New Vista Beta Enterprise-Ready

Microsoft has released a new beta of Vista aimed at enterprises. This beta has all the features the final version will have, which is due out later this year. Technology like Vista is complex, but the naming scheme for Vista betas is even more so. You see I shouldn't be calling this a beta. It's actually a Community Technology Preview (CTP) which, just like a beta, is a test version of an unreleased product. In fact, Microsoft explains that these CTPs are part of the overall Beta 2 cycle.

I was on a call yesterday with a bunch of reporters going over all this stuff, and they were all experts in the new beta nomenclature, tossing around the CTP acro like they made it up themselves, switching between CTPs and betas effortlessly. That's media control for ya! They were proud to have mastered this made-up terminology.

Maybe it's just me but I hate it when companies make up silly names and expect us to spit them back. I won't say Egg McMuffin or McChicken at the local drive-thru and I ain't going to say CTP!

Are you excited about Vista? Why? Tell me at [email protected]. To find out just what's in the new beta (er, test version of an unreleased product), go here.

Beta Alert: SMS R2 Ready to Test
Not that long after its release, SMS 2003 had over 40 percent of the high-end client management market. Now Microsoft is goosing the tool with a beta of SMS 2003 R2, which includes a new way to distribute third-party tools using the SMS format. It can also look for vulnerabilities before exposing new packages to potential problems. Perhaps this tool could be adapted to first dates so you'll know whether to invite them up for a drink or run away like a scared antelope.

Beta Alert: Commerce Server Beta Ready for Business
This is a strange announcement: Microsoft is telling the world that it plans to ship a beta of Commerce Server 2006 this July. Are we supposed to be so obsessed with every little movement that we will give this announcement the time of day (oops, I just did!)?

In case you're interested, the upcoming release ties more tightly with BizTalk Server (aren't Biz and Commerce the same thing?) and supports more foreign languages. How much detail do you need about upcoming Microsoft products, and does Microsoft manipulate us in the press? Let me know at [email protected].

Let the EU Pile-On Begin
As if Microsoft didn't already have enough hassles in Europe, now comes word that its competitors are joining the European Union's fight against the Redmond giant -- big players including Sun (I thought they were pals with Redmond after the billion-dollar payoff), IBM, Oracle and old nemesis RealNetworks. These monsters filed a complaint that urges the EU to take an even harder stance on Microsoft, which is hurting their businesses (can't tell that from their balance sheets). Smaller fish like Linspire and Opera have also joined the fight.

I don't have any real issue with any of this (except for IBM, which continues to tower over Microsoft in gross annual revenues and lost the desktop war due to its sheer ineptitude and lack of will). Tell me where I'm wrong at [email protected].

Is Wireless Unsafe?
I troll the Drudge Report every now and again (not as much as my boss, mind you), and came across an item where a Canadian professor wants to ban WiFi because it might be harmful to one's health. That may be true, but somehow all these fears are eventually proven false, either because they never existed in the first place or because the companies that make the money manage to quash the news. Remember when computer monitors and cell phones would give us all brain cancer? Is that a WiFi tumor or are you just happy to see me?

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Sorry, Mr. Turner
Yesterday I poked fun at Ted Turner for talking a lot about philanthropy and then not making Slate's top 60 list of money givers. Well, Redmond Report readers like Byron, Steve, Joe, Marc and Butch all poked back, writing to say that Ted is indeed on the list, at an impressive 15. I reread the list before publishing my little dig and read right past Turner, who it called Edward. So I was wrong and Ted is to be commended for backing up his words with his dollars. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong, and when I am you'll know (and will probably tell me!).

I kinda also made another boo-boo when I said that there were "three Microsoft folks (one current and two ex-employees) on the list. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda were No. 2, while Paul Allen and Charles Simonyi also made the top 60." Reader Mike corrected me, saying, "Assuming Bill G. and Melinda haven't truly become one, I make that one current and three ex-employees!" Melinda was the former product unit manager of Microsoft products Publisher, Encarta and Expedia before getting hitched to Bill and quitting to form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Doh!

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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