Only that within that context MS doesn't ride the wave alone. There are plenty of other big US companies that get away with lots of unwanted stuff. From Intel to Apple and beyond.
1882 posts • joined 19 Dec 2010
Only that within that context MS doesn't ride the wave alone. There are plenty of other big US companies that get away with lots of unwanted stuff. From Intel to Apple and beyond.
...it turns out that MS has locked up the Metro interface so darned strict that they simply cannot comply to these requests without breaking some stuff.
This is only speculation; no more and no less.
But the reason I do so is because one of the commonly used arguments against Metro on the Windows Phone is that it is too strict. All apps. are sandboxed and by default its not possible for one application to access or utilize another. This has caused issues with certain developers on several occasions.
So now I wonder; is this really a Windows RT only issue or do Mozilla & Google have a problem with Metro in general? The reason this only surfaces on Windows RT could be because its a relatively popular platform and Mozilla seems more eager to build for RT than Metro on Windows 8 (or the Windows phone for that matter).
I don't mention this out of "fanboy-ism" but because it honestly wouldn't surprise me. MS has a tendency to stare themselves blind on a single goal and very much tend to ignore other aspects that come with it. Think Metro; it performs quite well on mobile devices (my phone for example) but my desktop? Ugh! Yet MS is "going after mobile".
But another thing: MS have openly admitted that they had a lot of catching up to do on security aspects. Windows 7 has come a long way (IMO) but its only partial comparable to the flexibility you have on a *nix platform. MS is obviously heavily betting on Metro for this. So could it be possible that a browser application requires too much access within the system and as such it has become impossible to utilize the way Metro is now ?
Its already a known fact that browser (-like) applications will have a different set of access rules due to the need for extensive permissions. And that RT differs on several points from the "regular" Metro.
As such I can't help wonder here...
And yet when you check out Amazon's Top 100 of best selling cell phones with service plans you'll see a Lumia sitting in the top 20. (at the time of writing it sits at 20).
I consider that not bad at all for an environment which is roughly 1.5 years old.
And although I know Amazon may not be the best resource it appears that they are honest with "stats which change on an hourly basis". Because only a week ago there were Lumia's sitting on place 8 and place 16.
Its not as if the devices aren't getting sold or anything.
And the reason I mention this is because you didn't need several drives next to each other, you only needed 1. And it could actually play certain melodies as well (of course no one ever tried STTNG because that didn't exist at that time, however we did have the original star trek theme).
Of course I have no idea how much damage this could do to the drive, but I do know that after having played the melodies a few times my 1541 drive still works today, now easily 20 years after the facts.
Well, that could be a plan B.
"When new game fails stack every game item on top of each other, mix items with pigs, and add catapult with new type of birds".
To put it simple: you don't need degrees to be good within the fields of ICT. In fact; many of the skills which are really useful in the field aren't even taught at schools. Point is; such investment firms don't look at the company and the quality; it looks at how to generate profit as quickly as possible. Preferably something which lasts and is "good enough" but of either of these options fail then they're also perfectly willing to settle for short term solutions.
That is; solutions for them and not so much for the company. If the solution would mean breaking up the company and selling of some of the assets which perform below the anticipated scope then so be it. If it turns out that this asset was actually quite important to other parts of the company then well... No one made a mistake; they simply need to sell of even more!
Now don't get me wrong; if someone lied on their resume and have been caught then its only fair that they're taken care of. But one can also wonder if the company itself added the "extra info" in order to keep the stockholders happy. For example because they recognized that the CEO had the required knowledge and experience, but simply didn't know if (and how) they could convince the stockholders of this fact.
Commonly speaking; what's good for the stockholders (esp. investment firms) doesn't always have to be good for the company. Usually its quite the opposite.
Because some of the stuff I download isn't free at all, so there!
Oh darn, wait a sec....
Not Soraya :-)
Was quite a fan of that series until the multi-repeats and "quests for more money" started.
As to the movies in general; since these are most likely all b or c rated movies its obvious which one is the best: the one which has boobies in it, that has always been the golden rule with movies like that. Otherwise absolutely no one would be watching it ;-)
I like Bing!
The daily pictures are nice, but the fact its not Google can be nice too at times.
Bing.com: I start typing and I can stay focused on what I am doing.
Google.com: I type one sentence and the whole thing comes tumbling down and starts changing with everything I typed.
Neither engines are the best anymore (IMO) but I'd sure hate to lose any of them (because; without competition the market will REALLY turn to sh*t).
Governments (in general, including mine) are bound to love this. It saves them the trouble (brain usage) from having to figure out where to get the stuff.
Mr. Black: "See, I can do it tool; we no need those admin guys no more, yahoo!".
Next (fictional!)! year: "Office 365 suffered from a malfunction, anyone could get access!".
Mr. Black: "I wasn't the one to blame, those darned admin guys never told me the risks of using this. We need need new laws on systems administration!".
"darned admin guys" (response never to be found in the media under normal circumstances): "you're the one who fired us for suggesting NOT to use that stuff in the first place a**"pocket").
OK, I am jesting here because in all fairness I am a fan of MS Office 2010. But I also think to know how government works and as such...
On both accounts ;-)
...All plants died from lack of 'food'.
Seriously; it is a good thing that companies put some interest into all this and try to thwart any waste going on in their offices. But this looks odd to me; seems all they're doing is trying to generate income from their own remote offices.
I'd be more impressed if they tried to cut back on waste. You know; re-use paper and clipboards instead of writing on one side and throw it all away, that sort of stuff. May sound small and insignificant, but you'd be amazed what all such small things combined (throughout an entire company) can actually accomplish.
Still, its a good step in the right direction so it seems.
Not using Nuendo / Cubase myself but I am a passionate sound designer; I can't help wonder if the decision by Steinberg is more driven by Ableton than that what drove Microsoft.
Because you see; sometimes having a dull flat gray screen actually works out quite well. Ableton Live (Suite 8) (link) is an DAW which existed for 10 years now and as you can notice by the logo and screenshots on that page: its interface is completely grey. And before anyone wonders about the "colorful blocks"; that isn't the program itself, those merely represent your audio data.
By default Ableton Live only uses grey for its interface combined with yellow to indicate selected options (system options, instrument options as well as channel on/off), red to indicate a record mode and blue to indicate an individual selected track and the main "individual" volume. And finally orange to indicate a "special" option; if a track has been set to "monitoring" (it continues to pick up audio input, no need to arm it) then the indicator will be orange. Orange is also used in the interface of some instruments (for example to be able and define a waveform in their Operator synthesizer) as well as volume and balance controls (dials).
But that's it! All audio channels have the same dull grey color, the only one which is shown to be light grey is the selected track. All instruments and effects sit in a grey box which apart from a yellow selection bar is completely grey; even the icons representing folders and different type of objects (presets, instrument/effect object, 'grouped' object).
The main issue here should be obvious: what works for some doesn't have to work for others.
Within the context of Live I actually enjoy such an interface because it helps me focus on what matters to me. If I'm recording audio then I don't care about good looks or such; all I care for is that as much CPU power as possible is used to process my recording as good as possible and in the mean time having some good indicators to see what is going on.
That is what Ableton gives me; the program itself is flat grey and my data is colored so I can always immediately see whats going on.
Needless to say but as much as I enjoy this design in Ableton (IMO its a key feature) I hate it in Visual Studio. In VS it just doesn't add up for me; different programs, different uses.
I know, I know: YHBT...
Still, being a fan of MS Office 2010 I can't help myself anyway. Keep well in mind that it is /because/ of that oss community that end users are able to pick up a copy of MS Office /far/ cheaper and far more easier than before (of course I'm talking about legit channels).
The reason should be obvious: competition. In the likes MS had never seen before and initially had it haunt them because this form of competition couldn't be bought nor dominated. It just kept going and wouldn't go away no matter what they tried or did.
All this development means is that we can welcome back yet another serious competitor on the Office market. One which is more rooted in the whole OSS community, which has more experience with maintaining bigger projects (which also come with high expectations) and most of all: which doesn't have anything to proof.
Sure; in the lights of Libre Office vs. OpenOffice its obvious that Apache has the name which most people know yet it seems they also have a lot of catching up to do. Still; being an Office 2010 'power user' (at least that's what I consider myself) I think this is great news. 2 competitors are much better than 1.
In the end we /all/ benefit, no matter if you use MS Office, LibreOffice or OpenOffice (in order of personal preference).
If there's one thing Microsoft has done time and time again its releasing a product which was "so so" only to improve on it later (IMO usually very well executed improvements, but I will admit to be biased here and there).
Same has applied to Azure IMO. I'm not claiming it didn't have any potential, but initially it sure had a big label stamped on it: "Expensive!". Renting a virtual database with a good storage (2Gb) and fixed bandwith would cost a multiple factor more than renting a /whole/ virtual Linux environment (which, as the reader may know, could easily host /multiple/ virtual databases). Worse: many service providers also support virtual Window servers; Windows Server 2008 - optimized for web usage (so; with IIS, MS SQL, etc)? No problem. More expensive than a Linux server, but still /way/ cheaper than an Azure solution (which only provides the database aspect).
Now, I'm sure there is more to Azure than that. For example, i'm not taking things like redundancy, backups, and all of that into account. But nonetheless it sure did seem that you'd spend a lot of money on something which could be less expensive if only it didn't have the name 'Microsoft' attached to it.
So if MS is really going for the cloud services then I think it makes sense to "start over" this way; drop the name and embed the 'engine' in a broader package. At the very least it is bound to kill any prejudice because most people will most likely eventually approach it as something "new".
And that may very well give them opportunity to approach the consumer market as well.
You got to start somewhere, and I think this could be a step in the right direction.
That is of course assuming that IPv6 is meant to replace IPv4 but quite frankly I don't see that happening anytime soon. Its perfectly doable to use both together and I think that is also the better approach here.
Once they run side by side just give it time. Then eventually we "oldies" will probably complain about hard to memorize addresses while someone else is bound to come up with a new solution for that (or new IT guys actually train themselves to increase their memorization, who knows ;-)).
Not sure I agree with that.
What is there to switch anyway? Once IPv6 takes off all those companies only need to invest in setting up a gateway which gets their IPv4 data onto the IPv6 network. Could easily be a hardware firewall supporting both IPv6 & IPv4. Or when in doubt setup a dedicated box for it.
Minimum amount of effort / investment vs. maximum outcome.
Sure there is a firewall in place and I fully agree that people aren't fully free to do whatever they want. But its a good start in the right direction.
Rome wasn't build in one day and IMO you also can't expect countries like China to drop the whole communistic ideals over a day as well. Because in the end that could very well lead to chaos, and with a country as big as China I think that's in no ones interest, including the people living there.
If you look at China now and 30 years back then there is no denying that people have gotten more freedom. Sure; they aren't free by our standards but IMO you can't reflect on everything solely based on your own environment. Sometimes it doesn't work that way.
Example: many Chinese were actually happier when Google filtered the search results on their own accord then when denying to do so and being ordered by the government. Why? Because by applying filters themselves Google also showed the people which sites were blocked 'on demand' (by the 'firewall') and which weren't. In a way you could argue that by applying filters to their search engine in the way Google did they gave people a slightly bit of extra freedom (to see for themselves what is blocked or not instead of being left to wonder if the site was dead or a filter was being applied).
Yet many people in the 'free West' considered it highly immoral that Google would even do such a thing. Yet once again: when placed into context things may actually be a lot less evil than it may seem.
Just my 2 cents...
Sorry to say, but that analogy is flawed.
First the recipe... Its not the final product; that would be the actual food you prepared. As such the recipe is basically a /method/ which you can use / follow to create the end product (the food).
A computer program on the other hand is an end product by itself. Its a product created by a computer programmer just like a nice dish is a product created by a cook.
So to go back to your analogy: a better description would be to think of the recipe as the documentation for a computer language. The cooking would be equal to the programming and the end products would be the food and computer program.
Not more adjusted but more controlled I think. They are allowed to call themselves a religion but I bet that the moment they'd step out of line (like your example) they can expect huge claims through lawsuits from uber-Jedi Mr. Lucas himself.
IMO there are 3 big concerns for Microsoft when it comes to their products. I'm not talking about just the mobile market btw, but instead try to approach it as a whole.
First: Inflexibility. The market has changed - considerably - yet it seems that Microsoft somehow doesn't manage to adapt. For example: the times where they could dictate standards are pretty much gone. The time where they could put a new product on the market with solid expectations that it will sell is also behind us.
Examples of this issue would be the ongoing cycle of pushing out a product which is "so so" only to fix things afterwards. A first impression is the most important moment, yet it seems MS doesn't care about that. Another example would be advertisement. I get the impression that MS doesn't really know how to sell their own products. Take the recent Windows Phone: "It can 'smoke' the competition" (when taking pictures, putting stuff on social media, finding locations around you, etc.). Cool, but I'm not into social media, occasionally take pictures and locations... I live in the Netherlands where that service doesn't work yet. So why would I want a Windows Phone?
Second: Prejudice. IMO well deserved (see above wrt 'first impressions') but still a sad development. Because if there's one thing MS does quite well (IMO of course) its fixing stuff. Software like Office, Expression Web, Visual Studio, etc. have come a long way and when looking at the current version it has become quite usable and enjoyable (though taste obviously differs).
And finally: Tunnel vision. Closely related to my first point but IMO important enough to mention separately: Whenever they spot a missed opportunity which could provide access to a new market then MS seems to have a tendency to totally focus on that single aspect and somewhat ignore everything else. Something which in the end also manages to get "fixed" again but by that time the 'damage' has already been done. Resulting at least in item 2 to become a relevant issue again.
IMO Microsoft has some very high potential and manages to produce quite some interesting and plain out impressive products. Yet it seems to me that they really need to realize that times have changed.
BUT... I guess we'll find out how many of my assumptions hold truth once Windows 8 hits the shelves.
But unfortunately, as the author worded quite well, that will eventually become boring. I enjoyed the original Prototype but many aspects were far too limited for my taste. You could consume people after which you could take over their personality. So far, so good.
But only when consuming /specific/ people; it didn't stick. For example; a terrified person comes up to you, you consume him/her to replenish your health. Then I'd expect to know what scared the heck out of the guy/girl. For example; knowing where the nearby enemies are located. But Prototype never went that deep. Which disappointed me to some end.
Back in the day Prototype stood directly against inFAMOUS; after careful consideration I eventually picked Prototype. It was good fun, and it still is (I still play Prototype occasionally). But now I think inFAMOUS is the better of the two. The side missions in inFAMOUS added to the whole storyline and expanded heavily on the feeling of being in a city which was in total anarchy. The Prototype side missions on the other hand were mere tests. Race to the top of a building, glide to the spot marked X, consume as many people as possible, etc. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but it never added up to the story of the game itself. Within that context the tests never made much sense...
When looking at the inFAMOUS sequel I think its obvious that Sucker Punch (company behind inFAMOUS) realized all too well that this stuff could get repetitive. And so they added a state of the art (IMO) editor to the game. Some critics considered it a sign of weakness, but owning inFAMOUS 2 I think it was a sign of brilliance. Even now I enjoy messing with it; not bad for a game which storyline you could finish in a few days! The editor is easy enough to let anyone work on it (you don't have to be a graphic artist to build up a story) yet advanced enough to really build something deep.
Prototype 2 otoh... I still think it'll be fun, but I'm not quite tempted to get it, maybe second hand or after a year or so at a (heavily) reduced price. It simply seems to be more of the same.
I knew that Win7 booted much faster ever since I used these Seagate disks (and had a few beers, but obviously that had nothing to do with it ;-))!
I'm not too pleased with the whole "marketplace development". I think its only a matter of time before more and more components are stripped from Windows where customers are left to fend for themselves using the Marketplace. Of course the price for the OS doesn't go down, even though it provides less functionality.
And considering that developers need to pay to publish stuff through the marketplace and customers most likely will need to buy stuff from the marketplace leaves MS in the middle of the revenue; generating more income with less effort.
Not too sure I like where this is going.
"Shut up Wesley".
Partly meant as a joke but still: Google is doing everything it can to force Google+ on everyone? Guess they missed me then. You get what you pay for and if you don't like it (this includes me btw) then don't use their services and move on to something else. THEN you're making a statement.
Time and time again do people speculate over stuff which Microsoft does; one party often makes the story even more horrible than the other and this continues until it eventually finds its way into "mainstream media" which, partly because of all the 'hype', now starts to read "between the lines" whenever MS releases a public statement.
When will the media learn ?
This is no different IMO. Just like it would be suicide for MS to kill .NET it would be the exact same deal when it comes to Windows Live.
I have a Live ID which I can use to authenticate with a zillion MS services. From Hotmail to Skydrive right to TechNet and the Office blogs. Or what to think of my Windows Phone? Outlook utilizes Windows Live (Hotmail) to sync its data with my phone. My Windows Phone fully utilizes Windows Live to gain access to storage such as SkyDrive or the online services such as my agenda and contacts (Hotmail). Its an essential part of the whole experience.
In one story we read how 'desperate' Microsoft is to uphold its MS Phone market; Ballmer is rumored to meet up with LG to "discuss their stance on the Windows Phone" (its a rumor but everyone believes it so it seems).
Yet on other other hand we're also perfectly willing to believe that they're going to kill a service which is a fundamental part of said Windows Phone environment ?
Make up your mind already... Better yet: do more research and don't read between the lines.
Please note: This is not a sneer nor an attempt to compare these 2 games with each other. Because that is simply impossible; the only similarity I can think of is that both are FPS games.
The reason I mention FC2 though is because it has baffled and amazed me how they managed to implement all of the mentioned points above (non linear and fairly intelligent AI) almost /4/ years ago.
So reading how even bigger names such as CoD are adapting this system can't help me mentioning how games such as FC2 really set a standard. Not bad for a budget game IMO :-) (and I love the flamethrower in that game ;-)).
You say that we should keep perspective yet you immediately twist it into an unfair comparison.
Windows Phone has been released roughly around 2010/2011, so its approx. 1 year old whereas Android already has a lifespan of nearly 5 years (went beta at the end of 2007).
So if you want to keep things into perspective like you said then please compare the sale rates for Android over the year 2009 / 2010 and compare that to Windows Phone. That might provide a totally different image.
I can't help fail to understand arguments like yours. As if everyone should consider a project to be a failure if it doesn't provide instant success and adaption, that's just stupid. Some products and developments require time to mature.
Java is now one of the most used programming languages out there. I've been to Sun presentations where they demonstrated Java version 1; hoping to get anyone interested in the language.
Imagine what would have happened if Sun would have reasoned like you're doing.... "The project didn't catch on world-wide after roughly 1.5 years so we'd better call it quits".
...is my friend.
Still, even though I am biased I also think that the Windows Phone has quite some potential yet is heavily under appreciated. Understandable, but I still think its also a shame because a lot of this hostility stems from prejudice ("its windows so can't be good") or Microsoft's own (IMO:) dumb moves (its incompatible with previous versions of Window mobile; so if people are looking for a new phone they might have to cough up cash again to purchase new software).
Especially the latter is important; because if people weren't too thrilled about Windows Mobile then chances are of course very high that they'll move to other platforms since they will have to get a new set of applications "one way or the other".
But apart from that I think Windows Phone has quite some potential. The easy to use interface for starters, but also some of its features. For example; it stops using data from the mobile network as soon as it detects that its roaming. Of course you can turn this off if you want to; but by default it protects the user from receiving huge phone bills once they get back home (something which seems to happen every vacation period).
Or what to think about the option which turns the smartphone into a "internet enabled" cellphone? A battery saving feature which stops the phone from slurping data from the Internet, thus reducing the load of the battery. You can have this automatically turned on as soon as the battery level reaches 20%, so that you can continue to use your phone for a longer period after reaching this point. Just for the record: it stops the phone from automatically slurping data, but it doesn't stop you from doing so. So you can still access the Internet or tell it to retrieve new e-mails.
Another very important feature for me is the option to combine e-mail accounts. So I have 2 inbox icons sitting on my start screen: one for private and one for business use. Both of them form a combination of a regular pop3 account as well as a Hotmail ("Live") account (the latter is automatically used to send confirmations whenever I setup meetings or such in my phone's agenda).
All of that isn't possible with other phones as far as I know.
However that doesn't make their actions ethical. Especially since they openly hid the truth afterwards and tried to postpone its release with everything they got.
Now; let me make one thing very clear here: I also think that in the end the owners of said open wifi points are also to blame. After all; if you compare this to a real life situation then its by far comparable to the analogy of a door which has been left open or unlocked. No, instead there is also a sign standing besides it saying: "The door is open so you can easily get in!".
Because that is what an open wifi is actually doing; its broadcasting its signal to the world around if. In fact; if you're in range with your smartphone then chances are high that it will pick it up, prefer wifi over its data connection and start using it. /Just as Google did/.
Still; there is also a huge difference between using the service (for all we know this could simply be a friendly gesture of the owner) or collecting everything you can about it with the intent to use this in a business like (commercial) fashion.
Back to real life analogy again: you hand out cookies for free. But only 1 (or two) per customer because you want to prevent people (ab)using your cookies for anything else than their own enjoyment. Otherwise people could try to get 30 cookies from you, package it up and start selling it as "the new cookie delights". Yet that wasn't the intention of sharing those cookies!
And its that aspect which I think Google should have known up front. Its also why I hold it heavily against them because if you're looking at the bigger picture (or try to) then Google doesn't exactly have a very good reputation where privacy concerns for its users go.
It seems to me as if Google doesn't (want to?) understand what a "gentlemens agreement" is. For starters: it takes /2/ gentlemen...
Now, I'm not really sure what would make the Enterprise tick here, but I can't help wondering if the conclusion isn't a bit silly. Sure; when you look at the phone "as is" then he's right; on the phone the data being held by the apps is sandboxed.
But what's the problem? If you're using external storage such as SkyDrive or a SharePoint environment then there's nothing stopping applications to put their data on the same place. I'd say its a win-win situation here; data can be shared but only in a more restrictive manner. Because the primary data (which is apparently very important) sits on an external storage there is also no risk of said data suddenly becoming lost should the phone for some reason suddenly get out of the picture (stolen, lost, breaks down, etc.).
Granted; its not very redundant because commonly speaking the phone would always hold 2 locally stored copies (depending on how said data is being used of course). But then again...
OTOH; I also see a possible advantage. Its also possible to setup the phone so that it only accesses online data on a temporary basis: it copies the data to a temporary location, data can be edited and afterwards data is sent back to the online location and removed locally.
I fully see that this scenario probably won't benefit everyone and I fully agree that you're working around certain aspects of the phone. But really; doesn't this also /enhance/ security? As soon as said phone is reported lost you simply lock down access to these files thus resulting in a possible attacker being unable to access said data any longer.
So how is all that extra security bad for the enterprise?
Speaking of privacy... I'm surprised no one mentioned that all options which could affect your privacy are fully opt-in. From MS wanting to get data for research right to MS asking to get access to your browsing history, speech commands or picture searches. If you don't say "yes" then MS won't "snoop" on you.
Heck; they don't even bother asking about certain options; you just have to find them yourself in the settings. IMO that would also be an important qualification for a mass-used phone, especially since one of the competitors is fully opt-out where privacy is concerned.
Jeremy, next time consider using your account on El Reg so that we all know it's you :P
"The review of the treaty found that the text as it stands poses and "unacceptable" risk to the rights of EU citizens and requires highly intrusive monitoring of internet user's habits for the sake of protecting intellectual property."
Of course; handing the US government /everything/ they wish to know about EU citizens merely because said citizen wants to travel to the US is absolutely no problem at all. Worse: if a relative or family member of an EU citizen travels to the US then it might be essential to look into their records "just to be sure".
Don't get me wrong: its not that I disagree about ACTA but it seems to me as if they hold double standards where privacy is concerned.
Well, I see it happening. While your points about consumer & corporate worlds hold some truth you also ignore a key issue:
"A rather poor bloated and buggy set of office and internet and media applications."
What you call bloat is what I'd describe as key assets. While many people hardly touch the VBA IDE which sits behind most major Office programs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) there are also plenty of people who do. And if you get into that area of Office you'll suddenly notice that the whole environment goes much deeper than you may have realized.
Its that part (amongst others) which many people ignore when they talk about Office. For many people & companies (myself included) Office is /much/ more than merely writing letters or setting up your household in a spreadsheet.
For me its being able to keep contact information within Outlook while also being able to access that information from Word (when writing letters such as bills, quotes, etc). Or how about being able to develop your own interfaces to connect your Office environment to other external resources? Right now I'm working on getting Office 2010 to extract / connect information from a Mantis bug tracking environment. Relatively easy because Mantis supports SOAP and since SOAP is commonly supported by Windows this support also finds its way into the Office environment.
As said; what some people consider bloat could actually be invaluable for others.
"Has Windows 8 got what it takes to deliver another twenty years of success for Microsoft or has the market now changed too much?"
If you would have read through previous Windows 8 articles on El Reg or even the Microsoft blogs which talk about Windows 8 then you would have noticed that one of the seemingly key problems where acceptance is concerned is caused by MS fully betting on their believe that the market /has/ changed considerably.
Personally I don't think it has changed that much, as such I think they'll run into problems with Windows 8. It most likely works just excellent on touch enabled environments, but I think the influence of the desktop environment is much heavier than MS anticipates.
Owning a (Windows) smartphone myself I have to agree that sometimes it can be very pleasant to sit / hang on the couch and use the phone instead of my PC to check up on some minor stuff (news sites, few forums) as well as e-mail. On top of that I also get the local weather in one blink at the start screen.
As such I agree that it seems you can do more freely your daily stuff.
However, I also see another trend starting and that's where companies which exploit these OS environments no longer seem to care about the "icing on the cake" and leave that entirely to be filled in by others. A trend I'm not too sure I like. Basically they provide us less software options for the same price.
For example; in Windows 7 I have a lot of small games; patience, mine sweeper, spider solitaire, etc. As said before: icing on the cake. In Windows 8 otoh it seems as if most has been ditched; if you want some of that stuff back you'll just need to use the marketplace to fill in the blanks, which you only can access after you registered of course. Blanks get filled in by 3rd parties, /not/ Microsoft. So MS can basically reduce costs on this part.
My old phone (Samsung Jet) provided some basic stuff; calculator, unit converter, picture viewer. My new smartphone provides some of these programs too but a lot more minimal (even though its actually more expensive than my old phone). Most of the solutions I had to grab myself from their marketplace. Some was setup by MS but a lot was 3rd party software.
As such I also foresee a trend where companies would encourage us to like and use these more minimal environments because it means that they can save a lot on software development by simply dumping a lot of its parts and letting 3rd parties fill in the blanks. Better yet: in case of Microsoft they demand 3rd parties /pay/ in order to gain the right to fill in these blanks (whether you're making a free app or a paid one; you still need to cough up for a developer subscription).
Sure; these changes are rather small now. I mean; who misses out on a few games (Win8) and who cares about having to download stuff from a marketplace (Windows phone / Android) because it also gives you more choice and diversity ?
Well; its all small now but what if they continue to enforce such market places on us? "You buy windows 7 and you have desktop programs (text editor, calculator, paint program, etc..). You buy windows 9 and you get nothing of the sort; only /after/ you register with Microsoft do you obtain the right to get some free programs from their market place".
And of course; the price of the OS will have remained the same.
And to all the AC's who claim that people simply can't stand change... That's not it; if it were the case you'd hear a lot more whining about XP going EOL and people being forced to use Win7. The changes between those two are also quite heavy, and also involve functionality. The main difference though is that Win7 also increases where functionality is concerned. AND that it allows you 'move back' again (to a certain extend).
I don't think people who complain about Win8 complain due to the change alone. They complain because a whole level of functionality has been removed and nothing has been setup in return. The examples are numerous...
Sure; we still have some form of Aero on the desktop app. But what good is that if you're constantly taken away from said desktop app the moment when you merely want to start another program ?
Having to work with programs full screen without being able to see /anything/ else going on is not functional. Not in these days where a PC can perform a dozen tasks at the same time. And don't get me started on being able to run 2 Metro programs side by side but only if your monitor supports the right resolutions. I could run programs side by side on a 640 x 480 screen running Windows 98 (which in fact was simply a GUI running on top of DOS). So why can't you do that now?
Its not Metro. Metro is a very good environment which can be very functional, I use it on a daily basis on my Windows phone and I actually /enjoy/ working with it there.
The problem is enforcing the wrong solution at the wrong place. If they would have given us a choice; /or/ Metro /or/ the classic start menu then most people would have been happy.
What really ticked me off was to learn that the 'original' Avatar movie ("The last airbender") was even worse than this Caramon contraption.
Oh; the reason why I say 'original' is because the Anime series "Avatar" was out way before that silly Pocahontas movie existed. As such I think their movie should have had the right to be called Avatar as well.
But now after having seen it myself I'm actually glad that it doesn't share a resembling name. The series is /so/ much better than that movie, its almost an outrage :(
I knew it, El Reg seeks world domination after all!
o/~ The chances it was going to be worse we're a million to one he said... But still, they /voted/ o/~
Ok, ok, it doesn't rhyme :P
Those dance films and such may not be too enjoyable; they do serve a worthy purpose. Namely keeping the $SO happy. My gf really enjoys movies with a little song and dance, though I usually quite dislike them.
Most movies in this list otoh result in a mutual dislike. That's an important detail IMO; because there is something such as "boy" and "girl" movies. And quite frankly; I think the majority of El Reg readers are boys :)
Honestly; a Professional version should be enough for professional & power users. When looking at Windows7 and the difference between Ultimate & Professional then I honestly have no desire what so ever to touch Ultimate. Not even if I could get it for the same price; its overkill for the stuff I need to do.
Professional otoh does provide me with everything I want which isn't available in the regular Home editions.
So in that respect I think they're doing the right thing to cut back and push Professional forward.
Having said that... otoh.. Sad times ahead. Don't get me wrong; I think MS deserves what I suspect they'll get when they try to push Metro down our desktop throats.
What I find sad is that it takes away the attention from everything they did manage to accomplish. And there are some impressive feats in there (all IMO of course).
I take my Windows Phone, I point the camera onto this screen and see my typed message in Dutch (my native language). Almost instantaneous! That is IMO very impressive.
I put the stuff on record, I record a French or German spoken sentence and it then reads it out aloud, but in Dutch.
THAT is what I honestly consider sad. They have quite some potential available already, but they're not using it. All they seem obsessed with (IMO the author worded it quite well) is tablets and mobility.
IMVHO that would be Windows 7.
Then get yourself Office 2010 instead and ignore this competition. If you're interested in Office 365 then pick up on Microsoft's free trial. Whatever you do: look into it at your /own/ pace and not because you're hurled into it. That would be my 2 cents of advice.
I'm a die-hard Office 2010 user myself (at least I consider myself as such) but I honestly think that the prize you could win here will eventually be much more rewarding for MS than you. Think about it for a moment..
What you basically get is a chance to use their software with 25 people ('licenses') for one year. So far, so good. But lets say you setup your family and some friends with an Office 365 account and enjoy a whole year of Office (IMO not unthinkable because well, I honestly think Office has come a long way so far).
But now the year is over and you have a lot of people liking and maybe depending on their Office environment. Then what ?
Then you're looking at being tied into a subscription which can easily go as far as $8 per user per month. Sounds cheap enough, but lets say you want to keep your family and friends happily using office this can quickly go up to having to spend $96,- per /month/ (I took 12 people into account here).
Is that still worth it ?
Now, don't take my rant in the wrong way. If you're curious and looking forward to trying this stuff out for a year then you should ignore my post entirely and go right ahead. But /do/ keep in mind what the possible consequences can be when your year of free usage has ended.
As such I would suggest picking up a free demo or a fuller Office 2010 suite.
Why Sun has rejected Google's partnership, especially if you take into consideration that Sun needed the money. I can't help think that Google tried to setup a deal which would left Sun with a lot of uncertainties and can't help wonder if Sun knew up front that they shouldn't put too much trust in Google.
The reason I wonder is because Sun has always been a very lenient company who wasn't afraid to go out of their ways to provide a better product (whether such decisions were for the better of worse isn't really relevant here).
I'm getting a little tired of people criticizing companies like this. They made some effort in the right direction and immediately people start squeaking how "its not good enough".
Those people I'd like to advice to stop looking at the 'now' but /also/ pay some attention to the past. Sometimes things can't simply go as fast as you might like, because with big(ger) companies such as Microsoft there is a whole lot of extra's involved. Bureaucracy being one of those and legacy to follow quickly after.
IMO this is the same kind of bs we got when Sun started taking some very drastic steps to make Java fully open sourced. The first thing some people commented on? "Its not fully open sourced!", because what do you know... A small part of the JRE was indeed still closed. So because, say, 15 - 10% wasn't open sourced yet the whole project was basically "no good" according to those.
Welcome to the real world, where some companies decide to take one step at a time.
On two accounts. First; what if you need to charge several devices at the same time?
Second; although I agree that it is important to keep your luggage to a minimum I think its even /more/ important to keep your battery powered devices healthy. Your charger is more than a simple power adapter. For example; charging your phone using an adapter is likely to provide better results than if you charge it using an USB port because unlike an USB power a charger doesn't provide a mere endless stream; it checks the status of the battery and usually changes the charging characteristics based on that.
As such; I think you're much better of sticking with (several) charger(s) so that you can be sure that the charging is performed in the most optimal way.
This isn't something just out of the box.
During the Sun era we had Java ME ('Mobile Edition') which allowed you to utilize Java on a smaller ('embedded') environment. To put it differently: you could write programs which would be targeted specifically for phones. It was fun (IMO) but also challenging since the environment offered but a part of what you could do with a full Java environment ('Java SE'). This has always been point of discussion.
However, what a lot of people don't seem to know is that Sun has also worked on a so called JavaPhone API (link). This would allow you direct (but controlled) access to specific options in the telephone environment itself (control over the telephone part, access to the messaging part, etc, etc).
To my knowledge it never went beyond version 1.0 but the layout was there. And it was also around that time (iirc that is) that rumor about a Java phone started. However, although the rumors never stopped it seems to me that Sun already realized that this wasn't a feasible project.
While the programming language maybe good that doesn't imply that it will be suitable to build a whole phone around it. And I think that's what Sun also realized. Even in the days where Java was much better known than it seems to be in these days.
So don't be too quick to brush this story away as fiction, but quite frankly I don't see it happening anymore. People don't go out to buy phone's merely because its 'Java'.
Like, its not as if you can't know up front how long your certificate will be valid....
And what guarantee's do we have / get that the paid counterpart doesn't do exactly the same thing?