Death of Windows XP? (Part 5)

Windows XP, the operating system that simply refuses to die. The title of this post should tell you that there have been four other posts (actually a lot more than that) on the death of Windows XP. The last post was on 30 May 2014, Death of Windows XP? (Part 4). I promised then that it would be my last post, but that’s before I knew that Windows XP would still command between 10 percent and 15 percent market share—placing it above the Mac’s OS X. In fact, according to some sources, Windows XP has greater market share than Windows 8.1 as well. So it doesn’t surprise me that a few of you are still looking for Windows XP support from me. Unfortunately, I no longer have a Windows XP setup to support you, so I’m not answering Windows XP questions any longer.

Apparently, offering Windows XP support is big business. According to a recent ComputerWorld article, the US Navy is willing to pony up $30.8 million for Microsoft’s continued support of Windows XP. Perhaps I ought to reconsider and offer paid support after all. There are many other organizations that rely on Windows XP and some may shock you. For example, the next time you stop in front of an ATM, consider the fact that 95 percent of them still run Windows XP. In both cases, the vendors are paying Microsoft to continue providing updates to ensure the aging operating system remains secure. However, I’m almost certain that even with security updates, hackers have figured out ways to get past the Windows XP defenses a long time ago. For example, even with fixes in place, it’s quite easy to find headlines such as, “Hackers stole from 100 banks and rigged ATMs to spew cash.”

What worries me more than anything else is that there are a lot of home users out there who haven’t patched their Windows XP installation in a really long time now. Their systems must be hotbeds of viruses, adware, and Trojans. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that every one of them is a zombie spewing out all sorts of garbage. It’s time to put this aging operating system out of its misery. If you have a copy of Windows XP, please don’t contact me about it—get rid of it and get something newer. Let me know your thoughts on ancient operating systems at


What Am I Reading?

Readers often write to ask me what I’m reading. It’s a hard question to answer in some respects because I have a broad range of interests and I often find myself reading more than just one text. However, it’s a valid question and concern because what I read eventually affects the content of the books that I write and that you read. I strongly believe that the most successful people in life are voracious readers as well. Of course, there are likely exceptions (and please don’t fill my e-mail with listings of them). Reading opens doorways to all sorts of new worlds and different ways of seeing things.

It won’t surprise you to discover that I do quite a bit of technical reading. Every day sees me scanning articles from eWeek, ComputerWorld, and InfoWorld (amongst others). I also regularly read a variety of magazines—some quite serious like MSDN and Dr. Dobbs Journal, others a little less serious like PC Gamer. I also technically edit some books every year and read them end-to-end. Sometimes I read a book simply because I want to learn something new. Currently I’m exploring Rod Stephens’ Essential Algorithms (an outstanding book that I’ll review at some point).

Given the content of this blog, it shouldn’t surprise you to discover that I also read a number of gardening magazines such as Mother Earth News and Horticulture (again, there are others). I usually read books from publishers such as Storey. It wasn’t long ago that I completed reading Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. Of course, I look for articles online as well.

What you may not know is that I also enjoy reading other sorts of books and magazines. For example, I’m currently engaged reading the Patrick O’Brian novels for the sheer pleasure they bring. Captain Aubrey is turning into a favorite character of mine. National Geographic and Smithsonian are both monthly magazines that I read. I keep up with what is happening in the Navy by reading Seapower. Rebecca and I also enjoy a number of crafts and we read some of the same crafting magazines.

As you can see, it’s quite an odd assortment of materials and I love it all. The vistas opened by the materials I read help me provide you with better material that is both more creative and easier to understand. You don’t have to have the best education in the world to succeed. All you really need is a strong desire to find the information you need when you need it. The more you read, the better you understand the world around you and the better prepared you are to take advantage of the vast array of reading resources at your disposal when you need them.

It’s important to know that the authors you read are also well read—that they make use of all of the available materials to write better books. Experiencing the world through the written word is an essential part of the learning process. Today we have all sorts of multimedia presentations vying for attention with the written word, but in many respects writing isn’t easily replaced because it brings the world to you in ways that other forms of media can’t. Of course, that’s a topic for another post. Let me know your thoughts on the importance of reading at


Management Lessons from the Military

Having spent 10 years in the Navy, I know that military life can provide some benefits that translate well into civilian life. Enforced discipline, often described as training, does create an environment in which you can learn how to perform tasks more efficiently and with greater success. The training isn’t always comfortable, but the feeling of success when the training is over is always amazing. That’s why I went through the Ten Workplace Lessons From the Military slideshow on Baseline with great interest. It actually does help you understand how someone who has had military training can provide significant benefit to an organization of any sort.

From a personal perspective, I credit my military training with giving me drive and ambition required to write books and to also work through many of the issues in self-sufficiency that I have. The techniques that I learned in the service have translated well into creating an environment where I can work productively and ensure good results. The organizational and planning skills I gained in the service still serve me well today. I’m not saying that I succeed every time—far from it, but I have learned to keep trying until I find a way to succeed.

My service was quite some time ago, so I can’t speak to the training that the military receives today with any authority. However, judging from the content of the slideshow, I’d say that the military still values the kinds of things that helped me become the sort of person I did after I left the service. Things like learning to see what is important in a list of to do items, and what isn’t, is part of the military way of doing things. You never have enough time to complete a to do list in the service—prioritizing is a must.

The main reason I’m writing this post today is to support my fellow veterans. When you hire a vet, you’re getting someone with a broad range of experiences that you simply can’t get outside of the military. You get someone who had the drive to complete tasks under fire and will certainly have the same drive to complete tasks for your organization. Let me know your thoughts on the military method of management at