Happy Birthday -- Not!

F-Secure sent out a note reminding us that the PC virus is now officially 20 years old -- almost old enough to drink. The first boot sector virus was spread by moving floppy disks from one machine to another. The Internet, LANs and the prevalence of e-mail changed everything: Now, a simple virus written by some teen who just finished reading his first computer book can wreak havoc. Let’s hope computer viruses die a nasty death well before they turn 40.

Microsoft Makes Graphics Play
Microsoft has betas of two new graphics tools: Expression Graphic Designer, which used to be called Acrylic (a far superior name), is a high-end graphics tool, and Expression Interactive Designer, which used to be called Sparkle (a far superior name), is aimed at user interface design.

Trial versions are available here.

Neverfail-ing with the Cash
Neverfail, a Windows-focused disaster recovery and availability concern, has a few more bucks to fund its growth -- 10 million of them. Fidelity Ventures kicked in the capital to help build new products and expand its partners. Company execs told Redmond that nearly 90 new partners were added in the last quarter alone, giving them a total of some 400 partners.

For more info, don’t go to www.neverfail.com -- this outfit builds some pretty obscure products like inductive loops for asphalt and loop detectors -- or www.neverfail.com.au -- they make spring water. Instead, try www.neverfailgroup.com.

XP3 in ‘07
While Microsoft is beating the drums for Vista, Longhorn and now Vienna, a major fix for XP Service Pack 3 ain’t coming 'till next year -- the last half of next year. Our man on the street, Stuart Johnston, points out that beyond bug fixes, XP3 could contain IE7. My guess is that Microsoft will push Vista over XP3, IF Vista makes it first -- and that’s always a big “if.”

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Caring for Customers
Microsoft is continually leveraging desktop and server strength to go after larger-scale enterprise apps, accounting, CRM, supply chain and now an upgraded tool for call centers.

Customer Care Framework 2005 is all about integration. Through XML, the tool can encompass e-mail, instant messaging and the good ol’ fashioned telephone. These features aren’t new, but since Microsoft has MSN, Outlook and VoIP, it may be able to integrate them all better than the competition.

Battle of the Bulgaria
Microsoft played a role in an investigation leading to the arrest of eight Bulgarian Internet criminals. These hoods used phishing to steal financial data and turned that into money orders and cash transfers. Microsoft had personal interest, as the thieves pretended to be representatives of MSN. Redmond ain’t gonna stand for that. Microsoft has been pretty busy fighting these creeps, and for this we should all be thankful.

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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