Plus! Digital Media Edition Update 1.1

Posted by bink on October 15 2003, 1:56 AM. Posted in Windows (general).

This free update for existing customers and new-purchasers includes brand-new features and enhancements for two of the most popular features of Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition, including the new Plus! Photo Story 2 with Video CD burning and more Plus! Dancers.   Plus! Photo Story 2 with Video CD BurningEasily create, edit, and share digital photos with effects, music, and narration. This update adds Plus! Photo Story 2, with Video CD burning for sharing photo stories on standard CD-R discs that play in most home DVD players, a new Picture Chooser that integrates with MSN Groups or Picture It: Digital Image Suite 9, and edit/save support!   More Plus! DancersWith over 2 Million downloads, Plus! Dancers are a phenomenon. Turn your desktop into a virtual dance floor with more styles and sizes. Get more dancers including new styles such as Country/Western, Cheer, 60's Retro, and Hoofing/Tap, and select animated characters - with more being added all the time.  

 Additional Updates We have recently enhanced the Microsoft Plus! experience and are releasing the following update to Plus! Digital Media Edition.This update also includes all prior updates and fixes minor issues with Plus! Analog Recorder and Plus! Dancers discovered since the release of Plus! Digital Media Edition. Specifically, this update adds support for:

Improved Analog Recorder performance. Support for PC suspend/hibernate actions when running Plus! Dancer.

Codename SPARK

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 5:48 AM. Posted in Sharepoint Services.

Microsoft's Content Management Server has found a new home in the company.

The CMS team is being folded into the SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) group, Microsoft sources confirmed Monday.

"It just makes sense. This is based on customer feedback [and] analyst feedback. The two [products] are closely aligned, so it makes sense to align them organizationally," one Microsoft source said.

Last week, Microsoft announced the availability of integration software, code-named Spark to link the current releases of the portal server (and Windows SharePoint Services) and CMS.

With this shift, "the Spark CMS/SPS work becomes more interesting in some ways. This is really a precursor to a much deeper consolidation of the products," said one source close to the situation. Indeed, some at Microsoft and outside speculate that over time, CMS might see its functionality merged over time into the portal.

This change takes a product that had been in the server group, along with Commerce Server, BizTalk Server and the nascent Jupiter server, that will combine most of those capabilities under the auspices of Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Server Platform Division. It will now be in the business productivity group that is home to mostly client-side offerings such as Office. SharePoint Portal Server was the exception to that rule.

What that might mean to the full Jupiter suite, due out in 2005, is unclear. The second phase of Jupiter, code-named Discovery, was to meld commerce server, content management server and integration server capabilities into one pay-as-you-go offering.

Microsoft could not be reached for comment on this story on Monday. Last week, a senior product manager in Microsoft's E-business server group would not comment on organizational matters.


More Windows Server add ons in the works

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 4:28 AM. Posted in Windows Server 2003.

"Sonar" and "Ultrasound": "Sonar and Ultrasound are two tools that will provide rich troubleshooting and monitoring capabilities for File Replication Services (FRS)," says Michael Goulde, senior product planner with Microsoft. " We've had great feedback on FRS, but clear feedback that we have to provide better management tools for this service. Sonar and Ultrasound (names to be determined) will be delivered as a downloadable Feature Pack for Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 later this year."This is weird both tools are already available for download for some time

Terminal Server "Bear Paw." Bear Paw is the next release of Terminal Server (the set of technologies currently known as "Terminal Services"). Bear Paw, according to thin-client consultant and author Brian Madden, Microsoft is definitely enhancing this component, making it almost a standalone app in its own right. Among the Terminal Server features Microsoft is working to provide (possibly not until Longhorn or Blackcomb, however), according to Madden: application publishing; local integration of remote apps; collaboration; single sign-on; and multimedia support. Microsoft isn't commenting publicly on Bear Paw.

Microsoft Audit Collection System (MACS): MACS is a forthcoming tool for collecting, aggregating, and evaluating security events across the system. MACS will enable administrators to evaluate system access and permission requests from a single database, Microsoft execs say.

Security Configuration Wizard. The wizard, an offshoot of Microsoft's Baseline Security Analyzer, originally was expected to ship around the same time Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 was delivered. Now that the SP date has slipped into "latter half of 2004," the wizard will likely precede it to market.

full article

No Lonhorn till 2006, but hype already here

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 3:45 AM. Posted in Windows Server 2008.

Ash Grey T-Shirt

At Microsoft's worldwide partner conference this week, Microsoft finally admitted that Longhorn won't see the light of day until 2006. This isn't a guess on my part, educated or otherwise. Or flame bait. Or conjecture. This is straight from the horses' mouths.

At the show this week, several Microsoft execs casually slipped into their presentations that Longhorn is three years away from debut. Last time I did the math, that was not 2005, as promised just a few months ago. Nor is it even the wishy-washy "2005+" that a few execs had taken to attaching to their product timetables. The new target is 2006, plain and simple.

But longhorn merchandise is already here!

Classic Thong

SUS bug

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 3:38 AM. Posted in WSUS.

Today I noticed a bug in SUS 1.0 sp1. The cumulative patches for IE are released regally and what the word cumulative says the latest supersedes all the previous ones. So when you approve an IE cumulative patch it is installed on your sus enabled clients.

When a new cumulative patch comes out it updates the previous patch and should remove the previous cumulative patches from the repository or at least the moment you approve the new one. SUS has a mechanism for updated patches, unfortunately SUS keeps previous cumulative patches approved even if you approve the new one.

So when fresh installed client queries the SUS server for updates it gets all the approved IE cumulative patches, which is waist of bandwidth and deploy time.

Microsoft confirmed to me that this is an issue with SUS 1.0 and will be fixed in SUS 2.0 which is scheduled for release Q1 2004.

To work around this issue the SUS admin should disapprove previous IE cumulative patches when approving a later IE cumulative patch.

Pioneer Amplifies Windows Media 9

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 3:18 AM. Posted in Windows Media.

Stereo amplifier will play digital music files streamed from a PC.

Pioneer has unveiled a new high-end multichannel digital amplifier that features the ability to play Windows Media 9 files streamed from a personal computer. This is the first product to offer such a feature, according to a Pioneer statement. The amplifier, the VSA-AX10Ai-N, can play back Windows Media 9 Professional-encoded files when connected to a personal computer using the Sony/Philips Digital Interface, according to the statement. This is a digital interface format that can be used to stream digital audio data between two supporting devices without the usual conversion to analog. This means no data is lost in conversion and also copy-protection information is not discarded.

Getting ConnectedConnectors supporting the system can be found on some personal computers and many mid- to high-end audio visual devices.

In addition to Windows Media 9 Professional, the 200-watts-per-channel amplifier also supports phase change modulation, Dolby Digital, DTS, and MPEG2 AAC digital audio and conventional analog signals.

Japan to the U.S.The company took the wraps off the device at the Ceatec Japan 2003 show, which took place near Tokyo last week, and said it plans to put it on sale in Japan in November for the equivalent of $4,545.

The unit will be available in North America as the VSX-59TXi receiver model in January 2004, according to a statement from Microsoft.


New Partner Program Tackles Linux Threat

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 3:00 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Last week, Microsoft revealed its most comprehensive channel program changes since before Windows 95 shipped. The overhaul, which mainly affects Microsoft’s 800,000 reseller, system builder, software developer and system integrator partners, will roll out in stages, starting in January and going for about 18 months. Microsoft is doing this, in part, to ease the transition process. That’s a smart move and shows Microsoft learned lessons from Licensing 6, which blindsided many customers and initially was planned to roll out too quickly for many of them.

I won’t go into the program’s logistics at this time. The important point is this: Microsoft has good reason to want to improve relations with partners. These partners aren’t just supplying Microsoft software to businesses, but competing wares, too. That includes Linux.

In chatting casually with resellers and system integrators, most say they have more customers asking for Linux and open-source alternatives to Microsoft products. Some are concerned with what they perceive to be increasing costs for acquiring Microsoft software; other customers are looking to work around static IT budgets--and free looks pretty cheap to them; others worry about Windows security.

Whether Linux or open-source software really is cheaper than commercial software from Microsoft or any other software developer remains a hotly debated topic. Analysts certainly disagree on this one, particularly when factoring in the cost of switching software against what businesses pay for upgrades. Free isn’t always cheap, some analysts contend.

The arguments grow murkier in the small- and medium-business market (companies with less than 1,000 employees) where fragmentation and smaller company size make switching to Linux from, say, Windows NT 4 or Windows 2000 a potentially less-painless task.

These arguments aside, it’s not in Microsoft’s best interest to have its partners recommending Linux or open-source alternatives to Office, Windows or Windows Server. Anything the company can do to increase partner loyalty--through incentives, better training and other means--might make partners more likely to recommend against Linux and open-source software when customers ask about alternatives.

Already, Microsoft kicks back a 10 percent incentive to some partners selling Open Value volume licensing to SMBs. Ten points in margin is a helluva incentive to sell SMBs Open Value licenses for Office and other products. Resellers or system integrators might think twice about recommending OpenOffice, even when the customer asks for it, when there is such a fat margin to be made on Open Value Office 2003 license. Businesses that pick up that license and Software Assurance upgrade protection also are less likely to switch to competing software. Customers pay up front for Software Assurance, annually over the life of the contract. For Open Value, that's three years.


Bill Gates in The Netherlands

Posted by bink on October 14 2003, 2:56 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

William (Bill) H. Gates IIITomorrow Bill Gates will be in The Netherlands. He will be opening a MSDN Technet session day in The Hague.

I will be there too and report about it later tomorrow.

He will also be visiting Amsterdam (my hometown) but not to talk to local government, who announced today that they are going to research other software products to save on licensing costs....

ActiveSync 3.7 released

Posted by bink on October 13 2003, 9:12 PM. Posted in Windows Mobile.

Microsoft® ActiveSync® 3.7.1 is the latest synchronization software for Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs and Smartphones. ActiveSync 3.7.1 contains fixes making synchronization more trouble free than ever before and includes all the significant improvements brought to you in ActiveSync 3.5, 3.6, and 3.7: it is easy to install and use while offering the best levels of reliability. If you had not already installed ActiveSync 3.5, ActiveSync 3.7.1 will also bring you up to date with compatibility to Microsoft Office XP and Windows XP.  Microsoft ActiveSync 3.7.1 addresses the top USB connectivity issues resulting in significant increase in connectivity reliability. Specifically, ActiveSync 3.7.1:

Enhances USB driver to improve connection stability and avoid crashesImproves detection of cradled devicesAddresses issue with ActiveSync falling into guest mode repeatedlyAddresses issue where desktop fails to detect cradled deviceAddresses issue where device and desktop report different connection states and sync does not startImproves the reliability of large file transfersEnhances Desktop Connection Wizard UI to make connection setup easierImproves stability to reduce application level crashes

Download and more info

O no! RPC Still Vulnerable

Posted by bink on October 13 2003, 8:35 PM. Posted in Security.

VigilantMinds Inc., a leader in information security solutions, has validated the latest claims regarding a new Microsoft Remote Procedure Call (RPC) vulnerability. The rumor of the existence of this latest RPC vulnerability emerged earlier this week on several security-related discussion forums. VigilantMinds has created an intrusion signature to detect attempts at exploitation of this new vulnerability. VigilantMinds has already deployed a detection signature to protect its customers and has provided this intrusion signature to the global security community.  VigilantMinds has demonstrated full denial of service (DoS) attacks and possible remote exploitation against hosts with fully patched and updated versions of MS Windows XP Professional, XP Home, and 2000 Workstation. Although it has not been verified at this time, other versions of Microsoft Windows are also suspected to be subject to this vulnerability. VigilantMinds has notified Microsoft and the appropriate government agencies.

The vulnerability is an extension of the recent Microsoft Windows RPC vulnerability discovered less than two months ago. The latest RPC vulnerability enables hackers and/or worms to completely disrupt or take control of computer systems.

"This latest Microsoft RPC vulnerability may become the most severe business security issue to date. The MS-Blaster worm was based upon the prior RPC vulnerability -- and Blaster did a lot of damage. The new RPC vulnerability opens the door for more worms like Blaster. And since many organizations have already applied vendor patches related to RPC, they may assume that they are not at risk," says Dave Keener, VigilantMinds Chief Security Officer. "This confusion would amplify the detrimental effects of a new worm."

VigilantMinds has created and posted publicly an intrusion detection signature that will detect network traffic patterns associated with this attack. VigilantMinds will continue to update the intrusion signature as more information becomes available.

No software patch is available from Microsoft at this time. As a temporary solution, VigilantMinds suggests firewall restrictions on all affected ports for any exposed systems. All external connectivity (including VPN and dial-in) should be firewalled for incoming RPC activity

Wi-Fi enhancements for Windows XP

Posted by bink on October 13 2003, 7:09 PM. Posted in Windows XP.

Users of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system will soon be able to take advantage of a new software enhancement that the company claims will offer faster, easier and more secure access to broadband wireless networks.

With its new Wireless Provisioning Services (WPS) technology, Microsoft aims at helping business and private users connect to Wi-Fi hotspots more easily and securely. Telecommunication operators should be able to provision and manage these networks more simply and cost-efficiently, Microsoft says. WPS technology consists of two components: server software used by telecommunication service providers in the backend; and client server software installed on notebooks or other mobile devices, according to Shai Guday, group program manager of wireless and mobility at Microsoft.

On the server side, the technology will be included in the first service pack for Windows Server 2003, expected in the first quarter of 2004, he said. On the client side, it will be available as a downloadable upgrade for both Windows XP Professional and Home, before the end of the year, he said. The WPS enhancements in both Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP software products will be free to licensed users, he said. source