Vista Kernel Ready To Pop?

Vista, due largely to its lockdown of user rights, is far more secure than XP. But it's not 100 percent safe. In fact, the kernel itself has an issue that could lead to buffer overflow attacks, or so says security company Phion.

The exploit, which does require admin privileges, is pretty well-documented by Phion. And there's no patch -- just a workaround from the company. Hmm. Is Phion looking for new customers?

Pre-announcing this kind of flaw is like giving bullets to insurgents before our soldiers have a chance to put on helmets and bulletproof vests: dangerous.

Office Files Now Standard
I've seen lots of messy battles: the divorce between Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards, our latest presidential election, and of course any episode of the disgrace that is "American Idol."

In two of these cases, people are fighting over the trivial. Which is why it's no real surprise that the attempt to turn the latest Microsoft Office file format into an open standard turned into a year-and-a-half-long public slugfest.

This week, the format was finally approved, so now there are two similar Office productivity formats -- OpenOffice (from the Sun camp) and Office Open XML (dig this crazy acronym: OOXML!).

Now the trick is for the warring camps to put down their bludgeons and fully support each other's formats (I won't hold my breath).

Thanks for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and in honor of the holiday, this newsletter is skipping the rest of the week. I know I'll be enjoying time with the fam; my parents are coming down from New Hampshire and the sis is driving in from Chicago.

I hope you get see those close to you, as well. And for our international readers, take the time you'll save by not reading this newsletter to give your loved ones a little attention.

Are you spending Thanksgiving in any unusual way or place? Your stories are always welcome at

Mailbag: One More on 'Vista Capable' Case
Readers have been sending in their opinions on the "Vista Capable" logo case against Microsoft, and most of them think the company should lose. But Floyd has a different take:

I'm not sure I get all the emotion behind the "Vista Capable" stickers. Take, for example, some of the recent Mailbag letters. I agree that the "average" person wouldn't understand the different hardware requirements; I know my mom wouldn't, nor would my pop. But in most instances, writers mention very different flavors of Vista in the same sentence. My question is, why?

It seems to me that the "average" person most likely wouldn't purchase upgrades to the higher versions of Vista. Those that would buy Vista Business and Ultimate, I'm thinking, would be either a business (where a committee would vet the hardware capability) or a fairly savvy person who would understand that BitLocker, the potential for data loss and the other advanced components these two versions provide would require higher horsepower. Even looking at Vista Home Premium, with its DVD creation and Media Center functionality, foretells of a more-advanced-than-average user who would know better than to buy an underpowered machine.

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

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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