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March 28, 2003

The weirdest thing just happened to my Windows 2000 setup now -- it stopped responding to the secure attention sequence (i.e. ctrl+alt+del), killing tasks like McAfee's avsynmgr.exe (chief suspect) became impossible (access denied) and logoff/shutdown became impossible (the dialogs would display but not actually do anything). All the while, apps continued to worked fine. Poking at the reset switch solved that one.


The story about this security bulletin has hit Slashdot. While there realistically won't be too many customers who'll trust NT4 systems on a un-firewalled network, this will seriously impact Microsoft's credibility in the enterprise space (a space where it needs all the credibility it can get) because it reneged on its own lifecycle policy of providing hotfixes 'til Dec 2003 and security-related hotfixes 'til Dec 2004. IBM teams (which have consistently provided support for their products -- including clunkers like PC DOS -- for 7+ years) must be smiling.


March 26, 2003

Ralph Peters in the NY Post warns that while the war is going well for coalition troops, mistakes have been made:
Despite the warnings - even the pleading - of his generals, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refused to send as many heavy ground forces to the Gulf as our military planners requested. In many ways an admirable and inspiring leader, Rumsfeld let himself be persuaded by a gang of civilian theorists and by mercenary defense contractors that airpower could win this war and that ground forces would just go in to tidy things up.

So the generals did not get the extra armored divisions they wanted to provide maximum punch on the battlefield and as insurance should unexpected difficulties emerge. Now we have no significant ground reserves in the theater of war, we lack adequate combat units to fully protect our supply lines - and the weary troops at the front must continue the fight by themselves.

Peters' earlier columns are also worth reading.


Inside Ventura County: Iraqi TV Station was probably destroyed by E-bomb. Earlier, CNN had reported (can't find a permalink for this) that the TV station was in a predominantly civilian area and that it was previously considered to be a "difficult" target in terms of minimizing civilian casualties.


March 21, 2003

Daniel Pipes: Why the Left Loves Osama. (via junkyardblog)


Paris, Ricin, Iraq, Pakistan.


LT Smash: After work today, a buddy and I grabbed a couple of cold beers, sat down on a park bench, and talked about football while watching the girls walk by. (LT Smash is a reserve officer in the US Military, blogging from the Gulf.)


March 19, 2003

Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic:
Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?


March 15, 2003

The Sydney Morning Herald reports
In Kuwait, where tens of thousands of troops yesterday took part in mock invasion exercises and received what appeared to be their final orders, US marines broke out their chemical warfare suits which officers here said have a shelf life of 45 days.
After hundreds of anti-war protests and pro-war essays, Gulf War II seems to be at last getting off the ground.


March 14, 2003

Recently there were a few posts about BSNL's DIAS service to the india-gii mailing list. DIAS does offer a digital line with integrated voice+data, but with ISDN-grade speeds, and ordinarily would be nothing to write home about except for one thing -- the price. Sink in Rs 2000, pay Rs 3000 as a refundable deposit, and plonk down Rs 1800 per month, and you are the proud owner of a line that does 128kbps. This is a great price if the line actually delivers anything over 100kbps. On the other hand, BSNL's tariff's for DIAS indicates that DIAS is (a) for now a pilot project (b) is capped at 1.5GB unless you pay 5k a month for unlimited usage. The capping doesn't sound very encouraging, but I wonder how the service is (it's currently available only in Anna Nagar, and because it's a pilot, it's unlikely to go elsewhere).


March 06, 2003

This is dumb. The entire post would have read much better had he written "I will not link to a competitor", rather than branding Google guilty on the basis of vague suspicions against too-successful companies. I don't know what Google may or may not do in the future, but 'til now every single thing they have done -- from News to Froogle -- has been based on their core: Search. Why should I judge the blogger acquisition to be any different pre-facto? (More to the point, it's not a very big stretch from offering posting on Usenet to offering blogging services).


El Reg: Windows Server 2003 Web Edition comes without client access licences, with a 2gig limit on memory, 2-way SMP, and is $399. This makes sense for people running websites on ASP(X), but I don't think Microsoft is going to win new customers with this one. The price-point to take on LAMP for web-serving is somewhere between $49-$99, possibly with SMP disabled.


March 05, 2003 is the newest "content-targeted" advertising network on the web -- you may have noticed it at places like blogspot and Unlike Doubleclick and friends, however, there are no cookies and no flashing banner ads (great!), just classifieds-style text ads. It's also context sensitive: like Google, you can plug in keywords to get ads that are relevant to the page they are on.

Here's a form you can use to search the ad server:


from the take-your-rss-feed-out-to-dinner dept: The 2nd Annual Chennai Bloggers Meet is on Sunday March 9.


March 03, 2003

Robert Scoble writes an open letter to Bill Gates. Dare Obasanjo strikes back. As Dare says, packing Open-source apps in-the-box is not likely to help MS against Open Source. On the other hand, I am not convinced that MS' software is "commoditized" yet -- not for 2-3 years, anyway. (Unlike soap and shampoo, creating software, especially office software, is hard to do right). Increasing value to paying customers, however, could.

Office Suites: What about sane licensing for Office on Terminal Servers? This would take the wind out of Star/Open Office in low end markets like call centers. Webserving: (according to even MS, this is one area where Windows' TCO is higher than Linux's) Where is a $49-$99 edition of Windows Server 2003 (Web edition)? Engineering/Academic workstations: (an area where Linux is gaining ground as organizations look to dump legacy Unix workstations) Where is a special edition of NT with enhanced POSIX compatibility, your command line shell of choice, an X server, bundled Interix, the .net fwsdk, shared source, plus the Win32 shell loadable on demand for a special academic price of $69 and maybe a full price of $249?

The problem is, Microsoft is too busy making money by the sackful for it to really listen to its most reluctant customers. Unfortunately, these customers are the ones leading the edge of a migration to Open Source right now, and they are the reason why Open Source, while as crappy in the desktop world today as Microsoft Word was in version 1, will ultimately become successful. And Microsoft, like every BigCo before it, will fail to react until it is far too late and there is already red ink (or less profits) on its books.


If there weren't two deaths involved, this news about some not-so-happy post-India-Pak-match happenings would be funny. | Blog Home | Archives

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