Little Excitement for Patch Tuesday

Microsoft released just two patches today -- one rated critical and one important -- compared to the half-dozen or more we typically see every month. The critical fix addresses remote code execution in Windows, while the important patch deals with a spoofing issue, also in Windows. A previous patch was also re-released.

Are you breathing a sigh of relief at the light patch load this month, or are other Windows-related issues causing you heartburn? Communicate your antacid intake to me at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

IBM Acquires Cognos
IBM has boosted itself into the top tier of business intelligence (BI) with the announced acquisition of Cognos Inc. for $5 billion. IBM said Cognos will be integrated into its information management software division.

Cognos has long been a leader in BI, which is the ability to use stored data to glean clues about the performance of a particular aspect of business. Its acquisition by IBM follows similar acquisitions by other large enterprise software companies this year; software giant SAP AG acquired Business Objects SA and Oracle snapped up Hyperion Solutions.

Do you use BI software with your databases? Are you concerned about the acquisition of your preferred BI vendor? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft Going Virtual
Among the lengthy series of announcements made by Microsoft at its combined TechEd Europe conference last week and this week was that its Viridian virtualization technology would be known as Hyper-V, and would be integrated with Windows Server 2008.

It also announced Hyper-V Server, a standalone hypervisor-based server product that complements this technology and allows customers to virtualize workloads onto a single physical server.

The company also announced Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, formerly known as SoftGrid Application Virtualization. This product is currently available as a public beta and will become available through Microsoft Application Virtualization for Terminal Services in the second half of 2008.

I was at Microsoft last week, and asked whether SoftGrid would be available beyond Software Assurance. No one wanted to answer my question. Now I know why.

Are you using virtualization? Have you looked at application virtualization? Let me know what you think at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

University Claims Patent for Distributed Search, Licensee Sues Google
A Boston-area company named Jarg has filed suit against Google in defense of a 1997 patent surrounding distributed search.

The patent is for a method for breaking up search queries into multiple portions and having each part processed by a different computer. This technology powers a very large part of the business that Google does.

Jarg claims that Northeastern University associate professor Kenneth Baclawski filed the patent and assigned rights to the university. Jarg, which Baclawski co-founded, then licensed the patent back from Northeastern. The company filed the lawsuit in a Texas venue that has a reputation for plaintiff-friendly decisions.

My experience in tech research is that it can be difficult to tell who invented something and when because there's an awful lot of back-and-forth among technologists -- to say nothing of the market's serendipity. Do you think there's anything here? Give me your opinion at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Microsoft Virtually Lagging?, More
One reader shares his thoughts on Microsoft's virtualization offerings:

The only thing more pathetic about technology journalists who hang on to every breath from Microsoft's PR machine (present company excluded, of course) are IT managers who are waiting for and planning their environments on virtualization products that don't really exist yet, while mature, full-featured and years-ahead products are here now. Microsoft, with its Connectrix-based technology, is where VMware was in 2002 in terms of virtualization stratagy. VMware has already left the hosted virtualization and gone with embedding the hypervisor into the hardware for its enterprise offering; now, you don't even have to load the Linux-based console. The VMotion is several years old and now it's moved on to storage VMotion while Microsoft is still playing around with making it part of the OS and very basic VM options. I have no doubt that in five or seven years Microsoft, may have a good virtual offering for the enterprise -- but only if it loses the OS. The idea of loading some version of Windows and then loading a bunch of VMs is now gone.

Yet, I read about IT managers, directors and CIOs using MS Virtual Server 2005 (or whatever the latest from MS is) with all of its performance limitations, and banking on Viridian (I guess it's Hyper-V now, as if a cool name makes it perform better) to be their enterprise choice. They're a "Microsoft shop" so they won't use anything else. Give me a break. This isn't a browser or file and print war, as some media pundits have attempted to paint it. Simply bundling virtualization into an OS will not work very efficiently at all, yet that's Microsoft's approach for just about everything.
-M.D.

Dennis takes yesterday's Paris Hilton reference and runs with it:

It seems there's a bit of an obsession with Paris Hilton in the last Redmond Report. Notwithstanding the fact that this young woman is such old news that there's very little she can do that anyone cares about anymore, you're right: We give the people over whom we often agonize entirely too much power and prominence in our lives. I heartily agree that we should never call the mullah-fakirs who parade across Al Jazeera "terrorists" ever again. Why don't we just call these guys what they are: nut balls, defectives, retards? If this isn't politically correct, tough. They don't win any awards for representing the best things about their religion, and they utterly fail the test of being worthwhile human beings. They're a waste of skin, and they should be called as such.

Pardon my soapbox rant; sometimes it slips out. On this Veterans Day, I can only say a huge "Thank you!" to the men and women who've felt it was worth their very lives to protect this country, even when we're not at our most sensible. I'm eternally grateful for their sacrifices. I just sometimes wish those ordering the sacrifice to be made showed more wisdom in using our military men and women.
-Dennis

And Scott thinks Google's plan to install its mapping technology on gas pumps is a bad idea:

It seems to take forever and a day now for some people to correctly put their credit/debit card in (oops, it's upside down; or, what do you mean it doesn't accept a driver's license?), figure out what side of the car the pump needs to go to, which octane to buy and, sometimes, even how to use the pump handle itself. If a majority of people aren't tech savvy enough to use a credit card swiper at a gas pump, another option (with even MORE options) at the pump is not a good thing. Use MapQuest before leaving and save everybody some time.

Maybe the state of Oregon has the right idea: Keep the idiots in the car and require full service at all pumps.
-Scott

Share your thoughts with us! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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