The Non-Virtuous Patch-Hack Circle

Patches are great for those who use them -- and install them quickly. But for those who ignore patches, gosh help ya. The old hacker trick of dissecting patches and exploiting the holes continues, and often it takes only a day for jerks to build and release an exploit.

That's just what happened last month and again last week, when exploits came out on the second Wednesday of the month (and the patches on Tuesday). The advice here is to take patches seriously and install them quickly.

What do you think? Is there something wrong with the patch process? And how would you hunt down and punish the hackers? Let us know by e-mailing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Who's Right, Steve or Martha?
Steve Ballmer, a clear expert in the field of computing, is now officially a media guru. At a recent speech, Ballmer claimed that in 10 years, all media will be digital, including all things print.

From the narrow world of technology, this is not an entirely ridiculous notion, though a recent survey by Visual Studio Magazine shows that for many subjects, readers prefer print to Web by a ratio of 2 to 1. Maybe in 10 years, that ratio will become even.

Outside of technology, Ballmer's prediction really starts to sound like that of an amateur. The No. 1 consumers of magazines in America are middle-aged mothers and grandmothers from the Midwest. Are all these women going to read their cooking and scrapbooking magazines online? Has Steve ever seen their collections of magazines? Has Steve seen how fat Martha Stewart Living (the magazine, not the woman) has been lately?

I see the future by looking at my own habits. For music, I have cassettes, albums, CDs, an iPod and, yes, about a hundred 8-tracks. I read incessantly -- on the Web, books I usually buy used, and enough magazines to clear a small rain forest. I love the Web and, in case you forgot, this little missive is entirely digital. And we're passionate about our Web sites.

But before you start believing that print is dead, think about how often you print PDFs and Web content. In fact, what we really need are Internet-specific printers so we don't have to ruin our eyes reading all day in 1024x768 pixels.

Sun Makes Virtual Play
Sun has been pretty sassy as of late. Even though Scott McNealy is no longer running things day-to-day, the company is still trying new things, pushing utility computing, Java, open source, supercomputing and virtualization.

On the last front, Sun is fully supporting Xen, now owned by Citrix. Sun is building its own hypervisor, which is really an extension of the Xen tool. Sun's goal is to create a hypervisor that works great in heterogenous environments.

Xen is also getting support from Linux vendors and IBM (especially through its System p servers). If you thought VMware totally owned virtualization, Xen may have another thing coming!

Here's what research firm Nemertes has to say about the Sun move (at least a brief excerpt).

HP Moves to SaaS
Hewlett-Packard is an interesting and often underrated software player. And with so much software and so many server platforms, the company has long been helping IT organizations look at their infrastructures from top to bottom and devise a plan to make them more efficient (similar to Microsoft's three-year-old Infrastructure Optimization model).

Now, HP is moving parts of its Business Technology Optimization products to a services model. This way, if you want to optimize through new HP products -- but don't want to buy and manage a bunch of new services -- you can simply order up some services.

What about you? Is SaaS in your current or future plans? Why or why not? Tell us all by writing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Here's HP's take on optimization.

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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