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Windows Roundup DirectX 8.0a, IE 5.5 not bugfix looms

What kind of UI would you like in Whistler?

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ActiveWin has reported the official release of DirectX 8.0a, after Microsoft announced its site was down for the third time this week. But after further investigation and a couple of e-mails, it seems that DirectX 8.0a is more of a developer and/or manufacture release. A reader says that after downloading it, he saw no difference in build numbers. "DirectX 8.0a contains updates for issues with international installs on Windows 2000 and issues where input devices could have buttons disabled that were enabled with previous DirectX releases," reports ActiveWin.

As Microsoft prepares Service Pack 1 for Internet Explorer 5.5, it has halted further downloading of IE 5.5. A News.com article reports that Microsoft isn't planning to fix any bugs, nor add any features, but "update a couple of specific areas." Why? It's buggy as hell, and they're notfixing any bugs... I don't get it.

Will they ever create a Mission Impossible type box where you need voice recognition, retinal scans, and a fingerprint to let you access your computer? Well, this article may entice you to buy those products, and put your computer behind ten steel doors. Believe it or not, Windows 2000 is still hackable (is that a word?). In the article, Joel Kleppinger tells you about the changes Microsoft made and did not make to security in Windows 2000. Also, if you want to know how hackers do it, then this'll show you how passwords can be cracked, and how to keep them from not being cracked.

3D Spotlight posted an article about Windows File Protection (WFP), and how you can control it - so it won't control you. Basically, WFP will prevent system files from being deleted and/or over-written while installing an update, upgrade, new software, etc. Common files that are usually overwritten without users noticing are DLL files, so be sure to check this out if you've been experiencing problems with your computer, or if you're not sure if you have this enabled or not.

I received an overwhelming response when I asked what Microsoft should do with the UI. I won't be able to quote all the e-mails, but expect it to be spanned over several issues. If you like this idea, and would like to see stuff like this in the future, e-mail me.

To begin, Mr. Gurney has a great idea for those who enjoy using their keyboard more than their mouse, "Why not put in a Quake-style console?" If you don't play Quake, it has a way for you to access a console to enter commands to execute while playing, "The console would fade in and present itself. It would act just like a DOS prompt, but you could also do other stuff (hell, why not convert some of the control panel options to Quake-style cvars as well?)" A very good idea if you ask me, because if you don't want it, just don't use it, and for those who enjoy typing then you'll get carpel tunnel syndrome quicker!

Mr. Joyal is on the same page with me, when he said, "I think its just pure laziness to not have changed anything." It takes time to develop a whole new UI, and you have to pay extra for graphic designers and new code implementation. Look how long it took them to make Windows 95; after many requests from "newbies" Microsoft decided to create something visually appeasing for the eye. "On the other hand there are those computer novices that are just learning what a start menu and a right mouse click are," says Mr. Joyal.

If somebody can summarize it in a couple words, Mr. Buhl would be the one: "no s***. f*** the start menu."

Any tips, queries? Send them to Luis at The Register. ®

This week's Windows Roundups

MS tries to throttle Whistler code leaks
Fun with Windows, PowerPoint insecure
Wide public beta for Whistler?
Where it's at with Whistler

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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