WinInfo Short Takes: Week of November 20

An irreverent look at some of the week's other news

An educated guess on the Whistler name...
I was installing the Visual Studio.NET beta yesterday when I noticed that Microsoft is now referring to the product as Visual Studio.NET 7.0, which is an interesting combination on the old and the new. With that in mind, along with word that Office 10 is likely to be called Office 2002 when it's released, I've got a guess about what Microsoft might (and should) call Whistler. Survey says: Windows.NET 2002.

Copernic releases new document summary application
The makers of my favorite Web search program have released a cool new document summary application called Copernic Summarizer, which integrates with Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Word, providing summaries and concept lists from the documents used by these applications. If you hit a meandering Word document, email, or Web site, Copernic Summarizer can help you cut to the chase. I've been using the program for the past week or so and have been pretty impressed with its capabilities, which can turn a scathing attack from a Linux fan into "Categories: Linux, Paul, stinks".

Beware the squeaky lobster
Thanks to Brian Sheaffer for the tip: Like most of the crazy Knowledge Base articles that I mention in Short Takes, this one seems to have disappeared from the Microsoft Web site suddenly. But until recently, you could read about KB article Q259895, "XADM: List of Performance Counters Added by Squeaky Lobster," which proves once and for all that the Microsoft Exchange developers really did have sense of humor. Too bad we can't prove it anymore.

New interface inspired by presidential election
This one is just classic: Online bookseller has posted a new user interface that is based on the Palm Beach County, Florida presidential ballots. And what's really funny is that the thing actually works, though you might find yourself choosing the wrong option inadvertently, just like the real thing! Head on over to the Amazon Web site and check it out.

Microsoft releases MSN Messenger 3.5...
Microsoft announced this week the availability of MSN Messenger Service 3.5, which features an MSN Explorer-like user interface and free PC-to-phone calls anywhere in the United States (international calls include a small charge). MSN Messenger supports 26 languages, including Traditional and Simplified Chinese and Korean, more than any other instant messaging service. For more information, head on over to the MSN Messenger Web site.

...As IM wars heat up
Speaking of MSN Messenger, the Instant Messaging (IM) wars are starting to get interesting. AOL Instant Messenger still has a commanding lead, with over 21.5 million users (30 million if you include AOL's ICQ). But Yahoo and MSN Messenger are growing fast: Yahoo has over 10 million users now, as does MSN. The problem, of course, is that these things can't quite interoperate, thanks to AOL, which is currently trying to explain how it won't use these same business practices in the cable access market when it merges with Time Warner. It's the little things, AOL.

Microsoft C# to go the standards route
It may be a Java rip-off (and let's face it, of course it is), but one thing Microsoft's newest development language, C#, has that Java doesn't is a future as an industry standard: This week, Microsoft announced that it was submitting the C# language and a subset of the .NET specification to ECMA, the European standards body, for evaluation as a standard. The submission, which was co-sponsored by HP and Intel Corporation, includes all of the technology needed to support C# on any computing platform.

PocketPC users have more fun
Microsoft released a new add-on pack for the PocketPC this week, the Entertainment PocketPak for Windows Powered Pocket PCs, which assembles a collection of 10 games for those who can see these tiny screens well enough to play them. The games include Blackjack, Chess, Cinco, FreeCell, Hearts, Minesweeper, Reversi, Sink the Ships, Space Defense and Taipei. And four of the games--Hearts, Reversi, Cinco and Sink the Ships--can be played against the PocketPC. The PocketPak costs about $30.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your credit cards!
Well, like it or not, the Holiday shopping season is upon us. I'm not sure whether everyone is aware of this, but in addition to my daily duties with WinInfo, I also write the editorial for a weekly email newsletter called UPDATE, which is also published by Windows 2000 Magazine. In this week's issue, I cull the responses from hundreds of readers and provide the best of their advice in a holiday shopping guide that you might find interesting. Check it out on the Windows 2000 Magazine Web site.

COMDEX show report now available
I've posted my COMDEX show report, along with exclusive photographs, to the SuperSite for Windows. So if you missed my daily reports in WinInfo this week, or just want to see what it all looked like, head on over to the SuperSite and check it out

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