Archive | September, 2005

IT manager mistakes points to an IT manager’s Journal article, Avoiding some common Linux admin mistakes, that point to IT problems that happen in all shops: failing to document, failing to plan on problems and having to react to them, failing to properly evaluate the build vs. buy, host vs. rent calculations, depending on silver bullets, too much – too fast, and not giving security its due.

Microsoft VFP 9 Service Pack One available for Public Beta

Alex Feldstein reports Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9 Pulic Beta released. “Microsoft announced that the public Beta of SP1 for Visual FoxPro 9.0 is now available
for free download on The download page has a text file
download with the bug fix list contained in the SP1 beta. Refer to the
download page on for more details… As always, being a Beta you should not install it in your production box but in a test unit, although having worked with it for a while I found it to be very stable… Note: If you have one of the community produced VFP9 IDE translations (German, Spanish, Czech, etc.), these translations do not yet work with SP1. We will have to make some minor changes for these when SP1 is released around December 2005.”

Allchin announces future retirement, Microsoft re-orgs

Two related Computerworld News postsL Allchin says farewell in e-mail to co-workers. “On the same day it unveiled a major reorganization, Microsoft Corp. also announced that Jim Allchin, group vice president of platforms at the software company, would retire at the end of 2006.”

Analysis: Microsoft reorganization needed to end internal ‘turf wars’. “Microsoft Corp.’s decision to consolidate six divisions into three — each of them run by presidents who report to CEO Steve Ballmer — makes sense for the company, industry analysts said today.”

Re-orgs at Microsoft are a regular item, as they play musical chairs above the glass ceiling. Whether or not this will actually trickle down to mean anything to the average Microsoft line worker is something only time will tell.

“The new Platform Products & Services group will comprise the current Windows Client, Server and Tools division and the MSN online services division. The business group will consist of the current Microsoft Information Worker group, including Microsoft Office, and the Business Solutions group, which includes CRM and ERP applications. And the new entertainment division will oversee the development of entertainment and digital devices, such as IP television, Xbox and other consumer-oriented digital lifestyle products.”

So now there are three: OS, Apps and Toys. Sounds like the split the Justice Department suggested a long time ago. I wonder if this might give the Apps group incentive to deploy on different OSes. There’s still the unnatural combination of the Operating Systems with the Servers that run on them – Exchange, SQL Server, BizTalk, etc., when those should be business applications rather than operating system extensions.

My call: little will change. A few less executives to perk. A few kicked upstairs, a few kicked around, a few kicked out. Same-o, same-o.

There is no throat to choke. There never has been.

In InfoWorld: Application development, Ephraim Schwartz editorializes The end of ‘one throat to choke’?. “OK, first let’s dispel two myths foisted on us by big-name software industry personalities.”

Instead of one throat to choke, one stack to manage, Benioff would have us believe that large companies want to go out and link dozens of smaller applications together, some of them untried and untested. That’s what componentization is all about, I suppose. But I tell you, this idea runs completely counter to the real world, where companies are trying mightily to reduce the number of applications they need to manage.

When I talked with Greenbaum about this, however, he called me naðve. The idea of one throat to choke is overhyped, he says. While he agrees that no major enterprise is going to put its apps on a “dinky little infrastructure” — AppExchange, that is — he says no one vendor meets all of the requirements. If Greenbaum is right, then we end up with a lot of battlegrounds. And that is exactly what Evan Quinn, vice president of applications research at IDC, believes will happen.

Success comes from managing change, not trying to stop it. Software is not a commodity item where the goal is to reduce the number in stock. Reducing the number of interchangeable items in your business streamlines the inventory management and control, but softwares are not interchangeable. New versions offer new features. New software platforms offer new ways to manage your business. Companies that really innovate beat the competition.

The “one throat to choke” idea has never worked. Companies that invested big in projects with IBM, Anderson, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft or any of the others never really had that much leverage against the big boys. You might be able to put up a fuss and kick them in the shins, and they might even settle out of court after costing you millions, but the companies went on, leaving a little trail of disasters behind them. Like all investments, diversification is the strategy to minimizing the “all eggs in one basket” risk factors.

Hmm. Diversification is good. Like interoperability. Competition breeds innovation. Monopolies breed stagnation. Working Well With Others is Good. Now, where have I read that before?

Here it comes again: a new Bagle trojan horse attack (Windows only)

Alex Feldstein blogs New Bagle worm is making rounds?. SANS Internet Storm Center reports that a new Bagle worm variant is making rounds. Make sure that your antivirus is up-to-date and enabled.

Preliminary information is:

  • The file arrives as a zipped attachment with a filename including
    the word “price” (,,,
  • Creates two files: C:\WINDOWS\system32\winshost.exe and C:\WINDOWS\system32\wiwshost.exe
  • Launches winshost.exe from the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run key
  • This has been classified (by at least one AV vendor) as:  TROJ/BAGLEDL-U

Be aware.

My Inbox (running on a Mac) is already filling up with these. One more time, let’s remember the rules: NEVER open an attachment from an untrusted source. There are no trusted sources. NEVER EVER open an unexpected attachment without verifying with the sender that they did intend to send you that attachment. If you have some confidence you know what you’re doing, save it to disk, scan it and test it. If you aren’t confident of your abilities to detect a problem, contact your IT support person. Don’t have any of those? Don’t open the attachment.

Email slower than Parcel Post

If you’ve sent a message and I haven’t responded, it’s possible I haven’t seen it. Please contact me directly. My upstream mail forwarding service has become really slow on relaying traffic. Witness this nine day (Ow!) delay:

Received: from ([])
          by (sccrmxc11) with ESMTP
          id ; Sun, 18 Sep 2005 22:23:25 +0000
X-Originating-IP: []
Received: from [] (
	by with esmtp (Exim 4.44)
	id 1EDp8B-0001U4-Sk
	for; Fri, 09 Sep 2005 13:05:52 -0700

Sad News: Drew and Brent Speedie

Ted, Tamar, Drew, Whil, Art, BrentVery sad news: Drew Speedie (third from left) and his son, Brent Speedie (right) passed away while on vacation in Yellowstone.

Drew was a very talented man. He worked as the technical editor of “Hacker’s Guide to Visual FoxPro 3” and he helped Tamar and I make the book far better. Drew went on to develop the MaxFrame Professional framework. I used MaxFrame on a number of applications quite successfully. Drew was a contributing editor at FoxPro Advisor magazine where he wrote a number of insightful articles. Drew spoke at many FoxPro conferences around the world, always entertaining, always informative. He often attended the conferences in the company of son Brent and wife Irene.

He will be missed. My condolences to his family.

Lies, damned lies, statistics

OSNews posts Firefox vs. IE security: Is Two Greater Than Five?. “A recent blog post on ZDNet contends that Firefox is not as secure as promised by counting exploits. Joseph Huang contends that severity and the number of unpatched vulnerabilites matters, not just the number of exploits discovered.”

Lies, damned lies and statistics, indeed! Here’s Joseph’s portrayal:

IE FireFox
Extremely Critical 10 Zero
Highly Critical 20 3
Moderately Critical 14 4
Less / Not Critical 25 15

Farewall, MacWorld Boston, we hardly knew ye

OSNews notes IDG Pulls Plug on Macworld Boston. “Two years after the East Coast version of the Macworld Expo made a controversial move to Boston, IDG World Expo is pulling the plug on the event. IDG announced plans in October 2002 to move the show from New York to Boston, with Apple Computer immediately announcing that it would not join IDG in the move. With Apple gone, attendance dropped substantially, prompting a move this year to the smaller Hynes Convention Center.”

As I posted back in July, charging $15 to tour the Expo floor and let vendors try out their pitch on you is not going to boost attendance, either. Apple’s decision to not support IDG cut of its oxygen, but this doesn’t help, either. Less attendees means vendors won’t be inclined to pay the exorbitant costs of exhibiting. Less exhibitors means attendees pay more, driving them away. Death Spiral.

Note that CMP’s Software Development conference in Boston is doing something similar: “Unlimited access to two days (Sept 27-28, 2005) of the SD Best Practices Expo. Plus attend all Keynotes, Tech Sessions, the Expo floor party and selected special events (as noted online and in program guide)… Register online by Sept 22, 2005, 4:00pm for your complimentary Expo Pass. A fee of $50 will be charged after this date.” Fifty bucks! That will drive casual visitors away! Get those registrations in soon!

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