SQL Server 2005 Packaging and Pricing Announced

Y. Alan Griver (yag) blogs: "I'm a few days late posting this, but I wanted to point y'all to Tom's article on the new set of SKUs for SQL Server - including the new Workgroup Edition which is even available now for SQL Server 2000."



Firefox 1.0.1 Released

From mozillaZine: "Mozilla Firefox 1.0.1 has just been released. A minor update, this version fixes a few security holes and some other bugs. If you're using Firefox 1.0, you want this release." The Firefox 1.0.1 release notes are here.



Sysinternals releases RootkitRevealer

Seen on Slashdot: "Sysinternals releases RootkitRevealer". Yet another form of malware to be concerned about. In the wake of recent news about the threat posed by rootkits, Sysinternals has released a free rootkit detection utility called RootkitRevealer. The download page for this utility includes a description of what rootkits are how and how they work.



Closing the gap between Web apps and desktop apps

First, a little quiz. "Ajax" is:
a) a powdered cleanser
b) the other name for Aspen Mountain
c) a Web technology
d) all of the above

Turns out the answer is (d), all of the above. Okay, in this context it's actually a composite of several Web technologies, as described by Jesse James Garrett in his article Ajax: a New Approach to Web Applications. Citing current development work by Google and others as examples of its use, Garrett introduces Ajax and describes how this fusion of five current Web technologies comprises a new and different model for delivering improved interactive experiences over the Web. It's a quick but challenging read, virtually guaranteed to get you thinking about new possibilities.


Insanely Great Software: FeedDemon

I don't know who coined the term 'insanely great software', but once in a while it really fits and that's the case with FeedDemon from Bradbury Software. It's not an understatement to say FeedDemon has changed the way I use the Web.

In case you haven't heard of it yet, FeedDemon is an RSS reader and aggregator for Windows®. It's written by Nick Bradbury, who is also the author of the TopStyle CSS/XHTML/HTML editor. Anybody who's been slinging HTML for more than just a couple of years probably also recognizes Nick as the author of the HomeSite HTML editor, one of my early favorite tools for Web authoring. FeedDemon is the latest in a line of great stuff by a talented developer.

There are other RSS readers and aggregators on the market, but for my money what makes FeedDemon stand out is its clean design, ease of use, rich feature set, and the fact that it's a stand-alone product. Oh, and let's not forget excellent support via the Bradbury software forum, where Nick often answers questions, offers suggestions, and responds to issues personally.

Did FeedDemon really change the way I use the Web? Yes, and here's how: Instead of spending an hour or more every day visiting a large set of bookmarked Web sites, one by one, to keep up (as if that's possible) with what's going on in content areas of interest to me, I now use FeedDemon to pull in the RSS feeds from all these sites and present them in a single reading pane which I can browse in five or ten minutes. I've been using FeedDemon since it's pre-release days over a year ago so this seems very familiar to me now, but the first time I used it it was a real "Wow!" experience.

FeedDemon has Internet Explorer built in (with a tabbed interface for multiple windows - Microsoft, are you listening?), so in addition to reading RSS feed summaries you can actually use FeedDemon as a browser. You can also open any link in an external browser with a single click, if that's what you prefer. Either way it's easy to jump from an RSS summary to the full article or Web site when you want more information.

FeedDemon uses channel groups to organize feeds of related interest. It comes with several pre-defined channel groups and you can easily create your own, too. Adding a new channel (feed) to a channel group typically takes just a couple of clicks. I've created a single channel group of all the feeds I want to see on a daily basis for a kind of one-stop shopping effect. Using the 'Group Newspaper' feature for a channel group makes it even easier by enabling you to see a filtered sub-set of items (unread items, today's items, last 24 hours, etc.) from all the feeds in that group in a single window. This is a real time-saver and one of my favorite features.

A couple of days ago, Alex Barnett put together a nice screencast (Flash movie) about RSS and FeedDemon. In about ten minutes you get a good idea of the look and feel of FeedDemon, so this is a good place to start.

['Insanely Great Software' is an occasional series about some of my favorite programs and utilities.]