Sunbelt W2Knews Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Nov 25, 2002 (Vol. 7, #72 - Issue #403)
XBOX Gaming Now On-Line: Review
This issue of W2Knews contains:
- EDITORS CORNER
- XBOX Gaming Now On-Line: Review
- TECH BRIEFING
- Microsoft Communicates About Security
- NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
- What Did Bill Say At Comdex?
- Microsoft Clarifies Exchange Route
- MS Is Really Making Money With The NT CodeBase
- Most Windows Systems Affected By Critical Vulnerability
- NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
- Opalis Gets Straight A's for Task Automation
- The OfficeLetter Reviews iHateSpam
- W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
- This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
- PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Point & Click Desktop Administration
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fits the bill on both counts." - MCP Magazine November, 2002
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* Logon, logoff and shutdown scripting
* Install/update software packages
* Create Outlook mail profiles
* Create/remove shortcuts
* Enforce security policies
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Visit ScriptLogic for more information.
XBOX Gaming Now On-Line: Review
You all know that I got one of these game machines early on. I
had a look and saw there was an Ethernet port on the back of the
machine. Well, they are ready now. It's a gamebox running on a
stripped flavor of W2K, and you can now get the online gaming kit,
plug it in your router and you're online, playing against anyone
on the planet with a broadband connection. They call it "Xbox
Live". We got one of these and hooked it up. I just played for 20
minutes. This Is Cool.
Here's what our Webmaster thought about it:
"So you've had your Xbox for sometime now, and wanted to plug a
network cable into it and play with others online. Well now you
can. It's called Xbox Live and it premiered last week. But it will
cost you 50 bucks a year to join. And that's what Stu wanted
me to do. So off to the local computer store and I returned with
the Xbox Live starter kit, two gamepads and 2 games. I was ready.
Or so I thought.
The starter kit comes with a comfortable headset mike that plugs
into a small adapter on your gamepad. Mute and volume controls
are there. Slap in the included DVD and the installation proceeds
automatically. Until you are informed that a credit card is
required just in case you want some of the premium features or
wish to extend Xbox Live past the first year. The service
apparently is going to a monthly fee after your year is up.
Now I'm quite familiar with web forms, but have you ever filled
one out with a joystick? It's no fun and quite tedious. After
that adventure is over, the Xbox reboots and attempts to connect
to the Microsoft servers using DHCP to configure itself. No luck.
After a bit of perusing of the Xbox Live forums, I find that one
needs to modify the machines MAC address. I enter a totally
random code and voila! It finally sees the server and downloads
an update (anti modchip?) to my machine.
The starter kit DVD includes 2 free online games, but you'll want
to steer clear of Whacked! unless you enjoy meat cleavers. Enough
said. MotoGP is Grand Prix motorcycle racing. It's fast, the
graphics and sound are super. Best of all is the online playing.
Search for an existing session, chit chat until everybody is ready
("where are YOU from?" is the norm) and RACE! During the race
you'll hear everything you can imagine including grunts and yells
but mostly everybody is concentrating on the race at hand. I even
chatted up a couple of French Beta testers in France. Coming soon
for Europe! Here's a little 5mb mpg so you can get the feel:
The two purchased games were NFL Fever 2003 and MechAssault. The
latter is your giant robots that wreak massive destruction with
rockets, lasers and missiles on an alien planet. Play in teams or
against each other but it usually ends up as a free for all. Lots
of talking on this one as people jeer and cheer each other.
NFL Fever 2K3 is a football fan's dream come true. I completed
all the training and joined up with this fellow from Maryland to
play an entire game. The interaction is incredible. Since you
don't have to concentrate all the time, you talk with your rival!
You can play head to head or as a team, choose from a seemingly
unlimited set of plays. It's fantasy football come alive.
On occasion you will hear a clipped voice or see a motorcycle
hovering 3 feet in the air, but I'll blame that on latency. Our
high speed T3 here at Sunbelt doesn't hurt, and having the Xbox
up on my digital projector in my office looks awesome. Here's Stu in action:
Although some have reported problems and glitches, we didn't
encounter any problems except for the initial setup and the
rare disconnect from a game. See here:
Microsoft has done a nice job of integrating the games and the
hosting servers. I wonder what applications other than games
this will lead to?"
More about it here.
Quotes of the day:
- "There are 10 kinds of people. Those who can count binary and those who can't."
- "Work... There are two rules to success in life: 1. Don't tell people everything you know."
- "Meeting: an event where minutes are kept and hours are lost."
(email me with feedback: [email protected])
Did you know that a lot of System Admins (apart from high avail-
ability and disaster recovery), use Double-Take for things like:
- enhance their backup windows - centralized backups - data
distribution - web content replication - data migration - server
consolidation and change management? This tool has a lot more uses
than you might think. Check out all the extremely useful
Visit Double-Take for more information.
Microsoft Communicates About Security
We received this letter from Steve Lipner, who is Director of
Security Assurance at MS. You may have missed it, and it's kind
of important. So here is another copy in case you never got the
"Dear Microsoft Customer,
I'm taking the unusual step of sending this mail to the Microsoft
Security Notification Service mailing list to tell you about some
changes in communications practices that the Microsoft Security
Response Center is making.
Customer feedback tells us that, while technical professionals
value our security bulletins, many end-users find them overly
detailed and confusing. In addition, end-users who subscribe
to the Microsoft Security Notification Service receive bulletins
that are of interest only to developers or system administrators.
To help customers, for each issue, we will now create a less
technical end-user security bulletin that we will host at:
We will continue to release the current security bulletins
targeted to technical professionals. The new end-user security
bulletins will describe straightforward steps that customers
can take to help keep their systems secure.
In addition, before year's end, we will create a new End User
Security Notification Service that will notify customers of
security issues in end-user-oriented products and provide a link
to the appropriate end-user security bulletin.
The TechNet security bulletins will continue to include technical
details that enable IT professionals to determine where and
whether a patch is needed or whether workarounds are an
We have also received feedback that, while many customers rely on
our Security Bulletin Severity Ratings to help them decide which
patches to apply, they find that the ratings fail to clearly
identify the most serious issues. There is also a widespread
feeling that the Severity Ratings are difficult to understand and
apply. For these reasons, we have modified the Severity Rating
criteria to help customers more easily evaluate the impact of
security issues. We hope that this more prescriptive guidance will
help you distinguish the most urgent security issues. I encourage
you to review the updated Microsoft Security Response Center
Security Bulletin Severity Rating System at:
Microsoft is committed to help keep your systems safe. As part of
that commitment, we regularly review customer feedback and update
our security response process to ensure that we are doing all we
can to meet your needs. We appreciate your feedback and hope that
you will find that these changes help you keep your systems
secure." [end quote]
Hope this helps. Let me know if this is useful for you? My email
is up in the Editor's corner.
NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
What Did Bill Say At Comdex?
Don't know if you know, but Mary Jo Foley does a pretty good job
with the Microsoft Watch newsletter. This is a paid-for subscription but worth it if you are in bed with MS, business-wise.
I quoted her summary of Gates' Comdex speech. You should check out
the site, and grateful acknowledgement to "Microsoft Watch" for
the copy below:
"As with every Comdex kick-off keynote, Microsoft boy wonder Bill
Gates drops as many hints about what's to come from Microsoft as
he does about technologies that are (nearly) here today. This
year's address was no exception. For those who don't have time to
slog through the myriad articles on what Microsoft unveiled this
week at Comdex, here are your CliffsNotes. If you're really
pressed for time, most of the news can be condensed down to one
key word: delays. Chairman Gates announced:
"Yet another delay in the delivery of Windows .Net Server 2003.
Release Candidate 2 is due to ship to testers in the next few weeks.
Microsoft won't release the product to manufacturing until March,
2003, with commercial shipment due to begin in April 2003.
"Official word of the delay in the delivery of "Everett," the next
version of Visual Studio .Net. Microsoft originally planned to ship
Everett by the end of this year; now, think April, 2003.
"The delayed "Mira" smart displays will now begin shipping on Jan.
8. These originally were due to ship before this year's holiday
rush. Four new OEMs?Alienware, ABS Computer Technologies,
CyberPower and Gateway?have signed up to carry Windows XP Media
Center Edition on future PC entertainment centers.
"In conjunction with Kinko's, Microsoft is developing a .Net Web
service for remote printing. The service is due to ship by mid-2003.
"Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT), a Microsoft Research
project. The first SPOT consumer devices, which will deliver
computing power to consumer devices, are due some time next year.
Microsoft is working with National Semiconductor on embedding the
software in chips to power a .Net generation of smart pens,
watches, key chains, refrigerator magnets and alarm clocks."
Here is the full transcript:
Missed Comdex? Here are all the headlines:
Microsoft Clarifies Exchange Route
Contrary to some reports, Microsoft says the next version of
Exchange, code-named Titanium, will run on Windows 2000. However,
the company does say that some features will need .Net Server.
Microsoft's next version of Exchange has been criticized for tying
customers to .Net Server. This has created the idea that the
software will not run on W2k. That's not exactly true, said
Microsoft, at its IT Forum. The forum, which is running at the
same time as Comdex Fall 2002, has attracted European techies who
could not afford to travel to Las Vegas.
The benefits of Titanium include faster synchronization. "We have
compressed traffic by up to 70 percent and cut the bytes on the
wire by 50 percent," said Baker. There is also a "cached mode,"
which smoothes out differences in bandwidth--so dial-up users can
operate successfully. Full article here:
MS Is Really Making Money With The NT CodeBase
Ever wondered what product lines were making money and which were
losing? Well, MS just filed its Security & Exchange Commission
10-Q form (this is a required filing for USA Public Companies)
and is it clear which products pay the mortgage and which ones
are (still) freeloaders.
Windows, server and Office software are making money. Everything
else is bleeding red ink. For the period ending September 30th,
the two cash cows, Windows and Office generated operating income
of $2.48 billion on revenue of $2.89 billion, and $1.88 billion
on $2.38 billion respectively.
Notable are the Server Platforms. They did modestly compared to
the above figures, but compared to other players in the market,
they are sky-high. Operating income of $519 million on revenue
of $1.52 billion. Like I said before, everything else in Redmond
is seeing red for the moment. Just a few examples: MSN lost $97
million on $531 million, and the Xbox, lost $177 Mil on total
revenues of $505 million which was expected of course. Here are
the actual figures on the SEC site:
Most Windows Systems Affected By Critical Vulnerability
MS warned late Wednesday that a critical new hole was found. It's
in the Microsoft Data Access Components, (MDAC) a bit of technology
that is present on most Windows boxes. Web servers are again the
most vulnerable, especially if you have a three-tier architecture
with a IE users at the front, and a SQL Server database at the back
end. They also came out with an unrelated cumulative patch for IE.
THIRD PARTY NEWS
Opalis Gets Straight A's for Task Automation
The developer was very proud to announce that a review of
OpalisRobot 4.05 resulted in a "Straight A" review that you can
Get your 30-day eval here:
The OfficeLetter Reviews iHateSpam
Here is an extract: "My PC contains dozens of utilities and apps
that initially caught my eye but now rarely get used. On the other
hand, iHateSpam gets used daily -- in fact it gets used more than
a hundred times each day! The only complaint I have, and it's a
minor one, relates to new e-mail notification. I like to use the
"Play a sound" advanced e-mail option in Outlook to alert me whenever a new message has arrived. I wish iHateSpam could take over
this function and only alert me when non-spam messages are received.
"I have found the product to be an easy to use, valuable addition
to PC. If spam is cluttering up your inbox and taking time away
from the messages you should be reading, I can heartily recommend
it." Full article:
Here is the product for your 30-day eval:
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
A good overview article on UPnP-based security. Mainly for homes:
In an exclusive interview with Computerworld, a London-based
fundamentalist Islamic cleric with ties to Osama bin Laden talked
of plans to use the Internet to target the U.S., Israeli and U.K.
Get your new Segway at Amazon for just 5 grand. First come First
By FAR the coolest gadget for Christmas. A Palm PDA on your wrist:
Very, very silly. Click on the each horse and turn up the volume:
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Products of the Week
Dual DVD+RW/-RW Combo Drive (24x/10x/32x CDRW)
Sony takes the risk out of buying a DVD recorder by bringing all the popular formats into a single drive. The amazing DRU-500A burns DVD-R/-RW, DVD+RW/+R, and even CD-R/CD-RW discs.* Internal EIDE drive includes an impressive, industry standard software bundle and is compatible with Windows® 98SE/2000, Windows ME and Windows XP operating systems. * DVD+RW and DVD-RW discs recorded on this drive may not play back on some older or entry-level DVD systems. The write-once DVD+R or DVD-R discs are more compatible for interchange with other DVD systems. Please record responsibly. Before copying anything onto a CD-R,
CD-RW, DVD+R or DVD+RW, please be sure you are not violating copyright laws.
Tungsten T Color 16MB PDA
Introducing the Palm Tungsten T handheld ? a handheld made for the way a handheld is used. For starters, it's Palm's most compact device ever! But don't be fooled by the size. Inside, the powerful OMAP processor (an enhanced
ARM-based processor) from Texas Instruments gives you the performance you need to both organize your life and work with essential Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files when you're on the go. The Tungsten T handheld's operating system, Palm OS 5 is optimized for a wide range of multimedia and wireless capabilities. On top of all this, the Tungsten T handheld has a color screen, a built-in voice recorder, a 5-way navigator button for one-hand operation, built-in Bluetooth technology, plus dual expansion for adding functionality so your Tungsten T handheld grows with you.
Coolpix 5700 Digital Camera
The Nikon Coolpix 5700 is ideal for advanced amateurs, digital enthusiasts, and semi-professional photographers who demand high performance in every aspect of photography, as well as an air of sophistication. The compact, lightweight body of the Nikon Coolpix 5700 is made of a magnesium alloy, which offers unparalleled portability. The camera's ergonomic, easy-grip design ensures secure handling and comfortable operation. The Vari-angle LCD monitor and the new EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) with its great frame coverage combine to offer total convenience in every shooting position.