Happy Holidays. Please Downgrade to Compatible Version.

It’s that time of year, folks. Wal-Mart’s garden department has evaporated to make room for plastic wreaths and tacky inflatable elves, Target and Gap commercials have become (amazingly) more annoying than usual, and even though I haven’t bought my Thanksgiving Tofurkey yet, my mailbox is filled with red-and-green flyers. Yes, we’re entering into that cornerstone of capitalism, that green-eyed, debt-soaked time we call The Holiday Season (insert soap-opera-style dramatic swell here).

Besides the T.M.X. Elmo and the PlayStation 3, one of the most hyped product releases of this year’s spend-o-rama is Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player, which was released Tuesday with more of a splat than a bang. Critics have attacked the Zune’s looks, size, controls, and download services in comparison with its target competitor, the Apple iPod. I have no opinion on this one way or the other. One thing that did catch my eye, though, was a report on Mary Foley’s ZDNet blog (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=104) claiming that the Zune has been shown to be incompatible with Microsoft’s new Windows Vista. (This report was confirmed by Microsoft this morning, according to VNUNet.com.)

Since Vista is going to be released to the general public as a stand-alone or standard preinstalled OS in January, the lack of compatibility is puzzling. You’d think it would have been a no-brainer for Microsoft. Perhaps both projects just got so big, the compatibility issue escaped them.

Now switch gears and think about your own security systems planning. When you’re looking at a major upgrade or installation, or even a minor one, it can be easy to focus only on the project at hand and its immediate requirements. But take a moment to consider other plans in the works and other systems already in use. Gather all the stakeholders in your organization and talk with them to make sure you’re not making an omission that someone might, after-the-fact, consider a no-brainer.