothing to prevent a script from running in the back ground. That's where your vulnerabilities are, from a script accessing your kernel files, scripts don't click on boxes, and don't interface with the GUI at all. Well, from the technet presentation, I am far less likely to deploy any of these technologies right away. I'll wait until they mature, and wait until I can upgrade hardware before I do anything. Only half of our workstations can run Windows Vista Business, and most of our computers are under four years old.

Oh, I also won Microsoft Flight Simulator X Deluxe Edition. So, now I think everything Microsoft makes is great, yay Microsoft!

And another thing, Jeannette and I signed a 12 month lease with the same place we are at now. We really can't move out until Jeannette has a good job, and the soonest that would happen is in December of this year. The new property management company has a no winter move out policy, because they can't rent rooms from november to feburary, so you're stuck where ever you are for four months. I did get to explain some of the problems in the building, like the parking lot having a pot hole, and the laundry room sucking, and they are going to fix what's wrong.

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