The Microsoft machine churns on

I could do it. But we both know you're hoping I don't. It's the very last column of 2005, so tradition says we should either talk about "The Top 10 Microsoft Somethings of 2005," or I should skip straight ahead to "The Top 10 Microsoft New Somethings of 2006."

Forget it. We're not doing that. If you really, absolutely want to read'Oliver's Microsoft Predictions for 2006, then e-mail me, and if enough folks ask, I'll write it for next week. Meantime, there's too much good stuff to giggle about without requiring any conjecture at all.

Yes, Microsoft hasn't been idle during the holiday season -- they've been working on security again. Really working. The result is several new documents, two of which are basically in-depth interview-style reports; the other two are more formal in-depth guides. The reports concern two articles published by Redmond about how Microsoft's IT department has improved security using Microsoft products.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Sure they use Microsoft products. I bet they have a whole bunch of Unix servers in a secret cave beneath the Redmond Starbucks that really run things." That's what you're thinking.'

Well, I've been up there and talked to Microsoft IT, after signing my name in my own blood promising never to speak of specifics regarding that interview or the datacenter tour that followed.

Turns out, Microsoft's got a hell of a NOC -- and it wasn't even its flagship NOC, but an older NOC that's now a backup operation to the primary one. I don't rate high enough to tour the primary NOC, where I would have been frisked, violated in my nether regions, and subsequently shot simply for walking through the door.