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Microsoft speaks no evil at confab

At the software giant's annual WinHEC developers conference, plenty of buzzwords come up over and over again, but there's one word nary a Microsoft executive is uttering: Sasser, as in the recent worm.

SEATTLE--Here at WinHEC, plenty of buzzwords come up over and over again, but there's one word nary a Microsoft executive uttered: Sasser.

Oh sure, security was mentioned a fair number of times at this week's Windows Hardware and Engineering Conference. However, the discussion was largely in the abstract, as a general problem Microsoft was working hard to combat.

Among the exceedingly scarce mentions of the fast-moving Sasser worms was this "Sasser Worm Alert" warning posted on PCs in the Internet Cafe:

"An Internet worm known as Sasser is currently circulating on the Internet and infecting PCs running Windows XP and 2000," the one paragraph warning said.

The alert went on to remind its readers that customers who followed Microsoft's guidance on security matters were already protected.

"Special precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of Sasser to unprotected computers on the WinHEC show network," Microsoft said. "But all WinHEC attendees are urged to visit Microsoft's to ensure that your system is protected and to run the cleaner tool if it is not."

Translation: move along, there's nothing to see here.

'N sync?
Windows boss Jim Allchin's comment that development of the server and PC versions of Longhorn were now "in synch" came as a surprise to many, who had assumed the desktop version was well ahead of its server counterparts. Microsoft's early comments on the subject had suggested that was the case. More recently, the company has only said that the actual availability of the server version would trail that of the desktop version.

Well, that's apparently still the case. A Microsoft representative clarified that though development of the server product is now largely on par with that of the desktop version, there is more testing required for server releases, so the release of Longhorn Server will follow the debut of the PC version of Longhorn by an unspecified period of time.

For those trying to guess just how long it might trail, it might pay to consider recent history. Microsoft first tried to line up server and PC Windows releases with the OS code-named "Whistler." In desktop form, Whistler shipped as Windows XP in October 2001; the server became Windows Server 2003 and didn't ship until the spring of last year.

Now that's technology, eh
The hit at Tuesday night's demo fest, at least among a large number of hockey fans, was the booth of Canadian chipmaker ATI Technologies. A demo of the Media Center turned into a chance to catch up on the NHL play-offs. A throng of people gathered around a midsize TV to watch the big game. The contest ended badly for the largely Canadian crowd, though, as the Philadelphia Flyers scored in overtime to win the series and end the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I guess I better not cheer," said Unisys staffer Bruce Vessey, who hails from the Philadelphia suburbs.

Meta Group analyst Steve Kleynhans, whose Canadian accent came through during his afternoon talk on the future of the PC, dropped in just after Flyers' forward Jeremy Roenick scored the winning goal.

"I knew I was going to miss the game," he said. "It's probably just as well."