**It's guest columnist time! Doug Barney is traveling this week, so filling
his chair today is Michael Desmond, former editor-at-large of Redmond
and founding editor of our newest publication, Redmond
Developer News. Stay tuned for more guest columnists throughout the
IT managers might still be scrambling after last Tuesday's out-of-band patch
to fix the urgent Windows Animated Cursor Handling flaw. Now we learn that tomorrow's
scheduled patch will likely offer five Windows fixes, including at least
one that merits a "critical" designation.
Some of the new patches will likely require a system restart, which could make
life a bit complicated as IT managers try to sequence things so that services
and servers don't fall offline. The critical update, targeting Microsoft Content
Management Server, also demands a reboot.
Finally, some folks have expressed outrage that the animated cursor flaw had
apparently been known to Microsoft for months. While the delayed remediation
allowed an exploit to emerge, Microsoft
in a blog posting contends that the time on task allowed Redmond to fix
a series of vulnerabilities related to the flaw.
As ever with these urgent patches, it all seems to come down to a precarious
balancing act. Does Microsoft rush patches to fill a hole before it can be attacked,
and risk breaking or missing something critical in the process? Or should it
take the time to build a more durable and manageable fix, knowing that the delay
could leave systems wide open to attack?
What's your preference? Tell us at [email protected].
A McDonald's Moment: Over 100 Million Sold
Apple today announced that it had sold
its 100 millionth iPod digital audio player (DAP). The now-iconic brand,
which kicked off back in November 2001, helped revitalize Apple and inspired
an entire industry of imitators, including Microsoft's Zune line of DAPs.
Even as it broke sales records and changed forever the way people listen to
-- and buy -- music, the iPod helped escalate an ugly battle around the issues
of intellectual property, ownership and fair use. That battle, which first flared
around peer-to-peer services like Napster and Kazaa, has grown to engulf every
area of consumable media --- from music and videos to books and software.
The 100 million sales mark also comes at an interesting time for Apple, which
just announced that some of its EMI catalog music will be available
on the iTunes Store sans DRM.
That's a huge change for Apple, which has pioneered DRM technology as a way
to enable online music sales. What's more, the company has adamantly opposed
unlocking its DRM scheme so other players might work with it. The result: Anyone
who wants to shop the world's largest catalog of online music must play it back
on an iPod family DAP.
For veteran IT managers, the iPod proves what many of us have long known: A
good idea can become great if it's fronted with a truly compelling interface.
What will the music industry and the state of intellectual property look like
when the iPod hits 1 billion sold, I wonder? After all, Ray Kroc probably never
envisioned a McDonald's menu including items like Fruit and Walnut Salad, Snack
Wrap and McLean Deluxe.
Lost in Space
As developers go, Charles Simonyi is a legend. All he did at Microsoft, after
all, was spearhead the development of Word and Excel and expand that work to
create Microsoft Office, the largest application suite in history.
Simonyi left Microsoft in 2002 to start his own firm called Intentional Software,
but the Hungarian programmer has long wanted to go someplace else:
This weekend, Simonyi blasted off on a Russian Soyuz rocket from the launch
facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Simonyi paid more than $20 million for the
chance to experience microgravity, and will spend the next 11 days enjoying
the confines of the International Space Station. He'll spend a total of 13 days
in earth orbit. You can read more about Simonyi's extra-atmospheric jaunt here.
Microsoft's rich and famous have long been famed for retiring to pursue extreme
activities, whether it's car racing or doing something really dangerous like
owning the Portland Trailblazers. Now it appears Simonyi has (literally) raised
the bar. My question is, who'll be the first Redmondian to land on the moon?
How Do Retirements Like FoxPro, VB6 Affect You?
Over at RDN, we're
working on a story about how retired programming languages affect companies.
If you're involved with these technologies (or with J#, for that matter), please
take a moment to pop over here
and let us know how you are dealing with the demise of these languages. Thanks!
Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.