More Assurances from SA

Next month Microsoft will announce a ton (well, six to be exact) of new benefits for Software Assurance customers. The name of the game with SA is to calculate whether the benefits plus the free upgrades are worth the steep yearly fees. By adding more benefits, SA might make sense for more customers, but your math will show whether it’s right for your shop.

The six new benefits focus on hot fixes, training, problem resolution and broader distribution of Virtual PC technology. We can all thank Redmond News Editor Scott Bekker for breaking this puppy.

Zotob Makes the Rounds
Depending on who you talk to, the Zotob worm is either a minor annoyance or a serious security threat. Microsoft shrugs off Zotob as low-impact, only going after Windows 2000. In Microsoft’s mind, the solution is to upgrade to Windows XP (which never gets hit with viruses -- not!).

This low-impact worm kept CNN from running video for hours, leaving us to stare at Wolf Blitzer’s beard instead of footage from the Gaza Strip and Iraq. Now, that’s a painful worm.

Exchange SP2 Nearing
Service Pack 2 for Exchange is present and reporting for testing, sir! The messaging update promises more spam protection and better mobile access to e-mail. And you’ll be able to have mailboxes as large as 75GB. I’ve always said that once you have 50 gigs of mail stored, it’s time to start cleaning.

Federate Those Directories
Recently we gave a small taste of what Microsoft plans in the way of federated directories. Now Redmond Contributor Stuart Johnston digs deep and lays out exactly what Microsoft is doing and how it affects IT. Get all the details here.

Trampled Underfoot
The Apple marketing machine and the cult of Steve Jobs has made the iBook as desirable as Jessica Simpson to a 12-year-old boy, and at $50 a pop, used Mac laptops are wanted enough to trample over. In Richmond, Va., a near riot broke out over the sale of 1,000 cheap iBooks. Baby carriages were busted up and the weaker got banged and bruised. Wonder what would happen if 1,000 Dell Inspirons were put on sale? I think one elderly security guard could easily handle the commotion.

Living Tomb
Here’s a new twist on cemeteries -- video tombstones that run on solar power. This is a cool idea, as family and even random visitors can see what the person was actually like. But in this very newsletter three weeks ago I laid out a deeper vision:

You might think this strange, but I've long believed it would be great to replace a nondescript tombstone with an in-depth record of one's life. Imagine a gravestone with a digital memory which you could query for videos, photos, writing and maybe a 3-D image of the deceased (when they were alive, of course). A cemetery becomes one huge reality show, and our memories live forever.”

But I have no problem starting with simple, old-fashioned video. If they stole my idea, I’ll happily accept 10 percent royalties.

Xbox Goes Upscale
Okay, I’m a little confused, somewhat irritated and happy at the same time. What makes me this way? The Xbox 360, set to ship by Christmas, and its low, low price of $299.99 (let’s call it $300 and spot Redmond the extra penny, they need the cash).

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I was shocked by the price. I can get a brand new PlayStation for 50 bucks and a new Dell desktop for three bills. Paying as much for a game console as for a full desktop feels strange, especially as the console has no storage -- the hard drive is an extra hundred smackers.

The exciting part is the sheer power of the new game systems -- akin to a 10-year-old supercomputer. It would cost big bucks to give a PC the same graphics. That’s where I get frustrated. Why can’t our PCs have the same resolution, color palette and frame rate? And more to the point, why can’t our PCs be as easy to use and reliable?

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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