Feature Interview: Want some action? Talk to this guy.

He was walking so fast and keeping such a low profile I might have missed him, except for that unmistakable pennant fluttering over his head.

"Action Center?" I called. "Got a second?"

He accelerated—so I did, too, finally catching up just as he pulled on a bright red armband. "I can talk, but I gotta keep moving. I'm the one keeping an eye on things around here—the Users depend on me."

KP: So I've heard. Where've you been?
WAC: Where I always am—you can find me in the Control Panel or by clicking on the Action Center icon on the taskbar.

Action Center

KP: Right. So what's with the armband?
WAC: The antivirus is out-of-date. That's serious. Serious gets red.

KP: Oh, yeah, I remember the red X I saw near the Action Center icon when my firewall was disabled.
WAC: Yeah, well, it's a good thing you had me to alert you. Ah, there we go, the user updated her virus definitions. Out with the red—but in with the yellow.

KP: Now, what?
WAC: This user just turned off her backup. She needs to have backup—it's a rough world out there.

KP: So that's a condition yellow?
WAC: Yup. Maybe it's OK—maybe she only uses her PC for Solitaire. But just in case...

KP: What exactly do you monitor for?
WAC: I multitask. One side of me watches over Security items—firewalls, antivirus, spyware protection, Internet security issues and the like.

Action Center settings

KP: And your other half?
WAC: It's all about maintenance—the boring stuff no one gets excited about. Except me, that is. Things like whether backups are happening, and staying caught up on Windows Updates, and a range of other problems that can crop up.

KP: So... that is a lot of watching.
WAC: It's a tough job. I'm an unsung hero. Nobody knows the troubles I've seen.

KP: But, people should be keeping their eye on you, shouldn't they?
WAC: They should. It would do a lot for my self esteem, and besides, there are those important moments when I go red or yellow. Hey, why are you pointing at me? Alert! Alert! Solve PC Issues! 1 Message!

Solve PC issues

KP: So, that really works.
WAC: Yup, just point to me and I'll let you know if something's up. Click and I'm here, ready to reveal all.

Off he strode, leaving a trail of... smoothness. Everything humming along. What a guy. I guess I owe my pervasive sense of calm to him—that and my recent switch to decaf.

Keith