WinInfo Short Takes: Week of August 7

An irreverent look at some of the week's other news

Apache no more: Microsoft moves Hotmail to Windows 2000!
If I had a dollar for every pointless, "yeah, but Microsoft runs Hotmail on UNIX/Apache!" email I've received, I'd be a millionaire. But I've got bad news for those of you who never took the time to figure out why you can't simply take a massive UNIX application with millions of real users' data and simply port it to Windows: Microsoft has taken its massive Hotmail UNIX application and ported it to Windows. Yup, it's true: The company is quietly taking its UNIX servers offline and replacing them with Windows 2000 machines. The changeover, which has been in the planning stages for months, will occur over the next several weeks. Currently, about 20-25% of Hotmail hits are happening on Windows 2000, and that figure will grow over time. Sorry, guys: Guess you'll have to find another dead horse to flog.

BlackIce and ZoneAlarm updated to work with Windows 2000 SP1
Thanks to Arie Slob for the tip: The two personal firewalls that were largely incompatible with Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1), BlackICE Defender and ZoneAlarm, have both been updated to work with the SP. Here are links to the updates:
BlackICE Defender Update for SP1
ZoneAlarm Update for SP1

A new article template for WinInfo
Thanks to Joe Jones, an old friend from my Phoenix days, for the following template, which he says will make writing WinInfo easier:

Microsoft delays \[PRODUCT NAME\]
Microsoft announced today that \[PRODUCT NAME\], originally scheduled to ship on \[OLD RELEASE DATE\] won't ship until \[NEW RELEASE DATE\], the \[NUMBER OF SCHEDULE SLIPS\]th such slip in the beleaguered \[PRODUCT NAME\] project. "We won't ship \[PRODUCT NAME\] until our customers tell us its ready," explained \[PM NAME\], one of Microsoft's army of PM's. \[PM NAME\], who has probably never kissed a girl, also added "We're working concurrently on Service Pack 1 for \[PRODUCT NAME\], which will ship two months after \[PRODUCT NAME\], and we're on track to slip that schedule only three times!" \[PM NAME\] closed with some sort of explanation that Chewbacca was a Wookie, and shouldn't live on Endor with a bunch of Ewoks anyway... WinInfo was unable to ascertain exactly what this meant, but was left with the insatiable desire to buy \[PRODUCT NAME\] the day it ships. People close to the company told me that Microsoft slipped the schedule \[PRODUCT NAME\] "pretty much out of habit."

:) Hehehe. This is suspiciously similar to the article template I'm already using, Joe, but thanks nonetheless! --Paul

Oh, the irony: Cobalt threatens Apple with lawsuit over G4 cube...
I guess Apple wasn't the first company to come out with an 8" cube computer, but then the notion that Apple innovates anything more than colored plastics should have been disproved two years ago. When Apple introduced its "unique" G4 cube to many oohs and ahhs from the Apple faithful, they should have actually thought about it for a second, because someone already makes and markets an 8" cube computer. It's called a Cobalt Qube, and it's a cool little server appliance that runs Linux to cut down on costs, though it's primarily designed to run in a Windows network.

...while Apple launches its own suit against John Doe #1
You'd think that's Apple's sudden comeuppance with the Cobalt Qube would cause the company to lighten up a bit when it comes to suing everyone under the sun. The company sues other companies that make products that look like theirs, and it sues individuals for revealing information about its upcoming products. While I question the legality of suing someone for telling the truth, this one is even stranger, as Apple is suing an "unknown individual," referred to as "Doe 1," for revealing information about its summer and fall Macintosh products earlier this year. I hope this action doesn't make it harder for me to find sources. Oh wait, I cover the other 97% of the industry. :)

And speaking of irony...
The recording industry has done everything it could to shut down music trading service Napster, which allows users to easily download copyrighted music files from the Internet. But Napster, which won a stay of execution a week ago when an appeals court ruled that the service could stay online, at least temporarily, has seen its success grow exponentially since its trial. Last week, more people visited Napster than Amazon.com and the service more than quadrupled its user-base. I'm sure that's exactly what the music industry had in mind when they started this whole tomfoolery.

There's no IE 5.5 "Easter Egg" per se, but...
Thanks to David Hall for the tip: Internet Explorer 5.5 has a cool new Help dialog that includes an overt link to what used to be an IE Easter Egg: Select Help then About in the IE 5.5 menu, and then click the Acknowledgements link (which they spelled with an extra E, cute) in the About box. A couple of new windows will open up with a little thank you from the IE team. Now if those guys had only spent as much time working out bugs as they did coding their names into the About box, we'd all be happy.

MSN overtakes Yahoo! in Great Britain
Microsoft's MSN Web portal has beaten Yahoo! again, this time in Great Britain, where it toppled the traditional champion from its roost as most-visited site for the first time. For the month of June, MSN logged 3.9 million unique visitors in GB, while Yahoo had 3.7 million. MSN was only in third place the month before.

Tom's Hardware trashes Intel for Pentium III 1.13 GHz fiasco
I often look to the excellent Tom's Hardware for advice about, well, hardware, and several readers tipped me off to a pair of rather unflattering articles about the Pentium III 1.13 GHz on that site. It seems that Intel has cajoled, prodded, and otherwise invented new performance out of an aging line of microprocessors and Tom isn't amused. To read Tom's take on the PIII 1.13 GHz "paper release," head on over to Tom's Hardware and scroll down to "CPU Guide".

SCO sells its UNIX products and services to Caldera
Caldera Systems, makers of the Caldera Linux distribution, have purchased the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), makers of SCO UnixWare. The deal is designed to bring UnixWare's clustering and other data center capabilities to Linux so that the combined company can focus on the Internet market.

Corel set to release Corel Linux Second Edition
Stealing yet another page from the Windows playbook, Corel will usher in the familiarly named Corel Linux Second Edition later this month. The download edition will be made available on August 15th, while the retail edition is expected in stores by the end of the month. Corel has been pretty quiet about what changes are present in the new release, but I suspect it will be more Windows-like while still being different enough to be frustrating. Just a guess.

Diablo II scorches the competition
The release of Diablo II was expected to be huge, but the fantasy action game is breaking records all over the place: Since it's release July 3rd, the title has sold over 1 million copies at $50 a pop, while the 70,000-run $70 collectors edition sold out immediately. And if the New York Times is to be believed, that means that Diablo II is making as much money as the latest, curiously popular, Harry Potter children's book. But Diablo II is targeted at a much smaller market, making its popularity all the more amazing. Analysts expect Diablo II to ultimately become one of the best-selling PC gaming titles of all time.

Yes Virginia, you can raise the file handle limit in Windows Me: Here's how
One of the curious side effects of removing Real Mode DOS from Windows Me is that it's impossible to do a lot of the old DOS-based configuration that was possible through CONFIG.SYS in previous versions of Windows. But though most of these tweaks are impossible in Windows Me, I learned this week that it is possible to raise the file handle limit in Windows Me (which was previously controlled by a line reading FILES=x in CONFIG.SYS), though you can only raise it as high as 60 (the default is 35). To do so, add the line PerVMFiles=60 to the \[386Enh\] section of system.ini and, voila

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