Real American Heroes - Not!

Bill Gates, recently knighted by the Queen of England, has another honor: AOL and the Discovery Channel have chosen Gates as one of the 100 Greatest Americans. Many on the list are deserving, like Gates. We have Amelia Earhart (though not Dale Earnhardt!), Walt Disney and Neil Armstrong. But check out these bozos: Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise and Dr. Phil? If I was Bill, I might not feel so honored.

Redmond Wants Red Hat?
Slashdotters are all over the rumors that Microsoft is interested in buying Red Hat. After giving the rumor a small dose of credence, dozens upon dozens of posters pointed out why it’s the dumbest idea since Eddie Murphy took up singing.

Sun-ny Side Up
It’s been a year since Sun and Microsoft kissed, made up and agreed to cooperate. So how are the newlyweds doing? According to CEOs Scott McNealy and Steve Ballmer (both of whom have graced the cover of MCP/Redmond magazine), the two have recently started to “really hit our stride.”

So far the companies have:

  • Outlined a single sign-on solution.
  • Qualified more Sun boxes to run Windows.
  • Agreed to implement RDP in Sun Ray thin clients.

Like the initial press conference a year ago, this one was packed start to finish with bad jokes, with both sides tossing out some real duds. Ballmer joked about scratching his head dunking a basketball, while McNealy riffed on Ballmer finishing his sentences, punk rock parking lot attendants and professional wrestling (cricket, cricket).

To Protect and Serve
Every time I complain about viruses, spam or spyware, 12 people write with similar complaints, and one loon tells me it’s all my fault, that I’m too stupid to protect my PC and deserve whatever I get.

Microsoft, smarting from the same complaints, is developing a new service to protect home computers from viruses, spyware and spam, block intruders through firewalls, and even help back up data. Windows OneCare is in beta now—but only with Microsoft’s own employees.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this. Anything that protects our computers is good, but here we have to pay for the privilege (pricing was not announced). To my mind, computers and operating systems should come with basic protections. It’s as if GM decided to charge a monthly fee for the right to use a door lock or ignition key.

Making Licensing Simple—at Least on Paper
Customers have long complained about the complexity of Microsoft licensing. I’ve studied it, literally, for days and I’m still confused.

Help is on the way. Microsoft licensing gurus have just announced that its major licensing text, the Product Use Rights document, will be reorganized and simplified. The licensing itself, unfortunately, remains as complex as ever.

Stealing the Fire
Never ashamed to, ahem, borrow a feature here and there, Microsoft this week revealed that Internet Explorer 7.0 will include tabbed browsing. Now don’t all of you that downloaded Firefox, when you could’ve waited for Microsoft, feel silly?

Microsoft Desktop Search No Longer Stinks?
Ever lose that all-important document, the one where your boss promised you that big raise, and no matter how many folders you search, it’s nowhere to be found? So you crank up the search tool in the My Documents Open File dialog box, and it points out 300 files you aren’t looking for but can’t find the one you are?

Well, Microsoft is hoping that its new MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search will solve that problem and help keep Google off its corporate back.

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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