Category Archive 'Microsoft'
11 Dec 2016

Up Yours, Microsoft!

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For your Christmas edification, the fat, bloated, and incompetent corporation that owns your PC has delivered a sanctimonious PC sermonette which ought to make a lot of viewers want to go out and throw up in the street.

14 Sep 2015

Tweet of the Day

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Tweet100

01 Aug 2015

Windows 10

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BillGatesWin10

21 Jul 2014

The Evolution of Windows

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WindowsEvolution

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

11 Apr 2014

Windows XP’s Iconic Wallpaper

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Charles O’Rear, the professional photographer who took the photograph titled Bliss which he sold to Microsoft to be used as the world-famous wall-paper for Windows XP, explains where he took the photo, what camera and film he used, and tells us: No, it was not Photoshopped.

18 Jun 2012

Apple Vs. PC

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Jason Stewart (a self-described Apple addict) does not have much good to say about the current (incredibly expensive) MacBook Pro.

As Dan Ackerman at CNet noted, the Retina Mac “feels like a rest stop on the road to somewhere else,” a place where we truly get thin, light and beautiful. Already, the Samsung Series 9 is smaller and lighter. And many of the rest of the radical changes are more marketing hype than features. The asymmetrical fan blades that were going to revolutionize quiet laptop cooling? If you try real hard, you might hear a trivial difference. What about the “All Flash Architecture”? In other words, whereas before you had a choice between a fast, but ridiculously expensive SSD drive, or a cheaper, larger capacity conventional hard drive, now you can only have the SSD drive. Only Apple could successfully market that limitation as a revolutionary feature.

Of course, if you need to connect an Ethernet cable you better shell out extra for a dongle and hope you can find it when you need it. Need to watch a movie on disc or load a program or content the old fashioned way? Apple has just the extra accessory to sell you for that, too, since it is no longer included.

The new MacBook Pro with Retina display is a nice computer. The screen is innovative at a cost of both dollars and features. Whether it’s worth the substantial premium (more than $4,000, fully loaded) is a personal decision. Apple has never been accused of catering to the wish lists of the masses, and this is no exception. It has staked its claim on a new display standard and if that means trade-offs, take it or leave it.

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Meanwhile, Harry McCracken contends that the Mac world and the PC world are already very different and may soon becoming even more so.

When I sat down to review Apple’s new Retina-display MacBook Pro, I instinctively wanted to compare it with similar Windows laptops. I wanted to discuss how the specs stacked up and whether the price seemed fair. I hoped to contrast its industrial design with those of its closest counterparts.

Then it dawned on me: there are no similar Windows laptops. …

while Apple remains the most influential computer maker in the business, the rest of the industry has chosen to ignore some of its design innovations. When it started sealing up its portables a few years ago — eliminating the ability to easily swap in batteries, RAM and hard drives — I thought that other hardware makers might follow along. For the most part, they haven’t. …

[I]f Microsoft has its way, PCs and Macs are about to get more different than they’ve been in decades. For all of the interesting things about the new MacBook Pro, it’s a straightforward notebook computer based on a form factor that’s been around for 30 years. Apple seems to be content to let Macs be Macs, while the iPad goes places that computing devices never have before.

With Windows 8, however, Microsoft is trying to reinvent the PC from scratch. The Metro interface has little to do with the basic concepts that Windows 7 and OS X share, and it’s conceivable that a bunch of long-standing form factors that have never quite worked, such as touchscreen PCs and laptops that convert into tablets, will finally take off. If they do, and Apple doesn’t push the Mac in the same direction, the average Windows PC could end up having very little in common with any Mac.

13 Apr 2012

MS Word: Its Time Is So Over

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Tom Socca
writes the epitaph for Redmond’s increasingly annoying ultimate piece of bloatware.

Nowadays, I get [a] feeling of dread when I open an email to see a Microsoft Word document attached. Time and effort are about to be wasted cleaning up someone’s archaic habits. A Word file is the story-fax of the early 21st century: cumbersome, inefficient, and a relic of obsolete assumptions about technology. It’s time to give up on Word. …

[Word] become an overbearing boss, one who specializes in make-work. Part of this is Microsoft’s more-is-more approach to adding capabilities, and leaving all of them in the “on” position. Around the first time Clippy launched himself, uninvited, between me and something I was trying to write, I found myself wishing Word had a simple, built-in button for “cut it out and never again do that thing you just did.” It’s possible that the current version of Word does have one; I have no idea where among the layers of menus and toolbars it might be. All I really know how to do up there anymore is to go in and disable AutoCorrect, so that the program will type what I’ve typed, rather than what some software engineer thinks it should think I’m trying to type.

Word’s stylistic preferences range from the irritating—the superscript “th” on ordinal numbers, the eagerness to forcibly indent any numbered list it detects—to the outright wrong. Microsoft’s inability to teach a computer to use an apostrophe correctly, through its comically misnamed “smart quotes” feature, has spread from the virtual world into the real one, till professional ballplayers take the field with amateur punctuation on their hats.

Even so, people can live with typos in their input. (Witness the boom in paraphasic email Sent From My iPhone.) What makes Word unbearable is the output. Like the fax machine, Word was designed to put things on paper. It was a tool of the desktop-publishing revolution, allowing ordinary computer users to make professional (or at least approximately professional) document layouts and to print them out. That’s great if you’re making a lot of church bulletins or lost-dog fliers. Keep on using Word. (Maybe keep better track of your dog, though.)

For most people now, though, publishing means putting things on the Web. Desktop publishing has given way to laptop or smartphone publishing. And Microsoft Word is an atrocious tool for Web writing. Its document-formatting mission means that every piece of text it creates is thickly wrapped in metadata, layer on layer of invisible, unnecessary instructions about how the words should look on paper.

19 Aug 2011

From Redmond: “GMail Man”

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Microsoft’s O365 group takes a nice whack at Google.

19 Apr 2011

How to Fix Any Personal Computer

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

21 Oct 2009

WINDOWS 7 Versions

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Which version of Win7 do you need? CNET explains the options featured by the four different editions, varying in price from $119.00 to $219.99.

02 Oct 2009

Win 7: Soon To Be Released

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Win7 Launch Party video (Don’t watch it!)

Charlie Booker, at the Guardian, knows that Windows sucks, but explains that he still hates Mac and Mac users more.

Recently I sat in a room trying to write something on a Sony Vaio PC laptop which seemed to be running a special slow-motion edition of Windows Vista specifically designed to infuriate human beings as much as possible. Trying to get it to do anything was like issuing instructions to a depressed employee over a sluggish satellite feed. When I clicked on an application it spent a small eternity contemplating the philosophical implications of opening it, begrudgingly complying with my request several months later. It drove me up the wall. I called it a bastard and worse. At one point I punched a table. …

I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway: it’s there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. OK, OK: I know other operating systems are available. But their advocates seem even creepier, snootier and more insistent than Mac owners. The harder they try to convince me, the more I’m repelled. To them, I’m a sheep. And they’re right. I’m a helpless, stupid, lazy sheep. I’m also a masochist. And that’s why I continue to use Windows – horrible Windows – even though I hate every second of it. It’s grim, it’s slow, everything’s badly designed and nothing really works properly: using Windows is like living in a communist bloc nation circa 1981. And I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I’m an abject bloody idiot and I hate myself, and this is what I deserve: to be sentenced to Windows for life.

That’s why Windows works for me. But I’d never recommend it to anybody else, ever. This puts me in line with roughly everybody else in the world. No one has ever earnestly turned to a fellow human being and said, “Hey, have you considered Windows?” Not in the real world at any rate.

Until now. Microsoft, hellbent on tackling the conspicuous lack of word-of-mouth recommendation, is encouraging people – real people – to host “Windows 7 launch parties” to celebrate the 22 October release of, er, Windows 7. The idea is that you invite a group of friends – your real friends – to your home – your real home – and entertain them with a series of Windows 7 tutorials.

Win 7 Launch Party video: A very serious contender for lamest (interminable at 6:14) video ever made.

Read the whole thing.

08 Jul 2009

Bad News for Redmond

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Lifehacker tells us that Google will be be releasing its free, open-source Chrome Operating System later this year. Google says:

We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Chrome OS is going to be netbook oriented in its earliest version, and the idea apparently is ultimately to replace PC software with on-live Google applications like Gmail and Google Docs.

Persuading users to give up the familiar isn’t easy, but Microsoft has done a fine job lately, particularly with Vista, in creating a real opportunity for anyone able to offer more speed and convenience.

23 Feb 2009

PC versus Mac

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Freddie advises that buying a Mac doesn’t really prove you’re cool. (Steve Jobs must really hate this one.)

[A]ll of these greater philosophical underpinnings that people attach to PC vs. Mac are just self-aggrandizing nonsense. Buying the computer from company A doesn’t, as a matter of fact, say anything about you, just like buying a computer from company B doesn’t say anything about your counterparts. As I have said many, many times, there are good things about Apples and good things about PCs. If it makes sense to you to buy an Apple, go with god. And many Apple owners do just that, buy a product, use it and enjoy it. I’ve considered getting an Apple laptop in the past and may in the future. But it amazes me, absolutely amazes me, the number of Apple owners who lack the clarity or self-awareness to realize that purchasing a commodity from a enormous, soulless corporation that is also owned by several million other people doesn’t make you a unique and beautiful snowflake. Apple has a better PR campaign, better advertising and a more gullible, credulous customer base. That’s it. It’s got nothing to do with individuality or noncomformity. I know many people are probably saying that this is a completely banal thing to say but I am consistently astounded by otherwise smart people who will tell you different.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

26 Jan 2009

Why the Microsoft Layoffs?

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InfoWorld points to Vista.

Windows Vista has been trouble for Microsoft perhaps since the operating system’s beginning. And this last quarter was certainly no exception. Despite a dip in client software revenue, however, one analyst says the workforce reduction Microsoft detailed on Thursday is healthy — at least from enterprise IT shops’ perspective.

When Microsoft released its earnings report on Thursday, the company indicated not only that it would lay off up to 5,000 workers or 5 percent of its total headcount but also that software client revenue — as in Windows Vista — sank by 8 percent.

“Windows Vista didn’t do well. Based on our data, a lot of clients are skipping Windows Vista,” says Neil MacDonald, an analyst at Gartner. Indeed, nearly every other major analyst firm found a similar lack of Vista adoption, with Forrester Research likening the OS to the failed New Coke.

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