1843 posts • joined 19 Dec 2010
Bah, humbug ;-)
"A group of JPL scientists, working on improving space-scale laser ranging, believe they could one day measure the distance from Earth to Mars with millimetre accuracy."
Don't be too proud of this technological achievement you're constructing. The ability to measure the distance between planets is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
(I couldn't help myself. Darn you El Reg! ;-))
I find your lack of faith disturbing.
One major risk with cloud computing
I didn't really like the article, it was a big vague here and there. Everytime you mentioned seller I sort of figured you meant buyer and vice versa.
"So it's not the technology itself they have trust issues with, the issues are with those who run the cloud services. "
There is, as I mentioned, one nasty risk when it comes to cloud computing I think.
Although cloud computing should basically mean that a virtual instance can reside on many pieces of hardware so that should one of those pieces fail others take over, the reality sometimes shows us different. Many cloud providers basically setup some very heavy hardware and run several virtual instances on that single machine. Sure; the machine may be well set up for redundancy (double PSU's, RAID, SAN, etc.), but still one device.
We've already seen examples (here's looking at Amazon and Microsoft) where a failure somewhere along the lines of hardware caused many instances to drop out and become unavailable. Microsoft even seemed incapable of simply moving instances from a broken set up to a working one.
But here's another concern: What would happen if a government agency has determined that one of the instances on a server is used for illegal activities and they confiscate the entire machine? If your VPS happens to be on that box as well you could be in a heap of trouble, even if you didn't have anything to do with the illegal activities.
I think its a liable risk, but one many people seem to totally ignore.
Don't buy me tech; please!
If you want to deduct this to 'real men' then I think 'real men' better buy their own tech goodies.
I don't know about you, but when I get myself a goodie I'm a nitpicker. When I set my eyes on model 3515SB1a I most certainly will not settle for 3515SB1b, even though we might be talking about minor differences. Simply because I read the specs for the 'a model' and I know what it can't do. "This one is just as good" does not cut it for me when talking tech.
I'm weird enough to pay close attentions to details like that, but I honestly doubt some of my non-tech friends or even my gf would. So to avoid any awkward situations or ending up with tech goodies I might not even use I'd rather have my friends not buy me stuff like that.
For my last birthday my gf treated me (and herself ;-)) to a nice dinner in a restaurant. That's the kind of stuff I really enjoy much more than a well meant attempt of giving me some tech stuff.
You're being chased by a giant paperclip...
Of course they didn't mention Clippy. Clippy is to Gates what Windows 8 is to Ballmer (or so I think).
Of course the real reason is that "reliable sources" (Youtube) tell us that Clippy once drove Bill Gates to suicide (link to youtube movie which I think is funny).
You have been warned!
Would you like some HELP?! ;-)
Mir, where did I hear that name before...
Surely it couldn't be called after a space station which collapsed down to earth and burned up in the atmosphere? That sure gives some ideas for the future... ;-)
(yes, I know Mir didn't crash but got de-orbited in 2001 and their crash into the ocean was carefully planned; you're ruining my joke ;)).
Don't blame Microsoft but...
This shouldn't come as a surprise in my opinion. That is; not to those who read Microsoft's services agreement policy before using them.
For starters (for real, this is at the top and also bold):
"IF YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, SECTION 10 CONTAINS A BINDING ARBITRATION CLAUSE AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER. IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE WITH MICROSOFT. PLEASE READ IT."
That should be an eye opener in my opinion. So what is section 10 (I prefer Section 9 myself, but then again; I'm a GiTS addict ;))? The usual kind of clause one could expect in a country which seems totally obsessed with lawsuits (seems obsessed to an outsider like me anyway).
Nah, what I'm referring to is section 5; "Privacy": "How does Microsoft respond to legal process?". And what do you know: "Microsoft may be obligated to comply with requests for your information or your content as part of such investigations or legal proceedings.".
Its right in their policies: they're following the law, as I somewhat would expect from them.
Don't blame Microsoft, BUT: Blame the big brother government of the United States instead.
But somehow I don't see that happening; Microsoft is a much easier target of course.
Coming around to remind us why it often makes more sense to use desktop applications instead of sticking your head in the virtual clouds.
We're going FreeBSD (and Mono)!
My company is using 2 (in-house) Windows Server 2003 versions and the only reason we have 2 is because of TechNet (the original plan was 1 license for production and one for testing. Thanks to TechNet we could use 2 licenses for production and the TechNet license for testing).
TechNet is basically gone (you need to make business decisions as soon as possible; so I already decided this way), 3 Windows 2008 server licenses is too expensive for the company and although I was considering to look into a small business server I made up my mind a few weeks ago: we're going FreeBSD.
Common tasks like file sharing and such shouldn't be a problem with Samba, Internet services.. Well, that should be a given.
And also interesting: with the Mono project and the mod_mono plugin I can even get Apache (or perhaps nginx, which is said to be better with proxying) to parse ASP.NET code and feed it into mod_mono. Although it's not up to speed with the latest ASP.NET standards, it should be able to cope with common forms and mvc projects.
And there's ZFS :-)
Also interesting: FreeBSD can be picked up free or charge, and I got a feeling it will last quite a while.
So although it's going to be one hell of a project (one I'm not really looking forward to due to the time it's going to take) I think that's still the better way to go.
Microsoft has turned into a very unreliable partner for small to mid-range businesses. And we (IT based company) know better than to put our data into the (Microsoft) cloud (even though I don't think Microsoft is untrustworthy with this, but a private server never fails when there's an Internet outage).
Why do I keep hearing AC/DC's "Highway to hell" in my mind as of late, whenever I'm thinking about Microsoft?
Good move; but still too little, too late...
Why you may be wondering? It's not because I think badly about the whole Windows Phone line; to be honest I kind of like it (still using WP7.5 myself because I like my 8 medium sized tiles on screen (and the small arrow indicator) better than the new "either extra small or extra large tiles" kind of choice (which you get with the 7.8 update; at most you'll get 6.5 medium sized tiles on your screen unless you resort to using extra small tiles)).
Even so; although I think this is a good move it's still a bit too late. They should have been doing this with WP7 instead. Because most interested people & fans bought into that because of 3 main issues:
1) Support: Windows is supported for many years; so most buyers expected the same with Windows Phone.
2) As if #1 wasn't enough; Microsoft explicitly stated that dumping Windows Mobile 6.5 (the predecessor of WP7) was somewhat of a mistake which they wouldn't repeat.
3) If the previous points weren't enough: in addition to #2 Microsoft even started making specific demands to the hardware, convincing many people (yours truly included) that they were carefully aiming for the future.
Well, the results should be well known: WP7 got one (desperately needed) update to 7.5 and that was basically it. After that WP8 got announced and although Microsoft denied it many WP7(.5) users realized that as soon as 8 was out (which isn't downwards compatible; native WP8 applications do not run on WP7.x) it would also mean that support for WP7.x would rapidly decline. And it did.
Although I'm not complaining (I prepared myself too much for that) it basically resulted in me getting a "modern" smartphone, only to learn that it would be obsoleted within a year. NOT the kind of result I expected from a Microsoft product. And judging from several WP fora I don't stand alone in this.
SO yeah, this is a good move, but the previous ones have already cost Microsoft a lot of goodwill. Because the so called early adaptors of their product sort of felt being left in the cold. And I somewhat doubt that those guys would recommend a Windows Phone. Heck; even though I'm actually pretty happy with my WP7.5 (I don't like the 7.8 update) I wouldn't recommend a Windows Phone perse. Because if you get one then there's no telling how soon support will drop.
"No, you're wrong; WP8 is "an even better choice for business"" (quote from a marketing mail I got).
But like; that's what you said about Windows Phone 7 not much longer than a year ago as well, and look where we are now...
And although I'm not much of an Android fan (mainly because of Google, which I consider very intrusive) nor Apple you got to admit that they both provide much better upgrading scenarios. Even if you have an older phone there's nothing stopping you from installing a more modern OS.
Sure; it may not run as quickly as a phone with more modern specs, but the fact remains that if you buy a "top notch" model you may very well end up with a phone which can last for years (and with that I'm referring to years of continued support).
Microsoft had that exact same reputation, but didn't (couldn't?) live up to it. And now when the damage has already been done they're all of a sudden starting to extend support cycles and stuff.
As such my post title: too little, too late.
Oh Microsoft, how transparent you've become...
"And just how users will carry over their Office licences in the "upgrade" was not explained."
That's because Microsoft never really heard of the upgrade process. If you paid for Office 2003 and are looking into upgrading to Office 2007 you can forget about Microsoft acknowledging you as an appreciated customer by providing a discount (no matter how small). No way; you'll just have to pay the full price again.
Now, keep in mind that I'm not judging that behaviour perse. Companies need to make money, so they decide to try and get the maximum revenue, their call.
But please spare me the marketing nonsense about how people can "upgrade" to something else. People can't: people can buy into something else instead.
And as the header says: I think they're becoming awfully transparent as of late:
"“upgrade SKUs” that will let IT bosses running on-premises Office move to cloud-hosted Office 365."
Should be obvious: make something so seemingly easy that an "IT boss" (read: manager who more than often knows more about management than ICT these days) can handle it and chances become very high that the brain cogs start to come up with the bizarre idea that they can actually save money by going 365 because they don't need "those IT guys" to set it up for them.
Of course cost reduction isn't everything. There are also important details to be dealt with as security, continuity and the "total cost of ownership" but not at the moment but while also weighing in scenario's such as: "I accidentally removed $important_document, took me 3 days to build and if I don't have it back in the hour it's going to cost us $huge_amounts_of_money".
365 couldn't care less about scenario's like that, while those "overpriced local ICT guys" might very likely be able to help you within the hour. Of course that kind of service comes at a price, but unfortunately most managers tend to forget that these days.
"If it is on my machine(s) then at least I have a decent idea if access is requested."
Well, that's the irony of it all because although Microsoft is now spouting off idiocy about "saving money" guess what one of the "advanced" features of Office 365 is?
The ability to download the desktop applications which can then run on your own computer, I kid you not.
Of course the big difference now is that while you still ended up with the desktop applications you're now also paying Microsoft a monthly fee for it.
Security deserves more attention.
I know I'm cynical here, but the last thing you want as an administrator in an "educational facility" such as a school or Uni is students who bring their own stuff to connect to your own network.
Because although the theory behind it all sounds very nice and fluffy, the dirty truth of the matter is that no other semi-commercial network environment will suffer from more direct and internal attacks than a school network. This isn't bad mouthing the students, and I'm also not exaggerating; it's merely a given. Anyone who has worked in this field for a while knows this.
So I think the article goes over the enrolment process a little bit too easy. Commonly speaking you don't want to give students direct access to the main school network, enrolment or not.
Note that I'm not claiming that providing easier Internet access or a "student network" which allows students to, well, use their own stuff is a bad idea. However; in these scenario's you're talking about sections which have been carefully locked down in order to clearly sever any ties between these "outer networks" and the schools own network facility.
But most certainly not an environment where a teacher puts some presentation in his own home or working directory to be used in a class room and right after storing it can be accessed by the rest of the school.
Time of Eve
Time of Eve is a Anime movie (was also a series I think) which deals with almost the exact issue; the behaviour of humans around "robots" or androids in this case.
And I think the studies aren't that much off. However, I'm not that much impressed with the results because if you look at human history you can draw the same conclusions. People tend to have a superiority complex. Just look at the time it took for women to obtain voting rights (in Europe we were a bit faster than the United States, but even that didn't mean women we're fully treated equally).
Or what to think about gay and lesbian couples? Only a rough 20 - 30 years ago such people might even get openly shunned (or worse) for just walking hand in hand with each other.
So let me take this even one step further: a human who takes on an android as his partner (or companion) and treats him / her nearly equal? I'm pretty sure those people will be mocked, shunned and maybe even threatened because obviously you must be a pretty sick person to treat a emotionless thing as if it would care about what happened to it? Then another 30 years later and his becomes perfectly acceptable behaviour again.
Alas; I can strongly recommend "Time of Eve". It's an awesome movie which deals with this same aspect, on a smaller scale. A world where the situation I pictured here is real; and to make sure that androids can be clearly identified as such they must wear an holographic ring over their head. And the owner of one of those androids suddenly notices in her behavioural log that she's been acting on her own initiative every once in a while.
Following her GPS coordinates he and a friend end up in a small café called "The Time of Eve". And the main rule in this café is that androids and humans are to be treated equally. Androids no longer wear their holographic ring and that leads to the boys curiosity: "Is he/she real or..."?
My gf suggested this movie and although I first thought it was going to be one of those psychological mumbo jumbo movies it actually turned out into one heck of an intriguing experience. This thing even goes as far as briefly hinting at some of the potential flaws in the well known "3 laws of robotics".
Absolute must see if you're interested in subjects such as the one this article addresses in my opinion.
"Lets hope he makes himself a millionaire by taking them to court after it is all over."
Right, waited quite a while before responding because in my opinion there is no clear right and wrong here.
I tend to agree with you, however what I hope for even more is that his stay in jail (and the psychological impact this must have) hasn't turned him into the kind of twisted guy they were afraid he'd be in the first place.
Because although I think that some "jokes" shouldn't be made and deserve some form of punishment you also need to make sure not to overdo it. That is the other side of the medal.
I sincerely hope not but if this guy is going to "get back at society" in 5 or 6 years or so, then who is to blame here? That's going to become quite a bizarre argument. One which could have been avoided in the first place; right now.
"so they don't need to spend a shedload of cash on a huge server-farm to sift through all that data ?"
Nah, I'll bet they need that money to buy themselves the rights to call this new alien hunting bureau 'Torchwood'.
Runs good with the public so money well spent don't you think? ;-)
Re: Dear Mr Snowden
"The people you are trying to enlighten are fickle and mostly stupid."
Of course you're now also assuming that these numbers are actually correct and that the right conclusions have been drawn.
It wouldn't be the first time that the government tries tactics like "divide and conquer" to try and bring someone into discredit.
Make people believe that "many people" don't agree with the hero and all of a sudden you'll have people disliking him/her. Not because they think that he did the wrong thing. But if so many people think bad of him then surely something must be afoul?
Too bad many people don't seem capable to look beyond the source of such information.
"Now. Where can I buy this or something similar?"
No idea about something similar; but concerning this device: have you tried clicking the "Find your nearest dealer" option yet?
Have to say that the question kind of puzzles me, considering that the solution seems to be very obvious.
And if you need to find more online prices (or stores) then why not ask Google? You know, like this.
No offense intended here, but it really looks to me as if your main question is a bit obvious.
I'll believe in a conspiracy...
...When it has been proven beyond doubt that the next major Windows release has undone itself (either entirely or partly) from the TIFKAM horror.
Even so; it could be more than TIFKAM alone I think. Don't forget that with Windows 8 also came a new "display theme"; clearly visible in Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 (why they ever decided to let a developer platform follow the look & feel standard of the consumer product line is way beyond me).
And although taste differs I can't say that I'm very thrilled about that new look and feel. Not at all; especially since it seems to consist of removing all colours and nuances and making the interface as dull and flat as possible.. Yech.
I never understood...
What kind of moron would watch pr0n movies at work?
This seems to be happening quite a lot recently. Only a few months ago a Dutch professor got into trouble at the Uni in Wageningen because he basically did the same thing; watching pr0n on his laptop while forgetting that the laptop was connected to the main screen.
I mean; don't you have better things to do while being at work?
That's Sun, not Oracle...
"LibreOffice, the open source office suite created by disaffected Oracle developers".
LibreOffice was an OpenOffice fork and one done in direct response to Oracle's take-over of Sun Microsystems. I strongly doubt that the majority of developers were Oracle employees at that time.
I know I'm nitpicking a little bit, but it's stuff like this which helps people forget or even change the actual history.
Because what's next? OpenOffice was developed by Oracle and then sold or given away to Apache?
"You can agree on the price of bananas even if they don't all look the same"
Most of the banana's I see in the store are usually green. Which basically means they're not really ripe yet (one of the reasons I hardly buy bananas).
So does this mean we can also sell unfinished cloud solutions ("just pay up and we'll finish it later..")?
I can see Ballmer now...
"I told you getting rid of TechNet was a good idea.. Only one day after we decided to whack it and Windows 8 sales are already surpassing Vista!".
The sad part? Although this is meant as a joke I'm somewhat serious here. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if some beancounters actually draw these kind of conclusions.
It gets even worse...
If you own a PS3 and bought a Ubisoft game you'll get a nice automated setup to get into their Ubinet or whatever its called. Totally automatic; they set everything up for you.
Of course they somehow link your PSN account with a Ubisoft account, effectively picking up some information which is already present in your PSN account.
So what password is being set? I don't know. What information is being used? I assume my e-mail address, but apart from that: I don't know.
Welcome to modern gaming; where they will fuck up everything for you, no need to do anything but to click register and enter your unlock codes (otherwise you can't play the game obviously).
So I changed my PSN password just in case, but if that somehow disrupts their ubinet or whatever crap they got then screw them.
Re: Haswell the ghost
"There is a world of difference between what a user 'Wants' and what they really 'Need'.
My guess is that you want a Haswell Netbook/Ultrabook but do you really need one?"
From a reseller perspective: who cares? If there are people willing to buy then the most logical course of action is to make that stuff available.
Nah, the real issue here is that my company is a (small!) Microsoft reseller. Of course with the recent TechNet announcement it remains to be seen if we'll keep that up, but that's a different subject.
Quite frankly I'd rather spend my time working on my 2k8R2 experiences since there is a very reasonable chance I get to use it, rather than wasting my time on something I'd recommend my customers not to buy in the first place.
"Have you downloaded the Windows 8.1 preview and what do you think?"
I didn't even bother anymore because I simply don't see the point.
They fooled me once with the customer preview, they fooled me twice with the developer preview (basically all the mumbo jumbo marketing nonsense surrounding it), but guess what? I won't be fooled again; I got better things to do.
The way I see it none of the complaints which people had regarding to desktop usage have been addressed. Well, their loss.
I'll bet its done to get more attention to the user forums ;)
Honestly, I've been a regular poster here for quite some time (I personally enjoy El Reg better than Slashdot), but I think this is the first time I was looking for a non-article thread like this ;)
I do like the way they now show the most favoured posts right below the article. I think that change makes sense. The new greyish look.. It's different, I can't say I'm enthusiastic about it, but I also don't dislike it.
The icons however are distracting. It's stupid. There is a good reason why most fora (SMF, PhpBB, vBulletin, etc.) default to showing the name and optional avatar of a writer to the left; because we read from left to right.
So skimming the posts would immediately give me a good idea as to what someone would say. A Microsoft article I liked or agreed with? Then I'd usually ignore the 'Fail' icons, easily spotted.
Is El Reg by any chance running the latest SharePoint or such, and are now inclined to using Microsoft's currently favoured "bare looks"?
Edit: I guess we'll know for sure once they remove all the colour from the icons ;)
I admire your initiative but I doubt it will matter. Even with one of their flagship products, Visual Studio, it took thousands of "feature request votes" (where approx. 400 - 600 is the norm) and even then they didn't reverse their initial decision to strip away all the colours from the program.
Instead they added some extra themes (to make it look more like VS2010), supplied a theme editor for customization and that's it.
"Now everyone please shut up while we prepare for VS2013, the next cool version which you are all going to buy because it's even better than VS2012!".
I'm afraid MS has stopped listening to its customer base and their fanbase a long time ago. And quite frankly, I don't think they have what it takes to run their company in an "Oracle like fashion". Oracle never had deep ties with any community because they were never a "consumer player", but Microsoft otoh. is (think Windows, XBox, Office, etc.).
Display of incompetence...
I do agree with the author that it sure looks that Microsoft is going out of their way in search for more money because it indeed loses its monopoly position.
However, the way they do it shows how braindead they really are. These are dark times in my opinion. Because if you're losing the edge then I'd say the last thing you want to do is make yourself less popular. Instead focus on that part and make sure that people still want to use and sell your products.
To me TechNet wasn't merely a source of software for evaluation; it was a /constant/ source of software for evaluation on a wider range than merely the "latest and greatest". This is going to hurt them even more than they may realize I think.
What I mean with that?
My company is a Microsoft reseller. My core business is website hosting and in-house systems administration. At my home office I run Win7 and Office 2010. So what to do when I have a job coming up where a customer still runs XP and Office 2007 or 2003 and I need to prepare for something specific?
Then I download this software from TechNet, setup a test environment and prepare myself to working with the customers environment. I save the serials in OneNote and when I'm done the software gets removed again.
Obviously that is not going to work any more. The new evaluation centre only provides the latest software for, well, evaluation to determine if you're going to buy it or not. That's not what I'm doing; I'm using it to evaluate how a customer environment looks and feels and to prepare me for my job.
Not only doesn't that centre provide older (or current!) software; the time limit also makes it useless for me. I don't use software 180 days straight. But I might use it for 180 days in total, spread out over 2 or 3 years or so. But obviously that won't be possible: I imagine that once you start your evaluation the clock ticks for 180 days straight. And when it runs out you're done.
Its pathetic. You can't even grab Server 2008R2 from there, even though that is still quite a mainstream product.
The next "alternative" is the virtual labs. Evaluation online. "No need to install a thing". But like, that's exactly one of the aspects that I'm after: getting experience up-front so that I can somewhat prepare myself before going on-site where the customer pays by the hour.
This is going to cost Microsoft a lot more money than they bargained for I think.
Do you really think I'll continue to promote MS Office (2013) if I can no longer do any easy test runs myself (I'm still on 2010 myself and that's not going to change)?
I can see it now... "Sure, I can come over and set up MS Office for you. Let's see, that's going to take me at least 3 hours, excluding the price of Office. I know it sounds ridiculous; but I'll have to do all preparations on site. What's that? Making sure that your environment can actually /run/ Office 2013, I can no longer do this from here. Sorry. Yeah, at E 80/hours plus the software costs its going to get expensive, I know. What? Office 365? Nah, what I'd recommend is considering to get OpenOffice. It's a free office suite and one which I know will run on your environment because I already tested it myself. What? Nah, the software is free and I think I'll be done within the hour. Maybe 2 if you also want some instructions. Well, just look at it this way: the extra E 80,- for an hour of instructions is basically paid by what you're saving with not purchasing Office 2013, which costs much more than that. Yeah, it's fully compatible, no problems there.".
Does Microsoft really think I'll just tell my customers to get a subscription with them while there's still honest money to be made for myself? I don't think so.
Your loss Microsoft.
I'm not saying it is the correct strategy. However, it is not wrong either.
Oh but it is, it is wrong on so many accounts.
Because what you overlook in this statement is Microsoft's core customerbase. Not looking at the depth of their pockets but simply at their sheer numbers: the end users.
Windows still is one of the most widely used operating system. And many small players, my company included, use that to leverage our own business. For me TechNet is a key asset in my company (you guessed it; mainly aimed at systems administration).
I think this is a very wrong strategy. Microsoft seems to be overlooking an obvious issue... If you have a $600 product and you manage to sell 2 you have a $1200 revenue (not a profit perse mind you).
But if you lower said price to, say $400 or $300 you might very well be able to sell a whole lot more (depending on the product). If we stick to $400 and you then manage to sell 4 products you now have made $1600 revenue.
These are but small numbers, now try to think even bigger.
Trying to gross in more money doesn't automatically mean that you'll do so by getting the same sales amounts. What is also very important to realize is that big sales more than often start small.
"Yes. They still keep telling each other that next year linux will own the desktop."
But they are making progress. Just check the response to, say, Unity (Gnome desktop) and compare that response to the current of the "desktop standard" OS Windows 8.
Gnome was first in introducing something which made their users run away, and Microsoft followed up on it.
The last Airbender
For me there is only one true Avatar and it's most certainly not this sci-fi remake of Pocahontas (personal opinion).
And that involves the story around Aang, the last Airbender, from a fantasy world where there are only 4 nations which each have mastered control ("bending") over one of the four ancient elements: Fire, Water, Earth and Air.
What makes this animation series a true classic in my opinion is the way its being played out. It touches "adult" topics such as things like oppression, warfare, the ancient "power corrupts and total power corrupts totally", but also gives us an insight to the wide variety in a world. Different nations, different people, different habits.
The best parts about this series, in my opinion of course, are the fact that it actually has an ending, the eye for details (it spans 3 seasons, which matches the 3 nations (the Air nomads had been wiped out by the Fire nation)) and...
So you follow the series and learn almost from the first episode that the fire nation are the main oppressors here. They murdered the Air nomads for no other reason but to stop the next incarnation of the Avatar. Then they started invading the nations of the water tribes and eventually also directly assaulted the Earth nation in an attack which would most likely have taken millions of casualties (the "Scorched Earth" technique).
So what would you expect when you'd visit this fire nation? A whole country of power hungry and war-eager people ready to chop of the heads of any outlander?
More than often the activities of a government don't always have the support of all their citizens. Something which Avatar managed to bring to the viewers attention in a more than excellent way. There is a war? People go on with their lives, the only thing they do hope for is that their family will be home soon.
THAT is Avatar for me.
When the Americans demanded access to every bit of privacy sensitive information regarding EU citizens then there was no problem at all. I've never been to the US and quite frankly with the current state of affairs I also wouldn't want to go there, but even so the US government still wanted to gain access to my bank accounts. We all might be terrists after all.
But now, when its happening to the upper brass themselves, all of a sudden we're in a panic. How typical.
To be honest, given the -IMO- paranoia state of the US I can to some extend understand that they're bugging buildings in Washington. I don't agree with it, but I can see where it's coming from. In fact, I think it was to be expected. After all; its not as private as an embassy.
Still, the rumours that they even infiltrated in several buildings in Brussels is taking it one step too far in my opinion. That almost brings back memories of old Mother Russia where diplomats simply expected to be bugged.
I recall reading a story about a Dutch politician who was on a business trip to Moscow (we're talking the 70's here) and on the last day in his hotel he started talking to his wife how cool it could be if the Russians would give him some Caviare as a 'going away present'. Even mentioned a completely random brand which he just read about that very day in a paper.
Guess what he got before departure, with compliments of the Russian state?
And you, uhm, also checked your bank account just to be safe? ;-)
I'll be back
For more money.
I can see it now...
User is at home? Check!
User is behind his/her computer? Check!
IP address is known with Microsoft? Check!
Users PC is running Windows 7? Check!
Mood: You suffer from suppressed moments of anxiety.
Advice: It's because your computer isn't as effective as it could be, and your subconscious knows this. Fortunately you don't need to seek professional help, just get a Windows 8 license, unlock your true potential and change the way you work forever!
[2 months later]
User is at home? Check!
User is behind his/her computer? Check!
IP address is known with Microsoft? Check!
Users PC is running Windows 8? Check!
Mood: You suffer from depression.
Advice: Consider seeking professional help.
[user thinks: man, this application is GOOD]
"Further, if you disregard the noise of Start menu debates, there is obvious merit in concepts like sandboxed apps easily deployed from an app store"
What merits would that be? Or better put: apart from the merits for Microsoft themselves, which obviously sits in the middle of the revenue of both customers who might pay to buy software as well as developers who have to pay to sell software...
I don't see much merits for customers, apart from some ease of use. But that ease comes at a hefty price, because which company controls what does and doesn't get into the appstore? Leading up to: Would Microsoft allow Apache to push OpenOffice into their appstore? Let's say during launch of their possibly upcoming own version of an metro stained Office?
There is a dark side to all this, and that goes double if we're talking about desktop usage.
Don't forget that big changes start slow. And I sure would NOT enjoy the moment when we suddenly discover that Windows 12 (to name a random future release) no longer provides any means to install software yourself APART from either using the appstore or an Enterprise environment.
That is the kind of risk I'm seeing here. And as said: it starts slow. An optional app store, what will be the next move though?
How long before...
We'll get the lame rhetoric again: "Our partners don't understand our vision and great leadership!"?
A better question: How long before Ballmer will finally realize that the time of dictation is truly behind them?
"trouble is, most people when they buy a PC have this turd pre-installed and they are not given an alternative. Microsoft play the games with manufacturers to keep their virtual monopoly intact."
Agreed, but that sense of security is crumbling. People start to realize that they can also wait it out (Windows 7 vs. Windows 8) or better yet: ignore the thing all together and get something different such as a tablet.
Microsoft still seems to be relying on this particular sales model, but the times have changed drastically.
Does the author actually know how TechNet & MSDN work?
"MSDN and TechNet subscribers can download the preview version now, but you certainly won't be able to deploy the final version for free."
And why wouldn't people subscribed to either TechNet or MSDN be able to deploy the final version for free? We can already do that with version 2012, why would R2 be any different?
Because that is exactly how these environments work. I quote: "Microsoft TechNet Subscriptions help IT Professionals confidently evaluate Microsoft software and plan deployments.", which basically means so much as being able to deploy software and operating systems in specific environments for evaluation and testing purposes. What software you ask? Well: "Microsoft full-version and beta software, with no feature limits". It's this reason why I can easily pick up a full version of Server 2012 right now if I want to. And this has now been extended with the 2012R2 preview and essentials preview versions.
MSDN works basically in the same way, although the focus isn't on the software itself but the purpose to develop software for it: "Software, services and support – you get the complete package for all your development and testing needs." and what do you know? If you check out the MSDN subscriber download page you'll get a good overview of some of the stuff available to MSDN subscribers.
The main difference is the approach. Where TechNet provides a wide variety of software for testing and evaluation, MSDN focusses on development platforms and software for development purposes (you don't only get to download Visual Studio for example, you'll get licenses to grab an accompanying Windows version as well).
SO I don't know where the author got his wisdom from but it doesn't make much sense to me.
Quite frankly I think the real issue here is media coverage. So I would translate that first sentence into: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker, as long as the media is hot on his trail".
That's probably part of Obama's latest political move; trying to make the word "hacker" to sound as negative as possible. Then, when he can eventually announce "We got the hacker" he probably expects everyone to be cheering again.
Let me fix that for you...
"Rapid release cadence is absolutely fundamental to what we're doing"
I beg to differ. It has become fundamental for you because of what you're doing. And what Microsoft is currently doing is releasing products over their entire range which their customers would rather avoid best as they can. And it's getting out of hand I think.
This isn't about people disliking certain changes any more, in my opinion Microsoft is alienating themselves from their own customer base, even their own fans, and it's becoming dangerous I think. Visual Studio 2012? Most developers prefer not to upgrade but to stick with 2010 because of the better interface, and given that VS2010 supports .NET 4.0 as well you can also easily it together with modern Windows versions. Of course 2012 becomes a requirement when developing for Windows 8, but who's going to do that? New developers, like myself, will have no choice but to buy this version because 2010 is no longer available, or they need to grab an MSDN subscription. I know some people did just that solely for grabbing 2010 and took the extra's (software licenses) as a bonus. But it was 2010 they were after.
Xbox One anyone? I'm a PS3 user and although I prefer the environment you won't find me trashing the Xbox. In this case there was also no need what so ever, because Microsoft's own Xbox fans were doing that themselves after the news of all the Xbox One tie ins (no second hand games, constant internet connection, etc.). Sure; Microsoft reversed some of those decisions, but the initial act remains. And the damage has been done; because all console users know that if you buy a gaming console then chances are high that its functionality will change over the years.
And what does Microsoft do? Instead of realizing what is going on they're going to release more products over a shorter time period. And I don't think it's hard to guess what their motivations are: more money. They're going to need it if no one is buying their stuff any more.
But honestly: instead of creating more products, why not start with creating better products instead? You know: products which people would actually want to use? Because if even your fans are rallying and openly state that they'll just skip and avoid certain versions, even on your own fora, then something is very wrong here.
Don't go for quantity; try going for quality instead!
I honestly think this is a very dangerous development for Microsoft. Make one product which people don't want and you can calculate the risks involved. Start mass production of that stuff and you may very well head for a big financial impact.
Even so, I do hope I'll be proven wrong. But I have a bad feeling about all this.
They need to add an option to Windows 8 to make it work exactly like Windows 3.1 did - why should I be forced into using Microsofts crappy new "user friendly" UI when what they had before worked perfectly fine for me?
I know you're joking but quite frankly that is exactly what they should have done. Because when Windows 95 came out, which basically introduced the start menu to the masses, it still retained the option to use progman.exe, and that feature has been included with more modern Windows versions for a long time. Some people fell back to that but eventually everyone picked up on the start menu.
But I do believe that this is the main reason why Windows 8 is the catastrophe it is today: people aren't given a choice, so they''re simply making one themselves by not getting involved with Windows 8 at all.
2 click access to device manager, uninstall programs, control panel, System, and so much more.
Unless you're a user like me who uses a non-privileged user account. When I run certain msc files I need to raise my privileges. On Windows 7 this means right click on the option and "run as administrator". With this great Windows 8 that has become impossible because you're already using a context menu (you need to right click to access this menu) yet one which only starts msc files without being privilege aware.
Therefor on Windows 7 its a meagre 3 click option for me: click the start menu, right click (for example) "my computer" and click "manage". Due to my privileges and because I'm trying to access 'my computer' the system automatically picks up that I need to raise my privileges.
And well; because the control panel sits in my start menu as a menu option I too can reach all these with 2 clicks (start -> hover -> click).
Do almost anything faster
Like what? When working on Windows 7 I heavily use the "recently started programs" section which dynamically changes based on the software I often use. This allows me to almost every time use 2 clicks to start the software I need the most. Better yet: because it's dynamic I don't have to do a thing myself.
Try that with Windows 8.
"At the risk of a bazillion downvotes: This is exactly, pretty much word for word what was said when XP came out by many many people (myself included)."
With one huge difference: XP still provided a working progman.exe, so if you really didn't like the start menu and wanted to go back to the way it was you could.
People had a choice in the matter, even if it did require some in-depth understanding how this stuff works.
Visual Studio 2013?
"The company revealed on Tuesday the availability of Windows Server and System Center 2012 RT, Windows Intune and SQL Server 2014 and Visual Studio 2013.".
Not quite correct. As you can read on Microsoft's techblog they announced the upcoming build preview of Visual Studio 2013, that will be available at the end of the month.
Visual Studio 2013 itself is expected to be available later this year, according to that same blog that is.
Because they would most likely expect a little display of courtesy back. But for some reason I doubt that Google would consider it a bonus if Snowden started to advertise for them ;)
".. they are talking to him in an uncomfortable room about all he knows about the NSA."
Or he's freely giving them any information they want (and as much as he can produce) in exchange for safety on the terminal, to be raised with a scheduled direct flight.
That would be the most likely scenario in my opinion. He's already an unwanted person, so he basically has nothing to lose any more.
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