Security Software = Security Risk?

In general, we use and trust security programs like antivirus and antispyware applications from all sorts of vendors to keep our computers safe, but could those very programs be opening us up to more holes? That’s what security firm n.runs AG has been testing for the last several years, and it is the subject of a recent PC World article. It turns out that file parser bugs in many of the mainstream scanning engines are exposing users to additional risks. The problem is compounded by the fact that many users run multiple scanning programs in tandem, under the reasoning that…

Read more

Microsoft’s Security Focus on Vista May Have Lowered Consumer Adoption

In an article from PC World’s Business Center, it is suggested that Microsoft’s focus on security for the almost a year old Windows Vista may have undermined consumer opinion. Enterprises and consumers alike should not be expected to purchase an upgrade to a company’s product to fix an error on the part of the manufacturer. Microsoft has been promoting the security improvements in Vista from day one, when the OS was unveiled, and that could be a factor in the slow adoption. In fact, many people who are getting Vista do so because they have no other choice. For the…

Read more

Windows XP SP3 Sometime Next Year?

Well, this is interesting. Microsoft, as we all know, released a Windows Vista SP1 candidate to testers a little while ago, but they also quietly slipped a release candidate for Windows XP SP3 into testing a few days later. Now, why wouldn’t they say something about it? Perhaps XP is still more popular than Vista, and Microsoft doesn’t want another XP service pack to steal thunder from the newer OS? Face it, Microsoft, Windows XP is better than Vista will ever be. All the compatibility headaches, the excruciatingly high system requirements, the atrocious UI redesign (the Aero interface just hurts…

Read more

Microsoft Launches Windows Live Community Builder

Well, they call it Community Builder. From looking at the specs, it sounds like something similar to Google’s Apps For Your Domain, making it Windows Live For Your Domain. Well, that’s what TechCrunch is calling it, anyway. It’s all free, meaning it costs less than GAFYD (at least for businesses). Included are email tools, page creation apps, and several other features not exactly spelled out (Microsoft says that more info is coming on the site). It looks interesting, and includes full developer resources to create custom plugins for other Live apps (such as Writer and Messenger), make rich-content websites, and…

Read more

Either Make It Work or Don’t Offer It, Class.com!

Updated; see end. Time to air another pet peeve of mine, namely applications that don’t do what they’re supposed to do. I have found very few examples recently, in that I can’t remember any other examples than the one I’m about to write about. I know it’s happened before; I just can’t recall at the moment. Anyway, I’m enrolled in an English class in which we read William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and write various reports on each act (that’s just Unit 1). To assist with that endeavor, the course’s publisher, Class.com, provides students with a (not-so; read on) slick little…

Read more

Businesses Could Skip Vista; XP Remains Biggest Competitor

The largest opponent to Windows Vista in the business market is not Leopard. Nor does its name contain “Hat.” There is no “U” nor “K” in its name. The name is Windows XP, and it is a large force in the enterprise market. Businesses have spent years now standardizing on Windows XP (some places still even use Windows 2000). The hardware and software incompatibilities introduced in Windows Vista, coupled with its enormous hardware requirements (2 GB minimum recommended RAM and so forth) are hampering business adoption, and causing many companies to abandon deployment plans they made before Vista’s release. XP…

Read more

Microsoft Finally Patches URI Handler

So, the URI handler patch that Microsoft has finally finished testing and was pushed out via Windows Update yesterday. I guess that means the ShellExecute() function is now properly sanitizing links it gets from external programs. Which means a banner day for security, since many vulnerabilities in software applications have now been fixed at a central location. Microsoft also fixed a flaw in the Windows DNS server, eliminating one attack vector for man-in-the-middle exploits.

Read more

Microsoft Messes Up WSUS Again

Less than three weeks after the , Microsoft again brought WSUS servers crashing to a halt this past Sunday and Monday. Apparently, the error was caused by a renamed product category entry on Microsoft’s side that contained quotation marks, illegal characters in the WSUS management console. The category was renamed Sunday evening, and servers that synchronized with Microsoft between then and Monday afternoon, when the problem was fixed, were practically inoperative due to the quotation error. Given the number of support forum posts there must have been (not cited in the article), it would seem that this was a big…

Read more

Microsoft Drops IE ActiveX Warning

Microsoft’s next update to Internet Explorer (remember, its real name is Suckernet Exploder…) will revert to the pre-WinXP SP2 behavior for ActiveX controls. That is, there won’t be any more “Click to activate…” prompts. Controls will just work. Sounds like taking a step back forward to me. The update will be rolled into the next betas of Vista SP1 and XP SP3, though the announcement did not specify what versions of IE would be changed. I would guess 7, but I’m hoping for 6, too, since that’s what I have, and those stupid prompts are annoying me. They did say…

Read more

Yes, Windows Vista Still Sucks

As I’ve posted quite frequently, Windows Vista is worse than Windows 98, just with better graphics. Steve Bass at PC World pointed out this amusing video in his latest column, and I found it so funny I just had to share it. Yes, I know I’m using a player you’ve never seen before (blip.tv), but the version I found on YouTube had a bunch of annoying stuff at the beginning, totally unrelated to the original video. So, there you have it: Windows Vista has “more holes than a sponge” and will sink your computer (and your morale) like cement. 🙂…

Read more