Windows tips and Tellez awards wrap up TechEd 2000

Chris Tellez concludes his "From the field" reports from TechEd 2000. He shares virus-arresting tips, Office 2000 integration information, and the first annual Tellez TechEd Awards.

The mood at TechEd 2000 in Orlando was upbeat the last day of the conference. If anyone looked downtrodden, chances are it had nothing to do with the federal government’s antitrust decision. The downtrodden looks were more along the lines of exhaustion. With all the information that was crammed into our brains, and all the partying that occurred, no one could help but be tired.

The overall opinion of the attendees I talked with was that it was a great conference; everyone seemed to get the information they were looking for and then some. I’ll cover the hits and misses of the conference in a little bit. First, let’s look at some more information I learned on this last day.

While not as much was covered as I would have preferred, there were nonetheless some helpful sessions on working with Exchange 5.5 and Outlook 2000. In the Managing Exchange 5.5 session, quite a few subjects were addressed. The most prominent topic was protecting your servers and clients from viruses. The main message there was, "Educate the users!" A great point made in the session was this: Don’t tell them how it affects you; tell them how it affects them. Let users know that all the work they spend hours on could be lost in a matter of minutes.

Virus arrest recommendations
Here are some quick steps that were presented for network administrators to follow the next time a virus breaks out:
  • Stay focused—listen to what’s going on. Get all the information so you can attack this thing head-on.
  • Shut down your IMS (Internet mail service) immediately! This will prevent mail from coming in or going out.

The next two tips should be completed at the same time if you have the personnel. If not, at least start a scan on the server while you’re cleaning the clients.
  • Clean the server. If you don’t have antivirus software on your server, get some!
  • Clean the clients. You should have antivirus software on all of your clients.
  • When all is clear, start the IMS back up.

Office 2000
When it's time to install Office 2000, check out the CIW (Custom Installation Wizard) and the OPW (Office Profile Wizard). Both are available on the Office 2000 Resource Kit, or on the Web. Some items to look for when working with the CIW or OPW are:
  • When running the CIW as administrator, right-click on one of the options. This will bring up two selections: Hide and Unhide. Selecting Hide will leave the option unavailable to the user in the Control Panel—Install/Uninstall.
  • OPW will not gather Outlook Profile or Outlook Bar settings.
  • Outlook setup will use the encryption version that is on Windows NT. If Windows NT is 128 bit, Outlook will be as well.

Non-technical TechEd notes
As you can see, there’s much you can learn at TechEd. The information I’ve written in these past few articles barely scratches the surface of what I learned. There was much more.

I did find some non-technical things worth noting and comparing with previous years' TechEds. They are:
  • There were many more women this year. Very easily 40 percent of the attendees were women. Many people have noted that the computer field has been pretty much a “guy” field. This year showed that the scale is moving. I think this is great, and it means that women are breaking through into new fields, if TechEd is any indication.
  • Nearly 35 percent of the attendees carried laptops around with them. Last year there were very few. It was not uncommon to walk into sessions this year and see at least 10 laptops turned on. One reason for the increase could be the availability of the LAN Rover cards, which allowed attendees to wirelessly connect to the Web in various sections of the conference. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.
  • Cell phone problems! It was not unusual to hear 10-15 cell phones ring during an hour-and-fifteen-minute session. It got annoying, and several speakers asked people to leave their cell phones off. I understand needing to stay connected, but it is rude and disruptive to those trying to pay attention. I hope this trend does not continue.

The first annual Tellez TechEd Awards
Let’s wrap up TechEd with the first annual Tellez TechEd Awards. The winners were chosen completely subjectively. No fancy judging, no accounting firm tallying the results, just gut feelings.

So, let’s see who the winners and losers are.

Best Session
Managing Exchange 5.5—This was a funny, funny session with much useful information.

Worst Session
Configuring Remote Access to Exchange—Sounds like a session on working with RAS and Exchange? That’s not what it was. It was more like “What Gadgets Can You Use to Access Exchange.” The speaker was very funny, but the content was far off.

Best Event
Party at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure—Free food, drinks, and treats all over the park, combined with awesome rides. If you ever go to Islands of Adventure, don’t leave until you’ve experienced the Spiderman ride!

Worst Event
Ask the Experts—What is usually a great place to get answers to nagging questions was not the place this year, unless you were running Windows 2000 or Exchange 2000. I’m all for learning and moving to Windows 2000, but c’mon, it’s only been out for four months. NT is not dead yet.

The "Don’t Call Us Geeks" Award
The group waiting for Spiderman toward the end of the party. First, they successfully created a human wave, like fans do at ballparks, but in a ride queue instead. As we got closer to the ride, a chorus of "Do Wah Diddy" began. We may spend a lot of time in front of computers, but we can party!

Best Pen
Internomics, Inc.—One of those cool pens with the rubber finger rest. I think that’s what they call it.

Most Popular Giveaway
Compaq, Inc—The Compaq bouncy ball. This little bouncy ball has lights and sounds inside it that activate when you bounce it. Many a tech could be seen bouncing the balls all over the convention center.

Most Interesting Booth
Association for Competitive Technology—This group is forming to voice the opinions of computer experts in Washington, D.C. You can find out more info on them on the Web.

Coolest New Web Site
WhatIs.Com—This site has definitions to all the geek terminology you need. Trying to figure out what an acronym means? Visit the site!

Tastiest Giveaway
Veritas—The folks who make BackUp Exec had some medicine to cure your sweet tooth in the form of a prescription container of blue and white jelly bellies.

Best Software
Microsoft—CD copies of Exchange Enterprise Server and Conference Server 2000 RC2.

Best Overall Giveaway
Microsoft—Windows 2000 virtual conference CDs. This set of seven CDs collects a ton of information from Windows 2000 sessions. Having these will make the migration much easier.

Well, that finishes this series on TechEd 2000. Next year’s TechEd will be in Atlanta from June 17 to June 21. If you couldn’t get in this year, make plans now.

Till next year!

Christopher Tellez is a network manager based in Southern California. He earned his MCSE in 1997.

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