WinInfo Short Takes: Week of September 25

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

Microsoft releases TweakUI 1.33
Microsoft has finally released a new version of its popular TweakUI tool, which allows users to tweak just about any aspect of the Windows user interface. This new version adds support for Windows Me and a new "Places Bar" configuration that lets you modify that Office 2000-style toolbar you see in the Open and Save As dialogs in Windows 2000 and Windows Me. Check it out on the Microsoft Web site.

Apple licenses 1-Click technology
It kind of makes sense, when you consider that Apple's mouse only has one button: Apple Computer has licensed's somewhat controversial "1-Click" technology for its own online store. This will be a boon to people that need to quickly buy one of each color of iMac. I just hope they didn't spend too much on this. I'd hate for any money to be taken away from colored plastics research.

Corel finds last minute financing
Beleaguered Linux powerhouse Corel has secured much-needed financing so that it can stay in business for a while longer. This has been a tough year for the latest victim of the WordPerfect curse, with regular quarterly losses, a failed merger with Borland/Inprise, and the departure of CEO Michael Cowpland, who's been unfavorably compared to a used-car salesman. Add to this a failed strategy to change from Windows to Linux and you've got a case study for business schools everywhere. We all should have such a legacy.

Now maybe Sun can sue Apple
It's like the unholy trinity: Apple Computer sues anyone under the sun for copying its designs and then crows about a first-ever "cube" computer which, surprise, surprise, isn't the first one at all, because a company called Cobalt already had one. Now Sun has bought Cobalt, meaning that … ta da! ... Sun could sue Apple. What the heck, they're already suing Microsoft. Sun, that is. Apple has sued Microsoft too, but that's another story. You can't tell the players without a scorecard, folks.

Microsoft releases ISA Server RC1
Microsoft has released a public version of Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 Release Candidate 1 (RC1), it's new enterprise-class software firewall product for Windows 2000. If you're interested in testing the new product, head on over to the ISA 2000 Web site. I bet this one doesn't have any incompatibilities with Windows 2000 SP1, like third-party software firewalls did when that collection of bug fixes was released last month.

Maybe the demand for Windows 2000 isn't so bad after all...
I've written a lot about the dirty little secret that Windows 2000 isn't selling to Microsoft's expectations, but maybe I'm reading too much into this. PC maker WinBook Computer, which sells laptops with cunning names such as WinBook Si and WinBook Si2, announced this week that Windows 2000 Professional ships on over 40% of its notebooks. "Demand for Windows 2000 Professional continues to grow among WinBook Si2 notebook customers due to its reliability, manageability and robust features," said WinBook president Richard M. Mershad, presumably without any prompting from Redmond.

First the Choco Banana, now it's Koi and the Kola Nuts
Thanks to Barb Bowman for the tip: It looks like the Choco-Banana Shake isn't our only problem. Microsoft Support article Q152697 describes Koi and the Kola Nuts: The Story of Koi and the Kola Nuts, an engaging tale of greed and betrayal involving P.J. and Rabbit Ears. Proceed at your own peril.

Compaq uses Windows Media in new iPAQ media player
Not sure why this is news, since Compaq is joined to Microsoft's hip, but the companies announced this week that Compaq's new media player, the iPAQ Personal Audio Player, would use Windows Media as the default media technology. But I suspect that when actual people buy this thing, they'll use MP3 media technology like the rest of the planet. It's nice to see Compaq giving customers what they want.

Interesting article on Microsoft Passport
Thanks to Henrik N R Larsen for forwarding an interesting article about Microsoft Passport that was written by Joel Spolsky. Joel is terrified of Microsoft Passport, and I guess I'm not surprised. If you're worried about security and privacy issues, this one might be worth your time.

ZoneAlarm certified for Windows Me
ZoneLabs contacted me this week to let me know that both ZoneAlarm and ZoneAlarm Pro are compatible with Windows Me, and that no updates or patches are required. That's good news, of course, so I thought I'd pass it along. But frankly, I'm surprised to hear that Microsoft didn't do something to make them incompatible, but there you go.

Microsoft releases Active Directory client for NT 4
Thanks to everyone that wrote in with the news that Microsoft has finally released its Active Directory client for Windows NT 4.0. I hate to even say this, but what took so long? Windows 2000 shipped seven months ago. Anyway, if you're interested in getting NT 4.0 clients running in an Active Directory domain, head on over to Microsoft site and download the client. UPDATE: The current version of the Active Directory client for NT 4.0 is only a beta, and not the final release, making its delay even more troubling. Interestingly, Microsoft says that the final release of the Windows NT 4 Active Directory Client will ship on the NT 4.0 SP7 CD-ROM, as well as be available for download from the Web. If you're still interested in this client, which allows NT 4.0 to take full advantage of the features in Windows 2000 Active Directory, head on over the Microsoft Web site for more information.

Dell redesigns PCs, releases new laptops
Dell Computer likes to deliver the latest technologies to its customers on a regular basis, but one thing it doesn't mess with very often is its PC case designs. Well, that's changing and soon. Its Optiplex line of managed corporate desktops will soon sport a cool new midnight gray case with light gray accents, and this design will be used on its Dimension desktops soon. And start by next August, beige will be out for good in favor of this new design, which also sports an Apple G4-like swing-out chassis that can be opened without tools. Next up is a laptop redesign, with its Latitude line getting a new look starting Monday.

ZDNet gets scooped again
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley made a big deal out of some Whistler release dates earlier this week, dates that had first appeared in, yup you guessed it, WinInfo Daily UPDATE about ten days before that. Did she give me credit for this, even when confronted with this fact? Once again, no. It's gets tiring, I assure you. But then again, I do continually scoop one of the largest computer news organizations on the planet. And folks, that's just priceless

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