Microsoft serves miscellaneous morsels for May

Ever since I began paying taxes, April just hasn't been much fun. Everything comes due in April, making May a month dedicated to grumbling and reactionary belt-tightening. Seems Redmond feels similarly, because so far Microsoft hasn't made many waves this merry month.

Sure, Windows Server 2003 SP1 is out of the bag, but that's no longer news, even for us column slackers. Just make sure you test the heck out of it before deployment, and keep it away from Small Business Server. And I can't talk about Xbox 360, or my editor will kill me.

To get more of Microsoft in May, you need to mine a little deeper. For a second I thought I found something kewl when Microsoft offered up the CSB (Connected Systems Business) Kit free for the registration. But on closer examination I see it's just a big marketing kit on DVD. Order your CSB DVD and you get a few gigs of data on how Microsoft's .Net architecture fits into SOA (service-oriented architecture). The DVD includes presentations and videos you can show to clients or the brass, training materials, Microsoft white papers, and customer and analyst case studies. The only thing here that looks really interesting is Generico, which is an SOA sample application built entirely out of .Net. Its full documentation marries its every module to the SOA concept.

I also got spanked hard for some earlier comments regarding Microsoft's lack of commitment toward utility computing, but the spanking was worth it in that I discovered another May morsel: Seems the company feels utility has a lot in common with OS virtualization. And although we all know about Redmond's Virtual Server and Virtual PC products, it seems the company also took the opportunity at WinHEC to announce that the company will build "limited" virtualization features into Longhorn. Rumor has it Microsoft may even do away with the Virtual Server and Virtual PC entirely and simply migrate the entire feature set into the core OS. I'll reserve my jig of joy until I see it happen.

Microsoft also introduced a new security service designed to provide an immediate response when researchers go public with new vulnerabilities. The new program, called Microsoft Security Advisories, is run by the MSRC (Microsoft Security Research Center) and will run in addition to the usual scheduled monthly security bulletins. The idea is to issue these bulletins without a specific schedule, which should enable them to come out in a more timely fashion, in response not only to new vulnerabilities but also to softer security threats such as phishing scams. I know some folks will probably complain about having yet more Microsoft security material to digest, but you can't knock an attempt to spread security-related information faster.

And last, but definitely not least, the Microsoft Scripting Guys -- the same folks who brought you Scriptomatic and Tweakomatic -- now have a new column in their Script Center, called Doctor Scripto's Script Shop, which may be too much alliteration even for a bunch of computer nerds. If you can get past that, however, the column shows real promise as a resource for those with script troubles and questions.

There are a couple more weeks of May left, so let's hope these aren't all the tasty tidbits that come out of Redmond. But on reflection it's not such a bad start for the first couple of weeks. Maybe Redmond's April was less discouraging than mine.

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Oliver Rist

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