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Zero-Day Exploit Alert

Microsoft rang the alarm this week on a zero-day exploit for Internet Explorer. Someone posted exploit code for a flaw in IE that can allow an attacker to take complete control of a user's computer over the Internet. The flaw even affects users running Microsoft's most secure client OS -- Windows XP Service Pack 2. There haven't been any reports yet of attackers using the exploit code to compromise systems, but it's only a matter of time. Microsoft is working on a patch.

Opening Office Formats
Repercussions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' moves involving document formats continued this week. Microsoft unveiled plans on Monday to submit the Microsoft Office Open XML file format to an international standards organization. Whatever Massachusetts eventually winds up doing, it looks like we'll all have a broader array of file format choices if we upgrade to Office '12' after it ships next year.

BizTalk 2006 Beta 2
BizTalk Server 2006 is inching closer to release with a Beta 2 version out now. You'll recall that BizTalk 2006 launched earlier this month along with SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Unlike those products, however, BizTalk 2006 won't ship until sometime next year.

Meanwhile, the November issue of Redmond Channel Partner has a detailed look at opportunities for partners in SQL Server 2005. The story is posted online here.

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NASA World Wind
Here's something to geek out on over the Thanksgiving holiday -- if you're not already too busy with a new Xbox 360. The New York Times had an article this week about NASA's World Wind freeware. It's an open source project based on Microsoft .NET. The original version provided bird's eye views of the Earth, similar to Google Earth or MSN Virtual Earth. NASA upped the coolness quotient by an order of magnitude recently with the addition of Clementine and other lunar satellite data that allows for 3-D tours of the moon. We may not be sending real people to the Moon anymore, but we can all dream from our desks.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 23, 2005