WinInfo Short Takes: Week of May 22

MICROSOFT HAS CREATED a new support Web site for Windows 2000 and NT, called the Diagnostic Solution Guide, that will step you through a series of questions so that it can help you solve any problems you're having with these OSes. And if you're really bored, you can check out the list of "most popular answers" for other people's problems. Thanks to Alex Tearo for the tip.

IT'S EASY TO dump on Microsoft these days, but one thing I don't have a problem with is the company's use of some standards. Take Kerberos, for example: If the company actually supports the full standard for this protocol and then decides to "extend" it so that the Windows version adds more value, then I say more power to them. That's called competition, folks, and that's what we want. What we don't want is a half-baked implementation of a standard, one that only conforms to part of the spec. And certainly, Microsoft is guilty of that often enough (various Web standards come to mind).

HOW COULD A site like shut down? It's got everything going for it: A hip name, a Web-savvy customer base, and a nice design. But when the online clothing retailer closed its virtual doors this week, it may have been leading the pack in a way it never imagined: We're going to be seeing all kinds of implosions in the coming months as the market consolidates around the market leaders. Maybe is onto something after all.

I ACTUALLY RECEIVED a few emails this week stating that Apple's recent announcements about the delivery of Mac OS X don't represent a delay, but rather a subtle renaming of the products that will be appearing this year. Yeah, right. Some of these people may never shake off the Steve Jobs patented "reality distortion field," but the truth is, it's late. Of course, it's been late since its inception, when it was called Rhapsody back in late 1996. That's not to dump on Apple (heck, we all remember what happened to Windows 2000). But they could at least be honest about it: Building an OS this good is going to take some time, so it's completely understandable. Just don't rename the thing and think we're not going to notice.

IT'S LIKE CHANGING the name of Chrysler to Dodge. Sort of. Tandy shareholders recently approved a name change for the company to Radio Shack, which was the company's only real success story this century. (anyone remember Computer City, Incredible Universe, or McDuff?) Tandy purchased Radio Shack back in 1963, when it had just 9 stores in the Boston area. Today, the electronics retailer has over 7000 stores across the country.

BLEEM, THE PLAYSTATION emulator, will soon become available for the Sega Dreamcast, bringing hundreds of ancient video games to a 128-bit powerhouse. What's next, a ColecoVision emulator? But Bleem is a big problem for Sony, which is now making a PlayStation 2 unit that can also play older first-generation PlayStation games, albeit in a much simpler way. And though Sony lost its first lawsuit against the makers of Bleem, which tried to prevent sales of the PC version of the product, the company is at it again. However, a judge has already thrown out 7 of the 9 allegations Sony has brought, casting doubts on its chances this time around. And thank goodness for that: If I can't play TriplePlay 97 on the DreamCast I don't know what I'll do.

A QUOTE FROM the Windows Me beta: "If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times... Don't rely on non-Microsoft sites for beta information. They're hardly ever right, and when they are it's usually because they guess." --"Skeeter," Millennium Beta Coordinator. My response: "If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times... Don't trust anyone who won't tell you their real name." --Paul Thurrott (his real name

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