Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--VMware Answers the 64-Bit Question; Microsoft Improves Office 2003 and OneNote 2003--April 20, 2004

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1. Commentary: VMware Answers the 64-Bit Question; Microsoft Improves Office 2003 and OneNote 2003

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Patches Multiple Security Problems

3. Networking Perspectives
- Exchange Server SMTP AUTH Attacks

4. New and Improved
- Protect Your System From Malicious Content
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: VMware Answers the 64-Bit Question; Microsoft Improves Office 2003 and OneNote 2003 ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

Last week's editorial about virtual machines (VMs) generated several email discussions, but the most frequent question I received concerned 64-bit computing. What are VMware and Microsoft doing to support 64-bit platforms with their VM environments? Although I'm still waiting for a reply from Microsoft, I was able to talk with VMware, and I think you'll be pleased with the response.
First, VMware will support AMD Athlon 64 and Intel x86 64-bit (i.e., non-Itanium) platforms with new releases of all its virtualization products. VMware will release these products over the next 18 months, starting with a preview 64-bit version of its VMware Workstation product that should ship this summer. The company's 64-bit products will be compatible with all the 16-bit and 32-bit VMs rolled out on today's x86 systems, giving customers clear migration possibilities for the future.

Most interesting, perhaps, is the support VMware plans for 64-bit guests (i.e., software-based virtual environments). Over time, VMware will support every possible combination of 32-bit and 64-bit hardware and software, so eventually you'll be able to run 64-bit VM environments on both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware. This interoperability means that customers will be able to test 64-bit compatibility on their current 32-bit systems, before moving to new 64-bit hardware. This capability won't be available immediately, but I'm impressed that it's going to happen.

Wondering about Itanium support? VMware says it will monitor that market, but my gut feeling is that Itanium sales will never reach the volumes needed for VMware to support it.

Microsoft Improves Office 2003 and OneNote 2003

Last summer, I started using the beta version of Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 on a regular basis, and given my day job as a tech reporter, the note-taking application has become a staple of my daily workflow. In fact, by the time Microsoft shipped Office 2003 and OneNote in October 2003, I had already assembled a list of feature requests and changes I wanted to see. The problem was timing: As an Office application, OneNote typically wouldn't see any major improvements until the next Office version shipped, and that could be years away. When I met with the OneNote team during the launch, I delivered my list and was happy to hear that Microsoft was working on a way to deliver some OneNote updates before the next major Office release. Recently, I discovered that those changes would arrive as part of Office 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), due in June, and that Microsoft is addressing almost all my major complaints.

First, in OneNote 2003 SP1, you can now resize the tabs that represent pages and subpages; in the original OneNote version, the small tab size means that pages titled "MVP Summit: Keynote," "MVP Summit: Product life cycle," and "MVP Summit: Automated customer feedback" all display as "MVP Summi," which isn't descriptive. A subpage in OneNote 2003 SP1 will now pick up the first line of text on the page as its title; in earlier versions, subpages are blank, which is useless. And the new OneNote version will let you change the automatic date and time display that the program displays for each page; in earlier versions, you're stuck with the date and time when you created the page.

Microsoft also added features I didn't asked for, but which are nonetheless welcome. Pocket PC users will be able to perform one-way synchronization of Pocket PC Notes to OneNote 2003 SP1 (but not OneNote to Pocket PC Notes; nor is a Pocket OneNote application planned for this release). Microsoft will add Pocket PC Notes to a new OneNote section called, go figure, Pocket PC Notes.

OneNote 2003 SP1 also adds video recording to the original version's handy audio recording capability. OneNote uses Windows Media Video (WMV) to deliver an hour of high-quality video per 60MB of disk space and works with any video input device, including Webcams. Microsoft expects users to come up with some interesting uses for this feature; one scenario I was told about involved real estate agents recording visual inspections of buildings.

To address peer-to-peer note-taking scenarios, OneNote 2003 SP1 includes a feature that allows real-time note-taking that uses Microsoft DirectPlay technologies to let users connect to two or more remote users and brainstorm and take notes in real time. Everyone in the group can be in disparate physical locations, and everyone gets a copy of the notes when they disconnect.

The next version is also bringing lots of little changes, including performance tweaks and fix-ups. You can paste Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into OneNote and take notes on them as you would on the physically printed versions. The new version will make it easier to move folders and sections. Stationary will be easier to find and use, thanks to a new Stationary task pane; you can also create your own stationary for a custom look. Want to share notebooks? A new shared-notebook feature, which will work with various file-sharing schemes, makes sharing possible--with encrypted and password-protected sections if desired. Tablet PC users will appreciate numerous small enhancements, such as scratch-out (gesture) erasing, which will be more natural and act like a real eraser, and better Digital Ink performance. Microsoft has also added 15 more note flags (to the original 9) for better flexibility in denoting priorities.

In the next major Office version, we can expect even more exciting OneNote improvements, including background voice recognition, which will more accurately pick out the current speaker and shut out other background noises. But that release is likely 2 years away. In the meantime, Microsoft should release a public beta of OneNote 2003 SP1 by the time you read this. If you're a big OneNote user and fan like me, you'll definitely want to check it out.


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

Microsoft Patches Multiple Security Problems
Last week, Microsoft issued four patches that fix at least 20 flaws in various Windows versions. Three of the patches are rated critical--the company's highest warning level--because they fix problems that could potentially lead to virus or worm attacks. The fourth patch is rated important. According to Microsoft, the patches constitute April 2004's monthly security updates. For the complete story, visit the following URL:

==== 3. Networking Perspectives ====
by Alan Sugano, [email protected]

Exchange Server SMTP AUTH Attacks
If you run Microsoft Exchange Server to process incoming Internet email, spammers might be using your mail server as a relay even though your server isn't an open relay. How is this possible? Spammers authenticate to your email server, then use your server to send mail. Visit the URL below to read a discussion outlining how you can determine whether someone is using your system as a mail relay, how to close the hole, and how to test the measures you've taken to prevent such attacks.

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

Complimentary eBook--"The Expert's Guide for Exchange 2003: Preparing for, Moving to, and Supporting Exchange Server 2003"
This eBook will educate Exchange administrators and systems managers about how to best approach the migration and overall management of an Exchange 2003 environment. The book will concentrate on core issues such as configuration management, accounting, and monitoring performance with an eye toward migration, consolidation, security, and management.

Your Vote Counts--2004 Readers' Choice Award Ballot
The Fall 2004 issue of Windows & .NET Magazine will feature our readers' favorite products and their choice of companies that provide the best prices and services. Vote for your favorite Windows- and SQL-related products today!

==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Virtual Machine Software
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you use virtual machine (VM) software in your organization?" Here are the results from the 332 votes:
- 70% Yes
- 30% No

New Instant Poll: IT Resources
The next Instant Poll question is, "Which of the following resources are you most likely to turn to when you have IT questions?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Manuals and documentation, b) Colleagues, c) Periodicals such as Windows and .NET Magazine, d) The Internet, or e) Discussion forums.

==== Resources ====

Tip: How can I check or change the media access control (MAC) address for a Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 instance?
by John Savill,

Virtual PC creates a new MAC address each time you create a new Virtual PC instance (the software stores the instance in the .vmc file). To check which MAC address Virtual PC is currently configured to use for a specific instance, open the .vmc file in a text editor and look for the ethernet_card_address entry:


To change the MAC address, simply edit the ethernet_card_address value when the Virtual PC instance isn't running and save the edited .vmc file.

==== Events Central ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: )

New--The Exchange Server Seminar Series
Simplify your life with Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003. Learn the advantages of migrating to an integrated communications environment, consolidating and simplifying implementation of technology, and accelerating worker productivity. Coming to your city soon. Register now for this free event!

==== 4. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Protect Your System From Malicious Content
Proantivirus Lab released Digital Patrol 5.0, software that protects your systems against viruses, Trojan horses, worms, keyloggers, and other malicious content. The program comes with a database of more than 40,000 malicious software titles, which are updated daily. The software also performs heuristic analysis of files, disks, and system partitions. Pricing starts at $24.95 for one copy. Pricing for a 10-computer license is $199. Contact Proantivirus Lab at [email protected]

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