A recent Microsoft press release outlines plans to release an early public beta of a new cookie manager for Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 (it's already in the hands of about 5000 technical beta testers). The enhancement includes notification of when cookies are used, a "delete all cookies" button in Internet Options, and new cookie-related Help items. Microsoft expects to release the public beta within the next 4 weeks. The company also calls this a first step toward a comprehensive privacy solution "that may include technology such as the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P)," and says we can expect P3P to be included in Whistler, the next major Windows version, when it ships next year. This is a positive development, in my opinion. Right now, cookie operation is nearly invisible to the user. That's good in terms of making operations over the Web simple; it's bad because you have no knowledge of when cookies are being used, what they're being used for, or who is using them. Giving end users control over cookies (and IS folks the ability to configure how they're used on corporate networks) strikes me as an extremely good idea!

This is the last week I'll be contributing a regular lead item to Windows 2000 Professional UPDATE. I'm both glad and sad. I'm glad because--to be completely honest--writing this column each and every week has turned into a bit of a grind. It will be nice to work on some other things and not have to worry about filling this space every week. I'm sad because it has been a very real pleasure to hear from so many of you during the past 9 months. I've really enjoyed that! Now, don't panic--you'll still get your dose of news, tips, and hints each week. My replacement is David Chernicoff, Windows 2000 Magazine's lab director and an extremely knowledgeable fellow. You'll find his comments here beginning next week. You'll still be able to read my ruminations once a month in Windows 2000 Magazine, and from time-to-time, I may appear back here as well. In any case, thanks for reading!

A recent Microsoft press release outlines plans to release an early public beta of a new cookie manager for Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 (it's already in the hands of about 5000 technical beta testers). The enhancement includes notification of when cookies are used, a "delete all cookies" button in Internet Options, and new cookie-related Help items. Microsoft expects to release the public beta within the next 4 weeks. The company also calls this a first step toward a comprehensive privacy solution "that may include technology such as the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P)," and says we can expect P3P to be included in Whistler, the next major Windows version, when it ships next year. This is a positive development, in my opinion. Right now, cookie operation is nearly invisible to the user. That's good in terms of making operations over the Web simple; it's bad because you have no knowledge of when cookies are being used, what they're being used for, or who is using them. Giving end users control over cookies (and IS folks the ability to configure how they're used on corporate networks) strikes me as an extremely good idea!

This is the last week I'll be contributing a regular lead item to Windows 2000 Professional UPDATE. I'm both glad and sad. I'm glad because—to be completely honest—writing this column each and every week has turned into a bit of a grind. It will be nice to work on some other things and not have to worry about filling this space every week. I'm sad because it has been a very real pleasure to hear from so many of you during the past 9 months. I've really enjoyed that! Now, don't panic—you'll still get your dose of news, tips, and hints each week. My replacement is David Chernicoff, Windows 2000 Magazine's lab director and an extremely knowledgeable fellow. You'll find his comments here beginning next week. You'll still be able to read my ruminations once a month in Windows 2000 Magazine, and from time-to-time, I may appear back here as well. In any case, thanks for reading!