Internet Scum Gets Spitzered

Eliot Spitzer, the DA for New York, is going after a group of jerks that have made many of our lives miserable. You may not have heard of Direct Revenue LLC, but you've probably heard of their proudest accomplishment: Aurora. This nasty bit of spyware is nearly impossible to remove and has caused more than its share of total reformats.

New York is finally suing Aurora's authors. Hats off to Spitzer, but my question is: Why did it take so damn long? We've known about this demon for at least a year, and it's crystal clear that it's a total computer-destroying intrusion. To find out how you can get rid of Aurora, check out my story from Redmond magazine last month.

The Web's Modest Explosion
Every other day we hear how the Web is taking over the world and about the infinite possibilities and relentless growth. But I've already got a half-dozen connections, and most of those jonesin' for the ‘Net all have at least one. So it's no wonder that the numbers of new Web citizens around the world is slowing to a trickle, a 5 percent year-to-year trickle.

Of course maybe it is all Harrison Ford's fault, since he recently declared that he hates the Internet, because, like, people talk about him and stuff. Boo hoo, Harry!

Doin' Good, or Just Stickin' it to Redmond?
Microsoft releases patches the first Tuesday of every month, and in rare cases ships "out-of-cycle" fixes. But holes don't appear with monthly regularity, and Patch Tuesday can leave shops vulnerable while they wait for fixes.

More and more third-party security companies are slipping in patches of their own, often to Redmond's chagrin. Microsoft believes that it knows its flaws better than anyone and should be the one to fix its problems. Microsoft says these patches aren't always tested and could mess things up worse than the flaw itself. The third parties say sitting on a fix to a major problem is a crime.

There are two reasons a security company release such a patch: One is they are publicity hogs, and the other is they are just plain doin' good. Either way, if the patch fits, I'm all for it.

Microsoft Does Away with FrontBridge, at Least the Name
Microsoft has been on a bit of a buying spree, snapping up relatively small companies and in the process plugging in a few product gaps (message to entrepreneurs -- fill Microsoft gaps before they do and you might get rich).

The sad thing is that months after Microsoft buys you, your identity is completely lost (who remembers the creators of PowerPoint or IE?). In this case, say goodbye to FrontBridge, author of a line of e-mail archival tools that Redmond has cleverly renamed Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services. Sounds pretty wild, eh?

As the Vista Turns
Call it Days of Our Desktop, The Bold and the Vistaful, All My Windows, As Microsoft Turns, One OS to Live or General Protection Hospital. No matter what horrible pun you choose, Vista has turned into one long unending soap opera, one that's interesting only to true fans. The latest plot twist involves the ever nasty European Union, which has been fining Microsoft for not giving out enough source code and interfaces, and now thinks that Vista may be against the law because it does too many things that could be handled by standalone products.

This time it's not so much browsing and ripping and burning, but a new PDF-style format, digital rights management and search. The EU may well want these things stripped from Vista before it offers its blessing.

Meanwhile Redmond is pressing its case in the court of public opinion on the older matter on whether its interfaces are open enough. It got its good pals EMC (they sell an awful lot of storage together), Network Appliance and a few obscure European companies to say that Microsoft provides plenty of technical info.

What should and shouldn't be bundled (I vote for anti-spyware and anti-virus), and how do we level the third-party playing field? Spill your guts to [email protected].

Subscribe to Redmond Report

This column was originally published in our weekly Redmond Report newsletter. To subscribe, click here.

Don't Wait for Vista, Spend Money on Hardware Today
Microsoft dropped a stink bomb on its OEMs when it said Vista won't be home for Christmas. Now Redmond is trying to juice hardware sales by convincing YOU to start buying Vista ready PCs right now. Under the Vista Capable program, you can buy new machines today that will run Vista tomorrow (well, many tomorrows from now).

A Vista Capable PC has a state-of-the-art CPU, 512MB or more of RAM, and a fancy graphics processor. From what I hear, this is the real rub, as there are very few graphics cards that can properly support the Aero Glass interface. Still, I think we should all buy new PCs that may or may not run Vista well, and then buy new OS licenses to upgrade once Vista ships. Whatever you say, Bill.

Check out the still sketchy and changing guidelines here.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe on YouTube