Bend Over and Cough, or My Thoughts on Microsoft License Audits

Or, if you’d prefer, “Welcome to Your Triennial Microsoft Rectal Probing”

Here’s the thing.

Software Piracy pisses me off. If you want software that’s under a paid license model, then buy it. If you can’t afford it, find a way, find a free alternative, or go without.

“Open Source! Open Source! #LoveThePenguin! Down with Micro$oft!”

Yeah, yeah, great, how about you sharpen your pitchforks and loosen up your skinny jeans somewhere else. Just go back to Instagram’ing your Starbucks Latte on your iPhone and leave me to my rant.

I’m in the process of what is called in Microsoft terms as a SAM Audit at work, again. We went through one in 2012 as well.

SAM stands for “Software Asset Management”.

Essentially a SAM Audit is an audit performed by an authorized anti-piracy contractor of Microsoft’s. They select businesses based on some criteria that seems to guarantee that small to medium sized business who have the fewest staff resources to handle the audit, and are the least likely to pirate software are the ones who get audited the most often. It looks to be at around a 2-3 year time frame.

When we were audited in 2012 the audit took us 9 months to resolve. 9 MONTHS!!

The root cause of why it took so long is because of their entire auditing model and because I don’t think they expected us to fight back.

A SAM Audit will have somewhere buried deep within it’s fine print some wording stating that it is 100% Voluntary. Even the way the auditors will speak on the phone and in their emails will be extremely vague and dance around any outright saying that the company is required to undergo the audit.

It’s supposed to be Microsoft’s way of ‘helping’ companies who might have inadvertently installed improperly licensed software to get back within their license requirements. The problem is the audit is performed by contractors who are given financial incentives to find discrepancies. They’re encouraged to report back any areas of the audited companies where potential future software purchases could be marketed to. Funny thing is half the time the auditor probably knows less about Microsoft licensing than the IT staff of the company being audited.

Essentially the SAM Auditor is really hoping your company will fail the audit and be too overworked or confused to argue their decision because that’s how they make money.

“But, it’s voluntary. I can tell them I’m not participating in the audit”

Yeah, sure kid. You go right ahead with that.

The thing is, there’s another kind of audit, called an LCC Audit.

Stands for Legal Contract and Compliance Audit. An LCC Audit, isn’t mandatory. It’s performed by some low level Microsoft lawyer and/or licensing expert who will most likely come to your place of business and turn it inside out until they’re satisfied or your company is bankrupt, whichever happens first.

The flip side of this is, in all honesty, a SAM Audit can be good for companies who use Microsoft software.

Microsoft’s licensing sucks! Even they don’t understand how it works half the time.

As such it’s quite easy to have honest mistakes in your IT structure that a SAM Audit will bring to light and you can fix the issues.

So, if you get “lucky” enough to get selected for one. Just grit your teeth and do it.

So, in a nutshell, that’s a SAM audit.

Now, back to my earlier comment about how their auditing model sucks.

It’s performed every 2-3 years. Just long enough to let issues that were found, and fixed, in a previous audit (if any) slip again. Or new issues to arise because, like I said, often times the companies are either too small to have the IT staff. Or they might not even be the same staff that were at the company during the last audit. Or they might be so large that discrepancies simply happen.

SAM audits are performed by contractors. Often not even the same auditing contractor as previously. The person who is performing your audit probably is only barely trained in Microsoft licensing.

They’re financially incentivized to find problems.

A better method?

Get audited voluntarily, Annually.

Yeah, I said it. Annually.

No, not anally. That goes back to my initial premise.

Every Year. By Choice.

Contact your Microsoft VAR Provider, aka, Value Added Reseller, and see if they do annual audits. You’re going to be buying your licensing from them anyway. So you get the SAM audit hell out of the way. This gets you all nice and proper in your licensing records and a clean slate.

Then you can have your VAR perform their own review of the audit. Then they can maintain your records moving forward and in 12 months they can submit a voluntary license report to Microsoft.

By doing so you stay off Microsoft’s RADAR for future SAM audits.

Even if you did happen to get picked for one, a simple email or phone call to your Microsoft VAR Partner and they send you a report that you send the SAM auditor and you ruin their day because they will know immediately that they won’t find anything.

Poof, you call it a day and go have a much needed beer.

 

 

 

 

Who Am I?

TL;DR: This is a long, rambling, narcissistic post that might as well be my own Wikipedia page. I am writing it for my own therapeutic benefit because honest self-reflection can help one improve who they are as people. Read at your choice.

Both in Science Fiction, for decades, and Science itself lately, we theorize and search for solutions to creating Artificial Intelligence. Sentient Machines. Robots that are capable of independent thought and the ability to ask themselves “Who Am I?”

Funny thing is, when is the last time we’ve asked ourselves that question?

Who Am I?

We rush about in our day to day lives, between our work, casual activities, hobbies, seeking personal pleasure, or helping others in their similar activities. Lost in the endless rut that is our existence. Never really slowing down to look within. To try and honestly gaze into our soul and see just who it is that is looking back.

What are our beliefs? Our Dreams? Goals. Aspirations. Regrets. Where did we come from and who have we become today?

I have had life changes fairly recently, not by my choice, that have led to more inner demons than I had before, or at least brought the ones I had into more focus.

That has lead me to start trying to discover who I am. To work on the issues I have, and to try to develop peace in my current existence.

I recently read a website focused around people who seek attention. Brought on by someone commenting online that my attitude was a way of me trying to get attention.

Here’s the thing. For as long as I can easily remember, at least since my pre-teen, grade school age years, I have had a “self-deprecating”, i.e. “negative” attitude, at least outwardly. I honestly couldn’t even tell you why. It’s not related to any mistreatment or abusive childhood, or any such thing. It’s just how I’ve always been.

The aforementioned discussion had alluded to my self-deprecating attitude as perhaps I was seeking attention. Thus lead to this website I mentioned that talked about ways to get over an attention seeking mentality.

Well, one of the first steps suggested on this website was to look truly at oneself to see ‘who we are’.

So, I’m going to do just that. This is written for myself but I’ve chosen to post it publicly so I’m taking you lucky readers with me. Prepare yourselves for the ride into my inner psyche. You’ll be asked to return the 3-D Glasses after the end of the show.

Who Am I?

Well, let’s start with my name. It’s legally Steven Michael Rigsby. Though, literally since birth, no one in my life has called me by my legal first name, until I got it changed when we were in the Social Security Office getting my wife’s card changed, (topic for future paragraphs), even my Social Security Card said just Michael Rigsby.

The story I was told, not sure if it’s actually true or not, is that my Father, David, had a brother named Steve who complained because no one in the immediate family named any of their kids after him. So they named me Steven to shut him up. Thing is, or so I was told, he was a dick. No one in the family really liked him. So they might have named me Steve, but they refused to call me that.

Ok, enough about the name. I just found out last year, at age 44, that my parents weren’t even married at the time of my birth. Weird how these, somewhat important, little details fail to get mentioned as I was growing up. Not really a big deal, to be honest, but it was weird to have not known that until such a late age.

My previously mentioned father, David, was ex-military. I believe it was the Korean War that he was in, as a Marine. I believe he was a Cook in the Marines actually. His name was David Michael, and I am proud to carry his middle name as my own.

After his military duty, and during the hazy furthest memories I have, he was a Logger. Sadly, it was a logging accident that took his life, at age 44.

I was 7 years old at the time, just one month before my 8th birthday. I’m now 45, older than my father ever reached, which to be totally honest, kind of weird’s me out a bit.

I have, or had (we’ll get into that) a total of 6 half-siblings. My father had two sons and two daughters from a previous marriage. My mother had two daughters from a previous marriage. I was the only child they had together. Obviously I was the youngest of the family.

I’ve since had one older brother die in a vehicle accident, when I was 18, and an older sister die from a terminal brain tumor. I don’t recall how old I was when my sister died but it was sometime in my 30’s. Both were from my father’s side.

My mother, Thelma, passed away when I was 18. Also of cancer. (Side Note: Fuck Cancer!)

In the years between 7, when my father died and 18, when my mother died, she did her best to raise me as a single mom. She briefly remarried a total douchebag for a couple years, in the 10-12 age time frame, but that, thankfully, didn’t last. In those interim years I started keeping a count of addresses that we lived at. By age 18 I had made it up to 65 different addresses. Since age 18 till now, at age 45, I added about 10 more addresses. So I had obviously had my fill of moving.

So, from Age 7, until Age 13, we had lived in 65 different places, around Southern Oregon, the Oregon Coast, and Northern California and California Coast.

No fucking clue why.

My mother was a restless spirit and just liked to move. We had lived in 13 different addresses, in 15 years, all in one city, Coos Bay, on the Oregon Coast.

For several years the longest I lived at one address was 2 months. I literally didn’t unpack. My clothes would be washed, folded, and put back into boxes instead of a dresser, for several years.

Due to the moving I was constantly changing schools and my mother finally just pulled me out of school in the 8th grade. We attempted home schooling through a correspondence course school, which I did for the 9th and 10th grade years. However, even that ended up getting canceled because the course books couldn’t keep up with the address changes.

Also due to this nomadic lifestyle I essentially didn’t have any friends for long until age 13. At least at that point we only moved around in the same city so I was able to keep the same friends, all of which I still actually keep in touch with.

This lifestyle pretty much kept me from developing social experiences with friends, girlfriends, etc. so that’s probably a big reason why I’m kind of an introvert in person to this day and only really comfortable socializing online.

I had my first girlfriend at age 23, which lasted 2 years, then the next one wasn’t until I was 28. Since that age till now I can count the number of relationships I’ve had, including a couple casual ‘friends with benefits ones’ on both hands and not need all my fingers.

At age 32 I met the woman I ended up marrying at age 35. As of this writing we’re still married legally but in 2013 it was decided to separate because she had realized she was no longer in love. It happens and I’m managing to move on. She’s happier now and I’m grateful for the 10+ years of happiness that I’ve had. No harm, no foul, No regrets. Well, no regrets aside from my part in the relationship drifting apart. My life moves on. Just now in the way that I wanted.

Scattered throughout these years, I got my first full time job at age 13, at a car wash. I also got a job for a couple different janitorial companies that I maintained for 15 years. I worked in retail, at the same department store, I worked for 6 years. From age 27 to 29 I lived in Minnesota, with a woman I had met online, and worked at a video store/convenience store in a small town there. I survived two full Minnesota winters and decided to get the hell out and back home to Oregon.

At 30 I got a job at the company I am still with, a contract circuit board manufacturer. Within the company I’ve held several different positions and ended up in the IT department in 2005. I’ve always had an interest in computers and a strong aptitude in working on them. I had fixed, upgraded, etc. computers over the years since age 13, much to my mothers confusion.

There’s little details mixed in that history, like that fact that the previously mentioned douchebag that my mother was married to for a couple years (we lived in Northern California at the time) ended up being literally psychotic. He was a bit of a split personality. A great guy while my mother was getting to know him. Then after they got married she found out that he’d been in prison for assaulting a previous wife with a claw hammer. He also alluded to being a contract ‘problem solver’ for the mob, and frankly I believe him. Like I said, I’m glad my mother got out of that marriage immediately after these wonderful revelations.

This has rambled its way into the present and all of that history has contributed to me being who I am.

Genetics has blessed me with a fairly high intelligence and a great deal of common sense.
My mother’s diligence in raising me and a close knit family has lead me to be an honorable, reasonably ethical, and decent adult.
Natural aptitude has lead me to being a Network Administrator and fairly highly skilled Computer Technician with a good job for a good company.

Those are the positives but positives can’t truly exist without negatives.

Life’s inevitable trials and difficulties have also lead me to being a bit of an introvert. To have a ‘self-deprecating’ negative attitude about myself. To be ‘my own worst enemy’, or critic, because nothing I do is ever good enough for myself. To having a fairly substantial self-esteem problem and knowing there’s no reason for it. To having a bit of an ADD problem. To having a hard time ever feeling truly happy. To being on an anti-depressant. To having a bit of a short temper and lack of patience when it comes to things not working the way I want. To having a hard time letting anyone get close to me. To being a difficult person to be married to apparently.

To learning to accept myself with all of my good, and bad, traits and to being determined to be a better man tomorrow than I am today.

Toss in a sarcastic wit and smartass sense of humor, which may be considered positive or negative depending on who you ask.

 

That, is who I am.

Who are you?