Windows Server 2003 on Verge of Upgrade

I’ll try to keep this light and breezy, but my mood is subdued after seeing the devastation and suffering Katrina has brought. New Orleans is a great city and host to many important IT events, including a recent TechMentor show. I’m looking forward to the city recovering and getting back to welcoming guests -- I’ll be one of the first to return. My thoughts are also with the other areas hit hard. If you have any stories or comments, e-mail me at dbarney@redmondmag.com. Now, on to the news.

It seems less important now, but for shops that rely upon Windows Server 2003, the upcoming Release 2 is still a pretty big deal. A release candidate is now ready for download, with the final release slated by year’s end.

R2 has many new features, especially in the areas of security, centralized management, identity management and .NET support. With Longhorn server perhaps years away, R2 is your best shot at playing with something new.

Busted: Selling Old Source Code
Microsoft doesn’t even want to support this old junk, but that didn’t stop Bill Genovese, Jr. from selling Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 source code. The code made its way to the ‘Net after it was stolen, and Genovese tried to hawk the ripped-off source code through his Web site (not too obvious!).

If the judge throws the book, the 27-year-old Genovese could be close to 40 when he gets out -- and a quarter of a million dollars poorer. So, how much was he looking for? Twenty bucks. That’s a year in jail for every two dollars profit.

Will IP Buy Turn Microsoft into Ma Bill?
The old phone companies are halfway dead and gone, and if the VoIP folks have their way, what’s left of the old guard will be dead and buried soon. Microsoft just bought an IP phone player, Teleo, and plans to build the technology into MSN, as Yahoo is beginning to do. While this is a consumer play, much home-oriented technologies end up driving business. Remember, CD-ROMs and speakers started on home PCs.

FrontBridge Goes to Redmond
Microsoft this week closed the deal to buy FrontBridge, a vendor of messaging services including hosting and compliance. Expect to hear a sales pitch from your Redmond rep soon.

Dealing with Software Religion?
It seems that IT pros have always fought over technology. Fifteen years ago it was OS/2 versus Windows, and before that the mainframe versus microcomputers and LANs. Today the zealots fight over Linux, the Mac and Microsoft. Do deep-seated emotions (yours or others) affect what technologies make it to your shop? Tell me your war stories at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Spyware (Letters) Won’t Die
Letters about spyware keep pouring in, and my favorites are those that offer advice, like this one:

"To fix Surf Sidekick:

  1. Go here.
  2. I would need more information about the "Command" spyware.
  3. My worst experience with spyware? How about spyware (or maybe it was a virus) that:
    a. Replaces the host file so you can't go to Microsoft, Symantec and other sites you need to remove it. If you repair the host file, it gets replaced again!
    b. Shuts down the browser when certain words are typed in Google (like ‘virus,’ ‘spy,’ etc.)
    c. Disables Task Manager and any program that looks like it. (I was eventually able to find one that wasn't recognized by the spyware.)

I worked for two days removing that spyware/virus mentioned above. The fix ended up being a combination of spyware detection tools, a task manager not recognized by the virus, going into Safe Mode, and a pinch of luck!”

-- Ryan

One author is a fan of Microsoft’s shared computing services, as you can see from this note:

"The better way: download and install [Microsoft Shared Toolkit for Windows XP] … and activate the Windows Disk Protection tool."

-- Byron

Here's what another reader had to say:

“Switch your 9-year-old to XP and give him a normal user account, not a Power User one. Your spyware problems will disappear. If you're really paranoid, also switch him to Firefox (although I find lots of sites like nickjr.com don't render well in Firefox). I did this to my wife’s and sons’ PC a year ago and haven't had any spyware problems since.”

-- Rick

In the last Redmond Report, I wrote on Microsoft’s collaboration with the federal government on public policy: “Also on the agenda: backing of free trade, more money for basic federal research, passing a Cybercrime treaty with Europe and allowing more foreign computer experts to work in the U.S. I'm still waiting to see something here I can disagree with.”

Here’s what one reader had to say about that:

“You know, I was going along with everything you wrote until I read the last, sort of nonchalant phrase in the quote from your sentence above.

Please help me understand how you can agree with [‘allowing more foreign computer experts to work in the U.S.’]. Are you advocating, or is Microsoft continuing to advocate, for foreign ‘experts’ versus American IT professionals and prospective American (IT) professionals?

Wouldn’t it be better for American corporations and citizens [if] Microsoft and the federal government [found] ways to educate/train and employ more Americans now and in the future rather than hiring foreign computer experts [who] had much of their advanced education/training paid for by their governments.

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It’s no mystery that the foreign expert works for less, since he/she is not saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Hell, our government can subsidize farmers until the cows come home, but provide (fully fund) ALL deserving and qualified U.S. students with a free post secondary and/or post graduate education is just not even given a passing thought, much less real effort. If education was free in our country like it is in other countries, we might also develop an excess supply of CIS workers that WE could export overseas.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not an MS hater. I have built my (second) career on Microsoft and am very grateful, but this is a goal or policy that to me seems ill conceived, however economically or politically expedient it is for the MS corporate world strategy.”

-- Michael

Here’s my response to Mike:

This is a tricky one for sure. Many vendors see a shortage of computer experts and foreign workers help build U.S. intellectual property. At the same time, many -- perhaps millions -- of highly trained U.S. computer pros got booted out of IT during the great collapse. Thanks for highlighting the complexity of the issue, the harm to U.S. workers, and the harm of an overly simplistic viewpoint.

And finally, a major Doug Barney body blow:

“Please try not to be overly cute with your article headings in your e-mails (leave that to the magazine). Sometimes we working stiffs only have a little time to glance through e-mails such as yours.

When the Subject line reads ‘Redmond Report: Worm Authors Squashed, WinFS Beta, Multi-Core Future, More,’ I expect to find a sub-heading with ‘multi-core,’ so I can easily read the article and move on (if you want to put cute subtitle that's fine, just keep the primary title something that is focused.

When the title is ‘Cookies and Chips, Er, Processors,’ I have to waste time scanning up and down the e-mail (something you may want me to do for advertising sake, but not necessarily what I want to do). If it happens too often, I often just unsubscribe, ignore or delete the e-mail out of frustration.

I think your magazine has decent content, but just try and make sure you don't complicate the finding of the content more than is necessary.”

-- Jeff

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