Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--November 18, 2003

Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--November 18, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Argent Software

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1. Commentary: COMDEX 2003: SmartScreen Antispam, Tablet PC 2004, and Windows Mobile 2003

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Fined $62.3 Million in Patent Case

3. Announcements
- 2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections
- New White Paper on Exchange 2003 Deployment

4. Instant Poll
- Results of Previous Poll: Computer Criminal Bounty
- New Instant Poll: Antispam Solution

5. Resources
- Featured Thread: Troubleshooting MMC
- Tip: How can I install the SMTP service under Windows Server 2003?

6. Event
- Have You Checked Out Windows & .NET Magazine's Archived Web Seminars Lately? 7. New and Improved
- Visualize Network Problems
- Port UNIX Applications to Windows
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

8. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: COMDEX 2003: SmartScreen Antispam, Tablet PC 2004, and Windows Mobile 2003 ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

As I write this, COMDEX 2003 is just barely under way, with preregistration, preconferences, and Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates's keynote address behind us. And although some of this show's most interesting revelations might still be in the future, we've already discovered some interesting Microsoft platform-related news that I want to tell you about.

SmartScreen Antispam Technology

During his keynote address Sunday night, Gates announced the Microsoft SmartScreen antispam technologies, which will debut in an add-on for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Software Assurance customers. The add-on, called Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter, will ship in early 2004. Early versions of the technology debuted in MSN 8, MSN Hotmail, and Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. Microsoft Research developed SmartScreen's patented technology, which appears to be similar to the Bayesian antispam technologies I've discussed previously in Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE. SmartScreen uses a heuristic-based email analysis to determine whether a message is junk email. And as with Bayesian approaches, SmartScreen adapts over time, making it more intelligent the longer you use it.

Interestingly, Microsoft first tested its SmartScreen technology on Hotmail, which provided the company with millions of real-world spam messages to evaluate and thousands of real users who agreed to test the technology and rate each of their messages as spam or legitimate email. This real-world evaluation gives the technology a fairly unprecedented level of battle readiness, given the massive amounts of spam that flow through Hotmail's networks.

Here's how SmartScreen works: When an email message arrives on the Exchange server, the software determines the recipient; checks to see whether the sending address is on the recipient's Safe Sender, Safe Recipient, or Blocked Sender lists; then applies the appropriate rules and bypasses SmartScreen. If the sender isn't on one of these lists, the server scans the message for characteristics in the text and arrives at a probability of whether the message is spam. According to the settings the administrator has configured, Exchange delivers the message to the recipient's Inbox or Junk Mail folder.

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004

Gates noted that various hardware makers have sold 500,000 Tablet PCs in the past year, which isn't a huge number, frankly. But two factors are colluding to make Tablet PCs more viable in the year ahead. First, PC makers are moving away from the performance-challenged Pentium III Processor - M and Transmeta Crusoe platforms that previous devices were based on, and moving to the more powerful Pentium M/Centrino platform. As a result, second-generation Tablet PC devices, some of which are available now, will perform better, while getting dramatically better battery life than their predecessors. Rarely do we see such an obvious win-win for users.

Second, Microsoft is improving the Tablet PC software and will release a free upgrade for all Tablet PC users called Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004 in the first half of 2004. This release, code-named Lonestar, adds several features that make the Tablet PC platform more viable, especially in the crucial data-entry category. Gates demonstrated improvements to the Tablet PC OS's Info Panel, the pop-up window that appears when you need to input Digital Ink into a Windows control, such as a text box. In previous versions, the software had to contextually determine whether you were writing letters or numbers, which was processor- and time-intensive. (For example, did you write a "5" or an "S"?) In the new version, developers can restrict the types of input each control can accept. So if an input box is designed for a phone number, it will accept only numbers and be better able to determine what you're writing. And Microsoft redesigned the Info Panel to resize on the fly so that you can write more at one time, which is a nice feature.

Windows Mobile 2003

The Windows Mobile folks are here at COMDEX, and while Gates didn't say much about the Pocket PC, he did briefly discuss new Smartphone devices. My concern here is with Microsoft's syncing software, ActiveSync, which appears to dramatically lag behind similar third-party software. Here's the primary problem: Because they're digital devices, you need to occasionally reboot or reset Pocket PCs and, presumably, Windows Mobile Smartphones. Although rebooting doesn't usually wipe out the data on the device, such as your Contacts or Calendar information, it does wipe out such things as the owner information and all your customization settings. Some OEMs, such as HP, have written software programs to overcome this limitation, but Microsoft needs to build this functionality into ActiveSync.

Another feature lacking from ActiveSync is the ability to fine-tune the ways in which information is synced between your PC and your device. With the Palm OS, you can easily set up the device to do one-way sync, in which information on the PC always overwrites information on the device (or vice versa). For some reason, this basic functionality is still unavailable on the Pocket PC and Smartphone. Furthermore, when syncing between two PCs and one device, I often get double entries, which is unacceptable.

Not coincidentally, I'll be meeting with each of the product teams for the technologies mentioned above during COMDEX, as well as with a host of other Microsoft teams and third-party companies later in the week, so I might have more information soon. See you next week.


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Fined $62.3 Million in Patent Case
On Friday, a federal jury fined Microsoft $62.3 million, punishing the company for infringing on a conferencing-technology patent owned by Imagexpo, a subsidiary of manufacturer SPX. The company sued Microsoft in October 2002 for using its patented technology in NetMeeting, which shipped with several Windows versions, and in other software products. The technology lets users in different physical locations remotely access and edit a whiteboardlike editing surface concurrently. Microsoft says it's phasing out NetMeeting so that it can concentrate on its similar Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2003 Web-conferencing service.

==== 3. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections
Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4 to 7, 2004, in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas Resort. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or go online at

New White Paper on Exchange 2003 Deployment
In this timely white paper, author and Microsoft Exchange expert Kieran McCorry, from HP's Consulting and Integration Technology Group, outlines the best options for organizations migrating to Exchange Server 2003. The paper outlines inter- and intra-organizational migration issues and the benefits of server consolidation during deployment. Get your copy today!

~~~~ Hot Release: Microsoft Security Solutions ~~~~

You can't stop all hacker attacks, so defend your most valuable digital assets first. "The Myth of Secure Computing" - A free white paper from the Harvard Business Review. Download this free technical white paper now from Windows & .NET Magazine's White Paper Central:;6576287;8469764;k?

==== 4. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Computer Criminal Bounty
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you think Microsoft's proposed bounty on computer criminals is a good idea?" Here are the results from the 466 votes:
- 74% Yes
- 20% No
- 6% I don't know

New Instant Poll: Antispam Solution
The next Instant Poll question is, "Has your organization implemented an enterprisewide spam-filtering solution?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No, but we're planning to soon, c) No, we have no plans to implement an antispam solution.

==== 5. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Troubleshooting MMC
User Odit recently upgraded eight of his company's Windows 2000 member servers to Windows Server 2003. The Win2K servers all had Service Pack 4 (SP4) installed before the upgrade. All upgrades went well except one. When he tried opening the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Computer Management snap-in, he received the following error message:

"MMC cannot open the file c:\winnt\system32\compmgmt.msc. This may be because the file does not exist, is not an MMC console, or was created by a later version of MMC. This may also be because you do not have sufficient access rights to the file."

This problem doesn't occur with the other servers that he upgraded. If you can help, visit the following URL:

Tip: How can I install the SMTP service under Windows Server 2003?
by John Savill,

The version of Microsoft IIS that ships with Windows 2003 contains a service that you can use to deliver mail by using SMTP. To install this SMTP service, perform the following steps:
1. Start the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet.
2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
3. After the Windows Components Wizard appears, select Applications Server and click Details.
4. Select Internet Information Services (IIS), then click Details.
5. Select SMTP Service, then click OK.
6. Continue to click OK to close all other dialog boxes until you're back at the Windows Components Wizard page, then click Next.

Windows 2003 will copy the files required for the SMTP service (you might be prompted to insert the installation CD-ROM) and configure the service. You can also install the SMTP service through the E-mail Services tool, which is a POP3 component that automatically installs SMTP. Windows 2003 configures the SMTP service to use a default server, and you can use the IIS Manager to modify the server settings.

==== 6. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

Have You Checked Out Windows & .NET Magazine's Archived Web Seminars Lately?
Find timely information about email abuse and the security and business concerns surrounding the use and abuse of email within companies. Or, learn more about identity management and how you can benefit from greater security, improved productivity, and better manageability. Sign up and receive a free identity management white paper. Register now for these two informative Web seminars!

==== 7. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Visualize Network Problems
ClearSight Networks announced ClearSight Analyzer, a software suite that lets IT administrators visualize network problems as the user sees them, thus eliminating the need for packet decodes. Multiple departments from across the enterprise can quickly pinpoint network problems in real time. The product line includes ClearSight Analyzer, ClearSight Analyzer 10/100 Full Duplex, ClearSight Analyzer Gigabit, and ClearSight Remote. Pricing starts at $7995. Contact ClearSight Networks at 650-358-9555 or 800-825-7563.

Port UNIX Applications to Windows
MKS released MKS Toolkit 8.6, products that provide scripting and porting tools to automate tasks and help you to migrate UNIX applications to Windows. You can run UNIX applications as native Windows programs and take advantage of COM, Microsoft .NET, and other Windows features. Pricing is $359. Contact MKS at 519-884-2251 or 800-265-2797.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

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==== 8. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.

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