An irreverent look at some of the week's other news
Windows Me to ship in 16 languages September 14th
Many people have asked me about the various international versions of Windows Me, and this week Microsoft responded with the schedule: The following languages will ship on September 14th: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Brazilian, Danish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Finnish, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew and Thai. The remaining languages, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, HK Chinese, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Slovak and Slovenian, will follow "shortly thereafter." Windows Me is the latest version of Windows 98.
Microsoft releases MSN Explorer Preview 2
Microsoft has released the second preview of its new Web browser and integrated MSN client, MSN Explorer. Tip: If you sign up for a new account, they give you an msn.com address, not hotmail.com. Check it out today at the MSN Web site
Microsoft ships August Compatibility Update for Windows 2000
Microsoft has shipped the third "Compatibility Update" for Windows 2000, which is designed to add compatibility with various consumer-grade software packages. The August 2000 package includes the compatibility updates of the May 2000 and February 2000 packages, so new users can simply download this new package--available now on Windows Update. The August package includes 21 new fixes, bringing the total to 90.
Linux site looking for NT horror stories
Sure, Linux is trying to copy Windows, but this is ridiculous: The Linux General Store is looking for "NT horror stories" in time for Halloween. You know, it's this kind of grassroots journalism that really makes the Linux crowd fun to deal with. The fact that NT exists at all is proof positive that there are more UNIX horror stories out there than anything else.
Toshiba falls from top five laptop
How the might have fallen: Once the market leader in portable computers, Toshiba has fallen out of the top two in retail sales for the first time ever. Now ranked behind Compaq and Hewlett Packard, Toshiba still outranks Sony and the mysterious "other" in the top five. IBM continues to dominate portable computer market share for mail order and corporate dealers.
Sony turns up the heat on Windows CE with new palm device
Sony is finally releasing its Palm-compatible handheld device and it's a winner. The sleek-looking Sony CLIE (which painfully stands for Communication, Link, Information, and Entertainment) sports a thin form factor, the easy-to-use Palm OS, Sony MemoryStick expansion, and a $400 price tag. Like other Palm OS devices, it will probably continue to pound Windows CE-based PocketPCs into irrelevance. As Microsoft makes its desktop OS simpler and simpler, why can't it do the same thing for its handheld OS?
Improve IIS performance 30%
Tests performed by Computer Reseller News (CRN) reveal that it's possible to increase the performance of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) by as much as 30% by simply tweaking a few settings in its administrative console. CRN says that "throughput was increased by 30 percent by maximizing the number of NIC buffers, changing the application-protection state to low or IIS process, increasing the server to more than 100,000 connections a day and changing the server-optimization setting to "Maximize data throughput for network applications." For more information, please visit CRN on the Web.
Microsoft bitten by Word "Web bug" paranoia
Security experts warn that Word documents posted to the Web can sometimes be traced back to their creators because of a hidden code in the document format that reveals the IP address of the sender. But Microsoft says that it has to work this way, because otherwise Word would have no way of working its magic. Microsoft security expert Eric Schultze says that this is "much ado about nothing" and this time I agree. It's easy to get paranoid about anything Microsoft, but this is a non-event.
Microsoft sends Exchange Server 2000 to manufacturing
Thursday at 9:19 a.m. the Microsoft Exchange team signed off on Exchange 2000, build 4417.5, to be released to manufacturing. In internal email to its employees and close partners, Microsoft says that Exchange 2000 "represents a huge milestone for the Exchange team and for Microsoft ... Exchange is an awesome product." I agree, but it's also at least six months behind schedule. Sources tell me that Exchange had some serious problems scaling up during testing. Let's hope that's been resolved for this release.
Microsoft ships public beta of IE 5.5 Privacy Enhancements
Thanks to John Homewood for the tip: Microsoft has shipped a public beta of a new upgrade to IE 5.5, dubbed the Internet Explorer 5.5 Advanced Security Privacy Beta. This product, which requires a new, full install of IE 5.5 for some reason, allows users to "manage cookies and maintain a higher degree of security and privacy than you ever have before. Now, you can configure your browser settings to differentiate between cookies that originate from a Web server you're intentionally visiting and cookies that originate from other Web sites \[that\] provide advertising or services." For more information and the free download, please visit the IE Web site.
Symantec announces Norton Utilities 2001 for Win2K, WinMe
Symantec has just released new versions of its Norton Utilities and Norton SystemWorks products that are compatible with both Windows 2000 and Windows Me. Norton Utilities 2001 and Norton SystemWorks 2001 offer a variety of ways to keep your Windows system in shape and running smoothly. For more information, please visit the Symantec Web site: http://www.symantec.com
Microsoft launches Windows Update Corporate Site
After months of testing, Microsoft has finally launched the Corporate version of its Windows Update Web site, which is designed to help system administrators in large companies wade more easily through over 1000 system updates and drivers for Windows 2000, NT 4, 95, and 98. The site is featured in over 30 languages and includes support from over 150 manufacturers worldwide. For more information, please visit the Windows Update Corporate Site.
Microsoft teaming with Amazon to sell eBooks
Microsoft announced this week that it will be partnering with Amazon.com to open a new eBook store on the online giant's Web site. Microsoft will provide an Amazon-branded version of its Microsoft Reader software, giving Amazon customers an easy way to buy books directly from the application. Of course, Microsoft needs to get hardware devices out that cost less than $500 and feature bigger screens than PocketPCs. Where are all the Reader devices we were promised