Spitting in Google's Eye

If Microsoft was a boxer, it would never give up: It would hire the best trainers, have the best diet, and maybe even pay off the judges (just kidding, Bill). It just plain hates to lose. So when Google started nabbing all the covers of Business Week and getting all the fawning, Redmond execs steamed -- and plotted their revenge. Now Microsoft says it has a search engine to beat all search engines: Windows Live Search.

Where Microsoft can win this game (and invite a host of new lawsuits) is through great integration with all its other tools, and perhaps by changing search from an opportunistic, short-term, end-user endeavor (you search, you find, you forget) into a system where search histories are intelligently archived so they can be reinvoked (is that even a word?).

Origami: Hot or Horrible?
There's been a lot of buzz about this new portable device design Microsoft has been working on. Even the ever-skeptical Redmond Report fell for it and posted an item. Well, at the CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany today, Microsoft unwrapped this little beauty and even came up with a new acronym [the well-lit, plushly appointed Microsoft Acronym Department (MAD) isn't paid for just sitting around!]: Ultra Mobile Personal Computers (UMPCs). Kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? These units are supposed to have full Windows capabilities, touch screens and pen input, as well as keyboard capabilities (how else you gonna Crtl-Alt-Del?).

I'm all for it, but we really need a ubiquitous wireless data service along the lines of the BlackBerry. That way, your boss can tell you what to do 24 hours a day! On second thought...

FoxPro Popping Corks
dBase, Q&A, PFS:File and Paradox are all pretty much dead and gone, but FoxPro, originally a dBase clone, is alive and well a decade after Ashton-Tate's flagship product bit the dust. No need to thank Microsoft: If it wasn't for rabid and loyal FoxPro users, this cool tool would have been replaced by Access and SQL Server long ago.

Now there's a new test version of Sedna, the next rev of Visual FoxPro. If you're part of the FoxPro inner circle, getting your hands on this puppy should be a piece of cake.

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Should Private Citizens Be Trapping Online Predators?
I was watching TV the other day and there was a young woman on the Good Early Morning Today America (or whatever) show bragging about falsely posing as a minor online, luring a grown-up and sending the cops after him. The guy was clearly scum, but if we're going to entrap people, at least leave it to the professionals!

Yesterday I came across a similar, though more morally ambiguous, circumstance. It seems that a bunch of kids created a false posting for a 15-year-old girl and were surprised when a near-50-year-old creep wanted to meet her. He too got arrested.

I'm not sure we want to turn our law enforcement efforts over to a bunch of immature, cheese-eating, pimply youngsters. Let's leave it to a bunch of immature, cheese-eating, pimply oldsters like we always have. Tell me where I'm wrong at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

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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