If you have some application software that is incompatible with Vista (and there is quite a bit out there), then there is some hope that Windows 7 will let you get on with your work. The new Windows 7 OS will, if you go through a number of hoops and hurdles, let you operate XP compatible software within a virtual environment (Windows Virtual PC) in a virtual operating system (Windows XP Mode). There is a catch, of course, you will need to have either the Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate versions.
This may be the result of Microsoft realising that they could be faced with another Vista fiasco, if they didnt do something to make it possible to run older apps. I think the expression is enlightened self interest.
Who is out of step; the world or Microsoft? The list of major websites that arent compatible with IE8 RC grows ever longer and now, apparently includes Microsoft and MSN (irony of ironies!) as well as the BBC, PayPal, Amazon, Barclays, Tesco, CNN and even Google in some places. As it stands IE 8 will render sites that use standards like CSS 2.1, but there are 2,400 (and counting) major sites, not to mention the millions of other sites that were designed to work with previous versions of IE.
Of course, there are other browsers available, and we still have to see what the completed IE 8 will do but at the moment Microsoft still has an enormous amount of work to do if they want to maintain their market position.
The web based threats we face today have exploded in numbers. In 1988, there were 1,738 different malware threats; in the first 2 months of 2008, we faced 1.1 million. Trend Micro have come up with a new way of protecting against them. The Smart Protection Network looks at the reputations of Websites, Email sources and files and block known sources of malware and phishing attacks. They have created a feed back loop between their users and their security centre which ensures that, as soon as a threat is identified, it is isolated. Of course, they still have to provide protection against viruses and worms, but this unique approach to identifying potential problems, should stop the threat ever arriving.
Windows 7 Beta is open to unauthorised 3rd party software which can gain full administrative rights. Microsoft allowed executable files that are digitally signed to make changes to the OS without prompting for users permission under the UACs default setting. Microsoft are aware of the issue and have said that they will resolve it in a later internal beta build, but claim they havent heard of anyone who has been affected by it. In the mean time Users of the system are advised to set the UAC to high.