Archive 5

Even being the richest man in the world doesn't stop you from getting a pie in the face.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV).

This Week's Security Warning

Posted 20 October 1999.

Again?!? Oh, yes.

Last week, Microsoft acknowledged that Internet Explorer 5.0 was vulnerable to a Guninski [the discoverer] exploit that let malicious Web site operators view visitors' files. The exploit bypassed Microsoft's security measures by running the script from within a frame -- a smaller window in a Web site -- where the security checks did not apply.

Microsoft said the exploit only let an attacker view files, not alter or delete them.


Microsoft had no sooner patched the first Guninski hole than the bug hunter reported a second one. It, too, bypasses the browser's security checks, this time by redirecting a local file to a Web address beginning in "javascript:" In this scenario, JavaScript code runs with the security limitations of that local file, which permits transferring the file to another computer, allowing a Web site operator to steal files.

A Web site operator also can exploit the vulnerability to launch a fraudulent, or "spoofed," window.

Microsoft confirmed Guninski's find and said it was working on a patch. Pending its release, Microsoft recommended that users...

Quit while they still could, perhaps?

Intel Web Graphics Made On Apple

Posted 31 October 1999.

On what could be the oldest web server in the world, I found this juicy tidbit:

The Intel Corp. Web Site has animated grapics that were composed with GifBuilder 0.3.2.

This is a Macintosh only program.

This may or may not still be true!!

It was verified June 6, 1998 at 12:45 P.M. CDT.

To prove this takes some more technical steps.

I went to the site and clicked on the Home page graphic of "building a multimedia web page is easy and fun!" (providing you are using a Mac)

It takes you to an animated gif page with a home, painting tools, and a girl waving. The animated gif is created in GifBuilder 0.3.2.

I opened the gif in BBEdit Lite. Do a find for "GifBuilder".

You will find that it contains "GifBuilder 0.3.2 by Yves Piguet" thus the animated graphic was Made With A Mac.

Time For Reality Check

Posted 2 November 1999.

Once again PC makers are not telling the full story. A press release from Apple:

Apple Maintains Top Education Spot

CUPERTINO, California--November 1, 1999--Apple® today confirmed that it holds the number one position in sales to the U.S. Education market as shown by recent data from leading Education market research firms, including Quality Education Data (QED) and International Data Corp. (IDC). Apple further stated that Dell's recent claims of being the Education sales leader rely upon vendor and channel surveys which do not fully account for Apple's large direct sales to the U.S. Education market.

"Dell didn't incorporate Apple's direct sales into their Education market share calculations," said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO. "If they had done so, they would have been reminded that Apple remains the Education market share leader."

QED's Technology Purchasing Forecast, 1999-2000, shows that K-12 classrooms across the U.S. have more Apple hardware products than any other manufacturer and the majority of those classrooms intend to repurchase Apple products.

IDC's Q2CY '99 Education Market Report states that Apple leads in overall U.S. Education sales with 22.2% market share - higher than Compaq's 19.1%, Gateway's 17.2%, and Dell's fourth place showing at 15.8%, further substantiating Apple's leading position in the U.S. Education market.

Wintel Switchover Continues To Plague Motorola

Posted 7 November 1999, reposted from MacOSRumors.

Many, many Motorola contacts have lamented the nasty consequences of Motorola's 1997-present switchover from Macs -- powered by its own PowerPC processors -- to the Wintel platform, powered by several of its chief competitors in the computing sector. One recent report in particular makes clear how damaging this situation is to Motorola:

As you know, Motorola is bulldozing all Macs out of the company. Bill Walker, head of Order Fullfillment has stated that one of his accomplishments is getting rid of Macs. Desktop standards group wants to keep the fact that Macs are no longer available hush hush. Even an internal pro PowerPC web site has given up (Called Henry's Soap Box). Mac key servers were even pulled because they were "not Y2K" compliant! Novell's IPX/SPX and Apple's AppleTalk are being eliminated. Even though the current versions (NDS 5 and OS 9) don't need proprietary protocols, it is irrelevant. Netscape is going to be pulled out for Microsoft Exchange.

Why am I [telling you] this? I am an Analyst for desktop standards. Wintel is costing us a fortune for upkeep. Motorola is putting itself into a corner. I can't do an efficient job anymore.

This is one of more than a hundred messages we've received from Motorola employees and contractors who are unable to use the user-friendly, efficient systems of their choice. These voices have already been heard -- and ignored, according to many -- by management there.

Microsoft IS a Monopoly

Posted 7 November 1999.

Well, it's official. In Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's Findings of Fact (emphasis added) regarding the Department of Justice vs Microsoft antitrust case, the judge made it quite clear that Microsoft is a monopoly and has used its position to eliminate competition. 207 pages that Microsoft wishes had never been written.


University of Baltimore Law School professor Bob Lande, regarding the Findings of Fact by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson:

"Any judge with enough guts to write such a strong opinion has enough guts to break up Microsoft. That is something Microsoft had better worry about."

In an earlier case, Jackson preliminarily ruled against Microsoft on the bundling issue only to be harshly rebuffed by an appeals court. Lande again:

"The judge wrote this opinion because he got reversed last time. I think the judge said to himself, 'I'm going to write an opinion that can't be reversed. I'm going to write such a clear and strong findings of fact that unless they want to say I'm clearly erroneous in a hundred different ways, they're not going to reverse me.'"

And just to make you think, a breakup of Microsoft could take any of several forms. One method would be to divide Microsoft into two companies: One that makes an operating system and one that produces other software applications. Another method, urged by rival Sun Microsystems and others, would create at least two new "clone" companies that would have full rights to Microsoft's legal assets.

As a special celebration, here's a Timeline of the case leading up to this histeric release.

MS Woes Boost Alternatives

Posted 10 November 1999.

American sharemarket reaction to the Microsoft vs DoJ news:

Friday was a bad day for Microsoft, but makers of alternative operating systems are reaping the benefits on the stock market today. Shares of Red Hat, a seller of the Linux operating system, surged more than 20 percent in late trading. Other OS makers also jumped.

- CNet news article, 8 November 1999.

No Copies for Christmas

Posted 10 November 1999.

Remember all those companies (principally Future Power, Daewoo, and Emachines) making iMac rip-offs? Remember Apple took them to court? Here's the latest regarding Future Power and Daewoo:

Apple won the first round of courtroom battles to prevent other PC makers from marketing iMac knockoffs. A preliminary injunction in Apple's favor is due soon and should prevent the machines from hitting store shelves during this holiday season.


In September, Apple won a preliminary injunction from a Tokyo District Court barring K.K. Sotec, a Japanese distributor of the eOne, from manufacturing or distributing the PC.

- CNet news article, 8 November 1999.


They go on to say the ruling may have an impact on the Emachines lawsuit, although that computer doesn't look as similar to the iMac as the other two do.

MS Bug Allows Virus

Posted 11 November 1999.

When you hear about a virus that just selecting (in MS bugware, naturally) will activate, you have to wonder about how bad MS software really is, that the long-time warning not to open unknown files doesn't hold true any more. I'm not going to bother explaining how dangerous it is - if you have decided to use MS products, it's your choice.

"Cuartango and [fellow bug catcher Georgi] Guninski have shown we just have this cycle. They find a bug, the vendor patches it, a week goes by, and they find another one. We have to look beyond that at what's fundamentally wrong here: We have programs such as Web browsers and email clients that connect to an untrusted network from which they receive data they do not trust."

Elias Levy, chief technology officer of Security Focus,
(a company that monitors computer security problems).

MS Under Attack on Other Fronts

Posted 11 November 1999.

In Europe:

Microsoft faces more abuse charges in EU probe

By Bloomberg News
Special to CNET
November 9, 1999, 6:05 a.m. PT

NEW YORK-- Software giant Microsoft is currently being investigated by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, for abuse of its alleged monopoly over personal computer operating systems, according to reports.

Michael Tscherny, a spokesman for European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti, said the EC is looking into allegations brought by at least two software and personal computer manufacturers, which the commission wasn't obliged to identify under EC rules, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Microsoft's Director of Law and Corporate Affairs for Europe, John Frank, said the company was working with the EC to address any of its concerns, the paper said.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found that Microsoft "stifled innovation" by using its dominance in personal computer operating systems to quash rivals.

And in the USA:

Microsoft, Caldera may finally go to trial

By Joe Wilcox
November 4, 1999, 10:20 a.m. PT

Microsoft and Caldera appear to be headed for a legal showdown early next year.

In a 68-page ruling issued late yesterday, a federal magistrate rejected Microsoft's motions for summary judgment, forcing the case to trial possibly in January or February.

"This is no surprise, and we look forward to making our case at trial," Microsoft spokesperson Jim Cullinan said.

Orem, Utah-based Caldera claims Microsoft used its dominance in the software industry in the late 1980's and early 1990's to crush competition from a product called DR-DOS, which Caldera obtained in 1996. Caldera is seeking $1.6 billion in damages.

"The judge denied the final four motions--and this means he denied all the motions--Microsoft presented for summary judgement," said Caldera spokesman Lyle Ball. "So he is saying we have sufficient evidence to support our claims and proceed to trial."

Had the judge granted any of Microsoft's motions, he could have ruled on that aspect of the case without presenting it to a jury, said legal experts.


iJoke from Compaq

Posted 12 November 1999.

The latest from Compaq seems rather clearly the result of a wake-up call. From CNet:

As with other major computer makers, Compaq is reducing the overall size and shape of its PCs to both reduce manufacturing costs and to give their PCs some sort of distinguishing character other than low price. With internal technology becoming virtually identical across brands, PC makers are now experimenting with external factors to build a following.

Emphasis added. Sorry about the unoriginality, but Apple just did it - they didn't need to "experiment" by releasing lots of weird models first.

IBM on Monday said it would introduce a simpler, Internet-ready PC, code-named EON, early next year. Hewlett-Packard unveiled the e-PC, a sealed-box system for accessing the Internet.


Compaq will only offer four basic iPaqs, unlike the "the hundreds or thousands" of other models currently available, "very much playing into the direct, simplified world," said Winkler. [Mike Winkler, senior vice president and group general manager of Compaq's commercial PC group.]