- Sign-up Now!
 - Current Issue
 - Edit Your Profile/Unsubscribe

Subscribe | Media Kit | About Us | All Issues | Subscriber Feedback | Contact Us | Privacy Statement
Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Dec 8, 2003 (Vol. 8, #49 - Issue #455)
The 10 Most Read Technical Tips of 2003
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • OK, I Broke Down And Bought A Media Center PC
    • Get Ready For The Best Security Show In 2004
    • Microsoft Describes Its Own Security Measures
    • The 2003 Hall of Fame Exchange Tips
    • A Third Of Spam Spread By RAT-Infested PC's
    • IDC Predicts 'Tech Resurrection' In '04
    • IDC: Windows Server Sales Booming, Linux Growing Faster
    • The 10 Most Read Technical Tips of 2003
    • SUS Crash Course
    • iHateSpam Server Edition V1.5 New Features
    • Panda Gives Big-Company Bennies to the Little Guy
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Network Security: The Complete Reference
  SPONSOR: ScriptLogic
NEW Desktop Authority from ScriptLogic Corporation
Desktop Authority is a new robust software solution from ScriptLogic
Corporation. Proactive administration features found in ScriptLogic
Enterprise have been integrated with browser-based interactive
management and real-time remote control of Windows desktops.
Secure browser based interactive desktop management
Real-time remote control and data transfer from any Microsoft
Windows desktop
Access desktops and files remotely without additional client-
side software ...And Much More
Check out the new product and DOWNLOAD a 45 day trial version.
Visit ScriptLogic for more information.

OK, I Broke Down And Bought A Media Center PC

I have seen this "digital convergence" trend increasing the last 5 years, but there are really products out now that will make you decide to put a PC in your living room. Really. Your entertainment world could very well start revolving around a PC instead of your TV.

Why? Well I just splurged and bought a Dell MediaCenter PC.

You may have heard about it in recent magazine reviews, but it's fairly new. For years there was this major discussion if the home entertainment center would be around the TV or the PC. Well, in my opinion the TV just lost out. It has been relegated to being a (somewhat pricey) peripheral just like a printer.

A PC equipped with MS Media Center and Windows XP is really a cool experience. Apart from a fast CPU and a Gig of Ram, this puppy can pause and rewind Live TV, view local listings to find TV programs to watch or record, record a single episode or the entire series, transfer your recorded TV programs to DVD to watch on a stand-alone DVD player or another computer, play DVD movies, select and play digital music and videos, plus store and 'slideshow' your digital photos. This product exceeds the TIVO functionality.

Plus, it comes with pre-installed software to rent movies, which you can download for about the same price as you'd pay at Blockbuster or NetFlix, with excellent replay quality. It took about 45 minutes to download "The Italian Job" this weekend, and the new 20-inch flatscreen did a great job in letterbox format. I was impressed. The functionality for searching and recording TV programs is a lot better than the TIVO that I still have in the living room. The TIVO however allows me to go to their website and choose programs to record remotely.

A mediacenter PC also has a lot less cabling mess to deal with, compared to my current setup, and you can do email and web on your machine, while watching TV with half an eye in a window on the same screen. Yes, you do need a coax TV feed of course.

Microsoft has been trying to get into the living room for years, and the Windows XP Media Center Edition is the first consumer-ready product. I'd have to qualify that as "early-adopter-ready" since hooking the whole thing up may still be somewhat of a challenge to the average Joe Consumer. The Dell that I got is very silent, and would fit just fine in a home entertainment "stack", It came with a remote control that allows me to do quite a bit of stuff from my sofa. Consumers do need to be aware it's still a PC and have this thing patched regularly, but WinXP does a fairly good job in getting updates distributed. One bug I ran into though (and have not researched yet) after applying patches the TV sound is sometimes white noise. And guess what solves the problem? A reboot! [grin]

Consumer electronics companies better watch it though. They are rapidly going to find their markets are dwindling. Others like Sony already see the light and have their own Media Center PC. It's now just waiting for add-ons for the MediaCenter PC like satellite hookups, digital cable decoders, and the like.

And now back to business. The .Net framework is making inroads and we want to know the following: How comfortable are you with running enterprise applications written in .NET on your servers? Here are the answers you can vote for:

  • Not comfortable, wouldn't even consider installing the framework.
  • If that's the only way, I would do it.
  • Not a problem, would like to see the hype first hand.
  • .NET rules, more please!
Vote here: rightmost column:

Quote Of The Day:
You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers.
--John J. Plomp

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

  SPONSOR: Double-Take
Are your servers protected? Disaster Recovery is #1 priority!
This means you have to have a tested plan and reliable tools in
place for the moment your site goes down. DOUBLE-TAKE is that tool.
Sold more than all other High-Availability tools combined. It is
even certified for W2K Datacenter. No other HA tool is. How it
works? "Server A goes down--Server B takes over". Get the eval
copy here, this is your ultimate job-security.
Visit Double-Take for more information.

Get Ready For The Best Security Show In 2004

InfoSec World is the place to get the real-world strategies and cutting-edge techniques you need to secure critical data, reduce risk, strengthen systems, and much more. It's in Orlando, Florida at these dates:

  • March 22-24, 2004
  • Workshops: 20,21,24-26
  • Expo: 22 & 23.
They also invite you to subscribe to their security E-News, and when you sign up to receive that, you'll automatically be entered into a drawing to win a conference registration, no airfare costs to Orlando, and a no charge hotel room for your stay at the conference!

Register for InfoSec World by December 19, 2003, and get $100 OFF the regular, undiscounted conference registration fee. (This offer cannot be combined with any other discounts.) There are 80+ Sessions Targeting Topics Central to Your Success:

  • Web services security
  • The latest in hack tools and spyware
  • DMZ security
  • Wireless mapping
  • Network forensics
  • Active Directory 2000 and .NET
  • Hacking VPNs
  • Event correlation, and more
Kevin Mitnick, reformed hacker, will answer tough questions in a candid interview by G. Mark Hardy, President, National Security Corporation. This is a good show. Come visit the Sunbelt Booth as well. We have a surprise there. Sign up for the show here:

Microsoft Describes Its Own Security Measures

ENTMag found something cool. Microsoft published a white paper on its Web site last week giving an overview of its own internal security measures. While Microsoft's security is not perfect, and there have been highly publicized compromises of the MS network and Web sites, there are few IT organizations in charge of securing major enterprises that have more familiarity with the products they deploy than the Microsoft Operations and Technology Group. Read more at:

The 2003 Hall of Fame Exchange Tips

  1. Recover Exchange Public Folders Through Outlook Web Access (OWA) when the Recover Deleted Items wizard doesn't do the trick.
  2. Round-robin DNS with different subnets. Read how a SearchWin2000.com member fixed his problem with Round-robin DNS problem without registry changes to clients, etc.
  3. Moving NT 4.0 / Exchange 5.5 to new hardware. MS doesn't support this tip, but it has worked 100% of the time for user Randy Brown.
  4. Handle a former employee's mail, part 4. Our favorite technique for handling a difficult situation.
  5. Move that ever-growing Exchange 2000 database. Got low disk space on your Exchange drive?

A Third Of Spam Spread By RAT-Infested PC's

ZDNet came out with a very interesting article based on a press release of Sophos. The news is shocking but not so surprising. Nearly one-third of all spam circulating the Web is relayed through PCs that have been compromised by malicious programs known as Remote Access Trojans.

One of the techie Sophos people was quoted with this claim: "There are lots of people on cable modems and broadband connections that haven't properly secured their computer. They don't know it, but their PC is being used as a relay for sending spam to thousands and thousands of other people. We believe that 30 percent of all spam is being sent from compromised computers."

This is another reason why RBL's no longer work that well. They are simply being bypassed. Your enterprise PCs might be being used for this as well. You are able to find out about that by simply running LanHound for a while and see which hosts it connects to, and use PestPatrol to find and eliminate the RATs that infest your PC's. Article at ZDNet is here:
PestPatrol Corporate Edition:

IDC Predicts 'Tech Resurrection' In '04

It also envisioned a continuation of offshore outsourcing of IT services, wireless technology adoption and brisk consumer spending on new media technologies. Read the article in ComputerWorld, and start writing requests to increase your budget for next year! [grin]


IDC: Windows Server Sales Booming, Linux Growing Faster

The market for Windows-based server systems is growing fast, but Linux-based systems are growing much faster in revenues and units, according to the latest quarterly data from market analysts at IDC. The Windows-based and Linux-based servers are riding an overall trend in server purchases toward higher volume, lower cost sales. The same trend sees No. 4 Dell climbing in the vendor rankings to within striking distance of No. 3 Sun Microsystems. (Keep in mind that in general, it is easier to grow fast when your market share is still relatively small) Read more at the ENTmag site:

The 10 Most Read Technical Tips of 2003

This week we are featuring the 10 most read SearchWin2000 technical tips. From AD to .pst's, the topics of these tips enticed you (system admins) to check them out in 2003. Obviously these are the most encountered technical problems, so it's a nice opportunity to find out if you have one of these "Gotchas" still waiting for you.

SUS Crash Course

SUS is one of the most popular tools in the Windows toolbox. This collection of tips, articles and advice shows how to get the most out of SUS today, and previews what new features will be available in the not-too-distant future. Customer demand for SUS is so strong that Microsoft delayed testing of a new version of the Windows utility to make it a formal beta program. A Microsoft executive says SUS 2.0 will sport four major improvements over the current version.


iHateSpam Server Edition V1.5 New Features

Version 1.5 will be released in December 2003, and has pretty much everything that our (now well over 1,700) enterprise customers have asked for. It's a mature, stable and powerful product that has features no one else has. Here are the most important ones:

  • New spam detection engine: We are using a brand new engine with a dramatic increase in spam detection. It uses several integrated proprietary approaches that define how likely a message really is spam.

  • More user control for whitelist/blacklists: Now the end user can manage their personal whitelists and blacklist using custom forms that are accessible in Outlook. This allows for your users to manage using wildcards for entire domains as well. This feature is backwards compatible with the old method and allows existing items to be incorporated into the new method, cleaning up the messages the old method relied on.

  • Improved management of user whitelists and blacklists: Advanced management capabilities for user level whitelists and blacklists so users can organize their lists better. This has the added benefit of reducing the amount of space that whitelists and blacklists take up on the mailserver.

  • Distribution list and Public folder filtering: iHateSpam V1.5 now has the ability to scan distribution lists and public folders for spam content. This has been a much requested feature since iHS SE's initial release.

  • Additional enhancements to custom rules: There have been several new features added to the custom rules engine in order to better customize spam filtering. Among these new options is the ability to strip html content prior to scanning. This is helpful due to the large amount of spam messages currently being sent that use html comment tags to mask many spam phrases. This new feature will catch html-masked spam now.

  • Zero Cost Upgrade For iHateSpam Server. Remember that if you are running Exchange V5.5 or 2000, and need an anti-spam solution in place that truly and smoothly integrates with Exchange, you should not be punished with upgrade costs if you move platform. That's why there is no charge for the iHateSpam Server version when you move from E5.5 to E2K or E2K3. Just download the latest build, plug in the key, and you are up and running. Get your license now and start 2004 spam-free!
Want to test a late beta of Version 1.5? Send an email to [email protected] and please specify if you want the server version or gateway and which Exchange Platform you are running? You'll get an email later this week. More Info:

Panda Gives Big-Company Bennies to the Little Guy

Panda focuses on the small to medium business segment and is devoted to providing them with the same advantages that the big guys get. One of these areas is Competitive Renewals. This means that if you decide to change to Panda as your AV provider, they will waive the initial purchase price. Voila, free software for the price of a renewal fee. And if you have unused months on your existing contract, they'll buy them out when you make the Panda Switch.

If you've never had an offer like that, it's because you don't have enough seats to qualify. But for a limited time (December 31, 2003), now you do! Only one rule: just have 25 seats or more, and you will get Panda at a great rate, just like the big shops. Large businesses get this competitive advantage all the time.

But... why change to Panda? Because, it's all about the detection rates. Antivirus expert Mary Landesman said it best on About.com, "Panda ...provides robust protection, unobtrusive daily updates, script blocking and attachment filtering to ensure detection of even newly discovered threats." Panda wants to give big company benefits to everyone. Remember this offer is only good until December 31, 2003. (USA only) Just click here:


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

  • The 10 Biggest Spam Myths:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-Spam_Myths
  • Could not make it to Comdex this year? Neither did I. But John Dvorak went and we can see his pictures here:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-Comdex_Pictures
  • How is your ISP measuring up? Here are some good test/comparisons.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-ISP_Comparisons
  • The first ever computer bug.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-Computer_Bug
  • A new way to enter text on a mobile screen: speedscript. Cool and pretty darn fast, this mpeg is in German but play it twice and you get the idea (2.4 MB).

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-SpeedScript
  • Why should we expect Novell to succeed this time around with Linux?

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-Linux
  • And another DdoS attack on RBLs. It's Spam Wars For Real!

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-Spam_Wars
  • T-Mobile Pocket PC owners - take this PDA/smartphone usage and satisfaction survey: $500 drawing for the winner.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031208FA-T-Mobile_Survey

    Network Security: The Complete Reference

    This practical guide includes comprehensive information on how to build a solid security defense model, how to develop and deploy computer, personnel and physical security policies, and how to design and manage authentication and authorization methods.

    The solution to today's computer system security ills will only be solved when organizations obtain and implement a network security program. This comprehensive resource provides all the information necessary to formulate strategies to reach that goal. Learn to plan, implement, and maintain a secure network, and protect confidential information. This book teaches you end-to-end network security concepts and techniques.