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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jan 5, 2004 (Vol. 9, #1 - Issue #457)
2004 Crystal Ball Issue And New Year's Wishes
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • 2004 Crystal Ball Issue & New Year's Wishes
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • And Here Are The 2004 Predictions
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Redmond Outlines 2004 W2K Retirement Plans
    • Windows Group Reorganized
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Spam, Virus Writing May Come Under Mafia Control
    • Ordering Pizza in 2015 (Humor)
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • NEW: Sunbelt Network Security Inspector
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  EDITORS CORNER

2004 Crystal Ball Issue & New Year's Wishes

This is the issue that I spend the most time writing, (looking a lot in Sunbelt's Palantir) and usually go out on a limb regarding World Events and my opinion about them.

I always get lots of email (both flames and kudos) so I have pulled my asbestos suit out of the closet, dusted it off after 12 months, and I'm ready for the heat! [grin] Actually, I'm going to keep it simple this time around. No long philosophical issues, just that I wish everyone a world without war, crime and insanity, where people can flourish, prosper and reach greater heights in a real World Peace.

First, before I stick my neck out a mile, let's see how I did last year: I got 7 out of 10, not too bad a score. Funniest of all is that I predicted that spam would only come up to 25-35% of email traffic and then level off. Turns out it's more like 50-60% at the moment. Ouch. The new 2004 predictions are in the Tech Briefing section below. And for all of you, Happy New Year!

Quote Of The Day:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
--Mark Twain

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

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  TECH BRIEFING

And Here Are The 2004 Predictions

  • IT MARKET IN GENERAL / MS in particular: 2004 is finally slowly going to get back to the old days where budget is available for really necessary IT projects. But don't expect anything fancy. We're still in the single digit (6-8%) increases, despite the NASDAQ going up 50% and the Dow rising 25% least year. Do not be overly optimistic about the stock markets though. MS will continue to barrel along as usual, kept on its toes by Linux which will not be all that much of a threat. But talking about Linux...

  • OPERATING SYSTEMS: In 2003, Linux has eaten Unix for lunch. It continues to force MS to compete on quality and security which is a Good Thing. The new Windows 2003 Server will fully penetrate this year, get the InfoWorld "OS Of The Year" again, and continue to increase market share. The continued 'SCO-versus-the-rest-of-the-world' lawsuits will not halt Linux adoption much, and won't go very far either. The new 2.6 kernel is pretty stable, and Linux distributions will consolidate with Novell stepping into that market.

  • NT will still be in production even into 2005. What Microsoft's commodity oriented business/revenue model has trouble adjusting to is the fact that businesses view software investments like hard assets. Purchases are made to address specific business needs and are capitalized and depreciated over a period of time. As long as the asset is meeting the need there's no reason to replace it. Latest-and-greatest means little to a business when it comes to ROI. The only thing that will 'terminatedly' kill NT is no more hotfixes.

  • HARDWARE: Laptops continue to leave TabletPC's in the dust. There will be no "next big thing" in IT this year, but video-conferencing will continue to grow. IP-Telephony has matured enough to deploy, and voice over Wi-Fi will be next in 2005. Also, WiMAX with a 30 mile range will proliferate in 2005. (Don't look for 3G until 2007, and 64-bit on the desktop in 2008 earliest).

    For 2004, flatscreens are the biggest thing. There will be more shipped than old CRT's. 17-inch LCD screens will drop below $300 and they will run cooler with less power. Look for the first electronic book on flexible sheets with a 96-pixel-per-inch resolution somewhere middle this year.

  • LANGUAGES/PROGRAMMING: If you want to keep your job as a developer in 2004, you will have to be an expert (or be able to rapidly become one) in all three platform kingdoms: J2EE, Unix, and Windows. XML will definitely be the language of choice for the next few years as companies demand more and more open platform development, Value Added Networks (VAN's) and EDI applications.

  • NETWORKING: As expected, Wi-Fi has gone mainstream. In 2004 we will find that wardriving has become a household word. The first lawsuit between two neighbors will be filed for unauthorized Wi-Fi network use. The crowded field of Wireless LAN vendors will suffer a shakeout: Big Dawgs will step in, so watch what you are buying.

  • PATCH MANAGEMENT will become more of a must-have tool. Any advances at Microsoft will not solve the delicate balancing act admins face in which patches to deploy, when, and how to fit it in with all the other endless projects they face.

  • RSS IS GOING TO BE BIG: RSS has the real possibility to remake the way you get your news. It is the first actual killer app of the XML revolution. Get a free Reader and start playing with RSS, you'll like it!

  • SECURITY: 2003 was the year of Wi-Fi. 2004 will be the year of major Wi-Fi security incidents. Redmond will continue to have to patch Windows until Windows 2006 (Longhorn) comes out. In the mean time, weak links in the security infrastructure will continue to be exploited with more sophisticated threats, resulting in higher costs and disruption. Organized crime is moving into this area. Unfortunately, it usually takes a major attack for a company to get serious about their security budget. And here is an "Easy One": like last year, this year's major virus attack will be faster, bigger and cause even more damage.

    What we see is a fast proliferation of specific malware that allows backdoors in cable-modem and DSL-equipped telecommuters. It is likely that some of your employees' home computers are already compromised with these so called "Cyber pests". They are used for a variety of illegal activities: identity theft, distributed spamming, part of an obfuscated server penetration path, or being used to break into your company, using the very VPN that you put in to protect your domains. Often keyboard loggers are used to lift VPN passwords. Employees working from home without sufficient protection like firewalls, virus- and spam protection are becoming more and more of a liability.

  • SPAM: It would be nice if spam would just go away. But don't count on it. The Can Spam Act will cause the amount of spam that is being sent out to increase in volume. This law is full of holes big enough to drive a truckload of spam through, and you will see forms of spam that get more and more creative. Email "scandals" will be replaced by instant messaging scandals. Blacklists will more and more disappear; they are the anti-spam equivalent of fishing with a tuna net and hoping you don't kill too many dolphins, as these blacklists are known to block legitimate domains. E-mail may start to lose prominence as a business tool, companies could will make internal digital signed email the only legitimate email business tool and might stop wide open acceptance of SMTP mail, opting to use web forms and services as contact tools.
Tip o'the Hat to prediction contributors: Bill Louth, Rob Spahitz, Brett Finch and Scott Goldman.
  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

Redmond Outlines 2004 W2K Retirement Plans

W2K has been given its retirement papers, about 8 months after W2K3 was announced. The plan has the usual multi-stage approach, but keep this date in mind: April 1, 2006 you will no longer be able to buy W2K!

W2K will be phased out over 2 years. It starts with Nov. 1, 2004, when W2K will be pulled from the direct channel. MS defines the direct channel as vendors such as HP and Dell. These guys will no longer be able to pre-install W2K. One year later (Nov 1, 2005) the so called systems builders can no longer bundle W2K with their boxes.

You will still be able to get your hands on disk sets, but that stops April 1, 2006. After that date, you can play the "downgrade" trick for a while of course, meaning buying W2K3 and exercise your right to use W2K instead.

The server line support policies remain the same by the way: the mainstream support which includes free hotfixes, ends on March 31, 2005. That is 15 months from now! Extended support continues until March 31, 2007. At that point free security patches go bye bye. Here is the official MS announcement with the schedule and dates:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105RN-W2K

Windows Group Reorganized

Redmond played musical chairs over the Holidays. They changed their operating systems unit. It's now a new centralized engineering division called the Windows Core Operating System Division (COSD), all in an attempt to further increase product quality.

The Windows Client group will now report directly to Jim Allchin, who is building Windows 2006 (Longhorn). The Windows Server unit is merging with the Server and Tools group under Eric Rudder. Bob Muglia who used to run storage and management tools, gets to head the Windows Server effort under Rudder.

Allchin's stated as reasons: "improve coordination, planning, prioritization and project management across the Windows business" as well as to optimize engineering. Redmond wants the COSD goals to be embracing customer and market requirements, architecture, technology, tools, planning and processes. They threw 3K people in the new division. More at Microsoft-watch:
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105RN-COSD

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

Spam, Virus Writing May Come Under Mafia Control

The SearchSecurity site reported an interesting interview with a Russian anti-virus writer. Will the recent introduction of antispam legislation result in the creation of a "spam underworld?" Eugene Kaspersky, cofounder of Kaspersky Lab and head of its antivirus research thinks so. While people in the United States generally associate the word "mafia" with Godfather and Soprano style gangsters, Kaspersky used the words "organized crime" with no reference to any specific gangs, but as a general term. However, the Russian researcher fears that modern Internet criminals may fall under control of traditional organized crime or worse yet, become organized into a new style of mafia -- virus writers and hackers who work for spammers to provide illegal proxy-servers.

But Stephen Cobb, Senior VP of Research & Education at ePolicy, argues that "by definition, people who work together to send spam that violates provisions of either the recently passed federal CAN SPAM Act or the many state antispam laws, or the Federal Trade Commission Act (which outlaws deceptive business practices in general) constitutes organized crime."

However, whether or not the people that the general public views as the "mafia" are adding spam and other unpleasant Internet activities to their portfolio of crime isn't clear at this point. But Cobb thinks it would make perfect sense for them because spamming remains, despite antispam laws and lawsuits, a relative low risk activity with plenty of upside in terms of profit. See the second fave link as well.
http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105TP-Mafia

Ordering Pizza in 2015 (Humor)

Operator: "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut. May I have your..."

Customer: "Hi, I'd like to order."

Operator: "May I have your NIDN first, sir?"

Customer: "My National ID Number, yeah, hold on, eh, it's 6102049998-45-54610."

Operator: "Thank you, Mr. Sheehan. I see you live at 1742 Meadowland Drive, and the phone number's 494-2366. Your office number over at Lincoln Insurance is 745-2302 and your cell number's 266-2566. Which number are you calling from, sir?"

Customer: "Huh? I'm at home. Where d'ya get all this information?"

Operator: "We're wired into the system, sir."

Customer: (Sighs) "Oh, well, I'd like to order a couple of your All-Meat Special pizzas..."

Operator: "I don't think that's a good idea, sir."

Customer: "Whaddya mean?"

Operator: "Sir, your medical records indicate that you've got very high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Your National Health Care provider won't allow such an unhealthy choice."

Customer: "Dang . What do you recommend, then?"

Operator: "You might try our low-fat Soybean Yogurt Pizza. I'm sure you'll like it."

Customer: "What makes you think I'd like something like that?"

Operator: "Well, you checked out 'Gourmet Soybean Recipes' from your local library last week, sir. That's why I made the suggestion."

Customer: "All right, all right. Give me two family-sized ones, then. What's the damage?"

Operator: "That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four kids, sir. The 'damage,' as you put it, heh, heh, comes to $49.99."

Customer: "Lemme give you my credit card number."

Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid you'll have to pay in cash. Your credit card balance is over its limit."

Customer: "I'll run over to the ATM and get some cash before your driver gets here."

Operator: "That won't work either, sir. Your checking account's overdrawn."

Customer: "Never mind. Just send the pizzas. I'll have the cash ready. How long will it take?

Operator: "We're running a little behind, sir. It'll be about 45 minutes, sir. If you're in a hurry you might want to pick 'em up while you're out getting the cash, but carrying pizzas on a motorcycle can be a little awkward."

Customer: "How the heck do you know I'm riding a bike?"

Operator: "It says here you're in arrears on your car payments, so your car got repo'ed. But your Harley's paid up, so I just assumed that you'd be using it."

Customer: "@#%/[email protected]&?#!"

Operator: "I'd advise watching your language, sir. You've already got a July 2006 conviction for cussing out a cop."

Customer: (Speechless)

Operator: "Will there be anything else, sir?"

Customer: "No, nothing. Oh, yeah, don't forget the two free liters of Coke your ad says I get with the pizzas."

Operator: "I'm sorry sir, but our ad's exclusionary clause prevents us from offering free soda to diabetics."

  FAVE LINKS

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

  • Gollum's acceptance speech of the MTV Movie awards. A little older link, but still a riot. Abusive language beeped out. (5.4 MB, streaming)

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105FA-Gollum
  • Interesting read how spammers hacked a server to send their stuff.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105FA-Spammers
  • Intel's view of future home networking: High-Speed Multi-Hop Wireless Networks!

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105FA-Intel
  • Best and Worst of Messaging & Collaboration in '03. Good column in eWeek.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105FA-eWeek
  • Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals.

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105FA-Hoodwink
      PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

    NEW: Sunbelt Network Security Inspector

    Introducing for a release in January 2004: The Sunbelt Network Security Inspector (SNSI) A brand new security scanner for everyone that cannot afford the high-end scanners that force you to license by IP-range. SNSI is a low-cost security scanner for your Windows networks, licensed by admin, with a killer database of vulnerabilities. The price is astounding if you look at what you get: $949.00 which is the competitive upgrade price (maintenance is extra). You can upgrade from any currently available vulnerability scanner. Even freeware. Regular price: $1,495 per admin. Scan unlimited machines per seat, but multiple SNSI copies in the same organization require multiple licenses.

    http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=040105FA-SNSI