Saturday, October 18, 2003


Postal Service EPM Digitally Protects Microsoft -r- Documents  

Postal Service EPM Digitally Protects Microsoft -r- Documents: "October 17, 2003 02:30 PM US Eastern Timezone

Postal Service EPM Digitally Protects Microsoft -r- Documents

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 17, 2003--Continuing its historic role as a trusted third party, the U.S. Postal Service today announced the availability of the USPS Electronic Postmark (EPM) Extension for Microsoft Office, thereby giving users tamper detection and date/time stamping of electronic documents and files.
The USPS EPM Extension for Microsoft Office 'offers significant value by providing a level of security and trust to electronic correspondence,' noted Nicholas Barranca, USPS Vice President, Product Development. 'Now that the USPS Electronic Postmark can be used so effortlessly within the Microsoft Office environment, we believe more users will be able to realize the benefits of the USPS Electronic Postmark.'
The USPS EPM Extension for Microsoft Office requires the user to digitally sign a document when applying a USPS Electronic Postmark within Microsoft Office XP and Microsoft Office 2003. This combination of technologies provides an integrated set of capabilities, including.
-- Digital signing of a Microsoft Office Word document using digital certificates;
-- Electronic content sealing and time/date stamping with the USPS EPM;
-- Subsequent verification of an MS Word document's validity, authenticity and integrity.
'Microsoft is excited to offer our customers a solution for conducting business securely online with the United States Postal Service,' said Gytis Barzdukas, director, Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft Corp. 'Users can easily take advantage of USPS EPM service through Microsoft Office Word 2003,"

Too bad it's not backward compatible with earlier versions of Office!

News: Windows iTunes sparks mixed reactions  

News: Windows iTunes sparks mixed reactions: "Windows iTunes sparks mixed reactions

By Ina Fried
CNET News.com
October 17, 2003, 3:53 PM PT

A large number of Windows users have jumped at the chance to try Apple Computer's iTunes jukebox software--and reactions are ranging from unabashed praise to complaints of bugs.
Apple won't say how many people have downloaded the free software, but an executive said that it has been extremely popular since Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced it Thursday.
'The downloads have been going full tilt constantly,' said Peter Lowe, Apple's director of marketing for applications and services. 'We've been delivering a lot of Windows software over the last 24 hours.' "

It's here. It works. It has the gotchas noted in the article. Outside of that, it's a good client and the service EULA makes sense. Okay, it has a few things I'd like to see slightly changed or added in the UI, but for a first effort, it's ona par with anything else out there. It's instantly the app to beat.

Let me go into a little more detail on the situation. There are a number of Internet music services. Come the end of October, there'll be another one- Napster v2. Each has its strengths and weaknesses as far as the actual music catalog. No one site has ALL the titles I'd like to see, but that's up to the artists and record companies.

That said, it comes down to pricing schemes, the legalities of the EULA, and the client software. Right now, iTunes comes out near the top. Period. Yes, you can't use it with anything but an iPod as an external device. Right now. But there are an awful lot of iPods out there and nothing I saw keeps you from downloading the tunes to your computer and using the usual ways of transferring them to your particular device.

The pricing is reasonable. 99¢ to download and you can buy tracks by complete album for an average of $9.99. There are services that give you a better per-track price, but they don't throw in the per-album price, which can save you considerable money.

The EULA is ialso very reasonable, with no artificial roadblocks to burning your newly acquired tracks to CD.

The client is fairly neat and clean. Its UI could use a little polishing, but it works like a charm and lets you do everything (more or less) that you could want to do. Couple that with the fact that the iTunes service keeps track of what you've paid for in case you need to redownload and you have a good solid service and client.

All in all, iTunes has the makings of a Top Ten hit.

The Mac Observer - Microsoft Offers A Thumbs-Down To iTunes, Calling It "Limited"  

The Mac Observer - Microsoft Offers A Thumbs-Down To iTunes, Calling It "Limited": "[3:15 PM CDT] Microsoft Offers A Thumbs-Down To iTunes, Calling It 'Limited'
by Bryan Chaffin

This won't come as a surprise to anyone, but Microsoft thinks that iTunes for Windows is just too limiting for discerning Windows users. This was revealed in an 'interview' with Dave Fester, General Manager - Windows Digital Media Division, titled 'Q&A: Choosing a Digital Music Service for Windows Users.' In the interview, Mr. Fester says that Windows users 'expect choice in music services,' something which iTunes does not provide. The interview with the Microsoft executive was conducted by Microsoft's PressPass PR arm.
Fortunately, Microsoft also has the solution for all those Windows users who are looking for choice in music services: The company recommends just about any service that relies on Microsoft's Windows Media 9 technology."

No, no-one's going to die of shock at Microsoft's opinion of iTunes. However, let's not slam the door on this discussion.

Having signed up for the Windows version of iTunes soon after the launch, I can say that Microsoft has a few valid points. I hope you were sitting down when you read that. It's true that the Windows version of the iTunes client has a few things that could have been done to make it better. The major point where I have to take exception with the Microsoft representative is that yes, iTunes is limited to working with the iTunes site, but so what? I've looked closely at a number of other, Windows-based services and every one has some kind of proprietary client to make sure that your downloads are tracked and paid for.

Then there's the comment that iTunes doesn't have every piece of music ever released. Well, who does? If there is any such (LEGAL) site, I have yet to come across it. I wish it were otherwise, but it isn't. Get over it.

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft case: Music feature a violation, says antitrust status report  

The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Microsoft case: Music feature a violation, says antitrust status report: "Microsoft case: Music feature a violation, says antitrust status report
By Brier Dudley
Seattle Times technology reporter

The U.S. Department of Justice and state prosecutors yesterday told a judge they are 'concerned' about a music-buying feature in Microsoft's Windows XP software that may violate the company's 2001 antitrust settlement.
Also revealed in the government's filing are concerns that the settlement's centerpiece — forcing Microsoft to share technical details of Windows — may not be working as planned.
The filing is a quarterly status report to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is scheduled to meet with the parties in person next week.
It's a routine filing but the concerns raised by the Justice Department come at a crucial time. Microsoft is negotiating a separate antitrust case with the European Union, where it has argued that the U.S. settlement adequately restores competition to the software market.
The issue surrounding the music-buying feature relates to a settlement requirement that Microsoft enable XP users to use browsers other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer. "

If you read the rest of the article, it really makes the government look like a bunch of nit-picking idiots. It also makes me wonder if the people who looked at it had the new 'Defaults and Permissions' patch installed. Of course that may be a lot to ask of government agents.

Company Is Foreign at Tax Time, but Seeks Americans-Only Work  

Company Is Foreign at Tax Time, but Seeks Americans-Only Work: "Company Is Foreign at Tax Time, but Seeks Americans-Only Work

Published: October 18, 2003

big oil-well drilling company that has used one law to escape American taxes by taking addresses in Bermuda and Barbados is now trying to use another law to qualify for business open only to American companies.
Competitors are crying foul, saying they cannot survive if the Bermuda-Barbados company, Nabors Industries, is allowed to vie for contracts while paying little or nothing in taxes.
The competitors, most of them family-owned businesses, say that unless Congress acts to level the playing field they will lose so much business to Nabors that they will go broke within a decade or be forced themselves to try to become Bermuda companies so they can also escape taxes."

Another prime example of off-shoring. The only thing that needs to be done is VERY simple: a law saying that an 'American company' means a company that has a headquarters on American soil and pays American taxes. Case closed.

Friday, October 17, 2003


Marin Independent Journal - Business  

Marin Independent Journal - Business: "ITunes comes to Windows
Apple brings its music store to a crowded market
SAN FRANCISCO - It was a strange sight yesterday - Steve Jobs touting a Windows product. But the chief executive of Apple Computer Inc. had a perfectly sensible motive.
In a move to reach the masses who use computers based on Microsoft Corp. software, Jobs unveiled a Windows-compatible Apple iTunes Music Store, an Internet song-downloading service that has proven successful among Macintosh users."

"This is a feature a lot of people thought we'd never have until ... hell froze over," Jobs said during a media event that included a live performance by singer Sarah McLachlan and Web video conferences with the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, rapper Dr. Dre, and U2's Bono.

I just stuck this in for the fun of Steve Jobs' quote. By this time you all know that iTunes lanched for Windows yesterday.

ZDNet UK - News - Confusion reigns over Windows XP SP2  

ZDNet UK - News - Confusion reigns over Windows XP SP2: "Confusion reigns over Windows XP SP2

Munir Kotadia
October 17, 2003, 13:05 BST

After announcing that customers will see the next service pack for Windows XP this year, Microsoft now says it will be a beta only, and that final code is still some way off

Just three days after a Microsoft vice president -- who is in charge of Microsoft.com and Windows Update -- told thousands of delegates at a conference in Florida that Service Pack 2 for Windows XP would be available by the end of 2003, the company has effectively retracted the comments and said that customers will see only a beta version of SP2 this year."

Maybe, just maybe, they should have kept their mouths shut until they had a shadow of an idea of when the final service pack will ship. You think? Well, maybe not. After all, we might have run out of things to write about if we didn't have a Microsoft-a-Day fix.

Silicon Valley Biz Ink :: The voice of the valley economy  

Silicon Valley Biz Ink :: The voice of the valley economy: "Optima Technology Calls for SEC investigation and Government Oversight of VeriSign-Network Solutions
< back

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Optima Technology Corporation
recently filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and SEC with regards
to Network Solutions, now owned by VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN) alleging that
Network Solutions gave away its domain name without its permission.
'Something needs to be done, it's quite clear that VeriSign is not going to
take action to regulate their business model. Regardless of the fact that I
am not fond of government oversight, there comes a time when it is necessary
to call for government oversight. My company has formally requested that the
Department of Justice and SEC launch a full investigation into this company's
business practices. I am willing to bet they are no better than those of the
late ENRON. With regards to this problem, our attorneys were recently
contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; we are cooperating fully in
this matter with the FBI,' said Barry Eisler, Optima's president.
Mr. Eisler goes on to add: 'How long are companies going to put up with
their domains being stolen, right now it's so easy to steal a domain name from
VeriSign. If the proper safeguards were in place, this could not have
happened. But because VeriSign had a choice and chose to keep higher profits
verses having the proper safeguards in place; my company and others like the
recent case of www. sex. com, who like us lost millions of dollars in revenue,
all caused by a decision the board of directors made at VeriSign."

If I were a stockholder of VeriSign stock...

Fool.com: VeriSign Out of Solutions [Motley Fool Take] October 17, 2003  

Fool.com: VeriSign Out of Solutions [Motley Fool Take] October 17, 2003

Well, Network Solutions is no longer under the thumb of VeriSign. That part of the business has been losing money, which is not too surprising. I'm not sure at all what Pivotal thinks they can do to change that, but they obviously think that it's worth a try.

Sad, in a way, to think that VeriSign sank $15 billion into NSI and gets $100 million out of it. Considering their rather 'cavalier' attitude about the Internet, treating it as a personal money machine, it seems like a bit of poetic justice. I wonder if the pennies they recovered from the company will make up for the megabucks they spent, in the eyes of the stockholders?

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Microsoft Mum on Third-Party IM Licenses  

Microsoft Mum on Third-Party IM Licenses: "Microsoft Mum on Third-Party IM Licenses
By Matt Hicks
October 15, 2003

On the day it set as a cutoff for unauthorized third parties to stop connecting into its instant messaging network, Microsoft Corp. is offering few details about its progress in creating licensing agreements to continue access.
Microsoft last month announced that unauthorized third parties connecting into its .Net Messenger Service, which powers Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger, would be blocked come Oct. 15 unless they formed a licensing agreement with the Redmond, Wash., software giant. Microsoft had encouraged third parties to submit an online form to seek a formal arrangement, even sending certified letters notifying some third parties of the cutoff.

On Wednesday, officials with Microsoft's MSN group confirmed that the deadline stands, but wouldn't discuss many specifics of the progress for licensing. MSN officials said they are in negotiations with several third parties, but that none were ready to be announced.
At least one third party, though, had little success in getting Microsoft to discuss licensed access to its IM network. Jabber Inc., the commercial arm of the open-source IM project, said that as a result it would stop providing an MSN gateway that allowed customers of its enterprise IM system to interconnect with Microsoft's IM network. "

Seems like this is the dawn of a new 'get-tough' attitude at Microsoft. First they chop their Chat off at the knees, now it's the turn of the IM Messenger service.

Pivotal Private Equity to Acquire World's Largest Domain Name Registrar, Network Solutions  

Pivotal Private Equity to Acquire World's Largest Domain Name Registrar, Network Solutions: "October 16, 2003 08:30 AM US Eastern Timezone

Pivotal Private Equity to Acquire World's Largest Domain Name Registrar, Network Solutions

PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 16, 2003--Pivotal Private Equity announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire control of Network Solutions, the world's largest domain name registrar, for $100 million. Herndon, Virginia-based Network Solutions provides a variety of Internet services, including domain name registration, e-mail services, Web-site hosting and creation tools, and other value-added services for its more than 4 million customers. Pivotal Private Equity will acquire the firm from VeriSign Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., the leading provider of critical infrastructure services for Internet and telecommunications networks. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2003. VeriSign will retain a minority interest in Network Solutions and retain its registry business. "

Note that this is NOT the part of VeriSign that has caused all the trouble in recent weeks. This part (Network Solutions) now has nothing to do with the Internet registry. This move was rumored for a while as a way for VeriSign to focus on making money from the net without having a non-profitable part of the business hanging around their necks.

The Register  

The Register: "VeriSign's Site Finder is undead
By John Leyden
Posted: 16/10/2003 at 13:02 GMT

VeriSign is to relaunch Site Finder, its highly controversial domain typo redirection service.

VeriSign suspended Site Finder earlier this month, following an order from ICANN, the Net governing body, which claimed the company was in breach of its terms of operation.

Site Finder was launched in September when VeriSign applied a 'wildcard' entry into the .com and .net Top Level Domain zones. This redirects traffic that would otherwise have resulted in a 'no domain' response to the controversial search site.

In a meeting with members of an ICANN committee this week, VeriSign argued that technical concerns about the effect of the service on affecting the stability and operation of the Net were overstated.

VeriSign acknowledged that it introduced Site Finder without any consultation, saying that next time it will give 30-60 days notice. It also agreed to make certain changes. But the basic concept of Site Finder remains the same.

When VeriSign resurrects Site Finder, it plans to add a second DNS wildcard entry, called an MX wildcard, which will prevent email servers trying to send email to non-existent domains. It's also promised to offer local language variants of the site.

These measures cut little ice with critics who argue that VeriSign's changes are forcing other systems administrators to make changes to their systems. "

Well, things are going to heat up again. I gazed into my crystal ball this morning and I predict that this is going to cause so much ill will against VeriSign that they will either drop this nonsense as a bad idea or go out of business inside a year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003


VeriSign to Defend Sitefinder Before ICANN  

PC Pro - Computing in the Real World

VeriSign to defend Site Finder before ICANN
[PC Pro] 10:18

Verisign, which last week was forced to withdraw its controversial Site Finder service, will today present its case to the ICANN Security and Stability Committee.
Representatives of Verisign will present technical data which, they say, will prove that the initiative did not compromise or destabilise the Internet.

Steve Malone

I know what I'd tell them, but we'll see what happens...

Microsoft Tweaks Plus! Digital Media Edition  

Microsoft Tweaks Plus! Digital Media Edition: "October 15, 2003
Microsoft Tweaks Plus! Digital Media Edition
By Ryan Naraine

Looking to beef up sales of the popular Windows XP Plus! Digital Media Edition software, Microsoft (Quote, Chart) has released an upgrade that adds the ability to burn user-created photo stories to recordable CDs (CD-R).
The new version of Plus Digital Media Edition, which is a key part of Microsoft's plan to turn Windows XP into full-fledged digital entertainment system, adds significant tweaks to the popular Plus! Photo Story 2.
Plus! Photo Story lets users with digital cameras create and manage images as movie-type stories with a non-technical, drag-and-drop interface. The latest addition to the feature will allow photo stories to be saved and burned to video CDs for playback in most consumer DVD players. The video CD burning capability is being powered by technology from Sonic Solutions."

Well, the world needs more eye-candy, we all know that...

High Tech Meets High Style with the Logitech diNovo Media Desktop  

High Tech Meets High Style with the Logitech diNovo Media Desktop: "High Tech Meets High Style with the Logitech diNovo Media Desktop

NOTE TO MEDIA: Multimedia assets available.
A photo is available at URL:

The Logitech diNovo Media Desktop uses Bluetooth(R) Wireless Technology to transform the PC into a wireless hub and to provide remote command over the rich media capabilities of today's computers. The diNovo Media Desktop is now available in retail outlets and online at www.logitech.com. The suggested retail price for the Logitech diNovo Media Desktop is U.S. $249.95.

FREMONT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 15, 2003--Logitech (Nasdaq:LOGI) (Switzerland: LOGN) today introduced a distinctly new cordless mouse-and-keyboard combination -- based on Bluetooth(R) wireless technology -- that completely redefines how the most discriminating PC enthusiasts will view a keyboard and mouse -- for work, for play and for communicating. What is at first most apparent with the new Logitech(R) diNovo(TM) Media Desktop(TM) is its enviable design, which appeals to people who prefer a workspace with sleek, stylish peripherals that complement today's attractive flat-panel displays. Logitech has taken the redesign a step further, however, by detaching the number pad from the keyboard -- so the new cordless solution includes four components -- a reduced-width keyboard; an MX(TM)900 rechargeable, optical mouse; a new multifunction MediaPad(TM) for today's digital lifestyle; and a recharging module that serves as a Bluetooth hub."

Yum! Hey, Santa!

Is IBM set to dump Windows, inside?  

Is IBM set to dump Windows, inside?: "Is IBM set to dump Windows, inside?

That would be a sliver of ice, no doubt

By Mike Magee: Wednesday 15 October 2003, 15:10
RUMOURS AND FEVERED SPECULATION AMONGST delegates here at the Etre conference in Berlin is that IBM is seriously considering dumping Windows as a standard within its organization.
If the rumours turn out to be true, that’s likely to act as a sliver of ice in the heart of Microsoft, because, after all, what will IBM replace the OS with?
It won’t be OS/2, that’s for sure… we could guess, but we’ll let our readers do that, instead. We guess some ideas have sprung to mind already.
We’ll try wriggle more out of people over here, this is a juicy one, indeed... "

On the other hand, considering the current heated battle with SCO, it's not likely to be Linux. At least _I_ wouldn't bet the house on it unless it was signed, sealed, and delivered (in triplicate and noptarized).

vnunet.com DoS attack warning for Windows 2000/XP  

vnunet.com DoS attack warning for Windows 2000/XP: "DoS attack warning for Windows 2000/XP
By Robert Jaques [15-10-2003]
Last RPC patch does not protect systems, say researchers

Security experts are warning of a flaw that could allow hackers to launch a denial of service (DoS) attack against PCs running Windows 2000 and XP.
The vulnerability, in the Microsoft Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service, was discovered by security firm Internet Security Systems (ISS).
ISS warned that the flaw affects PCs even with the most current Windows patches installed, including computers patched against the devastating RPC flaw described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-039.
According to ISS, the DoS vulnerability exists by exploiting the race condition, allowing attackers to crash the Microsoft RPC service and/or force vulnerable systems to reboot.
But the firm added that 'significant barriers exist' which may prevent reliable exploitation outside controlled lab conditions.
ISS said that Microsoft has not yet released a patch for the vulnerability, and urged network administrators to assess external exposure to vulnerabilities associated with Microsoft services running on ports 135, 137, 138, 139, 445 and 593 on both the network perimeter and VPN connections."

What does this mean? This means that attacks absolutely WILL happen and you'd better keep your guard up! The instant anyone knows that the vulnerability exists, EVERYone knows. And attacks will happen. The fact that the previous patch, thought to contain the problem, is not totally effective means that Windows flaws (or vulnerabilities, really, since they weren't mistakes, simply ways for people to do bad things to other people) are now down to the point where they can't be well patched without some major rewrite of a section of the OS, which is NOT something you're going to do in two or three days. Let's hope that they're working on the problem as we sit here waiting.

Microsoft Names Corporate IM Vendors  

Microsoft Names Corporate IM Vendors: "October 15, 2003
Microsoft Names Corporate IM Vendors
By Roy Mark

Microsoft (Quote, Chart) announced Wednesday ten new vendor partners who will support its corporate instant messaging (IM) platform. Known as Office Live Communications Server 2003, the Microsoft IM for business will feature voice, data and video support and is scheduled for an Oct. 21 debut.
The announcement came on the opening day of the Instant Messaging Planet Fall 2003 Conference & Expo in San Jose, Calif.
Among vendors supporting the platform are Waltham, Mass.-based Imlogic, a developer of enterprise infrastructure software, and FaceTime, a Foster City, Calif.-based provider of IM security, management and control solutions.
IMlogic IM Manager will allow Microsoft's corporate IM customers to log, archive, and report on enterprise usage of instant messaging in order to meet IM compliance requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and regulations such as HIPAA.
When combined with the MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises service, IM Manager provides an integration point to the Microsoft messaging network, extending managed, secure and compliant instant messaging beyond the firewall. "

This story has more info than I thought. How many of us knew that there's a corporate version of Messenger?

Windows XP SP2 to be 'Springboard' to Longhorn  

Windows XP SP2 to be 'Springboard' to Longhorn: "October 15, 2003 | Paul Thurrott
Windows XP SP2 to be 'Springboard' to Longhorn

If you're wondering why Microsoft is taking so long to release Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), wonder no more: The company is working to back-port various Longhorn security technologies into SP2, providing a mid-ground between the default security found in XP and that which will be available in its next major desktop OS. Code-named 'Springboard,' the new security features include an updated version of the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF), which adds outbound scanning capabilities and other features previously found only in Microsoft's enterprise server product, Internet Security & Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000."

Some might even say "Welcome and long overdue", but at least it will happen...

MSN Tech & Gadgets Live Support with Tech24.com  

MSN Tech & Gadgets Live Support with Tech24.com

This could easily be a great thing- it's 24/7 LIVE help for people who are having virus/worm attack problems. And, it's only $19.95.

If you're a victim, any help you can get, when you need it, is a big plus. Of course if it's knocked you permanently offline, this won't do you much good, but most virii these days don't go that far. After all, they want to use your net connection to spread themselves.

The service will allow a technician to do a remote assistance hookup to your system. That might be a small security worry, but if you've got a virus, you're already in much deeper trouble than that. The $20 cost seems reasonable for the kind of service you get.

ZDNet UK - News - Apple will support rival DVD format  

ZDNet UK - News - Apple will support rival DVD format: "Apple will support rival DVD format

Ina Fried
CNET News.com
October 14, 2003, 14:30 BST

Apple's latest operating system will support several DVD formats, reversing past policy

After years of backing only one format in the recordable DVD format war, Apple Computer is adding limited support of a rival format into its operating system.

Apple, a longtime supporter of the DVD-R format, confirmed on Monday that it is adding support for DVD+R and DVD+RW into the Macintosh operating system with Panther, the new version of Mac OS X that ships next week. Apple is only adding support for backing up data and has not yet added support for the format into its media applications, such as iDVD and iTunes. "

Interesting. Apple, after watching its market share shrink since around the day the first IBM PC appeared, has finally decided that it's time to support third-party hardware. People who have been around as long as I have will no doubt be amazed. Apple has been the bastion of proprietaty hardware and software. It can't hurt, but it's about 15 years too late to reverse the trend. They should have done it from the time the Mac was introduced.

ZDNet UK - News - Microsoft accelerates Windows security update  

ZDNet UK - News - Microsoft accelerates Windows security update: "Microsoft accelerates Windows security update

Munir Kotadia
October 15, 2003, 13:35 BST

The second Windows XP service pack will include a number of changes designed to allay security fears

A Microsoft executive has said the company will launch Service Pack 2 for Windows XP in December, months earlier than the company forecast on its Service Pack roadmap.
At the Citrix iForum in Florida on Tuesday, Microsoft's corporate vice president of content, Richard Kaplan, who is in charge of the Microsoft.com and Windows Update Web sites, told delegates that Windows XP SP2 would be available by the end of the year. The service pack was originally planned for this year, but had been put back to 2004. "

Well, now we know that Microsoft is feeling the heat from the growing number of security flaw-based lawsuits. The fear of lawsuits is probably keeping someone from releasing an FPS game where angry consumers track down and dispatch those at the top of the Microsoft pyramid :).

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Tip: Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 1  

Tip: Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 1: "TIP FROM THE EDITORS:
Slipstream Windows XP Service Pack 1
By Loyd Case

Discuss this now (5 posts)
At ExtremeTech, we need to repeatedly install Windows. Unfortunately, we're still using an original Windows XP CD, which means we have to also install Service Pack 1 after every Windows install completes. After doing this about 10,000 times, we figured there had to be a better way.
One way, of course, would just be to buy a new copy of Windows XP. But for many users and small companies that need to occasionally reinstall, this is an unnecessary cost. After all, it's not like SP1 costs money, and it's a waste to buy another copy of XP just for the convenience.
Another way exists: create a Windows XP Service Pack 1 slipstream CD. Here's the summary of the process:
If you haven't already, download Service Pack 1. Extract the SP1 files to their own directory.
Copy all Windows XP files onto your hard drive, in a different directory of its own.
Extract the boot image from the Windows XP CD and copy it to the XP folder on your hard drive.
Copy the relevant Windows XP service pack 1 files into the folder where you copied the original Windows XP files.
Burn a CD with the XP CD boot image, and all the Windows XP files from the newly-updated folder.
The specific details for this procedure are at Windows Help.net. This web page has all the details for creating the SP1 slipstream CD. "

Here's a truly useful article!

Study: Internet fraud and attacks rise in tandem  

Study: Internet fraud and attacks rise in tandem: "Study: Internet fraud and attacks rise in tandem

Breaking news
Today's top news.

By David Legard
IDG News Service, 10/14/03
Internet use is still growing fast but so is Internet-based fraud, according to security vendor VeriSign, which examined data from its own infrastructure services between August 2002 and August 2003.
According to VeriSign's study 'Internet Security Intelligence Briefing,' released Monday, 6.25% of e-commerce transactions carried out in the U.S. were attempts at fraud. More than half the fraud attempts were made by entities outside the U.S., Verisign said. "

Flash! Sun to Rise Tomorrow Morning! Duh!

Ars Technica: Longhorn pushed back to 2006  

Ars Technica: Longhorn pushed back to 2006: "Longhorn pushed back to 2006
Posted 10/13/2003 @ 7:39 PM, by Eric Bangeman

At last week's Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, Longhorn was described by Microsoft executives as being 'three years away.' Originally slated for a 2004 release, and then pushed back to 2005, a bit of simple math tells us that Longhorn won't be ready until 2006. What does this mean for Microsoft?
[T]here will be no Visual Studio tools release for two years after 'Whidbey' (which Microsoft is still insisting will be a late 2004 product). No Office 12 until 2006. And Longhorn Server – which was expected, until this week, in 2006 – is now, more likely than not a 2007 product (given that it was set to lag the client release by a year).
While enthusiasts will continue chomping at the bit for the Next Big Thing from Microsoft, the enterprise will likely breathe a sigh of relief at not having to worry about a major OS revision for at least three years. On the other hand, Microsoft has pimped a number of Longhorn technologies such as the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base and self-repairing systems that will either have to wait until Longhorn's release or be rolled out incrementally into Windows XP."

IS this the end of hope for a 2005 RTM on Longhorn? I'll let you know in about 2 years...

Telecom.paper: "Your One-Stop Source for Telecoms Information!"  

Telecom.paper: "Your One-Stop Source for Telecoms Information!": "E-Data sues Microsoft, Tiscali, OD2 for violating patents 12:14 Tuesday October 14, 2003, Telecom.paper
E-Data Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: EDTA) announced that it has commenced litigation and is seeking an injunction against Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, Tiscali GmbH, a subsidiary of Tiscali S.p.A, and On Demand Distribution GmbH (OD2) in Germany (Court of Mannheim, Germany: 7 O 353/03) for infringing upon its European patent EP 0 195 098 B-1, also known as ’the Freeny patent.’ The OD2 platform enables Tiscali Music Club customers to download individual music tracks for a fee using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and Digital Rights Management technology.

Bert Brodsky, chairman of E-Data Corporation stated, ’Microsoft, Tiscali, and On Demand Distribution are in blatant violation of our patents by jointly enabling consumers across Europe the ability to download music tracks. The Freeny patent covers the downloading and recording of information, such as music, from a computer onto a tangible object, such as CDs, DVDs and MP3 players. As a result, we are seeking an injunction to prevent further violation of our intellectual property.’ "

Anyone else want to sue Microsoft? Hey, kids! Be the first on YOUR block to sue Microsoft! It's a wonder that anyone gets ANYTHING done these days...

Monday, October 13, 2003


FT.com Home UK  

FT.com Home UK: "Interview: Bill Gates
By Chris Nuttall, IT correspondent
Published: October 13 2003 17:31 | Last Updated: October 13 2003 17:31

Chris Nuttall, IT correspondent at the Financial Times spoke to Bill Gates about the rationale for the new mobile web services pact with Vodafone. Following is an edited transcript of that interview.
Financial Times: You made an announcement with Vodafone today. It wasn't a handset announcement, but a services announcement. Do you see that as being as important to Microsoft as being the OS in the handset?
Bill Gates: Well we are doing a lot of different things with the operators. Software is important to them in many many different ways so the handset is part of it, services are part of the back-end platform and tools are part of it.
The announcement with Vodafone today is actually about standards. Its not a particular design win for Microsoft. Vodafone has actually been using the Microsoft.net platform very aggressively in their back end but what they were seeing was as they were going out to developers, they began to understand that some of those services could be used outside of the mobile network, and the way they were providing those services was unique to Vodafone.
So a developer wanting to connect to their authentication or billing would have to do it in a unique way. So we sat and talked and said well why don't we come up with specific web service definitions, that are just open, so it's clear to application people like say your AA service provider, who wants to do what we saw on the screen demonstration there.
To write what we saw - there's a day's work, literally - because you're connecting up to standard web services and so there'll be what we announced today. Any wireless operator can be"

This is not that exciting, unless you're a cell phone maker, but if you keep reading the interview proves interesting on its own, if only for aglimpse of the way that Bill Gates thinks. That's something seldom mentioned and it has an immense impact on an awful lot of people around the world.

Images & Logos  

Images & Logos: "Images & Logos

Download Microsoft product images and logos to assist your marketing and promotion efforts"

This is just for the fun of it. It lets you download box shots and logos so that you can include one in your letter of complaint :)

Welcome to the Mercury News on Bayarea.com  

Welcome to the Mercury News on Bayarea.com: "Grove warns of software downfall
By Heather Fleming Phillips
Mercury News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Intel Chairman and tech visionary Andy Grove sent a warning shot across the bow of the federal government Thursday.
The U.S. software industry is about to lose jobs and market share to foreign competitors unless the government acts quickly to fight protectionist trade policies and double U.S. productivity, he said.
``I'm here to be the skunk at your garden party,'' Grove began in his afternoon speech beamed via satellite to an otherwise rosy gathering of software executives in Washington."

Thank you, Mr. Grove, for saying something that I've been saying a LOT, lately. Off-shoring of American jobs (and the corporations that once preovided jobs) is reaching an epidemic stage. Once it was only scattered sectors, like the textile industry, that was sending jobs to Mexico. Now, it's whole sectors of the American economy. How many high-tech companies have shipped the entire load of tech support off-shore? It may be easier to count the ones who still have employees to whom English is a primary language.

It's serious. It's NOT going to stop unless we do something! Are you listening, Congress? It's almost Election Day...

Maxtor's new slant on disk recording | CNET News.com  

Maxtor's new slant on disk recording | CNET News.com: "Maxtor's new slant on disk recording
Last modified: October 13, 2003, 5:30 AM PDT
By Ed Frauenheim
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

update Disk-drive maker Maxtor says it has reached a milestone in devising cost-effective platters for a next-generation technology called perpendicular recording.
The company announced Monday that its subsidiary, MMC Technology, has demonstrated a method of making disk-drive media for the new technology at roughly the same cost as media used in today's drives. With the new media and perpendicular recording technology, Maxtor said it is possible to more than double the amount of data that can be crammed onto a typical disk, from the standard 80GB per 3.5-inch platter to 175GB. "

Can Terabyte drives be far away? This is the way the waves of technology move over us. There doesn't seem to be any hint at how soon these new platters can be included in off-the-shelf drives, but, IF they have a way to make these using existing equipment, then we could see the new drives by this time next year. In light of the growing media convergence and Microsoft's push into IPTV, this comes at a very good time.

Microsoft claims free download will improve wi-fi access  

Microsoft claims free download will improve wi-fi access: "Microsoft claims free download will improve wi-fi access

Next year

By INQUIRER staff: Monday 13 October 2003, 10:09
SOFTWARE MONSTER Microsoft said it will provide a free download for Windows XP users in Q1 of next year which will make it easier to connect to wireless hot spots.
The wireless upgrade, called 'provisioning services', will let the people who provide wi-fi services send information and configuration details to a notebook or PDA when it connects to the Interweb or to a corporate network.
Microsoft claims this will allow networks to auto-recognise people when they log on to wi-fi networks, setting up the session and auto-billing the user."

Yikes! If you don't know how to secure your Wi-Fi setup, better start studying NOW!

Welcome to the Mercury News on Bayarea.com  

Welcome to the Mercury News on Bayarea.com: "VeryStressed VeriSign
Site Finder issue is only the latest trouble for company since Network Solutions acquisition

By Chris O'Brien
Mercury News

When VeriSign announced in March 2000 that it was buying domain name company Network Solutions for $21 billion, the e-commerce software company thought it was getting a cash cow that would cement its position as a leading force on the Internet.
But like many grand plans hatched at the height of the dot-com bubble, this one hasn't turned out as anticipated."

Well, this article makes it pretty clear as to why VeriSign tried to pull their latest Internet hijacking attempt: they're desperate for money. However, the article goes a little too far in trying to raise sympathy for the failing company. Or should I say that Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign's CEO goes a little too far. He says "`What you've got are some technical zealots who are biased against VeriSign,'' Sclavos said. ``How can we continue to make investments without making a return on them?''. Apparently, he feels that someone came along, held a gun to his head, and FORCED him to make this investment. If he doesn't think that they can continue to make investments, like the acquisition of Network Solutions, THEN DON'T DO IT. It's that simple. They had a fairly successful company that provided digital security certificates and that should have been left to itself. One might guess that Mr. Sclavos got greedy and thought that he had a scheme to climb into the big leagues, in business terms. Instead, his schemes have meant a growing tide of ruin for VeriSign and the generation of a whole raft of public ill-will. Why the company board and stockholders have put up with this is the real mystery, here.

Maybe they'll wake up one of these mornings and put things right.

Having personally experienced their customer depreciation attitude, I can see why the company is in trouble. I had a paid e-mail security certificate through them. I also had several non-paid trial certificates through them that were created to test out the service. I wanted to delete these expired trial ID's in order to clear the decks for further utilization of VeriSign certificates. That's when the fun began. On contacting their customer "service" department, I was informed that "the system won't let us delete old ID's". What? You can't control your own software??? And, folks, this is the outfit that wants to screw around with the running of the Internet...

Sunday, October 12, 2003


Products add features, fun  

Products add features, fun: "Look, ma, no hands

Looking for a hands-free way to walk and talk? Logitech's cordless headset can deliver conversations up to 30 feet from a cellular phone equipped with wireless Bluetooth technology. The 1-ounce headset features a noise-canceling microphone and an adjustable wrap-around earpiece that can be worn comfortably on either ear.

It offers up to eight hours of continuous talk time and more than three weeks of standby time. Logitech Mobile Bluetooth Headset costs about $100 and includes a portable recharging station; an optional car charger adapter is $20."

Not exactly cheap, but awful darn useful, if you have the right phone...

The new trend in offshore outsourcing | CNET News.com  

The new trend in offshore outsourcing | CNET News.com: "The new trend in offshore outsourcing
From Knowledge@Wharton
Special to CNET News.com October 11, 2003 6:00 AM PT

The concept of business process outsourcing typically conjures up images of inexpensively hired college graduates dialing away at call centers in India, Singapore or the Philippines.
It suggests software engineers rewriting arcane code in a technology park office in Bangalore, Beijing or some other place in the developing world for a fraction of the salary that their U.S. counterparts might earn for similar work.
That picture is now changing, as providers of business process outsourcing (BPO) services move beyond call centers and routine data-crunching tasks toward higher-end services. Among this emerging group of BPO firms is Evalueserve, which has its headquarters in Bermuda and keeps its main operational center in Gurgaon, some 10 miles outside New Delhi, India's capital. It also has a U.S. subsidiary based in New York and a marketing office in Austria to cover the European market. "

Okay, what does this mean? This means that not only are our blue collar workers in severe jeopardy, but the top percetage white collar people, as well. The fact that the clients "include a dozen Fortune 55 companies and 7 global consulting firms" should tell you that the problem has gotten so big that it's going to involve Congress. That's a whole new level of confusion.

Report: Global outsourcing helps U.S. | CNET News.com  

Report: Global outsourcing helps U.S. | CNET News.com: "Report: Global outsourcing helps U.S.
Last modified: October 10, 2003, 11:39 AM PDT
By Dinesh C. Sharma
Special to CNET News.com

Labor shortages and immigration curbs are making offshore outsourcing even more important to maintaining growth in the U.S. economy, according to a report market research firm Evalueserve released this week.
The firm said outsourcing to offshore locations could increase the competitiveness of American companies due to lower costs, increased flexibility and access to trained workers. And if local economies grow, it could mean new markets for the goods and services of U.S. businesses. For every $100 worth of work shipped offshore, $130 to $145 will be reinvested in the U.S. economy, according to Evalueserve.
The National Association of Software and Services Companies, an Indian information technology industry body, commissioned the report to try to allay fears over the adverse impact of outsourcing on the U.S. economy."

Exsqueeze me? Labor shortage??? When did THAT happen?

Now, of course we can all ignore a report that was commissioned by the people who want to take YOUR JOB away, but it does make me wonder exactly who keeps initiating these spurious 'studies'. Funding should be easy to find, from the Indian government (who is trying to find a way to deal with rampant epidemic poverty and unbridled population growth) to companies whose business it is (as in Gordon Brooks of E5, Inc.) to make money from the off-shoring of America.

One thing that seriously bothers me is the way that CNET.Com keeps presenting these self-serving and weak attempts at convincing us that less is more as NEWS items.

Microsoft: The Digital Octopus  

We're all familiar with the wide range of things Microsoft- software, hardware, game consoles, BlueTooth, and most recently, SmartPhones. Then throw in 'Windows Mobile 2003' (a.k.a. PocketPC 2003) software, and tablet PC's and you start to think about how many fingers Microsoft has in a wide variety of pies.

Well, add one to the list: IPTV. Just what that will mean we'll have to wait to find out. Our cousins in The Great North (sometimes known as Canada) will be a step ahead of us, for a change. Microsoft is going to roll out their new service there and then spread it, if it's successful. We can all remember the late WebTV, where Microsoft wanted to merge entertainment and online surfing. It didn't work. Then. Now, it seems, they want to try to make it work the other way, with channel-surfing over the web.

Looked at one way, it makes more sense. One of the big drawbacks was the dismal resolution of the average TV set. At a measley 525 lines, it's a long way behind even the most modest computer monitor. What DID it have? Size. At the point where the largest widespread monitor size was 17", the norm for living room TV watchers was at least 20" and more likely 25-27". But that wasn't enough and WebTV went the way of EGA video cards. These days, it's more common to find a 27"-32" TV gracing the 'entertainment center' and 20"+ monitors don't cost a month's pay. So, there certainly are more choices, and with the coming of HDTV's, things will be better all around.

Something might slip by. That is the possibility that Microsoft has found the killer app for broadband. Music is good, but you can really listen to it just fine over a 56k connection. Steaming video, though, had better be coming in at something better than that. Now, what killer app? How about video on demand? I.e. Don't let the networks tell you what to watch or where to watch it from, just boot up your Windows XP Media Center PC and surf to the channel picker for that old M.A.S.H. episode or the upcoming final segment of Friends. And that leads squarely to movies. New movies, old movies, and cult classics that would never find an audience in 4 figures at any local cinema. Thousands and thousands of movies and all Pay Per View available from dear old Microsoft.

There are a few companies that seem to have had their eyes on this situation for some time. SnapStream, that favorite of Chris Pirillo comes to mind. It turns your PC into an ersatz DVR.

Now rush right out and get the 250 gig hard drive and 21" LCD monitor you've been trying to justify for 6 months. You're going to need them!

BW Online | October 13, 2003 | Tuning Up for the Online Music Business  

BW Online | October 13, 2003 | Tuning Up for the Online Music Business

This article doesn't really say anything new, but it IS useful as a kind of general look at the whole world of online music sales, as it stands today.

Missouri files spam suit under new law | CNET News.com  

Missouri files spam suit under new law | CNET News.com: "Missouri files spam suit under new law
Last modified: October 10, 2003, 12:30 PM PDT
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Missouri's attorney general filed lawsuits against two alleged junk e-mailers this week, the first cases brought under the state's new antispam law.
The lawsuits, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, charge Phillip Nixon of Palm Beach, Fla., and proprietors of the Web site Fundetective.com, of Boca Raton, Fla., with violating the law. "

Having gotten numerous pieces of crap spam from this dog (including in TODAY'S e-mail), I can heartily hope that Missouri wins without a long fight. A bonus would be putting this scum out of business, but in this day of technosneaks, it remains questionable.

Torvalds starts locking down next Linux | CNET News.com  

Torvalds starts locking down next Linux | CNET News.com: "Torvalds starts locking down next Linux
Last modified: October 9, 2003, 12:24 PM PDT
By Stephen Shankland
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Linux leader Linus Torvalds has moved the development of the upcoming 2.6 kernel of the open-source operating system to a new phase aimed solely at making the heart of the OS less likely to crash.

Torvalds released version 2.6.0-test7 of the Linux kernel Wednesday, saying he and 2.6 leader Andrew Morton now are directing programmers to focus on stability rather than cleaning up the code.
'I and Andrew are trying to calm down development, and I do not want to see patches that don't fix a real and clear bug,' Torvalds said in a message. 'In other words, this should calm things down so that by the end of October we can look at the state of 2.6.0 without having a lot of noise from 'not strictly necessary' stuff.'"

Let's hope, for sanity's sake, that Torvalds has totally eradicated any trace of anything that might smell slightly of SCO's Unix!

msmobiles.com - Live from Switzerland: Microsoft smartphones at the stand of Microsoft  

msmobiles.com - Live from Switzerland: Microsoft smartphones at the stand of Microsoft: "Live from Switzerland: Microsoft smartphones at the stand of Microsoft
October 12, 2003 [Smartphone]
We are reporting live from Geneva, Switzerland, directly from Media Centre of ITU World Telecom 2003 conference - a global conference, that takes places once in 4 years. "

Interesting look at what Microsoft has planned in the way of SmartPhones...

VigilantMinds Validates Microsoft Still Vulnerable  

VigilantMinds Validates Microsoft Still Vulnerable: "VigilantMinds Validates Microsoft Still Vulnerable
VigilantMinds Creates Intrusion Signature for Latest Microsoft Vulnerability
PITTSBURGH, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/11/2003 -- VigilantMinds Inc., a leader in information security solutions, has validated the latest claims regarding a new Microsoft Remote Procedure Call (RPC) vulnerability. The rumor of the existence of this latest RPC vulnerability emerged earlier this week on several security-related discussion forums. VigilantMinds has created an intrusion signature to detect attempts at exploitation of this new vulnerability. VigilantMinds has already deployed a detection signature to protect its customers and has provided this intrusion signature to the global security community. "

So, keep your eyes out for an update from your antivirus software supplier.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?