Friday, 12 May 2006

Newsletter Issue 114, May 2006

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 114, May 2006
Hi guys,
What has Microsoft in store for us now? Read about Office Genuine Advantage below.
Read the results of the UK Work Satisfaction Survey, and see if your people are satisfied.
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Office Genuine Advantage

Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) is a new Microsoft method for checking whether the copy of Office on your PC is a 'legal' and properly licensed version of the software. It's an extension of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) scheme which has been operating for some time.
When downloading add-ins, templates and patches - and with your advance approval - OGA checks if your Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007 or individual Office 2002+ standalone Word or Excel application is properly licensed. It only kicks in if you want to download extras from the Microsoft web site.
You are directed to a download page with a button which runs the OGA system; you install an ActiveX control (which Windows will handle for you after the normal security warning). The ActiveX sends info on your software to Microsoft, and, if you have a legal copy, the web page will refresh and let you download the particular extra that you are seeking.
Now that the ActiveX control is installed, it will run on all future downloads which require validation. And, in the words of Woody's Office Watch at "Because there are not enough acronyms in the world the [ActiveX] control is called OVA - 'Office Validation Assistant'. If you can't or don't want to install the ActiveX control there are alternative but slower methods of validation."
Currently OGA is only compulsory for foreign language Office versions, but that will change.
Woody's Office Watch goes on to say with regard to network versions of Office: "Network administrators will be unhappy that there's no tool to validate Windows or Office across a corporate network. This means employees will have to validate individually, the time taken and support costs might be small for one person but can add up across a large business. Astonishingly, Microsoft is asking for feedback about producing such a tool, as if there's some question about enterprise customers even wanting such a thing. Such a tool should be part of the first release of OGA not an afterthought."
According to Microsoft the 'only' information collected by the OGA is:
  • Windows product key
  • Office product key
  • PC manufacturer
  • Version of operating system
  • PID / SID - software and hardware IDs
  • BIOS information and MD5 checksum
  • Hard drive serial number
  • User and system locale (language setting and version in Windows)
  • Your IP address (the Microsoft web site admits to collecting this information elsewhere on their website, not in their official OGA information)
Interestingly, Microsoft says there's no information sent to identify or contact an individual. Hmm. But they have my IP, all my registration data and can identify my individual PC! How can they NOT positively identify me?
The fact that Microsoft is collecting more information than they need should worry us. There is no independent confirmation of the OGA process, so it really comes down to our level of trust in Microsoft.
The issues as I see them are:
  • Are Microsoft going to do anything with the unique user information they are collecting, and
  • Can we trust them to get our registration information and their collection processes accurate.
If OGA does not validate legitimate Office users, here's hoping Microsoft will learn from the earlier product activation testing and be more open to the possibility that their system is falsely reporting. If not, have you ever tried arguing with a large corporation?!
And what Microsoft suddenly start selling our information for targeted marketing? They would really be mad not to...

UK Work Satisfaction Survey

The "Worklife/Herman Trend Alert Newsletter" in May reported on a work satisfaction study, conducted by Sirota Intelligence in the United Kingdom.
Study researchers surveyed a massive 203,000 workers in the UK, on how they felt about their work.
Sirota found that the most satisfied (perhaps unsurprisingly) said they had just the right amount of work. The least satisfied were those with too little work, followed by those with too much work.
Sirota's Chief Executive, Jeffrey Salzman, said that the findings showed that most workers did not want just to 'get by' in their jobs. "Most people come to work enthusiastic and want to make a real contribution. Those who feel they have too little to do – and possibly feel unappreciated by their employers – have lower levels of overall satisfaction and a waning sense of enthusiasm."
When people feel under worked, they also tend to feel undervalued and their job insecurity increases, making them just as vulnerable for employee turnover as the hard-working employees who feel over-burdened, perhaps carrying the loads of others. There is obviously a cost to overworking employees.
Now this study confirms that there can be a serious cost to under working people as well. Today’s workers want to be productive — for job security and for the sense of making a difference for their employers and their employers’ customers. People do not want to be under-worked, so employers need to balance their workers expectations more carefully with company expectations.
What came out from this study is a movement away from mediocrity. People that have the right amount of work to do were happiest, even though that workload may be less that they actually could carry. The least satisfied actually wanted more work; they did not want to feel mediocre, ineffective, or less than valuable to their employer and the world.
Tomorrow’s employees will want to do more, and feel appreciated for their contributions.
Herman Trend Alerts are written by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, strategic business futurists, Certified Management Consultants, authors and professional speakers out of Northbridge in New South Wales. Check them out at

Career Practitioners' Tools

There are a number of good career tools available at relatively low cost, useful for working with a range of ability levels and career aspirations.
Firstly, the good, old-fashioned card sorts. There are a number available, with three favourites being:
  • 'Kiwi Cards' card sort produced by Career Services. Go to, then click on Resources, Products and Services, on the right hand side of the page there is a heading which says 'Games'. Under this is 'KiwiCards'; click on the link. There is a page of information about them and at the bottom information on how to order or download them
  • Preferred Skills, Career Planning Values and Work Settings card sorts designed by Paul Stevens and produced by Worklife Pty Ltd in Australia at
  • Industry Training Organisation cards also available as a ‘virtual’ set on
Some hardcopy resources that have stood the test of time are:
Some online & software favourites include:

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • OGA, Office Genuine Advantage
  • OVA, Office Validation Assistant
  • WGA, Windows Genuine Advantage

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this & the next newsletter, we are looking at all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl using plus (+):
  • Access "Choose the selected data column for output (The check box next to the name of the column) 1If multiple items are selected, pressing this key affects all selected items. Select multiple items by holding down the SHIFT key while clicking them. Toggle the selected state of a single item by holding down CTRL while clicking it." + (Plus)
  • PowerPoint "Stop or restart an automatic slide show" + (Plus)
  • Word "Open the Address Book in the To field; works with keys for sending E-Mail" Alt & + (Plus)
  • Word "Customize Keyboard Shortcut" Alt & Ctrl & + (Plus) NUM
  • Word "Display Customize Keyboard dialog box and create a shortcut key for a menu command; use by typing shortcut key, selecting a menu command, and then adding, changing or removing desired shortcut key from within the dialog box" Alt & Ctrl & + (Plus)

Hot Linx
If you are currently looking at how to keep your vehicle running costs down, check out the government's website
Want to understand spam? Then go to the How Stuff Works website for the lowdown at
The UK has plans to go wireless in twelve locations across Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff and Westminster. Read about it at
Apparently career women make healthier mothers, keep better health and avoid middle age spread. Check it out at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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