Microsoft Broadens Customer Service Selections
This week Microsoft merged
its customer service and product support service units. Now customers can get
their technical questions answered and partners can get product information
from the very same organization.
Redmond readers tend to be split on the value of Microsoft support.
Many won't consider a desktop alternative because they don't think the Linux
vendors or open source community can match Microsoft support. Others are frustrated
with long waits and high costs for Microsoft support. What do you think? E-mail
me at email@example.com.
OneCare Live Far Better Than I Thought
OneCare is a subscription service from Microsoft that provides a one-stop solution
for virus and spyware protection, technical support, and backup and restore
capabilities. The wise guy that I am, I asked why we should pay for all these
things when they should be fundamental to the operating system (I don't
pay extra to protect my sons' Macs from these evils).
A quick peak at the pricing
has me thinking differently. Fifty bucks a year to protect three PCs from spyware
and viruses is a pretty good deal -- that's less than $20 a machine. If
the protection stands up to scrutiny, we're talking major pressure on
Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. Hope they're up to the challenge.
A Penny for Your Spam
Last year Microsoft started talking about ways to fight spam, including micropayments:
charging users to send e-mail. That way spammers who sends millions of messages
will be priced right out of the junk mail market. What I didn't like was
the thought that I might have to pay to send e-mail to my wife and all my girlfriends.
Now AOL and
Yahoo have latched onto the concept. If you're willing to pay these
providers up to a penny per message, your mail will walk past their spam filters
unmolested. Is this a good idea, and how would you fight spam? Let me know at
First, VMware gave away a PC-based virtual machine playing program. Now it's
sitting on top of a million downloads of its VMware Player (execs tell me there
are 4,000 blogs devoted to the app).
The company is bringing the same idea to servers with its free VMware Server,
an entry-level tool that could be just the ticket for bringing virtualization
to a small environment. And for larger shops, the free tool could be a great
way to give server virtualization a whirl; if you like what you see can opt
for the higher-end version.
Clearly the folks at VMware are way smarter than me. When Microsoft started
getting serious about virtualization, I figured VMware would suffer the same
brutal fate as Netscape and WordPerfect. But VMware relentlessly pushed the
virtualization envelope and its sales and product offerings have been expanding
Download VMware Server here.
our report on it.
EMC Expands by Going Small
EMC, the quiet owner of VMware (the virtualization company is the most independent
subsidiary of a large owner I've ever seen), deals in marketing its storage
wares to large enterprises that can afford top-dollar SANs and arrays. Now the
storage maker is adapting its technology for small businesses in a
new product line called Insignia. (Maybe EMC should have done some research
because Insignia is already used by Best Buy for its own line of PCs and other
A New Script for Compliance
announced File System Auditor, a tool that lets corporations see exactly
who has done what with company files. One aspect of compliance with laws like
Sarbanes-Oxley is insuring that sensitive data is protected from prying eyes
and fingers. Smart companies have policies in place to make sure only approved
employees can view and modify files with important financial information.
to Redmond Report
was originally published in our weekly Redmond Report newsletter.
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Policies are one thing, making sure folders and permissions are properly set
up is another. That's where File System Auditor comes in. IT folks, the
CFO and other qualified executives can see what files are read when and by whom.
It shows which folders are accessed and what files are created, modified or
deleted. One way to use the product is to spot abuses, internal workers going
where they shouldn't be going, especially in the event of an investigation.
Alerts can be set up to tell when these abuses take place. But a more core use
is to make sure the policies put in place are working and that employees can't
go where they don't belong.
According to Scriptlogic executives, getting this kind of detailed information
is possible but requires poring over pages and pages of log files. And this
doesn't offer the level of reporting or alerts that File System Auditor
Download a 30-day trial here.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.