Office Live Almost Live

If Office Live was Frankenstein, it would be about ready for the 10,000 volts that would bring it to life. All you mad scientists out there can take an almost fully constructed version of Office Live for a whirl by downloading the beta version, and see what all the fuss is about. Some of the services, like free e-mail and a domain name, are supported by ads, just like Redmondmag.com (wonder if OfficeLive.com accepts Red Hat ads?), while others are purely pay-to-play.

U.S. Lectures the World on Internet Freedom
Remember when your mom or dad gave you advice and you just plain cringed -- but all along you knew they were right? That’s what’s happening this week as the U.S. State Department scolded foreign governments such as China not to censor the Internet, particularly for political content (my guess is there would be fewer complaints with blocking smut).

I doubt the Chinese authorities will take as kindly to this advice as I ultimately did with my folks, but U.S. dignitaries are flying to China to find out.

Still Can’t Figure Out Microsoft Anti-Spyware, er, Windows Defender
Microsoft has a new beta of its Anti-Spyware tool with a new name, Windows Defender. I’ve been using beta 1 and am still puzzled -- it hasn’t flagged a single suspicious file. I’m not sure if I’ve been practicing safe surfing, or if this thing is asleep at the wheel. My only point of comparison is my kids’ computers, and the anti-spyware programs (not Microsoft) installed on them find files left and right. Of course, that was before I took away their admin rights and lectured them about downloading every free game they came across. I’m willing to give Windows Defender the benefit of the doubt for now, and want to thank Microsoft for giving it away free.

Does Talking About Security Equal Security?
Over the past 10 days, Microsoft has released thousands of words, a large handful of press releases and a 17-page speech from Bill Gates himself, all in a well-orchestrated attempt to convince us to take security more seriously and that Microsoft has and will continue to make dramatic progress.

It all started a week ago when Microsoft looked back with pride over the 4-year-old Trustworthy Computing initiative and wrenched a shoulder patting itself on the back. Here’s what Microsoft had to say.

Then, on Valentine’s Day (you can send me your late Valentines or anti-Valentines at dbarney@redmondmag.com), Gates spoke at the RSA Security Conference touting security advances in Vista.

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The company has had time to think about all this and the pressure is on, so I’m sure Redmond coders are working like heck to make it secure. The question is, is the underlying architecture -- an ultra-fat client -- intrinsically insecure? Fire me your thoughts at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

If you want to read the whole 17 pages (it starts with a Dick Cheney hunting joke), go here.

Is Microsoft making real progress on security, do you trust Vista, and what should they do to make software safer? E-mail me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

More RFID
Earlier this week I told you about a company that’s putting RFID tags in workers -- all in the name of security. Today I’ll tell you about RFID tags implanted out of love.

Lovebirds Amal Graafstra and Jennifer Tomblin have matching tags that give access to each other’s front doors and computers (guess they never heard of keys and passwords). While weird (or perhaps just a publicity seeker), Graafstra is a bit of an RFID expert and has been writing software to exploit the chips for work and play. Now, what happens when they break up?

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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