Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

January, 2004


    Napster and Windows Media Center

    Duncan and I were talking about the kinds of plug-ins that could be created for Windows Media Center and I thought it would be nice to have a Napster plug-in. Last night I disovered that this was already installed on my machine:


    MSN Explorer 9

    I've been using the new MSN Explorer 9 browser as part of my MSN Premium membership for a few weeks ago and it's pretty impressive. There's a popup blocker and the dashboard feature is really good for quick info. Most impressive to me is how much better MSN Search is. I'm actually finding good stuff on the first try. :)

    One thing to note is that it's somewhat difficult to use this as my main browser on my work machines. I've got it installed, but I find that it gets in the way of some of our internal applications.

    The thing that really makes this software for me is the persistent Favorites across multiple machines. Very slick. I told my mom about it and she subscribed as an upgrade to her Hotmail extra storage. She hasn't had time to install the new software yet. I'll be interested to hear what she has to say about it.


    54 Commandments of COM Object Model Design.


    Craig shares a list of 54 COM object model design commandments:

    I thought I would share the list of rules that we follow when developing the Visual Studio COM object model. There are a few blemishes in our object model, mostly caused by legacy code in our code base, where we do not follow these rules, but we try to follow them as close as possible. These rules may be applicable to your COM object model (with some changes, such as your root object probably will not be called DTE), and some are applicable to .NET development (translate HRESULTs to exceptions). I encourage you to make a list of rules such as this when you design an object model, it makes defining the objects much easier and consistent.

    This provides some fascinating insight into the design of the Visual Studio COM object model. Check it out.


    Suunto Pics

    I posted a few pictures of the Suunto N3 to my photo site. I just wanted to show what comes in the box and how it fits together for those that might be interested.


    Correcting a SPOT Review

    I was reading a recent SPOT review and the following caught my eye:
    For example, you have to pay Microsoft a monthly fee for the wireless service, either $10 a month or $60 a year up front, plus a $60 activation fee. Yes, you read that right: you've lived to see the day when people pay a monthly fee for their watches.

    (Emphasis mine) Here’s the link to the article:

    I've seen this reported twice. I didn't see anything about an activation fee when I signed up so I checked internally. Here's the information I got:

    There are two service options:
    $9.95 per month with the first month free OR
    $59 per year
    Neither has any additional activation fee.

    I thought this would be helpful for anyone considering a SPOT device, but who might be put off by the reported pricing. I'm told that we're working with the press to correct this error.

    PSS Mydoom Virus Alert Updated

    We're linking to the PSS guidance for the Mydoom worm from the MSDN Home Page and most of the Developer Centers. PSS has updated their page tonight with additional details about the virus and about detection. You can also check out our consumer page for the virus here.

    SPOT Observations


    I was away from the Microsoft campus on Friday, and so I missed a SPOT presentation that was given to Microsoft employees. I watched the replay this weekend and one of the interesting takeaways was that the radio receiver could be turned off, and in fact that is what they suggest for anyone traveling on an airplane. (If I didn't understand that correctly, I'm sure I'll be corrected by one of my co-workers.)

    One of the other things I found out was that you can add yourself to your own MSN Messenger buddy list, so that you can send messages to your own watch.

    So here are a few SPOT resources that I've discovered:

    Spot Blogs (Or at least bloggers who have SPOT watches):

    Peter Rysavy
    Phillip Torrone
    Craig Skibo
    Scott Hanselman (good review)
    Joseph Jones

    I can tell right now that my favorite feature is going to be the calendar sync. At MS it's impossible for people who have a ton of meetings (like me) to remember all the different rooms and buildings that they need to visit. So we usually have a Pocket PC handy most of the time or we print the day's schedule in the morning and carry that around. This watch is going to be fantastic for figuring out where I need to be during the day.


    Scoble got SPOT

    Robert Scoble got a SPOT watch yesterday. Very cool. I'm sure he'll have some interesting stuff to say about it soon.

    New Windows Server 2003 Security Guides

    • 3 Comments points to a couple of new security papers in the download center:
    Windows Server 2003 Security Guide

    The Windows Server 2003 Security Guide provides guidance to assist in hardening Domain Controllers, Infrastructure servers, File servers, Print servers, IIS servers, IAS servers.Certificate Services, and bastion hosts.

    Threats and Countermeasures: Security Settings in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP

    The Threats and Countermeasures Guide contains detailed information about relevant security settings that can be configured on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.



    Here's a link to the US-CERT Web site. You can join a couple of technical mailing lists here to track security issues. From the home page:
    US-CERT, a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) and the private sector, has been established to protect our Nation's Internet infrastructure. It will do this through global coordination of defense against and response to cyber incidents and attacks across the United States.
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