Longhorn in Dribs and Drabs

I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to see if Longhorn is as good as Microsoft says it is. Is it worth the likelihood of buying new hardware, spending much needed time and money on training and migrating all that data? We’re gathering your thoughts in an exclusive reader survey to be published later this year.

But the proof is in the pudding, not in a survey, which is why the release of Avalon (the presentation system) and Indigo (the communication system) Community Previews is a big step forward in our understanding of Longhorn’s value. Now any Joe Schmoe with an MSDN subscription can check out two of Longhorn’s key underpinnings. These two technologies aren’t just for Longhorn anymore, but will be available for XP and Windows Server 2003 as well.

No More Being a WUS
Microsoft this week announced a release candidate of its patch tool formerly called Windows Update Services, or WUS. Always known for our cheap shots, we here at Redmond magazine made fun of the name in our February issue.

After that column appeared, Microsoft wussed out on the name WUS, which is now Windows Server Update Services, or WSUS. It could have been worsethey could have called it Windows Update Server Services!

Cell-Abrating Friendship
Longtime rival Symbian has joined hands, at least partially, with Microsoft. Symbian, which makes a mobile operating system that competes directly with Microsoft SmartPhones, is licensing portions of Exchange so Symbian users can check e-mail and share calendars.

The Keyboard to Happiness
Sometimes, even the darkest of days are saved by a simple ray of sunshine, a glimmer of hope, as was my day when I read the latest breathless press release from our friends at Microsoft entitled: “Reliable Mice and Keyboards Boost Workplace Morale - New Survey Suggests Happiness and Productivity Linked to High-Quality Technology.”

The survey reveals that 60 percent of respondents believe that great keyboards and mice would boost their morale. So the next time someone asks me for a raise or bonus, I’ll do 'em one better—I’ll hand 'em a new mouse!

Crush 'Em in the Market, Smash 'Em on the Ice
When it comes to PC operating systems and productivity software, Microsoft has clearly cleaned IBM’s clock—and did most of it while posting a fraction of Big Blue’s revenue.

Now Microsoft has won the battle for the puck, beating IBM in a charity hockey game this weekend 9-5. Of course, Microsoft was playing in its own backyard with a team that’s been together a while, while IBM threw together a pickup team from across the U.S. and went into battle cold. Microsoft has also cleaned Sun’s clock in hockey—just like it did in the market.

Gimmee Some Skin
Remember all the clowns predicting that we’d all be using personal area networks? The only thing sillier was the people demonstrating the darns things, with keyboards dangling from their belts, displays built into oversized ultra-geek glasses and a CPU shoved who knows where.

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There may be a better way. The Japanese conglomerate NTT recently unveiled RedTacton, a 2Mbps network technology where data passes over your skin. This way the PDA in your pocket can shoot data to earphones or a remote display. And anything you touch is connected, including other people. Maybe your MP3 player and my PDA can make some beautiful music together?

Dotcom Bust? Don’t Tell Ask Jeeves
During the heyday of dotcoms, every one and his brother tried to strike it rich with a search engine or by selling something, anything, over the Internet (though my business plan to sell dental floss online was somehow rejected).

Google proved that that bust was not total with a market cap that makes Ford Motor Co. look like a 5-year-old’s lemonade stand.

Ask Jeeves is now rolling in the dotcom dough with a $2 billion buyout offer from Barry Dillers IAC/Interactive. With money like that, I just might give DentalFloss.com another shot.

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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