Lab Notes

Lab Notes

Much bit-shuffling. Contrary to common belief, server disk optimization does not improve overall performance, according to a white paper published recently by National Software Testing Laboratories Inc. of Conshohocken, Pa.

NSTL studied two schemes for optimization. One, advanced by Raxco Software Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., stores frequently used files at the center of the hard disk to reduce input/output activity. The other, recommended by Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., places the most popular files at the disk's outer edge.

Both schemes fell short, NSTL said, because it is impossible to determine accurately the centers and outer edges of logical disk volumes on partitioned or multispindle disks.

When hundreds of users are logged in, 'arbitrary rules about file placement may actually increase head movement,' NSTL found. 'File positioning is as likely to worsen system performance as to improve it.'

The white paper is available by calling 323-669-1739.

Yada, yada, yada. Users last month received a barrage of warnings about the so-called Seinfeld or BubbleBoy worm and the FunLove virus.

Antivirus vendor Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., quickly advised Windows 9x users to download a Microsoft Corp. patch for their Internet Explorer 4.0 and 5.0 browsers to defend against two ActiveX controls, known as scriptlet.typelib and Eyedog.

The 87K patch, on the Web at www.windowsupdate.microsoft.com, was no big deal to download. But then security adviser ICSA.net of Reston, Va., reported that the software varmints that had sent millions of users scrambling for a fix were 'only potential threats.' BubbleBoy, ICSA said, reached no computer systems, and FunLove affected only a few.

Lab Notes guesses that it was not merely another Seinfeld 'show about nothing' but something even better: a Seinfeld no-show.

Vapor trails. Newsbytes reporter Ian Stokell reported from last month's Comdex trade show in Las Vegas that a textbook-sized Compaq Computer Corp. Web companion device shown during Microsoft chairman Bill Gates' keynote address was not quite a prototype.

Stokell said Compaq 'considered the device as more of a technology demonstration than an impending product' and does not expect to sell it directly to users anytime soon. Instead, third-party companies will customize it for their own audiences, he said.

Stokell said a Compaq spokesman indicated the PC maker is looking into other software platforms, not just Windows CE.


'Susan M. Menke

Internet: smenke@gcn.com

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