Monthly Archives: February 2005

Microsoft IM release almost here (Istanbul)

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is expected to take the wraps off Istanbul, the company’s new instant messaging and real-time communications client, in a few weeks.

 

The software giant sent invitations to journalists and other insiders this week for an 8 March event in San Francisco, during which Gates will "unveil Microsoft’s new and revolutionary real-time collaboration offerings".

 

A Microsoft spokesman said he couldn’t specify that Istanbul would be the subject of the event but the software has been widely touted as Microsoft’s next major move in real-time communications. Istanbul is an internal code name. Microsoft has not said what the program might be called when it’s ready for formal release.

 

Istanbul, which has been in the beta testing phase for several months, is a new client for Live Communications Server, Microsoft’s corporate instant messaging software.

 

Istanbul goes beyond IM, though, handling a variety of functions based on ‘presence’, the notion advocated by Microsoft and others of software being able to intelligently route communications among various applications and devices. Istanbul reads calendar information from Outlook, for example, to decide whether an incoming call should go to someone’s desktop or mobile phone.

 

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Sounds like Windows Messenger on Steroids to me.

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American Education System is lousy, Gates

WASHINGTON — Addressing the nation’s governors, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (news – web sites) delivered a scathing critique of U.S. high schools Saturday, calling them obsolete and saying that elected officials should be ashamed of a system that leaves millions of students unprepared for college and for technical jobs.

 

Gates was speaking as the invited guest of some of the nation’s most powerful elected officials, at a National Governors Assn. meeting devoted to improving high school education across the country.

 

"Training the workforce of tomorrow with today’s high schools is like trying to teach kids about today’s computers on a 50-year-old mainframe," said Gates, whose $27-billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (news – web sites) has made education one of its priorities.

 

"Everyone who understands the importance of education, everyone who believes in equal opportunity, everyone who has been elected to uphold the obligations of public office should be ashamed that we are breaking our promises of a free education for millions of students," added Gates, to strong applause.

 

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, chairman of the nonpartisan association, said high school education was in need of an overhaul to raise standards and to closely align instruction with the requirements of colleges and employers.

 

"It is imperative that we make reform of the American high school a national priority," Warner, a Democrat, said.

 

The governors’ winter meeting coincides with a push by President Bush (news – web sites) to extend elements of his No Child Left Behind initiative from the primary grades to the high school level.

 

The governors painted a dire picture of the state of public high schools, releasing statistics that, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, showed 68% of ninth-graders graduate from high school on time.

 

But, measuring a different way, U.S. government statistics show steady increases in high school graduation rates, particularly among whites and African Americans, although less so for Latinos.

 

For example, the high school graduation rate for adults 25 years or older was at an all-time high of 85% in 2003, as was the 27% share of adults holding at least a bachelor’s degree.

 

Behind the national numbers, there is general agreement that wide disparities exist among high schools and that geography, income, race and ethnicity affect the value of a diploma.

 

"Only a fraction of our kids are getting the best education," Gates said. "Once we realize that we are keeping low-income and minority kids out of the rigorous courses, there can only be two arguments for keeping it that way: Either we think they can’t learn, or we think they’re not worth teaching.

 

"The first argument would be factually wrong. The second would be morally wrong."

 

Read the rest here

 

I suspect Mr. Gates will be running against Hillary Clinton in ’08 elections.

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Future of Windows Security

Microsoft recently announced its plans to buy the anti-virus software maker Sybari Software to beef up security features in its Windows operating system. This is the third major security-related acquisition by Microsoft in the last few years and has sent jitters to anti-virus software vendors such as McAfee and Symantec. This move by Microsoft also indicates bundling of security features in all its future products including Longhorn to be released in 2006.

 

Microsoft Windows has always been the victim of virus and security attacks. Notable ones being Code Red worm released on July 19, 2001 which exploited vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Server, affecting more than 250,000 computer systems in less than nine hours. Released on January 25, 2003, Slammer exploiting vulnerability in Microsoft SQL Server 2000, spread with astonishing speed, infecting 90% of all vulnerable computers on the Internet within 10 minutes. Similarly W32/Blaster worm exploited Windows vulnerability and attacked more than 7,000 computers in minutes of its release on black Monday, August 11, 2003.

 

In its recent security bulletin, Microsoft warned computer users of eight new critical-rated flaws in its Windows, Office and other software products. By giving priority to ease of use in its Windows operating system, Microsoft has left security holes in its operating systems through sloppy code. As soon as a security attack is detected, Microsoft normally issues patches that plug the vulnerability. However, it has realised that the attackers soon discover other vulnerabilities and exploit them.

 

In its bid to bolster the security features of its operating systems, Microsoft has released a built-in Firewall in its Windows XP service pack 2. Typically Firewall, which consists of a set of hardware, software and security policies that determine which traffic should be allowed or disallowed, is deployed at the perimeter of the organisations’ network. With built-in Firewall, Microsoft is moving the Firewall from the network to the desktop computer. Configuring the Firewall with policies is technology intensive. Normally the network administrators do this job on the network Firewall. Very few of us know how to configure the Firewall on our desktop computer running Windows XP.

 

With the recent acquisitions, day is not far off when Windows XP service pack 3 will be released which includes even anti-virus software! Normally anti-virus software, much like a Firewall, is installed on the network and is managed by network administrators. With all the security features bundled in to desktop operating system, Windows is becoming bigger and resource hungry! Soon you will find your Pentium 4 becoming sluggish to even run the operating system, forget about other applications! While it is impossible to produce software which is one hundred percent error free and reliable, poor software engineering practices and the pressure to release code on time due to market pressures have resulted in this alarming situation faced by Microsoft.

 

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I agree, eventually the bundling of technologies such as AntiVirus and AntiSpyware into the operating system will eventually bog down your system, in which case the operating system of course will be optimized to run on new hardware, just like how todays Windows is optimized to run on todays hardware, its all elementary. Can you run Windows XP smoothly on a computer purchased in 1998 or even 2000? I don’t think so. Even if you can, I don’t think the experience will be a good one.

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Content Management Server for Office System 12?

Microsoft’s shifting server strategy looks to be shifting some more. The company is moving toward converging SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) and Content Management Server (CMS) functionality into a single "server system," due in 2006, CRN has learned.

 

Microsoft officials have discussed the plans so much that some partners thought the move had been definitively announced. It has not.

 

SPS, the focal point of Microsoft’s collaboration strategy, hosts departmental collaboration sites and deals with Web content. CMS is more geared for traditional content management.

 

"CMS and SharePoint are merging, and it makes sense," said one source close to Microsoft. A solution provider in the Northwest concurred that the rationale is sound: "We’re doing a lot of point integration between CMS and SPS. I don’t think we have one CMS deal that does not also include the portal," he said.

 

Despite the buzz, Microsoft remains mum. "It’s too soon to comment about the future of SharePoint products and technologies or Content Management Server," said Erik Ryan, product manager of Microsoft Office Sharepoint, via email. The company remains committed to its "Office System approach," which will provide programs, servers and services to improve productivity, he said.

 

But several sources said the plan is a go for 2006, with the new server system to be part of the Office 12 product wave. Office 12 is the planned successor to Office 2003.

 

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It would make sense to integrate CMS with Office Server System, since they are geared towards the same market, plus with other products such as Exchange Server already in the Office System I think it would make a great addition to the family.

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Microsoft Preps for the 64-Bit Wave

Microsoft is readying more than just 64-bit Windows releases. It’s also developing 64-bit versions of a handful of its key desktop and server apps.

 

Microsoft has made no bones about its plans to release new 64-bit versions of Windows client and server in the next couple of months. But until now, the company has said little about its schedule for porting some of its own applications to 64-bit systems.

During the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has begun to inform customers and partners of its 64-bit migration strategy for SQL Server, Exchange Server, BizTalk, Virtual PC and Virtual Server, and other key enterprise applications. Microsoft isn’t expected to expound on its roadmap at next week’s Intel Developer Forum. But the Redmond software vendor’s 64-bit plans and positioning nonetheless will loom large over the San Francisco show.

 

While Microsoft will continue to support 32-bit applications for the foreseeable future, within the next couple of years both the desktop and server worlds are going to be 64-bit, according to the Microsoft world view.

 

Microsoft is paving the way for 64-bitness with its soon-to-be-delivered Windows XP Professional x64 client and Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition server releases. Earlier this month, both of these products achieved Release Candidate 2 beta status. Microsoft officials say they are on track to roll out these new releases — as well as the Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 underpinning — in the first half of this year.

 

"Very soon (not in 2007 or later) there will be no more desktop and server systems that are not capable of running a 64-bit OS," said Microsoft employee Volker Will, a member of the company’s partner strategy and platform group, on his blog recently.

 

Read the rest here

 

The exciting part for me in this article is wave of products to come, espcially Virtual PC version 2, I can’t wait. Obviously Windows XP Professional x64, is a tremendous improvement over its 64 bit predecessor, which was only built to run on horrible in performance Intel Itanium processor. Like I keep on saying my next desktop is definitely 64 bit and yours should be too, it does not necessarily have to run 64 Bit Windows, since AMD and Intel have both cooked up right ingredients to run 32 bit Windows and Applications just fine without hitches in performance.

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Wow, Nasty Photo Album Abort Error

I got this really nasty operation abort error after adding a photo to one of my albums, look at the URL.

 

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AntiSpyware Beta 1 – Error’s 101, 102 and 103

If you see a dialog box with the following message after you start your computer or when you start Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware, you need to repair or reinstall Windows AntiSpyware. The following message can also refer to Error 102 or Error 103:

 

Warning: Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware has encountered a critical error (Error 101). Please restart Windows AntiSpyware and run the program again. If you continue to experience this problem, please uninstall the program and install the most recent version of Windows AntiSpyware. You can use Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel to uninstall this version of Windows AntiSpyware.

 

You can repair Windows AntiSpyware using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. Click Microsoft AntiSpyware and click Change. Click Next, and then click Update.

 

If you see the critical error message again, uninstall Windows AntiSpyware and reinstall it. To do this, use Add or Remove Programs in the Windows Control Panel. Click Microsoft AntiSpyware and click Remove. You can reinstall Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software.

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