New Vista Service Pack Edges Closer

Vista is still one of the great mysteries of software. Many like it and can't for the life of them understand why it gets such a bad rap. Others hate it and can't for the life of them understand why Microsoft built it in the first place.

For most Microsoft products, the first service pack stamps out the bugs and makes it usable. The first Vista SP helped, but wasn't enough to change Vista's bad reputation. Fortunately, SP2 is getting closer, as it's now in wide-scale beta.

Have any of you tried Vista SP2? If so, wadda ya think? Answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

The Great Desktop Virtualization Debate
Desktop virtualization has been around for...I don't know. About at least 20 years. But there's a new debate over VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Citrix has long had server-based thin client computing, so VDI isn't the first stab at this kind of processing. Instead, VDI adds an additional layer of virtualization on top of the hardware so that each client has a more dedicated experience (virtual gurus, feel free to correct or polish my definition by writing dbarney@redmondmag.com).

Of course, others do have differing definitions. What does VDI actually mean? The answer is murky and is discussed here.

VMware is getting deeper in the VDI game with the release of VMware View 3, a suite of tools that creates images for users' virtual desktops, allows users to work even when they're offline (a big shortcoming of thin clients), and also includes virtual printing.

Some believe VDI isn't ready for prime time. Here's what Citrix thinks.

Microsoft Plows New Server Farm Ground
How serious is Microsoft about the cloud? Besides building new cloud infrastructure software and retooling all its apps for remote computing, Microsoft is pouring huge bucks into its datacenters, to the tune of 10,000 new servers every month.

Microsoft has an interesting new approach to building datacenters with efficiencies that remind me of state-of-the-art supplies like Wal-Mart has. Microsoft's approach is all modular and snap-in, and the center is architected to deliver Just in Time capacity (the same way a good supply chain delivers products Just in Time).

Are you starting to think more about clouds? If so, why? Send your thoughts to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: OneCare Good, IE 8 Bad
Even though Microsoft is planning to kill off OneCare next year, it's still touting the product as a success. A couple of you happen to agree:

I've been very happy with OneCare, mainly for two reasons relating to my 84-year-old dad's PC. First of all, OneCare wakes the PC in the middle of the night to do an automated backup to an external hard drive. Dad isn't aware of this and can't accidentally disable it, so it provides some protection against his other often careless actions.

And, as part of my OneCare "circle," his system status gets reported in the OneCare console on my home PC, alerting me to potential issues as they occur. I haven't had much in the way of problems with OneCare, but I'd speculate that the cost of providing free support was a big factor in Microsoft's decision to stop offering it.
-David

I do not know why Microsoft would want to eliminate a necessary product, especially since it was one of the cheapest packages around. Honestly, in my opinion, I believe that anti-virus software should be FREE. Protecting computers from malware and viruses is a necessity and should be provided with the OS, instead of from the greedy, pay-or-else companies like Symantec. This is the very reason I use Grisoft AVG.

If companies want to charge for their firewall or parental control products, fine, but basic protection from hackers should be at the forethought of everyone. How can you prevent viruses and zombies if we cannot afford the product? Symantec, McAfee and others are no better than the pirates in Somalia.
-Anonymous

Earlier this week, one reader wrote that the latest IE 8 beta has been a welcome change to IE 7. But Rick begs to differ:

You have had one good comment for IE 8. Here's one not-so-good comment: It stinks, especially on a corporate (government) LAN. Of course, that could be because the government hasn't caught up with anything in years except Al Capone.

Anyway, I tried it at home on a Vista upgrade machine and it crashed too many times. I will have to wait for the RTM version. Although it could just be that once again, there are way too many features for the average Web surfer and MS has dumbed it down to where the geek (like me) tries to "fix it." C'est la vie.
-Rick

Opinions? Criticisms? Let us have 'em! 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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