May 8, 2013
Speculation is running rampant that Windows Blue, the successor to the much hated Windows 8 will see the return of the Start button, as well as other improvements.
I'm still a happy XP user at home and at work I use Windows 7 which I equally like. Having seen the strangeness of Windows 8, I decided to skip it as I did with Vista when it was released.
Seems like Microsoft is getting it right (or wrong) with every other Windows release. If some of the classic and useful interfaces like Windows 7 are returned, Windows Blue may just be the platform for my next upgrade.
October 12, 2011
Ok, it's not goggle.com or one of the more well-known google sites but the site survey.googleratings.com is powered by Microsoft's IIS running ASP.NET. I only noticed this after I received an Adsense survey invitation with a link ending in .aspx. I wouldn't be surprised if the survey results are stored in an SQL Server database.
Google is the actual owner of googleratings.com, so one must assume the site is managed by a third party company, keeping the survey operations away from googleplex. I'm pretty certain any google developer who'd even consider using Microsoft products will be severely humiliated by his peers
August 5, 2011
I'm not naive to the point of believing that Google is all good and no evil, but in this case I side with Google.
What the big patent trolls like Oracle and Apple and Microsoft are doing by burying Android in lawsuits and threats is stifling innovation and taking away choice from consumers.
I'm all for protecting new ideas, but patents are no longer used in the way they were envisioned. They no longer protect ideas and innovation, but are used as weapons against anyone who can be leeched for money. And the leeches are typically not the original patent holders either, but sleazy patent trolls and patent mills.
Official Google Blog: When patents attack Android
August 1, 2011
July 17, 2011
In this thought-provoking article titled, "Will Microsoft Learn DEC's Lesson?", the author makes a great comparison between the current state of affairs at Microsoft and the once mighty DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) headed by the late Ken Olsen.
I don't know how old the author is and if he remembers the glory days of DEC, but I do. Fresh out of UCONN's Engineering school, I was hired by an industrial division of General Electric as a VAX/VMS programmer. My memory is sketchy, but I think the machine at the time was a VAX 8810. It was so big and complex that it needed another computer, a PDP-11 I believe, just to boot it. So many things could go wrong that a reboot was an exercise in anxiety and patience.
I was so enamored by this minibus-sized contraption that I went beyond my programming duties and learned quite a bit of system management skills on it. So when the VAX sysadmin left for another job, I was ready to slide into his position. Looking back, as a 24 year-old, I was a bit young for the task but I did alright. I kept the systems running pretty smoothly, meanwhile undertaking a few major upgrades. Before I finished my tenure, I had the giant VAX replaced with a smaller, more modern VAX (model 4000, I believe). Through it all I remember the big budgets and the large sums of money we spent with DEC. The company was a money-making machine back then.
I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to DEC for "booting" my professional career. I may not remember any VMS commands now, but my VAX/VMS years were the stepping stones in a long career that continues today.
DEC's demise came fast, pretty much starting with Compaq's acquisition. By then, despite Compaq's statements of support, VAX/VMS was becoming irrelevant, and therefore DEC was irrelevant. Altavista.com had been DEC's last attempt at innovation outside VAX/VMS. As ingenious as it was and as popular as it became for a short span of time, the likes of Yahoo, Lycos and Infospace quickly crowded and stifled it.
Unlike DEC which was tied to only one product (VAX/VMS), Microsoft operates varying businesses and is not afraid of trying new fields. The problem is that Microsoft is too tentative and unfocused. For example, I like their .NET platform, but any developer can see that it's fragmented into many different technologies and initiatives. It's impossible to keep up with them.
They promote C# for a while, then swing to VB, then come around to C++, and then off to F# and IronRuby and IronPython. And this is just for coding languages, never mind the scattered frameworks, technologies, and platforms. I have, more than one time, considered switching my company's web infrastructure from WISA (Windows/IIS/SQL Server/ASP.NET) to LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP), and I'm a big C#/CLR fan.
Anyways, if Microsoft does fall, it certainly won't be quick like DEC and it probably won't be only because of its fanatical devotion to Windows and MS Office. Challenges abound, but Microsoft is still relevant and can prevail. But first it may need to clear house, clear its head and then get back whatever it was it once had and then lost.
May 27, 2010
It's hard to believe, but today Apple's market cap of $222B is larger than that of Microsoft which finished at $219B. That makes Apple the biggest Tech company on the block today. Microsoft will probably reclaim the top spot tomorrow, but Steve Jobs must be happy to have surpassed its old nemesis.
And Google? Today its market cap stood at $151B. Still has a long way to go to catch up to the big guys. Don't shed any tears though, Google is much younger than the duo. It'll get there in due time.
February 14, 2010
About a year or two back when Microsoft was offering a free domain name with their Office Live product, I had signed up with some throw-away domain name to test it. The experience was less than impressive, far less, so I just forgot about the whole thing.
I was recently reminded of the domain name when I received an email from Microsoft, excerpted below:
As noted in the policy change e-mail we sent you in August of 2009, Microsoft Office Live Small Business no longer offers free domain name renewals ... Your custom domain .com must renew by 02/14/2010. To keep this domain name, you will need to pay the annual renewal fee of $14.95 ... If you allow your domain name to expire, visitors will no longer be able to use your custom Web address to reach your Web site ... All e-mail accounts on the expired domain will be discontinued, and e-mail messages will not be saved.
To quote Mr. T, I pity the fool that fell for the Microsoft's gimmick back then and developed anything useful around the free domain name only to be forced to pony up the racket money now. I bet Microsoft won't let them transfer the domain to a cheaper registrar either.
As for me, no thanks Microsoft. Go ahead and expire the domain name, toss it, trash it, burn it, see if I care. I knew all along this was BS. You upped the ante against Google. It crashed and burned and now you want your users to pay for it.
microsoft,office live,domain names,google
December 29, 2009
Had a hell of a time chasing an inexplicable and sudden crash in one of my JScript programs last week. In the end Internet Explorer 8 was the culprit.
Thankfully removing IE8 is simply done via the Control Panel and it's rolled back to the previously installed one. Guess we have fair-competition rulings to thank for that or else IE8 would have been impossible to remove without damaging Windows.
Anyways, if you have IE8 installed and you run JScript in WSH, watch out, your program could crash under certain conditions. As for VBScript or other languages, I haven't tested them, so can't speak to those.
August 27, 2009
Oracle has already bagged the U.S. regulatory approval to acquire Sun. If the Europeans go along as well, Sun will become a part of Oracle by September. That means Oracle will also own Java, the popular open source programming language used widely on the Web.
Today while installing a Java upgrade I was presented with an option to install the Bing toolbar. As you know Bing is the much hyped search engine by Microsoft. As you also know, Oracle and Microsoft are rivals in several industries, the biggest one being the database industry. That will just get bigger when Oracle takes control of MySQL (also owned by Sun.)
I wonder if Java users will still be given the Bing option after Oracle acquires Sun. Then again Sun and Microsoft were themselves pretty big rivals until a few years ago. Passage of time makes strange bedfellows.
June 8, 2009
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Microsoft is nothing if not persistent. Last week the company unveiled the latest incarnation of its search engine called Bing. I don't know, but this is probably the 5th iteration of the company's attempt to force itself onto the psyche of the net searchers.
You've got to give Microsoft credit for trying. Squeezed by the champion, Google, on one side and the runner-up, Yahoo, on the other, Microsoft keeps on trying and trying and trying. So far they have yet to chip away at the search market share in a meaningful way and this latest salvo, as far as I can tell, is far from impressive.
Bing looks sleek for sure but it's so obvious that the underlying engine is the same old algorithm as before. Adding a nice graphic and a bunch of bells and whistles is well and good, but winning converts is another story. To be fair, I tried Bing for a little while, only to slide right back into Google's arms. Don't blame me for being faithful to Google. You did it too. But it's not blind faith. Google still produces much more relevant results without the Web 2.0 trickery, and at the end of day the one that produces higher quality at the same price wins the eyeballs.
What really surprised me was when I plugged the terms "search engine" into Google. Google's own site was nowhere to be found in the results page. The top 3 results were AltaVista, Dogpile, and Ask.com. Does anyone really use these search engines anymore? Over on the right-hand side where Google displays sponsored ads, Bing was at the top of the list.
It appears that even Google is excited about Microsoft's new search engine, if only to charge them a premium for a top sponsorship spot. It's almost like Google is saying, "who, me worry?"
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