3480 posts • joined 31 May 2010
Re: Damned Good Stuff, Trevor.
All I can see is a fist full of typos resulting from rolling my face around on the keybaord in rage at stupid o'clock in the morning. Proof reading. I should do it some time...
"Do you honestly think I come to work and say to myself “how can I kill [D] and offer him a death by a thousand cuts”?"
No, Steven, I think that you designed an operating system with nobody but the consumer in mind. Professionals of various stripes were seen as "the edges of the bell curve." By not being "the majority," providing the tools they need to do work efficiently and without impediment is not a priority: building an operating system geared towards easy consumption of content is.
There is validity to the argument that "you can buy third-party tools to modify Windows." XYPlorer for explorer, Classic Shell for the Start Menu, Firefox or Chrome to get a real browser. I think, however, that this misses the point. By not having proper tools - which you used to have, just by the by - embedded into the base operating system, professionals are denied the ability to use workstations belonging to others.
In a sane and rational world, given the technology available to us here in 2012, this wouldn't be a problem. We would use solutions similar to VDI to solve this issue; we could have a cloud-based user experience migration tool, or even full blown-drag-the-screen-across-RDP VDI. Unfortunately, Microsoft's glorious please-kill-them-with-fire licensing department demands a difficult-to-find number of virgins to be sacrificed at equinoxes into even more rare volcanoes before you are allowed to do anything.
Any you'll pay a yearly subscription with a 6-year TCO nearly five times the buy-to-own fee to do it.
Microsoft wants to be on every machine, and take a significant rake from that presence. They want a fee if you use their stuff remotely, and a different one if you use it under different circumstances. They want a fee if you don't use their stuff and a different fee if there is a combination of stuff in play. They really – really – don't want you under any circumstances to use VDI. Have you tried touch? There's this nice Surface…
The issue with this, of course, is that your now fondle-friendly consumptive* operating system if absolute fucking pants at anything approaching user experience migration excepting under some very specific and carefully massaged circumstances. If you're part of a domain, there's a good pipe, storage with adequate IOPS, all your apps are certified (and even then, chicken entrails are required,) you have your GPOs, third-party wrappers and so forth set up…you might be able to take your desktop, apps, configuration, look-and-feel, third-party explorer apps, Classic Shell and so forth with you from physical endpoint to physical endpoint.
Congratulations, Microsoft, you have successfully failed to live up to the standards of mounting /home/%username% on a remote system, or using bloody rsync properly.
15 years after you started trying.
But lo! You are the monopoly, you don't have to worry about these bell curve edges. They are but rounding errors, grouchy internet commenters and so forth, no? Analysts will flock to your cause and cheer you on because you have targeted "the majority" with an operating system that removes the barriers of "thinking" and replaces them with an excellent tool to consume both of the pieces of content you have managed to secure for distribution on Xbox live. Hookers and blow for everyone!
Well that's great, Steve. I know you didn't walk into work every day trying to ruin D – or my, or anyone else's – day. We just didn't matter to you. We don't matter to your replacement, your former boss or the overwhelming majority of people who work there.
We're nerds. Professionals. We have these weird needs and angsty desires to get shit done. It's amazing how much of a pain in the ass that is, because when someone doesn't provide us the tools to do something, we build the fucking things ourselves.**
We don't matter on the balance sheet. Yet.
Very soon here, however, you're going to be reminded of what happens when you let engineers design a tool to increase productivity and save end users money. Once the world is reminded why it was we made these damned computers in the first place, the Microsoft, Apple and the rest of you geniuses that let "user interface experts" take control…you folks are fucked.*
* Consume what, exactly? You can't get licences for the digital enjoyment of fucking anything. Especially if you live in Canada, where the few pitiful things that are on offer to Americans – streaming only at some ungodly price, natch – "aren't available in your region."
** When a vendor gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make the vendor take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give a sysadmin lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your business model down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a product that does what yours does in a third the time with a tenth the effort for half the price.
***Lots of people are going to moan "it's impossible to challenge Microsoft" or some other such tosh. Bull. If enough of the right people are irritate enough, you'd be surprised exactly how fast a decent competitor can spring up. Even for an operating system. Ask Research In Motion, Novell or Yahoo about the permanence of market dominance and the lack of incentive for innovation some day, hmmm?
I had absolutely no idea Overland made SME filers. Do they compete with NetApp or Synology? SME is a big spectrum...
Matt, buddy, I have nothing but piles of respect for you...but there is something about your statements I feel I must question.
Put simply: if I can do it on my notebook, it bloody merry hell isn't Big Data. I'd go so far as to say that if I can do it on my corporate budget then it isn't Big Data.
Big Data != Analytics. Big Data = "massively complex analytics done against enormous datasets beyond the range of traditional tools such as Excel and SQL." This makes "what constitutes Big Data" a moving target as technology evolves, but puts it firmly into the realm of "shit Office will never do without offloading 99.9999999999999% of the work to Azure/Amazon."
If I can crunch the numbers on a single machine, this isn't Big Data. It is – at best – analytics. At worst, it's indexing. Please, please don't champion the descent into utter irrelevance of the term "Big Data."
We saw it with cloud computing already; "a cloud" was originally synonymous with "self-healing architecture that had massive redundancies, the ability to spin up systems on demand, user portals for doing so" and more besides. In the past two years it has devolved to be completely synonymous with "virtualisation that isn't ESXi Free."
If we degrade the term "Big Data" as in "solving Big problems that are massively compute intensive against enormous data sets" to be cognate with either "analytics," "indexing," or "automated semantic tagging" then we deprive ourselves of a term to describe the actual Big Data problems that real organisations are increasingly facing.
Can I instead offer a solution that meets halfway? How about "Baby Data?" This term could be wielded to mean "applying COTS Big Data techniques to miniscule data sets." It maintains what I believe to be an important distinction between "things requiring a hadoop cluster and a minimum of $500,000 worth of gear" and "shit you can do on an Intel Atom." It also provides a distinction between the more traditional analytics, indexing and semantic tagging that don't quite cover the techniques used in Big Data.
So…Baby Data? Can we live with this?
Thanks much for your time, sir,
Re: Whoa, "2.5Mb/s upstream"???
Technically it's VDSL 2. *shrug* It is marketed as ADSL, as were all the iterations before it. ADSL or Cable. These are your choices.
Re: On 1 TB/month...
@beachrider any decent "cloud backup" solution backups from your local stuff to a "buffer" appliance, dedupes the ever-living-crap out of it, then fires the blocks up to the cloud. S3-aware setups can just keep spinning up new instances of storage in 500GB increments and filling them with blocks as needed. Amazon's "backup" offering is called Glacier, and is offline tape managed by their robot.
@allyourcomputers: I ran these numbers only with my photographer clients. The 3d render chaps and the video chaps produce so much it wasn't even worth doing the analysis. I knew the answer before I started.
Let's not even start with the medical imaging folks, the mass spec labs, the geologists...
Photographers. Arial, school/sport and other high-volume photograpgers produce that no problem. That's one set of clients. The other one is the business that prints/mounts/etc those photos for most of western Canada.
There are many pictures, and they get larger and larger every year.
The extant one doesn't have the same cultural "baggage" as the Picard facepalm. "Facepalms" on the net have become a stratified thing. There are :layers: to their use. Which one gets used depends on the level of fail involved. We already have a "fail" icon. I posit that this is roughly the same "rank" as our extant facepalm icon. Thus they are completely redundant. "Fail" + Picard facepalm is two different layers of fail. The Picard facepalm has traditionally been used in between "regular facepalm" and the "Picard + Riker double facepalm" which is itself one layer lower than the "meta-Picard facepalm" made up of hundreds of smaller facepalms.
Corporate Stable Code. Outside of Redhat - and maybe IBM - we're going to get that kind of commitment where?
"Jiffs" is the norm 'round here. Also: "jay-peg" for JPEG/JPGs.
Re: Puppet Enterprise ..
Puppet would be great for deployment and patching automation...but how do you do the inventory collection, automated vulnerability detection and patch level awareness? While I believe Puppet Enterprise may in fact be the best tool available for deployment and configuration management, additional tools would be required to meet all requirements.
That said, I disagree with the assessment hat a single, unified tool exists which could properly accomplish the aims of vulnerability assement, patch level awareness, patch deployment and configuration management. Several try – Altiris, System Center, Kace, etc – but they all fall short in some way.
At current, for an organisation such as the IRS, I would be forced to recommend using a collection of "best for purpose tools" combined with a political approach of "leaning on the vendors" to ensure better integration. You'll find organisations like PuppetLabs or Zenoss (who you might want for root cause analysis monitoring for outages) to be extremely open to working with enterprises to add functionality.
Where I see issues are with ISVs. Gods only know what the IRS is actually running for software. What applications out there are aware of those myriad software bundles? What applications can sense patch level, scan for vulnerabilities and so forth across such a wide array of tech estate?
Regardless of your vendor – tier 1 or startup – the breadth of deployed software is going to be an issue with regards to monitoring, vulnerability scanning and patch level awareness. I wish we had good solutions to this as an industry. As yet, I haven't found any that don't end up with the end user writing some module or plug-in to support $esoteric_app.
IT at that level is not easy, and there are no pat solutions.
Re: Me Gusta.
Re: Canadians are free to travel to the US for business meetings
You are making a common mistake in submitting your personal experiences as a rule that defines reality. I have witnessed individuals barred from entering based upon this rule, thus completely disproving your assertion that this is "a stupid rule that noone enforces" with only the personal experiences of one individual. If you have been lucky thus far in not knowing anyone who has actually been subjected to the enforcement of the law, then good for you.
The truth of the matter is that this is the law, it is enforced and your assertions based upon your own personal experiences do not change reality. Furthermore, the subtext of your comments indicate that you are advocating that individuals – and by extension the corporations they represent – should in fact choose not to obey the law, ostensibly "because it is stupid." While you'll get no argument from me regarding the idiocy of the law in question, it is the law and I cannot in good conscience advocate that any individual or business owner should violate the law excepting under truly exceptional circumstances.
Unlike many other laws I can name, this law does not exist due to corruption, it is not an example of oppression, megacorporate regulatory capture not even a fundamental injustice as per the UDHR. It is a niggle of international trade protectionism, subject numerous interpretations and rationale. While there is good reason for individuals both foreign and domestic to agitate for an alteration of the regulations in question, there are no good reasons to violate the law as it stands.
No moral or ethical victories are gained, no advancements for personal or group justice would be obtained. Instead, violation of the law as it stands would only incur risk of reduction of long term profits – via entry permaban – in the hopes of chasing short term gains. It's not only illegal and foolhardy, it's simply bad business.
Furthermore, attempting to "win" an argument in which you have been proven to be incorrect by advocating that individuals and corporations violate international laws is – to use a colloquial expression – "more than a little fucked up."
Ultimately, everyone starts their own business and we all subcontract to one another.
Re: Canadians are free to travel to the US for business meetings
Read your own link.
Individuals may apply for a B1 or B1/B2 visa to perform H-1B work in the United States as long as they fulfill the following criteria:
Hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree
Now, read my article. Then I want you to go talk to a customs and immigration officer who will tell you in no uncertain terms that if you are a Canadian citizen doing H1-B class work - or any professional services - you will in fact be able to do work in the united states on a Trade NAFTA (TN) VISA. What are the requirements for a TN visa?
A bachelor's degree.
Well holy crap, that's exactly what I talked about in my article.
Now, you talk about the Visa Waiver Program, where I think you will find that Canada is not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. Instead we have CANPASS and NEXUS. Under both programs, if you intend to do work in the United States that would constitute professional services, you need...a bachelor's degree. If you are caught doing TN-class work in the United States without meeting the requirements of a TN visa, they will take your NEXUS card away from you, and you will be in Big Shit.
No matter how you slice it, if you want to do IT consulting in the United States – from Canada or any number of other countries – you must meet the criteria for doing that level of work: a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field.
You can get across the border without one, either by lying through omission or by having a customs and immigration official who doesn't fully understand the rules he is to apply. That said, you are at risk of being permanently denied entry to the United States if you are caught.
If you are considering attempting to do work on US soil, I seriously recommend you talk to an immigration lawyer who specialises in this before making assumptions.
Re: Canadians are free to travel to the US for business meetings
Unless your "business meetings" consist of consulting. At that point. you are considered to be doing "professional work" and require a TN visa. If your business meetings involve you telling someone how to run their business in any way, it is consulting. and will be treated as such.
The business meetings section of the B1 is designed to allow people to meet with colleagues from the same organisation that has multiple branches in both countries, or to allow you to meet with clients, etc where you do not do any meaningful work. Especially in the case of high-paying jobs like computer consulting, you are not to be doing any work that could be performed by an American worker. If you do, you are expected to get a visa; and one that is more than a B1.
You may be able to get by without adhering to the letter of the law by simply not telling the customs and immigration officers the full truth. That does not make what you do right or legal.
I'm not a fan of many of my old articles. At least in terms of writing style, legnth, etc. I've learned a lot in the past 2.5 years...I am embarassed by how bad my early stuff was. I can do nothing about that except make the next articles better.
Re: Too much too soon.
Ping operations at egeek dot ca. Kat is the lady and mistressof the books; totally her call. :)
Re: They call themselves eGeeks but make their clients travel to them, One word...
There are over 200,000 Canadian readers here from a country of only 34 Million. Actual brick-and-mortar offices in London, San Francisco and Australia.
The Register is no more "a UK site" than McDonalds is American at this point. The HQ may be in London, but both the talent and the readership span the globe. Comment times alone should tell that tale...
"What size does your company have to be before you can ignore your clients?"
Let's wait and see how Windows 8 does.
Re: Too much too soon.
Sounds swank! Our rates are currently $60/hr if it can be done from the office during regular business hours, $125 for onsite or out-of-hours work.
I've ran Astlor Computer Systems as a sole-proprietor-style "printed some business cards and did some stuff" since I was 12 years old. The truth of the matter is that once I started writing for The Register, explaining the extra revenue to the CRA became so cumbersome I had to get the business set up properly.
Astlor was retired as a business name, though I retain is for my personal e-mail domain. We choose to use eGeek – another domain I owned – and went about setting things up properly. So yeah, I've gone through what you described, but this was the story of "from the moment we got the first official business licence."
In Canada, there are provisions for making "a little money on the side" without needing a full-bore business licence. A few grand a year doesn't get the CRA's hackles up so long as you declare the income. Do it too often – or start nosing up past $15K a year – and the CRA starts frowning at you.
Of course, once you get the business licence and get your GST number, this whole "paperwork" thing cascades and down the rabbit hole you go…
Re: The US work thingy......
Actually, I believe I mentioned B1 several times in these comments. There are many restrictions on B1, including what you intend to do, for how long, for whom, what your job title it, whether or not you are working for a company with offices in the US and what your education is.
Long story short: if you are a Canadian citizen, you can not do IT consulting on a B1 visa. If you find a customs agent willing to grant you entry on a B1 for this purpose, count your blessings, you probably will not receive a B1 the next time you try. They are supposed to require a TN or an H1-B for this purpose.
Believe it or not, NAFTA quite plainly does not allow the provisioning of any professional services on a B1. It must be done as a TN, or an H-class specific to that job type. We face more scrutiny than other nations, not less.
As to Americans visiting the US to do "work" in Canada, I've never had an American client denied entry because they are planning to do TN-class work and only applying for a B1. The same isn't true for those of us seeking to face-to-face with out American clients on their soil.
Re: They call themselves eGeeks but make their clients travel to them, One word...
We use Skype, but actually there are a dozen better programs that don't have Skype's issues. That said, there are several reasons to hold mini-conference-style meetings with clients. A lot of which boils down to doing "bakeathon"-style brainstorming, bashing through code updates in real time or even working with physical hardware tinkering.
I'd say that 90% of our communications are either phone or internet-based. That's bread-and-butter work right there. That 10% that absolutely must be in person – for practical reasons, or for the human need to gauge the other speakers – is the 10% that brings in the real money.
When you do really start doing meetings in the real world, I think you'll find that there are some things you just can't accomplish via telepresence. If the meeting can be done through Skype (or similar,) then it's really not an issue to be aware of, nor is it worth mentioning in an article to a bunch of Register readers, now is it? Mind your audience...
Re: other countries' treaties
Yeah, Canadians, not so much. Advising a company - including software debugging, I checked - is considered "computer systems analysis" and is thus immediately covered under "Trade NAFTA" as opposed to "B1". Goign to a conference is B1. Telling someone how to best set up their business computers is TN.
Sales is grey, and at the discretion of the person you are talking to...in Edmonton they seem hell bent on not granting B1 unless they can avoid it. In Calgary, you'll get a B1 with a smile and an "enjoy your stay." Really depends on which airport you fly out of.
Re: The US work thingy......
Again, if you are a Canadian and you own your business, and this business does not have a US branch then legally you need a visa to attend meetings. My understanding is that this is true of other countries' treaties as well. You can work around this by lying. If you are caught, you may be denied entry forever. Go ask your lawyer, I promise I've done an awful lot of research into this.
More bizzarely, with NAFTA, certain job categories re ieve more scrutiny than others. Canada got a raw deal...
Re: so what is an IT consultant?
That depends on which immigration official you talk to. Some call it management consultant, others "computer systems analyst." For some clients I'm a contractor...pushing buttons and fixing widgets. For others I serve an almost CTO role; setting strategy, handling subcontractors, vendors, etc on their behalf. For other clients, I write content. That runs the gamut of jobs titles, I should think.
If I am working for a company that has both Canadian and US offices, I can go to the US for meetings. If I have only a Canadian branch...I need a visa.
Re: I'll give them credit.
Cinnamon is perfectly usable. On mint, or FC17. Anyone bitching abotu the "default desktop" is using the wrong distro. Simply walk away from those distros that choose to ship with terrible default desktops. Simples!
Re: @AC 15:09 re: "Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of."
Revenge never helped anything. It doesn't help the victims in any way. Part of proper rehabilitation, however, often involves restitution to victims. Especially in the case of non-violent crimes.
Your absolute bullshit about "rehabilitation simply will not correct that desire for takling shortcuts in 99% of cases" shows only your complete misunderstanding of not only psychology, but all the various factors that cause offences in the first place.
Quite frankly Mr. Bryant, you're a goddamend asshole with a bigoted, prejudiced view of the world and people who live in it. You don't allow science to guide your decisions and that makes you flat out dangerous when it comes to matters beyond the technical realm.
I, for one, am not only glad you are not someone in a position of power in my country, I am proud that only the most backwards areas of my nation elect individuals espousing such utter twaddle. The optimal future for humanity lies in treating every one of like human beings, regardless of race, religion, nationality, sexuality, height, weight, gender or even the mistakes they've made in their past.
This doesn't mean we must't learn from our mistakes – we must – but not only must the restitution we enact fit the offence we commit, it should be geared towards education and rehabilitation, not revenge.
In all of human history, revenge has begat nothing excepting more revenge. I'm glad to live amongst those that have begun to understand that.
@AC 15:09 re: "Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of."
I am glad you do not hold a position of power in my country.
Individuals who violate the law should be evaluated objectively, justly and compassionately by qualified professionals in an attempt to find the best possible way to educate them about the incorrectness of their actions with an eye towards rehabilitation and reentering society as a fully-fledged and trusted citizen with all the rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities held by any citizen.
Individuals who violate the law in a fashion which causes severe harm should be evaluated by both qualified professionals and a jury of their peers in an attempt to classify the severity of their transgression and whether or not it is possible for the individual to be rehabilitated at all.
If it is not possible to rehabilitate the individual – and there are indeed some who cannot be helped – then we should be removing these individuals from society completely. (Lifelong imprisonment.) Here they should be asked to perform some level of productive service for their care, if possible, but overall society should be prepared to bear the burden of maintaining these individuals as the moral and ethical alternative to execution.
At no point should punishment or revenge enter into the deliberations of the treatment of any individual, regardless of the transgression. A civilised society rehabilitates its offenders, it does not punish them.
If you feel the burning need to live in a society focused on punishment, move to the United States of America. At the beginning of 2011, fully 0.73% of the US population was incarcerated, having peaked at 0.754% in 2009. Their prison system is operating at 136% of capacity, housing 23% of the world's prisoners whilst having only 5% of the world's population.
Prisoners released from America's penal system – which does indeed focus on "punishment" versus revenge – have one of the highest reoffence rates in the world. (67% within three years.) This has largely been attributed to the appalling conditions within the prison system that dehumanise prisoners with a focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation.
Even if you have no care for people, or enjoy seeing others "pay" for mistakes, try to grasp the sheer terrible economics of a "punishment"-based system. Human beings are the most capable labour device available, especially for non-repetitive or creative tasks. It is simply bad business to pay for ongoing storage and maintenance of human capital which could otherwise be made profitable with a relatively minor upfront investment.
4K or GTFO.
Re: alienware owner
I never did get the whole "3D" thing...no matter who made them...
Re: It might have been better if ..
In 1994 you bought a Fujistu and it sucked. You then bore a grudge for nearly twenty years refusing to buy anything from them again.
I'll take my truly excellent Fujitsu P1510D and just exit over there. If your idea of unbiased is "never say something good about something I have ever experienced problems with," then I am personally quite pleased to not be in your good books. I don't cater the variegated grudged of anonymous text on the internet. To do so would be to never give any brand a second chance and consequently miss out on good, solid products after a company has a chance to get their crap together.
More to the point, since you cannot find a single brand anywhere that someone doesn't have a hate on for, my "job" would be to hate all brands. Unless, of course, I happen to "dis" a brand that a given commenter likes. Then I'm a biased shill in the pay of the enemy, right?
Please ensure the airlock comes to a complete close before pushing the blinking red button. Don't worry, that hissing sound you hear is nothing but your own credibility as an object assessor of technologies hissing away like a two decade-long grudge.
Re: broken hinge
Apple is curious. Their construction quality is better than your run-of-the-mill Dell, but nowhere near as high as Alienware. It's somewhere in Asus Republic Of Gamers territory. Now, stories of great support and crappy support abound, complicated by weird agreements with resellers that differ not only per reseller, but per jurisdiction.
When you deal with Apple, you aren't really dealing with Apple unless you buy it direct. Even Apple stores are under different agreements and constraints dependant on jurisdiction. The quality of service you get can be incredibly variable. Worse, they are completely immune to bad PR. They don't worry about it; they have zero attack surface.
"You're holding wrong?" Doesn't matter. Crap Maps drove you into an ocean? Feature, not a bug.
So Apple trundles along; mostly in favour of the milled masses because – overall – the RMA/end user support issues are the exception proving the rule. They can afford to ignore the existence of the support issues through sheer largesse, but also because these issues are reasonably rare.
What will be interesting is to see what becomes of Apple's retail and RMA support situation now that the exec responsible for so many bad incidents has been canned.
Re: "I advocate them for professionals"
We'll have to agree to disagree then. I've found plenty of things that those "mobile workstations" just aren't up to. I agree they have the docks that the Alienwares don't. That said, I've found plenty of apps that run far better on "consumer grade cards" than "workstation class cards." It's all about which apps you need to run. For many of the uses of my clients, the need for high-powered graphics, 2 disks and scads of RAM outweighs the dock.
Milspec is nice, but non-requisite. The M18x line copes with everything we throw at them just fine. That's really the hard part of all this though. Making absolute judgements about any product is going to be stepping in it. Proclaiming that you'd never advocate an Alienware to a professional client blocking out as significant chunk of the market as saying "Alienware solves all problems." Neither is true.
That said, I believe that the true market for "mobile workstation" class products is significantly reduced thanks to Alienware. Unless you need something very specific about the mobile-workstation class hardware specs, there is no compelling reason to go that route over Alienware. Alienware's support will meet or beet the best Dell has to offer anywhere else…and the total package will be far lower TCO for the performance.
Re: "I advocate them for professionals"
Except that I loathe the precision line. They are too expensive for the build quality, don't offer the graphics options I want...basically, they aren't the "well rounded" system my M18X is. That M18X *IS* a workstation. It does everything I need it to. The precisions...don't.
Re: You call that reliable?
I really do. There were a rash of bad hinges on the M15x and M17X that affected some low single-digit percentage of shipped systems. Alienware took care of all of them.
There are failed units shipped with any product. What percentage fail - and how they are delt with - are the determining factors of reliability in my mind. But yeah, that XPS is still going strong, and I still use an old 386 beater notebook as my personal journal system to this day. I fully expect my M18x to match or exceed those records.
I can get a 10" tablet with a resolution higher than 1080p for $399. A 27" or better monitor with a resolution better than 1080p? $750 at least. #asdf
You know, the 2005/2006 Alienwares were gaudy. I agree with you wholeheartedly that they needed to "grow up." But I have zero qualms about my Alienware M18X as regards "professional" appearance.
Have you honestly given the new lineup a look?
I wouldn't be ashamed to be seen using an Alienware X51 with the lights off: http://www.dell.com/ca/p/alienware-x51/pd
Personally, I rather like my M18X compared to most 17" notebooks: http://www.dell.com/ca/p/alienware-m18x-r2/pd
With the lights off, I just don't understand what doesn't look "professional" about them. So yes, I advocate them for professionals. Case design and all. Tastes, of course, will vary.
Re: Flawless operation? Not a chance...
@easyk: 2005 was 7 years ago. Also, everyone had problems with Pentium 4s back then. You can hang on to predjudice if you'd like, but I think you're cutting out a good supplier for no reason excepting pride.
Re: Article reads like Paid Corporate Blogging and at odds with the comments on Dell's website!!
I don't think I qualify as "passionate about the brand." I like it because I don't have to fix the fucking things. Look, I do computers for a day job, right? The last bloody thing I want to do when I get home is futz around with some computer that's acting up. I want my video games to just work. I want my media to just play. I want all the little bits to work, out of the box, and keep doing that for years.
That's why I buy Alienware.
If I am passionate about something - other than abject lazyiness, which is a very important topic for me - it is the bullshitology of "consumer reviews." The hard science of the matter is that people bitch easily but rarely pay a compliment. If you are seeing a bunch of positive reviews about a product amidst the frantic whinging, then pay attention. This means either heavy astroturfing, or people who actually like the product so much they are overcoming the inertia of human nature to say nice things about a product.
I don't care if that's Alienware, Apple, Windows 8 or Science Barbie. There are entire PhDs full of science about group dynamics, cognitive dissonance and various individual cognitive biases. I'm not making this crap up (check Wikipedia for an actually decent overview https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias,) but I do study this stuff.
It's part and parcel of being interested in journalism. If I am going to offer objective an impartial news, reviews or analyses, I need to be aware of the various research into cognitive bias and be able to spot it in myself. (Self examination on this level borders on stumbling into Dunning-Kruger, but we'll bypass that for now.)
At the end of the day who is doing the reviewing matters far more than the volume, pitch or tone of the review. Is the individual capable of making judgements about hardware, software, etc? Do they have the expertise and experience, or – as per true Dunning-Kruger – do they lack the experience, but in lacking that experience also lack the knowledge to identify their own lack of knowledge?
What about business decisions? Are these people capable of understanding representative samples, making judgements about failure rates, total cost of ownership and so forth? Or are you seeing – as I deeply suspect – people deep in buyer's remorse, having overextended themselves and wished for something magical that never truly can be?
I have worked with hundreds of models of gaming notebook from about a dozen suppliers over the past 15 years. The Alienware systems coming out of that company today are the best of the lot I've ever had the pleasure to use, with the possible exception of those old Gen 2 XPSes.
You can try to call me "passionate" about a brand if you want. You'd be wrong. What I am passionate about is separating signal from noise. Amazon – no matter how invested you may be in it for your personal decision making – is nearly all noise. The statistical analysis you need to do on that site to extract signal is mind warping.
Far better to find people who shift these units in the hundreds and thousands and start talking about deployment strategies, failure rates and so forth. You get a far clearer picture, not only of the product and brand, but of human nature as pertains to bitching about things on the internet.
Re: Article reads like Paid Corporate Blogging and at odds with the comments on Dell's website!!
So you are basing your entire argument here off the fact that "only angry people post on a company website." Well holy crap, batman! Talk about a fundamental aspect of human nature! People complain loudly whenever they feel slighted, but most don't take the time out to heap praise upon a working product!
So yeah, I expect that if I say anything nice about any product, it would go against the bulk of the reviews written about it, especially in that company's forums. To say nothing of "why the hell are we discussing reviews on Amazon for a product that almost always ships from the Alienware.com website?"
Any product is going to have DOAs. Any product is going to have bad components. The relevant questions are "how many," and "how do they deal with them?" With Alienware, the answers are "low single digits of shipped units" and "excellently."
Remember also that Dell's consumer side has nothing at all to do with Alienware. They have different support teams, different corporate ethos, different build qualities and so forth. That is the entire point of this article: Alienware kept it's corporate ethos, but gained all of Dell's corporate oomph, supply chain, etc.
Their success and profitability by doing exactly what Dell themselves don't do is starting to turn heads at Dell and make people look at different approaches.
If you go out of your way to find something bad about a product or company, you'll find it. If you objectively compare Alienware to the competition, however, you'll find that they are first-class.
I'm glad you like your Samsung; first hand experience with them has taught me that they have awful customer service for that line of products. RMAs are like pulling teeth and I've had ~10% dead after one year. I think you might be engaging in some post-purchase rationalisation here, whereas I am attempting to discuss gaming notebooks as a function of sheer volume of units shipped and the helpfulness of support.
Anyone can have a bad experience or two. How a company handles those bad experiences is what determines their value as a supplier.
It's beer o'clock and my XP VMs are still working fine. To the pub, lads!
Old complaint, but COMPLETELY VALID. It's my beef with PowerShell as well. PHP.net is the reason I use PHP. The documentation is good, easy to navigate, all in one place, and contains examples on how to accomplish the most frequent tasks.
PowerShell is voodoo requiring Google because Bing isn't good enough to search the web for PowerShell documentation. *sigh*
The tech underpinning Server 2012/Windows 8 is awesome. The GUI is trash. Servers aren't fondleslabs, they don't have any remote requirement to even pretend. Classic Shell gets a start menu back and murders hotcorners; on ssrver I won't ever need Metro.
In a server environment I add 1 minute to initial config and suddenly I can treat it mostly like I have every server since the beforetime. I loathe the new RSAT/Server management interface with the burning passion of 10,000 suns...but I only have to use the poxy thing for a few minutes a day. Servers sit around and do server things. They are not the interface I am using 16 hours a day to do productivity work. They are allowed to have a shit interface...we use Powershell, don't we?
Ultimately, the many advantages Server 2012 brings make putting up with the UI compromises worth it. Windows 8 has no features about which I give any fucks whatsoever, let alone that make the abomination formerly known as Metro worth grinding down my sanity to a mewling nub every day.
I will put up with Server 2012 because the hyper-v enhancements are awesome. I will put up with Server 2012 because the storage enhancements are awesome. I will put up with Server 2012 because DFSR is finally in standard. There are so many reasons to tolerate the abominable UI that typing this on my phone is giving me RSI.
But the UI people? Those people have joined the Microsoft licensing team as the only people not responsible for ethnic cleansings that I actively wish would get erased by a rock from space.
Give me any other OS that has the same featureset as Server 2012, isn't mostly in various stages of Alpha/Beta and a has reasonably well documented UI/CLI/API for making it go and I'll abandon Microsoft forever, screw the UI monglers and their bastard licensing team, too.
Sadly, there is no competition to Server 2012. While Microsoft seems well on track to create a GUI that is actually less usable and more difficult to master than PowerShell, the alternatives are "non-x86 Unix" or "the good bits are still marked as 'unstable releases.'"
Windows 8 has alternatives. I use them every day. Server 2012 is a TCO/ROI combo that nothing else can even approach. So that's why I love it.
Pestilence of a UI or no.
A pox on them all. Well, Except Intel. Actually, their SSDs and RMA replacement policies have been awesome, and entirely worth the premium.
When the hell did INTEL become the enterprise DRIVE manufacturer to trust.
This world is upside down.
Proposed name for TIFKAM
The Unfinished interface.
Windows 8's new Unfinished UI.
- Fee fie Firefox: Mozilla's lawyers probe Dell over browser install charge
- Did Apple's iOS make you physically SICK? Try swallowing version 7.1
- Pics Indestructible Death Stars blow up planets using glowing KILL RAY
- Neil Young touts MP3 player that's no Piece of Crap
- Review Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked