Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--December 2, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

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1. Commentary: More COMDEX IT; Laptop of the Month

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Opens Security Beta for Early Windows Versions

3. Announcements
- Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!
- 2004 Dates Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections

4. Instant Poll
- Results of Previous Poll: Antispam Legislation
- New Instant Poll: VoIP

5. Resources
- Featured Thread: Corrupted Winlogon Process?
- Tip: How Can I Back Up the Microsoft IIS Metabase in Windows 2000 and Later?

6. Event
- Receive a Free Identity Management White Paper! 7. New and Improved
- Count Network Traffic
- Enhance AD Administration
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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

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==== 1. Commentary: More COMDEX IT; Laptop of the Month ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

Last week, I discussed some of the Microsoft-oriented technology I saw at COMDEX 2003, a vastly smaller, but still relevant, trade show compared with previous years. One of the things I liked about COMDEX this year was that the show reoriented itself around IT and business computing, dropping all the unrelated muckety-muck that had clogged past shows with acres of uninspiring and uninteresting booths and exhibits. This year, COMDEX was all about business. So this week, I'd like to discuss some of the non-Microsoft technologies at the show, then present November's Laptop of the Month, the utilitarian IBM ThinkPad R50.

COMDEX 2003: The Non-Microsoft Partisan Perspective

Microsoft's presence at COMDEX was hard to overlook, of course. Its massive booth, set just inside the main Las Vegas Convention Center entryway, dominated the floor--even more so than in other years, given the small size of the show floor and the small number of show attendees. So what happens when you peer past the curtains and past the shiny Microsoft veneer of COMDEX? Quite a bit, actually.

Big Screens, Small Prices

We're still at least a year away from budget-priced high-dpi LCD displays, but several vendors, including ViewSonic and HP, showed off a wide range of powerful new LCD displays, many of which feature productivity-enhancing wide-screen displays. Anyone who spends a lot of time in Microsoft Excel, Adobe Systems' Adobe Photoshop, or any other pixel-heavy application will appreciate wide-screen displays, and some designs--such as those by HP--even offer a rotation capability so that you can view documents in portrait mode. One has to wonder how long before we see a wide-screen Tablet PC--one with a screen that duplicates the size and shape of an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper.

Voice Over IP

IP-based telephony solutions, such as Bluetooth and the paperless office, have been longtime promises that never seem to pan out. But at COMDEX 2003, it became clear that Voice over IP (VoIP) is happening, thanks to the large number of vendors supporting the technology and, hopefully some legislation that will make it more cost-effective. Part of the problem implementing VoIP today is simple infrastructure: We just don't have the tools, bandwidth, and underlying services structure in place to support reliable, wide-scale VoIP rollouts. But that situation is changing, and with the development of VoIP killer applications--applications that combine voice and data--VoIP is poised to revolutionize the communications industry. So will VoIP ever truly replace standard phone-based communications? Sure. The question is when.


The alternative OS Linux was well represented at COMDEX, with 3 days of conference tracks and the Open Source and Linux Innovation Center. Companies such as O'Reilly & Associates, MySQL,, and even the Mozilla Foundation were present, although I didn't see any Linux-specific companies this year, which is curious. The Linux faithful also had ApacheCon 2003, an extremely small sister show held simultaneously to COMDEX 2003 at the Alexis Park Hotel. I didn't have a chance to attend, but I'm told it was an interesting few days of lectures and keynote addresses.

Laptop of the Month: IBM ThinkPad R50

Most tech-savvy people are familiar with IBM's award-winning ThinkPad product line, and more than a few have likely lusted after the company's powerful, thin (but expensive) T series, the flagship of the ThinkPad product line. The ThinkPad T series has been a huge success for IBM and has influenced the design of some of its other products, including the mainstream R series, a member of which I'm reviewing this month. The IBM ThinkPad R50 owes a lot to its more expensive brethren, including compatibility with the T series' rear-mounted batteries, thin 9.5mm optical drives, and port replicators. This compatibility makes it easier for corporate customers to interchange parts between different systems and makes the R series even more valuable. Best of all, the R series is dramatically more affordable than the T series.

IBM introduced the ThinkPad R50 in October; it includes a Pentium M processor (1.5GHz in the review unit), a 14" or 15" screen (the 14" model is 1024 x 768 XGA; the 15" model sports a denser 1400 x 1050 SXGA+ display), Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g wireless for maximum compatibility, and ATI graphics using an ATI Mobility 7500 or 9000 processor with 32MB of dedicated RAM, depending on the model.

Compared with the T series, the R series is a bit thicker and heavier, but it costs much less, starting at just $1300 and topping out in the $2200 range. That's a huge savings over equivalent T series notebooks, and given the T50's reasonable 5.5 pounds (6.4 pounds for the 15" version, I'm told), a more than acceptable compromise. The R series also gets great battery life--about 4.5 hours for the regular battery and almost 7 hours on the extended battery I tested (which was identical to the extended battery I tested earlier this year on the ThinkPad T40).

In daily use, the ThinkPad R50 has been a wonderful road companion, with enough juice to make it on battery power from Boston to the West Coast and enough power to handle the demanding multimedia applications I regularly use. My few complaints are small: I had some problems getting IBM's custom networking front end to work reliably with Wireless-G networks, although I could bypass it and use Windows XP's built-in facilities. And I had occasional glitches coming out of hibernation, forcing me to reboot to get online. Other than those minor complaints, the machine was flawless, with an instantly lovable IBM keyboard, dual-pointing devices, a handy keyboard light, and all the ports you could want.

In short, although the ThinkPad T series might be the machine that gets you "thinking" about buying an IBM, the R series is the model you should buy. As with a luxury car model, the expensive unit will get all the press but the practical R series deserves your attention.


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Opens Security Beta for Early Windows Versions
To aid customers who use early Windows versions and don't have broadband Internet access, Microsoft is considering releasing a CD-ROM-based security-update product that would bulk-install the security updates the company now offers online through Windows Update. A beta test of the potential product, dubbed the Windows Security Update CD, will start soon, according to an email message the company sent to testers last week, and will be aimed at Windows Me, Windows 98, and Win98 Second Edition (SE).

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

Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!
What's better than Windows & .NET Magazine? Try Windows & .NET Magazine and the Windows & .NET Magazine Article Archive CD at one super low rate. Read Windows & .NET Magazine in the office. Take the Article Archive CD with you on the road. Subscribe now!

2004 Dates Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections
Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4 to 7, 2004, in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas Resort. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or go online at

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==== 4. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Antispam Legislation
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you think the proposed new antispam legislation will be an effective, enforceable solution?" Here are the results from the 310 votes:
- 4% Yes
- 51% No, but it's a good first step
- 35% No, it will have little effect on spam
- 10% I'll wait and see

New Instant Poll: VoIP
The next Instant Poll question is, "Has your organization deployed Voice over IP (VoIP) technology?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No, but we plan to within the next 6 months, c) No, but we plan to within the next 12 months, d) We're investigating VoIP but won't deploy it in the near future, or e) No, and we have no plans to pursue it.

==== 5. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Corrupted Winlogon Process?
One of NorthDave's users has installed a modem on his new Windows XP machine. Whenever the user tries to access either email or the Internet, the machine shuts down. He wants to know whether the Winlogon process is corrupt. If you can help, visit the following URL:

Tip: How Can I Back Up the Microsoft IIS Metabase in Windows 2000 and Later?
by John Savill,

IIS configuration information resides in a metabase that consists of an XML document. If you're hosting several Web sites that have separate configurations, backing up the metabase is vital. To back up the IIS metabase, perform the following steps:
1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Internet Information Services (IIS) snap-in (go to Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, then click Internet Information Services Manager).
2. Right-click the name of the machine that hosts the IIS services, then select Backup/Restore Configuration from the All Tasks menu.
3. Click Create Backup.
4. Enter a name for the backup.
5. Optionally select the "Encrypt backup using password" check box and enter a password to protect the backup.
6. Click OK.
7. Click Close in the main Backup/Restore Configuration window.

The OS will create a metabase backup in the \%windir%\system32\inetsrv\metaback folder. The backup consists of two files: "name of backup".MDx and "name of backup".SCx. You should ensure that you back up this folder as part of your routine system backups. The .MDx file contains the actual metabase information, and the .SCx file contains the schema. In both cases, "x" is the version of the backup.

==== 6. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

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==== 7. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Count Network Traffic
LastBit Software released TrafMeter 4.0, software for network traffic accounting and monitoring that counts traffic based on a rule engine. You can use TrafMeter to split the traffic of your host into local and Internet traffic. TrafMeter runs on Windows XP/2000/NT/Me/9x systems. Contact LastBit Software at [email protected]

Enhance AD Administration
Knowledge Factory released Special Operations Suite 2.0, Active Directory (AD)-integrated software that comprises six different management modules to help you manage your computers. The modules consist of an Inventory Manager, Message Manager, Software Manager, OS Manager, Eventlog Manager, and GPO Manager. For pricing, contact Knowledge Factory at [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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==== 8. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.

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