Say Goodbye to My Little Friend -- the Beta

Lately every piece of unreleased Microsoft software I’ve talked about has a different label, and none of them have been the terms that have worked for decades, like alpha, beta, and finished product (that’s what you get after it’s released to manufacturing when it actually gets manufactured). Today’s prevailing term is Community Technology Preview (CTP) and we’ll be seeing a lot of these for Vista. I’m not sure what the difference between a CTP and a beta is except that it allows Microsoft to invent another acronym! Not content with that, Microsoft is now talking about what happens after the CTP, which is a Customer Preview Program (CPP). How about a STAN, or Stop the Acronyms Now!

IE7 Beta/Preview Is Out
Internet Explorer 7, a standalone browser, is inching its way closer to market with its second beta release. That’s right, Microsoft is calling it a beta but in the same breath calls it a preview. Maybe Microsoft is as confused about what to call beta software as we are. This beta, er, preview is aimed at those that have Web sites. A broader consumer-focused beta will follow.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Here
For this item we needn’t worry about Microsoft’s kooky names for betas. That’s because Release 2 of Windows Server 2003 has now shipped. R2 has a host of new Active Directory Services, such as federated directories, making it easier to share identity data with partners.

$5 Million Worth of Spam
Christopher Smith is a spammer’s spammer. Over the years he’s sent literally billions of messages (you probably got hundreds from him) pitching everything from Viagra to college degrees (not sure which is better for your overall happiness). Well, AOL went after him and won a judgment for over $5 million. There’s a fat chance of seeing any of that dough -- Smith is in the clink for breaking federal drug laws.

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More Computer Criminals Caught
Apparent weirdo William Genovese, Jr. is off to the hoosegow for a year or two for selling NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 source code on the Internet. The not-overly-bright 29-year-old sold the code for $40. Genovese isn’t new to the court system: He has been charged with computer crimes and is a registered sex offender.

Com Groups...Unite!
In the early to mid-‘90s Microsoft talked about Exchange as a Lotus Notes-killing collaboration monster. Shortly after shipping, it was pretty much e-mail, and all the collaboration talk revolved around new business units. Now Microsoft is going back to its original Exchange collaboration mantra by merging the Exchange Server group and the Real-Time Collaboration group. The new Unified Communications Groups (yup, we have to memorize another acronym, UCG) is an attempt to rationalize the dozen or so approaches to collaboration Microsoft has been pushing in recent years.

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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