New Blog Tagline and Other Updates

I liked the title of my recent post “So Much to Blog… So Little Time” enough to make it a permanent blog tagline (see the About section at the top of the right column).  I’ll still be covering the same stuff – but hopefully visitors will get the idea if they haven’t seen a new post in over a week.

Playing XBOX 360 at Target

I went shopping at Target with my daughter last night and was surprised to see a newly minted XBOX 360 display in the electronics section.  A couple Target employees were playing some D&D first-person game (don’t know the name) and asked if I wanted to play.  My daughter was kind enough to wait patiently while I drooled all over myself at the new graphics capabilities and the new controller (which also rocks, btw).  One employee confirmed the rumor that each store will only have 10 or 15 units to sell on opening day/night.  I’m not planning to pick one up until sometime next year (hint, hint – I have a February birthday people).  Anyway, just wanted to add to the 360 hype.  This thing is going to rock!

New Search Software from Microsoft

This is an exciting time if you’re interested in the latest and greatest Microsoft technology.  For instance, yesterday Microsoft released the new Windows Desktop Search tool.  They also released an updated MSN Search Toolbar.  Let me save you a little confusion and clarify the difference between these two products.

  • Windows Desktop Search (WDS) is a stand-alone search tool that replaces the Search Companion software built into Windows 2000 and XP (you know, the one with the annoying dog who asks you what you want to find).  As such, it is only capable of searching the file system.
  • MSN Search Toolbar (which adds IE tabbed browsing, Outlook Searching, etc.) is now positioned as some sort of enhancement to WDS.  Basically, if you want to be able to search Outlook you need more than just WDS.

My understanding is that Microsoft broke out the WDS component from the MSN Search Toolbar so corporate customers could deploy it without adding a toolbar, or anything MSN-related to their business PCs.  Honestly I think this approach is confusing.  Most Microsoft shops that will take the time to deploy WDS are probably also running Exchange/Outlook, which means they’ll need the MSN Search Toolbar anyway.  The smart thing to do would have been to include Outlook search in WDS – and keep all the other MSN stuff (IE tabs, pop-up blocking, form-fill, etc.) in the MSN Search Toolbar.  Heck, they could have gone a step further and just called it the MSN Toolbar again and left search solely in the hands of WDS.  But, last time I checked I wasn’t involved in Microsoft product development or marketing – so they didn’t for my opinion ;)

Note: Both products are designed for manageability (via Group Policy .adm files) and ease of deployment/servicing (AD/SMS deployment, WSUS/MU patching).  This is very cool – and will encourage deployment in large organizations who require these capabilities.