WinInfo Daily UPDATE, December 17, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Argent Software


1. In the News
- SPOT Watches Hit Retail in January
- Microsoft Opens MOM 2004 Beta 2
- Microsoft Offers New Computer Owners Security Advice

2. Announcements
- Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"
- Take Our Print Publications Survey!

3. Event
- Receive a Free Identity Management White Paper!

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

==== Sponsor: Argent Software ====

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==== 1. In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

SPOT Watches Hit Retail in January
Microsoft said this week that intelligent, connected, MSN Direct-based wristwatches (code-named Smart Personal Objects Technology--SPOT--watches) will ship the first week of January. The watches will debut at retail stores in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The Las Vegas introduction of the watches is somewhat appropriate; Microsoft announced the devices there a year ago at the 2003 International CES (although the company first revealed the SPOT technology at COMDEX Fall 2002).
SPOT watches take advantage of an unused portion of the FM band to communicate with MSN servers and download customizable alerts for such things as weather, traffic, sports scores, and messages from friends and family. "This is the next generation of what the watch should be," Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said during his 2003 International CES keynote address in January. "You pick a channel--weather, perhaps. It handles the time-zone change and sends messages to the watch. It's been a while since watch technology has improved."
Originally scheduled to go on sale this holiday season, the SPOT watches were delayed a few months to fix a problem with their radio transmitters. Watchmakers Abacus, Fossil, and Suunto will be the first companies to offer the watches, which initially will be sold only in the United States. Service is available in most major US and southern Canadian metropolitan areas (testing in Europe is under way). During the 2004 International CES, Fossil watches will be available at the two Fossil retail locations in Las Vegas. A week later, they go on sale nationwide. SPOT watches will cost about $175 to $300, depending on the make and model, and users interested in the MSN Direct service will need to subscribe for $59 a year or $9.95 a month. The watches will offer basic functionality without the MSN Direct service, Microsoft says.

Microsoft Opens MOM 2004 Beta 2
Yesterday, Microsoft issued the second beta of its next-generation software-management server product, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2004, and opened the beta to all its customers. According to the company, MOM 2004 improves the MOM product in three core areas: rapid deployment, intuitive operation, and improved Management Pack expertise. The product also includes new tools to help track and resolve problems, a friendlier management-console interface, and a Management Pack add-on capability that helps the product adapt quickly to new technologies.
MOM and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) make up Microsoft's management suite; the latter is a Change and Configuration Management (CCM) server that provides software and security-patch deployment and asset management. Microsoft is designing MOM and SMS to offer an integrated management solution that the company will eventually offer as a single software product called Microsoft System Center.
Potential testers can sign up to receive and evaluate MOM 2004 beta 2. Visit the Microsoft Web site for more information about the beta.

Microsoft Offers New Computer Owners Security Advice
Microsoft's current Windows version apparently is unable to secure users out of the box, so the company is resorting to public-service announcements on its Web site to tell users how to secure new PC systems they might receive during the holidays. "With a few simple precautions, PCs can be better protected from computer viruses and other online hazards," the Microsoft Web site states. "Why should users take safety precautions with a new PC? Because they won't have a secured connection to the Internet unless the new PC has a firewall enabled, is up-to-date using Windows Update, and includes fully updated antivirus software."
Enabling the firewall is just the first step. Users should then enable Windows XP's Automatic Updates feature and visit the Microsoft Windows Update Web site to download any recently released critical security updates, software upgrades, and new drivers. Microsoft also recommends that users invest in antivirus software. The company notes that although most new PCs ship with antivirus software, several companies, including BlackICE, McAfee Security, Symantec, Tiny Software, and Zone Labs, make XP-compatible antivirus packages.
These temporary security measures are designed as a stopgap measure until XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) ships in the first half of 2004. XP SP2 includes a host of new security features and, perhaps more important, enables them by default, unlike the current XP version. "Because of an increase in the number of malicious attacks made by computer hackers, consumers have asked for more protection," Will Poole, senior vice president of the Windows Client business division, said. "While we are planning to turn the firewall on by default in the next service pack for Windows XP, we're taking steps to help educate our customers about the steps they can take today to help protect their PCs and their information."
Microsoft's Web site lists three steps you can take to protect your new PC. Visit the "Protecting your PC" Web site for more information about improving your computer's security.

==== 2. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"
This eBook explores how to reduce and eliminate the risks from Internet applications such as email, Web browsing, and Instant Messaging by limiting inappropriate use, eliminating spam, protecting corporate information assets, and ensuring that these vital resources are secure and available for authorized business purposes. Download this eBook now free!

Take Our Print Publications Survey!
To help us improve the hardware and software product coverage in the Windows & .NET Magazine print publications, we need your opinion about what products matter most to you and your organization. The survey takes only a few minutes to finish, so share your thoughts with us at

==== 3. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

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4. ==== CONTACT US ====

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