A gift for my brother

My brother and sister teamed up to buy me this, so to return the favor I bought Julius (my small bro) one heck of an MP3 player. I ordered the SanDisk 1GB player from Amazon and I feared that the sound quality poor.

The first thing I did was to hook it up to my machine and copy my files over. My first surprise was how fast the copy went when compared with the Creative Muvo that Microsoft gave us MVPs. The second surprise was that this sounded better than the Muvo. Man am I envious now, my 128MB feels really cheap compared to the 1GB player (FM tuner included). Well, at least I get to use it on my long lay-overs on the way back to Colombo.


My home away from home

It’s my last day here in Boston, so I cleaned up my desk and took a snap to capture the moment. Look at how MSF is all the rage now.

My desk in Boston

XP Sinhala Language Pack

Jinath has posted some screenshots of Windows and a Google page with the Sinhala Language Pack installed. Microsoft released the beta version of the Sinhala Language Pack to be used in the Tsunami aid programs. We MVP's got a beta copy as well to test out and provide feedback on. Hmm... I'll need to learn to read Sinhalese first before I can give any feedback though.

If you haven't seen the Sinhalese Google check it out here http://www.google.com/intl/si/

Co0L, chEcK THis 0U+

Now, why would Microsoft need to publish this web page for parents to de-greek teen speak.

D00D MIcR0S0PH+ R0x0r 4nD 15 w4y t0 k3WL! If you didn't understand that, your way too old dude. 

I actually get to interact with one of these specimens, ÅçhÎñÐå  1'M +4LKIng @BOUT j00 DUD3.

Windows Beats Linux in Live Security Contest

Well, well, well. Now this isn’t what you get to see everyday. Paul Thurrott reports in his latest newsletter.

During a live duel of sorts between backers of Windows 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux during the RSA Conference 2005 this week in San Francisco, a surprising victor emerged. Based on the previously agreed upon rules, Windows 2003 came out ahead, emerging as the more secure OS.

How could this happen, you ask? After agreeing to terms, backers of both OSs evaluated the security-oriented performance of Windows 2003 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux during the past year, looking at such key criteria as number of reported security vulnerabilities and the amount of time that elapsed between the public disclosure of a security flaw and the release of a fix. But doesn't the open-source model practically guarantee that fixes are released more quickly than they are with proprietary OSs? I guess not.

Results of the competition will be released next month, but here's the gist: Windows 2003 won every part of the competition. It had fewer flaws overall. The average time between Windows 2003 flaw reports and fixes was less than half that of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Less than half.

Does this mean that Windows is more secure than Linux on the server? Not necessarily. But it certainly provides an interesting real-world example of why assumptions about Linux security are completely bogus, as I've often noted.

Dataset performance in .NET Framework 2.0

Andrew Conrad writes about Dataset performance improvements in .NET 2.0. For me these improvements are really, really good reasons to switch to .NET 2.0 as soon as it ships (or even earlier when a ‘Go Live’ license is available).

System.Data.DataSet contains some very significant performance improvements over prior versions – particularly for large result set scenarios.

In particular,

  • Highly efficient Binary Remoting --  For large Dataset, orders of magnitude better than v1.x
  • Row Insert, Delete and Modify operations – For large Dataset, orders of magnitude better than v1.x. For instance, for a DataTable with PrimaryKey constraint, inserting million rows in random order takes around 45 seconds. Everett took 30 Minutes.
  • Maintaining DataViews in sync with underlying DataTable was very expensive in v1.x, In Whidbey it’s extremely fast – orders of magnitude better.
  • WebServices/Remoting for TypedDataset: It can be send across to other end without having to send its schema, significantly reducing the serialized payload and giving approx 4x+ improvement in end-end latency.

The following article (in addition to highlighting some new V2 features) also details the performance improvements.

SHA-1 Broken

Schneier reports that SHA-1 has been broken. ‘SHA-1 has been broken. Not a reduced-round version. Not a simplified version. The real thing.’

Time to revisit all the applications you’ve written that used SHA-1!

MSDN Hard Drive Pilot

I can't wait to go back and get my hands on the pilot MSDN Hard Drive that Microsoft is testing out. The MVPs are doing pilot tests on a future where the MSDN subscription would be offered in a huge 300GB hard disk and then updates downloaded to it. Forget about all the CDs/DVDs that Microsoft ships out monthly.

Some of the MVPs have already started blogging about it, Andrews has posted his first impressions and Manzi has some pics as well.

Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful

Ian Hickson has an published an intruiging paper on the case for avoiding XHTML.

Here it is in a nutshell:

  • Browsers decide how to handle a file based on the MIME type that the server sends with it.
  • HTML Web pages are identified with a MIME type of text/html.
  • Pages written in XHTML that are sent with a MIME type of text/html don't benefit from any of the features of XHTML.
  • To benefit from the features of XHTML, pages must be sent as application/xhtml+xml.
  • The most popular Web browser (Internet Explorer 6) cannot view pages sent as application/xhtml+xml.
  • </UL>

    And all this time, I was ignorantly assuming that any well formed HTML page was XHTML. Well, you live and you learn.

    UPDATE: I forgot to link to Ian Hickson's paper http://www.hixie.ch/advocacy/xhtml.