Your Unexpected Connection to Information You Need When You Need It

Someone on our staff told me our research shows that when a problem arises, you turn to other IT pros for advice, but if your day is anything like mine, you're way too busy to ask them. In this column, I want to give you insight into what information other IT pros are most interested in, where to find related resources, and which articles our editorial subject matter experts think you shouldn't miss. You can think of me as that sassy assistant—a sidekick if you will—hoping to help you find whatever IT solution will save the world today.

Our Web site has so much IT content—really, I’m not biased, we do—just waiting for you or me to read it. But it’s so hard to find what I need in that sea of articles. Believe me, I hate our search engine. It’s the elephant in the middle of the room that no one wants to talk about but can’t seem to get around. Well, as I was searching for information on this frustrating elephant, it hit me—actually it hit my boss and she told me to say that it hit me: I’m just trying to sound informed, and I won’t really lose much if I don’t succeed—but what about those of you out there in the IT trenches, solving problems and averting crises on an everyday basis? Maybe you guys need some information in a pinch too.

I had some pretty stale content planned out for this first article. I even sent my generic little editorial to Karen Forster, editorial and strategy director, for her approval before the holiday weekend. But, for some reason, I felt compelled to check my email Sunday night. (Note to self: Don’t do that again.) In her response, Karen advised me to be real with you readers—truly be honest about what I (don’t) know about this industry. So I scrapped the old version and took a completely different angle: just me telling you what I think, at least what I think I think, about some articles I hope you’ll find useful.

Karen obviously hasn’t heard the saying “Be careful what you wish for.” Or maybe she has and just doesn’t like being careful. If this column is anything less than what you’d like, send us a message at [email protected] Make sure to let us know if you have any questions or suggestions. Please tell me how you want this column to help you in your daily work; I want to do all that I can—except bring you coffee; I don’t do coffee.

—Christan Humphries

What Is Everyone Looking At?

Check out some of the most popular articles on our Web site, and take a look at some resources I've found in my research that compliment those topics.

Readers requested:
"What are Client Services for Netware?" InstantDoc ID 14415

Related resource:
"How do I uninstall the Client Services for Netware component?" InstantDoc ID 93410
The comment thread on the "What are Client Services for Netware?" article shows a lot of readers searching for how to uninstall Client Services for Netware, and one reader even offers a solution in the comment section. Now, mama didn't raise no fool, so I figured that you all might like to see an article that answers your questions. Check out this article for some official instructions on uninstalling Client Services.

Readers requested:
"What is a 1394 network connection?" InstantDoc ID 22718

Related resources:
"Why does Windows XP sometimes fail to recognize my FireWire (IEEE 1394) hard disk after a restart?" InstantDoc ID 38204
Now this is a solution I can understand. If something on your computer isn't working, turn off your computer then turn it back on. Man, that is right up my alley. However, one reader seems to have a better solution for this incredibly annoying problem and shares it in the comments section. Do you have any ideas for how to deal with this?

"More about FireWire," InstantDoc ID 15743
When I saw "What is a 1394 network connection?" in the list of most requested articles, I thought, “Good question.” Apparently, people like to call this product by two different names, and they like to laugh at people like me who haven’t figured it out yet. For a little more information about what IEEE 1394 (i.e., FireWire) actually is, check out this commentary by David Chernicoff.

FireWire v. USB 2.0 forum,
Do you have an opinion? Of course you do, so share it in our forums. Find out what questions and advice your peers have about the choice between FireWire and USB 2.0.

Readers requested:
"How do I change a Windows XP pirated key to my legal corporate or retail key?"

Related resources:
"Windows XP Fights Piracy," InstantDoc ID 21136
For me, this title conjures up an image of a swashbuckling computer in a fast-paced, sword-thrashing dual to the death with a rotten-teeth, mangled-hair band of pirates—the mass of misfits clanking weapons and exclaiming "Yar!" and "Blimey!" Sadly, you won't find any pirates or edge-of-your-seat suspense in this article. But, fortunately, you will find out how anti-piracy activation could cut down on casual copying, which might be less exciting but definitely more useful. Yar.

"Windows Product Activation," InstantDoc ID 22256
Obviously, I'm out of the loop. I didn't realize that you must activate your copy of Windows XP after you've purchased it. But it's a very tricky situation, because only some cases call for registering your product. Find out if you need to activate your Windows XP copy and how to do so.

"Confronting Invalid XP Software," InstantDoc ID 39087
I don't know about you, but to me finding out that a seemingly legal OS copy is actually pirated would be a little unnerving. Maybe I like being in the know, or maybe I'm a stick in the mud. But I just like things to be what I think they are. No surprises. David Chernicoff describes how he helped two users after they realized that their copy of Windows XP Professional Edition was pirated. Find out what he recommends you do if you learn that your copy isn't quite the licensed copy you once thought it was.

That’s What They Say

Here are some suggestions from people who actually know what they’re talking about—and probably won’t be sarcastic like me: our subject matter experts. They know you work hard to stay up to date in all of the IT areas and it's difficult for you to decide which resources to read.

Mobile and Wireless:
"Plan and Implement a Secure Wireless Network" Is your company ready to deploy a wireless network? Here are seven basic steps to setting up a safe and secure WLAN.
InstantDoc ID 92783

This article not only covers implementing a wireless network, but also how to decide if you have a business need for a wireless network. This article also discusses wireless standards and how to choose one to follow, which is helpful because there's some confusion about which standard is the best for certain situations. Most importantly in this article, the author explains how to secure a wireless network by changing the factory default settings and encrypting your wireless network.
—Megan Bearly

"Storage Virtualization Becomes a Vital Business Technology"
Storage-virtualization technologies, though not yet commonplace, are rapidly becoming a much more critical part of business computing, from small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) to enterprise-class environments.
InstantDoc ID 93438

"Virtualization Technologies Improve Backup Performance"
HP recently announced a major increase in virtualized storage capabilities with its HP StorageWorks 300 Virtual Library System (VLS) Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Gateway.
InstantDoc ID 94147

Virtualization technologies are increasingly becoming commonplace from small-to-midsized businesses to large enterprises. The benefits of virtualization include everything from consolidation to improving backup performance. To learn more about virtualization and the benefits it offers, you should read these two articles.
—Blake Eno

Scripting Central, September 1, 2006
Find out about a new contest, an HTA lets you install printers in a minute or less, and how to get rid of unwanted Windows Product Activation (WPA) balloons.
InstantDoc ID 93887

This is an important article because so many developers out there have a great utility they've created and have locked in the basement. This article features a contest that lets them loose their creation upon all their friends and foes alike. We're giving 100 bucks to the best solution, not a bad deal, not at all!
—Sam Davenport

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