Vista Service Pack Out This Year

Congrats. You might be able to move to Vista this year after all, as the first SP is due in '07, according to recent reports. Don't expect any groundbreaking new features, as the service pack is expected to focus largely on fixes.

Some in IT are more concerned with the long-overdue XP SP3, as that 5-year-old OS will continue to dominate for years to come.

Sun Moves Closer to Intel, Sparcs Fly at AMD
I've got to tell you, I don't think this new alliance between Sun Microsystems and Intel is a very big deal -- unless you are an AMD shareholder! Sun has already had success selling Intel-compatible AMD-powered servers. Now it will just sell Intel-compatible Intel-powered servers. Big whoop.

What kind of servers do you prefer, AMD or Intel-based, and why? Tell us all at [email protected].

Microsoft's Massive New Data Center
Microsoft is serious about Web services like Windows Live. To support such offerings, Redmond is building a half-billion-dollar, 400,000-square-foot facility in Texas. Unlike Google, I doubt this puppy will be running much Linux!

That is an interesting point, as Microsoft will be able to test its high-end server software in a hugely demanding environment.

Undocumented APIs: A Story That Just Won't Die
A decade or so ago, I joined InfoWorld, and my very first order of business was to help Stuart Johnston finish reporting a story about Microsoft giving its own developers access to APIs that third parties like Lotus, Borland, Ashton-Tate and WordPerfect were shut out of.

Stuart did a remarkable job on the story, and it ended up being the center of many of the antitrust allegations made against Microsoft.

Ten years later third parties have the very same complaints.

A suit in Iowa on behalf of consumers charges that Microsoft is violating a 2002 agreement to play fair with APIs. I'm not sure exactly what's going on here. Maybe I should give old Stu a call!

Doug's Mailbag: Pick-Up Lines for Viruses, Text Wins Out
The "Storm Worm" virus, which uses legitimate-looking headlines to lure people into accepting e-mails with virus attachments, prompted me to ask readers what similar e-mail traps they'd likely fall for. Turns out some of us are pretty easy:

"Bill Gates taking a bubble bath with Steve Jobs." I would open it just for the chance to laugh.

I may be the most susceptable to opening an e-mail that says "I am from the government and I am here to help you" or maybe "29-year-old Russian female is online waiting to hear from you"...NOT.

Generally, I rely on what an Australian may call a "bullsh*t detector." Don't know the sender, size of the file too small or even the subject is a bit off the wall? Then just delete it. Easier in my Yahoo! account as the bulk mail either has the same subject and/or the same file size so it is easy to remove the rubbish.


I would probably fall for a Christmas picture from a personal address from my addressbook, at least a singleton rather than a patterned group.

I think the biggest title in an e-mail that I would fall for right now would be: "U.S. pulls all troops out of Iraq."

And your votes are in. When it comes to newsletter format, all the responses we got show you prefer text over HTML, both for readability and security:

I'm a plain text girl -- I can read it easily on anything from my laptop to a BlackBerry, there's minimal clutter and it keeps file sizes down (and we pay by the byte on the BB). Plus, plain text doesn't contain any nasty surprises such as Web bugs and embedded mischief. It may be dull to look at, but after all, it's the content that counts!

I voted for plain text in your recent survey. Why plain text? The one advantage of HTML in my opinion is it allows a well-meaning author more capability with text formatting. But that's a "nice to have" and I can easily do without images and other active content in something I am reading basically for the information. In fact, a plainer format helops me focus on the words more.

Oh, and I don't have to explain that it's more secure, do I?

I subscribe in text whenever possible. Smaller, faster to load, is readable on nearly any conceivable interface (Web interface, on a phone or PDA, Web e-mail, Lynx, any e-mail client ever produced, etc.) and basically has no security concerns. It can't contain HTML links with hidden URLs directing me to some wacky Web site, etc. If an article is of interest and has a follow-up link or related story, I click on the URL I can read.

I prefer text for the simple reason that I can simply open the message and start reading. Whenever I get a message in HTML, I have to enter my network login and password. I'm lucky if I only have to enter that once, but usually it's multiple times. I don't have that kind of time to waste and, no, I don't always want to see any advertisements or photos that could come with that. Graphics mean NOTHING when you are reading for information. Now, if I'm reading for entertainment, then bring it on and the more pictures, the better. But, I'm not paid to be entertained; I'm paid for the information I can learn and provide.

I prefer text newsletters. Reasons? One, the newsletter doesn't look as obvious as a newsletter at first glance. This is good when you want to read the newsletter while you are in the office. Two, I already force all incoming mail to be text and this way I do not lose any information. Three, text newsletters are easier to search with search programs.

I prefer text. It's easier to read, and after a long day of looking at "Web type code," it is nice to read something that helps my eyes relax.

Got something to add? Send it our way! Comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].

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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