Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE—brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies.
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January 28, 2003—In this issue:
- Exchange Team Responds to Spam Problem; Laptop of the Month
2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
- Internet Endures Blistering Attack
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
- Microsoft Reissues Windows XP SMB Security Hotfix
- Win2K Eject PC Bug Fix
- Win2K Task Scheduler Forgets Batch Jobs
- Disk Subsystem Blue Screen
- USB Device Bug Fix
- Back By Popular Demand—Don't Miss Our PacWest Security Road Show!
- Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Real-World Technical Tips Here for You
5. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Mobile Devices Policy
- New Instant Poll: Exchange's Antispam Solution
- Featured Thread: Local Admin Account
- Tip: How Can I Enable the Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 Mini-Player Mode?
7. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Send Alerts to Your Mobile Phone
- Safeguard Your Inbox
- Submit Top Product Ideas
8. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected])
Last week, I asked Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE readers to respond to my call for more pervasive spam removal tools in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 (formerly code-named Titanium), the next version of Microsoft's messaging server that will ship in mid-2003. As always, you responded in force, with hundreds of email messages. This week, I give you the Exchange team's response to my editorial and respond to some of the feedback. Also, I cover the first Laptop of the Month for 2003, a Compaq Tablet PC design from Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Exchange 2003 and Spam
After meeting with the Windows Server team at COMDEX in November, I was invited to visit the Microsoft campus for a series of meetings about Windows Server 2003 and related enterprise server products. Last week, I visited the campus with Windows & .NET Magazine's Editor in Chief Janet Robbins and Senior Technical Editor Michael Otey. We gained unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Windows Server team. (The results of these meetings will appear in a variety of UPDATE articles and other articles in the near future.) During my trip, I met Ed Wu, a product manager on the Exchange team. I'd spoken with Wu several times by phone, but I was glad to finally meet him. Wu demonstrated various Exchange 2003 features, but he was kind enough to address the spam problem right off the bat. In fact, he surprised me by noting that he had already read last week's editorial about spam.
"Spam is a hot issue right now," he said, "and we know that we have to deliver a solution in \[Exchange 2003\]. We have to make sure that we do the right thing, that our solution is flexible enough that when things change—and the spam adapts—our solution will have the delta to adjust. It should be flexible and adaptable, as are antivirus filters today. Our general philosophy is that we need to stop spam before it hits users' inboxes." Wu noted my mention last week of Bayesian filters and newer, more adaptable spam filters, and said that although he couldn't yet reveal how Microsoft plans to address this concern, the solution will be similar to the methods I described and will be a complete solution. He said that Microsoft plans to announce Exchange 2003's spam-fighting tools soon.
Addressing the Bundling Problem
Although most UPDATE readers who responded to last week's commentary agreed that Microsoft shouldn't consider releasing Exchange 2003 without pervasive antispam tools, several readers questioned this approach. "Isn't this exactly the kind of product bundling that got Microsoft in trouble in the first place?" one reader asked. "What about all the third-party companies that make antispam add-ons for Exchange?" In answer to these concerns, Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on messaging servers, and it's hard to make the argument that the company would be illegally leveraging its dominance to force other companies out of the market. I suspect that Microsoft will provide a solution similar to the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) in Windows 2003 and Windows XP that provides a baseline of functionality while providing hooks for third parties to build on. Again, we have to take a wait-and-see approach.
Laptop of the Month: Compaq Tablet PC TC1000
This month's Laptop of the Month is HP's Compaq Tablet PC TC1000, an innovative Tablet PC that combines the best features of slate-type devices and convertible laptops. Technically, the TC1000 is a slate-style Tablet PC, in that it's a one-piece design in which the screen is wedded to the CPU and ports. But Compaq added an interesting clip-on keyboard base that swivels around and lets you use the machine like a laptop of sorts, if so desired. The problem with this approach, however, is that the TC1000 can't sit on your lap: Unlike a typical laptop, the keyboard sits right up against the front of the base, so the Tablet PC's screen-hovering, top-heavy-over-the-center-of-the-keyboard base causes the laptop to teeter backward unless it sits on a flat surface. That said, the TC1000 provides a good halfway point between true slate-type machines and true convertible laptops, and its beautiful industrial design is sure to win converts.
Another innovative touch for the TC1000 is the optional docking station—at just $300, it's a must-have—that lets you use the laptop at your desk with a regular keyboard, mouse, and external monitor, for a dual-headed display. The docking station sports a swiveling Tablet PC stand that supports portrait and landscape modes and a movable arm that lets you position the screen for writing, a VGA port for dual monitors, four USB 2.0 ports, and a Compaq MultiBay for compatibility with Compaq's laptop CD-ROM-type drives. Unfortunately, the docking station didn't ship with my test machine, but I tested it at the Tablet PC launch last fall and came away impressed.
The TC1000 Tablet PC that I tested had the standard array of features, including an underpowered Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 processor that's rated at 1GHz but feels about half that fast, a 10.4" screen running at 1024 x 768 resolution, 256MB of RAM (upgradeable to 768MB), a 30GB hard disk (a 60GB disk is available), integrated 802.11b wireless networking, and the standard complement of ports. Weighing just 3 pounds without keyboard base (or about 4 pounds with it) and with almost 3 hours of battery life, the TC1000 is extremely portable. In fact, combined with the docking station, one might argue that the TC1000 is a perfect mobile computing solution for people who also spend part of their life tethered to the desk (in other words, almost all mobile workers).
Unfortunately, the unit has two key problems that prevent it from achieving true excellence. The first is the aforementioned Crusoe processor, which is adequate for office applications but has trouble keeping up with me when I write quickly with the stylus. The second is the TC1000's unique glass screen, which makes this unit the only Tablet PC that doesn't use Wacom digitizing technology. The unit's screen doesn't support pressure sensitivity (i.e., pressing harder with the stylus doesn't result in bolder strokes) or an integrated pen eraser. Instead, you must select the software-based eraser tool and erase with the stylus's regular tip. Yuck.
These problems are easy to fix, however, and I'd like to see the company adopt a more powerful Intel processor and the standard Tablet PC screen in the next version. If the company does so, the TC1000 will be the top Tablet PC out there. Currently, the TC1000's design is still one of the best units available and an interesting and innovative approach that blurs the line between the standard slates and convertible laptops that other vendors supply.
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2. HOT OFF THE PRESS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
A fast-spreading computer worm attacked the main pillars of the information superhighway Saturday, bringing almost 20 percent of the Internet to its knees. Security experts are already calling the attack the worst the Internet has suffered since a similar worm called CodeRed wreaked havoc nearly 2 years ago. This time, the worm—dubbed SQL Slammer and Sapphire—targeted servers running Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0. In July 2002, Microsoft supplied a fix that would have prevented this problem, and just last week the company released SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3), which included the fix. As is usually the case with such outages, human error—in the form of inadequately updated servers—is at fault. For the complete story, visit the following URL:
3. KEEPING UP WITH WIN2K AND NT
(contributed by Paula Sharick, [email protected])
As many of you noted a few weeks ago, the Windows XP Server Message Block (SMB) security hotfix wouldn't install on XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) systems. I've since discovered that Microsoft released a new version of the MS02-070 (Flaw in SMB Signing May Permit Group Policy to Be Modified) security hotfix on January 22. If you missed my earlier column about this subject, you need to know that in addition to eliminating a Group Policy-based vulnerability, this security fix should also eliminate numerous errors that XP SP1 users experience when they attempt to access (i.e., create, open, or save) files on Windows 2000 systems with SMB signing enabled. You can download the new version of this fix at the URL below. I haven't yet tested the fix, so let me know whether it works.
WEB-EXCLUSIVE ARTICLES: The following items are posted on the Windows & .NET Magazine Web site. For the complete story, use the following link and scroll to the appropriate item.
- WIN2K EJECT PC BUG FIX
- WIN2K TASK SCHEDULER FORGETS BATCH JOBS
- DISK SUBSYSTEM BLUE SCREEN
- USB DEVICE BUG FIX
If you missed last year's popular security road show event, now is your chance to catch it again in Portland, Oregon, and Redmond. Learn from experts Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott about how to shore up your system's security and what desktop security features are planned for Microsoft .NET and beyond. Registration is free, so sign up now!
Chock-full of "been there, done that" information from experts who use Microsoft technologies in the real world. Get the latest updates on security, Microsoft Exchange Server, wireless, Microsoft .NET, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, and more. Exclusive opportunity to interact firsthand with Windows & .NET Magazine writers. Go to
5. INSTANT POLL
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What is your company policy about the use of mobile devices?" Here are the results from the 105 votes.
- 24% We allow company-owned devices only
- 28% Individuals can use their own devices—with restrictions
- 37% Individuals may use their own devices—with restrictions
- 49% We have no company policy for mobile devices
(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)
The next Instant Poll question is, "If you don't find Exchange Server 2003's antispam solution to be adequate, will you use another messaging program?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) No, other solutions aren't adequate either, b) Yes, we need a robust solution, c) I don't know, or d) We don't use Exchange.
Wes wants to know how to recover a local Administrator account password. If you can help, join the discussion at the following URL:
(contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com)
WMP 9 includes a Mini-Player mode that runs on the Windows taskbar. To enable WMP in Mini-Player mode, perform the following steps:
- Right-click an unused space on the taskbar.
- Select Windows Media Player from the toolbar context menu.
Windows will add a new blank space on the taskbar for the set of controls that will appear when you minimize WMP. When WMP is in Mini-Player mode, you can restore the regular WMP interface by clicking the bottom-right icon on the docked WMP control set.
7. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
M-PLIFY announced AlarmTILT! Plug-In, software for Ipswitch's WhatsUp Gold that enables network monitoring software to send alerts to your mobile phones. The software immediately reports a description of the affected service (i.e., Internet server or email server) to the mobile phone. For pricing, contact M-PLIFY at [email protected]
PJ Walczak released Mailbox Guard 1.61, software that eliminates spam, viruses, and obscenity before it gets into your Inbox. Mailbox Guard lets you view your mail while it's still on your email server. The software categorizes each objectionable incoming email message. You can delete messages while they're on your server so that they pose no risk to your computer, or you can set the program to automatically delete objectionable messages. Pricing is $29.50. Contact PJ Walczak at 952-646-5331 or 877-353-7297.
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected].
8. CONTACT US
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:
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- ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — [email protected]
(please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
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