Google Offers Exchange on Exchange

It's no secret that Google wants nearly all that Microsoft has -- productivity software, operating systems, browsers and, more recently, enterprise mail.

Google Apps, which includes hosted e-mail, has snagged a few high profile customers, and now Google is hungry for more.

Migration is always a bear, and Google hopes to ease the move with Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange.

The idea is to keep Exchange running while the mailboxes are migrated to Google. Google claims it's a piece of cake that only requires four steps. Exchange is a pretty rich and complex product, so I'm guessing it’s not that simple.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 24, 2010 at 11:53 AM3 comments


Microsoft Says Virtual PC Safe

Security researchers Core Security says Microsoft's Virtual PC really does have a hole. Microsoft says that's absolutely false.

Core says hackers can use the hypervisor layer to make it past an array of Windows security blocks. Microsoft says the hypervisor is fine. The problem is with vulnerabilities that lie beneath that layer within Windows, most of which can be patched.

While there may be a dispute here, it's a healthy one. Anything that makes our computers safer is well worth talking about. 

Posted by Doug Barney on March 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Citrix Extends Microsoft Virt Deal

Citrix is a rather amazing company. I can't think of any other company that's made more money partnering with Microsoft. Most companies would be happy to simply survive such an alliance.

Citrix is prospering by adding value on top of Windows Server and Hyper-V. In fact, Citrix grew 8 percent last year, outpacing VMware's 6 percent, which ain't too shabby either.

Now Citrix and Microsoft have renewed their vows and made it clear that despite Microsoft buying technology that overlaps with Citrix, the idea is still for Citrix to add value to whatever Redmond has.

And just to give VMware a little poke, Citrix and Microsoft are offering free licenses to folks who trade in their VMware licenses. I doubt that many will turn off a working virtual system. The real opportunity is going after new business.

Who is your favorite and least favorite virt vendor? Send real answers to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM1 comments


Microsoft Says Virtual PC Safe

Security researchers Core Security says Microsoft's Virtual PC really does have a hole. Microsoft says that's absolutely false.

Core says hackers can use the hypervisor layer to make it past an array of Windows security blocks. Microsoft says the hypervisor is fine. The problem is with vulnerabilities that lie beneath that layer within Windows, most of which can be patched.

While there may be a dispute here, it's a healthy one. Anything that makes our computers safer is well worth talking about. 

Posted by Doug Barney on March 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM0 comments


IBM Goes After Azure

IBM and Microsoft haven't stopped competing and complaining since the famous split over OS/2 versus Windows. Afterwards, IBM bought Redmond's sworn enemy Lotus and has been a thorn in Exchange's side ever since.

Lately IBM has been pushing its cloud technologies and services against Azure. IBM Cloud (now there's a simple, straightforward name!) right now is aimed at developers. But the ultimate plan is to have a public cloud with an array of application services such as WebSphere and DB2.

Whom do you trust more in the cloud? IBM, Microsoft, Google or Amazon? Shoot your answers over the ether to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM1 comments


Can't Stop the Bots

Business security company MessageLabs has an interesting note about spam -- despite shutting down a major botnet, spam continues to increase. In fact, some 25 percent of all spam is currently coming from one source: the Grum botnet.

Another interesting finding  is that the size of spam messages are shrinking. That's bad news because they are smaller, each botnet can send out more. Dang!

We have the Can-Spam Act and spammers have been shut down and prosecuted, but nothing seems to be able to stop this scourge. How should we hunt down spammers and what should we do if we find them? Sentences and punishments welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM6 comments


Adobe and Microsoft Buddy Up on Patches

Adobe and Microsoft haven't always gotten along. Redmond tried to displace the PDF format with its own Metro and aimed Silverlight against Flash and Shockwave.

Now Adobe's bigger enemy is Apple, who claims Flash is too fat for mobile devices.

I'm not sure if this brought Adobe and Redmond closer, but either way the two companies are working on a plan to deliver Adobe patches through the Microsoft Patch Tuesday process.

This is a big deal for two reasons -- Adobe software is relatively ubiquitous, and it also needs quite a bit of patching. Would you like to see third-party patches rolled into Patch Tuesday? Yays and nays welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM9 comments


IE 8 JavaScript Not So Great

Last week we wrote about a Microsoft-sponsored report that shows that IE 8 is number one in blocking malware. Now there's a Google report that puts IE 8 dead last in handling JavaScript.

When it comes to JavaScript, it's all about the failures, and IE 8 failure to conform to the spec was far worse than Opera, which came in first. Safari finished second and Chrome in third. I guess it ain't rigged, because if it was Chrome would have at least come in second!

What's your favorite and least favorite browser? Votes welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM1 comments


Opposites Don't Attract

If you thought things between Google and Microsoft were rough, get a load of the hostility between Google and Apple. According to the New York Times, it's getting nastier than a Donald Trump divorce between the two companies. Things were relatively smooth up until Google launched the Android phone OS and its very own phone. Jobs was incensed. How dare Google get into Apple's market!

Without giving a lot of juicy details, the Times argues that the fight is very near an obsession on both sides.

The outcome is pretty important. Google, like Microsoft, is promoting an OS separate from the hardware, inviting third parties and OEMs to build gear. Apple is the very definition of proprietary, and this tight control leads to a smaller number of more stable and elegant offerings.

Who are you rooting for? Cheers and jeers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM2 comments


Hunting Hackers' Haunts

Oak Ridge National Labs is doing something I assumed had already been done -- trying to find out what ISPs and networks are favored hacker hunting grounds. The idea is that prevention and forensics work can be focused on these areas, rather than wasting time on clean networks.

The research is all based on analyzing blacklists and tracing rogue IP addresses back to their hosts. They've already found 3 ISPs that are responsible for some 6 percent of addresses on the blacklist. These guys have a lot of cleaning up to do! 

Posted on March 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM2 comments


Doug's Mailbag: Your Favorite Dead or Defunct Companies and Products

Here are some reader responses to your favorite companies and products that are no longer with us:

Favorite: RAE Assist.
Runner Up: ISSCO Tell-A-Graph (Later purchased and buried by Computer
Associates).
- Anonymous

I miss WordPerfect. I'm still amazed that a product that had so many worldwide users and two magazines devoted just to the product was so totally overrun by Microsoft Office. WordPerfect was much easier to use than Word and more predictable.
-Brian

Here's a few I worked with over the past 44 years (and counting) that are no longer with us:

The GE S-210 -- Bank of America used those systems for check processing back in the mid-60's.

Philco -- The California DMV was running a Philco 900 when I started working there. We replaced it with...

RCA Spectra 70 -- DMV's first on-line system (used mag cards for storage).
- Jim

You're missing out on the walking dead. SCO. They once owned a huge swath of small business, but now, after Darl McBride said "All your softwares are belong to us," everyone hates them and they probably haven't sold enough Unix in the past 5 years to cover their electric bills.

And the rapidly approaching dead. 3Com. Founded by Bob Metcalfe (my own personal industry hero!), able to piss off enterprise customers in a big way not once but twice, about to be consumed by HP.
- Karl

What do I miss the most? It’s not really technological, but I miss the Rubik’s cube. I could never figure them out and when I got frustrated I would throw it on the floor or out the window. Can’t really do that with expensive servers or routers now can we?

I do miss the Trash 80. I used to sit at the neighborhood Radio Shack and play with their Trs-80 and program basic programming on it and I’ll never forget the day the new Trash 90’s came out with color screens and speakers and I programmed it to play "Flight of the Bumble Bee" over a crappy little speaker. I had all 5 store clerks and about 20 kids standing around me going oooh and ahhh.
- Brad

Kaypro. I had a Kaypro 2x that I wrote my Masters thesis on. It was still running strong when I gave it to Goodwill twelve years later (as was the Juki printer that came bundled with it).
- Brian

I bet this will be a blast from the past. One of my favorites from the 1980s into the early 1990s is GeoWorks. At the time, GeoWorks put Windows 2.0 and DOS to shame. Unfortunately, GeoWorks went the way of other crusty dusty's from your list, particularly when Windows 95 hit the market.
- Charlie

We got a ton of letters on this topic, so look for even more responses in Doug's next Maibag.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM0 comments


Virtually Insecure

Gartner is warning IT that virtual servers are simply not as secure as physical servers. Thank you, Captain Obvious! Of course a bunch of VMs on a single server are not as easily protected as a single instance. Once you crack one VM, or break into the hypervisor, it's easier to crack the rest. This is Computer Science 101.

That's why it so important to protect each VM to the hilt.

Gartner, being smarter than me (or so they tell me), takes a different tack. The whole problem is that IT doesn't take security seriously when deploying VMs. That view is condescending but probably true.

Gartner's advice? Protect the hypervisor at all costs, involve the security team (if you have one) in VM planning and don't give all VMs the same access controls.

So why am I so dismissive of Gartner? Like me, they are pretentious, but unlike me, they never ever make fun of themselves. A loveable jerk they're not! And unlike Gartner, I try to admit all my mistakes especially as you all keep me honest.

In all fairness, the Gartner author here, Neil MacDonald, seems like a pretty bright guy. He probably is smarter than me!

For more information, Gartner is more than happy to sell you a $95 report.

Which research company do you trust and which do you despise? Crunch the numbers and send your results to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on March 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM2 comments


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