Longhorn Server Making Headway

The next Windows client may be called Vista (unless we can get Microsoft to change its mind), but for now the server is still Longhorn. In more exciting news, the server is now in Beta 1, which means the API and basic innards are good enough for IT to fool around with. The new client is also in its first beta.

Wipe That Smile Off Your Screen
Here’s a wacky one for you. According to Groklaw blogger Pamela Jones, Microsoft has applied for a patent covering emoticons—more specifically, techniques to speed up transfer of the overused and abused little frowns and smiley faces. We’ll have to wait and see whether Microsoft gets its patent :) or is turned-down flat :(.

Hackers Are the Easy Villains
Rockstar Games has been paying its PR team overtime for handling reports that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas contains hidden explicit scenes. Like Nixon with Watergate, Clinton with Monica, and George W. with weapons of mass destruction, the company spun a story that turned out not to be true.

Rockstar spin meisters were caught in their own trap. First arguing that hackers made their way into what must have been a pathetically insecure development network, the company now admits that its own programmers are the ones with dirty minds. There's nothing the press hates worse than a liar. I may not buy as many copies of the next Grand Theft Auto when it comes out.

The scenes offered the perfect opportunity for Hillary Clinton to broaden her base, arguing for more control of video games. Thanks, Hill, for keying in on such a key issue. There certainly aren't more pressing concerns—like terrorists (I hate that term because it implies that we're all scared and ultimately gives these freaks credit they don’t deserve), the economy, the Supreme Court, hunger, crime, poverty … nah, let’s worry about hidden prurient animations.

The Future of Browsing
Ever see someone try to browse on their cell phone, hitting key after key only to get some scaled-down shadow of what the Web really is? For the same dough, and maybe an extra inch on each side, you could get a kickin’ game machine with real-screen resolution and actual processing power.

At least that’s what you’ll get when Sony supports a browser on its WiFi-enabled PlayStation Portable. Smart kids (and adults) have come up with hacks to make browsing work, but now Sony is officially onboard. Dang, another game machine I’ll have to buy!

Apple Does Not Exist
Microsoft often wishes Apple didn’t exist. Tiger has gained accolades while XP gathered complaints, and the iPod is the hottest thing since Paris Hilton. Now Microsoft has taken it a step further and literally wiped Apple off the map—the MSN Virtual Earth map, that is. Go to Microsoft’s system, key in the location of Apple’s headquarters, and up comes … nothing! Microsoft rival Google believes in Apple and shows the location just fine.

Rewarding Non-Pirates
The world of software piracy has had ups and downs over the years. Early on, we had dongles and long keys to unlock and install authentic software. IT activists, particularly a man named Jerry Schneider, fought against this and protection was largely removed, only to make a raging comeback half a decade later.

But today’s protection hasn’t stopped copying, so Microsoft is offering a carrot to real users and a stick to the fakers.

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Under Genuine Advantage 1.0, now available, legitimate users are offered some software freebies and updates. Non-registered users can’t get the freebies, but they can get the security fixes. The idea is that if millions are running unlicensed, unpatched Windows, it’s that much easier for viruses to spread and for these machines to be used as the basis for hacker attacks.

EMC Aims High
I was pretty psyched the day I got my first 10-meg hard drive. And I’m still pretty happy to have 80 gigs on my latest laptop (by the way, ever notice that laptops die a lot sooner than desktops?). But data keeps growing (doesn’t anyone delete any more?), which is why EMC this week announced a record-smashing petabyte storage array—that’s over a thousand terabytes, which if my math is correct (50 percent chance) is 1 million gigabytes, or a billion megabytes. Think of all the useless, redundant and obsolete information your company could store with such a device.

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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