Archive for July, 2006

Microsoft Zune to take on iPod

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 1 comment

It seems that Microsoft is not in a mood to spare anyone. The software giant is readying a portable music player and integrated service to compete with Apple iPod. Read the following news extract: 

Microsoft Corp. officials for the first time have confirmed that the software giant is readying a portable music player and integrated service, shedding new light on a topic that has fueled rampant speculation in news reports and blog postings for weeks.

In an exclusive first interview with Billboard, Chris Stephenson, Microsoft’s new GM of marketing for MSN Entertainment Business, says the company will later this year launch Zune, an umbrella brand for what he says is “a family of hardware and software products” targeting various digital entertainment services.

The first implementation of this will be the portable music player and digital music service, in what is the company’s strongest effort yet to rein in Apple Computer’s iTunes/iPod juggernaut, currently responsible for about 70% of the digital music market and 75% of the portable digital music player market.

Additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device, although Stephenson would not comment on the videogame element of the initiative.

Because the product lines have not yet been finalized, Microsoft would not discuss specifications. However, Stephenson did confirm that the initial music device will contain a hard drive and the much-discussed Wi-Fi connection for wireless Internet access. Exactly how Microsoft intends to utilize this wireless Internet capability remains unclear.

Categories: MS News

Virtualization Technology

Saturday, July 22, 2006 Leave a comment

I have been hearing about this term called “Virtualization” for some time now, from the media and at several technical events. Let’s try to understand what does it really mean? I would like to start of with this definition on virtualization given in Wikipedia.

In computing, virtualization is the process of presenting a logical grouping or subset of computing resources so that they can be accessed in ways that give benefits over the original configuration. This new virtual view of the resources is not restricted by the implementation, geographic location or the physical configuration of underlying resources. Commonly virtualized resources include computing power and data storage.

A new trend in virtualization is the concept of a virtualization engine which gives an overall holistic view of the entire network infrastructure by using the aggregation technique.

Another popular kind of virtualization, and currently very referred to in the media, is the hardware virtualization for running more than one operating system at the same time, via nanokernels or Hardware Abstraction Layers, such as Xen.

The following extract is from an IBM whitepaper on Virtualization. The extract talks about the need for virtualization and the meaning of virtualization:

Tight budgets, limited resources and short deadlines are a fact of life. That may be the reason why insightful IT analysts have recommended virtualization technology as an effective method to improve utilization rates, increase server flexibility and reduce IT spending. Simply put, virtualization technology is a way to pool IT resources while masking the physical attributes and boundaries of the resources from users of the resources, which can result in providing customers with the important advantages listed above. Although virtualization is not a new technology, it is receiving a lot of attention. Much of this renewed interest can be attributed to non-mainframe environments. Other platforms have recently realized the benefits of virtualization and are starting to develop and deploy forms of mainframe-inspired partitioning and virtualization to enhance their environments and remain competitive.

Read more…

Categories: Virtualization

WorkflowWebRequestContext removed from WWF Beta 2.2

Saturday, July 22, 2006 Leave a comment

This came as a surprise to me. In fact, I was using WWF Beta 2 in my application, where my web service was triggering the workflow. In a web scenario, this class was really useful in ensuring that there was only one workflow runtime instance per app domain, which is otherwise slightly difficult to ensure. Last week, I came to know that this class has been removed in Beta 2.2. I decided to check out why Microsoft WWF team had decided to remove this type from the library.

When I started searching for some information on this, I hit upon this document, which talks about the Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005 Extensions for Windows® Workflow Foundation Beta 2 to Beta 2.2 Key Changes. What this document says is that:

The WorkflowWebRequestContext type will be removed to protect the WorkflowRuntime being accessed by all of the workflow instances.

The following will be added to WorkflowWebService:

protected WorkflowRuntime WorkflowRuntime { get; }


One way to ensure that only one workflow runtime instance is present per app domain; is to instantiate the workflow runtime in the Global.asax application start event and use this instance across the application.

I have not personally used the WorkflowWebService class, but it represents the base class for all workflow Web services. So in my case I will have to inherit my web service class from WorkflowWebService class and then use the newly added protected WorkflowRuntime property to get the current instance of the workflow runtime. The WorkflowWebService class actually inherits from System.Web.Services.WebService class.

Categories: NetFx3

Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 – My Comments

Friday, July 21, 2006 1 comment

I had earlier posted an entry on IE7 Beta 3 release on my blog. Many of my friends came back with many criticisms on how Microsoft was trying to emulate the capabilities of Firefox in IE 7.

I agree to the fact that Microsoft has indeed brought in some good features into IE 7 that Firefox already has like tabbed browsing, page zoom in-out etc. But Microsoft would have realized that these are pretty good features and any browser must have these features, so that it enhances the whole browsing experience for a user. So it was quite obvious as to why they put in these features in IE 7.

I have to say that I am indeed quite impressed with the work Microsoft has done on IE 7. The Beta bits surely look promising. The RSS reader/subscription feature, for me is the crucial differentiator. For people like me who like to read various blogs, this feature can be really helpful. Integration of RSS reader into the browser was indeed something that I thought would come up sooner or later, and it did. Now I am really curious to have a look at what the Windows RSS platform has to offer. IE 7 also gives the feature to update these feeds automatically or manually.

RSS Reader Feature

Read more…

Categories: MS Internet Explorer

Microsoft Acquires Winternals Software

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 Leave a comment

This was the subject line of one of the mails that i got today morning from a senior colleague when i checked my mailbox. I was curious to open up the link that contained the news. So I did. I had heard a bit about Winternals. Now if you are not aware of what Winternals does, then you might not be able to understand the importance of this acquisition. In fact, Winternals is a leading provider of systems recovery and data protection solutions for Microsoft-based enterprises. Winternals products support IT professionals in numerous ways, emphasizing system repair and data recovery, and including system performance enhancement, system diagnostics and troubleshooting, and data accessibility solutions.

Hmm..thats indeed a huge set of solutions. Now i am really not surprised by this acquisition by Microsoft. The expertise Winternals, with their deep kernel-level expertise; brings to table can be really beneficial for Microsoft to come up with better and improved future versions of their Windows operating system.

Winternals is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft. So what does that mean to us? It means that the Winternals products and technologies might get integrated within Microsoft offerings so as to maximize customer value, which would be really great if you are a Microsoft customer.

Check out

Categories: MS News

Writing Secure Code

Sunday, July 16, 2006 Leave a comment

One of the key things that developers can do to help secure their systems is to write code that can withstand attack and use security features properly. If you are one of those developers who are interested in understanding how to write secure code, i would suggest you go through the following MSDN article containing links to best practices and how-to articles on writing secure code.

Article – Writing Secure Code

Categories: Patterns & Practices

Microsoft Threat Analysis & Modeling v2.0

Sunday, July 16, 2006 1 comment

Microsoft Threat Analysis & Modeling tool allows non-security subject matter experts to enter already known information including business requirements and application architecture which is then used to produce a feature-rich threat model. Along with automatically identifying threats, the tool can produce valuable security artifacts such as:

– Data access control matrix
– Component access control matrix
– Subject-object matrix
– Data Flow
– Call Flow
– Trust Flow
– Attack Surface
– Focused reports


Categories: Patterns & Practices