WinInfo Short Takes: Week of March 7

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

Thanks Again, Keith
   I got back from Colorado a day late thanks to a wonderful case of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, (HAPE), an altitude-related affliction that required hospitalization and eventually evolved into a much more desirable bout of pneumonia. I'm OK, and I want to thank Keith again for covering WinInfo Daily UPDATE while I was gone. As you probably realize, Keith took time out of his schedule to show up here each day. And Keith was also generous enough to collect an amazing series of potential Short Takes topics for today, which I appreciate even more than usual because of my condition. Thanks, bud. Also, if you've written to me in the past several days, you might have to wait a while until I get caught up on my email. I'll try to tackle it this weekend.

Windows NT Architect Mark Lucovsky Heads to Google
   According to a short blog post by Dave Winer, Google has hired Windows NT architect Mark Lucovsky away from Microsoft. Although no details are available yet about what Lucovsky will do at Google, Winer (incorrectly, I bet) theorizes that Google is developing its own OS. That's just silly. Google can barely get any of its Web services out of beta, and the company has never rebranded Mozilla Firefox to create its own Web browser, despite repeated rumors to that effect. Creating an entire OS is like a moon shot: You don't dabble in it. If you're interested in Lucovsky's role in the creation of NT, you can read all about it on the SuperSite for Windows

Windows 2003 SP1, Windows 2003 x64, Windows XP Pro x64 Due in April
   I've already published information about the April ship date for these Windows versions, and this week Microsoft Senior Vice President Jim Allchin confirmed that Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions, and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will be available next month. "In about a month, you will see us deliver the x64 edition of our server product, and after that you will see us, during the same month, deliver the 64-bit x64 edition for \[Intel's\] Xeon and Pentium on the workstation side," Allchin said during an appearance at the Intel Developer Forum this week. He didn't mention Windows 2003 SP1. Because Windows 2003 x64 Editions are based on the Windows 2003 SP1 code base, however, that update will ship before or at the same time that Windows 2003 x64 Editions ship.

Microsoft Says No March Security Updates
   March will be a boring month for security researchers if Microsoft's latest assertion is true. This week, the software giant revealed that it doesn't plan to post any security bulletins or patches next week as part of its regularly scheduled monthly security patch release schedule. That news is a big change from last month, when Microsoft issued 11,000 security patches, if I remember correctly.

Microsoft Reevaluates MSNBC Commitments
   Microsoft is reevaluating whether it wants to continue partnering with NBC on MSNBC, the cable news channel that debuted to lukewarm reviews in 1996. The company is currently in talks with NBC parent General Electric (GE) to see whether GE is interested in purchasing Microsoft's share of the cable network. Microsoft invested $250 million to create MSNBC, which has suffered as a perennial punching bag for CNN and even Fox News, which is sort of the Pravda of cable news channels. I never understood why NBC needed both CNBC and MSNBC, anyway. Can't the network have just one underperforming cable news channel?

Microsoft Reveals Robot Babysitters at TechFest
   I'll understand if you think I'm making up this story, but at Microsoft Research TechFest 2005 this week Microsoft revealed plans for a future project, code-named Teddy, that manages to be both creepy and high-tech. (Kind of like Windows Me.) Teddy is a teddy bear robot (what Microsoft calls a "virtual being") that monitors your child's activities, provides a Wi-Fi-based live video feed, and lets the child talk to the bear, then communicates those messages back to you. What's creepy about that, you ask? As the child moves around the room, the bear's head turns to follow her progress, kind of like that evil clown in "Poltergeist." I'm sure Microsoft means well, but a creepy teddy bear? Can't the company just get Windows right first?
 
Gates Knighted in England
   Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates received an honorary knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (yes, I have to use her full title) in England this week. "I am humbled and delighted," Gates said. Gates was knighted for his role in igniting the computer software industry and for his amazing charitable work. Trivial Pursuit fans will note that Gates is only the sixth American to be knighted. He follows former US presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Rudolph Giuliani, Alan Greenspan, and Bob Hope into infamy.
 
IE Heads to Windows 2003 SP1 and XP x64, No Outlook Express 7
   I've already published this information in my Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7 Preview 1 on the SuperSite for Windows, but I've received so many questions that I thought I'd repeat it here. Despite earlier assertions that IE 7 will be available only to XP SP2 customers, Microsoft will also ship IE 7 with Windows 2003 SP1 and XP Pro x64 Edition. The company is looking into Windows 2000 support but so far has no plans to make an IE 7 version for that platform. And there won't be a Microsoft Office Outlook Express 7 release to coincide with IE 7. Instead, the Outlook Express team is concentrating its efforts on Longhorn.
 
Yahoo! Turns 10
   Yahoo!, which was born before the dot-com bubble, celebrated its 10th anniversary this week. Yahoo! was incorporated in 1995 in a trailer on the Stanford University campus and quickly dedicated itself to highlighting only those Web sites that cofounders David Filo and Jerry Yang liked. Despite that bit of questionable ancestry, Yahoo! quickly grew into a Web powerhouse and today is a bellwether of the Internet economy. If you're totally bored and enjoy fly-over animations, check out the disturbing, self-aggrandizing retrospective on the Yahoo! Web site.

Apple Wins Initial Ruling in Controversial Case
   In a development that makes my blood curdle (as opposed to collecting in my lungs, which I experienced earlier this week), Apple Computer has won a preliminary ruling against three Apple enthusiast Web sites that could force the sites to reveal their sources. Apple is starting to sue its biggest fans because they're leaking information about upcoming products, and the company wants to find out who their sources are. Although the folks who run those Apple fan sites arguably aren't journalists, such people generally have been protected from revealing sources. However, an interesting exception to that rule says that people can be found guilty of appropriating trade secrets if they in any way solicit information about secret corporate projects. Apparently, the goal is to receive the information psychically or through osmosis, in which case the law will shield you. I'll be watching this case closely because I solicit information from sources all the time. Anyone have any information about secret Apple projects that you'd like to share with me?

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