Vista Almost Ready

When Microsoft is wrong, I'm not shy about telling the world. When it's right, I'm the first to pat 'em on the back. In the case of the new class-action lawsuit over Vista Ready logos for PCs, I'm patting and complaining all at once.

Here's the rub. Dell, HP, IBM et al have been selling millions of PCs with Vista Ready logos. Consumers complain that many of these units can't handle higher-end revs of Vista, especially the Aero interface.

Here's where I defend Redmond. Vista comes in many forms and the lower-end versions do run on these machines. On the other hand, Aero is graphics-intensive, and requires the kind of GPU processing that used to be the domain of top engineers, scientists, videographers and pimply faced teenage gamers. And, to be legally precise, the logos don't say "Vista Aero Ready."

On the other hand, Vista does not play nearly as nice with hardware as I'd like. I've upgraded three or four older machines to XP, and in each case it was surprisingly flawless. Vista is a lot more demanding, making it tough to upgrade our current machines. And -- let's face it -- many of the units sold by Best Buy and Circuit City may run Vista, but they move slower than an Oscar acceptance speech.

Have you bought a Vista machine that wasn't up to snuff? Share your stories by writing me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Sleeping Ain't Always Safe
When I was a kid, I owned a wall hanging made by my grandfather that was inscribed with an old English evening prayer -- including "If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my Soul to take."

I treasured it, but it also scared the bejeepers out of me. I wanted to wake up.

Now, we have to worry about our computers either never waking up or waking up hacked.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation claims that encrypted disks can be, er, decrypted while the computer sleeps. BitLocker from Microsoft was cracked by EFF and Princeton University experts by finding passwords in RAM, which isn't flushed during sleep or hibernation.

Microsoft isn't the only vendor with this the problem; Apple has it, too!

Another Stupid Idea
I am not a fan of Microsoft buying Yahoo. Yahoo has nothing that Microsoft hasn't already built or bought, and is, in fact, a legacy Internet company.

Now, a New York Times wonk has what he calls a better idea: Redmond should buy SAP.

I'm not entirely sure this guy's neural connections are working properly. Look up "legacy" in the IT dictionary and SAP is the first definition. SAP does have great technology and, after a long process of installation, has helped many companies operate more efficiently, rationalize supply chains and tie in partners. But is it the future? No.

That said, I'm not sure if NYT author Randall Stross realizes that Microsoft currently owns four separate ERP platforms: Great Plains, Axapta, Navision and Solomon. Not only that, but Microsoft is currently re-architecting these ERP tools so they'll be more modern than anything SAP has.

I'm actually pretty darn comfortable with Redmond's ERP plans, and believe buying SAP would be a move backward.

Virtualization Growing Really Fast
Ask entrepreneurs and IT pros what's hot, and you won't hear much about browsers, fat client OSes and Cat 5 cable. You will hear a lot about virtualization. In fact, the vast majority of IT pros have "a strong interest in virtualization." Still, only a minority in IT are currently doing virtualization.

Redmond readers are different. Many (if not most) of you are virtualizing, according to our own research.

Fortunately, there's a brand-new resource that will tell you all you need to know. VirtualizationReview.com is now up and running, and it comes with a new newsletter with weekly analysis.

Let me know what you think of the site and what you need to know about virtualization by writing dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: More on Microsoft-Yahoo
Last Thursday, a reader wrote in to say that if "Yahoo does not want to be absorbed by Microsoft," then Microsoft should back off. Another reader doesn't think it's that simple:

Yahoo's board may not want to be absorbed, but the real owners -- the stockholders -- may want the profit that a sale would give them. The stockholders invest to turn a profit, not to give the board a job for as long as they want it.
-J.R.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to 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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