More of the New Hotness!

February 17, 2006


How many of you were wondering if I’d ever post stuff again? Well, I started wondering the same thing and realized that I was the only one who could do something about it. So here it is [drumroll, please].

We’ve been really busy rolling out all sorts of new trinkets. Some of it is beta software. Some of it is beta in name only. All of these things are part of the massive wave of change that Microsoft is going to deliver to its customers.

Here is the quick list, for now:

MSN Messenger 8.0 (aka, Live Messenger): I got my hands on this one yesterday. Its a great next step in communications. I love the fact that our clients now interact with IM tools from most other services. For example, I seamlessly communicate with AIM users, Yahoo! users and even ICQ users. You may be saying that this is not new. Well, you’re right about that. You could have used Gaim or Trillian and accomplished the same thing for over a year. But this is the first client from a service provider. No, it’s not Microsoft’s first universal client. If you’ve used the Office Communicator, you’ve been able to work with other service providers for quite some time. But this is the first time a service provider is offering gateway capabilities. [Note: In this version of the beta, I’m having some trouble with external providers. But I expect these minor challenges to be resolved shortly.] At the same time, the new Messenger featurs VOIP integration – including the ability to launch a SIP connection from the IM client. Will we offer a connection to the PSTN? I don’t know. It sure would be nice. But I do know that such connections are technically possible. We just need to decide if we will do that or leave it to VoIP services (like Skype) or the telcos. Wow! It won’t be long until the time when we can seamlessly communicate between traditional phones, computers and wireless phones. And that communciations will be via both text and audio. And with Apple beating the video drum, maybe we will start to see point-to-point video communications start to emerge. Boy, I love technology!

Windows Defender: I’ve been using the Microsoft Anti-Spyware tool since it was first released in beta form. And for those who didn’t know it, this is the product that MSFT bought from Giant. So it’s been a beta product and freely avaialble for quite some time. And now the product is in its second version. I can’t say how much longer the beta program will last. But I expect that we will continue to offer this as a core component of our Windows offering. After all, security is a key component in availability and manageability. The new version has some excellent visual touches. But even more important are the management and security aspects of the tool. The tool has additional feautres to secure against rootkits (like the Sony XCP exploit). In addition, Windows Defender is now a full-fledged service (including WMI capabilities). The tool does not yet include an anti-virus capability. But Microsoft will be offering a fee-based product/service that includes anti-virus defense as well. The first version of this will come in the Windows One Care Live offering. And a comprehenisve, enterprise version will be released as Microsoft Client Protection. But for now, the Windows Defender is one of the best products around – and it’s available in beta form today.



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