Paul’s Picks - 30 Aug 2007

Summaries of in-depth product reviews on Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows

Microsoft outlook Connector for Windows Live hotmail

PROS: Now completely free to all users, works semi-seamlessly, and is simple to configure and use. ConS: No free calendar support—yet.
RATING: 4 out of 5
RECOMMENDATIONS: If you're already using Outlook 2007 or 2003 for work, perhaps because of a Microsoft Exchange requirement, you might want to use Outlook to manage other email accounts, including personal email accounts. Normally, this isn't a problem: Outlook supports multiple accounts, and can work with a wide range of email service types, including those that use industry standard POP3 and IMAP technologies. Until recently, however, accessing Hotmail (or MSN or email via Outlook required you to have a Hotmail Pro, MSN Premium, or other paid account. Now, access is free, and Microsoft is offering its excellent Outlook Connector software, which adds Hotmail compatibility to Outlook, to everyone. With Outlook Connector, Hotmail is accessed almost exactly like Exchange, where messages and contacts are kept on the server and synchronized seamlessly with the client. There's only one small problem, and this shouldn't affect most users: Hotmail's calendar will need to be updated before you can access it through Exchange. Microsoft says an updated version is coming within the year. (Paid MSN users can, however, continue to access their calendar with Outlook Connector.)
CONTACT: Microsoft • 800-426-9400 •

Windows Server 2008 Beta 3, CTP, and RC

PROS: Now feature-complete, with new IIS role in Server Core; Web server can be deployed in production environments.
CONS: Pre-release code is still risky.
RATING: 4 out of 5
RECOMMENDATIONS: Windows Server 2008 (previously code-named Longhorn Server) is a major revision to Microsoft's server product line. Microsoft has indicated that the final version will ship by the end of the year. For now, however, Beta 3 and subsequent RC and Community Technology Preview (CTP) releases are painting a feature complete picture of the release, and it looks solid: Windows 2008 features a major architectural change with componentized roles, a major new IIS release, a command line-only Server Core install option, a new scripting environment called Windows PowerShell, and other new features. It's available for free from Microsoft's Web site: Check it out today.
CONTACT: Microsoft • 800-426-9400 •
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