Microsoft Passport? Good or Bad for the Internet?

Written by Richard Lowe

If you are anything like me, you've got dozens or even hundreds of accounts spread all overrepparttar internet (andrepparttar 133593 planet, for that matter). Each account has a different username and password combination, which adds up to one big headache, trying to keep it all straight.

I am aware of security, so I tend to create a different username and password for each and every account. This makes it impossible for a malicious person to break into one account and thus getrepparttar 133594 information from all of my accounts.

Most people do not go through this much trouble. In fact, most people simply create all of their usernames as their own first and last name (perhaps with a number to make it unique) and use very simple, and easily guessed, passwords.

Microsoft has now come along and proposed a solution to this situation. Well, proposed is notrepparttar 133595 right word - Microsoft is implementing a solution. It's actually a key component of their .NET strategy.

What they are doing is creating a "passport", called "Microsoft passport", which is more or less intended to becomerepparttar 133596 standard way of gaining access to objects and information onrepparttar 133597 internet.

The concept is very simple indeed. You merely create a passport account and give it a unique username (your email address). You also give it a password. >From that point forward, you can userepparttar 133598 exact same username and password to access anything which supports passports (everything on a Microsoft web site, atrepparttar 133599 least).

So far this is no different than any other account identifier. For example, on Yahoo you create a Yahoo ID, which can be used to access any feature operated by that company. Excite has something similar as do many other web sites.

What is different about passports isrepparttar 133600 intention to turn it into a standard to access everything onrepparttar 133601 internet. Microsoft also intended to use passports as a centerpiece to it's .NET initiative - passports will berepparttar 133602 focus of it's security model.

Microsoft's ^@&^#&@ W2K MCSE Policy

Written by Richard Lowe

Like over 800,000 other people, I spent an incredible amount of time and effort studying to be an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer). I took six classes, studied several books from cover to cover, took practice tests and usedrepparttar knowledge in my job and on my own time. Why did I do all of this? Because I wanted to have one ofrepparttar 133592 most prestigious certifications inrepparttar 133593 field -repparttar 133594 MCSE!

For those of you who don't know,repparttar 133595 MCSE consisted of six tests designed to ensure that system administrators meet a minimum level of experience and knowledge with Microsoft products. The concept is this gives guidance to managers as to who they should and should not hire, and ensures that those people know how to use Microsoft products.

In my experience, people who honestly passrepparttar 133596 MCSE exams are indeed better qualified for their positions than others with equivalent experience and skills. Of course, boot camps, brain dumps and similar methods of cheatingrepparttar 133597 process tend to allow people to dishonestly passrepparttar 133598 exams. This, however, is true with all certifications (and tests for that matter) and not unique torepparttar 133599 MCSE series.

In their attempts to get people to upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000, Microsoft has run into quite a bit of resistance fromrepparttar 133600 industry. While there are very significant reasons to upgrade, Windows 2000 requires major changes in network configurations, applications and user training, which has tended to slow acceptance. In addition, since Windows 2000 was released aroundrepparttar 133601 time of large expenditures onrepparttar 133602 Year 2000 bug, system managers found themselves without funds or manpower to upgrade their networks.

In order to force people to upgrade more quickly, Microsoft has, in it's infinite wisdom, decided to retirerepparttar 133603 Windows NT 4.0 certifications. Thus, on December 31, 2001 any and all MCSE certificate holders who still have not upgraded will need to remove those four letters from their resume and business cards.

It now appears that over half (at least 400,000) of these MCSE's will be invalid in under five months! I know from experience thatrepparttar 133604 change from Windows NT to Windows 2000 is not an easy one, and given that many people actually have to work for a living it's not surprising that so many of them have not had a chance to obtainrepparttar 133605 new certifications.

There is also a large amount of anger aboutrepparttar 133606 policy. It appears that Microsoft is only interested in increasing it's bottom line, which translates into selling an endless procession of upgrades torepparttar 133607 operating system andrepparttar 133608 office suite. It's plainly obvious that Microsoft feels it's dollars come from these upgrades, and thus those engineers who cannot or will not upgrade their certifications have little or no value.

Even worse is that Microsoft has startedrepparttar 133609 path towards Windows XP certifications! A large number of MCSE's have not even started (much less finished) their training for Windows 2000, and now they have to figure out how to upgrade that to Windows XP! And, of course, it's a sure bet thatrepparttar 133610 next version of Windows will follow very quickly after that.

Me and several ofrepparttar 133611 people who work for me have obtainedrepparttar 133612 MCSE certification for Windows NT 4.0. Given that we all work very long hours (a 60 hour week is a short one) and have lives, it's a miracle that even some of is found time to pass these exams.

And now Microsoft is saying that we are no longer valuable. They are directly implying that we are not worthy of their greatness because, well, we are too busy actually putting their products to work to takerepparttar 133613 time out to study and passrepparttar 133614 exams.

We do want to passrepparttar 133615 exams and we do want to become certified on Windows 2000. Every single person that works for me strongly desires to pass these tests. Our objection does not come fromrepparttar 133616 fact thatrepparttar 133617 tests exist or that Microsoft is raisingrepparttar 133618 bar or improving their products.

Our objection isrepparttar 133619 underhanded, sneaky and downright unethical way that Microsoft is forcing us to put pressure on our company and our employers to needlessly upgrade over and over again. The pressure comes from every aspect of Microsoft - from forced upgrades via their licensing practices to their forced certification policies.

Let's play devil's advocate for a minute and see what we can learn. Perhaps Microsoft has to do this because they are more intelligent and have a wider vision thanrepparttar 133620 rest ofrepparttar 133621 world. Microsoft knows they have a far superior product, and in order to ensure that we lesser beings providerepparttar 133622 best value for our companies, they are requiring us to upgrade our knowledge. Heaven forbid that companies (especially large ones) actually keep Windows NT 4.0 installed on their networks (much less Windows 95 or 98). To allow that would be completely irresponsible of Microsoft, wouldn't it?

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