Microsoft News Roundup, Mid-January Edition

Microsoft News Roundup, Mid-January Edition

Where Do You Want to Go Today? Can I Help You With That?

The Times of London reports that Microsoft is seeking a patent for a sensor-based wireless monitoring system that will measure workers' metabolism to help detect worker stress and offer appropriate assistance. The patent application, number 20070300174, was filed December 27, and can be viewed at the US Patent and Trademark Office website.

As you can imagine, workplace privacy advocates aren't happy - and I'm wondering who gets the blame if your blood pressure increases because Clippy keeps showing up and offering to help you type something - even after you send him away. Well, at least Microsoft is no longer shipping Microsoft Bob, which would be liable to send even the calmest worker into screaming fits. If products based on this patent eventually come to market, Microsoft's old "Where Do You Want to Go Today" ad campaign (spoofed here) won't be just a slogan.

Don't Wait for Malware to Strike - Use Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool

Even if you regularly use antivirus and antimalware programs from any vendor, Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool is worth a try. Updated monthly as part of 'Patch Tuesday' security updates, it targets some of the nastiest malware programs in existance, including recently-notorious baddies such as Zlob, Haxdoor, and many others. It offers two levels of scanning, can scan specified folders, and can be run from the command line with various custom switches. See Knowledge Base article 890830 for details. See the complete list of malware it removes here, and if you didn't get the latest version via Windows Update, you can run it from the Web or download it.

Using Windows Sidebar? Keep It Safe With Sidebar Protection

If you're running Windows Vista, especially if you have a widescreen display, chances are you're using Windows Sidebar to put that extra screen real estate to work. Now you can protect yourself against poorly-coded gadgets that can compromise your system. Install Windows Sidebar Protection. Get links to the download and all the information you need by visiting the Microsoft Security Advisory (943411) website.

Need Excel Viewing? Grab Excel Viewer!

Redmond has rolled out a new version of the Excel Viewer utility that supports all Excel files from Excel 97 through 2007.

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