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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Thu, May 9, 2002 (Vol. 7, #37 - Issue #368)
I Upgraded To WinXP...
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • I Upgraded To WinXP...
    • W2K SP3 Is Going To Be Massive
    • Hooking Up The Whole House To The Internet
    • Microsoft Report Card
    • MS Top Dog Brian Valentine On Security
    • Hot Platform for New Databases? Windows.
    • How Do You Know Your NIC Is Not Promiscuous?
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • XML .NET Developer's Guide
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I Upgraded To WinXP...

Well, it was bound to happen. I'm an Outlook packrat so my total space on the very fast Exchange 2000 Server was almost a Gig. Outlook on my tried-and-true W2K Pro 500Mhz workstation was getting slower and slower. So we decided to put a second machine next to it: a Dual Athlon 1800XPs with half a gig of RAM and a 10,000rpm 18gig SCSI drive plus a Cybex switch box so I can flip over from one to the other quickly. The tech guys installed XP Pro so that I could have "The XPerience". How do I like it?

Well, I need to get used to it. Lots of things are in different locations, so you spend three times longer finding what used to be a few fast "nobrainer" clicks away. The new start menu has changed a bit, but I cannot say I think it's a major improvement. You cannot easily drag a desktop Icon that you use all the time down to the task bar anymore. I had a bunch of those. I'm sure there are ways to do it, but I have not had time to read the manual. Who has? And all the stuff I had on the old box needed to be reinstalled on the new one. A headache, and I'm not even half done.

The Outlook performance problem went away of course, with the hardware we threw at it. I don't know if I'm getting conservative in my old age [grin] but I think I like the W2K interface better. I may just change XP back to W2K which is relatively easy. For the consumer market this is of course a MAJOR improvement over anything else that MS has put out. And upgrading W2K to XP for the business market? From my perspective more a waste of time than anything else. Except for the fact that MS is going to pretty much force you to do it sooner or later.

Which brings me to an announcement of a coming product. We will come out with a report about the new MS 6.0 Licensing scheme that will show you how it really works and how to negotiate the best prices from MS. It will be a paid-for 50-page report but it will be way more affordable than what you are used to, but written by a high-profile Industry Analyst. Something you might not have heard, and I'm sure that MS is not shouting from the rooftops either, but this plan looks suspiciously like an old IBM software leasing plan from the seventies.

And here is the new SunPoll about Wireless LANs.

Q: Are you going to implement Wireless LANs in your Win NT/2000/.NET environment?

  • Nope, definitely not.- Not so likely
  • We're thinking about it
  • We're playing with it, in a separate testbed
  • We are already in production!
Vote here, (leftmost column) and see the immediate results: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/

The latest XBOX Winner is Rob Gowing of Tampa, Florida! Congratulations Rob!

Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman (email me with feedback: [email protected])

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W2K SP3 Is Going To Be Massive

When I looked over the latest hotfixes a few days ago, the indications the most recent ones had were that they were "Pre-SP4". Guess what that means? SP3 has been tied down firmly and it is likely we will finally see it in the next few weeks. Better start sharpening up your scripts and/or code to do either roll outs or slipstreams because this puppy is going to be massive. There are almost 800 post SP2 updates. And then think about all the hotfixes that are security related you'll need to apply since MS are not able to get those into SP3. In other words, something that you want to automate. Here is a suggestion for a tool that does it all:

Hooking Up The Whole House To The Internet

Well, my new house is coming along! We're supposed to move in end of this month. Since I promised to keep you up to date on the project, here is the latest. Done up to now: 12 drops of integrated wiring with 2 Coax, 2 Cat5E, and two fiber strands. They are all trimmed out but we have not done any testing yet. Everything is neatly hooked up in the wiring closed in my study, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it, but I'll have to exercise my patience. Check out the picture below. The left side is the flush mounted Leviton enclosure. Left top is all the coax with the amp just underneath. That gets me cable-TV in all rooms. Top right in the Leviton box is "telecom". We hooked up one of the CAT5E cables so we have 12 phone RJ45's spread out over the house. Further down, the yellow CAT5E is the actual Ethernet that sits ready to be hooked up to the Internet. We kept the fiber dark for the moment.

The box that sits to the right is the security system. I finally decided for the HAI OmniPro II system, as it's the largest vendor, they have the longest experience, and recently won an award at the Consumer Electronics Show. It has great software that comes with it so you can monitor and control the house over the Web. The full house progress is here:

The HAI box will also interface with the home automation software so I'll have a nice complete picture once things are in place. The HAI and Leviton people are here:

As you see, we are midstream, most of the security stuff has not been hooked up yet. The big fat looped-up power cable that sits at the top of the Leviton box also needs to be rerouted around it and downward as it will cause interference with the low-voltage stuff for sure. The cables hanging down to the right are audio cables for a few speakers that will be connected to the server (that will sit) below these two boxes and will announce voice-events like "There is some one at the front door", and "That's odd, there is some one trying to get into the back door without a key, would you like me to call the police?!"

I'm going with a Cisco PIX 506 dedicated firewall. It's already sitting on my desk. I have a cable coming in and the cable modem is ready. What would you suggest for me to hook up to the Internet, and why?

Send me email at [email protected]. I'll report next time what the final choice is going to be.


Microsoft Report Card

Microsoft still faces major challenges in moving away from its roots as an operating systems vendor, according to an exclusive survey of 950 Windows professionals conducted by SearchWin2000. Microsoft customers said the software vendor finally "got it right" with the reliability of its Windows 2000 operating system and is still a dominant trendsetter in the IT industry. It was Redmond's frequent rollout of expensive upgrades, its prices and its treatment of customers that drew the most negative responses. Only 29 percent of respondents strongly agreed that "Microsoft's products offer good value for the money." This survey is interesting reading.

MS Top Dog Brian Valentine On Security

Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Microsoft's Windows division and executive sponsor of the company's Trustworthy Computing security initiative, talks about the lessons learned in trying to shore up security in the Windows operating system. Interview in ComputerWorld:

Hot Platform for New Databases? Windows.

ENTMag reported that Gartner just came out with research showing the strongest growth in new database software license revenues in 2001 came on Windows server platforms. MS Operating systems saw 11 percent year-over-year growth in database software revenues from 2000 to 2001, even as the entire database management system market grew by just 1.4 percent and new database revenues on the Unix platform actually declined by 1.4 percent. Growth was much slower in 2001 than in 2000, both overall and on Windows. That year, overall database revenues rose 10 percent, while Windows server revenues shot up 34 percent. The prime beneficiary of the Windows server growth in 2001 was Microsoft, with its SQL Server database. Article at ENTMag:


How Do You Know Your NIC Is Not Promiscuous?

Arne Vidstrom wrote this:

"I've coded a small tool called PromiscDetect for WinNT 4.0/2000/XP that checks if your network adapter(s) is in promiscuous mode or not (that is, in most cases, if a sniffer is running on the computer or not). Of course the attacker might be intercepting the communication between the tool and the adapter, making the result unreliable, but there are probably many more cases out there where the tool will really detect a sniffer. But please be aware that you can't trust the result to 100% because of this. You can find PromiscDetect at:


This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • What really ARE the best websites? Here are the nominees. Interesting.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020509FA-BestWebSites
  • "All Your Base Are Belong To Us": The movie. (Shockwave required)

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020509FA-Movie
  • Feeling Depressed? The Washington Post reports that taking a sugar pill works better than anti-depressants. In IT-world things are simple: it either works, or it does not. I'm baffled how Big Pharma is getting away with this. My prediction? Wait for Class Action lawsuits as big as tobacco or even larger. See Article:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020509FA-SugarPill
  • The "Nine Unhappy States" that block the MS Settlement might not foresee the consequences. Modularizing and opening up the API opens up Windows to many more security holes. The "remedy" would be a bonus for crackers. Noooooo!

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=020509FA-MS_Settlement

    XML .NET Developer's Guide

    XML is one of the cornerstones of the .NET Framework. .NET aims to bridge the gap between desktop applications and online applications, and facilitate the communication of objects between the two. XML .NET Developer's Guide will show you how to develop XML documents and applications for use within the .NET Framework. What's in this book? Review of the .NET Framework, Components of Visual Studio.NET, how to build XML documents and much, much more.