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September 2011

Why defragging your computer may be a waste of time   by Anthony Lawrence
- In fact, defragmenting may be a total waste of time. It's unlikely to be harmful (though it can be if interrupted by a sudden power failure), but it may actually accomplish nothing worth even the minor effort it takes to run it.
Email addresses still matter (for now)   by Anthony Lawrence
- Email: it has helped kill the post office, is the primary source of spam, is critical to many businesses and, after malware, is probably the single largest source of user difficulties. Every internet user has at least one email address and many of us have several. Email is ubiquitous and very important. It's also threatened: many people use services like Facebook and Google+ for most of their daily communication. Somewhat ironically, you typically need an email address to sign up for these services, but the deficiencies of email have even caused some to try to eschew it completely and only use alternatives like those. That trend may continue; in a decade or so, "email" may be as antiquated as "gopher" and "uucp" are today.
Cranky Old Newsgroup Guys   by Anthony Lawrence
- People new to the Internet may not even understand the difference between a forum and a Newsgroup. Indeed, many may never have participated in any Newsgroup discussions at all. If you have, it may have only been thorough Google Groups, and if your only exposure to the Usenet Newsgroups (with a capital N, yes) has been through that, it can be a little hard to tell the difference between those and a discussion forum. They both have people discussing things, arguing, calling each other idiots and so on. What's the difference?
Death of the command line revisited   by Anthony Lawrence
- Five years ago I wrote a little blurb called Death of the command line. As it happened, that article was misunderstood by many who read it - I don't know if it was my fault or theirs, but somehow many readers ended up thinking I was either predicting the demise of CLI's (Command Line Interfaces) or hoping for that demise or both. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. I remain a big fan of CLI's and use them daily. And yet, just five years later and still at risk of angering yet another batch of folk who won't read carefully, I'm going to suggest that predicting the death of the CLI may not be such a bad bet after all.
Is Microsoft about to shoot itself in the foot (or even its head) with Windows 8?   by Anthony Lawrence
- That's a serious question. I don't claim to have an answer, of course, but I do think the answer very well could be 'Yes'. Windows 7 was released in October of 2009 and supposedly Windows 8 ('the biggest overhaul since Windows 95', according to some) will be coming out in 2012. That's just three years - well, six if you count poor Vista as a precursor to Windows 7. To a slightly befuddled consumer who has heard all about the growing pains of Vista and the peripheral and application incompatibilities that still vex Win 7 to at least some degree, it might look like Microsoft is throwing out a botched attempt too replace XP and is trying again with Windows 8.
Do you hate your computer?   by Anthony Lawrence
- I knew someone who became so frustrated with a computer printer that he threw it down on the floor and jumped up and down on it until it was smashed to pieces. That's a bit extreme (and damaging to your bank account), but technology can make us feel like that, can't it?
Auto Edge archive removal script   by Bruce Garlock
- The way I wanted Edge to work, was just like the days when we backed up to Tape. We would pull Master backups each night, label the tapes M-F, and take a SAT tape off-site for an extra layer of protection. When Monday rolled around, the new backup would replace the old Monday backup, rinse, lather, repeat. This changed when we upgraded to Edge 3.x, and started using the NAS. Once we had multiple servers with multiple jobs backing up to the same resource, and not having enough free space on the NAS because backups were piling up, I had to resort to manually deleting things (through edgemenu) on the NAS to free up space. This got old rather quickly, as I had to look down the long list of backup jobs, and determine which ones could be deleted. If I missed one day, the NAS would fill up, and backups would fail.
Ucertify Review   by Anthony Lawrence
- Whether certifications have any value is an entirely different question. I would suggest that you NOT bother with certification unless you are planning to apply for a specific job that requires it or if you are just starting out and have no experience to brag about. Many people like myself look upon certifications as having little real value - it's 'book knowledge' that doesn't necessarily translate into real skills. However, some employment opportunities may require these as an indication that you have at least basic knowledge. So let's just leave that argument for another day. The rest of this article assumes that certification has value for you.