First of all, I want to gather more information about who you are by posing some questions about you and your Windows 2000/NT deployments. I hope to learn more about you so I can tailor Windows 2000 Magazine UPDATE content to meet your needs. Below are my questions and a place where you can respond.
- What is your role? Are you a Win2K/NT administrator/system manager, consultant, or developer?
- Are you a Microsoft Joint Deployment Program (JDP) customer?
- Do you regularly attend Microsoft's Tech Ed, Professional Developers Conference (PDC), or other Microsoft events?
- What version of Windows Server do you currently run? (e.g., Win2K, NT 4.0, SP version)
- If you're running Win2K, are you running Active Directory (AD)?
- If you're running AD, did you upgrade from an NT 4.0 domain or start a new domain?
- If you're running NT 4.0, when do you plan to migrate to Win2K and AD?
- What key deployment and operational concerns do you face in your Win2K/AD deployment?
- Are you deploying or do you plan to deploy Microsoft's other .NET Enterprise Servers, such as SQL Server 2000 and Exchange 2000 Server? If so, which servers?
- What type of content do you prefer in Windows 2000 Magazine UPDATE: How-to, tutorial, editorial/opinion, industry news analysis, or other? What have been the most and least interesting topics we've covered recently?
- Would you prefer to see Windows 2000 Magazine UPDATE in HTML or text format (or a choice of either)?
- Do you prefer to have all the content in the e-newsletter or a summary-and-link approach?
I encourage you to take a moment to send us feedback on these questions. As we seek to provide a better e-newsletter, your comments are vital. Please post your comments.
Windows 2002 and More Wireless Notes
Microsoft revealed this week that Whistler Server will be marketed as Windows 2002 when the company releases it late this year or, as seems increasingly likely, early next year. The news wasn't greeted with the same dazed look that met the Windows XP branding, but then Whistler Server has been a more staid product than its desktop siblings all along. I don't think anyone was too confused about the name to begin with.
Except for Microsoft, it seems. According to two colleagues who attended a Jim Allchin Q&A session last week, the executive vice president in charge of Windows admitted that he wasn't sure about Windows 2002. When pressed about Microsoft's inability to stick with consistent product names and either embrace the yearly naming scheme fully or abandon it all together, Allchin said that Microsoft just didn't know what to do. With Windows XP, he said, the company wanted something dynamic that would immediately alert consumers that it was new and improved. But for the server products, Microsoft fell right back into the familiar yearly naming scheme. For now.
"We really haven't done naming right yet," he said, mentioning that he was taking part in two Whistler Server naming meetings that week alone. In fact, Allchin admitted that Windows 2002 might be renamed yet again before its release. "The fat lady hasn't sung yet," he said. This statement begs the obvious: Why did Microsoft change the name from Windows NT to begin with? I have no particular insider information about naming issues, but I'd love to see the company return the NT name to its rightful place. You never know.
Another issue concerning Windows 2002, of course, is its fluctuating release schedule: I don't know anyone who believes it will ship this year. But although Windows 2002 isn't a major upgrade such as Windows XP, it's a crucial step to Blackcomb, which is expected in late 2003 (unlikely, of course). Blackcomb will offer the full Microsoft .NET user experience, along with a revamped UI and full integration with Microsoft's second generation of .NET services. Beyond that, the company is working with its closest partners to determine where Windows will go post-Blackcomb. According to Gartner researchers, Microsoft will probably offer an interim release of Windows between Whistler and Blackcomb and then drop the Windows name altogether for future OS products. We'll see.
More About Wireless
In my examination of wireless technologies over the past few weeks, the number-one unanswerable question I've received involves possible health problems. I've searched high and low for information about this topic, and the closest I've come to a straight answer is this little blurb from Xircom:
"The output power of wireless LAN systems is much less than that of handheld cellular phones," the company says in a wireless FAQ on its Web site. "Since radio waves fade rapidly over distance, those in the area of a wireless LAN system are exposed to very little \[radio frequency\] RF energy. Wireless LANs must meet stringent government and industry regulations for safety. No adverse health effects have ever been attributed to wireless LANs." Now, for someone like me, who is uncomfortable standing in front of a microwave while it's heating popcorn, I'm not sure what to make of this. But I will say that when I visited Barb Bowman last month to discuss wireless technologies and noted the amazing number of wireless devices running in her lab, the first thing that came to both mind and mouth was, "Aren't you a little concerned that this is going to cause some health problems?" She wasn't.
In the end, I'm not sure what to say about this matter, but I'm interested in any information you have. I have a sneaking suspicion that the world is going wireless in a big way over the next few years, and the last thing we want to discover 10 years down the road is that we've created the technological equivalent of the Black Plague.
Speaking of wireless, you might have seen the stories this week (see below) that Compaq is supplying wireless hardware for Starbucks. Here's how it works: If you own a laptop and an 802.11b wireless networking card, just bring them in—and you'll be online. If you don't, Starbucks will rent you a wirelessly-equipped Compaq iPaq. In the future, other unspecified machines will be made available. I presume that these will be Compaq laptops or Tablet PCs. Starbucks says that 100 stores are already set up for wireless in the United States, and 400 more are coming by the end of the year. Of course, this number represents only 10 percent of the total Starbucks empire.
And finally, a small correction: I referred to 802.11x last week as "802.11X." Sorry about that!