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
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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
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,
Check out the still sketchy and changing guidelines here.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.