Archive 13

info    Security At Microsoft (Nov 17)

Microsoft is committed to sharing its internal IT security practices in order to help its customers successfully secure their environments. This paper describes what Microsoft’s Corporate Security Group does to prevent malicious or unauthorized use of digital assets at Microsoft. This asset protection takes place through a formal risk management framework, risk management processes, and clear organizational roles and responsibilities. The basis of the approach is recognition that risk is an inherent part of any environment and that risk should be proactively managed. The principles and techniques described in this paper can be employed to manage risk at any organization.

Download: Security At Microsoft IT Showcase Technical White Paper

office    Microsoft pries open Office 2003 (Nov 17)

Microsoft on Monday said it will license the XML-based file formats used in the latest edition of its Office applications on a royalty-free basis.

The move is designed to give companies better access to documents that are created using Office 2003, the latest edition of Microsoft’s desktop application suite. Microsoft said it is taking the action in response to requests from its software partners as well as from corporate and government customers who demanded a way to better interoperate with Microsoft’s dominant suite of desktop applications.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company’s Extensible Markup Language (XML) reference schemas for Excel, and the InfoPath forms application will be available starting Dec. 5. WordprocessingML for Word, the XML schema for Word, will be available online Monday.

View complete article: Microsoft pries open Office 2003

See for the download the article below this one

office    Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas (Nov 17)

This download contains the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas and related documentation. The current download includes the schemas and documentation for WordprocessingML, the XML file format for Microsoft Office Word 2003.

This download will be updated December 5th, 2003 to also contain schemas and documentation for SpreadsheetML (Microsoft Office Excel 2003) and FormTemplate XML schemas (Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003).

Download: Office 2003 XML Schemas

info    Microsoft Adds New Spam Filtering Technology Across E-Mail Platforms (Nov 17)

Innovative spam-filtering technology developed at Microsoft Research is being deployed across all Microsoft e-mail platforms as part of the company’s multi-pronged effort to chase unsolicited e-mail and practitioners of illegal spamming out of consumers’ inboxes.

In his keynote address at COMDEX Las Vegas 2003 on Sunday evening, Bill Gates unveiled SmartScreen Technology, a machine-learning-based filtering technology. SmartScreen Technology uses a probability-based algorithm to essentially “learn” what is and what isn’t spam based on characteristics of both types of mail. The source material for educating SmartScreen Technology has come from hundreds of thousands of e-mail users who contribute to Microsoft’s feedback loop program. Gates called SmartScreen Technology a major advance in the battle to help secure consumers’ inboxes and return greater productivity to people’s e-mail experience.

SmartScreen Technology has already been incorporated into the spam filters for Microsoft Outlook 2003, MSN 8 and Hotmail, and will soon be available in a new Intelligent Message Filter for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 that is planned for release to customers in the first half of 2004.

View full article: Microsoft Adds New Spam Filtering Technology Across E-Mail Platforms

howto    Added Content: Color Code Your E-mail Advanced (Nov 16)

Last week I added a How To on color coding your e-mail. After some good reactions on this I decided to create an advanced guide for this as well and here it is!

Directing mails to different folders to sort or distinguish them is probably one of the most used way of organizing mail. There is a different one however; color code them!

Color coding has a few advantages I think over moving them to separate folders. One of them is that you don’t get lost in all sorts of mail folders. Also sometimes a folder doesn’t make much sense as you just want to strike some messages and moving them to a different folder could cause them to strike even less!

View: Color Code Your E-mail Advanced
View: Color Code Your E-mail Basics

office    Course: Deploying Microsoft Office Live Communication Server 2003 (Nov 15)

The goal of this course is to educate IT Professionals in the area of deploying Microsoft® Office Live Communications Server 2003, Standard Edition. The target audience for this course is system integrators and MCSEs who have experience in deploying Exchange or real-time environment technologies.

Download: Course 2081a Live Communication Server

update    New virus disguised as PayPal e-mail (Nov 14)

A computer virus that camouflages itself as a message from PayPal has started spreading among home users, antivirus companies said on Friday.

The program is a variant of the Mimail virus, which has previously spread by appearing to be a security advisory from Microsoft. The latest version of the program is attached to an e-mail forged to look as though it came from PayPal, an online payment service bought by eBay last year. Running the program infects the victim’s computer and asks the PC user for credit card information, which the virus then sends to the attacker.

“It is a new trend among virus authors to get deeper into criminal acts and attempt to generate revenue,” said Craig Schmugar, virus research engineer for security company Network Associates.

The virus appears as an attachment–“”–to an e-mail that purports to be from PayPal. When a person opens the e-mail attachment, a window appears bearing the PayPal logo and asking for credit card information. The virus stores any information provided by the victim in a file called “ppinfo.sys” and the file is sent to four e-mail addresses stored in the program.

View: New virus disguised as PayPal e-mail
View: Technical info about Mimail.H on Symantec

office    Windows SharePoint Services 2003 Software Development Kit (SDK) (Nov 13)

The SDK contains conceptual overviews, programming tasks, and references to guide you in developing solutions based on Windows SharePoint Services as a platform. The SDK includes information about the following technologies:

  • Web Part Framework — Create, package, and deploy Web Parts on SharePoint sites.

  • Server-side object model — Work with individual lists and sites or manage an entire Windows SharePoint Services deployment.

  • Web services — Use default Web services, or create custom Web services, to interact with Windows SharePoint Services from external applications.

  • Collaborative Application Markup Language (CAML) — Customize the schemas that define lists and sites, define queries for use with members of the object model or Web services, and specify parameters for use with methods in Remote Procedure Call (RPC) protocol.

  • RPC protocol and other protocols — Post requests from client applications to the server in order to access or modify data.

  • Client-side APIs — Use ActiveX controls to launch applications on the client or to provide other features that enhance Windows SharePoint Services.

Download: Windows SharePoint Services 2003 SDK

office    SharePoint Products and Technologies: Integrating SharePoint Products and Technologies and Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 Sample Nov 13)

Use these sample files to create custom reporting forms. You can create individual and summary status reports using an InfoPath form library and a SharePoint site. These files include a custom template that provide customized views of the form library.

Download: Integrating SharePoint Products and Technologies and InfoPath 2003 Sample

office    Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Management Pack Guide (Nov 13)

This document describes the monitoring scenarios that are supported by the Microsoft® SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Management Pack and includes detailed instructions for deploying, configuring, and tuning the Management Pack. This guide also includes operational guidance and reference information that lists the contents of the Management Pack.

Download: Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Management Pack Guide

office    Exchange 2000 Server Upgrade Series – Planning Guide (Nov 13)

The Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Upgrade Series is specifically created to assist you in the process of planning, deploying, and operating Exchange 2000 Server. Whether you are part of a large multinational organization with branch offices all over the world or a small company based in one location, the information and best practices contained in this guide should save you considerable time and effort.

Download: Exchange 2000 Server Upgrade Series – Planning Guide

office    Microsoft Outlook 2003 Spam Filter: Under the hood (Nov 13)

There are 28 anti-spam add-ins for Outlook in the software archive MAPIStore.Com — those are real add-ins by third-party developers, fully integrated with Outlook and implementing the newest spam filtering methods, including self-training ones based on various modifications of the Bayesian method. Microsoft Outlook 2003 is supplied with built-in junk mail filter based on “state-of-the-art technology developed by Microsoft Research”. This Microsoft technology is considered in our article.

Spam filtering is a very difficult task, which is evident at least from the fact that, despite numerous software solutions offered and attempts to enforce anti-spam legislation, our mailboxes are still stuffed with junk mail. And the problem is growing even more serious year after year.

Probably, that’s why we failed to learn about the new Microsoft technology from publications about Microsoft Office 2003 much more than one could read in the program help: “technology : that is used to evaluate whether an unread message should be treated as a junk e-mail message based on several factors, such as the time it was sent and the content of the message”. In our opinion, spam filtering has something in common with cryptography: the fact that the algorithm is kept in secret doesn’t make it crack-proof, nor does it guarantee effective spam filtering. And that’s why we decided to publish this article.

Our company is specializing in development of add-ins for Microsoft Outlook, therefore we thoroughly scrutinize all innovations in Microsoft Office — both as users and as software developers. As users, we were a bit surprised to find a hint at usage of some variant of the Bayesian’s method for the filtering in one of the articles about Microsoft Office 2003 — and we expected to see something trainable. However, the filter appeared to us as kind of “black box” — we could only choose between the two filter response levels — low and high. No more controls were provided. We tried to train the filter, marking messages as spam and vice versa, but all in vain.

Then we started studying it as software developers. In Microsoft Outlook, unlike Outlook Express, there are advanced and well documented facilities for creation of add-ins, using which a software developer can add almost any feature to Outlook. Alas, here disappointment was awaiting us again: neither the filter itself, nor any other anti-spam components could be detected (senders black list etc.) anywhere. Of course, they did exist and they worked, but a third-party software developer couldn’t get access to them or find out any information about them.

View full article: Microsoft Outlook 2003 Spam Filter: Under the hood

other    Winter Fun Packs for Windows XP (Nov 13)

This year, use your own creativity with Windows XP to make unique gifts for your friends and family. Discover how to use digital music, home movies, and photos to create one-of-a-kind personalized presents, and a homemade holiday whose memories you will treasure forever.

Download all the goodies you need to create memorable holiday gifts, plus a few special items just for you, including screen savers, Windows Media Player skins, and more.

View: Winter Fun

office    Excel Spreadsheets Tap Into Grid Power (Nov 13)

Platform Computing has released a software module that enables Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software to tap into the power of a grid computing system, the company said Tuesday.

The Excel adapter is now a standard part of Platform’s Symphony Suite, software the Toronto-based company sells to join groups of computers together into a single pool of processing power. Platform is aiming the Excel adapter software at financial services companies, where analysts often must perform high-speed calculations such as calculating the risks incurred by a particular change to a stock portfolio.

The software moves a common desktop software package one step closer to the widespread but still-distant notion of computing power that will be much like today’s electrical power grid: something that’s always available for those who need a little more computing capacity. This idea is closely related to the utility computing concept that’s under development in various forms at many of the largest computing hardware and software companies.

View full article: Excel spreadsheets tap into grid power
View: Official Press Release from Platform

other    Plus! Dancer LE: Experience music in a whole new way with lifelike 3-D and animated dancers (Nov 12)

A funny download for everyone! It’s a bit like the Screenmates which already existed for Windows 3.x. Hmm, has Clippy become a real ghost or is he just pretending? Well something says me that we still haven’t seen the last of him…

Experience music in a whole new way with lifelike 3-D and animated dancers that groove on your desktop with dozens of entertaining and hilarious dance moves. Try the freely downloadable “LE” version of Plus! Dancer then step up to the full version and get a choice of sizes and a wide range of dancers to choose from!

System Requirements
Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP

Microsoft Windows® XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition.
Requirement: 233 megahertz (MHz) processor, such as an Intel Pentium or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processor.
Recommendation: 500 MHz processor or faster, such as a Pentium III or equivalent processor.
Sound Card

Download: BooWho_DancerLE.exe
Download: Cobey_DancerLE.exe
Download: EandM_DancerLE.exe
Download: Jade_DancerLE.exe
Download: Kris_DancerLE.exe

View: Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition
View: Meet the dancers