Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Windows 7 "top feature request list" leaked to the public

With Windows still managing to find its way to over 95 percent of the desktop computers sold each year, it's not surprising that one can find plenty of people interested in giving their feedback about what future versions of Windows should be able to do. A few years ago, before Windows Vista had even shipped, Microsoft sent out a wish list form asking people what features they would like to see in the next version of Windows, currently code-named Windows 7.

The top wished-for features in this list were recently leaked to the public and have popped up at various sites (e.g., Neowin). While anonymous sources at Microsoft tell us that they bear no relationship to the actual feature set Microsoft is currently writing for Windows 7, the list does provide interesting insight into what the Windows-using public most wants from Windows...
Windows 7 "top feature request list" leaked to the public

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What happened to the good old-fashioned MCSE?

Windows Server 2008 will be released early next year. That’s right…I said it, another major server OS will be released with undoubtedly more to learn! However, with this release, Microsoft is also rolling out major changes to its certification program. All of us old MCSEs are in for some big changes.

For example, the MCSE we’re all familiar with is going away. Yep, you heard it, completely going away! Instead, new certification titles, like MCTS, or Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Active Directory Configuration or Application Platform Configuration, will be the certification de jour.

Here’s an overview of the new Windows Server 2008 certification program. Specifically, it will address:
  • New changes in the Windows Server 2008 certification program
  • What you need to do to transition your Windows Server 2003 MCSE skills to 2008
  • What you need to do to go from Windows 2000 MCSE to 2008
  • Learn practical tips on what you can do now to start planning
The world’s most popular certification is going through a major remodel-are you ready?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Finally a bit of Love for Microsoft

Two closely timed events—today's release of Mac OS X Leopard and yesterday's big Microsoft earnings report—raise questions yet again about how Microsoft and Apple are perceived.

Apple it seems can do no wrong, while Microsoft can do no right. If someone passes gas in the room, someone blames Microsoft. Yet Apple can "brick" iPhones for which customers paid $400 to $600 and sales just soar.

Microsoft reports solid earnings quarter after quarter—and yesterday beat earnings estimates by more than $1 billion. Yet Microsoft's stock price is stuck at 2001 levels. Apple earnings results are good, but nowhere near what Microsoft delivers. Yet Apple's stock just climbs and climbs—this morning to more than $185 a share, up from about 77 bucks 52 weeks earlier.

A decade ago, things were different. Following the release of Windows 95, Microsoft could do no wrong. The company got huge preferential press treatment. I recall the week that Corel released the first new version of WordPerfect Suite since the acquisition from Novell. Microsoft talked up the unreleased Office 97, which got the majority of the press coverage.

By contrast, Apple was perceived as gasping for air, as being an also-ran. During the Gartner Symposium in October 1997, Dell CEO Michael Dell said how he would solve the Apple problem: "What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." A decade later, Apple's market capitalization is about two-and-a-half times Dell's.

Apple's success is one of perception, spurred on by some very smart marketing and branding decisions made over the past six years. Apple is a cool brand that people want to be associated with. When people really like something, they also tend to be more forgiving of faults.

By contrast, Microsoft has huge perceptions problems, many of its own making. For years, Microsoft rushed OK products to market, leading to a popular (and usually right) perception that the company wouldn't get it right until the third release. Marketing 101: The products are the company, and its image. I hear people complain about buggy, crashy Windows, years after Microsoft released the very stable and reliable XP and, later, its Service Pack 2 update; the days of perennial crashes are long gone, but not forgotten.

Microsoft's past behavior has created some perception that its products aren't good enough, that the company doesn't care for customers. Windows Vista is a poster product for Microsoft's perception problems: It's got an undeserved bad reputation.

Perhaps a good analogy for comparing perceptions about Apple and Microsoft is to look at Beatles leaders John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon could do no wrong, even when he really did no right (other than the Beatles being greater than Jesus fiasco). Lennon had a reputation for being a man of the people, a champion of peace and love.

But what did he really do? Lennon's idea of peace: sleep-ins and singing a song about peace for which he made millions. Lennon later lived in a posh apartment off Central Park, far removed "the people." By contrast, the more conservative (an arguably more boring) McCartney did more and toured more. His song, "Hey Jude," was written for Lennon's son Julian, who was essentially ostracized from his father after the Yoko Ono affair. Lennon was perceived to be the better Beatle, but McCartney showed more character, and he is the better songwriter.

Perception often isn't reality.

This week, a number of tech journalists gave glowing reviews of Leopard. They received the software on Mac Book Pro laptops provided by Apple. Nowhere have I seen anyone gripe about conflicts of interest. But when Microsoft's PR agency sent bloggers preloaded Vista notebooks ahead of the operating system's launch, there were ridiculous accusations of attempted bribery. The accusations made it difficult for those receiving the Vista units to say anything positive about the operating system.

Yesterday, I casually spoke (nothing through official channels) with a developer from PlantCML, which provided the reverse-911 system used to warn people in San Diego County to evacuate; wildfires ravaged the county this week. He praised Microsoft, which provided technicians throughout the weekend as PlantCML prepared for impending trouble. It's that kind of behind-the-scene support and service to partners for which Microsoft delivers but doesn't get enough credit.

Contrast Microsoft to Apple, which has a reputation for secrecy and being partner unfriendly. Apple's nearly 200 retail stores compete with loyal dealers and resellers. For years I've heard developers complain about Apple information disclosure; iPhone is the most recent example. Apple's move to Intel processors forced its two largest development partners, Adobe and Microsoft, to switch development tools and do massive recoding to port software.

Apple is perceived to be a progressive company. But it has a spotty record for green computing—even though one of its board members just won a Nobel prize for environmental work. Its record of giving is OK, but not exceptional. Apple has few programs (actually none that I know of) for helping people in emerging markets. Oh, but it's cool, though, and has style.

By contrast, Microsoft's focus for years has been the conversion to digital documents, which is hugely environmentally friendly. The company's chairman is trustee for a charitable organization with billions of dollars to give away. Microsoft's Unlimited Potential program seeks to use technology to empower people in emerging markets.

There's perception, and there's reality.

No question, Microsoft makes lots of boneheaded decisions, for which it is rightly vilified. But the company also deserves more praise than it gets. Meanwhile, strong brand perceptions—and their feel good association—lets Apple off even when it screws up.

Today will be no exception. The blogosphere will praise Leopard as the next best thing ever and use it as more proof why Vista sucks (It doesn't). Meanwhile, there will be little good said about Microsoft's colossal 2008 fiscal first quarter results. Those people acknowledging the earnings results will blame Microsoft for trying to kill Linux and babies in Africa as reasons for its success. The perception: When Microsoft competes, it cheats.

There is a double standard.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Top 10 Overlooked Features of Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 is on its way. With the first release candidate in the pipeline, it shouldn't be long before release to manufacturing and general availability.

With such a long development time (it's the first new Windows Server OS since 2003,) the showstopping new features have been well publicized: Most IT pros are familiar with at least some of the details of Server Core, PowerShell and Windows Server Virtualization (codenamed Viridian). But Windows 2008 includes a lot more than those headliners.

To that end, we're presenting the Top 10 overlooked features of Windows 2008. We spoke with Ward Ralston, senior technical product manager for Windows Server, to help us build our list. These items haven't garnered the same kind of press attention, hype and word-of-mouth as the others, but they're nonetheless important - maybe very important - to your network.

Microsoft Tries To Rope In Unlicensed XP

Filling a gap in its strategy to make sure its business customers are paying for each installed copy of Windows XP, Microsoft yesterday announced the Get Genuine Windows Agreement (GGWA).

GGWA is aimed at increasing Windows XP licensing compliance among businesses. Microsoft apparently believes that some customers misunderstood their agreements, and were installing full copies of Windows XP on corporate computers, which is illegal, rather than upgrading the OS, which the license allows.

E-Mail Attackers Target Corporate Execs

During a two-hour period on June 24, something unusual and a bit worrying turned up in e-mail security firm MessageLabs Inc.'s filters: 514 messages tailored to senior executives of corporate clients that contained malicious programs designed to steal sensitive company data.

On Sept. 12 and 13 it happened again, but this time the firm captured 1,100 messages in a 16-hour wave. The messages, which included executives' names and titles, were from a purported employment service and offered attachments supposedly containing information on potential job candidates.

The attachments were Microsoft Word documents -- a common file type erroneously believed to be safe by most computer users -- that if not intercepted would have deposited Trojan horses, or malicious programs disguised as benign ones, onto targeted computers.

The two e-mail bursts point to a new and sophisticated take on an old-style attack with troubling implications for corporations, MessageLabs says.

In the past, most e-mail attacks of this kind have been comparably simple "phishing" scams sent to masses of consumers with the goal of inducing them to part with their financial-account information. A small number of targeted attacks have been seen by security firms, but they typically targeted individuals in government or the military.

These new attacks, however, suggested a fairly low-tech e-mail scheme could begin to create a high-class problem for significant numbers companies, one in which valuable data are at risk and foolproof technical defenses are challenging.

MessageLabs says that it has been intercepting targeted e-mail attacks on corporate clients for at least three years but that the numbers began to track up significantly only over the last year. The firm was catching one message a day as of the end of 2006. That number rose to about 10 a day by May and then jumped dramatically with the June and September attacks. Both of those incidents targeted executives in a wide range of industries.

"All of a sudden somebody new hit the scene," said Mark Sunner, MessageLabs' chief security analyst. Who that was isn't clear because technical tricks disguised the e-mails' origin, he said. But it's likely the person or group responsible came from the digital underground centered in Eastern Europe, where malicious-program writers and organized crime have long worked hand-in-hand online to steal and sell data for use in fraud schemes.

The newcomers appear to be after corporate secrets, he said. They have sought, specifically, to infiltrate the computers of chief executives, chief financial officers, chief technology officers and other senior managers -- and on occasion their assistants. And the Trojan horses were primarily designed to help the attacker gather Microsoft Office files from the "My Documents" directory of infiltrated PCs.

The people targeted "are the custodians of the company's secrets," Sunner said, and have computers full of juicy spreadsheets, financial reports, merger details and trade secrets.

"Why would somebody be targeting a CEO?" asks Scott O'Neal, chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cyber-intrusion section. "It may be to steal intellectual property, it may be corporate espionage, it may be to get into the database."

Attacks of this kind have become much simpler, O'Neal said. "The how-to tutorials out there are getting better and better. And people need less and less technical skills." But unfortunately, few are reported to law enforcement because companies fear an investigation will disrupt their businesses and result in unwanted publicity. Such fears are unfounded, he said. The agency is careful not to be disruptive and maintains strict confidentiality.

In the recent attacks seen by MessageLabs, the attackers tried to improve the chances executives would open the Trojan-laced attachments by referencing bogus business matters and including personal details, such as name and title, which suggests the attackers spent time researching their targets.

Friday, October 05, 2007

70-623: Exam Review

Exam 70-623 PRO: stands alone as a Microsoft certification. The exam targets IT professionals who work within the consumer market supporting end users. Familiar with The Geek Squad? Well, that's the target audience. Exam 70-623 gives this group a way to prove their knowledge supporting users with installation, configuration and troubleshooting retail versions of Windows Vista installed on consumers' machines.

70-623: Exam Review

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Silverlight Vs Flash


"Microsoft® Silverlight™ is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications. Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality video to all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows."

Silverlight Vs Flash discussions are all over the web now. Here is a post with lots of links to some of the decent comments on the subject: Silverlight Vs Flash

Monday, September 10, 2007

PRINCE2 and ITIL Certification Practice Exams

ClearScope is a powerful software-based test engine with dynamic features and interactive multimedia to reinforce your understanding of the subject matter – while simulating the real exam.

Our certification practice exams are the most accurate you will find on the market today. Download and install ClearScope today and get certified faster than you ever thought possible.

Julist foun this site, looking good and promissing! PRINCE2, ITIL, etc.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Networking certifications: How to pass your exams.

To sum up, certification is a lot of work and you must be willing to take it on. Many shortcuts are available, but people who take shortcuts hardly ever get anywhere. Work with the products and you will be comfortable with them - and well enough prepared to pass your tests.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Will Windows Server 2008's delay affect your security?

Is your Microsoft Windows Vista system at a disadvantage now that Windows Server 2008 won't be available until February 2008? Find out why one industry guru says no.

Recently, Microsoft announced that the long-anticipated release of Windows Server 2008 would be delayed until early next year. Actually, Microsoft does not consider this a delay, noting that the new server operating system (OS) will still be released to manufacturing late this year, adhering to the timeline Chairman Bill Gates referred to at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in May.

Delay or not, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 will not be released until the end of February 2008, so its security features will not be available until more than a year after the release of Windows Vista, the desktop side of the formerly code-named Longhorn OS.

It is easy to forget that Vista and Windows Server 2008 were once lumped together under the single moniker of Longhorn. Microsoft envisioned Longhorn as part of 2002's Trustworthy Computing initiative. This initiative was Microsoft's answer to the spate of business-halting viruses that exploited myriad Windows vulnerabilities throughout the early part of this decade. Trustworthy Computing meant that Microsoft would re-architect its development process to focus on creating secure code and, ultimately, a more secure OS.

Industry pundits and administrators hailed the Trustworthy Computing initiative as a promising step forward. Microsoft was acknowledging the flaws inherent in its OS design and taking steps to develop more secure software.

((Content component not found.)) That was six years ago. In the meantime, administrators are still applying patches, constructing workarounds, reconfiguring exploitable default settings. Does that mean that administrators should be concerned with this latest delay? Probably not. Microsoft has yet to improve the lot of administrators toiling away trying to lock down a feature-rich but insecure OS. But the real question is whether the idea that technology will solve security problems is a pipe dream. As has always been the case, administrators cannot depend on Microsoft to solve security problems. In a perfect world, it would be Microsoft's responsibility -- but the world is far from perfect.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

JavaScript Tooltip

A cross-browser Tooltip JavaScript Library to create tooltips, information popup boxes. Easy to use. Only onmouseover eventhandlers are required that specify the tooltip text.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Microsoft Corp. is once again on the defensive against hackers

Microsoft Corp. is once again on the defensive against hackers after the launch of a new program that gives average PC users tools to unlock copy-protected digital music and movies.

The latest version of the FairUse4M program, which can crack Microsoft's digital rights management system for Windows Media audio and video files, was published online late Friday. In the past year, Microsoft plugged holes exploited by two earlier versions of the program and filed a federal lawsuit against its anonymous authors. Microsoft dropped the lawsuit after failing to identify them.

Read more here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Microsoft Website Calls Longhorn "Windows Server 2008"

Microsoft may have slipped up Thursday afternoon and inadvertently posted the official name of its next server operating system, currently codenamed 'Longhorn.'

In a list of links on the WinHEC Virtual Pressroom, the second item on the original list said "Windows Server 2008 reviewers[sic] guide".

Clicking on the link brought up a page titled "Windows Server Code Name 'Longhorn' Beta 3 Reviewer's Guide"; it made no reference to Windows Server 2008.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Longhorn" Server Public Beta Arrives

The next generation Windows Server took the biggest step yet on its long and winding road toward commercial availability when Microsoft announced the release of "Longhorn" Beta 3 Wednesday night.

Survey: Google Knocks Microsoft From Top Brand Perch

Google is now the world's most valuable brand, followed closely by GE, Microsoft and Coca-Cola, according to Millward Brown Optimor's 2007 Brandz survey.

Microsoft was tops in 2006, but it fell two spots this year to No. 3. GE came in second and Coca-Cola was fourth.

According to the survey, the Microsoft brand's value has dropped 11 percent in the last year, while Google's grew 77 percent. Last year, Google ranked No. 7.

Overall, technology is ranked as the fifth most powerful brand category, with growth of 14 percent since last year.

Other technology companies ranking in the top 10 were China Mobile at No. 5 and IBM at No. 9. HP came in at No. 15, with brand value up 27 percent over the last year, the survey said. Apple came in at No. 16, with its brand value up more than 55 percent.

Cisco, Intel, SAP, Oracle and Dell all made the top 40.

This is the second year that Millward Brown Optimor, the "brand finance and ROI unit of...market research and consultancy Millward Brown," has conducted this survey. This year, at least 1 million consumers were interviewed for the survey, which covered "almost" 400,000 worldwide brands, the company said.

"The ranking is based on the brand's 'dollar value,' calculated by using an economic use approach; the brand value shown in our ranking is based on the present value of the earnings that the brand is expected to generate in the future," the company explained in a release.

Google and Apple topped the survey's list of brands with the highest momentum. The survey also breaks the brands' value by region and industry.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Google Expands Office Software

Google Inc. plans to launch software similar to Microsoft Corp.'s popular PowerPoint program as the two companies vie to dominate the online experience.

Google Chairman and Chief Executive Eric Schmidt described the software Tuesday at a conference for Internet entrepreneurs. He also blasted Microsoft and AT&T Inc., whose executives complained over the weekend that Google may soon have an illegal monopoly in online advertising.

Google announced Friday it would pay $3.1 billion to acquire ad-management technology company DoubleClick Inc. Almost as soon as Google announced the cash acquisition, Microsoft and AT&T executives said the deal could violate antitrust legislation -- and result in a dangerous concentration of Internet users' personal data at Mountain View-based Google.

Read more here.