Amazing Visio - Microsoft Visio add-on

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 6:25 PM. Posted in Office.

Amazing Visio screenshot - click for full sizeAmazing Visio is an add-on tool for Microsoft Visio, that provides you with a set of eye-catching shapes and templates to enhance your Visio drawings. You can easily highlight different steps, processes and key areas. Your drawing seizes your audience’s attention right away, and becomes much easier to understand and discuss. You can apply the same look and feel to your drawings, and save your new drawings as stencils and templates for later use. The program runs fully integrates into MS Visio, and ss long as you can use Visio, you can use Amazing Visio. Free for personal use. An optional Pro version is also available. Requires Microsoft Visio 2000 or later. download

Installation of security updates by default?

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 6:21 PM. Posted in Security.

In the wake of recent widespread worm attacks on the Internet, Microsoft is considering taking an unprecedented step: making automatic download and installation of security updates the default option for Windows and perhaps Microsoft Office. But first, experts say, Microsoft needs to improve the quality of both its patches and the Windows Update system that delivers them.

Despite problems with current patches, many people could be better off with automatic updates as the default (users currently must enable them). A Windows Update download to repair the RPC (remote procedure call) flaw that the Blaster worm exploited had been available nearly a month before Blaster showed up in mid-August, and Blaster didn't affect Windows XP, NT, 2000, and 2003 Server users who installed the patch. But those who don't accept updates probably didn't know about the patch until too late.

Trusecure Corporation's self-styled Surgeon-General Russ Cooper--an advisor to corporate clients on Windows security, and a longtime moderator of the NTBugtraq security forum--says businesses don't need to apply every patch Microsoft puts out but recommends that users without specialized security expertise apply all patches as soon as possible. "The vast majority of users don't want to be asked about updates and would love to see it all done for them without their ever being aware," Cooper adds.

Whether they are automated by default or not, updates definitely won't be mandatory, says Greg Sullivan, Windows client division lead product manager. In the meantime, Microsoft's Protect Your PC program has been running full-page newspaper ads and a Web site to urge users to install updates and use firewalls and antivirus software.

Microsoft is also considering strengthening Windows' anemic built-in Internet Connection Firewall and enabling it by default in future Windows versions and service packs. Even without the anti-Blaster RPC patch installed, Windows XP users who managed to locate ICF buried deep within their system's network settings and then enable it were safe from Blaster, though not from the in-box-clogging Sobig worm that followed.

"Since ICF doesn't stop outbound connections, it has no way of preventing things like Sobig," explains Cooper, noting that some free firewall programs, such as Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm, do police outbound data. However, while beefing up ICF could look like unfair competition to Zone Labs and other third-party firewall makers, Cooper deems the risk well worth taking: "Microsoft could make big points with consumers by giving them a really decent firewall and taking the heat from the Department of Justice."  Microsoft's Patch Policy Pickle  via www.wmlah.com

Microsoft granted an IM patent

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 2:50 PM. Posted in Messenger.

Microsoft has won a patent for an instant messaging feature that notifies users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message.

The patent encompasses a feature that's not only on Microsoft's IM products but also on those of its rivals America Online and Yahoo. The patent was granted on Tuesday.

Patent No. 6,631,412 could serve as a weapon in Microsoft's battle for IM market share. Microsoft is investing heavily in IM as a springboard for selling communication software to businesses. Later this year, Microsoft plans to launch Live Communications Server, a software product that will initially offer IM for the enterprise and then expand into Internet voice calling and video services.

The software giant currently offers MSN Messenger as a free download off the Web, as well as Windows Messenger, the IM client for its XP operating system. Both services have amassed millions of users.

Having a patent can be a powerful tool, but only if it can be proven in a court that its owner has bulletproof claims to the invention, according to legal experts. Companies that challenge a patent have to prove the patent owner was not the first one on record for the invention.

"This means that if someone tries to invalidate the Microsoft patent, they would try to find examples of instant messaging that predated the filing date," said Carl Oppedahl, an intellectual property attorney at Oppedahl, Larson & Frisco in Colorado.

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on the patent. Both AOL and Yahoo representatives declined comment as well.

Microsoft is not the first company to pursue a patent over IM. In December 2002, AOL subsidiary ICQ won a patent that claimed rights as the inventor of IM. AOL has not flexed its muscle on the patent, and competitive IM services remain active.

The rush to patent elements of IM underscores the application's popularity and potential. IM has become widely used by millions of Web users who exchange text messages with each other in real time. Some of the most popular IM services--AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and MSN--have added features, such as video conferencing, animated emoticons and mobile access. Cnet

MS signs "Mobile" deal in Oman

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 6:26 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Omantel has inked a deal with software giant Microsoft that would enable subscribers to access e-mails with their GSMs or hand-held mobile devices. Mohammed bin Ali al Wohaibi, Executive President of Omantel, signed a memorandum of understanding to the effect with Jean Philippe Courtois, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft (Europe, Middle East and Africa), at a ceremony here yesterday. 

The MoU was signed in the presence of Malik bin Sulaiman al Maamari, Minister of Transport and Communications. Microsoft will design, install and commission an exchange to host and deliver e-mails to GSMs. The exchange will be designed with an initial capacity to cater to 500,000 subscribers, but is increasable to one million subscribers in future. This service will allow Omantel GSM subscribers to access their e-mails via GSM devices and makes it easy for the customers to log into the Internet wherever they are.

The Omantel Mobility Services (OMS) project will provide Omantel customers with mobile access to their Microsoft Exchange 2003 messaging on a variety of GSM and other networks. Utilising the mobile hand set, customers will now be able to access their inbox, calendar, and contacts from their corporate servers running Exchange 2003 from anywhere, at anytime. 

In addition, it will allow businesses to establish a domain name with personalised Microsoft e-mail addresses, accessible through a wide range of devices such as handheld devices and mobile phones, and bringing the benefits of next generation connectivity technology to the Sultanate.

Initially, OMS will have capabilities for more than 500,000 users, growing to upwards of two million. Offering the familiar and easy to use Microsoft Outlook will give users the easiest possible interface to maximise their potential to benefit from increased connectivity. Users will be able to access contacts and calendar information wherever they are, and using any web enabled device, as well as viewing Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

Read whole article: Microsoft deal for e-mails by GSM

MS Office System Connects Desktop Programs With Amazon.com

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 6:23 AM. Posted in Office.

Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. today announced a joint development project that leverages Amazon Web Services (http://www.amazon.com/webservices/) and the Extensible Markup Language (XML) capabilities of Microsoft® Office System programs to provide users with access to Amazon.com products and data while working in Microsoft productivity applications. The solution, called Amazon.com Research Services for Microsoft Office System, will be available for download in the Office Marketplace (http://www.office.microsoft.com/marketplace/) at no additional charge later this fall.

By integrating Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com Research Services for Microsoft Office System will provide Microsoft Office System users with convenient and seamless access to Amazon.com from within Microsoft productivity applications via the Research Task Pane. Users will be able to access Amazon.com information and make purchases without launching a browser or leaving their document, e-mail message or presentation. For example, a customer reading a bibliography in a Word document could easily click on a book title and purchase it from within the Research Task Pane without having to leave the Word document. Alternatively, a user will be able to add a footnote, bibliography entry and even cover art for books without needing to manually enter the information into a document.

The Research Task Pane, a feature in the Microsoft Office 2003 Edition desktop applications (Word, Excel, the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client, the PowerPoint® presentation graphics program and Access) and in Microsoft Office System products OneNote (TM) note-taking program, Publisher and Visio® drawing and diagramming software, uses industry-standard XML to enable users to retrieve and navigate relevant internal or external Web-based information, all from within Office programs.

Microsoft Office System Connects Desktop Programs With Amazon.com

MOM stuff (updated)

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 6:03 AM. Posted in Operations Manager (MOM).

This guide provides information about the Microsoft Windows System Resource Manager Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 Service Pack 1, including monitoring scenarios, deployment steps, operations tasks, and reference content. Download

This guide provides information about the Microsoft® Windows File Replication Service Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 SP1, including monitoring scenarios, deployment steps, operations tasks, and reference content. Download

MOM 2000 Connector Framework (MCF) Market BulletinThe MOM Connector Framework (MCF) is a web service-based framework for connecting MOM and any 3rd party management platform and enabling full bidirectional alert forwarding and synchronization. Download

MOM 2004

Microsoft® Operations Manager (MOM) 2004 delivers enterprise-class operations management for medium and large enterprises by providing comprehensive event management, proactive monitoring and alerting, reporting and trend analysis, and system and application specific knowledge to improve the manageability of Windows® environments.• Microsoft Operations Manager 2004 delivers dramatic improvements in ease of deployment and use. The addition of new tools to help track and resolve problems more easily helps increase operational efficiency for managing Windows environments.• Through the extensive product support knowledge base included in the form of Management Packs, Microsoft Operations Manager reduces the day-to-day support costs and increases service availability associated with running applications and services in a Windows-based IT infrastructure. Download

Web Services Management With Microsoft Operations ManagerThis white paper discusses how Microsoft manages Web Service today, the Next Generation of Web Services Management (MOM 2004), and how DSI “bakes” Management into Web Services. Download 

FoxPro 8 Service Pack 1

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 6:00 AM. Posted in Fox Pro.

Download Microsoft Visual FoxPro 8.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1), which provides the latest updates to Visual FoxPro 8.0. SP1 combines various enhancements and stability improvements into one integrated package. The download contains all the documentation for these updates. For installation instructions and more details on SP1, consult the Service Pack 1 readme.

Download: VFP8SP1.exe

Foxpro homepage

Distributed File System Utility (DFSUtil.exe)

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 5:54 AM. Posted in Tools & Utils.

DFSUtil.exe enables administrators to query and troubleshoot the Microsoft Distributed File System (DFS) from the command prompt. It can be used to perform maintenance of a DFS root and to clean up metadata left behind when domain-based DFS roots are orphaned or abandoned.

More info and download

Veritas adds to Windows storage management code

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 5:45 AM. Posted in Storage Server (NAS).

Veritas has rolled out a new version of StorageCentral that includes support for Microsoft's latest storage operating system along with new quota and file management tools. StorageCentral 5.2 is a revamped version of the storage resource management (SRM) product Veritas acquired in its buy earlier this year of Precise. The latest version of the software will support both Windows Storage Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003. Staying in sync with Microsoft is key for StrorageCentral's main audience among small and medium-sized businesses. Beyond new OS support, Veritas has fine tuned some of the StorageCentral tools to give administrators more leeway with file management. StorageCentral already shipped with some storage quota functions that allowed an admin to set capacity thresholds for a department or business unit. With the latest version of the software, admins can now drive down to user level limits. The software will send out an alert when user reaches his or her threshold and can also automatically free up more space for the user, if desired. Veritas has also refined the file-blocking powers of StorageCentral. In the past, the software would simply look at file extensions and block, for example, unwanted MP3s or viruses. Now, StorageCentral will also check at the content itself so that even if the extension of an MP3 is changed, the software will catch it. "On average customers have said they will free up 30 percent of their storage capacity after using our product," said Marty Ward, Veritas’s director of product marketing. "They find old files, duplicate files and things like MP3s that they want to check out." A "light" version of StorageCentral is built into Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 that includes basic file blocking and management tools. Any advanced file management functions and reporting will require a license from Veritas. StorageCentral fits into a broad line of Veritas SRM products for Windows and Unix systems. The product is priced at $1,395 per server. Complete Article

Windows 2003 Certificate Services

Posted by bink on October 8 2003, 5:18 AM. Posted in Windows Server 2003.

Nice Windows 2003 Certificate Services article

Implementing Certificate Services in Windows 2000 (included in Standard, Advanced, and DataCenter editions) provided the ability to manage Public Key Infrastructure; however, several limitations affected its acceptance on a wider scale. Improvements introduced in the Certificate Services available in Windows 2003 (also offered on the same three server platforms -- Standard, Enterprise, and DataCenter) elevated Public Key Infrastructure to the level of a truly corporate, easily manageable, and scalable solution.

Part 1  Part2