29 December: Hotmail shut down as MS forgets to pay $35 bill -- Linux fan comes to the rescue
Microsoft said on Wednesday its free email service had been partially crippled because it forgot to pay a $35 bill. The glitch was caused after the company failed to pay the registration fee for rights to the Internet domain name passport.com, which verifies user names and passwords for Hotmail and other services. In an ironic twist, the missed billing was discovered and paid by Michael Chaney, an Antioch, Tennessee-based programmer who works with the Linux operating system, an upstart competitor to Microsoft's Windows platform.
28 December: MS falls victim to Y2K bug
Looking for a training kit for Windows 2000 Active Directory Services? Sorry, you'll have to go back to January 1900 to get a copy. A site for upcoming releases from Microsoft Press listed the publication date for three training kits as January 1900. The dates were supposed to be January 2000.
21 December: German Win2K Bug: Scientology?
Is there Scientology in your software? That's the question confronting Microsoft in Germany, where an alleged connection to Scientology in Windows 2000 has prompted a government inquiry into the operating system software. In November, Microsoft announced that disk fragmentation technology developed by Executive Software had been licensed to Microsoft for use in Windows 2000. Executive Software's CEO Craig Jensen is a member of the Church of Scientology and has boasted that his staff is trained according to administrative systems developed by the Church of Scientology. Laws in some German states require that companies with government contracts be free of connections to the Church of Scientology, so Microsoft might be facing a problem.
21 December: Nader slams MS pricing, licences, demands Office ports
Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who brought General Motors to its knees over car safety failures has been talking and writing about Microsoft's "poorly designed products" that were "prone to crash" at the Bazaar, an open source software event in New York. He drew attention to the narrowness of the DoJ case, which ignored "a plethora of issues" relating to the desktop monopoly, MS Office, and licensing issues.
15 December: MS shops around for Win2k web stats
Microsoft claimed recently that "thousands of companies have built their Web sites on the Windows 2000 platform" and announced that "6,000 Web sites are currently running on the Windows 2000 beta". We were therefore puzzled to find that Microsoft's Hotmail still uses Apache 1.3.6 Unix on FreeBSD, while msn.com uses IIS 4.0 on NT or Windows 95, according to Netcraft. Microsoft.com itself is running on the Windows 2000 beta.
14 December: Talk about innovation: MS IntelliMouse Explorer uses technology licensed from Hewlett-Packard
A recent article by Mark Morford for SF Gate slams Microsoft for being almost completely innovation-free, and now includes information that the IntelliMouse Explorer's optical tracking technology was actually licensed from Hewlett-Packard. There's even a handy link to an article about Gary Gordon, the guy at HP who invented "MouseJet"-- which Microsoft licensed, repackaged, and renamed. You can read more about the MouseJet in another HP article.
13 December: MS Anytime, Anywhere scheme promotes class warfare
A Microsoft free education project could break the piggy bank for parents at Tudor Grange School, Solihull. They are being asked to stump up £1,300 each for laptops supplied by the school to enable their children to take part in Microsoft's Anytime, Anywhere learning scheme. The laptop purchase is not compulsory, but children whose parents refuse to pay will be taught separately.
2 December: New virus uses Outlook security hole to format your hard drive on Jan 1, 2000
W32.Mypics.Worm was discovered on the evening of Dec 2, 1999. The worm propagates automatically on Windows 9x and Windows NT platforms through email and has a destructive payload that triggers in the year 2000. The worm has two payloads that simulate a Y2K problem. First, the worm monitors the system clock and when it detects the year is 2000, the worms will modify the system BIOS. On the next cold reboot, the computer will display a message such as "CMOS Checksum Invalid" and prevent the computer from booting. This can easily be corrected by going into the BIOS setup. After the BIOS settings are corrected, the worm will execute its second payload and will format the hard drive.
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