An irreverent look at some of the week's other news

Finding the secrets in the Whistler Preview
Since publicizing the secret Start Panel in the Whistler Preview this week, I've been inundated with requests from beta testers who'd like to know how it works. Well, with the help of a resource editor, I was discovered that there is a third option on the Start pane of the Start and Taskbar Properties dialog, an option that was marked "hidden" when this build was created. The hidden option reads "Clicking on Start displays Start Panel," and the "d" is underlined, meaning that "d" is the accelerator key for that choice. So you can open this dialog and type ALT+D to toggle the Start Panel feature. When you type ALT+D, the Apply button will flicker. Click Apply, close the dialog, and the Start Panel will be enabled. To reverse things back to the original Start menu, simple do the same thing and the Start Panel option will be toggled off.

Windows 2000 SP1 now due "next week"
Well, we've heard this one before, but I was told earlier this week that Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1) has been delayed until sometime next week. I guess we'll have to wait and see as usual: SP1 was originally set for release this past Wednesday.

Microsoft works on Windows 2000 compatibility
If you're a Windows 2000 user that's dogged by some sort of application compatibility issue, you might want to head over to MSDN Web site and check out the new Windows 2000 Application Compatibility Toolkit, which can help you diagnose and resolve problematic apps.

Happy birthday IntelliVision!
Fans of classic video gaming will want to head to the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas next week and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mattel IntelliVision. In the late 1970's/early 1980's, you were either into Atari or IntelliVision, and let's face it, the IntelliVision had way better sports games.

John Carmack joins Xbox advisory board
John Carmack, the uber programmer at id Software who's responsible for such hit games as DOOM and Quake, has joined the Xbox advisory board. But don't take this as a sign that Carmack is giving up the platform-independent OpenGL for Microsoft's proprietary DirectX: Carmack says that Nvidia, which makes the display adapter for the Xbox, is working on porting OpenGL to the Xbox, which will make it easier for id to support the device. Good news all around.

Yes, IE 5.5 already has a security flaw
Well, I expressed my reservations about the whole IE 5.01 SP1/IE 5.5 thing, and here we are a week later, and Microsoft's latest browser already has a security flaw. The flaw, which lets hackers read files on a user's machine, is specific to IE 5.5, as it requires a specific version of a certain ActiveX control. Maybe, just maybe, they'll get this thing right some day.

Have a Microsoft and a smile
Well, Microsoft is apparently vying with Coca-Cola for the title of world's most valuable brand. Apparently, the two companies are neck and neck, each with approximately $70 billion of "brand value," whatever that is. Rounding out the top ten in order are IBM, Intel, Nokia, General Electric, Ford, Disney, McDonalds, and AT&T.

Microsoft releases Windows Me-compatible IntelliPoint software
Windows Me fans that are frustrated over the lack of IntelliPoint drivers can rejoice: Microsoft has just released IntelliPoint 3.2 which includes support for Windows 9x, Windows 2000, and yup, Windows Me. Head on over to the Microsoft Web site and check it out.

And then there was one
CNET Networks announced this week that it was buying its biggest rival, ZDNet, along with its parent company, Ziff-Davis, for about $1.6 billion. This leaves me with almost no one to play with, as ZD has been a constant and obvious target over the years. But I actually get along with the guys and gals at CNET, leaving me with the same mixed feelings as a CIA operative at the end of the Cold War. Whatever that means