Windows Internet Computer Name

For many people remote access to a computer is crucial. Traditionally software such as pcAnywhere or utilities like Remote Desktop have been used accomplish such a task. But how would you like to be to able to access your computer anytime, anywhere? No longer will there be a need to purchase your own domain name and configure dynamic DNS, Windows Vista will ship with Windows Internet Computer Name, a unique domain name for your computer.

The Windows Internet Computer Name is the result of advances to the Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) which came stock with Windows XP. Traditionally, domain name servers have been used to hold lists of domain names and their respective IP addresses. However, in Windows Vista, PNRP will perform all the domain name resolution at the peer-to-peer level. As a result, Windows Vista users will provide PNRP domain name resolution services to fellow Vista users.

In leyman’s terms, you will be able to specify a name for your Windows Vista computer, and PNRP will make your computer available to other PCs on the internet; thus, allowing for direct connections to your machine. It goes without saying that if you choose to utilize this feature of Windows Vista you have better invest some time into securing your system.

The major drawback of the Windows Internet Computer Name system is that it requires IPv6 which isn’t supported by most of the consumer routers on the market, although it does come built-in with Windows Vista. IPv6 addresses are much longer than the typical IPv4 addresses that take the format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, which means there practically an unlimited number of them available.

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Microsoft and Novell to partner on Linux

In a stunning change of position today Microsoft announced that it would allow open-source Linux software to work with Windows. What’s more, Microsoft even claimed that it will provide the support and technology necessary to achieve this end. This marks the company’s second open-source partnership this week, which signals an effort by Microsoft to inform an ever-growing Linux user base that the two platforms can co-exist, particularly in the server market where Linux is most competitive against the Redmond giant. For those who are unfamiliar with Linux, it is open-source software, which means developers are able to share code with one another and anyone may contribute to the project. Most Linux distributions are free, in the dual-sense of no cost and of code without restrictions, with a few commercial Linux companies that make money by offering custom features, maintenance and technical support.

I think this collaboration of Microsoft Windows and SuSe Linux represents a clear victory for the open-source community. For years individuals from Microsoft, particularly top-level executives, have done nothing but bad-mouth Linux, and have made threats to “crush it.” Linux had always lagged behind Windows in the consumer desktop environment, due to its traditionally difficult learning curve. However, certain flavors of Linux such as Suse and Ubuntu have come a long way in making the Linux desktop easier for novice Windows users. In terms of the server market, Linux has long been a competitor to Microsoft, as many large enterprises such as IBM have realized the power and reliability of Linux over Windows in a corporate backend environment. It seems clear that Microsoft is doing this simply as an attempt to prevent further losses in market share. Linux has slowly grown stronger over the years and it seems like the time has finally arrived when Microsoft has got to take it seriously.

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Secret Windows XP Theme: Royale Noir

I’ve been wanting to write an entry for this since I first received word over the weekend, but unfortunately free time isn’t always on my side; rather, it rarely is. There is a “secret” Windows XP theme circulating the Internet of late. Apparently during the development of the XP Media Center theme (Royale), Microsoft also produced a black version of the skin. It is purported that since the skin was never officially released there are some bugs in it, however I’ve had it activated for a few days now and have yet to experience any issues. For those questioning the validity of the skin, it has been signed by Microsoft and therefore does not require a custom UxTheme.dll.

Installing Royale Noir is remarkably simple, just download Royale Noir, extract the files contents to C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes\royalenoir or whatever else you want to cal the extracted folder, double-click luna.msstyles, select the “Noir” color scheme and voila!

While this hardly compares to the beautiful eye candy that is the linux desktop, it is a step in the right direction for Microsoft; away from the traditionally boring beveled look-and-feel of XP. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take years for the best theme of the upcoming Windows Vista to be released to the public.

Here is a screenshot of Royale Noir:

royale noir windows xp theme screen shot

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