Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is Microsoft dying?

Some people are calling this CNN Money article a simple measure of FUD.  Is it?

There's a lot of truth in there - consumers aren't "buying" Windows 7 - if they get new computers, they come with Windows 7, sure, but are they really forking out their cold, hard cash to upgrade machines that are running XP?  Not that I've seen.

Businesses are definitely buying Windows 7 - this is because so many business machines are still running Windows XP, an OS initially released in 2001 (that's 9 years ago, folks), due to the fact that F^HVista was a festering bucket of poop that no self-respecting IT provider would have deployed to the majority of their clients.  We're upgrading all of our clients from Windows XP to Windows 7 - we had a few "taster" Vista installs out there, but we never went past that and we even dropped a number back to XP to gain stability, functionality and speed.

Microsoft recently released their Kin mobility platform and then due to appalling sales, pulled it from the market only 48 days later.  Hopefully their Windows Phone 7 product gets better reception than that, however we need to recall that back in June 2008, I'd already called Microsoft out for treating their then ageing Windows Mobile platform like a redheaded stepchild and it has taken over 2 years from then for Microsoft to come up with Windows Phone 7.  Is it too little, too late?  I honestly hope not.  (Interestingly, there's little mention of the whole Kin failure on the Microsoft website, hence my link above to Wikipedia.)

Windows 7 on a multitouch tablet device - I dunno.  Windows 7 still needs grunt to drive it well.  It will work on an Atom, sure, but with Windows 7 and the weight of common applications such as Microsoft Office (Outlook and OneNote in particular) and Adobe Reader that people will run on a Windows 7 tablet, I honestly wonder what the experience will be like compared to an iPad.  With an iPad you absolutely do not expect it to run like a desktop nor laptop - it has a clearly different operating system (very similar to that of an iPhone) with applications designed to run in that lightweight environment.  A Windows 7 tablet, on the other hand, will run regular applications on a low-grade hardware platform and therefore look and feel like a sluggish desktop or laptop.  This is where I think that it will come unstuck.

We're looking at our mobility options here - the iPad has some clear wins, but so does Windows 7 on a tablet.  The clear lose for the Win7 tablet PC is that I can see us being bitterly disappointed with the performance for the reason mentioned above.  Sure, it will run that applications we need it to, but they will be slow and drain the battery life.  We need to look for alternate applications on the iPad and accept some differences, but then maybe this is a more acceptable option.  We're still undecided.

So, Windows 7 is selling to businesses who didn'ty buy Windows F^HVista, but isn't selling to existing consumers.  Microsoft Kin was stillborn.  Vista was stillborn.  Zune was stillborn.  Office 2010 is an excellent product, but most clients running Office 2007 already can't see clear benefit in upgrading - ESPECIALLY now that Microsoft has dropped all "Upgrade" SKUs and forced smaller clients to buy the full product again.  Windows Phone 7, years too late, is selling in the market like uranium-laced cookies (no-one's really going near it).  In Brisbane there were literally a handful of people waiting on launch day for the handsets - compare that to the iPhone when it was released.  Microsoft's providing all employees and paid Professional Developer's Conference (PDC10) attendees with a handset - at least that will get the numbers up.  Let's hope it helps get the platform off the ground.

And now they change focus for Silverlight to a Windows Phone development platform and put their weight behind HTML 5 as the cross-platform basis that Silverlight was originally meant to be!

And to top that off, Microsoft's lost their Chief Software Architect (Ray Ozzie) in a move hailed by most people as a massive "so what?" but the crazy thing is that Microsoft has decided not to replace him at all.  This is  once visionary technology company, now being run by a retail store accountant without any vision (but who oozes crazy like it is sweat) who fails to replace their relatively ineffective replacement for Bill Gates' Chief Software Architect role with someone with, I dunno, let's say "vision".  This is the one thing that truly makes me wonder about Microsoft's direction - not their failures (which shows that at least they are trying), but their lack of foresight in employing a visionary in their organization.  Groundbreaking developments and leadership by a technology company *CANNOT* be sustained with only an accountant at the helm of the ship.

The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, October 29, 2010

Future Directions of Technology Seminar Series

Please click here for more information on the on this series of seminars that SMBiT Professionals Brisbane will be presenting throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory in November 2010. If you're a Small to Medium Business owner and want to learn more about The Cloud, Virtualization, Communications and Greening of IT, please register to attend one of these sessions as there will be some information that will be pertinent to your future use of technology. If you have other colleagues who may benefit from these seminars, please feel free to pass this email on to them and invite them along, too – the more the merrier!
These seminars are aimed at the Business Owner and others involved in the *use* of Information Technology in the business, not the *management* of the Information Technology – so there will be as little “baffling us with technogeek speak” as we can possibly have – we want to inform you of the technologies and what they can mean to your business, not scare you off with technoblahblahblah mumble, mumble, mumble.

Oh, and please ignore the scary photos – none of are as bad as those photos make us appear! OK, so, well, maybe we are! ;)


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Limited User Rights

Why (oh why) are applications that are being written in 2010 (currently it is Beta 2) unable to run as a Limited User?  This is an application, not a system-level utility.  It is a product that allows me to stream audiovisual content from a number of sources to a number of online and/or locl locations - there's **NO NEED** at all for the product to be written with such poor programming practice that it won't run as a Limited User.

As it stands right now, when run as a Limited User it requests the original MSI file (which of course was not supplied, only an .exe (and yes, of course, I can extract the MSI from the installer, but this makes no difference)), fails to read it as valid, therefore fails to re-install whatever it's looking for (both because it can't read the MSI file and also because as a **LIMITED USER** the program doesn't have Local Admin rights, then errors out claiming to have a "Fatal error during installation".  I was trying to run an already previously installed and activated product, not install it.

Due to this being a beta release, I'll be nice and not mention the name in this post so that the company developing the product can fix it without being named and shamed.  But if this issue exists at the release of the product, they will be named and shamed.

This is 2010 people, not 1990.  Secure, proper programming practice dictates that APPLICATIONS are written to the program folders and USER DATA is written to the data folders - and that regular applications DO NOT require local administrative rights to run.


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, October 25, 2010

Google: Do No Evil (But Stealing Passwords Is Fine)

There's been a bit of legal to-ing and fro-ing with Google's Street View fiasco - when the Internet giant was accused of enumerating open Wi-Fi routers and taking data from the networks these were on.  Google has previously said that no data was recorded, however the UK-based Daily Mail recently published that Google admitted "entire emails, web pages and even passwords were 'mistakenly collected' by antennae on its high-tech Street View cars".

"Google executive Alan Eustace issued a grovelling apology and said the company was 'mortified', adding: 'We're acutely aware that we failed badly.'"

Really?  Google's "Do no evil" mantra was clearly and blatantly ignored in this breach of public trust and security.  Scotland Yard is already looking into this case to see if Google actually broke the Law, not just the morals that they (at least used to) espouse.  Google needs to stand up and take the punishment for this activity - they were caught out badly and need to take it like the good corporate citizen they keep claiming to be.

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stephen Conroy is a Dictator

Stephen Conroy is a wannabe dictator and looks to start wielding power:


The Outspoken Wookie

Windows Phone 7 Launch

A friend of mine, Alan Burchill (Group Policy MVP) waited in line (alone for quite some time) this morning for the Telstra Store to open so he could buy a Windows Phone 7 device.  Ultimately by the time the store opened, there were a total of 6 (six) people queued for the opening and launch of Windows Phone 7.

Unfortunately, the Brisbane store didn't have any Windows Phone 7 handsets - maybe they didn't think they'd be popular enough to bother with for the launch day?  It seems they were right - a 6 person queue for the latest new thing from Microsoft - how the mighty have fallen (under the "leadership" of Steve Ballmer).


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

For the cloud, "We're all in" Oh, really?

Office 365 was recently announced - the replacement for BPOS in 2011.  Have a look at how prepared Microsoft is for this cloud product...

Oh, well...

The Outspoken Wookie

What I love about the music industry

This is one of my all-time favorite performances.  It was on RocKwiz, Episode 85 in January 2009.

When Adam Green was introduced, this was his performance of Morning after Midnight - how anyone can dance that out of time with the music and still sing well is beyond me!  :)

I had added and to my list of favorites some time back, now can also have its rightful place on this list.

(And now, for the Lego lovers out there (yes, you Dugie),


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ray Ozzie Quits Microsoft

Well Ray Ozzie - bought at the cost of Microsoft acquiring Groove Networks (and then refusing to develop the product past its Windows 3.1 feel) - who was the partial replacement for Bill Gates in the role of Chief Software Architect has announced he's leaving Microsoft.  Groove had potential, but it was never developed into a viable product.  Did Ozzie have the potential to replace Bill Gates in this role?  If he did, it was never realized in Microsoft.

So, that's half of the pidgeon pair gone - now we need to see Steve Ballmer step down and be replaced by someone who understands technology and who has the ability to steer the ship.  Right now, as I've said before, Ballmer is like the captain of a rudderless ship on a stormy ocean.  He's looking at Google and trying to replicate their efforts.  He's looking at Apple and trying to replicate their efforts.  He's scared about OpenOffice else he'd not have released the video damning it, so will he next follow OpenOffice?  He's directionless.

Oh, and they won't be replacing Ray Ozzie in the position of Chief Software Architect.  Does that feel like a sound way for a software technology company to go, or the deranged result of a retail store accountant totally out of his depth trying to save a few bucks running a company he has no clue about?

Here's more thoughts on the bashing, by the way.  Of course, the timing of this video, just after Oracle and The Document Foundation had a falling out, resulting in The Document Foundation forking the project into LibreOffice and Oracle having a massive (and maybe justifiable, I'm still undecided on that) dummy spit, is impeccable!


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wet Car - the saga continues

I was told that my car would be ready at 3pm today, so I dropped the rental back, caught a cab to Brisbane Collision Centre at Rocklea (cab voucher was supplied thanks to AAMI) and waited for 30 minutes after the 15:10 arrival time for my car to be ready.  Then when I got into my car, I couldn't get my left foot into the foot rest, so got them to actually re-seat the lining properly.  All good - I can handle that...

So then I drove away and noticed the seat getting warm - quite warm.  The seat heater was off, but the seat was still heating up to full power - not good.  Not for 4+ hours of driving this weekend, maybe 5+.  So I took it back and they didn't think it was much of an issue.


So, if they missed an obvious electrical fault like this - one where a light was on even though it was turned off, and the seat was heating up to full, what else did they miss?  I wasn't happy to drive the car away, not knowing for certain it was properly handled before it was returned to me.

A phone call to AAMI resulted in a cab voucher back to Hertz and another rental car until mine's looked at properly.  The guys at Brisbane Collision Centre still insist that that was the only fault - but as I said, if it was that obvious and they missed it, I'm simply not comfortable that the car is safe to drive.  They didn't look impressed - but I *was* polite yet firm.  We all know that's impressive for me!  :)

We'll see on Monday what happens - not that I'll be back in Brisbane before COB Monday to return the car, but that's not my problem - the seat heater switch will need to be ordered and fitted, which won't be finished Monday - and I'll want to ensure the car's been thoroughly inspected again before I take it away next time.

AAMI has been great.  Brisbane Collision Centre, well, I'm yet to make my mind up completely, but right now I'm pretty unimpressed with their thoroughness.


The Outspoken Wookie

Phishing eBanking Credentials Using Web-Proxies

This is a bit of a concern.  Have a read.  Interesting (in a bad way), eh?  :(

The filthy scum that live off people's inability to comprehend exactly what computers can do by creating phishing and malware and other bottom-dweller types of activities will keep coming up with new and more devious ways to relieve people of their bank balances.  It really does sicken me that I share oxygen with these types.

Microsoft offers some information on disabling .pac files in MSIE here.  But with all of the other browsers out there, and with the number of people who don't have any real clue who's sitting in the shadows, this won't stop this type of attack on the majority of victims.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Do you have crap Internet connectivity in Brisbane now?

Well, if you think your Internet connection couldn't get any shittier, have a read of this: A British company will roll out fibre optic broadband across Brisbane in a move designed to be a step ahead of the National Broadband Network (NBN).  The company, i3, has signed a deal with the Brisbane City Council for access to the sewer network for the cables.


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brisbane: Queensland's Marina

It's been a bit wet this past week.  Friday morning last week I found my car in a foot and a half of water.  It was sitting in the garage at the time.  Downstairs had 3-4 inches of water through almost all of it.

Today, this is the report:

and <-- a decent map showing rainfall

and has some photos of the region


The following roads are flood affected in the Greater Brisbane Area:

Acacia Ridge - Paradise Rd between Learoyd St and Beaudesert Rd.
Bald Hills - Old Gympie Road between Strathpine Rd South Pine Rd and Bunnings.
Bardon - Ithaca Creek at Bowman Pde.
Brendale - Kremzow Rd.
Brookfield - Boscombe Rd between Rafting Ground Rd & Brookfield.
Brookfield - Rafting Ground Rd is currently closed due to flooding and road damage.
Camp Mountain - Mt Nebo Rd between McCarthy’s Lookout and Camp Mountain Rd Lookout.
Carina - Fursden Rd.
Deagon - Henderson Rd.
Draper - Drapers Crossing.
Drewvale - Gowan Rd before Illaweena Rd.
Eagle Farm - Barcham St.
Joyner - Youngs Crossing Rd between Dayboro Rd and Protheroe Rd
Kallangur - Duffield Rd.
Kallangur - Goodfellows Rd.
Kallangur - Marsden Rd.
Kallangur - Nellies Lane and Brickworks Rd,.
Lansbury Ave, Ashgrove.
Lawnton - Nelson Rd.
Mt Cootha - Gap Creek Rd before Brisbane Forest.
Murarrie - Murarrie Rd (truck access only).
Nathan - University Rd and Don Young Rd.
New Cleveland Rd and Chelsea Rd, Gumdale.
Ransome - Molle Rd.
Rochedale South - Rochedale Rd (rural area).
Rocklea - Marshall Road between Gilmour Rd and Granard Rd.
Sandgate - Second Ave and Flinders Pde.
Sheldon - Avalon Rd.
Strathpine - Bells Pocket Road between Shakespeare Rd and Lawnton Pocket Rd.
Sumner - Wacol Station Rd.
Thornlands - Abeya St and Boundary Rd.
Virginia - Saltash St between Rudley St and Telford St.
Wynnum West - Sandy Camp Rd.


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sintel, Released by the Blender Foundation

The latest film to be released by the Blender Foundation is a short film titled Sintel.  The film has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License and was created using Blender, an Open Source content creation suite under the GNU GPL.

Elephants Dream was the first Blender open movie released (under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License).  The next was Big Buck Bunny which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Blender's definitely an amazing piece of open source software and these movies all help it improve.  Why not take some time and watch some or all of these videos - they are quite impressive when you think that they were produced on a budget an order or two of magnitude less than Hollywood uses for an animated movie!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie