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Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions


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#3626
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Two most recent Dvorak columns ...

Will Bill Gates Return to Microsoft? ( Dvorak PC Magazine 2013-07-24 )

As for Gates becoming the operational CEO, forget itthere's no way he can come out on top. If he returned and all of a sudden the company began to flourish again, people would call him incompetent for putting Ballmer in charge when he could clearly not keep the ship afloat. In the more likely outcome, which would result in either little change or a quickened decline, he would be mocked for hubris and for being out of touch. Neither one of these scenarios is worth it. Although, I could guarantee his CES keynote would be more entertaining than the alternatives.

And remember, Gates himself has changed. Now he is a featured guest on all sorts of talk shows where he pontificates for a living. During the go-go years at Microsoft, he would mingle with "the people" at user group meetings. He'd be at trade shows and events where he'd engage in discussions with the hard-working technical class. Now he only associates with the elites at places like Davos and the Allen & Company enclaves where he chats with the likes of Rupert Murdoch while sipping Kistler Chardonnay.

This is not the Bill Gates we once knew. He's no longer the amusingly competitive but normal guy obsessed with Microsoft. Now he gets the red carpet treatment all around the world and the seat next to the emperor of some hinky country trying to attract some cold Gates Foundation cash.

Nobody can transition from a caviar lifestyle to mere CEO slouch status. What would be the point?

 
I would have to agree with that. Billg has far to much to lose to go back now. And besides all the reasons Dvorak mentioned, let's not forget that he left when he was exposed in the Antitrust trial in a very bad light. He had literally become the lightning rod and most likely promoted Ballmer to take the heat off ...
 

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was called "evasive and nonresponsive" by a source present at a session in which Gates was questioned on his deposition. He argued over the definitions of words such as "compete", "concerned", "ask", and "we". Businessweek reported that "early rounds of his deposition show him offering obfuscatory answers and saying 'I don't recall' so many times that even the presiding judge had to chuckle. Worse, many of the technology chief's denials and pleas of ignorance have been directly refuted by prosecutors with snippets of email Gates both sent and received." Intel Vice-President Steven McGeady, called as a witness, quoted Paul Maritz, a senior Microsoft vice president, as having stated an intention to "extinguish" and "smother" rival Netscape Communications Corporation and to "cut off Netscape's air supply" by giving away a clone of Netscape's flagship product for free.

 
Although I was personally on Microsoft's side on those specific issues of MSIE, Netscape and ill-advised government intrusion into that trivial matter, I do remember feeling ill after reading and then seeing his deposition which came off as arrogant at times. Looking back now though it is impossible to feel the same sympathy for the company. Can't imagine why.


What Ballmer Can't Get Right ( Dvorak PC Magazine 2013-07-26 )
 

Who in his right mind would spend $500 on a Windows RT tablet when you can buy an iPad for about the same price? Does Microsoft think consumers are insane? I've been around a dinner table full of people when someone asked which tablet to buy and everyone said "iPad." And that included me!

So Microsoft takes a $900 million write-down and decides to put the Surface on sale for $350. This will attract nobody. The sweet spot for these devices was established when HP sold out an entire inventory of TouchPads in August 2011. The 16GB tablet sold out at $99 and this is despite the fact that the white elephant was abandoned by HP.

 
Boy, he got that right. Of course we all got that right in this very thread last October. It is amazing that nine months have come and gone and this obvious and inevitable outcome has only barely started to penetrate everywhere else. Not talking about Dvorak, but Ballmer and company.

BTW: If you look upthread a couple of posts for the article about a new HP tablet you will see that this $99 price is once again in play! What on Earth is HP doing I wonder?

EDIT: clarity, editor CRLF bug

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 02 August 2013 - 03:57 AM.

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#3627
jaclaz

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P.S. Jaclaz, have you noticed the editor bug that keeps adding an extra CRLF before the first quote tag each time you hit preview? You have to edit the post, preview it, rinse, repeat, and then check for it one last time and delete any extra line(s) right before you hit 'post'. There are other bugs to and they all occur right after you hit 'preview'. It seems to make a pass through the post it just displayed and applies a set of "corrections". Just wondering.

Yeah, that's called "feature" or "progress" (BTW the headless peeps at IPB have not even managed to understand how this bug is there since three or maybe four releases, at least these same bugs affect reboot.pro since more than one year - when the board software was updated).
... and at least on reboot.pro the issue wit CODE tags is even worse ....
Do some experiments with "numbered and bulleted lists", previewing a list often (but not always) inserts an empty item ....

jaclaz

#3628
JorgeA

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I'm probably not going to upgrade to Windows 8.1 immediately because I have Windows 8 running fine at the moment. One of the things I don't like about Windows 8.1 is the blatent SkyDrive integration everywhere and as of the latest public beta you can't uninstall this. I obviously won't configure it when I do upgrade to 8.1 but I think that it seems to be a step to perhaps a forced Skydrive integration in future versions of Windows.

 

 

How long before SkyDrive or some other form of cloud-only storage of users' data becomes mandatory and private hard drives are prohibited, all in the name of public safety, fighting crime and terrorism, protecting the children, eradicating hate, etc. etc.?

 

From my cold, dead fingers... ;)

 

--JorgeA



#3629
JorgeA

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Steve Gibson, in Security Now! episode 409, offered a number of jokes that have been going around regarding the NSA. Here's (IMHO) the best one:

 

So my absolute favorite actually was a photo that my tech support guy, Greg, sent me. And so there was - it was a photo of a distraught-looking woman. And across the top it said, "My computer's hard drive crashed...." And then at the bottom, and this explains why she's unhappy, "And the NSA won't send me their backup copy."

 

BTW, episodes 408 and 409 are well worth listening to, or reading the transcripts. In #408 Gibson describes how he believes the spooks are doing it.

 

--JorgeA


Edited by JorgeA, 27 July 2013 - 02:47 PM.


#3630
JorgeA

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A very perceptive piece of analysis. Here's a couple of choice quotes for the time-impaired:
 
You may think that Surface RT and Windows RT are just a tiny sliver of the Windows 8 Project.

To an extent that's correct if you look at the numbers, but what it has done is allow the market nine months to test whether the "bait" that Microsoft had been showing them was tasty and delicious enough to be worth jumping out of the water to get. And the market said that it was not.

What this means -- which is highly serious and highly worrying -- is that Microsoft does not have a product to compete with iPad or Android Jelly Bean tablets in the market at this point in time.

[emphasis in original]

 

There's only really one way out of this -- Microsoft needs to abandon Windows on Consumerland tablets and get Nokia to build a 8" Windows Phone based tablet running on Windows Phone 8.

 

[...]

 

Microsoft has to stop selling Windows as a competitor to the iPad, and start selling Windows Phone as a competition to iPhone and iPad, and also as competition to Android smartphones and tablets.

Or to put it another way, if you're looking to compete in a market of oranges, maybe go out there with oranges, rather than try and convince people that they actually want lemons.

 

 

Like we said here long ago (I remember CoffeeFiend especially saying it), this would acknowledge the fact that a tablet is not a PC, and a PC is not a phone.

 

--JorgeA

 



#3631
JorgeA

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An excerpt from Security Now! #409. To quote @jaclaz -- humanity is doomed:

 

Leo: See, I don't - this is, I guess, this is the point that I've always made, which is people are so worried about Google and Facebook and other people knowing where you are. And that seems to me, I mean, that's for commerce. I don't - I'm not - I don't really worry about that. I'm much more worried about the fact that the government and law enforcement at all levels are able to get this data, able to store it, able to use it against you in the future. It's pre-crime.

Steve: Yeah.

Leo: So let's say they arrest me someday for something, and they say, we've got to build a case against this guy because this case is weak. Now they go and they request all the things I've done for years. And they shift through it, and they look for, you know, it's a federal crime, it's a felony to violate a website's terms of service. That's a federal crime.

Steve: What?

Leo: Yeah.

Steve: A felony?

Leo: Yeah.

Steve: My goodness.

Leo: So there's plenty - we are all committing felonies all the time. If you've ever signed up for a Face- you know, the kids who sign up for a Facebook account, and they aren't 13 yet, that's a felony.

Steve: Wow.

Leo: So go back through that stuff, find all these little ridiculous things, and...

Steve: Wait a minute. Is ad-blocking violating their terms of service?

Leo: I bet it is.

Steve: I'll bet [laughing]. Oh, great. Yeah, okay. That's - just take us away. Just, you know, put our wrists together. Wow.

Leo: That's the - by the way, that's - I should point out, that's the Justice Department's interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Steve: Well, and that's, of course, what the intelligence agencies would ask...

Leo: Right, well, and that's what they were getting Aaron Swartz on. Aaron Swartz's prosecution was based on his violation of the terms of service of that database that he downloaded. So, yeah. So the point being that I think, if they have enough data about what you do, they can find stuff. They could build - they could build a case against you. So it's really a question of do they want to build a case against you or not.

Steve: Right, yep.

Leo: And one of the reasons they say, they explicitly say, the reason we save this data is so we could build a case against you should we want to go get you someday. So you just really have to trust them. So in other words, I don't care if - I'll turn on location on Path and Google and Foursquare. I'm not worried about them. It's the feds you worry about, and they don't need you to say yes. They've got it all. Feds, local, whoever.[...]

 

So the infrastructure is already in place to squelch any opposition through legal channels, Vladimir Putin-style, as soon as it becomes too bothersome. Since practically everybody is a criminal, consciously or otherwise (there are way too many laws on the books), all that's needed is the information -- which they are now collecting -- and the motivation to [sarcasm ON] Impartially Enforce THE LAW [sarcasm OFF] on the intended target.

 

My own views reflect Leo Laporte's here: I don't care much if a private company knows who I am or what I'm doing, except insofar as the data is in existence to be (officially) subpoenaed or (covertly) wiretapped. What's the worst Amazon.com is going to do with me, try to sell me something? But the spooks -- well...

 

That's why (for example) I keep my cellphone off unless I'm expecting a call or need to make one: as I keep saying, if the data doesn't exist, it can't be used against us. Why give them any more data than we have to?

 

--JorgeA


Edited by JorgeA, 27 July 2013 - 10:09 PM.


#3632
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Intelligence services fear Lenovo products due to back-doors ( NeoWin 2013-07-27 )

I nominate this as Joke of the day. Our spooks are worried about back doors in Chinese technology. I guess they're worried about our privacy or something. That's a good one!

Nokia exec hints Microsoft should speed up Windows Phone app development ( NeoWin 2013-07-27 )

Ya think?

No known Kinect-exclusive titles now scheduled for Xbox One launch despite bundled sensor ( NeoWin 2013-07-27 )

And the main justification for forcing the Kinect into the homes of each Xbox purchaser just evaporated. Next excuse?

David Einhorn refers to Microsoft as sinking ship, dumps stake ( NeoWin 2013-07-27 )

David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital, a hedge fund company, has just withdrawn his stake from Microsoft and placed his bet with Apple instead. In a brutal bashing of the company, he stated that Microsoft is at risk of becoming a shrinking company. He further compared them to Yankee player Alex Rodriguez, with their products failing and their value declining.

According to him;

Windows 8 appears to be a flop, and a decade of mismanagement has put Microsoft at risk of becoming a shrinking company. We were pleased when an activist gave the stock a boost, giving us the opportunity to exit with an annualized high single-digit return that slightly outpaced the market during our lengthy holding period.


Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark. Haven't read the comments yet ( 100 already ) but I expect it will be ugly.

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#3633
JorgeA

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Just came across this glowing (not!) field report on the Windows 8 experience:

 

Recently bought 2 new laptops, one to replace my aging unit and one to replace my moms dying unit. Tried to setup my moms first, after she was forced to create a Microsoft account(i guess they really want to be Apple) , it required a confirmation email to be sent , yet in order to use the mail program on the new laptop you needed to have a Microsoft account! If her old laptop had been toast we would have had no recourse for the confirmation email, i sure as hell am not going to sign up my email info and password at a library or cafe. Then after that we found out it no longer supported POP accounts, so on the phone to the able company and after they answered i went back to the mail program and was faced with a blank screen even after restarting it?? So i tried to put that aside , then found programs loading for no reason at all asking for more passwords and info , after finding the ESC and other keys useless for getting out of things, i pretty much gave up and when i saw how long screens took to load i decided to return it and the other one and get similar Windows 7 laptops, which took little time to setup. I love Windows 7 , and quite frankly i don't care about tablets and other sheep products that are fads, if laps and desktops go , i will not own a computer device. Microsoft make a different OS for the overpriced toys please. If Windows 9 is not better then i will go Linux or Mac if i have to. Tired of this moving ahead for no reason garbage[...]

 

--JorgeA



#3634
JorgeA

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Intelligence services fear Lenovo products due to back-doors ( NeoWin 2013-07-27 )

I nominate this as Joke of the day. Our spooks are worried about back doors in Chinese technology. I guess they're worried about our privacy or something. That's a good one!

 

:lol:  Yeah, that's pretty rich!

 

--JorgeA



#3635
CharlotteTheHarlot

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An excerpt from Security Now! #409. To quote @jaclaz -- humanity is doomed:
 

Leo: So let's say they arrest me someday for something, and they say, we've got to build a case against this guy because this case is weak. Now they go and they request all the things I've done for years. And they shift through it, and they look for, you know, it's a federal crime, it's a felony to violate a website's terms of service. That's a federal crime.
Steve: What?
Leo: Yeah.
Steve: A felony?
Leo: Yeah.

[...]

Leo: And one of the reasons they say, they explicitly say, the reason we save this data is so we could build a case against you should we want to go get you someday. So you just really have to trust them. So in other words, I don't care if - I'll turn on location on Path and Google and Foursquare. I'm not worried about them. It's the feds you worry about, and they don't need you to say yes. They've got it all. Feds, local, whoever.[...]

 
So the infrastructure is already in place to squelch any opposition through legal channels, Vladimir Putin-style, as soon as it becomes too bothersome.


Yes it certainly is in place. Everyone from the ISP's to Search Engines to Social to the major websites are now agents of Big Brother. They found a loophole you see! They enlist these companies at gunpoint ( or they come running willingly like Microsoft ) to become proxies to the actual dirty work of committing the felonies of First and Fourth Amendment violations, while the federales hide behind "national security".

It is inevitable that the "national security" excuse gets diluted and finally erased, in fact it already has with those ISP's and others already giving up the data for other causes du jour. First driven by RIAA and then MPAA, then BSA, then Hollywood proper, but that's just the beginning. Eventually everyone with an axe to grind will be allowed to rifle through the data mountain, everyone except for us, the citizens.

As mentioned in that quoted discussion, naturally the court system will also jump in. Every dirtbag lawyer and prosecutor will be drooling like Pavlov's Dogs to get their paws on this pile.

Here's a cause du jour occurring as we speak:

Bing first to introduce popup warning for sites containing illegal images ( NeoWin 2013-07-28 )

Hard to argue against such things of course, "it's all about the children", and that's precisely what they are counting on. Later they'll move on to using it for narcotics, cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, rape, bullying ... EVERYTHING. Count on it. Along with BING warnings comes the back-channel requests to allow watchdog groups to sift through whatever they want.

Have a look at the BING image which shows the message someone will receive when they search for something about child abuse. Then just project ahead to what will come next ...
 

UtBgLaN.jpg
( original image at NeoWin )


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#3636
JorgeA

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Yes it certainly is in place. Everyone from the ISP's to Search Engines to Social to the major websites are now agents of Big Brother. They found a loophole you see! They enlist these companies at gunpoint ( or they come running willingly like Microsoft ) to become proxies to the actual dirty work of committing the felonies of First and Fourth Amendment violations, while the federales hide behind "national security".

It is inevitable that the "national security" excuse gets diluted and finally erased, in fact it already has with those ISP's and others already giving up the data for other causes du jour. First driven by RIAA and then MPAA, then BSA, then Hollywood proper, but that's just the beginning. Eventually everyone with an axe to grind will be allowed to rifle through the data mountain, everyone except for us, the citizens.

As mentioned in that quoted discussion, naturally the court system will also jump in. Every dirtbag lawyer and prosecutor will be drooling like Pavlov's Dogs to get their paws on this pile.

Here's a cause du jour occurring as we speak:

Bing first to introduce popup warning for sites containing illegal images ( NeoWin 2013-07-28 )

Hard to argue against such things of course, "it's all about the children", and that's precisely what they are counting on. Later they'll move on to using it for narcotics, cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, rape, bullying ... EVERYTHING. Count on it. Along with BING warnings comes the back-channel requests to allow watchdog groups to sift through whatever they want.

Have a look at the BING image which shows the message someone will receive when they search for something about child abuse. Then just project ahead to what will come next ...
 

 

Now there's an effective image. :ph34r: Great job!

 

--JorgeA



#3637
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I never thought we'd see a headline like this...

 

How Microsoft could beat Siri and Google Now: A modern Microsoft Bob

 

...but the body of the article, rather than ridiculous, is actually frightening:

 

Behind the scenes, Microsoft has been busy developing what it calls its Satori engine, named for the first step on the Buddhist path to enlightenment. Satori’s goal, Microsoft says, is to build the “world’s largest repository of knowledge” for Bing to tap into, always there to provide assistance when asked. Behind the scenes, Satori will collect and collate information from the Web, organizing it within Bing, and using individual applications as the portals for delivery to users.

 

There is a sea of information that surrounds us every day—our location, the businesses and landmarks around us, the proximity of our friends, and other data points. In general, that information will remain hidden from the user until he or she either queries Bing, or performs an action that triggers an app. According to Weitz, Microsoft's approach will have two advantages: the breadth of data it can tap into, and the passive, reactive approach of the Satori engine. Google Now is simply too pushy in comparison, Weitz would argue.

 

So how does Satori actually manifest itself? Weitz described a Microsoft demo where Bing monitors a chat session between two users, and quietly steps in when appropriate. “As you’re talking in IM, it’s analyzing the utterances,” Weitz said. “For something like ‘Hey, do you want to see a movie?’, it takes that utterance and automatically does the query for you.” Weitz said that piece of technology could be rolled into products within two years.

 

 

It's not hard to imagine ways in which this technology could be used by spooks (rogue or otherwise) against people who don't like whoever happens to be running the government at the time. And, needless to say, the "app" thus triggered would not be announcing itself to the user. The first political party in power to use this technology could become the only party to hold power from that point on.

 

It's amazing that people like Stefan Weitz are rushing nonchalantly into creating the dream machine of every would-be Stalin, Hitler, and Mao out there. I don't know whether it's worse to think that they have no clue as to what they're creating -- or that they know full well what they're up to.

 

--JorgeA

 

 

 

 



#3638
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Glenn Greenwald: Low-Level NSA Analysts Have Powerful and Invasive Search Tool ( ABC News 2013-07-28 )

Today on This Week, Glenn Greenwald the reporter who broke the story about the National Security Agencys surveillance programs claimed that those NSA programs allowed even low-level analysts to search the private emails and phone calls of Americans.

The NSA has trillions of telephone calls and emails in their databases that theyve collected over the last several years, Greenwald told ABC News George Stephanopoulos. And what these programs are, are very simple screens, like the ones that supermarket clerks or shipping and receiving clerks use, where all an analyst has to do is enter an email address or an IP address, and it does two things. It searches that database and lets them listen to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that youve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future.

Greenwald explained that while there are legal constraints on surveillance that require approval by the FISA court, these programs still allow analysts to search through data with little court approval or supervision.

 
Note that this is the end-user product, the spook version of Google. It is mutually exclusive to the collection of data that was recently exposed. This is merely how they access it once they vacuumed it up.

Let's also remember that they just said a few days ago ( look upthread a bit ), they allegedly have no ability to search their own emails to satisfy a FOIA request!

EDIT: editor CRLF bug

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 28 July 2013 - 10:45 AM.

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#3639
JorgeA

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Ed MicroBott finally puts out a halfway decent column about Windows 8, although he can't resist the temptation to make some excuses.

 

First, the good stuff:

 

There was plenty of feedback during the beta process from people who wanted a desktop-centric version of Windows 8. Microsoft stubbornly (some would say arrogantly) ignored them.

And now, a year later, that option and a few other desktop-friendly changes are part of Windows 8.1. One can only wonder: what would the reaction to Windows 8 have been like if a traditional desktop configuration had been available, even as a well hidden option?

 

Microsoft’s vision started with the idea that a tablet is a PC without a keyboard. The inevitable by-product of that core design decision is a device built to work primarily in landscape mode. The trouble is, many of the things people want to do with a tablet, like read an ebook, are best done in portrait mode.

The mandatory 16:9 aspect ratio of Windows 8 was an obvious miss from Day 1, as was the lack of support for smaller devices. Windows 8 arrived to a market that had already digested the full-size iPad and was eagerly snapping up smaller devices. A year later, Windows 8.1 finally supports those devices, but that lost 12 months is the equivalent of stumbling out of the starting gate.

And even now, it looks like some of the people involved in planning Windows 8.1 haven't got the memo.[...]

 

And then there’s the WinRT versus Windows RT debacle. One is a set of APIs, the other is a product name. But they sound so much alike that even the head of Microsoft’s Windows division confused the two at the Windows 8.1 launch event.

 

Throughout the preview process and even after Windows 8 was released to the public last October, Microsoft stubbornly refused to include any online help or orientation for new users. Driven by telemetry and test results, they seemed convinced that people would learn how to use Windows 8 as quickly and easily as a kid learning to ride a bicycle.

Uh, no.

 

 

And now for some of the output from the excuse factory:

 

The Windows 8 launch in New York City went well enough, but it was followed within days by two damaging events: Hurricane Sandy and the abrupt departure of Windows chief Steven Sinofsky.

 

The trouble is, most of these devices weren’t ready in late October 2012, when Windows 8 was released to the public. It was weeks or months before some of the most interesting new designs were available to consumers. Even Microsoft’s own Surface Pro didn’t arrive until more than three months after the Windows 8 launch.

Meanwhile, PC OEMs kept selling traditional laptops and desktops that were ill-suited for the new touch-centric operating system. Is it any wonder that the first wave of Windows 8 machines inspired mostly confusion?

 

Let’s all thank the late Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson for his antitrust ruling against Microsoft shortly after the turn of the century. Because of the restrictions of that consent decree, Microsoft found its competitive abilities severely hobbled. In particular, it was unable to do anything to stop PC makers from turning Windows PCs into sluggish delivery vehicles for trialware and mediocre, performance-sapping Windows desktop programs.

 

I am old enough to remember the days when any decent new PC you bought went for $1500. My first four systems, purchased over a span of 14 years, each cost around that amount, give or take a few dozen dollars. I'd come to think it was some sort of unwritten rule about selling PCs.

 

I didn't have to buy a new computer for another ten years. Imagine my shock when, "all of a sudden," immensely more powerful machines were retailing for $600, $800. (Obviously I hadn't been paying much attention to developments in the computer market.) For this, in part we can thank all that "crapware" that Bott and so many others complain about: they help to reduce the price that customers pay for their PCs. If I don't like a particular piece of "crapware," I simply uninstall it, or remove the desktop icon and leave the program dormant in its corner of my hard drive in case I ever develop an interest in it. But I am thankful to the program's vendor for making my computer less expensive to buy. And yes, I've become aware of the existence of some valuable software (or software categories) that way.

 

 

Finally, there is this comment:

 

In the design of Windows 8, touch isn't restricted just to interacting with tablets. It’s also a valuable auxiliary input method on touch-enabled notebook PCs (and, to a lesser extent, on all-in-one desktop PCs). “Gorilla arm” sounds like a real thing until you actually use touch on a Windows 8 notebook and discover how useful that extra input method is.

 

I find that it's often easier to simply reach up an inch or two from the keyboard and tap a button to make something happen instead of trying to maneuver a tiny mouse pointer with a trackpad.[...]

 

Two inches?? Umm, I don't know how Ed Bott sets up his office, but the shortest distance between the top row of my keyboard and the bottom edge of my monitor is eight inches diagonally -- meaning that the action includes both outward and upward movement. That distance (and remember, this would be the shortest movement) makes for a fairly uncomfortable gesture -- IOW, gorilla arm.

 

And this is not even counting the esthetic and maintenance factors involved in the repeated addition of skin oils to the screen.

 

--JorgeA


Edited by JorgeA, 29 July 2013 - 09:21 PM.


#3640
jaclaz

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I am old enough to remember the days when any decent new PC you bought went for $1500. My first four systems, purchased over a span of 14 years, each cost around that amount, give or take a few dozen dollars. I'd come to think it was some sort of unwritten rule about selling PCs.

 

I didn't have to buy a new computer for another ten years. Imagine my shock when, "all of a sudden," immensely more powerful machines were retailing for $600, $800. 

 

Welcome to the club:

http://www.msfn.org/...ions/?p=1008822

 

BUT you omitted a small, trifling, detail, the thingy you paid US $ 1,500 for actually did last 10 years!

 

jaclaz



#3641
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Strategy Analytics: 2.3 million Windows tablets shipped in Q2 2013 ( NeoWin 2013-07-29 )

By the Numbers, Android is King of the Tablet Market ( Maximum PC 2013-07-30 )

Today, the firm said that some form of Windows made its way onto 2.3 million tablets shipped in the second quarter of this year.

That number is still well above the 200,000 tablets that had Windows inside in the second quarter of 2012, but still well behind the numbers of Android and iOS tablets. Indeed, the firm's press release said that Android tablet shipments soared up to 34.6 million units for the quarter, well above the 18.5 million units that were shipped for the same period a year ago.

 
Well now, lets tabulate the 2nd Quarter numbers pulled from that article ...
Android ... 34.6 million 
Apple ..... 14.6 million 
Windows .... 2.3 million
It is presently unclear if that "Windows" total includes Microsoft Surface because the word "Tablet" has conveniently become as flexible as a gymnast. Anywho, this what you killed Windows for, Ballmer?


Analyst: Nokia Lumia 1020 sales off to 'modest' sales start ( NeoWin 2013-07-29 )

This is Nokia's latest and greatest WP8 phone, a nice piece of hardware with a stunning 41-megapixel camera ( yes, that's forty-one ). It's stll early yet but if this keeps up I would bet that this model may wind up with an Android release also because it is a shame to have it die on the vine because of Microsoft Tiles.


EDIT: added article

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 31 July 2013 - 06:11 AM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3642
CharlotteTheHarlot

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PRISM harming US cloud providers' business abroad as contracts cancelled ( ZDNet 2013-07-26 )


Earlier this month the EC's digital chief Neelie Kroes warned that European customers would act "rationally" and turn away from US companies after discovering that information in their control was being shared with intelligence agencies.

"If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government or their assurances, then maybe they won't trust US cloud providers either. That is my guess. And if I am right then there are multi-billion euro consequences for American companies," she said at the time.

 
It's only a survey but I take it as more vindication for what I believe was first predicted by John Dvorak as the spy scandal was breaking.


US patent office dismisses Apple's claim on 'pinch-to-zoom' patent ( NeoWin 2013-07-29 )

About time, huh? Now they should fine Apple for abusing the English language for getting most of the world to say "pinch to zoom" when it should have been "pinch to shrink" all along. :yes:


A little more mention of Windows NT Birthday ...

Microsoft's Windows NT turns 20 ( ZDNet 2013-07-26 )

Windows NT and VMS: The Rest of the Story ( Mark Russinovich 1998-12-01 )

Note that 2nd story ( mentioned in the 1st story ) is a nice historical read and is authored by the great Mark Russinovich!

20 Years of Windows NT ( Thurrott 2013-07-29 )

EDIT: I didn't realize this ironic fact ...
 

To retain its star developer, Digital gave Cutler about 200 hardware and software engineers. Cutler moved his group to Seattle and started a development center. This elite group's goal was to design a new CPU architecture and OS that would lead Digital into the 1990s. Digital called the Cutler group's hardware project Prism, and its OS Mica.

 
The comments date from 1999 to 2005 and it is kinda fun to see how a predictions pan out ...
 

I am a systems administrator, and we have a VAX VMS and five NT 4.0 servers. The VAX VMS has run without a crash or problem for the past 4 years. Meanwhile, the NT servers have crashed several times in the first few months of use. Plenty of tweaking and adding extra hardware have decreased the number of crashes, but NT will never be like VMS. Will NT make it to its 20th anniversary, as VMS did in October 1998?


Also, an interesting comment describing Microsoft dodging yet another bullet ...
 

You missed perhaps the most interersting part - the Digtal lawsuit that followed. MS was going to lose so they settled out of court. But the joke was on DEC because although they settled for $50M, it was all in forms that ultimately benefited MS. One part of the deal included MS subsiding the creation of Digital's MS Services practice and the training of DEC's personnel. But this was a move MS was going to make anyway in order to create a global enterprise-class support org such that MS could claim as many MCSE's were certified on NT and there were Unix support professionals in the market. Thus MS could be positioned as enterprise-ready and as supportable as Unix. Secondly, MS guaranteed they'd outsource a large % of their helpdesk calls to Digital call centers. Again, this was MS's model anyway. In that time period when you made a call to the MS helpdesk, and the person on the other end answerered "Hello. This is Microsoft, can I help you?" you were actaully talking to a Digital, NCR, HP, or Vanstar employee in their respective call centers. And even this arrangement was a joke because MS paid so little to DEC and other support partners on a per-incident basis (I recall the math was $25 per call which meant over 10-15 min's in length and you lost money on that particular call), and MS required so much reporting infrastructure and annual training hours, that the support vendors were left with no margin. In the end most of the big vendors finally got out of the MS desktop support business because it was a money loser. All of this came out of the theft of VMS! Even when they get caught they win.



EDIT: added article

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 31 July 2013 - 06:12 AM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3643
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Bring Back Windows XP ( Dvorak PC Magazine 2013-07-29 )

What baffles me is that Microsoft dropped the ball on the idea of continuing to sell a newer version of XP. I am guessing more of the enterprise holdouts still using old Windows XP would skip Windows 7 and 8 right now and jump to a refreshed XP.



Hehehe. You know this is gonna rope the 'Tards in.

Yep, it's working. :yes:

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3644
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Ed MicroBott finally puts out a halfway decent column about Windows 8, although he can't resist the temptation to make some excuses.
 

Lets all thank the late Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson for his antitrust ruling against Microsoft shortly after the turn of the century. Because of the restrictions of that consent decree, Microsoft found its competitive abilities severely hobbled. In particular, it was unable to do anything to stop PC makers from turning Windows PCs into sluggish delivery vehicles for trialware and mediocre, performance-sapping Windows desktop programs.

 
Yeah, that's a load of crap right there. Microsoft was convicted and sentenced to be broken up and but for a technicality ( Microsoft's lawyers sliming the judge and getting him pulled ) had an alternate sentence with a slap on the wrist. Ed cannot even accept this slap on the wrist.

Think of what he is saying here in his carefully selected choice of words about Microsoft: "... it was unable to do anything to stop PC makers from ...". You see, in Ed MicroBott's world and probably Thurrott's, Microsoft is king of the universe and all the OEM's with their own factories and their own suppliers making their own computers, NOT Microsoft computers, but Dell, Compaq, Toshiba, ( ... etc ... ) computers are merely servicing the king. It never even crosses their mind that Microsoft is the 3rd party here to other people's computers whether built from scratch or from those listed OEMs. Hence he expects the king to be in a position to order these private and public companies to do their bidding. He also throws in the bloatware as a strawman pitting Microsoft as David versus the Goliath of "bloat". This is also a kick in the teeth of the OEMs because in many cases over they years their profit margins on complete shipped working computers was maybe $100 profit after costs including the Windows tax, and OEMs sometimes took to recoup some money by preinstalling "bloatware". Ed blames the slap on the wrist as the reason we have bloatware, not Microsoft itself.

It naturally follows that Ed MicroBott and Paul Thurrott have no frame of reference to even vaguely understand the concept of Microsoft's monopoly as 3rd party supplier of the operating system for other people's computers allowing them to use this as leverage in anti-competitive practices. This is what they were convicted of.

This is also the problem for MicroZealots ( and their baby MetroTards ) who cannot differentiate between Apple and Microsoft for many, many years. I maintain that Microsoft itself has used Apple as a foil to fool people into believing there was competition in the marketplace and throw off the scent of the antitrust dogs, but there never was competition and no direct comparison between Apple and Microsoft ( until Surface ). Apple makes and sells computers with a functioning operating system but the OS here was never replaceable, so it can be thought of as a kind of firmware. They cannot support their hardware without a constant predictable OS inside it. Therefore Apple doesn't monopolize Apple hardware ( that's ridiculous! ) and thus ends all those idi0tic strawman arguments. Microsoft however, makes and sells an operating system for other people's computers, NOT Microsoft computers. Furthermore, it has squeezed out all competition along the way.

There was a time that we trusted Microsoft to play fair here. In fact with Windows 3.0 after a couple of confusing, direction-less, wasted years, many or most techies were ready to accept them in this "special" role. We got a common, predictable platform, with API's and ( eventual ) stability, and they got rich. Then they got greedy and then nasty and then arrogant and finally stupid. What they are doing now is IMHO the worst thing yet. They are trying to shutdown the open PC industry, that means the "personal computer" workstation concept, and are trying to rope in everybody they can from their "special" situation as 3rd party supplier of the operating system on other people's computers, into their new vision of a Microsoft walled-garden empire.
 
They are racking up enemies along the way too. OEMs are angry and many are teetering towards fiscal collapse. I hope that Intel wakes up and realizes how they are getting screwed here with Windows 8 because this thing by design on the Metro side manages to kill x86  software compatibility, meaning that when the desktop side finally gets pulled, all that's left is an OS that makes the underlying Intel designed x86 hardware useless for native x86 software in favor of crappy apps built in Microsoft's "modern design" tools. It is like a chipset eliminator. I can't think of anything this egregious ever happening before, and unless Intel is part of this plan they are going to be hosed. Intel can really hit back by releasing very fast chips again, so fast that emulation and virtualization becomes completely painless, rendering Microsoft's OS planned obsolescence completely moot because then anyone can run any version they choose. They could really hurt them by getting into their own OS business, even if it is merely a super virtualizing hypervisor that sits between the hardware and any Windows version. This would be Microsoft's worst nightmare.
 
At some point Microsoft will have nowhere else to go except for becoming exactly like Apple and selling Microsoft hardware because there will be no-one willing to service the old king any longer. Well, that is if anyone will choose to sell them parts. The problem here is that they have now tarnished their own hardware reputation with their stupid Microsoft Tiles interface. It does not have the gravitas to walk on its own. No way. They made so many miscalculations here and each are substantial.

Ed and Paul can pontificate all day long and still manage to miss the broad side of the barn as they always do.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3645
JorgeA

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Intel can really hit back by releasing very fast chips again, so fast that emulation and virtualization becomes completely painless, rendering Microsoft's OS planned obsolescence completely moot because then anyone can run any version they choose. They could really hurt them by getting into their own OS business, even if it is merely a super virtualizing hypervisor that sits between the hardware and any Windows version. This would be Microsoft's worst nightmare.

 

This is interesting -- can you elaborate on the part about a virtualizing hypervisor being (potentially) Microsoft's worst nightmare? I can see how Intel releasing its own OS could be a problem for MSFT, but am not so clear on how the hypervisor thing would affect MSFT. Why would they care -- couldn't they argue that unless you're running the latest version of Windows, you're exposed to Internet nasties and also missing out on great new features?

 

--JorgeA



#3646
JorgeA

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More bad news for MSFT and Surface:

Microsoft Surface revenue so far: $853 million

 

For more context, Microsoft also notes in the filing that Windows sales and marketing expenses rose $1 billion in the fiscal year, an increase of 34 percent, “reflecting an $898 million increase in advertising costs associated primarily with Windows 8 and Surface.”

In other words, Microsoft spent more to advertise Windows 8 and Surface than it made in Surface revenue. :o

[emphasis and emoticon added]

 

AllThingsD picked up the story. check out the graphic that goes with the story. It wouldn't do justice to it to attach it here. ;)

 

Also via AllThingsD, this blog post.

 

The Surface isn’t a failure because it was late. I submit if the iPad never existed the Surface would have failed anyway.

It’s just a poor product.

 

--JorgeA

 

 

 



#3647
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Security related ...

Intel drops facial recognition capability from upcoming set-top box ( TechSpot 2013-07-30 )

According to Intel Medias Eric Huggers, the decision to drop the capability was driven by the cameras poor performance in low light conditions, as well as numerous privacy concerns posed by prospective customers. The feature aimed to revolutionize the way targeted advertising was being conducted, and promised to bring more personalized program recommendations to its users.

 
The spy scandal has long legs, and Intel seems to be listening. How 'bout you Microsoft?


News from the Competition ...

Asus Announces New 10-inch MeMo Pad FHD Tablet ( Maximum PC 2013-07-30 )
 

The new MeMo Pad rocks a 1920x1200 IPS display that Asus says is supposed give the tablet a 178-degree viewing angle and accurate, vibrant colors. The tablet comes in either 16GB or 32GB configurations and comes with a rear 5-megapixel camera, 1.2 megapixel front facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and a microSD card slot that allows up to 32GB of additional storage.

Asus will be launching the MeMo Pad with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and the tablet will be available in three colors including Royal Blue, Silk White, and Vivid Pink. Currently there is no word on price, or release date.

 
Seriously, only Windows 8 and Metro could have made this happen.


Fiddling around with Xbox again ...

Microsoft is 'looking into' adding headset to Xbox One bundle ( NeoWin 2013-07-30 )

See how a little competition will do wonders!

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3648
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Windows RT having another bad week ...

Asus scaling back Windows RT plans ( NeoWin 2013-07-30 )

ASUS Drops Windows RT. Another PC maker has had enough with Microsofts ARM experiment ( Thurrott 2013-07-30 )

Check out the radically different coverage between NeoWin and Thurrott! Ouch!


More on what Jorge already mentioned ...

Microsoft: $853 million sales of Surface tablets from launch until June 30 ( NeoWin 2013-07-30 )

Microsoft Surface officially a flop, brings in just $853m in revenue ( TechSpot 2013-07-31 )

Microsoft's Bumbled Surface Strategy Generated Just $853 Million in Revenue ( Maximum PC 2013-07-31 )

In a financial disclosure sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Microsoft showed that Surface tablet sales totaled $853 million during that time period. There's no word on how many of those sales were for the cheaper Surface RT or for the more expensive Surface Pro. However, it is likely the only numbers Microsoft will ever reveal so we should be happy that they offered any revenue breakdowns at all.

 
So there are NO numbers released at all. None. That's means it is really bad. :yes:


And finally ...

Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview now available ( NeoWin 2013-07-30 )

Microsoft: Businesses should plan their Windows 8.1 deployments now ( NeoWin 2013-07-30 )

... Today's joke of the day? :lol:


EDIT: added articles

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 02 August 2013 - 03:59 AM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#3649
jaclaz

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Microsoft: Businesses should plan their Windows 8.1 deployments now ( NeoWin 2013-07-30 )


... Today's joke of the day? :lol:

 

Why a joke? :w00t:

 

NOW is the perfect time to plan a Windows 8.1 deployment.

 

I just did that, and after some serious planning and lots of considerations I took the decision to deploy it directly to the dustbin! ;)

 

:lol:

 

 

jaclaz 



#3650
Tripredacus

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Windows 8.1 is a problem when it comes to "planning" deployments. Already got a look at the "new" policies and they are pretty much the same as Windows 8. So I am really hoping that I don't have to do much planning other than just doing it the same as Windows 8. So the problem comes in where I can't do any actual testing because how the Preview works. In the two installation paths (through the store or the ISO) they both require (or prefer) connecting to the internet. So its just a waiting game but I doubt there would be some mass scramble to get it rolling. I've heard that most of the Windows 8 licenses being sold are through the Downgrade Rights program anyways. :rolleyes:


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