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* Posts by ShelLuser

1795 posts • joined 19 Dec 2010

Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update

ShelLuser
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It seems Microsoft still doesn't 'get' it..

It started when they released WP7. The first thing which any business / more serious user noted was the lack of a todo list. That problem, combined with several others, alienated quite a few people who were perfectly happy with Windows Mobile.

Then WP8 came out and it became obvious straight away that the current batch of devices wouldn't be able to keep up due to hardware restraints. Which most users considered quite odd. After all; it was Microsoft themselves which demanded that any device which should run WP would meet some very specific hardware demands. This move alienated a lot of people who expected somewhat the same which you get with Windows: a product which gets supported for a (very) long time.

Heck, if only that was the main issue... This isn't even addressing the change of the interface for example. Where my WP7.5 phone can display 8 medium sized tiles at the same time; the newer interface can't do that anymore. You get either very small (4 mini tiles in one large tile), a large tile or a double tile. But only 6 large tiles fit on the screen at the same time. Effectively alienating, once again, people who got accustomed to it. Example: with one blink of an eye I see my missed calls, new e-mails for both personal and business use (2 tiles), unread text messages and the current weather. While ALSO giving me one-touch access to the people hub (contacts list), me hub (notifications, checking in, etc.) and Office mobile.

And yeah; I like that little arrow in the upper right corner. It even helps people who have never used Windows Phone to try and "move" the screen to see "if it points to more stuff".

Needless to say; this simply sounds like yet another screw up. Yes, I like playing games from time to time but I don't like them cluttering up my apps list. I love the games hub; you start it when you feel like playing a game, then you can chose which one since they're all listed.

The hubs are also a huge issue; my people hub for example gives me access to everything. I can contact people through calling, e-mailing, texting or even social media. All from one single location.

Of course I'm not complaining. I'm still using WP7.5 and will continue to do so for the next 2 years (just got a sim-only renewal). Why change something if it works for you? I put appointments in Outlook (2010) and I see them appear on my phone and vice versa. The only limitation is that it can't synchronize todo items with Outlook. But seeing how WP8.1 is even planning on removing those todo's all together I guess Microsoft hasn't made much progress there (for me OneNote eventually filled in the gap).

Microsoft really needs to start realizing that if you alienate people from your products then they'll either stay put or move away. In both situations you won't be making much money from them.

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OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs

ShelLuser
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Windows

@cornz

"Funny you should say that, after XP's expiry date, my XP machine decided to inform me it was no longer protected as MSE now doesn't work."

The culprit here is KB2949787. That's an update for Windows XP which introduced the ability for Security Essentials to respond to the lack of operating system updates. If you remove this particular update then the software will stop spouting those annoying (and unneeded) messages.

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Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

ShelLuser
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@BillFranklin

First off; kudo's for responding. I may be critical but responding and taking it seriously deserves some respect.

Yeah, after looking deeper into the webpage (to try and prove you wrong; I stand corrected) you don't host with Amazon but use one of their addresses to grab a CSS stylesheet as well as run javascript code from it (referring to https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/assets.cookieconsent.silktide.com/current/plugin.min.js). I already noticed above that you recognized the issue here and are going to address it, but I figured I might as well mention what triggered NoScript at my end.

The dependence on third parties (like the javascript file above, but also your cookie control from Silktide) is indeed impacting privacy. People don't only contact your site but others as well, with all the flags needed to track their request right back at your place. I'm curious how deep you guys will be going to fix that (as you mentioned earlier).

Thanks for the links.

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ShelLuser
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FAIL

Why I'd never use this...

First; the intended principles on privacy and such don't really matter at all; its the reaction which follows when those principles are being put to the test (think requests from the government and other agencies), that's what matters. Unfortunately it's something a lot of companies fail horribly at.

But there are also some other issues.. First of all they're hosting with Amazon's AWS. And what does Amazon tell us about the data on their systems? From the AWS customer agreement (3.2):

"We will not move Your Content from your selected AWS regions without notifying you, unless required to comply with the law or requests of governmental entities. You consent to our collection, use and disclosure of information associated with the Service Offerings in accordance with our Privacy Policy, and to the processing of Your Content in, and the transfer of Your Content into, the AWS regions you select."

Amazon has centres in multiple regions; but what's legal in one part of the world can be illegal in another. Do I see a major loophole here? Guess I do.

So what does Lavaboom themselves tell us about this? Well, unfortunately not that much. I see a lot of "privacy, security, blah, blah, blah" but no where on that site do I see any disclaimers which tell me exactly what they're going to do with my data. What I mean with that?

They'd like you to subscribe to something. So what are they going to do with the name/e-mail combination? Where are their commitments that this (small, sure) bit of information stays private and won't be sold to 3rd parties for commercial purposes (to fund their project for example)?

Most companies, even Google which I don't trust at all, have clear written out policies which can tell me exactly what their stance on my data is and how they're going to treat it. And this firm, which preaches security, has nothing of the sort?

Needless to say; that doesn't make me feel secure at all. On the contrary; missing out on information like that makes me convinced to be dealing with a poor attempt at marketing. They claim privacy but fail horribly at something just as important: transparency.

Fail...

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

ShelLuser
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@roger

"Unless the reporting is completely wrong, this sounds like the best way to tick off your customers I have ever heard."

Agreed. However, this is Windows 8 we're talking about to pardon me for wondering: what customers would that be? ;)

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'Mommy got me an UltraVibe Pleasure 2000 for Xmas!' South Park: Stick of Truth

ShelLuser
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Black Helicopters

@Ketlan

Thanks for that link.

The worst part here though is that I get the impression that it might not even be Ubisoft which is pulling the strings here. Isn't it a tad odd that censoring basically only occurs on the consoles? Ones which have had "adult problems" before; now referring to certain gaming studios which wanted to release some more 'adult' material onto the networks but were denied.

Could it be possible that the age verification and protection schemes on both environments (so PSN and XBox alike) aren't up to the challenge as the powers that be (Microsoft / Sony) claim?

Obviously the black helicopter.

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Don't be shy, we know you've got .NET code. Why not run it on our Linux cloud – Red Hat

ShelLuser
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@AC

Indeed, why downgrade to Linux if you can run FreeBSD :P

A bit more seriously though: cost reduction, continuity and customer value.

Microsoft wants you to upgrade to a new environment every once in a while. A long time, that is absolutely true; but when the time comes then Microsoft no longer cares about their customers any longer, then it's all about revenue. Look at where we are now: XP marketshare is even expanding near it's EOL yet Microsoft refuses to acknowledge that for many people the new dinkey toy servers just don't cut it (I'm now referring to the touch crapola which is Metro). TechNet? Thousands of Windows / Microsoft administrators (yours truly included) cried out in pain and were easily ignored.

As to Metro: sure; on Linux (or my personal preference of FreeBSD) stuff also changes. But in the end you are and remain in control.

Which brings me to continuity. Linux and FreeBSD are at the core still the same Unix-like commandline based operating systems which they were several years ago. Stuff got added, of course, stuff got removed and stuff got changed. But in the end it's still RPM / yum, DPKG / apt-get and well... yeah.. Those FreeBSD hippies had the audacity to actually change their package manager to something completely different. FreeBSD 10 doesn't use the same tools as previous versions, I guess Microsoft isn't the only one which drastically changes stuff.

I tell you: instead of typing "pkg_remove -x stuff" I now have to type this instead: "pkg remove -x stuff". Effectively replacing the requirement to type _ with a space, how horrid is that?

Which brings me to customer value. The powers behind these operating systems actually value and respect their userbase (generally speaking; of course you can always come across some weird guys, happens everywhere. But my point here: they don't force you to do stuff you may not want or like. No one is going to force you to install X (the GUI) on your servers for the only reason of being able to run their own software. Not going to happen.

If a Linux distribution does this and their userbase doesn't agree then they can (and usually will) run into problems. Because in general it's fairly easy to switch distributions (this holds especially true when looking at "descendents: Debian and Ubuntu for example). As to FreeBSD? Well, hardly anything ever changes there. It's still the main core operating system on which everything else gets installed "on top".

From personal experience: Microsoft would rather see that we (small company) upgrade our hardware, buy ourselves extra licenses (even though we only need the environment for internal testing purposes) and if we can't or don't want to then their other alternative is the "Cloud". Yeah right...

FreeBSD on the other hand (personal choice as replacement for our Windows 2003R2 servers) easily runs on our current hardware, can perform the same tasks as the Windows 2k3 server yet also a whole lot more too. Think about extensive IPv6 support for example.

Sure; Mono isn't fully up to speed with the latest versions of .NET yet. So if you have specific requirements then this obviously won't suffice. But for everyone else..

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How a Facebook post by blabbermouth daughter cost her parents $80,000

ShelLuser
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Stop

Something doesn't add up here...

"However, as part of a subsequent $80k out-of-court settlement deal with the school, Snay had to sign a confidentiality agreement promising he would not disclose the terms of the compensation package."

It looks to me as if the daughter never disclosed those terms but only revealed the fact that a settlement was reached which by itself is normally hardly confidential. So either the article got it wrong and this dealt with more than merely the terms of the agreement or something doesn't add up here.

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Inquietante testimonio gráfico: Electrosonda orgásmica anal aplicada… ¡a un TORO!

ShelLuser
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SO what's not safe for work?

Such a disappointing experience ;)

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Hey, IT department! Sick of vendor shaftings? Why not DO IT, yourself

ShelLuser
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Why couldn't the vendors be right?

I think it goes even deeper than the article portraits. Because in my experience the degradation of IT departments began even earlier than this. You know; when system administrators were reduced to (sometimes first-line) helpdesk or "service desk" operators. Hardly my idea of a systems administrator or engineer.

SO isn't it also possible that those who were more qualified eventually went to the other side of the pool? Isn't it possible that because of that move the vendors eventually got it right (or at least more usable) so that most companies and IT departments simply don't feel the need to expand or extend even more?

And that's but one example; what about those environments / applications which already provide you with a massive degree of customization options? Best example I can come up with is Microsoft Office. It's not merely a spreadsheet / word processor, but underneath it's also one heck of a programming environment which allows you to make it do whatever you want.

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Microsoft hardens EMET security tool: OK, it's not invulnerable, but it's free

ShelLuser
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Black Helicopters

Reinventing the wheel?

When I look at the given examples in this article I can't help wonder..

"Using the tool, Java, for example, could be enabled for intranet applications but blocked when it comes to sourcing anything from the wilds of the worldwide web."

That's a poor example to start with ("Java" being what? Java webstart, Java applications which use the network?) but wouldn't a properly set up firewall make more sense here? It'll have no problems with separating network streams which go out onto a (trusted) Intranet or into the Internet.

But when taking closer look at the actual explanation it becomes even more bothersome. For starters this thing is for i386 (32bit) environments only, that doesn't sound too reassuring to me. I also don't quite grasp the potential of this still being a userland process.

Maybe I'm spoiled or have been brainwashed but when I think about security the first thing popping up in my mind is kernelspace. Can't be easily touched from userland, and can basically dictate just about everything.

# sysctl security.bsd.see_other_uids=0

After issuing this on my FreeBSD box you're going to have a good time trying to poke around using ps, procstat, pstat or even by trying to access procfs directly (mount it on /proc for example). Not gonna work; after that my kernel won't let you. It won't simply block you from accessing processes to which you have no access too (think PID 1 (init)); it'll simply tell you that those processes don't even exist at all :-)

THAT is a display of security for me. And but one example of the extensive things I can pull off with this stuff. And process accounting (which seems to be related to all this) has been around for quite some time on Unix(-like) environments. But the thing is; the actions taken based on that are always actions after the fact. I think the best thing is to be one step ahead.

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Microsoft may slash price of Windows 8.1 on cheap 'slabs

ShelLuser
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Also important to note..

They plan to make Windows 8 more friendlier for mouse usage.

Good news?

No, bad news! Because this proves that the guys who are currently working on the Windows interface are either as dumb as a doorknob or don't have the balls to tell the upper brass that they're a bunch of morons (in case this Windows 8 disaster was indeed dictated from above).

More friendlier for keyboard/mouse users? For real? Something which dozens of people who picked up the developer preview had already mentioned ten-fold in your forums LONG before the damage was DONE?

Yeah, I really cannot understand why people are losing faith in Microsoft these days.

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Retiring greybeards force firms to retrain Java, .NET bods as mainframe sysadmins

ShelLuser
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@Chris

I think there's most likely actually one main factor which weighs in the most: boffins who believe that maintaining the status quo (even if this means training new people) will be cheaper in the overall than doing a full migration.

And to be perfectly honest I can't really tell if they're right or wrong, it would most definitely depend on the environment and the way the company is doing. Most of all such a project would be huge (generally speaking anyway) and really demand some rock solid management and coding skills (the coding should be obvious; management to make sure it all comes together).

So from that point of view I also think there's some logic to be found in keeping things as they are. Although I do agree with you; a rebuild would bring in a lot of new opportunities.

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European Space Agency: PLATO will seek out 'ADVANCED LIFE forms'... 'SLIME'

ShelLuser
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Joke

It needs a (virtual) captain

You know; if they manage to make contact. And I think we should nominate Purple Tentacle for the job: "I am captain tentacle of the observatory PLATO. We've seen it all...".

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SkyDrive is dead! All hail Microsoft OneDrive! Happy now, Uncle Rupe?

ShelLuser
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Windows

Uhm, no?

"Microsoft has completed the transition of its SkyDrive cloud storage service to its new branding, henceforth to be known as OneDrive."

Either the information is wrong or they did a very lousy job. Because if I go over to Outlook.com and click the (IMO ugly) menu icon I get to see 4 (way too) huge icons: Outlook.com, People, Calendar and... SkyDrive.

Sure; when you click on SkyDrive you end up on OneDrive, that is true. And if you check the (still ugly) 4 icon menu there you'll see the name OneDrive appear.

But the moment you're back on Outlook.com SkyDrive lives again.

Now, I could understand that Microsoft overlooked such a "small" detail, even though Outlook.com is their main de-facto webmail environment. But it gets worse: on every part of this webmail environment (so in Outlook.com, People and Calendar) you still see the SkyDrive name and icon appear. Only on SkyDrive, errr; OneDrive, itself has it been renamed.

All at the time of writing obviously.

Even so, this looks like a very crude hack job. Microsoft unworthy if you ask me (I'm one of those nuts who doesn't like what he sees when looking at the current Microsoft, but that's also because I believe that Microsoft can do much better than they're doing now if they put their mind to it).

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Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS

ShelLuser
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@AC

"Oh sure, they're autonomous"

For now.

With these kind of take overs such situations usually don't last very long.

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Credit card of PayPal PRESIDENT cloned by UK crooks

ShelLuser
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Megaphone

Bollocks?!

This almost smells like a setup to me to get PayPal better into the picture.

I don't know how this works in other countries, but over here in Holland I honestly wouldn't describe PayPal as a secure means for electronic payment. FAR from it.

The problem: In the old days I did have a Paypal account, even favoured it. Simply because I could transfer money onto that account without having to set up any connection. No stored creditcard profile, no stored bank account information; nothing. So basically it was truly my "Internet piggy bank".

I made sure that it had an amount which I could use to do stuff, while also making sure that it was never an amount which would hurt me should I suddenly lose it. Best of both worlds.

Nowadays this isn't an option anymore. If I open an account Paypal demands that I either link a credit card onto it or worse: grant them access to do automatic withdrawals from my bank account. I can no longer tell my bank to transfer money; instead I tell Paypal to take it out for me.

Hopefully I don't have to tell you why I immediately cleared out my account and removed it the very day when they started using this approach? It's simple really: should something does go wrong with my account, either due to weak passwords (unlikely) or other issues at Paypal themselves I get to suffer to the fullest extend. Because the bad guys would now have access to everything I got. And we all know that fixing the damage after it has been done is a lot harder than preventing said damage to begin with.

Fortunately there are other parties (Multisafepay comes to mind) who do understand the need for this kind of separation. At the very least to give us customers a feeling of security; separating "internet cash" from the "real cash".

Heck; PayPal has even stooped to a level where you can no longer make payments without having a PayPal account. Of course; only if you're from the Netherlands. If you're from the US you don't have this kind of limitation.

So even if I do make some false assumptions up there (like this news being staged) I hope you can see the reason for my cynicism here.

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It's a scientific FACT: Online comment trolls are SADISTS

ShelLuser
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Trollface

So, uhm...

What does this make me when I start trolling the trolls (sometimes done to expose them or call them out) and when doing so actually take pleasure in the fact that some goofball buries himself completely in his own lies; right up to a point where he's caught in his own web?

More sadistic than the sadists or a rightful "hero" who's using proportional "virtual violence"?

I guess in the end I'm the cynic when it comes to studies such as these ;)

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One good thing from the Flappy Birds crapp flap: It's a handy 'tech' media rating system

ShelLuser
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Windows

And if you happen to be on a Windows Phone...

Then you were out of luck to begin with.

No sneer, no hate, just an observation from my WP7.5 device.

I guess in the end, and in some strange twisted way of thinking, the Windows Phone users are better off. Since there was nothing there to begin with there's now also nothing to be missed.

So why does it still feel as if I have been left in the dark? Hmm...

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For Windows guest - KVM or XEN and which distro for host?

ShelLuser
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Devil

Apart from the above comments..

First of all I agree with the previous comments; you're much better of setting up a Windows host and running the VM there. However, only because you mentioned that you wanted the option of commercial support, the use of BTRFS and the issue of performance related tasks I can't help suggest something else for that part as well.

Ever heard of FreeBSD?

Just like Linux it's a Unix-like environment (in my opinion it stands closer to Unix due to the heritage of the once available BSD Unix) but the the whole hierarchy is obviously a little different. Where Linux consists of a kernel and a whole userland around it (all the tools and utilities to make things work) FreeBSD does it differently.

Instead it basically consists of a (relative) small base operating system which only provides the very basic means for a Unix-like environment (mail server, DNS resolver, several firewalls, remote access through SSH, NFS, FTP, or a VPN, etc.). Everything else you wish to install gets installed "on top". The (possible) advantage here is control. Updating the "3rd party software" is a task which is completely separated from updating the main OS. Ergo you'll never have to cope with software packages which might influence the way your OS boots and behaves. Not saying that this often happen on Linux, it doesn't, but it is a risk when updating the system.

Now, I'm not merely spouting FreeBSD propaganda; there is a very specific reason why I do so. I believe there several points you mentioned which could be filled in by FreeBSD as well. And in my opinion maybe even better than Linux can at this point. But; this is purely a matter of opinion. There's nothing between the lines where I claim that one is better of worse than the other; that's not how this works.

Performance

You mentioned performance. Although it can be quite daunting at first everything which you use on FreeBSD can be build from source (but this is not a requirement). I'm not claiming that building your own software will give you spectacular results when it comes to performance. But it will give you more control over tuning and optionally configuring said software. A very simple (but not the best) example: Apache and all its modules. It will take the system time to go over a directory which has 60 modules in it. It'll take (slightly) less time if it only has 20 or 30.

Depending on the software you're going to use you can gain performance results. For example; there is software out there which has been build with debugging information by default. It doesn't influence performance that much, but it will get you an edge if you rebuild the software without such settings.

Needless to say; building (3rd) party software in FreeBSD is extremely easy, as well as maintaining said software.

BTRFS

I'm not going into a comparison here, but I do think it's safe to say that ZFS is more suitable for production work than BTRFS at the moment. Especially considering the heavy development which is still going on. Perhaps needless to say but FreeBSD provides full (native) support for ZFS. And this isn't a "simple" port which people were working on; back in the days programmers from the ZFS division within Sun Microsystems have actually helped the FreeBSD project with the implementation. So it's not simply a "wild hack" or something.

Note that I'm also not saying that BTRFS is unusable. I'm merely referring to the issue of the file system still being under heavy development which brings in risks when being used in a production environment. I'm not making this up, simply check out the official wiki page yourself.

Support

At the risk of bordering on the edges of spam.. But let's just say that there are several commercial vendors out there which can indeed provide support for the FreeBSD environment.

And there you have it. Once again I'd like to stress out that I'm not claiming that FreeBSD will be the solution for all your problems, world peace and a sure means of keeping your system completely in shape. But I do think you should give this a serious consideration as well.

I honestly think you might be pleasantly surprised at what you're going to see.

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Microsoft's new CEO: The technology isn't his problem

ShelLuser
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Windows

Things I hope for...

I really hope the CEO will reverse the braindead decision to whack the TechNet subscriptions. It won't make a difference for my company internally, we've already began preparations to replace our 2 in-house Windows 2k3 servers with FreeBSD.

But if we can no longer set up test environments to prepare ourselves for what we may find at a customer place then the only thing we can do is prepare on-site as well. Resulting in taking more time thus higher costs for said customers (sure; you can do remote maintenance, but we only do that when companies have a SLA with us).

I wonder what'll happen if customers complain about higher maintenance costs and we respond with "Have you heard of FreeBSD, Samba and Mono yet?".

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ShelLuser
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Joke

@CADmonkey

FreeBSD is better ;)

Who cares that we do things backwards and "different"; we're simply following the Microsoft strategy and we all know Ballmer's strategy was perfect.

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Put down that iPad! Snoopware RECORDS your EVERY gesture, TAP on iOS, Android

ShelLuser
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Nothing to see here...

The keywords: rooted and jailbroken. This news is just as troublesome as knowing that if someone manages to gain root or administrator privileges on your operating system he or she can basically do anything they want.

Well, duh!

Come back when you manage to pull this off on an unmodified device which also operates fully stand alone. Or put differently: when you actually manage to provide a real-world demonstration.

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Bill Gates to pull a Steve Jobs and SAVE MICROSOFT – report

ShelLuser
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@Paul

"Just a thought. But beyond that, I don't know what the hell else MS could introduce that folks actually WANT."

I think people want both innovation as well as a choice whether or not to use that innovation. For example; I think Metro could have gained some followers if Microsoft wouldn't have tried to force it down our throats.

And when it comes to the OS itself I think there's plenty of room left for innovation. For example; just look at KDE and what they did with the start menu. They created segments or categories which give you the option to manage even more software than before.

Just a small example, but I think there's plenty of room left for improvements and new developments. And as long as you make sure it's something people might want and allow them to make their own choice I'm pretty sure there's plenty of material to get us to Windows 16.

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ShelLuser
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Trollface

@silent_count

Nah, then they'd ridicule his basic programming all over again ;)

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ShelLuser
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Windows

@John

"surely bringing back the person who built the company can only be a better change and a likely source of improvement."

I'm not too sure I agree. Because Mr. Gates was also one of the people who made Microsoft what it is today. So isn't it fair to say that the current state of affairs is - to some extend - basically the fruit of his labours? With that I include the nomination of Ballmer by the way.

Thing is; I think the problem runs much deeper and is most likely actually a cultural problem. The way the company works which is quite unhealthy at times. First there's the common display of "knowing what's best for the customers" even though Microsoft is no longer in a position where they can dictate the market. Yet this is still what they seem to believe, you can see the examples of that everywhere. And it's hurting them. The most obvious example is Windows 8, especially if you keep the disaster which was Vista in mind. Worse yet: they got plenty of warnings up front but chose to ignore them.

And another example, in my opinion much more dangerous, is Visual Studio. Actually taking things so far that you're alienating programmers who actually work, extend and (to some extend) advocate your products. Not only that; also making it seem as if you care less about their opinion.

For those unfamiliar with this I'm referring to Visual Studio 2012 which was designed with the look and feel of Windows 8 in mind. So a "ribbon-like" menu structure (pull down menus with EASY TO READ NAMES), no colour in the icons (small black shapes) and even the environment itself used to have but two colour schemes and both actually managed to give me a headache.They even made sure to remove the macro editor so that you cannot automate certain tasks in the editor. Thousands of developers cried out in pain.

In all fairness Microsoft did fix some of those problems, to an extend where (in my opinion of course) working with VS2012 became bearable and to some extend enjoyable. Even so; most still prefer the previous version 2010. So where do we stand now? Simple: if you got a VS2012 license and don't like it then Microsoft has provided a new "solution": the option to buy yourself Visual Studio 2013. And of course; being a licensed Visual Studio user / owner doesn't grant you any favours like discounts or such. No, you'll just have to cough up the full price again.

Another thing to note: where VS2010 "lasted" approx. 2 years the lice cycle has decreased with Visual Studio 2012 as well.

So why did this nonsense happen in the first place? In my opinion it's the company culture. Departments which don't necessarily co-exist or try to extend or improve on each other but instead actually compete within the company hierarchy. Right up to a point where one department would have no problems at all with screwing the other over. Even though, in the end, it would most likely hurt the company as a whole.

A mindset which, as far as I know, can absolutely be traced back to Gates himself.

Microsoft needs to start thinking about their users and fanbase alike, because alienating them as they do now is not very healthy. Because if you turn out to be an unreliable partner or supplier then sooner or later people will start to abandon you. And once they do it'll be a whole lot harder to win them back; it's easier to make sure they stay onboard the bandwagon.

The main difference should be obvious: back in the days people had little alternatives but to get Windows. But that has changed dramatically.

No sneer what so ever: but there are plenty of Apple and Linux users out there who started using those environments for the sole reason of : "It's not Microsoft Windows". Worse yet: I'm convinced that many Window users, even the ones who actually like the environment, could sympathize with those people. Not necessarily agree, but you knew very well where it came from..

THAT is not good for business, not at all.

I think Microsoft should not fall back to relics from the past but instead focus on the future. They need a drastic change in their company culture as well as the way they deal with their customers. Otherwise I don't think this is going to end well.

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Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

ShelLuser
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Windows

Admit your defeart already

"according to Netmarketshare statistics"

Yeah right.

No; not according to their statistics but most likely according to their conclusions. Don't deny it El Reg because if it weren't and the results turn out to be wrong the heat is on you.

And pardon me for bringing this up again but weren't you also one of the flock who insisted that Explorer users were "dumb as a doorknob", merely because you got fed wrong information?

My take? Let's not mention Win8 from here on ;)

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ShelLuser
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@Sannon

An OS is as secure as its admin. 'Nough said.

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

ShelLuser
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@jake

I got the impression that they're already leading up to April first. Can't start preparing soon enough ;)

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Microsoft takes InfoPath behind the shed, says successor will be better

ShelLuser
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Windows

Wrong tool for the wrong job...

The whole approach of InfoPath is in my opinion wrong. And considering how this can also be used in combination with SharePoint one could even extend this opinion to SharePoint itself, even though I do think the technology as a whole is pretty impressive.

Thing is; managers and such shouldn't be tasked with things such as data collection and design. Because you're basically doing a half baken job so to speak. For example; designing an entry form isn't as easy as designing (or using) a good database structure. You know; redundancy, relationships and such? All things a common manager will never have heard of.

If you're looking for an Office driven solution for data gathering then I think you're better of with building yourself a VBA ("Visual Basic for Applications") powered solution. Trust me; VBA is much more powerful and versatile than some people seem to think. And things such as connecting to a database, setting up a data entry form and then processing said data are pretty trivial tasks.

And if you want more (think of a SharePoint-like environment) then my tool of choice would be Visual Studio. Don't use some front-end program to try and build entry forms, simply opt to use <asp:TextBox> objects, perhaps with an <asp:RequiredFieldValidator> (allows you to check that a field has been filled out). Of course all of those elements do need to reside inside a <form> definition. So basically; build the website extension yourself. And if you're using Visual Studio you'll have direct access to an optional back-end SQL solution as well (it even plays nice when that back-end is a PostgreSQL solution, how cool is that?).

Those (VBA and ASP.NET) are in my opinion much better tools for data collection in a Microsoft based environment than InfoPath could ever be.

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Microsoft builds admin tool to spare Office 365 sellers' blushes

ShelLuser
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Trollface

An important question needs to be asked

Will this come with or without colours?

(yes, this is a bit of a troll post, but I can really imagine Microsoft still capable of screwing it up by making the interface extremely awkward to use).

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It's big, it's expensive and it's an audiophile's dream: The Sonos Sub

ShelLuser
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Audiophile's? Audionuts is more like it

If your room is an audinightmare because of the (echo'ing) walls, objects, and other interfering stuff then you can buy yourself for half a million worth of speakers and it will still sound like shite ;)

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HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT

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@Ragarath

"If you die so much that you have to do it that many times then you are obviously not meant for that game, choose an easier one. Stop making the devs make all games easy."

All nice and well, but not every game has the option to try before you buy. And these (budget?) games also sound very unappealing to me.

I have to agree with the OP; the whole idea that you'd have to restart a whole game when you quit playing is really setting things back to pre-C64 days.

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Multi-platform Java bot marshals ZOMBIE FORCE against spammers

ShelLuser
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A perfect example.

As to why you'd also want to restrict outgoing data in your firewall.

I've seen numerous of examples where people focus all their attention to incoming, but when it comes to outgoing it's basically a "allow all keep state" kind of rule. Apparently this makes a lot of people feel safe, I dunno...

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Blocking BitTorrent search sites 'ineffective': Pirate Bay ban lifted for Dutch ISPs

ShelLuser
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And the bizarre thing is...

That downloading copyrighted, or illegal if you will, software is perfectly legal in the Netherlands. You're only in violation with the law if you provide such material yourself. So isn't it a bit weird to block a source of "illegal" contents if the act to get those isn't illegal to begin with?

In my opinion this is a good example of what's been plaguing the Netherlands as of late; when it comes to the law the whole approach is shifting from actually taking action against the people who are in violation with that law right towards trying to prevent people in general from breaking the law in the first place.

Of course the problem with the latter is that this will also have consequences for a wide majority of others who simply comply with the law and now see that their daily lives are made even more troublesome. Worse yet: that is usually also the only result from such actions. Making it harder on the people to do something legal (out of fear someone might abuse it) while the people who were abusing such a thing in the first place simply continue on doing so.

You can see this on so many cases... Example? Well, it's illegal for a minor to have alcohol in his / her possession. Conveniently it's also illegal for someone to sell alcohol to a minor. As such the minor who buys himself some alcohol is hardly getting punished if he does, but the powers that be are all too happy to concentrate their wrath on the people who sold it to them.

The result should be obvious: it can be quite a hassle to buy yourself some beer. Some supermarkets here might even refuse to sell you (as an adult) alcoholic beverages if you happen to be in the presence of a minor (like one of your kids for example; you brought him along to carry your groceries and such). All out of fear; because the supermarket might be held legally responsible should the adult decide that the alcohol is actually for the minor.

So basically this whole Pirate Bay thing is in my opinion no different.

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Trojan-laden FileZilla clone slurps data, sends it to the UNKNOWN

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Facepalm

Not a very good show here...

First of all you'll have to forgive me for being a little sceptic when there's originally only one party, Avast in this case, which warns about the whole thing. To be honest I don't really trust most of those "virus vendors" and Avast is one of them.

Even so, you'll have to admit that the FileZilla project themselves makes it way too easy for such a thing to happen. After all, just look at the Official download page. It only features a link to get the program without even bothering to mention something as checksums.

Only if you go to the additional download options do you get a link to the checksums, next to links to all the available platforms.

But shouldn't that link have been featured right on the main download page as well? I don't care that people "are always able to download them"; what if people simply forget and by looking at the link suddenly recall: "Oh yeah, should get the checksum too..."?

There's more to security to provide the means to double check; there's also something as making it as easy as possible for the end users. And that's a bit lacking in this case.

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Fancy a little kinky sex? GCHQ+NSA will know - thanks to ANGRY BIRDS

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And the worst part?

Nobody really cares.

Yes, including you fellow El Reg reader. Because which scenario is more likely: you now pull out your phone and make sure that you won't be accidentally running Google maps in the future or that you'll sit on the couch later this evening and tell your SO while playing Angry Birds (or whatever other game / app): "Did you know the NSA even added backdoors to stuff like this?"

A side note; one of the best scenes (IMO) which so nicely displayed this was done in South Park when Mr. Garrison invented 'IT' ('The Entity', season 5). After protesting loudly about the way he and the other passenger were treated at the airfield the whole crowd agreed with him. "Come on everybody!", he shouted when leaving and the whole crowd shouted "yeah!" in agreement but of course stayed put to wait their turn in line to get their ticket.

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Google's Nest gobble: Soon ALL your HOME are BELONG to US

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@jai

"A few years ago, most people who have had a positive response to it. Google seem to have lost a lot of people's trust."

While that maybe true; it doesn't automatically mean those people will stop using their services. So in the end I think Google will most likely care less what people think. An attitude which seems to slowly, but steadily, manifest itself as of late (at least that's my impression of it).

Think YouTube. Many people cried out when Google demanded usage of their social media site (Google Rings or Circles or such (I can't be bothered to look it up)), and they even started protesting in the comment sections on many movie. But by doing so automatically also making it very clear that while they claim not to like the whole thing they still went along with it. I didn't want to get linked to social media either, but I stuck with my principles and thus I can't comment on Youtube videos for quite a while now. Can't say I get the feeling to be missing out on something though.

So I think that's what's to be expected. People may complain, but I bet there will be very few who will stick with their principles and most will just go along with it all.

And 50 years from now many will wonder how it ever happened that a company could become so influential and powerful, even though we learned a lot from Microsoft's actions. Yeah right! :P

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Microsoft to RIP THE SHEETS off Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' in April

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@Phillippe

"Microsoft has got some great technologies, Exchange, Sharepoints, for instance but the rest is legacy and should be treated as such."

Sharepoint is fully build upon ASP.NET, which is a web technology I actually prefer using. SharePoint on the other hand is merely a rather obscure layer on top of that, usually causing more problems than providing actual solutions.

I agree that Microsoft has some very interesting technologies, but Sharepoint isn't one of those. ASP.NET on the other hand... That is a different ballgame in my opinion; I'll take ASP (optionally backed by the Mono project) over PHP any day of the week.

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ShelLuser
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@Squander Two

"Why assume that anyone who preferred Win8 did so purely because it was new?"

Because in many cases the arguments which these people presented for preferring Windows 8 over 7 were flawed.

Arguments such as claiming that things were just as easy to use, that Windows 8 provided the exact same user experience as 7, or at least could be made to do that. Well, in the latter case it couldn't without the help from 3rd party software (think Stardock).

And when people claim that having access to admin tools using a context menu (right click) is a very decent replacement for the "System tools" start menu option in Windows 7 then they obviously have never used Windows to its full potential. For example; I need to raise my privileges whenever I start something like the event log viewer, because by default I don't have access to security logs (I run Windows 7 as a regular user).

Needless to say; but you can't do that ("Run as administrator") while you're already in a context menu.

And this is but one example; there are dozens more out there.

Don't get me wrong here; I can understand that some people will actually prefer Windows 8. But I also think most of them were indeed driven by "It's new so it's better".

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Chinese Jade RABBIT SIGHTED ON MOON by NASA probe

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@fink

Yes, really.

The shadow of the LM is going left. The shadow of the PSEP is going right.

What gives?

Even the shadow of the craters is going right.

No conspiracies, for sure ;)

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ShelLuser
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@pen

Well, conspiracy is a bit too much for me but I am a bit puzzled why a rover which is much smaller than the moonlander would give us a rather sharp picture (you can clearly see the square sized structure) whereas they never managed the same for the moon landing devices. Even though they should be a lot larger.

I don't keep up with all the new photo's so it's very possible I missed something, but last pictures I saw only showed some very small, hard to see, dots with a bit of shadow.

As said, conspiracy theories are a bit far fetched, but this did surprise me a bit.

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Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids

ShelLuser
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Sad developments...

When I got GT5 2 years ago (IIRC) it was to get me a game which would get me through the holiday season. My gf was on holiday with her parents during that time, so I wanted some distraction. I bought it mid December and it left the PS3 around the end of February next year.

I used to enjoy it a lot. A spec, B spec, it was awesome. Until they started changing things. Ever since they decided to replace all grid starts with rolling starts I lost the fun in playing. I did run some B-spec races every once in a while (so you let a virtual driver race for you), but that was about it.

But the experience was something I enjoyed a LOT. And when reading this review I think they've made even more changes for the worst. For example; a mandatory first car? What's up with that? What I really liked lot about GT5 was that at the beginning you had no idea what car you should get. That's what made it exciting, that's what made winning the first race a thrill. -Your- first victory in -your- handpicked car. And to me it also gave the game a little bit of a professional feeling. You actually needed to know what you were dealing with.

So yeah, it sounds as if they're simply trying to squeeze more money out of it. I still recall reading those famous words; GT5 would be a "complete" game without DLC :-)

Which is in my opinion the most important reason to wonder if you should get this game now or in a few months (maybe prices have also dropped some more by then): There is no guarantee that the game you buy now will behave exactly the same in 4 - 6 months or so. It could even implement changes which you actually dislike.

So if I would want to buy this I'd definitely wait a few months.

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Windows Phone app developers: These games are made for you

ShelLuser
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Windows

Nice effort, but a little late

I actually own a Windows Phone (Samsung Omnia) and also quite like it. Still running WP7.5 because I don't consider the upgrade to 7.8 to be all that wonderful (I like having 8 medium sized tiles on my start screen at the same time. 7.8 can't do that anymore; either you get 6 large icons or a whole lot of small ones (or a combination)).

But the thing is; Microsoft lost my interest to develop for this phone a long time ago. When I just got it I was quite eager; got the free Visual Studio, the SDK with the emulator: everything I needed to get started. An experience I also quite enjoyed too, their tools are pretty straight forward in my opinion.

And then I tried hooking up my phone to my Windows 7 machine; I wanted to try running some system calls (so running a program on my PC which would control my phone). That's when I discovered the "developer lock". A few minutes later I discovered that Microsoft only wanted a "meagre" E 100,- / year before they'd consider unlocking my phone.

Dunno about you, but E 100,- merely to try if something actually works and if you'll like working on it is a bit too expensive for me, so I passed.

Sure; later they started their "promotions": Get a discount and only pay E 10,-. Of course you still had to cough up E 100,- but Microsoft promised that they'd refund the E 90,- at a later time. Yeah, that's something I'm so going to rely on. NOT.

I only wanted a developer unlock and not a subscription to their developers platform.

And that's where we are today. Nowadays you can get a phone unlock for free if you got a Microsoft account; you only need to register your phone.

Of course the main problem now, as mentioned earlier, is that I lost interest in developing for this phone almost 1.5 years ago. The SDK has long been removed, my Visual Studio does not support WP development and I never really felt to be missing out on something.

THAT is what Microsoft still doesn't seem to get. It's the first impression which counts.

So my friend comes over with his Android phone, he connects that to Windows 7 and what do you think he can do with it? Just about anything he likes, and he didn't have to pay anything for it either (perhaps apart from allowing Google-brother a permanent peek into his life).

Yeah, it's a real mystery why Android has become so popular with the geeks...

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Sega’s Out Run: Even better than the wheel thing

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Guess what I got for PS3?

This game has been recreated for the PS3 some time ago, and I have to say that it comes pretty close to the original sensation of the game. For a good impression see this gameplay video on YouTube.

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Facebook to BLAST the web with AUTO-PLAYING VIDEO ads

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And now the real value of social media is showing...

This was inevitable, and the way things go right now I foresee more crap to come, and not only on Facebook.

Thing is; it's nice how the powers behind such networks are trying to monetize their environment by putting the company onto the stock exchange, but in the end it still needs the capability of generating an annual revenue. And considering how participation on such networks is basically free they have no other choice but to come up with other ways to make money.

As said I think this is only the first step. And not only on Facebook either.

But then the real value will show. Because there is always the risk of ticking off your user base, and if you drive them over the edge then chances become high that they'll bail out and jump ship. And if that happens you can kiss your revenue goodbye. Of course while the demand for such revenue (think about the stock holders) does not go away. Which could lead up to the classic beginning of the end.

And people wonder why I never bothered to buy into social media ;-)

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Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

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@Drew 11

I tend to agree with you, Google Analytics is a site which I've marked as "Untrusted" in my NoScript plugin and therefore it gets blocked all the time.

Now, not to spoil the party but you are aware that El Reg uses googletagservices.com don't you? So you're not fully in the clear yet.

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Microsoft's licence riddles give Linux and pals a free ride to virtual domination

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Windows

I think the problem goes even deeper..

Interesting article and I can most certainly relate to all this. I'm currently using 2 in-house Windows 2003R2 servers and one 2008R2 for an ASP project and we ended up with the same conclusion. There are so many loopholes and uncertainties; it even seems as if the Microsoft sales agents also have no clue other than to advice you to go for the most lucrative licensing scheme (lucrative for them of course).

It's depressing, especially if you're actually interested in the environment(s) and the technique.

But the bottom line is quite simple really: Microsoft doesn't know how to appeal to the masses. You would think that after so many years with several competitors around (even those which cannot be bought) they'd smarten up, but no. There have been some very good moves (some commercials are very slick, some of the new features are very well designed too, etc.) but those are merely bits and pieces. In the overall it's one unappealing mess.

Think about it: this is yet another situation in which their TechNet environment might have been able to help them (to a certain degree). For example; I hope we all know that TechNet is/was all about systems administration; you could lay your hands on pretty much anything which Microsoft provided and use it in test labs and such.

They could have raised the bar a bit I think. Provide a "TechNet virtualisation" license which allows subscribers to use an x amount of specific client / server products within a (fully licensed) Hyper-V environment. It may certainly appeal, it makes things easier and the most important thing: it would generate more steady revenue for Microsoft.

Bet they never thought of that, not to mention having little options left considering how they're going to whack TechNet instead of extending on it.

They need to make it easier for the masses, not harder.

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Ballmer: 'We made more money than almost anybody on the PLANET'

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Windows

Making money is one thing...

Generating a steady revenue, that's the real challenge. One which Microsoft could only manage from a monopoly (or power) position, but the very moment when some other competitors started to appear they had a problem(tm).

Can you imagine the pain when they found out that Open Source couldn't be bought? That had to hurt!

If only they actually learned something from their mistakes, but interviews like these make me seriously doubt that.

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Hey Linux newbie: If you've never had a taste, try perfect Petra ... mmm, smells like Mint 16

ShelLuser
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Risk factor?

So Mint is based on Ubuntu and Ubuntu is based on Debian.

Isn't that a little bit of a riskfull setup? For example; how sure can Mint users be that unpopular changes in Ubuntu won't also find their way into Mint?

I also noticed that Mint advertises with LTS versions which are being supported for 5 years, which is the same as Ubuntu provides, whereas Debian usually provides support for 1 or 2 years (IIRC).

The reason I'm wondering is because Ubuntu is basically supported by a company. And companies can change their strategy on a whim. So by placing some trust in Mint you're automatically also placing trust in Canonical.

Couldn't that turn out into an Achilles heel?

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