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...".
1882 posts • joined 19 Dec 2010
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...".
"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).
"Oh sure, they're autonomous"
With these kind of take overs such situations usually don't last very long.
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.
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 ;)
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?".
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Nah, then they'd ridicule his basic programming all over again ;)
"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.
"according to Netmarketshare statistics"
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 ;)
An OS is as secure as its admin. 'Nough said.
I got the impression that they're already leading up to April first. Can't start preparing soon enough ;)
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.
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).
If your room is an audinightmare because of the (echo'ing) walls, objects, and other interfering stuff then you can buy yourself for half a million worth of speakers and it will still sound like shite ;)
"If you die so much that you have to do it that many times then you are obviously not meant for that game, choose an easier one. Stop making the devs make all games easy."
All nice and well, but not every game has the option to try before you buy. And these (budget?) games also sound very unappealing to me.
I have to agree with the OP; the whole idea that you'd have to restart a whole game when you quit playing is really setting things back to pre-C64 days.
As to why you'd also want to restrict outgoing data in your firewall.
I've seen numerous of examples where people focus all their attention to incoming, but when it comes to outgoing it's basically a "allow all keep state" kind of rule. Apparently this makes a lot of people feel safe, I dunno...
That downloading copyrighted, or illegal if you will, software is perfectly legal in the Netherlands. You're only in violation with the law if you provide such material yourself. So isn't it a bit weird to block a source of "illegal" contents if the act to get those isn't illegal to begin with?
In my opinion this is a good example of what's been plaguing the Netherlands as of late; when it comes to the law the whole approach is shifting from actually taking action against the people who are in violation with that law right towards trying to prevent people in general from breaking the law in the first place.
Of course the problem with the latter is that this will also have consequences for a wide majority of others who simply comply with the law and now see that their daily lives are made even more troublesome. Worse yet: that is usually also the only result from such actions. Making it harder on the people to do something legal (out of fear someone might abuse it) while the people who were abusing such a thing in the first place simply continue on doing so.
You can see this on so many cases... Example? Well, it's illegal for a minor to have alcohol in his / her possession. Conveniently it's also illegal for someone to sell alcohol to a minor. As such the minor who buys himself some alcohol is hardly getting punished if he does, but the powers that be are all too happy to concentrate their wrath on the people who sold it to them.
The result should be obvious: it can be quite a hassle to buy yourself some beer. Some supermarkets here might even refuse to sell you (as an adult) alcoholic beverages if you happen to be in the presence of a minor (like one of your kids for example; you brought him along to carry your groceries and such). All out of fear; because the supermarket might be held legally responsible should the adult decide that the alcohol is actually for the minor.
So basically this whole Pirate Bay thing is in my opinion no different.
First of all you'll have to forgive me for being a little sceptic when there's originally only one party, Avast in this case, which warns about the whole thing. To be honest I don't really trust most of those "virus vendors" and Avast is one of them.
Even so, you'll have to admit that the FileZilla project themselves makes it way too easy for such a thing to happen. After all, just look at the Official download page. It only features a link to get the program without even bothering to mention something as checksums.
Only if you go to the additional download options do you get a link to the checksums, next to links to all the available platforms.
But shouldn't that link have been featured right on the main download page as well? I don't care that people "are always able to download them"; what if people simply forget and by looking at the link suddenly recall: "Oh yeah, should get the checksum too..."?
There's more to security to provide the means to double check; there's also something as making it as easy as possible for the end users. And that's a bit lacking in this case.
Nobody really cares.
Yes, including you fellow El Reg reader. Because which scenario is more likely: you now pull out your phone and make sure that you won't be accidentally running Google maps in the future or that you'll sit on the couch later this evening and tell your SO while playing Angry Birds (or whatever other game / app): "Did you know the NSA even added backdoors to stuff like this?"
A side note; one of the best scenes (IMO) which so nicely displayed this was done in South Park when Mr. Garrison invented 'IT' ('The Entity', season 5). After protesting loudly about the way he and the other passenger were treated at the airfield the whole crowd agreed with him. "Come on everybody!", he shouted when leaving and the whole crowd shouted "yeah!" in agreement but of course stayed put to wait their turn in line to get their ticket.
"A few years ago, most people who have had a positive response to it. Google seem to have lost a lot of people's trust."
While that maybe true; it doesn't automatically mean those people will stop using their services. So in the end I think Google will most likely care less what people think. An attitude which seems to slowly, but steadily, manifest itself as of late (at least that's my impression of it).
Think YouTube. Many people cried out when Google demanded usage of their social media site (Google Rings or Circles or such (I can't be bothered to look it up)), and they even started protesting in the comment sections on many movie. But by doing so automatically also making it very clear that while they claim not to like the whole thing they still went along with it. I didn't want to get linked to social media either, but I stuck with my principles and thus I can't comment on Youtube videos for quite a while now. Can't say I get the feeling to be missing out on something though.
So I think that's what's to be expected. People may complain, but I bet there will be very few who will stick with their principles and most will just go along with it all.
And 50 years from now many will wonder how it ever happened that a company could become so influential and powerful, even though we learned a lot from Microsoft's actions. Yeah right! :P
"Microsoft has got some great technologies, Exchange, Sharepoints, for instance but the rest is legacy and should be treated as such."
Sharepoint is fully build upon ASP.NET, which is a web technology I actually prefer using. SharePoint on the other hand is merely a rather obscure layer on top of that, usually causing more problems than providing actual solutions.
I agree that Microsoft has some very interesting technologies, but Sharepoint isn't one of those. ASP.NET on the other hand... That is a different ballgame in my opinion; I'll take ASP (optionally backed by the Mono project) over PHP any day of the week.
"Why assume that anyone who preferred Win8 did so purely because it was new?"
Because in many cases the arguments which these people presented for preferring Windows 8 over 7 were flawed.
Arguments such as claiming that things were just as easy to use, that Windows 8 provided the exact same user experience as 7, or at least could be made to do that. Well, in the latter case it couldn't without the help from 3rd party software (think Stardock).
And when people claim that having access to admin tools using a context menu (right click) is a very decent replacement for the "System tools" start menu option in Windows 7 then they obviously have never used Windows to its full potential. For example; I need to raise my privileges whenever I start something like the event log viewer, because by default I don't have access to security logs (I run Windows 7 as a regular user).
Needless to say; but you can't do that ("Run as administrator") while you're already in a context menu.
And this is but one example; there are dozens more out there.
Don't get me wrong here; I can understand that some people will actually prefer Windows 8. But I also think most of them were indeed driven by "It's new so it's better".
The shadow of the LM is going left. The shadow of the PSEP is going right.
Even the shadow of the craters is going right.
No conspiracies, for sure ;)
Well, conspiracy is a bit too much for me but I am a bit puzzled why a rover which is much smaller than the moonlander would give us a rather sharp picture (you can clearly see the square sized structure) whereas they never managed the same for the moon landing devices. Even though they should be a lot larger.
I don't keep up with all the new photo's so it's very possible I missed something, but last pictures I saw only showed some very small, hard to see, dots with a bit of shadow.
As said, conspiracy theories are a bit far fetched, but this did surprise me a bit.
When I got GT5 2 years ago (IIRC) it was to get me a game which would get me through the holiday season. My gf was on holiday with her parents during that time, so I wanted some distraction. I bought it mid December and it left the PS3 around the end of February next year.
I used to enjoy it a lot. A spec, B spec, it was awesome. Until they started changing things. Ever since they decided to replace all grid starts with rolling starts I lost the fun in playing. I did run some B-spec races every once in a while (so you let a virtual driver race for you), but that was about it.
But the experience was something I enjoyed a LOT. And when reading this review I think they've made even more changes for the worst. For example; a mandatory first car? What's up with that? What I really liked lot about GT5 was that at the beginning you had no idea what car you should get. That's what made it exciting, that's what made winning the first race a thrill. -Your- first victory in -your- handpicked car. And to me it also gave the game a little bit of a professional feeling. You actually needed to know what you were dealing with.
So yeah, it sounds as if they're simply trying to squeeze more money out of it. I still recall reading those famous words; GT5 would be a "complete" game without DLC :-)
Which is in my opinion the most important reason to wonder if you should get this game now or in a few months (maybe prices have also dropped some more by then): There is no guarantee that the game you buy now will behave exactly the same in 4 - 6 months or so. It could even implement changes which you actually dislike.
So if I would want to buy this I'd definitely wait a few months.
I actually own a Windows Phone (Samsung Omnia) and also quite like it. Still running WP7.5 because I don't consider the upgrade to 7.8 to be all that wonderful (I like having 8 medium sized tiles on my start screen at the same time. 7.8 can't do that anymore; either you get 6 large icons or a whole lot of small ones (or a combination)).
But the thing is; Microsoft lost my interest to develop for this phone a long time ago. When I just got it I was quite eager; got the free Visual Studio, the SDK with the emulator: everything I needed to get started. An experience I also quite enjoyed too, their tools are pretty straight forward in my opinion.
And then I tried hooking up my phone to my Windows 7 machine; I wanted to try running some system calls (so running a program on my PC which would control my phone). That's when I discovered the "developer lock". A few minutes later I discovered that Microsoft only wanted a "meagre" E 100,- / year before they'd consider unlocking my phone.
Dunno about you, but E 100,- merely to try if something actually works and if you'll like working on it is a bit too expensive for me, so I passed.
Sure; later they started their "promotions": Get a discount and only pay E 10,-. Of course you still had to cough up E 100,- but Microsoft promised that they'd refund the E 90,- at a later time. Yeah, that's something I'm so going to rely on. NOT.
I only wanted a developer unlock and not a subscription to their developers platform.
And that's where we are today. Nowadays you can get a phone unlock for free if you got a Microsoft account; you only need to register your phone.
Of course the main problem now, as mentioned earlier, is that I lost interest in developing for this phone almost 1.5 years ago. The SDK has long been removed, my Visual Studio does not support WP development and I never really felt to be missing out on something.
THAT is what Microsoft still doesn't seem to get. It's the first impression which counts.
So my friend comes over with his Android phone, he connects that to Windows 7 and what do you think he can do with it? Just about anything he likes, and he didn't have to pay anything for it either (perhaps apart from allowing Google-brother a permanent peek into his life).
Yeah, it's a real mystery why Android has become so popular with the geeks...
This was inevitable, and the way things go right now I foresee more crap to come, and not only on Facebook.
Thing is; it's nice how the powers behind such networks are trying to monetize their environment by putting the company onto the stock exchange, but in the end it still needs the capability of generating an annual revenue. And considering how participation on such networks is basically free they have no other choice but to come up with other ways to make money.
As said I think this is only the first step. And not only on Facebook either.
But then the real value will show. Because there is always the risk of ticking off your user base, and if you drive them over the edge then chances become high that they'll bail out and jump ship. And if that happens you can kiss your revenue goodbye. Of course while the demand for such revenue (think about the stock holders) does not go away. Which could lead up to the classic beginning of the end.
And people wonder why I never bothered to buy into social media ;-)
I tend to agree with you, Google Analytics is a site which I've marked as "Untrusted" in my NoScript plugin and therefore it gets blocked all the time.
Now, not to spoil the party but you are aware that El Reg uses googletagservices.com don't you? So you're not fully in the clear yet.
Interesting article and I can most certainly relate to all this. I'm currently using 2 in-house Windows 2003R2 servers and one 2008R2 for an ASP project and we ended up with the same conclusion. There are so many loopholes and uncertainties; it even seems as if the Microsoft sales agents also have no clue other than to advice you to go for the most lucrative licensing scheme (lucrative for them of course).
It's depressing, especially if you're actually interested in the environment(s) and the technique.
But the bottom line is quite simple really: Microsoft doesn't know how to appeal to the masses. You would think that after so many years with several competitors around (even those which cannot be bought) they'd smarten up, but no. There have been some very good moves (some commercials are very slick, some of the new features are very well designed too, etc.) but those are merely bits and pieces. In the overall it's one unappealing mess.
Think about it: this is yet another situation in which their TechNet environment might have been able to help them (to a certain degree). For example; I hope we all know that TechNet is/was all about systems administration; you could lay your hands on pretty much anything which Microsoft provided and use it in test labs and such.
They could have raised the bar a bit I think. Provide a "TechNet virtualisation" license which allows subscribers to use an x amount of specific client / server products within a (fully licensed) Hyper-V environment. It may certainly appeal, it makes things easier and the most important thing: it would generate more steady revenue for Microsoft.
Bet they never thought of that, not to mention having little options left considering how they're going to whack TechNet instead of extending on it.
They need to make it easier for the masses, not harder.
Generating a steady revenue, that's the real challenge. One which Microsoft could only manage from a monopoly (or power) position, but the very moment when some other competitors started to appear they had a problem(tm).
Can you imagine the pain when they found out that Open Source couldn't be bought? That had to hurt!
If only they actually learned something from their mistakes, but interviews like these make me seriously doubt that.
So Mint is based on Ubuntu and Ubuntu is based on Debian.
Isn't that a little bit of a riskfull setup? For example; how sure can Mint users be that unpopular changes in Ubuntu won't also find their way into Mint?
I also noticed that Mint advertises with LTS versions which are being supported for 5 years, which is the same as Ubuntu provides, whereas Debian usually provides support for 1 or 2 years (IIRC).
The reason I'm wondering is because Ubuntu is basically supported by a company. And companies can change their strategy on a whim. So by placing some trust in Mint you're automatically also placing trust in Canonical.
Couldn't that turn out into an Achilles heel?
The only way they'll manage to convince me to upgrade my Windows 7 environment to Windows 8 is by paying me for it. And I'm not talking about a free Windows 8 license with a nice complimentary gift of $120 or so, I'm talking annual payments for a duration of 6 months or so.
Why? Because to me Windows 8 is a huge set back when it comes to work flow. Because I'm using Windows 7 both professionally and private the work flow has become a huge issue for me. I heavily use (and favour) the recent programs list for example; whenever I'm switching my activities from documenting to bookkeeping (both activities usually last a few days) it doesn't take longer than one working day for Word to get replaced by Excel in my start menu. Which means so much that from that point on I can simply click start, hover, and either start Excel (or Word) directly or use the jump list to open one of the previous (or pinned) documents.
Windows 8? Click start, open the desktop application and then select from either Word or Excel because both would need to be pinned onto the taskbar.
No, this isn't only about "beancounter work", it also concerns IT related tasks.
I've mentioned this many times already, but I don't use Windows 7 as administrator, my user account has regular privileges. So in the event I need to check up my log files (event logs) or other system related tasks I more than often need to raise my privileges. It's easy: start -> hover -> system administration -> right click event logs and then "run as administrator".
Windows 8? I know you can right click the start button (or start location) which gets you a context menu allowing you to select some administrative tasks, but because you're already in a context menu it does not allow you to use the "run as..." option.
Sure; there are ways around this, I'm well aware. But the point here is that those workarounds are a whole lot more tedious than the way I use in my current environment of Windows 7.
Can it get worse? Of course it can. PowerShell anyone? Awesome piece of work in my opinion, this is no sneer. To me PowerShell is the ultimate proof that if Microsoft sets its mind to it they really can come up with something good and awesome. I often use PowerShell to quickly check up on several servers which I maintain for work, but the thing is; because I'm accessing privileged sections I can only do so when starting this as administrator.
On my Windows 7 PowerShell is pinned to the taskbar and I can right click on it any time I need. On Windows 8 there is no way to perform that task straight from the start screen; you need to go to the desktop before starting PowerShell. In all honesty it makes some sense considering that PowerShell is a "desktop application". But wasn't the start screen the ultimate and full replacement for the start menu? So why can't it cope with such trivial tasks?
Alas; enough ranting.
My point should be obvious: When using Windows 8 it takes me more time to complete several routines than it does on Windows 7. Now, I am willing to take the possibility into consideration that in time you might find other ways to achieve the same results (that is something I can't say for sure right now) as such I'd settle for an annual payment which only lasts 6 months.
But just providing Windows 8 for free is not enough to make me switch.
In fact; should I need a new computer right now I'd easily cough up the extra cash to get my hands on another Windows 7 license and would be more than willing to invest some time to replace the POS which is Windows 8 (in my opinion of course) with my trusty Windows 7.
Just my 2 cents on the matter.
So now they'll know for sure that I'll never be signing up? Damn ;)
"Actually Windows + Office revenue is up and still increasing...."
I beg to differ.
My (small) company is (/ was?) a Microsoft reseller, simply because I think there's a good and honest market for desktops with Windows 7 and Office 2010. I also think quite positively about Server 2008. Heck, we even sold several solutions and some customers who we're still in contact with are still quite happy with their environment(s).
But the thing is; I can't sell Windows 8. Not merely because I hate it with a passion and steer clear from it best I can, but because my company simply doesn't have the resources required for its after sales. Meaning: getting customers on the phone at a regular interval because they're having a hard time with Windows 8. This goes double when those customers have upgraded from Windows XP. That is our experience, we sold a few Windows 8 licenses to customers who upgraded their Windows XP versions and didn't want the "old" Windows 7 but the most current Windows. Even though the EOL of both products lies closely together.
A first walk though on site went normally. But then, several days later, the real issues began. Because those customers don't turn to Microsoft or the Internet or whatever for support. They turn to us. Rightfully so, after all we sold it to them, but ye gods...
And for those who don't understand my frustration: the after sales,or support, goes out of our own pocket. We make a profit on selling the license, we make a lot more profit on the time required to setup their environment, but we don't make any money on trying to help people out over the phone. That only costs us time and time is money.
Office 2013? Apart from Microsoft's own push of their 365 subscription model this is also something I'd rather not sell. In our experience a lot of people who upgrade from 2010 (or earlier) run into issues as well. Usually small issues, but annoyances still.
Personally I think that Office 2013 has had a huge makeover to first make sure it would look at feel as closely as possible to the Office 365 web interface, which I consider a huge setback given the limited functionality of said web interface. But second to cover for the lack of functionality which you have in Windows 8.
Think about it: in Win7 I can start Word from my start menu or jump right to a file which I'm after. If Word sits in the "recent program list" (the left side of your start menu) or has been docked on the task bar then you can simply hover or right click and enter the jumplists. All your recently used files, with also an option to pin files which you need to be available at all times.
Windows 8 doesn't have this any more. That is; you can still pin icons on your desktop application's taskbar, but that makes working a whole lot more trivial: "Click start, click the desktop, right click the Word icon and access the jumplist".
So what did MS do? The moment you start Word you're taken directly to the "back stage" view where you can opt to start a new document or open an old one. You can't tell Word that it should always start with a new document unless you're opening one yourself.
All of those changes annoy a lot of Office users it seems. Quite frankly we saw our sale numbers go down, not up. But do keep in mind that we're a rather small company, and selling software and the likes is not our core business.
Microsofts problem is that they're still not used to competition. They're totally clueless. Even up to a point where they introduce change for the sake of change because, in their vision, "change sells". Apparently unaware that if people don't like said change they either don't upgrade or worse: bail and jump on the competitors bandwagon.
Amazingly enough we did see a rise in people asking us about OpenOffice (after which we also make them aware of LibreOffice) as well as asking us how much it would cost them for us to come over and install it.
Am I the only one who glimpsed at the headline and wondered why Scientology would bring out a NAS storage device?
"...but I have no sympathy for people who fall for this stuff."
This was my first reaction as well, however that ignores one very important detail: not everyone who ran into this mess did so by following the instructions on 4chan. What if someone found this on Google (or any other web source) and passed it on? Maybe even with the warning "I have no idea if it'll work!".
The person who would end up trying this wouldn't know it came from 4Chan but from someone he/she might actually trust.
Heck; they might even think "what's the worst that can happen? You reset the device and all is well again".
And that is exactly where things gone wrong.
With my PS3 I can force it to reset itself after which it will check it's USB slots for a mass storage device and then load and apply the firmware present. This is the roughly the same procedure which you need to apply when you're replacing your harddisk.
So if the "old" and "inferior" PS3 can do something so trivial, why can't this "superior next-gen" console?
The blame lies with Microsoft; they failed to supply a back door to get people out of this mess. How hard would it be to insert a ROM which can wipe out the internal HD and then try to download the latest firmware from a specific Microsoft location and apply it?
I mean; everyone still remembers the initial presentation where it became obvious that Microsoft was aiming for a daily lockdown on their consoles (you had to log on at least once during every 24hrs otherwise you wouldn't be able to play).
It doesn't matter that they eventually reversed their plans: the damage has been done.
Agreed about Watch_Dogs, that game looks very interesting (pre-ordered it myself). But the thing is: you can also play that on your PS3 or Xbox360 :-)
"PS3 stalwarts might be perturbed by the need for a PS Plus account to play online but the service pays for itself in free games"
Only problem is that those games aren't free, you're basically renting them. As soon as your subscription is over so is your access to these "free" games.
"Basically, this is their house (and MS's servers is MS's house) and if they don't want you to come into their house and shit on their carpet then you're pretty much not allowed to go shit on their carpet".
That comparison is flawed. It's not their house. It's their building and they're offering it up for rent to any game company who wants to use it.
When you're playing in a game you're not playing in a Microsoft environment perse, but in that of the game company. For example; Microsoft has nothing to do with a game like GTA V.
Within that context the story becomes a whole lot different. In MY house (which I'm renting) I can say and do all I want. My house, my rules. The only rules that supersede mine are those which are directly related to the well fare of the building. For example I can not tear down a wall if I want to. But other than that I can do as I please.
In my opinion the same applies here. You maybe playing on the XBox but you're still playing games which Microsoft had little to do with. And well; isn't it a little bit hypocrite that when looking at a game like GTA V you can get an NPC swearing at you (Quote: "You f*cking c*cks*cker!" if you steal or ram a persons car) but the very moment a player says the exact same thing he risks getting banned?
Those ads sound the worst but in fact the working environment may very well end up to be outstanding. Because in a lot of cases such an ad is written by someone who got so frustrated about several things that he simply decided to speak his mind. "This is what we want, it sounds horrid, but that's what you'll have to do with". And the only reason a person would do that is passion; passionate about the company and the people and he's simply looking for a perfect fit.
So to weed out all the fakes you start by making it look as unappealing as possible, but only for those who can't read between the lines and actually understand what's going on.
Of course you should remain on your toes either way because there are no guarantees :-)
Now, I meant that a bit jestingly, but on a more serious matter; if that bothers you then install an adblocker and be done with it. If yours doesn't hide the ads then you might need something else. I'm using a combination of AdBlock plus and NoScript (at least available for Mozilla based browsers) and well, you already know my response ;)
"Yet it’s also worth remembering that all those cut-scenes and cinematic touches found throughout the disc were still fairly new entities at this point in videogame history."
Not too sure I agree with that, but I suppose it heavily depends on the platform you're looking at. Because in that era we had already seen the first release of Command & Conquer which basically consisted of missions which were followed by cut-scenes. Same applies to other titles of that genre like the classic Dune and later Dune II. Considering the timespan I'm tempted to say that cut-scenes had already become more mainstream at that time.
But yeah, cut-scenes or not, this one was a classic.
However, I also think Tomb Raider is unfortunately another very good example of trying to milk something dry to such extremes that it doesn't work out too well in the end. Let's not forget that although the franchise boomed at first it also more or less collapsed (looking at Angel of Darkness here). Even resulting in (as I understand it) the selling of the Core Design company, which were the original creators of Tomb Raider.
And although I have no doubt that there's still good money to be made from the Tomb Raider franchise I don't think it will ever get as big again as it once was.
Probably a blonde femail at that ;)