Wednesday, 20 October 2004

AnandTech has a review of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, that - well - tops all the other reviews for word count, clarity and how deep they get into the software. If you're at all interested in learning about this version of the Windows XP operating system, check out the 17 pages of detail, detail, detail:


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Tech | Windows Media Technology
Wednesday, 20 October 2004 19:45:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Saw this coming, had a discussion with a colleague this morning about it, and Security Pipeline has an article about it.

Google's desktop search (in public beta) indexes local machine content to let you search though it and quickly find stuff on your computer.

Problem is, it might let others find and read your stuff if your computer is used by anyone other than you. Hmmm. Details...

From the article:

If you're the computer's only user, the software is helpful "as a photographic memory of everything you've seen on the computer," said Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products at Google Inc. The giant index remains on the computer and isn't shared with Google. The company can't access it remotely even if it gets a subpoena ordering it to do so, Mayer said.

Where the privacy and security concerns arise is when the computer is shared.

Type in "" and you'll get copies, or stored caches, of messages that previous users have seen. Enter an e-mail address and you can read all the messages sent to and from that address. Type "password" and get password reminders that were sent back via e-mail.

Acknowledging the concerns, Mayer said managers of shared computers should think twice about installing the software until Google develops advanced features like password protection and multi-user support.

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 19 October 2004 22:18:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Integrated instant messaging that extends its presence and person information to other products, and which reaches outside itself to integrate with other communication products, is on the way. This is a big part of Microsoft's move into the VOIP world.

From Microsoft Monitor:

Earlier today, Microsoft announced the new Office messaging client, codename Istanbul, which is scheduled to ship first half 2005.

Through Istanbul Microsoft plans to bring disparate messaging capabilities, such as IM and telephony, right into Office. To get there Microsoft will deliver new identification capabilities to its server products and the hybrid 'Live Communications' IM client.

Istanbul is yet another Microsoft effort to pull technologies into Office and so extend the suite’s utility. Remember that address book, calendar and e-mail features existed in separate products before Microsoft brought them into Office through Outlook, which hooked into Exchange Server. The Live Communications Client will bring IM, telephony and identity services into Office, but, again, connected to a server product.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2004 22:00:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I'll be going on vacation this coming weekend for a week plus a couple additional days. I'll be able to post the details when I get back, but for now let's just say it's going to be a very, very different kind of vacation, and I am definitely looking forward to the experience. That 5GB Seagate CF-II hard drive that I ripped out of the Rio Carbon MP3 player is finally going to get its real workout in my digital camera.


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Personal Stories
Monday, 18 October 2004 23:10:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 18 October 2004

Microsoft has released Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack One. If you're using VPC2004, you'll want to review, download and likely apply this update.

Lots of fixes and improvements in this service pack, so be sure to take a look.

More information about the service pack from the Microsoft site:

SP1 also includes the following additional software updates

  • A new Virtual Disk Precompactor. A utility that is designed to "zero out"—that is, overwrite with zeros—any available blank space on a virtual hard disk.

  • Updated version of Virtual Machine Additions.

  • Update to support TCP segmentation offloading. Prior to SP1, if TCP Segmentation Offloading was activated, some virtual networking features would not function correctly. With SP1, if your physical network adapter supports TCP segmentation offloading, you can activate TCP segmentation offloading, and virtual networking will function correctly.

  • Update to support Group Policy Software Installation. For more information about Group Policy Software Installation, see Help and Support Center in your Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system.

  • Update to change the default performance option from Give processes on the host system priority to Run Virtual PC at maximum speed.

  • The hotfix described in article 833506, which describes how Virtual PC 2004 may stop responding when a virtual machine is started, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1 (SP1) contains the latest software updates for Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 that improve the reliability, performance and manageability of Virtual PC. Updates have been made to improve the performance of Windows XP Service Pack 2 as a guest in Virtual PC, to improve the manageability of virtual machines when used with SMS 2003 Service Pack 1, and to provide support for running Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition as the host operating system.

Some of the fixes included with SP1 have been previously released as separate updates. This service pack combines them into one update.

Important: You must shut down or turn off all guest operating systems before installing SP1. This ensures that there are no virtual machines in a saved state. This is important because saved states are not compatible between SP1 and all previous versions of Virtual PC 2004.

Service Pack 1 includes an updated version of Virtual Machine Additions. You should update the version of Virtual Machine Additions on all virtual machines where Virtual Machine Additions is installed. For more information, see "Installing Virtual Machine Additions" in Virtual PC Help.

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Monday, 18 October 2004 20:49:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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In a well-written and well-argued article on Security Pipeline, Mitch Wagner tells us the story of the little pigs and their houses of straw and brick, and then draws from the story to illustrate the state of Internet security, stating:

"The preceding has been a fairy tale with no bearing on the current state of Internet security."

Except that it really does. Have a bearing, that is.

Wagner's analysis of the arguments on both sides of the browser wars is interesting and well-explained.

Secure coding and design wins the argument every time - with regard to secure applications, that is. Of course, functionality, usability and other aspects of computer programs have to come into play and be taken into account, as well. But ultimately, the structural materials with which you build your house (be it brick or straw) determine whether you'll survive the hurricane. Or the wolves....

The little pig's big brother said, "Dude, you can't blow down a brick house. Brick is fundamentally more resistant to huffing and puffing."

Good point, Mitch.

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IT Security
Monday, 18 October 2004 19:32:45 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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