Vista, Vista and More Vista

One of our sister publications is Visual Studio Magazine (if you care about development, check it out here), and its editor in chief, Patrick Meader, recently told me about a couple of "Vista software" sites that have little to do with Microsoft.

Vista Software Inc. sells a database engine that works with Clipper, FoxPro and other DBMSs. Meanwhile, another Vista Software Inc., this one from Tucson, Ariz., sells a souped-up automation system for Microsoft applications, kinda like macros on steroids.

Got that? Now, who's going to sue whom over all this?

Microsoft Hunts Down Zero-Day Bug
Microsoft security gurus are hunting down and trying to kill off a bug in Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003 that lets already-authenticated users gain more privileges.

While this bug mainly supports inside hacking jobs, smart social engineers could also gain a foothold (like your password) and then wreak havoc. As for the insiders, the mostly likely attackers are admins who script and programmers who host their code on your machines.

MSDN 2.0
A year ago, Microsoft updated its TechNet Web site with a large focus on modernizing the navigation. Now Jeff Schwartz, a writer for Redmond Developer News (our dev book that focuses on management issues -- check 'er out here) reports that MSDN is getting a similar facelift.

The programming site is trying to turn from a static library into a dynamic, community resource. Another area of attack? Improving search, which isn't as easy as it seems given that so much of the content revolves around source code.

The coolest part is that Microsoft is just now talking to developers about what they need, so there's still a chance for you to have your say.

Microsoft Continues To Do Good
There's an area where Microsoft gets far too little credit: helping to save the world. Sure, Redmond didn't jump on the One Laptop Per Child initiative soon enough. But Microsoft Research is doing amazing work on the world's biggest problems, hooking up with top scientists to tackle disease, global warming, pollution, and more.

How do I know? I spent months researching Microsoft and wrote a couple of stories about what it's doing and how.

Microsoft isn't doing pure scientific research. Instead, it's providing the computational infrastructure, data mining, visualization techniques, new languages, etc. to help the scientists who are doing all the heavy lifting.

Last week, Microsoft announced a series of cash awards for those trying to understand the human genome and apply that understanding to improving our health and the survival of our species.

Like with most things concerning Microsoft Research, there's a lot I actually understand and much more that flies right over my inadequate head, such as the award for work at Columbia University on "Phenotypic Pipeline for Genome-wide Association Studies." What's a pipeline?

Then there's this from Johns Hopkins: "Genome Wide Association Study of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in Finland." Uh, what's a Finland?

Virtual Elementary School
Keith Ward, the editor of Virtualization Review (our new mag/Web site/newsletter about all things virtual) recently visited an elementary school in Baltimore. No, Keith wasn't there to bone up on his grammar skills, but to find out how this school is using virtualization to literally multiply the access kids have to computers.

With a cool device from NComputing, one low-end computer (we're talking 512MB of RAM) is turned into three. All you need is a little black box from NComputing and some extra keyboards, monitors and mice, which are almost free these days. Good work, Keith-o!

Check out Keith's blog, Mental Ward, here.

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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