Feeds

* Posts by ShelLuser

1814 posts • joined 19 Dec 2010

So whither Microsoft? If Nadella knows, he's keeping it well hidden

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

Microsoft has major potential, if only...

I've written it dozens of times and I will probably continue to do so (maybe even more times) because quite frankly I really think that Microsoft does manage to create some very impressive software environments. Were they late to the party when looking at common aspects such as multi-user? Sure. Did they come in late when it comes to better security, separation of userland and kernelspace and rolling all of that into a user friendly manner?

For sure.

But looking at Windows 7 I also think its fair to say that eventually they did manage to do just that. And when looking further, the management components, I also think that their whole MMC (Microsoft Management Console) is plain out impressive when looking at all the stuff you can do there. From controlling your firewall to managing certificates (on a user, service or system level), and all of that can even be applied to remote computers or servers too. Before I discovered PowerShell I actually used an MMC module which I had set up myself which contacted all my in-house servers and allowed me to easily check up on their event logs. All from one program.

Even Windows 8 and Server 2012, which I personally despise due to the Metro interface, has made some significant progress on this field. Which, despite my personal opinion about these products, is impressive.

Office? LibreOffice is coming really close now where basic functionality is concerned, but having a whole programming environment at your disposal (VBA language & full IDE) which allows you to program on an "office level" (full access to the whole office suite, not merely the program you're working with. I can 'do' stuff in Excel or Outlook even if I'm basing my software on Word) is pretty darn impressive too.

Service management? Either you check 'm out using the GUI (which is, you might have guessed is, is powered by MMC) or use commandline tools such as sc ("service control"). Need to check if the service behind your shares is still up? Open a DOS prompt: "sc query lanmanserver" and wham.

And that's not even mentioning other interesting software such as Microsoft Expression Web (discontinued) and/or Visual Studio. Both of which can be used completely free of charge, even for commercial purposes.

If only they would put their money where their mouth is. They have a huge infrastructure (once again something I consider impressive) when it comes to the "Microsoft community" if you will (dunno of that's the official name). There are dozens of fora, many websites will conduct periodic surveys (it sometimes can even get annoying) and for most products they even maintain official means for the end users to respond to the software (for example by allowing them to send in suggestions).

Its all there. Not always as easy to find perhaps (but then again..) but still there.

So here comes the hard part: why doesn't Microsoft pay any attention to what the masses have to say? It has happened time and time again on a lot of different platforms. From Visual Studio 2012 (in which I also participated) to Windows 8 and Office related manners. Thousands of people who vented their opinion, and if you went through those (huge) threads it became pretty clear what the general opinion regarding a product was.

For the record: Even with something as the Office Ribbon it became quite clear that people were divided, that there wasn't a clear like or dislike. Heck, even though I dislike the environment with a passion I'll have to admit that the same applies to Skype. In general people like Skype, simple.

So what does Microsoft do with this major customer feedback? Absolutely nothing. At least that's the impression they give out. Sure; I wouldn't be surprised if there are people within Microsoft who are tasked with customer feedback and customer relations. But it doesn't get nearly as much attention as it should have. Worse yet; as soon as it becomes clear that the masses really do not like a specific feature or option (for example because it gets tens of thousands of votes and comments, in an area where a few hundred reactions is common) then Microsoft doesn't seem capable to adapt. In the many cases I've seen so far the initial "solution" was mostly driven by a single person who merely so happened to work for Microsoft and thus could also only do so much.

So a long story which basically boils down to: Microsoft needs to wise up and start realizing that they no longer live in a world where there's only Windows and Office. There is no more expectation of a large customer base simply because said customer base has no alternatives to begin with. Because they do.

Microsoft should realize that the massive popularity of tablets is something they could easily have created themselves. No, I'm not talking about the Windows tables or Metro, quite the contrary. I'm talking about a growing amount of people who got totally fed up with Windows (esp. during the Vista and Windows 8 days) and started looking for decent alternatives. Preferably something cheaper than Apple while still easy to use. Enter the tablet...

If people massively cry out for a start menu then give them a start menu. If you don't then I'm pretty sure that you can start preparing for the next major cutback.

If Microsoft doesn't wise up here, if they don't start becoming a competitor instead of a dictator-want-to-be then they are heading for a lot more trouble.

Something I personally really hope to see will never happen, but if they keep this up...

1
0

Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@ckm5

Good points, however there's one more which can directly help to prevent nastyness like this:

* Disallow exec permissions on temp directories such as /tmp and/or /var/tmp.

* Do the same for the web root directories (/home/client/public_html for example).

In a lot (if not most) cases where a webserver gets compromised the attacker needs a place from which to run its stuff. And since you're usually dealing with script kiddies they'll most likely stick to commonly known places. Thus; the current home directory and if that doesn't work /tmp will be used. Yet when that also fails then your average kiddie will be unable to proceed.

2
0

BBM beta comes to Windows Phone

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

This could be a smart move...

Microsoft had a very nice "social network" which even integrated seemingly within their Windows Phone environment as well as their XBox environment. Heck; it even blended in perfectly with their "web tools". I'm talking of course about their Messenger / MSN service. It could be used on PC, it could be used on WP and even using nothing more than a browser would give you access. It was a very nice alternative.

Of course, directly in line with their "Lets tick off our customer base" (as I like to call it) Microsoft discontinued messenger and the whole social media environment behind it; all instant messaging needs to be handled by Skype. Well; I'll pass. I don't like "free" services which constantly spam you with "buy more credits" advertisement. Even on neutral ground such as your profile page. Really; WTF?

So yeah; if they manage to pull this off and also introduce a desktop counterpart which can run on your PC (like Messenger could) then I think they may very well be filling in a huge gap on WP.

And who knows; it could also just as well get them some interest for their phone line as well...

1
0

You don't need a HERO, you need a ZERO. From Google

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Joke

Hire for what?

Since this concerns Google I can't help wonder... Are they going to fix the bug and/or exploit or will they be looking for the best ways to exploit said bug and gather even more information from you?

2
3

Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?

ShelLuser
Silver badge

Sad, but hardly surprising

Microsoft has finally seen experienced something never had to cope with before: competition. But instead of actually listening to their fan and customerbase they simply continued doing that which they always did.

So in a time where the economy is already fragile Microsoft started on a "how to tick off your customers" campaign. You see it happening on Windows (Vista being a failure, now Windows 8 which heads down the same road), systems administration (no more TechNet; it may seem like a non-issue now, just give it 6 more months or so...) and of course even their Developers, developers, developers -base. A lot of those, if not the most (I can't tell for sure of course) actually prefer sticking with Visual Studio 2010 and are more than happy to ignore all the modern idiocy (as in: "Look guys, no colours; isn't that MUCH easier to use? Oops, you're right; we'll bring some colours back. Look guys: a new version, we brought most of the colours back. See? We LISTEN to our customers!").

Governments can get away with idiocy like that, and even then only to a certain degree, but a commercial company which is actually heavily depending on their customers for their income?

So yeah, I think its a sad development but I can't say that it really surprises me.

I just hope that the new CEO can put a stop to all the idiocy and roll back some of the recent brain-dead decisions. Provided it's not already too late of course.

21
0

New leaked 'Windows 8 screenshot': The Start Menu strikes back

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

So I think it's safe to say that...

... if this does turn out to be true then we've learned some very important things.

First off, and I know people who actually follow all the news surrounding Microsoft will know this already, but it would appear to me that Mr. Ballmer isn't the visionary or "business mentalist" which some still seem to account him for.

Basically we're back to where we started.

And I can't help imagine how much money, good will and customers this will have cost them.

Lets assume this is true; would we also see the revival of TechNet?

That would be a virtual slap in the face for a certain ex-CEO if you ask me ;)

8
2

Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Joke

@Risc OS

"does he even have a girlfriend? He is a computer nerd giving a talk to other computer nerds, has he even popped his cherry?"

I think the real question is if he still has a girlfriend after all this ;)

5
0

Charity: Ta for the free Win 8.1, Microsoft – we'll use it to install Win 7

ShelLuser
Silver badge

Why Windows in the first place?

A non-profit organisation; IMO a wrongly used term from the get-go, because a lot of these organisations do keep employee's on the payroll. Ergo; they'll need money in order to survive themselves, and something tells me that will go before their ideals.

Even so; it would be my impression that one of the main aspects of such organisations would be to reduce your own costs in order to get even more revenue for the help you want to provide.

So why isn't open source software much more widespread within these organisations I wonder?

I'm running a business myself and yes, I also rely on Windows and MS Office (2010) to keep up with my administration. But part of the decision to do so is also based on my profession: ICT. I actually use Office as a development platform to build other (VBA powered) applications which then help my own environment but which can then also be implemented on customer sites. And having to deal with customers which run Windows themselves also helps here. Even so; it goes beyond your average "write a report, send a bill, do your bookkeeping".

Recently I've started experimenting with Xorg, Xfce4 and LibreOffice on my laptop and I have to say that there's tons of options there as well. More than enough to run your entire administration on it, especially if it's mainly aimed at writing reports, keeping track of finance and all the extra stuff (Thunderbird on Linux/BSD really isn't that much different than Thunderbird on Windows).

SO yeah; why Windows and why haven't these organisations experimented (and embraced) open source software I wonder? I can't help think that it should fit in just fine.

My cynical opinion on that? Because there's plenty of money to be made in this field and so these kind of cost reductions are the least of their worries.

In my (very biased) opinion a real non-profit organisation would be mostly run by volunteers which may indeed have some costs to deal with (I could imagine that you prefer an accountant to handle your financial administration) but not in the likes of what we see happening right now. Where the whole "charity organisation" is actually a company of its own.

The reality however is that such organisations are usually run by people who get their full incoming out of it and supported by volunteers which try to do the right thing and help other people out.

And in case you're wondering; yes, I don't like most of these "charity organisations" at all.

11
7

French software developers are all beautiful women

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@AC

I have to admit, the third "engineering" picture was the only one which made me grin a bit.

Thanks for getting us the original.

1
0

Script fools n00b hackers into hacking themselves

ShelLuser
Silver badge

Nothing new here...

The keyword here is script kiddie, or put differently: someone who has almost no idea how this whole computer / network thingie actually works. "Get IP number, enter IP number in script, $profit!".

(from an real IRC convo in the past 20 years, but I had to reconstruct from mind of course):

<kiddie> Oh yeah, bet ur afraid to give me ur ip. LOLZ

<guru> None at all, my IP address isn't a secret. 127.224.94.13, so what, huh?

*** Quits: kiddie #linux [~kiddie@my.hidden.address] (Ping timeout)

It's not as if its hard to fool these kind of "networking experts" you know ;)

4
0

Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Joke

Why bother with new stuff?

As a "dated Microsoftie" (as I sometimes like to call myself, I'm a big fan of Windows 7, Office 2010 & Visual Studio 2012 but not so much of the recent products) I have finally seen the light, now I understand... I guess this is Microsoft's way of saying that the Surface is too good to be true (it costs them money) so it really is something which everyone should be buying into.

Anyway, I'll pass. I just upgraded my Toshiba Satellite laptop (which ran on Windows XP) with FreeBSD 10 (powered by Xfce4, SeaMonkey and LibreOffice) and one thing became obvious right away: although my laptop is quite dated it actually became a whole lot better to work with. Xfce4 is pretty light weight while still providing several options to make your life easier.

And make no mistake here; this isn't because of FreeBSD perse, but more so of Xorg, Xfce4 and the other projects (which will obviously also run just fine on Linux!). It takes getting used to, sure, and it doesn't easily "connect" (yet!) with my Office environment, but it does make one heck of a business laptop.

Best of both worlds: with Xorg and LibreOffice I have my portable business environment, whereas the Unix-like environment underneath makes for one heck of a network station (which you'll need whenever you're troubleshooting network problems at a customers place).

I maybe late to the party, but IMO now really is the best time to start pushing new life into older hardware. Especially with the currently ongoing financial climate.

28
1

Minecraft players can now download Denmark – all of it – in 1:1 scale

ShelLuser
Silver badge

In case you can't find the download...

First of all; I am a big fan of Minecraft myself so yeah; I really look forward to digging into Denmark a little upcoming weekend.

But the thing is; when I started digging for this download (being Dutch I can make out bits and pieces of the Danish language, but not that much) I eventually came across this kortforsyningen download page. As said; my Danish isn't too great, but looking at the pictures it seems to me as if Denmark has "simply" enhanced an already available download service.

What I make from it is that you can download several maps from Denmark in several different formats / resolutions. And in addition you can now also download the Minecraft "map".

So far the good news, the bad news is that it seems as if the download doesn't actually get you to a link which you can click. But I could of course also have missed the obvious.

0
0

DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@brooxta

No offense, but I think your shown attitude is a prime example of the major obstacle for IPv6 adoption.

First of all the endless, ever ongoing, doom scenario's. The Internet was going to explode in 2002, 2007 and 2011 (from the top of my head) due to running out on IP addresses. Now, 12 years later, we're still there. Thing is; it doesn't even matter if there have been dozens of admins doing dozens of all nighters to make this work; the damage has been done in public opinion. Not one, not two, but multiple times. Doom scenario's which in the end don't come true are a sure way to lose a lot of credibility really fast.

Another problem; it's never about co-existence but always replacement. Which is utterly narrow minded. 192.168.1/24 is a lot easier to grok and implement than trying this with IPv6. The only easy thing about IPv6 private ranges is knowing that it'll always start with fd and if you want easy you'll need to make it as wide as possible (the more narrow you make your network range, the more digits you'll need to use). A common approach is therefore /64. But even that gobbles up 4 16bit parts. So lets make it easy on ourselves: fdfa:aaaa:bbbb:cccc::/64.

Hmm... 192.168.1.5 to 192.168.1.10. vs. fdfa:aaaa:bbbb:cccc::5 to fdfa:aaaa:bbbb:cccc::10 ?

Oh wait, of course I forgot. I'm using the 1 range, so basically my own "range" within the 192.168 "segment" if you will. Ergo; my above IPv6 example actually isn't good enough. To be a full replacement I'd need to add yet another segment. I know; I'll use a 0 at the end so I can skip it: fdfa:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:42::5 to fdfa:aaaa:bbbb:cccc:42::10.

This may come as a surprise to you, but the IPv4 counterpart is a whole lot easier to type.

Which is also one of the main flaws in IPv6 reasoning; the illusion that these addresses wouldn't matter (too much) because of DNS and ARP / DHCP. But if you're fixing network related problems then the last thing you want to do is rely on "automagically" assigned addresses and the likes.

And these examples are almost as endless as IPv6 is.

12
1

OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@akeane

CSS supports flashing text too.

0
0
ShelLuser
Silver badge

@Destroy

"Seriously, WTF? I anything being tought in schools today?"

No, which is exactly the problem at hand, I consider your post to be a prime example of that. This reminds me of a rant on one of the FreeBSD mailinglists (or the forum) where someone just couldn't understand that the FreeBSD source code also contained a huge chunk of assembly code. Surely everyone used C these days and that piece of ancient coding was just waiting to be obsoleted, no?

Hardly.. Different tasks require different approaches which can easily include different programming environments.

Here's some food for thought for you: what came first; the programming language or the compiler? And when looking at "more advanced" languages such as, for example, Java; how would it be possible for the compiler to be written in Java when you'd need to compile the source code to begin with?

2
0
ShelLuser
Silver badge

Unfair criticism

I think people put way too much value or "weight" into open source software. Here's not saying that it hasn't any value, don't get me wrong, but the constantly used argument that "many eyes are more likely to fix bugs" is flawed in some ways.

First of all the obvious: different people, different coding styles which automatically makes it harder to follow ones programming style (or logic) if the used style isn't something you'd normally use. This goes double if the programmer doesn't document his code either.

Then there's the issue that the argument also assumes that the majority of users is actually interested enough to go over said source code. I don't have any statistical data myself but I still can't help think that in comparison only a small amount of people would actually take the time and effort to go over the source code before they use the software.

But another thing.. I'm also a bit sceptical that this solve the problems, even though I'll be the first to agree that if any team of coders can do it then it's the OpenBSD team. After all; they're all about security first and constantly weigh their options between user friendliness and ease of use. Where the latter more often has more weight than the first.

Thing is; I still remember the Debian OpenSSL disaster from 2008. Here we had a package maintainer who considered it a good idea to change the original software to make it better "fit in" with the distribution (which seems to be a common trend amongst Linux distributions these days, a development which I'm quite sceptical about). Only 2 years later did the team finally discover that instead of enhancing the software they actually broke the random generator.

Not only did this incident show us how popular and widely used Debian actually is, it was also yet another prime example of a very popular open source software package which despite all the attention could "run amok" for nearly 2 years. Not just that; the problem was even at the very heart of the program, yet still went undiscovered.

And before you claim that this was "only" one Linux distribution; don't forget that Debian is one of the most commonly forked distributions out there. And one which had a dedicated team for OpenSSL maintenance as well.

So with that in mind I also think it's a bit unfair to put the full blame on the OpenSSL team.

And although I can understand the motivations of the OpenBSD team I can't help think that we'd probably benefit a whole lot more if they'd be willing to spend some of their programming resources to help and make OpenSSL even better than it is today. Especially if you consider that OpenSSL is one of the very few "standards" we have in the wonderful world of open source software.

What I meant with that? Some people use Linux, I'm a FreeBSD user myself and guess what? We both use OpenSSL.

1
0

Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!

ShelLuser
Silver badge
Windows

@Christian

"While on Windows you have your operating system, which is fairly bare bones compared to what you get on most other operating systems. Therefore every software vendor needs to supply large parts of the system."

There is a flaw in your analogy here because, as shown above, Windows 2k3 is everything but bare bones. In fact, if you don't focus completely on functionality (so we'll ignore the limited support for IPv6) then I think it's fair to say that 2k3 could still go toe to toe with FreeBSD 9 or 10 where functionality is concerned. Do note; I'm talking about the OS only and not so much about 3rd party solutions.

In its basic form FreeBSD consists of a base OS which provides all the basic functionality which is required on a Unix (like) environment. So you have a mail server, DNS server (though from version 10+ his is only a DNS resolver), DHCP, VPN, FTP, NFS, NIS, PPP, SSHD, Syslog. But it doesn't provide stuff such as a webserver or application server obviously, for that BSD relies on 3rd party solutions (provided through the so called Ports collection).

Whereas Windows 2k3 actually does. It provides IIS out of the box which is your web / application server on the platform. And if you need to it can even be used as a (limited) SMTP / POP3 server as well (though I think most people would quickly move to either Exchange or another 3rd party solution which as hMailServer for example).

And that's but one example, there are more ;)

Windows 2k3, though dated, really wasn't as bare bone as you seem to make it ;)

1
0
ShelLuser
Silver badge

@AC

Ok, I'll bite. Got nothing better to do anyway, and sometimes feeding the troll can actually be a bit of fun (which is my sole intention here).

So; instead of biting the hand that fed us why didn't you come up with some requirement analysis? Anyone can say they don't agree, these days very few seem capable of providing some motivation.

Thing here is that it doesn't really need much of an analysis because Windows Server 2k3, which IMO is a very impressive piece of work, still suffers from quite severe limitations. And that makes its overall functionality limited. Example; Microsoft pulled it off by making PowerShell (actually this is the management framework) not only available for the products it was designed for (Server 2k8 and up, and Windows 7 and up) but also "down ported it" (as I like to call it, I know it's not entirely right). Meaning? I can administer my in-house 2k3 servers using PowerShell on my Windows 7 client. I don't care what others think, but in my opinion it's a pretty impressive display (it helps that PowerShell is my favourite administrative tool on Windows of course).

But that awesomeness is still overshadowed with other limitations. IPv6 for example? You're better off not using this, because although it provides some basic support for it, how safe will you be if you're using a firewall which only supports IPv4?

And of course this is not even addressing the very obvious: what roles does 2k3 actually provide? Far less than 2k8, that's for sure:

  • File server
  • Application server
  • DNS server
  • DHCP server
  • WINS server
  • Print server
  • File server
  • Mail server (POP3 / SMTP, no IMAP)
  • Terminal server
  • RAS / VPN server
  • AD domain controller
  • Streaming media server

Rest assured that your average Linux or *BSD environment has everything it needs which might be required to take over these roles. Including tasks such as WINS or (limited?) AD thanks to the existence of the Samba project.

Even if your environment is using SharePoint (which my server is doing; used as a test environment. One which, once again, is administered through PowerShell) then you might still be able to pull this off. Because although the Mono project doesn't support the latest in .NET technology (talking .NET 4.5 now) neither does server 2k3. The best you'll probably manage is .NET 3.5. This is what I'm currently working at; testing how hard it'll be to move some projects over onto a FreeBSD / Mono environment. So far the results are looking quite good. Even Visual Studio (2012) has no problem at all with compiling and distributing website projects onto a FreeBSD powered server.

So yeah, if you don't got Christian's message above then it's most likely because you hardly understand how this 2k3 thing actually works. But here you got something which spells it all out for you ;)

2
3
ShelLuser
Silver badge

@AC

All too true. With these things its best to start early, at your own pace, instead of getting dragged into something. My company has already started the upgrade / migration 1.5 / 2 months ago and we're going slowly but steadily.

Heck; even if you do use stuff such as MS SQL server it might still be possible to look out for alternatives, depending of course on how the whole environment is setup. And one step at a time so you don't risk making mistakes and the likes. A good approach could be to start replacing certain components with the same versions which you'd get on different (Linux / Unix -like) operating systems.

That MS SQL server might be replaceable with PostgreSQL for example. That critter provides full support for Windows; ranging from your regular ODBC driver to native .NET support. It would most certainly help you to get a feel for the environment.

Also note that I'm not saying you should use PSQL straight away in your production environment, but you could give it several test runs to see how well (and if) it's able to cope.

2
1

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

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.

2
1

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

5
0

Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@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.

2
0
ShelLuser
Silver badge
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...

11
2

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@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? ;)

8
2

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

0
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@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..

6
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

18
8

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

SO what's not safe for work?

Such a disappointing experience ;)

0
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

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.

2
2

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

2
2

Microsoft may slash price of Windows 8.1 on cheap 'slabs

ShelLuser
Silver badge

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.

5
1

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@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.

2
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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...".

1
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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).

6
1

Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@AC

"Oh sure, they're autonomous"

For now.

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

0
0

Credit card of PayPal PRESIDENT cloned by UK crooks

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

19
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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 ;)

2
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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...

1
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

6
1

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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?".

7
0
ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

6
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

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.

12
2

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@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.

3
0
ShelLuser
Silver badge
Trollface

@silent_count

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

5
1
ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

25
2

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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 ;)

1
8
ShelLuser
Silver badge

@Sannon

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

7
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge

@jake

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

0
0

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

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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.

3
2

Microsoft builds admin tool to spare Office 365 sellers' blushes

ShelLuser
Silver badge
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).

6
0