Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

March, 2004


    Microsoft Progress Report: Security


    Bill Gates published an Executive E-mail today, discussing Microsoft's progress on the security front:

    Microsoft Progress Report: Security
    Given human nature, evolving threat models and the increasing interconnectedness of computers, the number of security exploits will never reach zero. But we can dramatically blunt the impact of cybercriminals, and are dedicating a major portion of our R&D investments to security advances.


    Visiting the Mouse


    For anybody who cares, I'm starting the second week of a two week vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. So far I've taken the kids to all four of the Disney parks. (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, MGM, Animal Kingdom) We are having a blast. Tomorrow I'm taking my oldest son, Will, to Kennedy Space Center.

    I've been adding a few phone pictures from the trip to my moblog.

    Just to add a bit of tech to this otherwise non-technical posting, here's a rundown of the technology that I'm carrying with me, what works and what doesn't:

    • Tablet PC - Works great, but both of the Bluetooth adapters I have with me have been horrible to work with. I'm going to see if I can find a new one this week that's compatible with XPSP2 and see if that makes a difference.
    • Pocket PC - It's been awesome. (iPAQ 5450 PPC 2003) Bluetooth works great. It was syncing with my exchange account right up until I went way over my account size limit. :)
    • Spot Watch - I set city for Orlando before I left on the trip and it's worked great ever since we landed.
    • Nokia 3650 - This phone has worked really well. My only complaint is that when the time zone changed, the phone wasn't smart enough to update the calendar and so none of the appointments are right. Not that it matters on vacation. :) (Well , the watch and the Pocket PC figured out the right thing to do immediately.)
    • Network - As I mentioned, GPRS works great with the Pocket PC over Bluetooth, but it hasn't worked well at all with the Tablet PC. The fouth day we were here my wife showed me a flyer for high speed network access in the room and asked me why I wasn't using it. Well, maybe because I didn't know about it. :)
    • Cameras - I've got two cameras with me. A really small Canon and a Fujifilm S602. I've been shooting with the S602 onto a microdrive and so I've been using it for both still shots and for movies. I've been dumping my camera cards to the Tablet PC at the end of the day and I have the tablet set up as a picture frame. I'll post an edited movie when I get a chance.

    I really haven't been spending much time on the computer at all. I read blogs via newsgator mobile on both the mobile phone and the Pocket PC. It's a great way to kill time while you're waiting in line.


    Tom Archer on Converting Numeric and String Data


    Tom Archer has a new tip up on that deals with converting numeric and string data via sockets:

    C++ Tip: Receiving & Converting Numeric and String Data via Sockets
    ...when you start sending and receiving numeric data via sockets, you have to be aware of conversion issues in terms of what type of machine is on the other end of the connection. Specifically, you need to know how to convert numeric data from the local machine's format (host order) to the industry standard format for sending sockets data (network order).


    The Economics of Privacy


    JC Cannon pointed me to this great list of privacy resources built by Alessandro Acquisti of  Carnegie Mellon University.

    The Economics of Privacy
    Is there a combination of economic incentives and technological solutions to privacy issues that is acceptable for the individual and beneficial to society? Is there a sweet spot that satisfies the interests of all parties? The papers, people, and conferences listed below try to address some of these issues.


    Windows XP Service Pack 2 Technical Preview

    A Technical Preview of Windows XP Service Pack 2 is now available for download from You can find more information on this page. Keep in mind that this version of the service pack is available only as a preview for computer professionals who need to test software. You can find out more about how Windows XP SP2 affects developers by checking out the XPSP2 page we have on the Security Developer Center.

    Here's the Warning from the download page:
    This technical preview is unsupported and is intended for testing purposes only. Do not use in production environments.

    Port Reporter Utility

    As Sean mentions in his post, this utility has been making the blog rounds and it seems to be very popular. I'll probably add it the the Security Developer Center downloads page when I get a chance.

    Port Reporter
    Several other people are blogging about this tool, Port Reporter, and I think this is a great Windows security tool.

    You can download the utility from here.


    Rob on VC IDE Testing

    Rob, one of the Five Testers from VC, has posted a blog entry which looks to become a multi-part piece on on testing the IDE in Visual C++. I think this blog provides some very interesting insights into how testers think about things.
    VC IDE testing (issues and processes) [rob] Since Ron has been entering thoughts and comments on compiler testing, I’d like to add a perspective on IDE testing from VC. I’ll leave it in notation format to encourage discussion of points for which readers would like more clarification.

    SPOT Sports Channel

    The MSN Direct Sports Channel went live. If you're an MSN Direct subscriber, you can add the channel to your watch from the Web page. Basketball for now, baseball at a later date.

    Tablet is Back!


    Well, my Tablet PC has been shipped and returned with Looney Tunes speed. Gateway really came through on this fix with absolutely no hassle.


    Crypto-Gram Has an RSS Feed

    Shawn sent me a note this morning to let me know that Bruce Schneier now as an RSS feed for his Crypto-Gram Newsletter. I see that Anil also has this on his blog. While I don't agree with everything that Bruce has to say about security, I definitely read it all. This will be a nice, easy way to keep up with it.

    If you're not familiar with the newsletter, here's the description from the site:
    Crypto-Gram Newsletter
    Crypto-Gram is a free monthly e-mail newsletter from security expert Bruce Schneier, with over 100,000 readers. In its seven years of regular publication, Crypto-Gram has become one of the most widely read forums for free-wheeling discussions, pointed critiques, and serious debate about security. As head curmudgeon at the table, Schneier explains, debunks, and draws lessons from security stories that make the news.
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