47 posts • joined Tuesday 12th January 2010 03:25 GMT
Speaking as a reseller, no real incentives for me to sell the cloud
$40 per seat incentive from Microsoft to sell cloud services is simply not worth it for a small reseller. Maybe the larger resellers and project-oriented consulting firms can integrate the cloud into their webs of offerings. But I can make more money doing repairs and on-site troubleshooting or support.
Self-serving, perhaps? Just a little bit.
Microsoft dug themselves into an operating system hole, first with the slow and annoying Vista. Then, while at it, they changed device driver models, something that happens almost every other Microsoft OS release. What happens? OOOPS! Lots of printers and scanners and graphics cards and audio cards and other more specialized hardware no longer work with the bright and shiny but blighted Vista. Windows 7 really ought to have been the free upgrade to Vista, but, yes, it uses almost the same device driver model, so your older but perfectly functioning hardware won't work with it either. Then Microsoft begat Windows 8, the demon spawn of Windows and the iPad. We all know how that is turning out, rejection of Windows 8 by large enterprises plus cries of anguish by consumers given no choice to buy in the stores except Windows 8. (People will race to the free Windows 8.1, because they really have no choice if stuck with Windows 8.)
Oh, yeah, and did I mention that many large companies (like banks) and enterprises (like govts and hospitals) have designed and developed for their own use proprietary applications that run on XP? And sometimes, with VERY special hardware? Now they have to "migrate" these applications to some bright new Microsoft OS. But migration is not a simple thing like birds flying south in the autumn. It is re-engineering the applications to run in a much-changed world of Windows 7 or Windows 8 Application Programming Interfaces (API). Some of Microsoft's API changes are for the good, as they make the software world more secure and more reliable. Others fix serious design errors made by Microsoft in earlier software, e.g. the hugely mistaken tight integration of Internet Explorer into XP, opening a huge hole for operating system contamination. So migration of software to the brave new world of Windows 7-or-8 is both very costly and extremely time-consuming. Yeah, I know you can run XP apps in an XP virtual machine under Windows 7. Well, SOME apps, like regular everyday commodity software you buy in the store. But proprietary software developed in-house? I'll believe it when I see it.
So now they want to use the tactic honed by long-time IBM partner: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, or FUD. Scare the hell out of everyone still using XP. They will scare a lot of people to Windows 7-or-8, and hardware vendors like Dell, Lenovo, HPaq and Acer-eGateMachines will smile as they sell a lot of systems to replace the ones that run Windows 7-or-8 very poorly. Nevertheless, come April 2014, millions of people will still run XP, probably with Firefox or Chrome and with any anti-virus package except MIcrosoft Security Essentials.
Not too many disk drive vendors left, are there?
All the consolidation in the biz means that there are only three drive vendors left: Seagate, WD and Toshiba. I wonder what new technology Toshiba has up its sleeve.
Microsoft is the most successful company in history at selling other people's ideas as their own.
And they sold the ideas of others as a bullying monopolist that the US govt did not want to harness. But, that was the Ballmer mentality that prevailed all these years. It has pissed off millions, including OEMs, large customers, and other business partners. So they had a good run while it's lasted. What next? Steve is intellectually incapable of answering the question, so billg and two others are tasked with the job of finding and hiring the new visionary to lead Microsoft on to bigger and better. Good luck with that. It will be an interesting business soap opera to watch.
WTF WTF WTF? Small ISVs can someday grow into larger ISVs. ISVs are good for the Microsoft Windows ecosystem, because they create apps that make people want to buy Windows instead of something else like a Mac or one of the zillion Linux distros. So once again, Microsoft shoots ISVs and the richochet shoots self in foot.
Re: The next 24 months is Microsoft's true window of vulnerability.
Buyers (or licensees) of Microsoft products and services could do some sort of cost-benefit analysis comparing the way of the Microsoft borg with alternatives. You never know.
Talking through his backside
"We have a multi OS, multi architecture and multi form factor computing strategy that we believe will delight customers and rebuild share. We're also focused on building a profitable business that's smart about its future." Just what did the HP spokesman say here? What does it mean? I cannot grok it.
I still say that if Meg wants to pay me a healthy daily rate plus expenses, I can help fix their personal computer product lines, laptop and desktop both. But, then too, somebody there has to listen, instead of bouncing around in the HP star chamber, nearly as isolated from reality as the US Congress... Ben Myers
Libre Office anyone?
Anyone tried LibreOffice lately? Seems to have more developer resources than the Oracle-owned OpenOffice, from which it forked. Works nicely. High degree of compatibility with Office. Not perfect, but really, really good.
Microsoft seems to be playing the same game in the clouds as it did for years down here on the ground. Integrate Office 365 with other offerings like SkyDrive, to give users a nice comfortable cocoon from which the animals inside will grab your dollars.
And, oh, yeah, the NSA, MI7 and all other spook outfits will have a much easier time to look over your shoulder. The Microsoft borg remains an apt metaphor.
... Ben Myers
Microsoft messed up with a long release cycle
Either with gross misjudgement as to what customers wanted (Bob, Vista, Windows 8) or with buggy software (Windows 95) or both (Windows ME), Microsoft sure messed up a lot using long release cycles and a lot of time between releases of major OS products. Windows XP was a bit of a mess, too, until SP1 fixed it up.
So Stevie Ballmer cracks the whip and all his vassals say "Yessir, we will do a short release cycle." The man has an awfully large set of balls.
Re: Windows 8? More like Windows Nein
Yep. I bought four Lenovo i7 T430s for a client recently, then tricked them out with big SSDs and more memory. All came with Windows 7 pre-installed and a set of Windows 8 recovery DVDs, now on my shelf as a souvenir. I'm sure Micro$oft counted these as four Windows 8 sales.
I'll bet that the US National Security Agency can tell us how many Windows 8 computers are actually being used.
Well, there's always ClassicShell if you somehow unwittingly get stuck with a Windows 8 computer... Ben Myers
Re: But MS has never been about empowering the consumer with choice
And just when was that time in the far distant past when Microsoft gave users and developers a great deal of choice. Damned if I can remember when, and I was a participant in the original Windows 1.03 developer's conference. That goes way back, nearly 3 decades. Back then, and in various business dealings with Microsoft since, the expressed attitude is my (Microsoft's) way or the highway. Never room for negotiation. Take it or leave it. I'm sure I'm not alone, either, so there is a huge amount of pent-up ill will against Microsoft. Windows 8 (or 8.1) is the best reason ever for all of us to unleash that ill will.
Windows 7 is OK, though. So is XP.
Re: Didnt we have pretty much this same article.....
How do you think Gartner gets some press for itself as a "premier" computer research group?
Lenovo Thumbs Up #2
Lenovo has made it easy to get a Windows 7 system? Ya think there is any correlation between ease of buying Win 7 and sales revenue? Had a pricey but like-a-jewel Thinkpad T430 delivered the other day. Win 7 was pre-installed, and there were Windows 8 DVDs included in the carton. These went on the shelf.
Dell is now getting the Windows 7 message, too. A Dell catalog came in the mail the other day, one for businesses like mine. Yep, Win 7 systems there, too!
Ballmer, ya screwed up, big time. It happened on your watch... Ben Myers
Skype, Microsoft, US Govt - An interesting marriage perhaps?
Will conspiracy theorists speculate that the Bush administration put pressure on Microsoft to buy Skype, so that Skype traffic could be monitored? Previous to its acquisition by Microsoft, Skype was operated from outside the US, hence away from the influence of the US Govt? Next step is to also wonder what the govt traded to Microsoft to get the Skype deal to happen.
Don't need no PCTools
Give me CCleaner, even the free version, for a handy all-round utility to clean the useless stuff out of a computer. CCleaner removes junk files and obsolete registry entries, and allows you to selectively remove restore points that can clog up a hard drive. Last of all, it does the same sort of program removal that Windows built-in Add/Remove Programs does. And Symantec expects people to pay, even on a subscription basis, for something no better?
Wavy Dr Hauser
And just what is Dr Hauser doing to prepare to ride the 6th wave?
Re: So obvious...
Maybe Microsoft should have recommended using another digit on the touch screen, having the band Finger 11 write a special Windows 8 song. And to get the nomenclature to harmonize with marketing theme, call it Windows 11.
Well, kind of sort of a mea culpa from Microsoft on Windows 8. Maybe they'll stop the blame game, fingering OEMs for not designing hardware that is right for Windows 8. Damned if I know how to design that hardware.
Anyone who can't wait for 8.1 or Blue or whatever it will be called, if and when it is released, go get your start button back,
Yet another symptom of HP Dysfunction - Pavilion v Presario
Hp bought Compaq way back in 2001, yet 12 years later it is still peddling Compaq-branded product. You mean that the Compaq brand still has that magic cachet?
This week I tore down two pairs of HP consumer laptops, a Presario V2000 and a Pavilion dv2000, followed by a Presario 6000 and a Pavilion dv6000. Guess what? They are almost identical, with differing cosmetic appearance. Oh, yeah. And some fools designed the Presario and Pavilion pairs with different hinges, hence a different plastic chassis. What does this mean? It jacks up the cost of producing the two models, because Foxconn has to retool the production line and molding machines between production runs of near-identical models.
You want to improve margins on the junky HP consumer laptops? Kill off one brand name or the other, either Presario or Pavilion. Same with the consumer desktops, although they use all the same plastic, metal and electronics, just a different BIOS showing HP or Compaq, and different markings on the plastic.
Ben Myers email@example.com
Toshiba just does not get it. Arrogant!
Here is yet another reason not to ever use Toshiba kit ever again. I refurbish a lot of laptops, and the Toshiba brand has long been last on my list of recommendations to buyers. Even with the service manuals, Toshiba laptops have a downright kinky design and they are extremely difficult to service. It's almost as though they are designed that way so people will simply throw them away and buy another when they break.
I have long been critical of Toshiba as the only hard drive manufacturer that does not provide its own hard drive diagnostics to be used to test and field-recertify hard drives. Toshiba hard drives seem to have a worse than average failure rate. Coincidence? Maybe.
Toshiba continues to insult and disrespect customers and independent service providers. Seems like the company does not have any marketing or public relations people to temper its corporate arrogance... Ben Myers
Can we remove Microsoft Office and IE9 from these systems and install OpenOffice and Firefox?
If it's post-Windows, Microsoft has only itself to blame!
I have been a reseller of Micrsoft products for many years, of necessity, but not because I make any money selling their stuff. Microsoft has not exactly made friends its of distributors, smaller system builders, and resellers. My price from my distributor for any Microsoft product is a percent or two less than the retail selling price. In turn, my distributor pays Micrsoft a couple of percent less than he sells it for. Talk about a dis-incentive! Microsoft products are must-sells at near zero margins.
I can make very nice margins on the hardware, but when it comes to the software I have no room real to mark it up. Why should my customer pay me $400 for a copy of Office Professional, for example, when he can buy it for $350 in the big box store and install it in minutes? So I "sell" Open Office when I can and I can also sell refurbished computers with the official Windows stickers already on them. If I could convince people to run one of the ten thousand Linux distros, I would. But the Linux crowd shoots itself in the foot with too many distros that look way different than one another, several different UIs on top of naked command Linux, and childish names for programs like Konqueror, KAddressBook, and Kontact, which everyone thinks is oh, so cute!
Lenovo has damned good products, too.
Lenovo has damned good products, too. Maybe there's a relationship between good products and increased sales?
I continue to be impressed by Lenovo product quality, its easy to maintain products, AGGRESSIVE pricing, and a continually improving web site. I still like Dell products just as much, but consider this. My recently replaced 5- or 6-year old Thinkpad X60 has a 5+-hour life on battery. My newer, but not the newest X200, runs for 8 hours with its SSD.
HPaq and Acer-eGateMachines both have a long way to go to match Lenovo and Dell. Sony, Toshiba and Fujitsu also ran... Ben Myers
Is Quantum still in the league?
After Leo Durocher, manager of the NY Giants baseball team many years ago: "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" I had no idea Quantum was still in business.
Enough said... Ben
pan-HP or pan HP?
Dare we pan HP for its handling of the whole Palm mess? Makes me wonder what they are going palm off on some unsuspecting buyer. Any buyer of HP's PC parts better do its due diligence, or it may find itself owning a lot of doo-doo... Ben Myers
No incentives to resellers to reduce piracy
I'll focus on Micro$oft products here, because I have no choice except to sell them. The Micro$oft Office-and-Windows hegemony dominates the world of office software suites. No matter which version of Office or Windows we are talking about, the wholesale price I pay to a distributor is within pennies of the street price in the big box retailer stores. So where is my incentive to push Microsoft products, when my margin for the effort is maybe 5%, maybe a little more if my client is so inept that he needs to pay me to install the software.
Really now, if there is no incentive for me to sell the damned products to begin with, and I do so only to provide complete hardware-software systems to my clients, why should I even think about being a pawn in Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts? As Mike Myers or Austin Powers said, "Throw me a bone", Microsoft. Give me the possibility to make even 20% on a software sale, then offer a deep-discount anti-piracy incentive.
And the same goes for Adobe, Autodesk and all the rest. They bitch and complain about piracy, but make no attempt whatsoever to give incentives to those of us on the front lines... Ben Myers
Scare tactics? Is Micro$oft behind this?
Without any sort of statement as to which manufacturers, GPUs, and graphics interfaces (PCI-E or AGP) are vulnerable, this statement by CERT becomes a scare tactic. There is also nothing to tell us when and where WebGL is used by which types of rendering, other than some sort of 3-D.
If I do not view any 3-D objects in my Firefox brower, is my system still vulnerable?
Too damned many unanswered questions here. CERT, go back to the drawing board and give us a statement with some meat... Ben Myers
free Ubuntu CDs gone, but what about ISO downloads?
This is confusing. Is it because Canonical was sketchy in its announcement, or because the article missed an important detail. What I want to know is if i will still be able to download ISO images of Ubuntu and burn my own CDs and DVDs? ... Ben Myers
"IE9 relies on Windows more than any other browser out there" Ouch!
Let's see now. Earlier versions of IE started this tight integration between browser and operating system and this led to more operating system and browser security holes than you or I could ever imagine. Given what's going on right now in the real world, is it apt to describe Internet Explorer 9 as a security Chernobyl waiting to happen? Or do we think that the Micro$ofties actually know what they are doing???
... Ben Myers
Please, can we think of a more misleading title? Gnome was there in the Live SUSE 11.4 I downloaded and tested. Just an earlier version, that's all. But you got my attention.
I'd like to make a one sentence rant about all the childish K-names in KDE? I'm sure the developers are proud of their work, but Konquerer, KMail, Konsole, KWord and KSpread are very much off-putting. Sorry, but I cannot take KDE seriously, no matter how wonderful it might be. This is the sort of software-naming nonsense that inhibits Linux distros from being more generally accepted for use in business. The plethora of distros does not help either. Too damned many egos, I guess. And too many revenue streams damaged if the number of distros was cut down... Ben
The chipset flaw is in which Cougar Point chips?
For crissake, if there is a flaw in MY Cougar Point chip, I would like to find out about it!!!!
Did Intel issue or will Intel issue a diagnostic that identifies the flawed chips? Given that Intel is so rigorous about steppings, sSpecs and other identifying information, the least they could do is enable us to check all our computers for the presence of defective chips, without doing a complete teardown of a system, of course!!!!!
Why are we all going nuts about fast boot times?
Why are we all going nuts about fast boot times, and adding expensive hardware to make a fast boot happen? Has anyone, ANYONE, A-N-Y-O-N-E ever thought about the similarity between a laptop (or even a desktop) coming out of hibernation and the system boot process? What's the difference? Considerable. To load the OS, Windows (or Linux) has to mush though all manner of software modules, test for the presence of hardware, load drivers, and construct links from module to module. To bring an OS out of hibernation, a bootstrap routine needs to load the memory image from a contiguous (or nearly so) area of the hard disc. This is quick, usually just a few seconds. So why not write the same hibernation image to disk when the system is shut down, then load it into memory when the system starts up? An added bonus here is that whatever software was running when the system was shut down (hibernated) is the same software when the system boots up. Voila! Almost instant browser and word processor and spreadsheet. No need to wait for these to load, either.
The only possible fly in the ointment is that the hardware has changed since the last shutdown. If so, the OS needs to patch up the hardware drivers, not a major deal. Actually, with Windows it may be a major deal, because Windows is such a shabby house of cards. And memory fragmentation plus other instabilities may cause Windows problems. Well, duh! Once the system loads from the hibernation image, clean up the memory. All of this is practical and do-able by software engineers with a modicum of common sense. And it requires no added expensive SSDs to store the OS... Ben Myers
Computers are like fish
I have been on the buying end of surplus computer equipment for years. The sticking point with your bean counters is "current market value", as it always is. The bean counters always say something like "I paid $2000 for it four years ago, so it has one year of depreciation left. It is worth $400." And, of course, I am prepared to offer $50 for the same incredibly valuable asset. The bean counters feign being insulted, and there is no deal.
The bean counters need to understand that computers are like fish. The first day, metaphorically, they are fresh and sweet-smelling and valuable. The second day, the fish are still quite edible, though with a mild aroma. The third day, fish are candidates for chowder. After that, they become fertilizer in the tradition of Native Americans in days gone by.
The trick here is to expense all computer acquisitions in the first year. This drives the finance types crazy, because they will have fewer valuable "assets" to show on the books. But expensing computers rather than treating them as capital assets is closer to today's reality of disposable electronics... Ben
Hotmail? What about Outlook Express and Windows Mail clients???
Microsoft does not want to know, but they have pissed off multitudes of owners of home computers, faithful users of Outlook Express for years. Then OE became Windows Mail with Vista. Now people who buy Windows 7 find that they have no Microsoft email client any more. OH! Of course, use Hotmail. But why not Thunderbird? ... Ben
Really! What's in it for me, Microsoft?
As a reseller to small and medium business, I am already getting screwed by Microsoft on Office pricing, because my clients can buy at retail for pennies more than I pay at wholesale. This has given me motivation to push Open Office except when 1000% compatibility with Microsoft products is needed. So now Microsoft sticks all this on the cloud, meaning clients will need smaller hard drives and lower cost systems to use the cloud-based Office. Let's hope that the cloud has 99.999% availability and tight-as-can-be security, else people will become disenchanted. And, of course, the availability of the Microsoft cloud depends on local internet service providers and all those hidden providers of internet plumbing.
Microsoft has never offered any serious discounts and financial incentives to SMB resellers, instead charging for certifications. And they get beta testers to work on their products at below sweatshop wages, i.e. for free. So I guess this is no different.
Well, it will be interesting to watch... Ben
What is the value of lost data?
I can't quibble with the fact that one can crack a laptop login password and find all sorts of useful information, both the info itself and that which leads one to other information in a domain. I use similar cracking tools for 100% legitmate and legal purposes. It just illustrates the old maxim that without physical security, you've got nothing.
But how valuable is that lost data? That is the real question that needs answers before we all stampede to McAfee security software to help Intel to make back its bundle... Ben Myers
A steaming pile of horse manure dropped by Micro$oft
This is yet another steaming pile of horse manure dropped by Micro$oft in its long-standing anti-standards campaign. And it is yet another move to keep Open Office, Google Office and other Office products from gaining market share. They continue to try to kill interoperability between their products and others. This decision adds to the rationale as to why people need to simply leave Microsoft Office behind. ASAP... Ben Myers
Deja Vu All Over Again
For me, this is deja vu all over again. Back in the pre-historic times of mainframes, maybe around 13 BG (13 years Before Gates), I chaired a product design review for a new (new back then) removable hard drive product which increased hard drive capacity by 10% over its predecessor by increasing the hard sector size. Of course, the capacity increase was at the expense of a serious degradation in the performance of disk writes, because the operating system was built around the smaller sector size. Our design review flagged this as an unacceptable error, but the division general manager went ahead and released the product to marketing any way.
Try as they might, WD would have a helluva time selling me one of these drives for use on an XP system. The only possibility for these WD drives would perform adequately would be to modify the XP file system and/or its disk cache algorithms, something Micro$oft clearly will not do. Forcing the file system to allocate all files on LBAs modulo 8 helps a bit, but really not much... Ben Myers
Can't stand the heat!
HP has evidently not learned from its last fateful disaster with more-or-less standard and hot-running Pentium 4 CPUs inside their laptops. Of course, HP had plenty of company with Toshiba and Dell also doing "desktop replacements" in a 2003-2004 timeframe. Dell got hurt the worst, with a class action lawsuit, recalls and extensions to warranties on its Inspiron 51xx series. To meet these ill-perceived market needs, Intel provided HP, Dell and Toshiba with a standard 533Mhz FSB Pentium 4HT cobbled with SpeedStep to run at 1.6GHz on battery. Numerous desktop replacements failed or developed heat issues that could not be resolved. I have a Toshiba here with standard P4, taken in from a customer who suffered with overheating and shutdowns for years. I tore it down, cleaned out just a little bit of dust and dirt, applied thermal paste, and the damned thing now shuts itself down after a half hour instead of 2 minutes. Operate one of these laptops in a house with dogs and cats running around, and you end up with a clump of debris blocking the air vents and an even quicker failure. This whole desktop replacement phenomenon was exacerbated by people being somewhat ignorant in not keeping the air vents clear of dust, dirt, cat hair, and external blockages.
Dell follows the historical lead of Big Blue and all the rest who tried and failed
This nonsense about installing only vendor certified drives has been going on since the mid-'60s or '70s, when IBM tried to stop use of 3rd party disk drives with its gear. Dell, treat the buyer as though he has some intelligence. There are lots of us engineers out here onlce employed by now-defunct computer companies. We can read spec sheets. We can buy brand new drives from all manner of reputable sources.
What Dell is doing is taking commodity drives, but only certain models, mind you, running them through some tests and marking them "Dell-certified" at a premium price. Dell also runs the risk of lawsuits for this stupid ploy. Even with enterprise-class servers, hard drives, memory, and many other items are commodities, and need to be recognized as same... Ben Myers
Office 2007 migration and yet another migration to ???
Well, people who drank the Microsoft productivity kool-aid, having built all sorts of now-broken extensions to Office, apparently now have a massive hangover. Maybe it's time for some of them to consider another migration... away from Microsoft, to OpenOffice maybe?
What's wrong with this picture? Microsoft gives you a whole bunch of tools and capabilities to lock you into the Microsoft way of doing things. Your world gets more productive for a while and you and your cohorts take advantage of these tools to streamline work flow. Then, it's time to upgrade to a newer and more shiny Office, and you find that it is now necessary to rewrite AND RE-TEST every litle extension, macro, or script you ever did to make Office fit your way of doing business. And, oops! Anybody can write these little Office widgets, so you don't even know how many there are within the enterprise.http://www.channelregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/gates_horns_32.png
So much for putting your faith, trust and confidence in Microsoft products... Ben
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