Windows Client UPDATE, October 30, 2003

==== This Issue Sponsored By ====

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1. Commentary: Proceed with Caution: Consumer Wireless Networks

2. News & Views
Longhorn Is the Belle of the PDC Ball

3. Announcements
- COMDEX Las Vegas 2003
- Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!

4. Resources
- Tip: Helping XP and Win2K with GDI Scaling

5. Events
- We've Added 3 New Web Seminars

6. New and Improved
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

7. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: Proceed with Caution: Consumer Wireless Networks ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Recently, I've revisited the wireless networking I've been using in my home office. Even though wireless is fun and simple to implement, I use wired connections that support speeds as fast as Gigabit Ethernet throughout my home. Computer aficionado that I am, I have computers in just about every room. I was interested in comparing the performance of the effective range of my built-in wireless capability in notebooks with that of PC Card adapters.

Built-in wireless capability in notebooks has a significant performance advantage over PC Cards. This advantage results from the fact that most manufacturers place wireless antennas on the notebook's LCD frame, whereas small antennas must be incorporated into PC Cards. As a result, wireless antennas have a much wider range than PC Card antennas do. Wireless antennas also do a better job of handling various signal problems. (I found that built-in wireless NICs are significantly better than PC Cards at picking up signals in areas where the PC Cards couldn't even see a network.)

The curious thing about my project is that I picked up intermittent wireless network connections even when I hadn't powered up my Access Point (AP). My initial thought about this situation was that I must have left a wireless device connected somewhere on my network. However, when I ran down every connection and did some IP address scanning, I couldn't find any unaccounted-for connections. The wireless connection disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared. I considered the possibility that I was picking up a neighbor's wireless connection, but the closest house to mine is about 150 yards away, and I thought that such an unintentional connection would be unlikely given the quality of consumer-grade wireless APs.

I then decided to make some configuration changes to the wireless AP I was using for testing, a Belkin F5D6130 802.11b AP. I installed the management software on my desktop computer, and when the application scanned for APs, it found not only the AP I had set up but also a second AP running on a different network. Realizing that I was picking up a neighbor's AP, I tried logging on to it using the default password. Sure enough, I connected.

Interestingly, this happened on a rainy, overcast day. On a bright, clear day I can't see this second AP on my network, and I have yet to figure out which of my neighbors is using the same hardware I'm using. What is truly weird is that I was able to change the configuration of the other AP. Because I could see the AP on my network, I noticed that it was generating an IP address conflict. Despite being configured for DHCP, the AP set itself to 192.168.0.1, conflicting with my network gateway address. I set the static IP address to the vendor-provided default of 192.168.0.254.

I've talked to my closest neighbors, and none are using wireless networking. My best guess is that atmospheric conditions are letting me pick up a network from more than 300 yards away. I'm not interested in trying to crack my neighbor's network, but using the default password on an AP without any sort of encryption or authentication is a bad idea. This situation has made me wonder how many out-of-the-box wireless connections are running in neighborhoods across the country, not to mention why consumer wireless vendors don't set their defaults to require some level of security.

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==== 2. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Longhorn Is the Belle of the PDC Ball

At Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003 in Los Angeles on Monday, Microsoft executives at long last unveiled the key features in Longhorn, the next major Windows version. Longhorn will feature a media-rich UI (code-named Aero) backed by a new presentation layer (code-named Avalon). A new storage engine called Windows Future Storage (WinFS) will finally virtualize data in Windows, making it easier to find, manage, and work with documents, media, contacts, and other data. And a new Microsoft .NET-based Web services architecture (code-named Indigo) will help Longhorn-based systems communicate with one another and with the outside world.

"It's an exciting time to be a software developer," said Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates during his Monday morning keynote address. "Continuing hardware advances, powerful tools, and the potential of anything on the Internet to become a building block all make it a great time to do pioneering work. Microsoft is investing heavily to make Windows the optimal platform for developers who want to build on this next wave of innovation." Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin also presented a keynote address, in which he detailed the ways developers can use Avalon, Indigo, and WinFS, along with next-generation versions of Visual Studio .NET, to build stunning Longhorn applications with a minimum of coding.

For developers at PDC 2003, Monday's keynote addresses provided the first real bits of information about how Longhorn's features will come together to help them build next-generation applications, servers, and services that run on the Longhorn platform. A new programming model called WinFX will replace earlier models such as Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) and Win32, Microsoft executives noted, giving developers the simplest and easiest-to-deploy applications possible. WinFX is based on .NET managed-code technologies.

Both Allchin and Gates noted that Longhorn is still a work in progress, although neither specified a final release date. Allchin did say that Longhorn Beta 1 will ship in the second half of 2004, which suggests that a 2005 release date is still possible.

==== 3. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

COMDEX Las Vegas 2003 At COMDEX, you'll have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the most prominent platform of the enterprise, data center, and desktop. Key elements include in-depth sessions on Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, reducing spam with Exchange Server 2003 and Outlook 2003. Come to Las Vegas this November 16-20 and take charge. http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6362181;8504790;l?http://www.comdex.com/lasvegas2003/exhib/themes/index.php?s=windows

Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Helping XP and Win2K with GDI Scaling
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I've written several columns for Windows Client UPDATE, as well as Windows & .NET Magazine, about using high screen resolutions with Windows OSs and using settings higher than the normal 96dpi. As I write this, I'm using a 22" monitor running with a 2048 x 1536 screen resolution, so getting the contents of my windows to scale properly is important. One problem is that Windows XP (through the graphics device interface--GDI) doesn't automatically scale according to screen density. Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0) attempts to scale proportionately, but many objects don't scale well, if at all. The next version of Windows (code-named Longhorn and officially introduced last week) will provide GDI scaling as part of the basic set of OS features.

In the meantime, here is a minor registry edit you can make to help IE 6.0 with its scaling problems in Windows XP and Windows 2000. This change won't affect non-IE applications.
1. Close all IE instances.
2. Launch regedit.
3. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main.
4. Create a subkey with a value of type REG_DWORD and name it UseHR.
5. Set the data value to 1.
6. Exit the registry editor.
7. Open IE.

==== 5. Events ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

We've Added 3 New Web Seminars

You won't want to miss our latest free Web seminars: Understanding the Identity Management Roadmap and How it Fits with Your Microsoft Infrastructure, Assessing IM Risks on Your Network, and Five Keys to Choosing the Right Patch Management Solution. Register today for these informative and timely Web events! http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars

==== 6. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

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==== 7. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]

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