The Windows week that was

Microsoft causes it, and wins big. They releases security vulnerabilityinformation, some people take advantage of this to launch world wide service disruptions, and a lot ofpeople still using Windows 2000 suddenly get a strong urge to pay for upgrades.

The last seven days have been, well, quite a week -at least for cheerful "I told you so"s.

Most visibly, Windows 2000 users had a problem. Here's a bit from Daniel J. Chacón's write up in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune:


An Internet worm that crashed computer systems nationwide wreaked havoc on the county government's network yesterday, shutting down 12,000 desktops and forcing thousands of employees to work the old-fashioned way: manually.


Yesterday's crash marked the third time in recent weeks that significant computer problems have affected county government.

On July 21, hackers tapped into two computers at the County Employees Retirement Association. The computers contained workers' names, Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth. The breach exposed about 33,000 current and retired county government employees to potential identity theft, though no one has reported being victimised.

A computer virus penetrated the association's computers last week and forced officials to disconnect e-mail and Internet access Friday.

Brian White, the association's chief executive officer, said e-mail was back up last night and Internet access was expected to be restored by the end of today.

"There is absolutely no fool-proof methodology to stop yourself from these hacker attacks or viruses," he said. "But what we are working toward is making sure that we have some different layers of security to minimise any potential."

Well, actually, yes there is. World wide, how many Sun Ray users have been shut down, ever, because of virus or worm attacks? That's none, zero, not one, not ever. And do you know how many Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris users were affected by the last one hundred internet worms and or viruses to make the rounds? That's right again, none.

You know what's worst about this? Microsoft causes it, and wins big. They release security vulnerability information, some people take advantage of this to launch world wide service disruptions, and a lot of people still using Windows 2000 suddenly get a strong urge to pay for upgrades.

Meanwhile, back in the week that was, CNET's Michael Singer alerted us to IBM's PC version of a Java card under the headline IBM brains capture a PC's soul


The virtual computer user environment setup is called SoulPad, and consumers install it from a x86-based home or office PC. SoulPad uses a USB (universal serial bus) or FireWire connection to access the network cards for connecting to the Internet, the computer's display, the keyboard, the main processor and the memory, but not the hard disk.

So what happens if one of the machines involved has a cold? Anybody know how to spell miscegenation? Come to think of it, why aren't the Windows people more upset that essentially every Windows recovery package starts by booting Linux?

And, of course, Tuesday was the day that some geniuses at the Henrico County school division in Richmond Virginia acted on their contempt of Apple by selling 1,000 four year old iBooks at $50 apiece - setting off a near riot as 10,000 somewhat smarter people tried to get them.

Oddly, those officials were not heard from on Wednesday - anyone think they might have been a bit busy?

This was also the week that various Mac sites announced that people had bypassed Apple's copy protection to get MacOS X running on commodity Intel hardware. Gee, what a surprise.

You know what it's going to take to get Apple's Intel decision to look brilliant in retrospect? A 50% premium on a Microsoft take-over offer for Apple's OS and computer business aimed at replacing Vista, the real Longhorn, big top, and all the rest of it with BSD and the MacOS X shell.