Friday, December 31, 2004

Microsoft revokes Passport

Given that E-Bay has dropped Passport, The Register's story: Microsoft revokes Passport service was not all that surprising. When it worked, Passport was great - and enabled me to not have to remember the myriad of passwords that MS sites seem to require. But it was all too often the cause of problems (and to this day the 'automatically log me on' feature rarely works and every site that became Passport enabled seemed to have had teething troubles. And it was not cheap for partners either. Perhaps the most interesting point in the article comes towards the end, where the story notes that Microsoft has some "real identity management aspirations". It will be interesting to see where MS goes in this area.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

US ISP wins $1bn in damages from spammers

In a recent article, The Register reports that a US ISP wins $1bn damages from spammers. I wonder if any of the spammers will ever pay.

Windows Update Services Wiki

In a recent post, I wrote about the WUS Service Beta 2. I've been playing with it a lot over the holidays (and filing a bunch of bug reports). Due out by the end of the 1st half of 2005, this is a great step forward from SUS. But there is a lot of work still to do on usability! One neat feature of the beta has been the creation of the Windows Update Services Wiki. This is all community developed and includes information on installation, deployment as well as FAQs and details of confirmed issues. The cool thing is that this is all being developed by the community - this is not a Microsoft site (although some MS employee do contribute!). An interesting thing about the site is the traffic analysis - take a look, it's global (and IE only accounts for 78% of the traffic). The site is getting around 180 hits/day, with an average of 3.4 page hits/visit. Not bad given the new-news of the product!

UK Internet Traffic High Over the Holidays

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is the worlds largest Internet hub by volume, as well as begin an for world wide ISPs. 170 ISPs use LINX's switching facilties across 8 London-based 'tele-hotels'. Linx has just issued a press release regarding data traffic in the UK over the holiday period. Traffic on Chritmas Day and Boxing Day, for example, was, says Linx "substantially higher than on the same two days in 2003 - itself a record year". Traffic on Christmas day peaked at around 50GB/second on Boxing Day, and abotu 45GB/sec on Christmas Day. This is roughly double the amounts for 2003! It shows how much the Internet is a part of people's daily lives (and not just for work stuff).

Sadly the spam merchants have been unrelenting over the holdays. But these days, I'm not sure which is worse - the spammers, or the clueless admins who insist on bouncing me the full message (with virus payload or other crap intact) since the original mail came FROM: me. :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Microsoft Certified NON-Professional

Microsoft has just kindly added a new certification for me - I've now have the Microsoft Certified Non-Professional certification. It's on my transcript. Apparentlyl, I achieved this certification on the 17th of Dec, although I am uncertain just how I managed this. Or did I upset someone?

An update (29.12.2004)

It looks like this was just a a database-goof and it's now been fixed.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Windows Server 2003 R2 Enters Beta

As reported in ENT News - Microsoft has now shipped a first beta of Windows Server 2003 R2. R2 is essentially Windows Server 2003 SP1 plus some of the feature packs previously issued for Win2k3 plus some new services and features. R2 comes, as ENT reports, on two CDs: the first is SP1, the second the R2 add-ons. R2 has three key focuses:

Branch Office Support - increasingly, enterprises want to deploy systems to branch offices, for a variety of reasons including local productivity and resilience. R2's branch office features will allow you to consider a branch office nothing more than a lazy cache of something held (and managed, and backed up and analysed!) at a central hub site. To achieve this, R2 has major updates to FRS (including a differencing file transfer protocol) and DFS.

Active Directory Federation - this extends AD to support web single sign-on as well as B2B/B2C systems. For more info on ADFS see the .NET Show epidode with David McPherson and Don Schmidt.

Storage - R2 has a number of features in the storage area, including real filestore quotas, simple SAN support, the abilty to deny storing inappropriate content (where the admin determines what is appropriate) etc.

With Windows 2003 SP1 nearing completion, 2005 looks like seeing quite a lot of new technology from Microsoft, including the first serious beta of Longhorn, Windows 2003 SP1 RTM and R2 RTM, as well as other smaller programs (e.g. SUS, MACS, etc).

Linux kernel bug analysis

Coverity produces a tool that analyses source code and discovers defects. Coverity has spent some time analysing source for Linux and has published a report looking at the bugs in Linux kernel 2.6.9. This is interesting research, but it's probably not accurate to report, as did that "Linux: Fewer Bugs Than Rivals", if only because similar analyses were not done on those rivals. This seems to be another bit of interesting research that Linux advocates will point to as proof of Linux superiority. Meanwhile MS points out it's MS Research group has doing this sort of analysis since the late 90s, gradually moving its research into shipping products. Tools like PREfix and PREfast are widely deployed inside MS at least, and account for something like 1/6th of all bugs found in Server 2003.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mary Jo reports on problems in MVP Land

Mary Jo Foley writes a nice site over at She also writes a subscription newsletter (Microsoft Watch). This week she's reporting on "Trouble in MVP Land" suggesting in a roundabout way that the programme might be cancelled, in whole or in part. It seems folks are adding 2 and 2 and getting 22 again.

The MVP programme certainly has ramped up quickly from around 600 a couple of years ago to over 2000 today. Much of that growth has been in taking the programme global - with Japanese, Indian, and other MVPs being added to the ranks. And with this huge growth in the number of MVPs has come the growth in the amount of staff required to manage the programme. When your CEO wants to shave $1bn off the cost structure, every large programme needs to look for economies of scale!.

At the same time, MVPs come in many different shapes and sizes - and MS is looking at how to get the best out of their significant investment. Some MVPs operate at different levels, and provide a different degree if 'value' - and may need to be recognised differently.

Of course, in addition to the MVPs, there are also Regional Directors, and other influential communities. There are a bunch of things (administrivia mainly) that probably could usefully be consolidated, and at the same time, there's the age old questions of who gets what, when, how, etc. The constant readjustment of any on-going programme continues. One very positive sign for the MVP programme, to me at least, is how so many of the product groups are pro-MVP.

So will the MVP programme be killed? I very much doubt it. But I'm certain it will evolve. Expect a formal reaction from Microsoft to Mary Jo's article shortly.