It didn't take long...
Microsoft Corp. today commended Turkish and Moroccan law-enforcement authorities and the FBI for their prompt arrest of the individuals believed to be responsible for the creation and distribution of the recent Zotob and Mytob worms. Microsoft worked closely with law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. and overseas to provide investigative and technical support in the investigation.
My take is that no matter how slick Firefox looks and despite all the publicity it gets, Internet users are finally realizing that Microsoft isn't the only software company to struggle with bugs, security problems, and compatibility issues. Firefox 1.5 will reportedly include an easier patching system, presumably to facilitate the continuous and necessary stream of fixes that Mozilla has been releasing of late....the proportion of Web surfers using [Firefox] dipped by around 0.7 percent to just over 8 percent, with Internet Explorer's share growing by the same amount.
(News Source: PC Pro)
...new law will move the start of daylight saving time forward by three weeks and extend it by a total of four weeks. So, for four weeks each year, digital devices that do not account for the changes in DST dates will be off by an hour. (Geek News Central)
Japanese electronics maker NEC said on Friday it was in the process of developing a high-power organic radical battery, or ORB, that could be used in standard desktop PCs as a built-in emergency power source in the event of a power failure...
...NEC also offered other advantages to the technology, such as its environmentally safe composition and the fact that the materials within the battery are both non-flammable and non-explosive, unlike other batteries.
Seems like an excellent alternative to the large, heavy, and environmentally hazardous UPS devices in use today.
"In an interview Friday, Microsoft Director of Product Management Eric Berg said Monad will not be included in the first commercial version of Windows Vista, expected in the second half of 2006. But the product is expected to be included in Windows over the next "three to five years," he said. "Our intention is to synchronize it with both client and server operating systems."
I was certainly not surprised that hackers are already experimenting with Vista, and I don't think Microsoft was either. Whether or not this about-face is related to the "virus" uproar, I, for one, am glad that Monad will not be part of Vista by default, although I hope it will be available as an add-on product. For the vast majority of users, Monad would be an unused component of the system, existing only to be a security liability. After all, how many average Windows XP users do you think ever use the Command Prompt? Probably not very many. And how many average users would need or want to manipulate .NET objects in a command shell? Zero. So I think the exclusion of Monad from Vista fits well with Microsoft's new "secure by default" mantra, without significantly reducing the usefulness of Vista to the typical user.
I do want to clarify that these security liabilities are going to be a natural side effect of installing any command shell that's even remotely useful. The fact that creating these viruses for Monad was possible does not necessarily mean that Monad will have serious security issues (although it likely does in the current beta form). You still have to get malicious code on your system in the first place to be at risk, and a system with Monad doesn't present any additional opportunities for that distribution to happen than a default Vista installation would. And once malicious code is present on a system, it can do plenty of damage, with or without the aid of Monad.
I did some initial experimentation with Monad yesterday, and I think it's a powerful tool. I'm definitely looking forward to its final release, and I hope that Vista power users will be able to install it, even if it is not included in the retail bits.
Josh Phillips wrote a helpful post a few weeks ago about WinSAT in build 5048. WinSAT is a great new feature in Windows Vista which basically integrates benchmarking into the OS. It allows applications to query the operating system for performance metrics relating to various system components, such as the CPU, GPU or hard disk. The results are cached for quick subsequent queries by other apps, but Vista will automatically run new benchmarks if the hardware significantly changes. A more detailed description is available at ExtremeTech.
Being unable to find any updated info on WinSAT in Beta 1, I decided to do some digging myself. While eventually there may be a graphical interface, WinSAT benchmarks can only be performed from the command line currently.
There are five major test types, which can be performed by running WinSAT from the command line, with any one of the following arguments:
dwm: Displays the image show below, then prints the benchmark to the console when the window is closed.
d3d:Displays the image show below, then prints the benchmark to the console when the window is closed. This option will likely generate some actual 3D rendering in future builds.
cpu: This test requires the use of one of the following arguments:
mem: This test supports an optional -v argument for verbose output.
disk: This test supports several arguments, which Josh aptly described as follows:
-n [x]: Required, defines what physical disk should be assessed where ‘x’
is the physical disk number.
-seq or -ran: Required, only one should be specified at a time. Controls whether
or not the sequential or random IO performance will be assessed.
-read or - write: Required, only one should be specified at a time. Controls whether or not the read or write performance will be assessed.
Example: WinSAT DISK -n 0 -ran -read
It would be interesting to see how much the scores these tests produce actually vary from system to system using the current build. My desktop contains a 3.4 GHz P4 w/ HT, 1 GB dual-channel PC-4200, PCI-E GeForce 6600 GT 128MB, and 120GB 7200 SATA drives in RAID 0 + 1, and produced the following scores:
DWM Assessment Results: Effective FPS: 520.089
D3D Assessment Results: Effective FPS: 739.732
System Memory Bandwidth : 4412331247.60269 B/s
CPU Encryption Assessment Results: 134272010.92651 B/s
CPU Compression Assessment Results: 168085750.95565 B/s
Anyone else care to comment with your scores, or info on any additional WinSAT commands?
What I've seen in past and current versions of Windows that takes up a lot install time is "registering components" and building trees like the Start menu. There's no reason why any of this needs to happen at install time. The Start menu is virtually identical on any new installation regardless of the machine, so why build it dynamically? Just have the folder tree and shortcuts on the DVD and copy them directly to disk. Tiny shortcut files should take 2 seconds to copy, not 5 minutes to generate. As for registering components, the same principle applies. While I don't know the details on exactly what "components" get "registered" during installation, I suspect there's a bunch of CLSID generation and such going on. There's got to be a way to avoid doing anything not directly related to hardware detection during installation.