305 posts • joined Sunday 20th March 2011 14:43 GMT
Re: You forgot one thing...
You forgot to justify XP as a "good thing". Familiar, yes. I'm not sure it is "good" any more.
Since it's EOL was announced support for new hardware isn't guaranteed ...
When people talk about XP as "good" they mean one of two things.
a) I want my Windows to look and work like XP, regardless of what's under the covers.
b) XP works for me, and I don't want to have to pay for an upgrade.
If Microsoft were smart, their answer to (a) would simply be to repackage Windows 8 so that it looked and worked exactly like XP, while having all the new goodness (and the nasty DRM) of the new system, without any change in appearance or requirement for the user to learn anything new.
The answer to (b) is probably Linux ... Microsoft's problem is that the answer to (a) will look like Linux as well, if they don't learn that in order to succeed they have to provide what users actually want.
Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...
You seriously expect them to be able to operate an alternative office suite?
I doubt that more than a handful of them are actually competent at using the tools they're allegedly already familiar with, so I can't see them being any less able with any alternative.
It's not as though LibreOffice was staggeringly dissimilar from Microsoft Office, especially Microsoft Office 2003 which is what they've all been using until very recently. I should think the ribbon has proved more of a challenge than switching to LibreOffice would have been.
Re: Have we learned nothing....
Why do humans keep ignorant/incompetent people on the government, is something they will never understand...
It keeps them off the streets ... and it's easier than educating them.
Re: Cloud OS
ChromeOS's sole purpose is to break the requirement for Windows on the endpoint.
No, I'd say ChromeOS's primary purpose was to encourage the user to store all his data in Google's cloud, to be sucked clean and spat back as adverts. Google won't mind at all if it hurts Microsoft too, but as I understand Google's plans for world domination they'll quite happy to use a Microsoft-owned endpoint as something to stand on, on the way.
Paris, because I hear she's not fussy who gives her a leg-up, either.
Re: Private cloud?
Windows NT went out of support years ago.
Don't be disingenuous. Windows 8 is just as much an NT version as every Microsoft OS on x86 that didn't sit on top of MS-DOS has ever been ... apart from Xenix, that is!
The review suggests that the maximum drive size these units can take is 2TB, but falls short of actually saying so. I imagine the truth is that the 2TB limit is real because the firmware can only handle drives formatted with an old-style partition table, rather than the newer GPT format.
Now that it's relatively easy to buy drives as large as 4TB (and the cost per byte is lower than with 2TB drives from the same maker) there is a need for NAS hardware that can use them. It's a shame that Synology haven't provided that in this new device.
... and before you say "Why would you need 4TB in a home NAS?" it's because home users are likely to fill their NASes with music and video files, and so probably fill them up faster than most businesses.
Yes, but ...
All the operators should talk and agree NOT to buy any. This way NONE of them will get shafted into making losses ...
The problem is that -- as it says in the article:
The contracts that operators sign with Apple are confidential.
They're actually not allowed to talk to each other, so Apple protects itself from any reasonable market forces. This sort of non-openness is pretty widespread throughout the industry, and never works out in the consumer's favour.
Re: MSI Wind U100 here
*and Compiz's Wobbly Windows. I'm a sucker for wobbly windows.
You, sir, are clearly insane ... but I upvoted you anyway!
Maybe so, but ...
I recently re-invigorated our netbook with win8.1, It was running slower and slower on xp so I formatted and but 8.1 on. It now starts and runs much quicker.
Had you chosen to reinstall XP I'm sure you would have seen the same increase in speed. Old Windows installations slow down because they accumulate cruft (and malware) not because the system itself ages.
Re: How very Dilbertesque!
Communication, to be effective, has to be tailored to the audience and the purpose. In this case, the audience seems to be policy makers and the purpose is to make themselves seem at the same time effective and also in need of more funding. It is rhetoric for the purpose of self- promotion. Big words and dense sentences justify big spends ...
So what you're saying is that It's about impressing politicians who have big budgets at their disposal by using meaningless words that will make them think they're too stupid to understand, and embarrassed to admit that they don't understand, but that will certainly impress them enough to elicit further funding?
So there's a reason that it makes no sense!
The alternative would be that the people writing this stuff think that it does actually mean something, but that would be inconceivable.
Re: Cheap as Chips?
... Look at how much they nobbled the atom platform (Netbooks limited to 2GB RAM)
No, it was Microsoft who nobbled the netbook platform by not allowing Windows 7 Starter Edition (the cheap netbook version) to be licenced for machines capable of supporting more RAM (or having a larger display than 1024x600, etc). Manufacturers wanted the cheap licence for the cheap machines , so they nobbled the support hardware to qualify.
It's true that Atom chips, although they do support a full 4GB of address space, are limited by having rather rudementary memory controllers; Intel had to do that to keep the transistor count and so the power consumption low. I wouldn't call that "nobbling" because there's a technical reason for it (albeit one that could have been avoided in a better-designed chip).
Re: any bets on how long EOP will take to bin the good bits?
[Elop] along with the board of directors decided that their strategy at the time for the phone business only.... was a dead end and decided to go the windows route rather than be just another Android phone maker.
You say that like would have been a bad thing!
Nokia had several internal projects to develop their own new OS, and also had Symbian. What they didn't have was a clear idea of which of those OSes to promote above the others and use as the software platform for their phones for the next ten years. The reason for that seems to have been weak management and internal poiltics.
Picking any one of those OSes would have been acceptable, picking the best of them would have been good -- I don't know of anyone who has a Nokia N9 (running MeeGo) that doesn't love it. Elop didn't do either. He spouted a lot of nonsense about "burning" platforms, swept years of hard work into the bin, and sold the whole company out to his former employer.
That's not to say that Windows Phone is actually a bad system -- the phone is one the platform that the tiled GUI makes some kind of sense -- but Nokia, of all people, could have done so much better.
I don't see Nokia going Android as the inevitable alternative to Nokia going Windows, but even it they had gone to Android they'd have done well -- I'd much rather my current Android handset had been made by Nokia than by Samsung because Nokia know how to make hardware.
Re: Sophisticated zero-day in-memory payload flaw ..
It is a reflexive verb, my program has a bug in it, your program has a flaw, their program is a car crash.
I think you mean "irregular verb", Minister.
We don't much use reflexive forms in English. In some other languages there are verbs that are only used that way; e.g. se coucher in French, which is a bit like having to say "I lie myself down" rather than "I lie down".
Re: BOFFINS: BILLIONS OF EARTH-LIKE LIFE-FRIENDLY ALIEN WORLDS IN GALAXY
Also, don't get me started on Itanium; it is NOT in the periodic table of elements.
No, it isn't ... and if it were our cousins across the water would be trying to spell it "Itanum".
At the moment, if you buy a subsidised handset on 1 year contract, at the end of the year, your monthly payment stays the same. So you have 2 options: Carry on paying the same with your 1 year old handset, or take out a new contract, for the same money and have a new handset.
3. Switch to a SIM-only contract for much less money and keep your old phone.
There's a bit more to it than that, though, as a contract will often include an element of warranty and insurance for the phone for the initial contract period -- guaranteed replacement within 24 hours can be useful -- and some users will upgrade their phones as soon as the old contract exipres to keep that.
Where do you buy RAM that is small enough to fit in an iPad for comparison?
The various "capacities" of iPad differ in the amount of flash storage they have. The RAM is apparently the same in each model (at least, Apple's own blurb doesn't make a distinction).
So, compare the prices of SD cards. The flash fitted in the iPads probably operates a little faster because it doesn't have to go through the SD card i/o interface but the costs should be comparable.
I see that from NewEgg a 16GB (Kingston Class 10 (fast)) SD card is only around US$ 15 and Apple charge six times as much by making the 32GB pad US$ 100 more than the 16GB. Here in the UK it's about £10 for a 16GB card and the difference in iPad prices is £10, so Apple are marking up by more over here.
A 128GB SD card card costs a little shy of $US 100 (or £70), so the Apple mark-up is less vicious on the higher capcity iPads.
Why am I not surprised ...
... that a library named "wound" does harm?
I can't help feeling that if I were distributing a library that contained malware I'd name it for something warm and comforting , rather than "wound". We can hardly claim not to have been warned!
[Latin: vulnerare: to wound or pierce with a weapon.]
Re: cut off
... the point of UAC was not security ...
The point of UAC most certainly was security. UAC was introduced at the same time as user account creation was changed so that new users would, by default, not have Administrator privileges.
Can you imagine what would have happened had UAC not been introduced at that time? Millions of home users working for the first time without Administrator privileges would have discovered that they couldn't install software (because they'd never heard of "Run as ...") and the support lines would have been buzzing. Microsoft introduced UAC to make the switch to limited user accounts manageable for those without an in-house IT department.
UAC is very definitely a security mechanism, even though what it actually does is not to increase security, but to reduce it in a controlled way. Using a non-admin account doesincrease security -- and UAC makes that a viable proposition for home users.
Re: Oh come on... @ Duncan Macdonald
"Engineers 1st rule : if it ain't broke - don't fix it"
The adjective is "broken". Unless you are talking about being out of money...
No. The adjective ought to be "broken", but it isn't. Similarly the verb ought to be "isn't" but it ain't ... er ... I mean isn't.
In the case of the venerable and well-known adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" tradition trumps correctness. Trying to correct it just makes you look like a smug pratt who's missed the point.
Re: Bad workmen.
"A bad workman always blames his tools"
Don't fall into the trap of assuming that anyone who complains about the quality of tools must be a bad workman. That's not what the old proverb tells us.
A good workman knows bad tools from good and won't use them. That's part of what it is to be a good workman. Anyone choosing bad tools will, of course, turn out not to be a good workman, and some of the blame for that will be down to the tools he uses.
Charles Stross is a successful author. Not a bad workman at all (you may not like his books, but they do sell so he's doing something right). He does not use the tools (MS Word) that he's complaining about (read the blog, he uses something called 'Scrivener'). He is a good workman criticizing the tools that others use -- and complaining that some of those others (his publishers) can't see how bad they are.
Beer for Charlie, because he's right!
Re: Full 17bn Please
Hit them where it hurts. Too late now to start pleading any sort of disposition. What is the point of a threat of fines if it's never enforced?
The point of a threat of fines is to persuade someone to change their behaviour. If you simply want the money you you don't threaten you just fine.
Just as Samsung used the threat of a ban on their competitors products to try to get those competitors to pay to license Samsung's technology patents.
The issue here is complicated: Samsung have some patents that are core to the technologies that everyone needs to use in order to communicate with each other. Other vendors need to use those technologies, and so must licence them from Samsung. So far, the other parties have either been refusing to pay for a licence or have been refusing to pay the price (which may or may not have been reasonable) set by Samsug. This way they have at least to negotiate, and there is the promise of a price being set by an independent arbitrator if agreement still can't be reached.
If it goes to arbitration Samsung will at least get paid for the use of their patents -- maybe not as much as they'd like, but something -- so this can be seen as a win for Samsung.
At the end of the day, though, this is the broken patent system enabling lawyers to milk technology companies, and not about technology itself.
If one is looking at the other options then may I ask: that given that one of the advantages of Word, particularly, in the corporate world is the abitlty to have scrips, ie VBA running.and what is the alternative?
The alternative is to write scripts, programs, etc., that carry out your data mining tasks outside your word processing tool. It is the job of a Word Processor to be good at word processing, it is not the job of a Word Processor to be a general-purpose programming environment ... we have general-purpose programming environments for that.
In short: Let the Word Processor be a good wordprocessor and don't spoil it with functions that have nothing to do with Word Processing ... leave those tasks to other software, which can excel at them and need not also be a second-rate Word Processor.
Beer: Because if people got simple things like this right thge first time we could all spend more time down the pub.
Re: Yes, Word is the worst word processor....
Anyway the file formats are now fully documented - why nobody delivers a word processor bettter then Word able to handle .doc/.docx formats is a mistery.... or not?
The .docx format is documented -- but its documentation is so convoluted and obfuscated as to be almost useless -- the .doc format is not.
I wonder why you think that a better word-processor than Word would necessarily use Word's own data formats, when it is the data formats that are the worst features of Word?
There is no mystery ... or mistery, for that matter.
Re: even my kids with learning disabilities can manage that
Mr. Stross needs to learn that he should use the right tool for the job. MS Word isn't designed for writing novels.
I think that is Mr.Stross's point. He knows that MS Word isn't designed for writing novels, but his publishers nevertheless insist that he use it.
Keep Text Together
Why doesn't anyone implement WordPerfect's oh-so-useful "Keep Text Together" command?
(I don't know if it's in Word, but I know it's not in LibreOffice.)
Would this be something like Libre Office's "Keep with next paragraph", which is one of the text flow options available with paragraph styles?
Re: The elephant in the room
It is tablets (and to a lesser extent smartphones) that allow people to get their content fix. As a result people can keep their aging PC longer since they don't use it as often, or a multiple PC household can downsize to fewer/one PC.
I'm surprised there are still people who deny this.
I don't think most people do deny that.
What they do deny is that this means that in the future people will want to use only phones and tablets and that the desktop PC market is therefore dead. What is happening is that people are spending their limited domestic IT budget on new shiny gadgets rather than upgrade the PC, but once most people have a phone and a tablet that they like they will again have money for a new PC.
However, I'm sure some people are saying "If I buy a new PC it'l come with that festering heap of poo called Windows 8 ... so I think I'll buy an iPad instead this year and hope that Windows 9 will be OK".
Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?
Extra powerful usb charger and modified usb cable. Once the charger realised that it was connected to the TF it would bump the power to 2.5 amps. Failing that, anything else connected would only be served the usual 1 or 0.5 amps.
No, you've got that the wrong way around.
The charger always makes the full 2.5A available. The device has to detect that the charger is capable of delivering all that current before trying to draw more than the basic 500mA (so as not to damage power sources that cannot supply a higher current).
If you connect a normal, non-negotiating, low-power device to the TF's charger it will only draw 500mA, which is fine because the charger has that and more available.
Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?
Good luck with your 13 year old car.
What's wrong with my 13-year-old car?
Apart from the fact that the stereo doesn't have a USB port or play MP3s, of course.
Re: Reversing Moore's Law
No the answer to "Why" is the same as to why Microsoft went all Metro on us: that manufacturers think the PC is dying.
That's in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy: The more people muck about with the PC the more it is likely to die. You meddle with a successful formula at your peril.
Yes, sure, there are smartphones and tablets and other nice new toys that extend what we can all achieve with our personal collection of IT kit -- and the ways and the places in which we can use it -- but these are additional devices not replacements for the PC. Yes, some people will find that they can manage with just a mobile device but most of us will cling to our PCs ... unless some fool causes them to mutate into something that no longer does the job we want in the way that we want.
I'm not surprised ...
... that nobody is taking this very seriously.
Things may have improved since I last worked with JavaCard, but in those days the security was all smoke and mirrors anyway.
The "sandbox" was not implemented on the card itself, but in the PC-based development tools used to develop cardlets. Cardlets have to be signed before they can be deployed, and the process of signing a cardlet involves putting it through a validator that checks that it doesn't make any out-of-bounds memory accesses (among other things). What seems to have happened here is that someone has succeeded in crafting a cardlet that makes an off-limits memory access that the validator suite doesn't pick up.
The quick fix for this is to fix the validator suite so that it does catch this form of illegal access (and make sure that your signing process includes validation of all cardlets using the updated validator -- don't let developers sign their own cardlets).
The bigger problem, though, is that the sandbox is not on the card -- and there's no fix for that for existing cards (and unlikely to be any fix in future, as runtime validation is considered to great a computational load to run on-card).
Re: A little more history is in order.
Rejewski has been shorted far too often by Bletchley and at some point they really should give him the credit that he deserves. Without his pioneering work it is doubtful that Turing and the rest would have had a foundation to build upon.
In fairness, the Bletchley Park people do acknowledge the contribution made by the Polish cryptographers before the war.
See, for example:
Yes, but does it run Linux?
Re: Word of advice
Online banking and such requires difficult to understand concepts about security, html, Cross Site Scripting , Java One Day exploits, script kiddies and a lot of other things that don't include porn or football etc...
Really? My bank seems unable to understand the concept that I might be happier with their banking systems if they refrained from telling me how they were 'proudly' supporting some farcical football tournament in which I have no interest whatsoever every time I logged in.
I understand their desire to advertise their sevices, and I understand that sponsorship brings their name into public view ... but they don't have to sound so smug about spending their profits on something I detest.
I suppose they're hardly going to sponsor porn, though ...
Re: Blaming the victim?
So far, cash machine security measures haven't evolved much beyond the PIN-code systems that were around in the 1970's - though my PIN in those days was 6 digits, instead of the 4 we have today. Is that really progress?
No, it's not progress. It's just that there are bazillions of cash machines -- mostly in North America -- that are too old to be upgradable to use longer PINs, and too expensive to replace. It's cheaper to suffer a little fraud.
Although for home banking I now have a nice little card reader, courtesy of my bank, that "proves" I am in posession of my card when I log on to their computers...
I have something similar. I have noticed, though, that since the bank implemented the scheme they've started to require the use of the little card reader on fewer and fewer occasions because the users find it too difficult, or can't be bothered to carry the cardreader around when they might need it.
It's an old truism that you can't have ultimate security and ultimate convenience ... but can we have acceptable security and acceptable (in)convenience? I'm not sure.
Just a word of warning:
A problem I encountered when sourcing a SIM card and provider for a ten-inch Galaxy Note is that the various aircos don't seem to understand that a device can be both a phone and a tablet; they either don't provide suitable tariffs (e.g. their data tariffs don't support voice) or they bar the device when you try to use data ("you seem to be using your SIM in a computer, put it back into your phone").
To make matters worse, their staff often don't know what works/is allowed and what doesn't/isn't. I've been given blatantly untrue information both in high-street shops and on the telephone by (I think) all the major providers. I really don't understand why it is apparently so difficult to provide a simple range of contracts/tariffs that meet the requirements of the user, and to ensure that one's own staff know and understand what is on offer so that they can sell the right thing quickly and efficiently.
I imagine pluging my smartphone on a dock and the car interacting with it, not the way around.
That's what we always used to do with car kits for mobiles, before everything became Bluetooth.
I had the very excellent Nokia 6310i with the CARK-91 car kit. That had a cradle that held the phone where it could be seen and provided not only hands-free audio but also and external antenna (excellent signal, even in a motorized faraday cage) and power (I hadly ever had to connect a charger to the phone because the drive to and from work kept it topped up, and the battery was good enough to last over the weekend).
A similar arrangement in which the phone provided enterntainment and navigation services as well as calls is easy to imagine, and should work very well.
It would be more convenient if everything could be done wirelessly, but connecting power and antenna signals (for the phone and for the GPS) by wire is going to be easier and more effective -- and I could live with the inconvenience.
I just hope that if something like this does happen the manufacturers will come up with a standard cradle/fitting so that all phones from all makers can use the same kit.
Re: Physical buttons
What is the problem with hardware buttons on the Note?
For one thing, they don't move round to the narrow edge when you use the device in "portrait" mode!
Size is important.
Can you imagine a compact camera with that same pureview system? With a compact camera's much larger sensor in comparison to a phone sensor, the picture quality would rival that of an DSLR.
Well, no ... because DSLRs have much better optics ... or, rather, can have much better optics than any smaller device built to sell in the same price range.
Lens design is tricky, and involves compromises at all levels. The more constraints you apply the less able a lens is to meet any one of them ... and physical size is a constraint (just like cost, the ability to zoom, the abilty to focus at different distances, the ability to focus different colours at the the same time, etc.).
Re: One really has to ask
But how many people NEED 500GB of storage in a tablet?
I'm not sure that's the right question ... How many people NEED a tablet? Very few -- possibly none -- but lots of us have them anyway.
If I had to take an easily-bored family on holiday for a week, then a tablet loaded up with at least two ripped DVDs or Blu-rays for each day would seem like a smart thing to distract them with. Fourteen DVDs at 9GB comes to 126GB -- so a 128GB drive is already too small. (OK, so most DVDs don't use the full 9GB, but you get the idea). For an HD tablet you'd want Blu-ray resolution and the storage taken would be even more.
500GB is only two steps up from there.
Again, nobody NEEDS this, but I can see a lot of people wanting it.
[Icon, because I'm thinking of the children ...]
Re: Bruce Sneer
I read the Guardian article without at first clocking who had written it. This guy is an "expert on security"? No doubt self-appointed/promoted as such, based on the principle that if you repeat something enough times it becomes an accepted truth.
If you don't know who Bruce Schneier is, you should probably find out before slagging him off and making a pratt of yourself.
Admittedly, Scheneir is a bit of a self-publicist ... but he is also an acknowledged authority in the field, a good cryptographer, and the author of a number of the standard recommended textbooks. If he was writing for The Grauniad 'm sure he will have tried to adjust his style for the likely audience.
Re: Farkin' obvious
SSL is as secure as the certificate authority.
SSL is not as secure as the certificate authority.
Even if the CA is honest and upright and has not been infiltrated or subverted by any of the TLAs, there are other ways to attack your communications ... some of which are easier to implement than others (SSL doesn't work too well if the implementation of it on your computer has been cobbled to generate session keys from a very small keyspace, for example).
Even so, subverting a CA is a fairly low-cost high-coverage form of attack, and probably the thing to be feared the most.
Schneier on Phorm
This would be the same Bruce Schneier that refused to denounce Phorm when they were trialling their systems with BT?
What Schneier said was that as a BT executive he was tied as to what he could say about Phorm, and that he'd leave it to others to do the denouncing. I think that's a pretty ethical standpoint, given the circumstances.
Re: Such a surprise?
It has long been known that the whole concept of SSL is fundamentally broken:
SSL itself isn't broken at all ... SSL lets you say "Because Alice trusts Trent, and Trent tells her that such-and-such a certificate really does contain Bob's public key, Alice is able to use that key to communicate with Bob with confidence".
That's perfectly true, as far as it goes. SSL allows Alice and Bob to communicate with confidence in the security of their communications because they both trust Trent. The system falls down if Trent proves unworthy of that tust, or if Trent's key has been subverted by Mallory who doesn't have Alice's or Bob's interests at heart, or if Alice and Bob mistake Mallory for Trent and so inadvertently trust Mallory.
What we're starting to learn is that we should pay more attention to the question of whom we should trust, and whom we should trust to tell us who they trust.
About bloody time!
All phones should be waterproof.
Many phone manufacturers are now refusing warrant y repairs on phones that they say have suffered "water damage". They even fit a moisture sensor inside the phone to provide some evidence that water may have penetrated the phone, whether or not the water has played any part in the phone's need for repair.
I myself have had an HTC Legend whose screen packed up shortly after I was obliged to take a call in a light snowstorm (in London, I hasten to add, nowhere as inhospitable as the Arctic wastes (depending on your point of view, I suppose)). I suspect moisture damage, but more from condensation when I subsequently used the snow-cold phone in a warm fuggy pub (as you do).
The makers want you to take your mobile with you everywhere, and use it all the time, so making a phone that packs up after getting a little damp is just daft -- the phrase "not fit for purpose" springs unbidden to mind. Now that there are waterproof phones it'd take a lot to persuade me to buy one that wasn't.
However, IP67 guarantees that the phone won't admit water if submerged to a depth of at most 1m for 30 minutes ... what I want is a phone I can put in a damp cagoule pocket and carry up a 1000m mountain in the rain, and back again, over a period of (say) ten hours (in which time the phone will be taken out and used as map, GPS, compass, and maybe even camera a few times, possibly in rain). The pressure difference between sea level and 1000m in air is about the same as the pressure difference between surface level and a depth of 1m in water (a 10% change), so I wonder whether IP67 will really be good enough after the first 30 minutes ...?
Re: Yeah But...
ECC Memory - open those wallets chaps.
Of course it uses ECC memory -- it's for servers.
Seriously, why would anyone want to run a server without ECC memory? It's a cost-effective precaution against random menory corruption errors, what's not to like?
It may be that the Avoton chips can also use non-ECC memory for the real cheapskates among us, but support for ECC is pretty-much required for a serious server architecture.
They could call it "Camel" gold
... after the prize-winning British sparkling wine from Camel Valley.
The iPhone was, after all, designed by a
committee ... er ... by Jonathan Ive, a British engineer.
Re: hands up
Didn't he arrive as part of a deal that saw Nokia get a cool billion from m$
Up to a point, Lord Copper ...
Elop got the job at Nokia and then helped to make that deal with his old bosses in Redmond. That may always have been part of the plan, but the deal was made after Elop got the job.
Of course, a Gigabuck was cheap for access to Nokia's patent portfolio. Forcing Nokia to use MS's phone OS was just adding injury to insult.
Re: Microsoft is a Server and OS company
I don't really care who takes over the helm at Microsoft as long as the new person realises that Microsoft is primarily an OS and Server company.
OSs and servers is what Microsoft have traditionally done -- and Office, I suppose -- but the world is changing and those things may not be enough. MS have seen the success that others, notably Apple, have had selling media as well as apps through an online 'store', and they want some of that pie. They may need to have some of that pie to survive.
The question is whether they can change their business to cash in on that new market without losing their place in their traditional markets and so losing the loyalty of their customers.
They've been moving in that direction for some time -- adding baked-in DRM to Windows in Vista, adding a store in Windows 8, and making that store common to Windows on x86 and on ARM (hence TIFKAM) -- but doing so SO badly and managing to piss off just about everyone.
They couldn't find their way forward under Ballmer, but maybe someone else can manage to do so (I can't say that it looks all that hard).
Re: Alice & Bob
They're all derived by Bruce Schneier I think.
WP says the names Alice and Bob were first used by Ron Rivest (the 'R' of "RSA") in 1978, and that other names have been added as need arose. The popularity of the naming scheme may have increased as a result of John Gordon's oft-quoted after-dinner speech in 1984. Bruce scheier has certainly used them, not least in Applied Cryptography (1994).
Beer, because there's no port icon and a good after-dinner speech deserves a full glass.
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