Redmond (Media Group, that is) Doubles in Size

I thought launching three magazines in 25 months (all while pundits claimed print was dead) was enough. But we here at the Redmond Media Group have an unquenchable thirst for growth. And so it was that this week we absorbed Fawcette Technical Publications (FTP), a 17-year-old company specializing in IT publishing. We now have a bevy of new Web sites, a killer event in the form of VSLive! and Visual Studio Magazine, a top-notch developer title.

What does it mean for you? Simply that we are sitting on far more content, which means we can give you more of what you need, in print, on the Web, over newsletters and in person through events.

If you visit any FTP Web sites, read any newsletters or subscribe to Visual Studio Magazine, drop me a line and tell me what you think at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Windows Built Ford Tough
Every time Microsoft talked about putting its operating systems in cars or at the center of our home entertainment systems, I'd scoff, knowing the only thing that crashed more than Windows was Nascar's Bodine brothers (two points if you know their first names!).

Now Redmond is prepping a deal to put Windows in new Ford cars, letting drivers check e-mail (please pull over to do this!), navigate or Web surf.

Despite my earlier skepticism, I'm ready to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt (though I still don't want Windows operating my brakes!).

Vista and Conference Calls Don't Mix
Redmond magazine columnist Greg Shields got this tip from faithful reader Travis: "We've been having problems with our ACT conference bridge that've started with the installation of Vista/Office 2007. When Outlook 2007 receives a new message, the 'new message' sound apparently is the exact same sound as some of the touchtone sounds on the phone. For us, it causes the conference bridge to temporarily pause the conference and start reading off the long list of commands. This has happened multiple times. We've also seen problems where the Windows startup sound causes the conference bridge to completely shut down. There must be some similarity between the new Vista/Office sounds and the tones a telephone uses!"

Polish that Resume
Hate your boss, don't make enough scratch to keep your Yugo running (that's a lot of scratch) or just want a new batch of potential office dates? Well, bucko, now could be a good time. A survey of CIOs from Consultancy Robert Half Technology shows that 16 percent plan on increasing hiring. Time to get those resumes and references in order, mate!

And what skill is in most demand? Managing Windows!

The Free Software Foundation Hates Vista: Tell Us Something We Don't Know!
I respect what open source zealots such as the Free Software Foundation have done. But its new Web site badvista.org is a cheap shot, and an easy one at that.

One mission of the site is to compel the press to tell users to look at open source alternatives to Vista, not just promote the Mac.

I'd love to do that, but on the client, the open source movement has a lot of work to do. These distros just aren't ready for the mass market, and I've long believed that vendors such as Novell and RedHat aren't even trying.

Doug's Mailbag: Vista Flaw in the Limelight
Is the recently discovered Vista vulnerability a sign of impending doom? Readers weigh in on this, Microsoft's effort to reach out to its beta testers and a Zogby poll indicating that most Americans don't expect the next Bill Gates to be homegrown:

You would think that after years of dealing with Microsoft, most of us would have come to a forgone conclusion. At least one service pack and 20 critical updates, and you might be getting close to a finalized product.

How many times does it take for Microsoft (isn't it the 800 lb.gorilla?) to "get it right" before it actually does "get it right"? Just one more reason why I am taking serious steps to get the agency I work for to look at a flavor of Linux for our next internal OS. At least that way you don't have to pay through the nose to get the product to work the way it should when it first goes into public release or RTM.
-James

God bless the folks finding all these vulnerabilities in operating systems. Overall, I personally am grateful for their time and effort in this arena. As an industry, IT should be very thankful for all of these folks and the time they put in to finding flaws in all new software that comes out. Whether they are open community-based groups or for-profit security groups, their work makes everyone's computing safer and hopefully more usable.

And for all of the "Chicken Little alarmists," get over yourselves! New software (operating systems, applications, firmware, etc.) has bugs/vulnerabilities. No news there. Everyone who says that Microsoft should have waited another year, six months, etc., before releasing its new stuff: Enough already! Stop trying to act as if you know better than a company who has been dealing software on a GLOBAL basis for the better part of 20-plus years. Regarding the security of Windows: What can I say? We cried about it, and they responded. Period. Is it perfect? No. Is there any perfect model for all computer users? Absolutely not. Is it good enough to use in corporate America and the American household? Absolutely!

My point is: It's good to look for and find the vulnerabilities before the bad guys do. That serves us all. But trashing a viable new technology just because it's from the 'hated Microsoft' serves no one.
-Marcus

On Vista and its latest vulnerability: So what else is new? Windows Vista is obviously a product of human labor (five years and more of it, in fact). I don't know of any other human-generated effort that has been trouble-free, and Vista is not going to be the first to claim that title. Vista has been gone over by who knows how many capable vulnerability detectors; it would be surprising that something hadn't been discovered. More to the point, as smart as the developers at Microsoft are, it seems there's always someone who can look at a given bunch of code in a new way and discover how to compromise it. Now, that's innovation!

I'm glad that Microsoft has been in a conversation with its customers and beta testers. I can't say that my 2006 experience with Microsoft's beta software has confirmed its willingness to listen and change things because of what I've said, but if someone else is having influence over design decisions made by Microsoft, I think it's great. I don't doubt that Microsoft is willing to listen to its customers, but sometimes it seems that the customers have to yell awfully loud to be heard.

Finally, it would be (sadly) a fitting irony if the next technology superstar is not American. We seem once again to be sinking further and further into the isolationism that has been a recurring trait of the United States for most of our history. In today's world, that may be a comforting delusion to maintain, but it's not reality, not when we're as dependent on other countries as we are now. And after all, isn't the Internet a series of tubes? I mean, it's not a truck (thank you, Sen. Stevens, for setting us straight on that).
-Dennis

Let me know what you think 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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