Location: Hyderabad, India


Windows Future System

Microsoft has posted for download by its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers a first beta of its next-generation WinFS file system. Let us see what WinFS is.

WINFS(Windows Future System)

In some ways, personal computer is an inadequate name. Most people don't use a personal computer to compute. They use a computer to communicate (through e-mail or instant messaging) and to store and organize their personal data (such as e-mail, documents, pictures, and digital music). Unfortunately, while your computer presently stores this data quite well, it does a relatively poor job of allowing you to organize the information so that you can find it later.

Disk capacity has been growing at roughly 70 percent annually over the last decade. In a few years, people will be able to store millions of files, most of which, if nothing improves, they'll never see again.

One reason people have difficulty finding information on their computer is because of the limited ability for the user to organize data. The present file system support for folders and files worked well originally because it was a familiar paradigm to most people and the number of files was relatively small. However, it doesn't easily allow you to store an image of your coworker Bob playing softball at the 2007 company picnic at a local park and later find the image when searching for documents that:

  • Mention Bob
  • Involve sports
  • Relate to company events
  • Pertain to the park or its surrounding area
  • Were created in 2007

The hierarchical folder structure doesn't work well when you want to categorize data in numerous ways. Therefore, we have a problem today in that we have lots of stuff to store and no good way to categorize it. In addition to categorizing information, which many people associate with attaching a fixed set of keywords to data, people need to relate data. For example, I might want to relate a picture to the company picnic, or I might want to relate a picture to Bob, who is also a member of an organization to which I donate time and effort, as a contact.

Another problem is that we store the same stuff in multiple places in multiple formats. Developers spend much time and effort creating their own, unique storage abstractions for everyday information such as People, Places, Times, and Events. For example, Microsoft Outlook has a definition of a Contact. The Microsoft Windows Address Book also has its own definition of a contact. Each instant messaging application has yet another. Each application stores its definition of a contact in a unique, isolated silo of information.

There are a number of problems with current approaches to data storage, including the following:

  • Developers reinvent the basic data abstractions repeatedly.
  • Multiple applications cannot easily share common data.
  • The same information lives in multiple locations.
  • The user repeatedly enters the same information.
  • Separate copies of data become unsynchronized.
  • There are no notifications of data change.

What Is WinFS?

WinFS is the new storage system in Longhorn. It improves the Microsoft Windows platform in three ways. First, it allows you to categorize your information in multiple ways and relate one item of information to another. Second, it provides a common storage format for information collected on an everyday basis, such as information dealing with people, places, images, and more. Third, it promotes data sharing of common information across multiple applications from multiple vendors.

WinFS Is a Storage Platform

WinFS is an active storage platform for organizing, searching for, and sharing all kinds of information. This platform defines a rich data model that allows you to use and define rich data types that the storage platform can use. WinFS contains numerous schemas that describe real entities such as Images, Documents, People, Places, Events, Tasks, and Messages. These entities can be quite complex. For example, a person can have multiple names, multiple physical and e-mail addresses, a current location, and much more.

Independent software vendors (ISVs) can also define their own new data types and provide their schema to WinFS. By allowing WinFS to manage complex storage problems, an ISV can concentrate on developing its unique application logic and leverage the richer storage facilities of WinFS for its everyday and custom data.

WinFS contains a relational engine that allows you to locate instances of storage types by using powerful, relational queries. WinFS allows you to combine these storage entities in meaningful ways using relationships. One contact can be a member of the Employee group of an Organization while concurrently a member of the Household group for a specific address. ISVs automatically gain the ability to search, replicate, secure, and establish relationships among their unique data types as well as among the predefined Windows data types.

This structure allows the user to pose questions to the system and ask it to locate information rather than asking the system to individually search folders. For example, you can ask WinFS to find all e-mail messages from people on your instant messenger buddy list for which you don't have a phone number. Using relational queries, you can find all members of a Household for a particular employee with a birthday in the current month.

WinFS also supports multiple flexible programming models that allow you to choose the appropriate application programming interface (API) for the task. You can access the store by using traditional relational queries using structured query language (SQL). Alternatively, you can use .NET classes and objects to access the data store. You can also use XML-based APIs on the data store. WinFS also supports data access through the traditional Microsoft Win32 file system API. You can even mix and match—that is, use multiple APIs for a single task. However, for most purposes, developers will use the managed class APIs to change data in the WinFS store. It will often be far more complex to make an update using raw SQL statements as compared to using the object APIs.

In addition, WinFS provides a set of data services for monitoring, managing, and manipulating your data. You can register to receive events when particular data items change. You can schedule WinFS to replicate your data to other systems.

WinFS Is a File System

For traditional file-based data, such as text documents, audio tracks, and video clips, WinFS is the new Windows file system. Typically, you will store the main data of a file, the file stream, as a file on an NTFS volume. However, whenever you call an API that changes or adds items with NTFS file stream parts, WinFS extracts the metadata from the stream and adds the metadata to the WinFS store. This metadata describes information about the stream, such as its path, plus any information that WinFS can extract from the stream. Depending on file contents, this metadata can be the author (of a document), the genre (of an audio file), keywords (from a PDF file), and more. WinFS synchronizes the NTFS-resident file stream and the WinFS-resident metadata. New Longhorn applications can also choose to store their file streams directly in WinFS. File streams can be accessed using the existing Win32 file system API or the new WinFS API.

WinFS Isn't Just a File System

A file system manages files and folders. While WinFS does manage files and folders, it also manages all types of nonfile-based data, such as personal contacts, event calendars, tasks, and e-mail messages. WinFS data can be structured, semistructured, or unstructured. Structured data includes a schema that additionally defines what the data is for and how you should use it. Because WinFS is, in part, a relational system, it enforces data integrity with respect to semantics, transactions, and constraints.

WinFS isn't just a relational system, either. It supports both hierarchical storage and relational storage. It supports returning data as structured types and as objects—types plus behavior. You might consider WinFS a hierarchical, relational, object-oriented data storage system—although it actually contains certain aspects of each of those traditional storage systems. WinFS extends beyond the traditional file system and relational database system. It is the store for all types of data on the newest Windows platform.


Google Talk

Finally google has released its Instant messenger . Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world. Google Talk offers you:

  • Choice: Get in touch how and when you want to–over email, IM or a call
  • Quality: Talk through your computer but hear your friends as if they were in the same room
  • Convenience: Your Gmail contacts are pre-loaded into Google Talk so inviting or talking to your friends is just a click away

Google Talk is in beta and requires a Gmail username and password. Here is the screen shot of google talk and you can download it here.

Google Instant Messaging Service Expected

Google Inc., the most-used Internet search engine, may add a free service as early as this week that lets people send instant messages and make telephone calls through their computers. The service will let users connect calls on their computers and talk with a microphone and speakers or a headset, six analysts including Piper Jaffray's Safa Rashtchy in Menlo Park, California, said yesterday, citing speculation among industry contacts. The service eventually may be expanded to connect calls from computers to landlines, they said. The service, which also includes a feature to send written instant messages, will probably be free and may come out this week, Rashtchy said. Other analysts including IDC's William Stofega expect the product to debut within the next month. Google spokesman Nathan Tyler didn't return a phone call seeking comment. source--New York times


Microsoft offers Zotob removal tool

Microsoft on Wednesday made available a free software tool to help victims of the worms that are currently attacking Windows computers clean their systems. The Zotob worm started spreading on Sunday. Since then, variants of Zotob and other worms that take advantage of the same Windows security flaw have hit Windows 2000 users in particular. Systems at CNN, ABC and The New York Times were among those infected. The cleaning program is an updated version of Microsoft's Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, Debby Fry Wilson, a director in Microsoft's Security Response Centre, said in an interview. "You click on it and it will tell you if you are infected," she said. "And if you are, it will clean the worm off your PC." The Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool detects and removes malicious code placed on computers. Microsoft typically releases a new version of the tool every month with its security patches. The tool can be run online through Microsoft's Web site or downloaded from the Microsoft Download Centre. The updated cleaning program checks for and removes infections from Zotob.A through Zotob.E as well as Bobax.O, Esbot.A, Rbot.MA, Rbot.MB and Rbot.MC, according to Microsoft. The list represents all known variants based on Microsoft's investigation, the company said.


Blogger for word toolbar

Google has released a new add in for bloggers. Using that add on we can publish our posts from Microsoft Word itself. This very post is posted using word. You can download the blogger for word toolbar. Just download and install the Blogger for Word add-in and a Blogger toolbar will be added to Word allowing you to:

  • Publish to your blog
  • Save drafts
  • Edit posts


Zotob worm spreading

Hackers have created two worms that exploit recently published flaws in Microsoft software, less than a week after the Redmond giant released its latest regular monthly batch of patches. Security testers warned on Friday that exploit code for the flaw in Microsoft's Plug and Play software had appeared on hacking web sites and a newly created family of worms, dubbed Zotob, is spreading across networks in a similar fashion to the Sasser worm. However experts are telling computer users not to panic. "Zotob is not going to become another Sasser," said Mikko Hyppönen, director of antivirus research at F-Secure. "First of all, it will not infect Windows XP SP2 machines. It also won't infect machines that have 445/TCP blocked at the firewall. As a result, the majority of Windows boxes on the net won't be hit by it." Nevertheless, Hyppönen warns that there are certain similarities between Zotob and Sasser. Both were based on exploit code devised and distributed by the 'houseofdabus' hacking group. Zotob A and B spread without the need for any user interaction, predominantly via unpatched PCs on a computer network. It scans for machines via Port 445 and, once it finds a vulnerable PC, it downloads the main virus file via FTP. Once installed, the code allows remote control of the infected system. The virus authors also left a message for the antivirus community embedded in the code. "MSG to avs: the first av who detect this worm will be the first killed in the next 24hours!!!" In addition, the virus blocks access to security web sites, as well as those operated by eBay, Amazon or PayPal.


Google Icon vase speaker

Many computer speakers have a rather grim look and too many wires, so consider this sound alternative:

A single 2-way surround sound speaker with innovative audio lens technology, a tweeter tuned for clarity. The speaker is powered by a single USB plug (no adapter required), and the clever on/off knob at the top emits an orange LED glow when it's on. In deep metallic blue with a crisp Google logo, so everyone can see where you search for the coolest sounds.


Vista Virus Unleashed? Not Exactly

Xtremesoftstuff has a post on some recent work by Second Part To Hell on a Monad scripting virus. According to the posting, an Austrian virus writer had published proof-of-concept viruses that, in theory, could target Microsoft's scripting shell, code-named Monad, and also known as "MSH." The fact that MSH is used as the execution vehicle is really a side-note, as it does not exploit any vulnerabilities in MSH. The guidance on shell script viruses is the same as the guidance on all viruses and malware: protect yourself against the point of entry, and limit the amount of damage that the malicious code can do. In the real world, it's very hard to protect yourself against the point of entry. To combat this, Monad has three features to help: not installing a shell association by default, configurable execution policies (along with digitally signing scripts,) and not running scripts from the current directory. In the past, many viruses have injected themselves into a user's system when they double-click on the file. This is especially true in the case of email attachments. Windows then looks for the program that understands the file, and tells the program to run it. This is known as a shell association. Double-clicking on a .txt file opens Notepad. Double clicking on a .html page opens your browser of choice.The installer doesn't tell Windows that it understands .msh scripts, so double-clicking on a .msh file does nothing. Monad also support three execution policies to help you run scripts only from publishers that you trust. The first execution policy, "AllSigned," checks all scripts for a digital signature. Monad asks you if you trust that publisher to run scripts on your system. If you do, Monad will run the script. If you don't, it won't. The second execution policy, "RemoteSigned," checks scripts origintating from the Internet for a digital signature. If a script originates from the Internet, Monad goes through the same process that it does in the "AllSigned" mode. The final execution policy, "Unrestricted," does not check the digital signatures on scripts. However, if a script originates from the internet, it will warn (and prompt you) before it runs it. As for not running scripts in the current directory, Monad follows a policy similar to that of Unix shells: Monad do not run them, unless you explicitly ask it to. But Monad is not expected to be part of Vista when it ships and was not included in the Vista Beta 1 bits distributed by the company late last month. Monad, which is Microsoft's alternative to the scripting shell environments that are part of Linux and Unix, is expected to debut as part of Exchange Server 12 when that product ships next year. It is unlikely to be incorporated into Windows until Longhorn Server R2, expected around 2009, ships.


Yahoo tests new audio search feature

Yahoo Inc. on Thursday will begin testing a new search engine feature that will pore through millions of songs offered by popular Internet music services like iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.

The free service, available at, boasts an index of more than 50 million audio files, including newscasts, speeches and interviews posted online, as well as the Internet's deepening pool of "podcasts" - recordings made to be played on a computer or digital device like Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod player. The index identifies the content by reading information - known as "metadata" - embedded in the files.


Ask Jeeves Launches Advertising Network

Ask Jeeves Inc. is launching an upstart advertising network powered by its own search engine a move likely to rankle its longtime business partner, Google Inc. Ask Jeeves' marketing system, scheduled to debut Monday, follows the same model that has been generating tremendous profit growth for Google and another Internet powerhouse, Yahoo Inc during the past three years.

Now Ask Jeeves is invading territory that so far has been dominated by the makers of the Web's two most popular search engines — Mountain View-based Google and Sunnyvale-based Yahoo. Microsoft Corp. also hopes to grab a piece of the action with a similar advertising network revolving around its site.

Both Google and Yahoo allow advertisers to bid for the right to have their text-based ad links displayed online when specific requests are entered into a search engine or other relevant content is posted on a Web page. Advertisers pay a fee each time their links are clicked on. The bidding frequently changes, meaning the ad placement shifts throughout the day.

The paid search concept has mushroomed into an estimated $5.4 billion industry, accounting for about 42 percent of the $12.9 billion that advertisers are expected to spend on the Internet this year, according to eMarketer Inc., a research firm.

Like scores of other Web sites, Ask Jeeves has shared in the boom by participating in Google's network.Under a contract that runs through 2007, Ask Jeeves shares in the commissions from the clicks on the Google ads displayed on one of its Web sites — a family that includes,, and The Google relationship turned out to be Ask Jeeves' salvation as it struggled to survive shortly after the dot-com meltdown.

Google accounted for roughly 70 percent of Ask Jeeves' revenue of $261 million last year.

With its survival no longer in doubt and its Web sites growing in popularity, Ask Jeeves believes it's well positioned to develop its own advertising network.

"We are definitely very optimistic about the prospects for this product," said James Speer, vice president of marketing for IAC advertising solutions. "We think there is going to be significant demand. We have definitely heard from advertisers that they would like another choice."

Ask Jeeves plans to continue to display ads from Google's network but will feature them below the listings generated from its own auction-based ads. Since users generally click on the links displayed higher on the page, that hierarchy could mean less revenue for Google — a dynamic that figures to cause tensions.

Ask Jeeves believes its network will appeal to advertisers because its audience isn't as inclined to use the search engines at Google and Yahoo. Ask Jeeves says 16 percent of its audience overlaps with Yahoo and 14 percent overlaps with Google. That compared with a 22 percent overlap between the audiences of Yahoo and Google, according to Ask Jeeves.

But Ask Jeeves' audience tends to be less active than users of the Google, Yahoo and MSN search engines, according to a recent analysis by Compete Inc. The average user returns to the site two times per month compared with four times per month for Yahoo and six times per month for Google, Compete said.