104 posts • joined 12 Jan 2010
A large steaming pile of horse manure from Microsoft
Why on earth would I ever sell Office 365 at break-even, let alone at a loss? Man needs to put food on table, and shoes on children.
3% or less - the class action against Gateway long ago
Gateway advertised several models of 486 systems as "Pentium Ready", because Intel had designed a Pentium "Overdrive" CPU with a Socket 3 pinout, a superset of the pin signals used by a plain old 486. Lo and behold, Micronics built oodles of motherboards for Gateway and somehow missed out an an important design detail. These Socket 3 Pentium OverDrives would work well only in a motherboard that had a write-through external cache, but the processor itself had a more aggressive and less stable internal write-back cache. This was back in the day when CPUs did not have much built-in cache memory, and motherboards were populated with cache chips manually inserted into sockets. So put a Pentium OverDrive into a Micronics/Gateway motherboard, and the system would turn into a slug. Back in these early days, bus-mastering controllers like SCSI host adapters would not work well with a write-back cache either.
So a lot of people bought these Pentium OverDrive CPUs, installed them, and then the complaints began. It mushroomed into a class action lawsuit presided over and encouraged by some Philadelphia lawyers. Well, the lawyers got rich and members of the class action lawsuit got $50 discount coupons to buy the Pentium OverDrive that did not work. The judge who approved this settlement must have been about as ignorant of computers as can be possible.
This was really Intel's fault. Motherboard manufacturers received Pentium Overdrive prototype chips with the more sensible write-through cache, so that's what drove the motherboard designs. Some bright bulb at Intel changed the design to use the marginally faster (we're talking <1%) write-back cache.
Fixing the write-back cache problem was simple. Intel made an "interposer", a thin circuit board inserted between the socket and the CPU. The job of the interposer was to force the CPU to boot up and run with a write-through cache. So they say. In my years of dealing with 486's, Pentium OverDrives and 486-workalikes from AMD and Cyrix, I never saw an actual interposer. I sold a few hundred kits with very fast AMD 486-like chips to disgruntled Gateway customers.
If the members of the lastest Apple class action lawsuit are lucky, the settlement may be a generous one like a discount coupon for last year's iPhones sitting in an Apple warehouse unsold.
Legacy apps. Like COBOL?
Rhodes is going to have a helluva time convincing all the financial institutions to rearchitect their legacy COBOL applications running with modern front ends. Good luck there!
Well, there are distros for Linux servers, aren't there?
Not exactly something to attract customers like bees to flowers. They are screwing themselves, because the hike will lose loyal resellers and customers, both... Ben Myers
Re: Shutdown is by default a mix between shutdown and hibernate
As someone who services computers, it irks me no end when somebody brings me a laptop that is not completely shut down. Wastes my time.
As for "fast start", I do not know why years ago Windows simply did not write out a hibernation image to be used to restart the computer again when powered up. And then, if the hardware has somehow changed, Windows could simply poll the added hardware installing drivers along the way. But, then, my thinking is way too simplistic for the Redmond geniuses. Whatever they could do to complicate Windows on the inside, they have done. And it finally caught up with them with the dreadful Windows 8.
Re: Somewhat confused...
Same reporting zig-zag line that Microsoft had when Gates stepped down or sideways.
A two-headed CEO monster. It will be just like Hurding Catz. Look how well the co-CEOs worked out for the Market Basket supermarket chain! Well, it worked out well for the co-CEOs, who locked into contracts paying them megabucks no matter what.
It's not just Office and Windows
Microsoft has built a large intertwined software ecosystem that works best (and ONLY!) with Windows. Not only is there Office (in all of its flavors), but also SharePoint and all the little bits of software that lock you into the Microsoft way. All that Active X, DOT NET and Sliverlight stuff gets the unwitting company who uses it tied very tightly to the rest of the Microsoft products and their corrupted version of a web browser.
Then you get to the bizarre restrictions about running older apps on newer operating systems, and newer apps on older operating systems.
Stir in the unceremoniously dropped XP (except for "point of sale" and banking ATMs), and one can easily conclude that Microsoft is jerking all of us around.
Help me sell security of the IoT
I'm a reseller of computer gear. So now we'll have all those wonderful things on the internet. Help me sell security of the IoT. Is somebody going to hack my refrigerator and force it to defrost, spoiling the contents? Can hackers get into my Android-controlled home heating system and goose the termperature in the house up to 90 F or 32 C, depending on your side of the pond. I'm scared scheytless, because nobody is talking about security for all this stuff, only how wonderful our lives will be. Bullshit! ... Ben Myers
IoT with Windows? I hope not!
Geez, and probably few of them are running Windows! But we really need these IoT things. So they tell us.
Many years ago, legendary blowhard computer columnist and pundit John Dvorak had some words of wisdom about what to computerize and what not to computerize. The quickest summary is to say why use Quicken if you only write two checks a month. Why use a computer when something else really simple will do just fine. Seems to me his thinking applies to IoT, too. As we are all seeing with our computers and tablets, care and feeding of these devices takes a lot of time to download all the Microsoft updates (and reboot, and update again), backing up files to the cloud, applying the latest anti-virus updates and so forth. And where is the time left to actually be productive?
Now these dolts selling us IoT things want us to believe that they will make our lives so much easier, turning on the air conditioner 12 hrs before we arrive home from vacation, emailing an order to the milkman when we are low on milk, unlocking the front door to the house with app while still in the car because it is raining cats and dogs, and taking over many of the other mundane and simple tasks that fill our lives. All we need is to have someone hack our IoT things, get the temperature in the house down to 5 degrees C on a 30 C day, unlock the front door and loot the house. Betcha IoT things will be sold just like Windows with a loud disclaimer absolving the sellers of any responsibility just in case something goes awry. This is something I do not need, and you probably don't either.
They don't call them evangelists for nothing
Microsoft product managers are called evangelists. They do their work just like the religious evangelists, preaching the true Microsoft way, and seeking money. So is Nadella the chief evangelist? Guess so. I pay the same amount of attention to evangelists of any type: zero. Until they tread on my turf. Then they get tossed from my property for trespassing. What a pile of stinking horse manure!
Can't you tell?
The Intel Pro 2500 is NEWER and it has a BIGGER NUMBER, so it must be way better. Wasn't that intuitively obvious?
What about the price? Anybody talk about that?
OpenXML, another Microsoft oxymoron
Just how open is OpenXML? Well, it's open when Microsoft decides to change it.
Maybe they or a 3rd party will do the Word plugins for ODF, but I am not holding my breath waiting. Expect a lot of the EU govts to follow suit with an ODF standard, if they have not done so already.
Microsoft has made history and made money co-opting software. They did not want to cut a licensing deal with Adobe about Postscript, so they went and bought Postscript clone Bauer and turned it into TrueType. They couldn't stand Sun controlling Java, so they cobbled up their own version, got hammered in the courts for violating their license with Sun, and were forced to exclude Java from IE and Windows. And on and on it goes.
Re: MS arrogance doesn't change
I had similar experiences working for a once-a-hardware-company that wanted to integrate more closely with the early, early Windows, either 2 or 3, later on for a once-thick paper every-two-weeks magazine. Both times, it was the Microsoft way or the highway.
I also went to one of the first Microsoft Windows 1.03 seminars, where the Microsofties droned on and one about their wonderful Windows APIs. The Stevie B himself did a Q&A with the audience of software developers. I had the stones to say that the API was really impressive for what it could do, but where are the programs that generate user interface code, rather than hand-coding it all. Steve blew off the question, saying that this was up to 3rd party developers. In other words, Microsofties hadn't thought of it yet, so it was not worth doing. What an arrogant SOB!
Then they all wonder why no one shows them the love. The high-handed business tactics that made them oodles of cash are now catching up with them.
Whither Microsoft or wither Microsoft?
Seems like the answer to the question "Whither Microsoft" is to wither Microsoft. Or is it whittle?
With whom else are they gonna go to bed?
Apple and IBM need each other right now. Apple needs IBM for the iPhone and iPad to become the corporate go-to devices. Exeunt Blackberry stage left. Apple is attractive to IBM because it has been obsessive about controlling just what software goes onto its fondleslabs, which, like all things Mac, don't have as many security gaping security holes as Windows and Android devices. And IBM needs Apple because IBM is not longer in the low-end commodity hardware biz of any kind. Gee, what else is there to say?
Transfer pricing has been around forever
What Apple does is no different than did the multinational where I was employed 30 years ago. Same result, too. Move the profits to the jurisdiction that taxes the least. And you can bet that it is in Apple's best interests to employ international tax experts to help out. Only difference is that the turnover was only $US4B where I worked. Apple is a much bigger target.
Microsoft PR team in UK is clueless?
If the Microsoft PR team in UK is clueless, why not contact the Microsoft US PR team? Most they can say is to wait for the UK PR team to get a clue.
Re: You learn something everyday
Not really. It's an advert delivery vehicle.
A two-edged sword for Intel
The implicit idea here is to have an Intel ARM-killer.
But as others have noted, will the Chinese now be able to fab their own Intel knock-off chips? Yeah, I know, an Atom is not a Xeon or an i7 or even an i3, but is still a damned powerful chip, especially quad core.
Re: Why Windows in the first place?
Right, Microsoft is your corner drug dealer giving away a little taste here or there to get you hooked. Of course, Apple has had discount deals for educational institutions for a long time... Ben Myers
Yep, ClassicShell relieves stress, but Windows 8.1 and your privacy?
Yep, ClassicShell relieves stress. I've installed it a number of times for people who then feel a lot better about using a computer with a more familiar user interface.
But Windows 8.1 and your privacy? Hah! Do a Windows 8.1 upgrade, and while you are finishing up, it asks you to set some settings. You have a choice, Express or no. I picked no, walked through the settings and imagined my blood pressure sky-rocketing as I saw Microsoft ask for various settings to be "On". Like monitoring your location? And other choice tidbits that could be shared with anyone. Read the Win 8.1 license agreement, which Microsoft can change at any time, and you are giving away your privacy in return for what? Direct monitoring by the NSA or MI6?
Or is Microsoft simply telling all of us what they have been doing all along? Very unsettling, this privacy thing. Enough for me to think that Windows 7 will be my own very last Microsoft operating system.
As a good friend of mine observed today, think about the frog placed in a pot of water. A happy frog? A content frog, right? Sure. Now turn on the heat to bring the water to a boil. The poor frog remains clueless while being boiled to death. Well, our personal privacy is being eroded away, same as the poor frog's life.
Flight data recorders are good ideas...
I wonder when Windows will have a flight data recorder? Windows event logs are useless collections of crypto-crap, undecipherable by humans.
All it took was a gaping bug
All it took was a gaping well-publicized bug to wake these companies up to the fact that their reputations depend on open source code down in the plumbing of the internet, And the money spigots opened up.
Unattached, so his package is available for inspection
It may be a shrinking package at his age, but $78m buys a lot of viagra.
Telephone scams, too
The phone calls from scammers telling you your Windows XP system is infected have begun again, too. I got a call today from a bogus caller ID and a voice with South Asian accented English. The connection was poor, but he addressed me by name (no surprise, my name and number are in public records) and launched into a Windows spiel. I told him to speak up because the connection was poor and he hung up.
And this is news?
This is the same sort of one-sided biased rumor-mongering peddled 24/7 by Rupert Murdoch in his real-world "Tomorrow Never Dies." And why in hell should I even think about what HP thinks about Lenovo's buy of the IBM server biz?
Re: maybe (What about our dependence on fossil fuels)
All this talk about technology that will continue to make our lives easier neglects one key point. All that technology is dependent on fossil fuels, which will only become more and more expensive unless we can figure out how to transmit and use that energy more efficiently. I would propose that fossil fuel may do for our use of gadgets what Malthus theorized about food supply and population growth.
Re: Typical Microsoft (but which one?)
The most serious and real problem here is that the Microsoft ecosystem is betwixt and between enterprise/corporation/office and consumer/gaming/leisure. That's why their products waffle back and forth. First you have Vista which tarts up XP, then you have Windows 7, which makes Vista palatable (and Windows 7 probably should have been a free Vista Service Pack 3, except that Microsoft would then have to forego billions in revenue. Next, we have the leisure-time Metro of Windows 8, followed by (OOPS!) we-gotta-win-back-those-office-folks Windows 8.1. There's no real consistency, because Microsoft lacks that vision thing and a coherent software architecture. Now you add the mad scramble of everyone (Microsoft, Amazon, Google) to offer web services across all manner of devices, and you have a multiplicity of hardware/software that flies in the face of the strategy Microsoft held onto for too long, namely Wintel system. Now Microsoft has to adapt to the rapidly changing interconnected world without sacrificing their Office cash cow. How to turn the Queen Mary, or the Microsoft borg, is the challenge here.
When will the next name change be?
From Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. What's next? Microsoft Teal? Microsoft Red? What is so special about azure? It's part of the atmosphere. Do I store stuff in the atmosphere or in a cloud? This is akin to lipstick on a pig. I guess they are so embarrassed by Windows 8 that it no longer provides the name-branding so important in selling other products and services.
And, oh. Microsoft Azure is already here!
Oh the excitement of it all! My heart is racing!
I bet they spent a $500,000 on all the development and testing to change the name, and the content can still be examined by the NSA and the Chinese equivalent.
Windows 8 as envisaged by Microsoft is not for doing real work
The Metro interface and its bright and shiny apps are not for people doing real work. Microsoft was misguided by its own hubris, arrogance and imagined invincibility into designing something that has been largely rejected by the business world. They actually thought that people would run right out and buy a lot of Windows 8 computers. Even with a touch screen, which 90+% of the computers in the world lack, I am not how how productive one could be trying to do real work with Win 8. Microsoft was able to recover from the earlier debacles of Windows ME and Windows Vista, largely because the world of computing was a little smaller back then and because tablets, smartphones and other fondleslabs had not yet made serious inroads into our mindshare. I have real trouble even imagining how (and if?) Microsoft will recover from this self-inflicted wound of Windows 8. Probably in a way that Malcolm Gladwell did not imagine when he wrote the book, Win 8 might be the tipping point for Microsoft. Of course, the large amount of ill will felt toward Microsoft by all manner of folk does not help the Redmond borg either.
I wonder what OS the ATM's in the US of A are using?
I wonder what OS the ATM's in the US of A are using? Anybody have an idea? Makes me feel better about walking into the bank with checks to cash and walking out again with cash in hand. A little bit old school, but effective.
Re: A protected mess
Well, with any luck, the US Congress will clean the wads of medical industry dollars out of its pockets, realize what a serious issue medical security it is, and ram some medical security legislation up the backsides of all the medical folk. The medical industry has almost forever been way back at the training edge of computer technology. I've often marveled at visiting a doctor's office and seeing rows and rows of 6-foot high cabinets crammed with paper medical records. Is it any wonder the US medical system is so god-damned inefficient? Pathetic! The security issue will bite them all in the arse big-time, and the hew and cry over theft of medical and personal data from medical computer systems will motivate Congress.
Not just the goalposts!
A game changer. Now we are playing Russian roulette with an AK-47 while trying to kick a baseball through the goalposts.
The guy is spot on. Loads of bullshit in financial statements and PR announcements.
Are the Windows 8 probems insurmountable?
The Microsoft mouthpiece says that 200M Windows 8 systems have been sold. Don't know what it's like on the right side of the pond, but over here on the left side, I would bet that 90% or more of the Windows 8 systems have been sold to unwitting consumers. Go into any big box store like Best Buy, Staples or Walmart, and the only Wintel computers you see are running Windows 8. So what is the garden variety consumer to do when the choice is Windows 8 or Windows 8???
Lenovo did not drink Microsoft's Windows 8 Kool-Aid and continued to sell Windows 7 systems. Look where it has gotten them? They are numero uno in sales of Wintel computers, no thanks to Micro$oft. Only belatedly did Dell, before Michael's privatization, offer Windows 7 systems in its mailers.
So let's face it Microsoft. Windows 8 is a consumer system, because you have shoved it down the collective throat of the public.
I continue to encounter only consumers, not businesses, with Windows 8 systems, and my knee-jerk reaction is to install ClassicShell to make Windows look more like XP or 7, not the damnable and inscrutable Metro tiles. Everyone whose system now has ClassicShell thinks it is an improvement.
What is also pretty atrocious about Windows 8, and something about which few pundits have commented, is that just about every Metro app forces you to sign up on the Microsoft mother borg ship as a prerequsite to using the app, so they can get their hands on your privates. And people have said that the US NSA is bad? Hah! Nothing compared to Microsoft. Maybe Microsoft taught the NSA a thing or two. Wouldn't be surprised.
As another posting suggested, most Linux distros offer various possibilities for customization of the graphical user interface, so you set it up the way you like it. This is not rocket-science, but simply treating customers with respect, something Microsoft does not know how to do after 30+ years in business. So Windows 8 and the lack of respect for customers (and OEMs!) is biting Microsoft in the ass.
Maybe England would do better?
Maybe England would do better in the World Cup with a foreigner as the coach? For all the talent in the country, it has been barely average at the world level.
Re: How did Lenovo do it?
My thinking is similar. I recommend Lenovo and Dell (believe it or not) BUSINESS-class laptops. In other words, Lenovo Thinkpads and Dell Latitudes. Every company in the computer box business, including Dell and Lenovo, treats consumers like crap, and sells poorly made and unmaintainable crap to consumers. But sell a business 5000 pieces of crap, and Michael Dell, Meg Whitman, Ginny Rometty or any other computer CEO will get a call from the CEO of the business, saying that 5000 pieces of crap are sitting on a loading dock to be returned to the manufacturer. This is only a long-winded and eloquent way of saying that computer mfrs cannot afford to sell poorly designed equipment to large corporations, govts and NGOs. So you buy a Lenovo Thinkpad or Dell Latitude and rest easy. I still like black Lenovo Thinkpads best, because black goes well with anything and it is easy to accessorize.
Re: Avoid the commodity
Funny you should mention "word-processing on a 15-20 year old machine." Recently, someone gave me an old computer as part of a housecleaning. It is a DEC HiNote laptop with small screen, 75Mhz 486, 20MB of memory (that's MEGAbytes!), 504MB hard drive (another mega), Window 95 and Office 7. It is running order and I tried it out. Slow it is not. Office 7 runs just fine. But there is no eye-candy. I did not try to print with it, and yeah, printing might be slow. And maybe it is not so good at integrating graphics and photos into documents. Compared to the computer I am using right now, it has 1/30 the processor speed, 1/200 of the memory, and 1/100 of the hard drive space. Just goes to show how much bloat Microsoft has dumped on us all.
Re: Windows 8 strikes again...
Dell learned too late from Lenovo's Windows 7 playbook. Lenovo made (makes it) oh-so-easy to get a Windows 7 computer, whilst nearly all of Dell's glossy promotions pushed Windows 8, Windows 8, Windows 8, until recently. Last week's Dell ad in the mail showcased Windows 7 as well. Dell can blame itself for drinking the poisoned Microsoft Windows 8 Kool-Aid. Microsoft can blame itself, shooting off one toe after another.
Quality products are important, too
Yes, Toshiba can rearrange the deck chairs all it wants. I can't speak for other Toshiba electronics (maybe that is a problem, too), but Toshiba has long been at or near the bottom of my lists for hard drives and laptops. Hard drives, because their laptop drives fail way more than others and because you can't trust the SMART data giving the health of a Toshiba hard drive. And Toshiba laptops are intricately designed, difficult to service, with both spare parts and service manuals being in short supply.
Crappy Thinkpads? Gimme a break!!!!
I have little or no experience with Lenovo desktops, which don't show up much around here. And I can't speak much for non-Thinkpad laptops, of which I see very few.
But the Thinkpads have remained durable, reliable, well-made laptops under Lenovo ownership. Also easy to repair, find spare parts, find repair manuals. Right now, Thinkpads are my favorite. I resell a few, refurbish a few, and recommend to people who want to buy direct or from a bigger reseller. Dell is in second place, but Dell's track record is now marred by some godawful design decisions, resulting in laptops difficult to repair, as difficult as HPaq, Toshiba and Sony... Ben Myers
Why buy HP inkjet printers?
These lawsuits and their outcomes simply allow HP to have a special inkjet printer accessory that attaches itself to your credit card for regular payments. I have customers who have bought the latest greatest HP all-in-one printers and they complain about how often they need to buy inkjet cartridges, how few pages each cartridge prints, and how expensive the damned cartridges are.
How about a class action lawsuit against HP for gouging the owners of its inkjet printers, maybe possibly providing inaccurate information about how many pages each cartridge prints, and making even expensive printers out of cheap flimsy plastic.
I do not sell inkjet printers, only giving advice to people who might listen. I do not sell inkjet printers because many of the manufacturers follow HP's lead: not much ink for a lot of money.
Oh, yes, the networking part of these HP all-in-one printer-scanner-copier devices that does everything except cure warts and shine your shoes. The networking part of the setup forces use of a DHCP-assigned IP address, never giving someone with a modicum of intelligence the opportunity to assign a printer its fixed IP address, like most of us here in the real world.
Meg, are you reading this?
What in hell is an SVC?
What in hell is an SVC? In English please!
A lot of bias in this opinion
Mr. Fosse has a lot of bias here. The more he can push people to the cloud, the better it is for EMC and its cloud services and hardware to support the cloud.
But what about office work?
If office work needs a keyboard, as with document preparation, spreadsheet jockeying, creating PowerPoint and other artsy-fartsy materials, the only choice remains a Wintel or Apple-tel desktop or laptop with a real keyboard. Yes, it may run software from the cloud, but I am having serious difficulty imagining how a tablet computer can do this sort of work. Somebody help me understand.
Re: Time to shine :)
One other issue. IBM remains top-heavy with corporate overhead. The only way to support it is with lucrative high-end products and services. Well, Thinkpads and desktops weren't lucrative enough for IBM, due to the severe pressures of a commodity market. Low-end servers fall in behind.
Re: Privacy concerns
Agreed! Why cobble up a BIOS with spyware that can easily be detected. But paranoia reigns in governments, along with lots of other irrational thinking.
You called it right.
Unlike other pundits who blabbed about Dell buying the IBM low-end server biz, the Inquirer got the prediction absolutely right, and exactly the way I saw it going. Dell buying IBM server biz had a snowball's chance in hell... Ben
Selling Microsoft only out of necessity
In the past, I "sold" copies of Office 2000-whatever to my clients at near-zero margin. Why? Because it was necessary to get a sale. Why? Because they could buy it in the store at almost exactly the price I paid my distributor and install it themselves. But maybe they didn't want to be bothered to install it themselves, so they threw a few bucks my way to do the install. Then along comes Office 2013. Whether I buy from a disty or from a store, I get the same piece of paper the customer gets, with a product key and the privilege of wasting my time to go through lots of on-line crap to finally download the damnable thing and install it. And where is my incentive to "sell, sell, sell" Office 365? The customer goes on line, signs up, gives in credit card info and is off and away with Office 365. If somehow I get involved in selling it, Microsoft compensates me handsomely with the usual pigeon droppings. So now, if someone wants Office 365, they can buy and install or they can pay be a very good markup for my time to do the job. The bottom line here is that Microsoft continues to not offer resellers any incentive whatsoever to sell their product, and the only money that can be made is from the client for installing and maybe customizing Office 365 a bit. Now if I could get Microsoft product at a 30-40 discount from list, I would think differently. But right now, I am just as open to selling LibreOffice to my clients.
Acer does not do itself many favors
Acer does not do itself many favors by continuing to produce three product lines with three brand names and three distinct images: Gateway once sold quality products. eMachines have generally been pretty awful and cheap. And the Acer product line itself, which has a confusing and vague image. I think it is merely sheer pride of founder Stan Shih that the company is still named Acer. Had I been in charge, I would have called it "Gateway", to trade on fond memories of many long-time Gateway owners. But there is no reason to bring back the cheesy Gateway cow motif.
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