real life in my life

October 15, 2006

Microsoft promises Vista security

Filed under: microsoft,news — namwarn @ 6:24 pm

A senior Microsoft executive has promised that its new operating system will be more secure than ever. Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, said that beefing-up security was one reason behind delays to Windows Vista.

Microsoft has been criticised for flaws in previous systems that left users vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

Mr Courtois said Microsoft had done “tons of work to make Vista a fantastic experience when it comes to security”.

The firm had originally aimed to launch Vista – the first major update since Windows XP was introduced five years ago – in the second half of 2006.

The new operating system will now be released to business customers “within the next few weeks” and to consumers early next year, he said.

Secure steps

Speaking in Barcelona at the European Technology Round Table Mr Courtois, the most senior Microsoft executive outside of the US, said that Windows Vista was the continuation of an ongoing effort by Microsoft to improve security across its software line-up.

“In the last 18 months, the number of vulnerabilities [in Windows’ software] has been much lower,” he said.

Jean-Philippe Courtois

The launch of Windows Vista is certainly one of the defining moments of the company

Jean-Philippe Courtois

“Microsoft has raised its game in a big way on security and Windows Vista is the next big step. The company has learnt to design software which is secure by default.”

Mr Courtois outlined features of Windows Vista that are designed to make it easier for users to protect themselves.

At the heart of the system will be the new Windows Security Centre which will show consumers any holes in their defences.

Vista will also feature new encryption technology designed to protect the data on a computer.

“Even if your laptop is stolen, nobody will be able to use it because it will be fully encrypted,” he said.

But Jean-Philippe Courtois said users had to play their part in making computers more secure.

“You’ve got to make sure that your firewall is on, that you’ve got anti-virus protection on your PC, you’ve got to understand what not to do on the internet,” he said. “It’s just like protecting your own home.”

This week the BBC set up a so-called “honeypot” computer running Windows XP without protection. The PC came under attack every 15 minutes.

But not everybody in the security software world is happy about Microsoft’s plans for Vista.

Symantec, which makes Norton anti-virus software, is among many security firms warning that Vista appears designed to shut out security products made by outside firms.

However, what is clear is that the long-awaited arrival of the new operating system will be a crucial weapon in Microsoft’s battle to retain its dominant position at a time when firms like Google are mounting a serious challenge.

“The launch of Windows Vista is certainly one of the defining moments of the company,” admitted Jean-Philippe Courtois.



October 4, 2006

Nokia develops a new, short-range wireless technology

Filed under: news,nokia — namwarn @ 4:46 pm

Nokia Corp. has developed a new, short-range wireless technology that it says could improve on some of the shortcomings of Bluetooth.

Called Wibree, the technology aims to be a lot more power-efficient than Bluetooth, which means it could be used in smaller and less costly devices. It can also use the same radio and antenna components as Bluetooth, helping keep costs down further, said Bob Iannucci, head of Nokia’s research center, who unveiled the technology in Helsinki on Tuesday.

The technology could compete with Bluetooth in the workplace as a way to link keyboards and other peripherals to computers. But it could also have more interesting applications for consumers, in devices such as wrist watches, toys and sports equipment.

Because of its low power requirements, it could be used in tiny sensors that could be worn by a jogger, for example, to collect information about his heart rate or distance travelled. The sensors could send the information to a mobile phone via Wibree, which in turn would upload the information to a Web site where the jogger could compare his performance with that of other runners or get advice from a trainer.

Wibree sensors could also be placed in a golf club and used to upload data to the Internet about a player’s swing, again via a mobile phone, where a golf instructor could offer advice about improving his or her game.

The technology is being designed to communicate with a phone or other device within 10 meters, and can transfer data at 1M bps, Nokia said. It can be implemented in a stand-alone chip or as a dual-mode chip that includes both Bluetooth and Wibree. More information is at

Bluetooth has inherent power limitations because it includes a fixed packet-size and frequency-hopping technology, Iannucci said. Wibree uses a different modulation technique that does a better job of avoiding interference, which helps reduce its power requirements, he said.

Several companies are working with Nokia to define the Wibree specification, including Broadcom Corp., Epson Corp. and Nordic Semiconductor ASA, Nokia said. They hope to submit the technology to a standardization process, which could help it to gain wider support.

Nokia hopes eventually to license Wibree to manufacturers that wish to use it. Wibree isn’t the only contender for use in wireless sensors, however. Zigbee is an ongoing standardization project and has similar characteristics to Wibree.

However, because Wibree uses the same radio as Bluetooth, the economics of deploying it are better, according to Iannucci.

Bluetooth’s supporters are working to lower its power consumption and reduce other drawbacks with the technology.


Blog at