Vista Boot Time Tackled

Despite faster and faster drives, each version of Windows tends to boot more slowly than its predecessor. But instead of shrinking the ever-expanding code set, Microsoft is working with hardware makers to build new drives that combine good, old-fashioned magnetics with faster-loading flash memory. Expect more details that the upcoming Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).

Plugging Away at CE
The best and worst computer I ever used was based on Windows CE. It was small, included the full Office suite and IE, had pen input and a built-in camera. Too bad it crashed more often than George Michael driving around London. That was 10 or so years ago, and Microsoft has since built several new versions of CE, including one set for release next year. I did like the CE concept, just hated the implementation, so I’m hoping that Redmond can nail it with this new rev. What do you think? Is CE any good? Let us all know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Game Domination Times Two
At this week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Bill Gates made a surprise visit to talk about the raging success that is the Xbox 360 and ruminate on the future of gaming. Gates claims he’ll have 10 million boxes in gamers hands before Nintendo and Sony even release their third-generation consoles. And at least on the Sony side, the price will be a whopper: The cheapest Playstation 3 will go for $500.

But owning the console world isn’t enough for Gates and company. They also want Vista to serve as the ultimate PC gaming platform, and announced a hoard of games that will exploit Vista’s advanced graphics. My guess is that in 18 months you’ll be able to buy a Vista PC for less than a PlayStation 3.

Never Trust TrustSoft, or Never Trust a TrustSoft Enemy?
It’s been a while since I played investigative reporter, but an e-mail message claiming to be from Microsoft got my Woodward and Bernstein juices flowing. The e-mail from Microsoft@microsoft.com claimed my PC was ridden with spyware and the only solution was a free download -- not of Windows Defender, but of TrustSoft AntiSpyware. The spam first pointed out that you needed to update your anti-virus software -- which has little to do with spyware.

Of course, the scammer/spammer could be using TrustSoft as a foil. Perhaps when you click the link it goes to a clone site. I wasn’t willing to try this on my Dell so I forwarded it to my son Nick’s iBook for further investigation. When he clicked it immediately tried to download an .EXE file -- not a good sign. I left a voice message for the company in Houston, hoping to give them the benefit of the doubt, as their Web site looked fairly legit.

Then I did some further Googling, and it turns out the feds tried to shut down this operation last year for falsely claiming through pop-ups that PCs were infected and getting suckers to download their crap. TrustSoft even paid $1.9 million to settle government claims. So why is there still a Web site selling these products? Is this the same group as before? In search of the truth, I talked to Tim in tech support, and forwarded him the message to check out. Tim thought it might be one of their affiliates or resellers pulling this stunt.

Then the CEO and CTO started checking out the message, and their initial inclination is that a competitor is trying to make the company look bad. They found that the link was bad, and they also found no spikes in traffic on any affiliate Web sites.

That theory makes a heckuva lot of sense -- I’d be surprised if a firm that went through the legal troubles TrustSoft has would resort to such a scheme. I’ll keep you posted as the investigation unfolds, but it seems that TrustSoft may be trustworthy after all!

The company tells me it wants to be taken seriously as security vendor. Have you used any TrustSoft products? Are they any good? Let me know 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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