I know that we geeks tend to laugh at such things but PLEASE REMEMBER that just as many of us can't do open heart surgery or rebuild our car engines, so too is there many that don't have our experience with scams. Currently there are several "$1000 Gift Card" scams that are going around, Best Buy and Walmart are two of the biggest right now. Please warn your less tech savvy friends and family about such things and point out that a REAL winning entry in a contest would be contacted by something other than a txt. I have had to warn several older and less savvy customers in the past few weeks because of this scam so its going around pretty heavily. remember to use your computer savvy for good and help your fellow man keep from being ripped off.
All the usual hype is flowing about Vista 8. This mostly means that Vista 7 was a failure, but I decided to log it for laughs. Vista 7 did not sell as well as Vista did and Vista 8 won't sell any better than Vista 7. Vista failure has really killed Microsoft. The upgrade inevitability myth is six feet underground, traditional desktops are becoming a thing of the past and everyone looks to Google, Apple even IBM for cool and reliable computing. Despite that, Microsoft brings out the same old lines and strategies.
- 05/29 - Steve Ballmer tries to freeze the market by announcing an early release date, only to have Micrsoft quietly rebuff him. In reality, OEM outrage at Microsoft's limitations and power grab pushes Vista 8 release out of 2012.
- 06/02 - A fawning article from business insider. We get all the usual BS, "riskiest OS ever," "biggest step forward in more than 20 years, when it pushed Windows as the replacement for DOS", "underneath that layer is the old Windows that users are accustomed to. It will run old Windows apps", Linux and Apple are too jarring, expensive and suck, and so on and so forth.
I have a customer that surfs those "porntube" style sites and I kept getting emails from him consisting of a single link, obviously randomly generated. Now since I had just cleaned this machine and knew it to be good I asked "WTH?" and he swore up and down that the ONLY thing he had done was watch some videos on those porntube sites. So I figured he was probably lying, so I figured "I've just made a disc image, have AV and NoScript, lets experiement". So I went to several porntube style sites, DrTuber,XHamster, etc, just clicking links to bounce from one to the other when sure enough about an hour later I started getting emails from myself along with everyone in my address book!
Now since it was the yahoo account that I only use as a spam dump I didn't care about that, what I DID care about is it looks like every. single. person. that looks at any of the porntube sites is vulnerable to having their Yahoo addresses stolen! I tried Chromium and FF 4, I tried with NoScript enabled, no matter what I did after surfing those sites for an hour or less, even after using CCleaner first to make sure there wasn't any info in the cache, there it was.
Now all I can tell you is that it doesn't seem to affect GMail or Live Mail, just Yahoo, but with Yahoo Mail it seems to be pretty damned consistent no matter what the user does! So has anyone else run into this, know how it works, or know how to stop it? I wish I could tell you the exact site but I was looking for the effect more than the cause, but if you start at DrTuber and XHamster and start clicking on video links leading to affiliates you WILL end up seeing it first hand, just don't use a Yahoo account you care about! Although since I saw the effect WITHOUT logging into Yahoo and WITH private browsing on who knows if you'll be able to stop it? I'm starting to wonder if the new yahoo beta isn't storing your address book unencrypted in the browser somewhere for speed. If it is the case we are talking a serious security flaw here folks!
As the Linux Foundation wins new friends and influences people, sharp reporters at PCWorld notice that Windows sales as a fraction of PCs shipped are in a steep and accelerating decline. Woody Leonhard of Infoworld does the math on Microsoft's numbers,
Between launch and June 30, 2010 -- a period of 251 days -- Microsoft sold 0.78 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold. Between July 1, 2010, and April 22, 2011 -- a period of 275 days -- Microsoft sold 0.67 Windows 7 licenses for each PC sold: 175 million Windows 7 licenses, and 260 million new PCs. To turn the numbers the other way around, in the past nine months, more than one-third of all new PCs sold didn't have Windows 7.
... it's entirely possible that 40 percent of all new PCs in the past nine months shipped without Windows 7. Maybe more.
So, the Windows 7 PC sales "refresh" is over. Business adoption rates are still under 10%. Kanthryn Noyles of Computer World interprets that as a Win for gnu/linux
I think it's fair to assume that a good number of them are running Linux instead. Preloaded options, after all, are increasingly common, and the reasons to switch are more compelling with each passing Patch Tuesday.
Android/Linux, is another reason for the decline. Why sit around mom's basement with a big, noisy PC when you can drop the net in your pocket? PCs are less important and Windows is downright archaic.
Microsoft's bottom line sags with its cash cow. There was good evidence in 2010 and January of this year that Windows 7 was not driving sales. Roughly Drafted now looks at Microsoft's quarterly report and shows that Windows profits are down since 2008 back when they were trying to sell Vista which many people dumped in less than six months.
Florian Mueller has thrust himself into the news a lot over the last couple of years, mostly to the detriment of Microsoft competitors, and has been particularly successful at getting Slashdot to copy his message. Roy Schestowitz, of Techrights, noticed him early because Boycott Novell was on Florian's journalist mass mailing list. So was Groklaw. Both rejected Florian's message and both are now smeared by him. Techrights has this index and PJ has this about bad behavior in 2005, this, this and more. Florian waged a Twitter/Social Media FUD campaign against both "Groklie" and Techrights in retaliation. Even Slashdot submitters have called Florian a "gadfly" and noticed he's behind anti-Google FUD. All of Florian's media manipulation has earned him special mention by actual lawyers who advise those threatened by lawsuits to ignore him and people like him.
The best way to understand what Florian has been doing is to make a list of it. Here then, is a list of what he's been telling Slashdot readers over the last year or so, with context and links to refutations as time allows.
- Google violated Java patents on purpose (See source article for source of silly opinion. ITWorld should be ashamed.)
- Speculation about why Apple replaced their chief patent lawyer. While Apple is quiet about the change, Florian pretends to be an Apple spokesman and tells us it's all about plans to block Android features.
- Sensationalized Oracle's obnoxious demands for money as something that would "far exceed any money Google has ever earned with Android", Google's no cost, free OS. Groklaw puts things in perspective and lawyers advise people to ignore Florian and people like him.
- Google Loses Bedrock Suit, All Linux May Infringe Florian put his anti-linux spin into CNet, the article source. See refutations, [2 SJVN], [3 PJ].
- A refutation that points to Florian as the source of Android copyright FUD.
- Huffington Post and Florian level copyright charges against Android, call it a "serious problem". Techrights and Groklaw answer these charges and take a careful look at Florian. 
- Google and Microsoft are working to make sofware patents livable
- Backs Google's request to invalidate Oracle VM patents.
- Florian charges Google of copyright violation against Oracle, blames ASF.
- Florian claims Android is doomed by Google's small patent portfolio, so Google had better pay fees to Apple, Microsoft and Oracle.
- Android and iPhone charged with violating media patents
- Counts patents involved in Apple's attack on Android.
- Pumps up Paul Allen's sue everyone lawsuit as trouble for Android.
Red Hat FUD
Novell's Patent Hoard.
- Notices Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC are to receive Novelle's patents and predicts dire results for free software.
Reframes Microsoft's attempt to tax Motorola's use of GNU/Linux and Android.
This issue should not be separated from general anti-Google FUD but Florian does this.
- Compares LG Sony fight to Motorola Microsoft
- Talks about new patent charges by both companies as if they were equals.
- ITC investigates Xbox after Motorola complaint.
That's 16 articles in less than a year and each represents dozens of Microsoft press echos. All of it says something bad about Google, Red Hat, IBM and other free software users. When he's not busy smearing Microsoft competitors, he's telling us that they Love Microsoft and are working with them towards some noble goal.
People speculate that Muelller is fed inside information as part of Microsoft's coordinated campaigns against free software and Microsoft competitors. PJ of Groklaw thinks that Microsoft hoped that a community of deluded coders would form around Florian, but only Novell employees and Mono boosters pal around, while the larger free software community ignores him. His recent praise of the SCO Gang and smears of PJ places him among the most disgusting of Microsoft company.
So, you've found my journal. Chances are, you're probably here because you're bored, and you noticed that I have a journal entry. I'm afraid you won't find much of interest here, but that's not why you're reading. You're reading this because you're interested to know why I'd be posting about the Slashdot relationship change notice you probably received because I have either added you as a friend or because I have culled you from my friends list and you would like to know why. Fortunately, it's really simple.
The Friends List is my User Bookmarks
It really is that simple. If you're on my friends list, you've probably made it there because you happened to have made an interesting, insightful, or humorous post that I enjoyed so much, I've decided to make you stick out like a sore thumb. I browse with friends set to +5, regardless of their modifier, so I will always see your posts no matter how ornery the moderators happen to be feeling. (Bonus: If you got moderated into oblivion, I have mod points, and you've put the time and effort into writing a good post, I might be able to get you out of it if I'm feeling charitable and want to mod you up.)
However: If you're on my friends list, it doesn't mean I agree with you. It just means I enjoyed a post you made.
If you've made it here, you've been selected as my friend exclusively for the reasons I outlined above. Chances are, you wouldn't like me in person--I'm generally politically conservative (with some socially liberal leanings, and I mean this in terms of the United States' political system), I'm religious but somewhat secular in my views, and I could probably outline a further 100+ reasons why you wouldn't like me regardless of your political affiliations (yes, I piss off even some conservatives). But here's the deal: I added you precisely because you shared a great post with the rest of Slashdot, made me laugh, or I disagree--but you made a good enough point that I think may have received an unfair shake from the moderators, so I'm watching out to make sure you don't get zinged again by someone who has it out for you (karma stalking).
That said, there are some exceptions to the rules I've outlined above. Specifically, I occasionally friend individuals I might otherwise call "flaming liberal nutjobs," because I happen to have some appreciation for the points or argument they're making. I probably disagree completely, but if that person happens to be arguing with someone who is quite clearly a total moron, I'll probably add them simply because they're the only party showing at least some signs of intelligence. I may also add people for various other reasons such as generally snarky behavior, a propensity for trolling idiots, playing devil's advocate, or because you won the lottery (not really--but you get the idea). In other words, there is probably a why behind, well, why you got added--and received the "relationship changed" notice--but it could be for any reason.
Two examples that come to mind are the users spun and tepples. Both of these guys are probably liberals, probably borderline crazy, and I know very well that they can get under the skin of other Slashdot users--and that is exactly why I like them. Both of these two characters have the tendency to get on the nerves of people who either have no sense of humor or, generally speaking, are exhibiting traits endemic to idiots. I seldom agree with either of them (spun for political reasons, tepples because of his occasional pro-Apple leanings), but because they go out of their way to make lesser beings look stupid, I applaud their efforts. Sure, they sometimes get a little out of line--don't we all?--but I think that the vast majority of people who become targets of their ridicule deserve it. Sometimes it isn't deserved, certainly, but oftentimes it is well-placed. They even occasionally post things that I enjoy reading.
Other individuals, like Opportunist, cayenne8, TheRaven64, and at least a dozen other people who may or may not have added me in return (see my fans list for a comprehensive rundown of most of these people--save for a handful--and sorry if I haven't expressly mentioned you) make posts that I greatly enjoy reading. Again, I may not always agree with them, but these individuals are typically very civil, respectful, and informative in the majority of their posts. Sometimes their posts are just outright entertaining.
Minor update: I should have added mcgrew to this list a long while back, because he's another one of the individuals whose posts I enjoy reading. Although, if I recall correctly, I had added him precisely because of a journal entry he had posted (either on mcgrew or another account) that I found very educational. mcgrew also continues to update his journal fairly regularly, so you should put some effort into reading it if you don't already. Yes, I'm guilty of not reading it as much as I should, too!
Of course, you could probably guess which of the two groups you fall into--or maybe you can't. Either way, you've done something I enjoyed if you're reading this.
Big Deal You Long-winded Baffoon! Why Should I Care that You Added Me?
Well, you shouldn't. There are some minor benefits, but in most circumstances, you shouldn't care. If you don't care, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
For the rest of you that have more time on your hands than I do (you are reading this, after all), here's what benefits you may (or may not) receive by being friended by me:
1) People on my friends list are more likely to be modded up whenever they make a good post.
- This means that if there's 2 posts I find really interesting and I have only 1 mod point left, yours gets priority. There is one exception to this (below).
2) Your posts will be visible to me, regardless of their rating.
- I browse with friends set to +5. That means you'll have at least an audience of one. This really only implies #1, but you get the idea.
3) If I catch a post hinting that you've been the victim of a karma stalker, I might (if I'm feeling charitable) look through your comment history for posts I feel were unfairly modded down. If I have the points, I may try to make what corrections I can to offset the damage to your karma.
As I mentioned, there is an exception to #1: If I have 1 mod point and you've made an interesting post, you will receive priority if you have friended me in return. Fans of mine receive priority over friends, so if you need a bit of a karma boost, and I feel you've made a good post, I'll probably throw you a bone karma-wise. I usually feel a bit more charitable toward people with whom I am both a friend and a fan.
Of course, your posts really do need to be worthy of a boost; if you post some inane one-liner (e.g. "in Soviet Russia..."), I don't care who you are. I'll ignore the post, and it won't receive any moderation from me. The one exception to this is that your meme usage--or whatever it is--has to be exceedingly clever. If it is, I may mod you funny. Of course, +1, Funny doesn't receive a karma boost, but if the post is something I feel worthy of karma (and it's funny), I might mod you +1, Insightful/Informative and let the other moderators sort out and puzzle over why a funny post got modded "incorrectly." I can't guarantee you'll keep the karma given the meta moderation, of course, but that's just how things are.
Okay, but You Removed Me from Your Friends List
I'm sorry. It happens. I don't read Slashdot incessantly enough to be a subscriber, so I'm fairly satisfied with my friends list being limited to 200 people. Unfortunately, this is a limit that I hit about a year or two ago, so I do occasionally need to cull my friends list. If you're reading this because I removed you, I'm truly very sorry. However, there are some ground rules I've set for people I'll remove, and if you're here, I removed you because you matched one of these rules:
1) Friends on my list must have at least one (1) post or one (1) journal entry made sometime within the last year or so. This means, for example, that since it is February 2011 as of the time of this writing, you'll be culled from my list if your last comment (or journal entry) was on or before February 2010. Yes, you may still browse Slashdot while not actively participating, but I have no way to tell the difference between someone who doesn't visit the site anymore and someone who just doesn't want to comment anymore.
2) You've marked me as a foe. This doesn't happen often (if at all), but someone who marks me as a foe will probably be taken off of my friends list. I might even add you as a mutual foe. I might just leave you neutral. Or, hell, I might just change my mind at random every day for three weeks. I figure that anyone who marks me as a foe either doesn't like something I wrote and can't handle a respectful or vehement disagreement (translation: you're being petty) or you're just in a bad mood--and that's OK! That's what I'm here for. I'm here to remind you that you might just have one last friend in the world. Or not. It depends!
3) Your account has been banned/deleted/disappeared. Okay, this doesn't happen (as far as I know), but there's nothing much else to say about it either way.
4) You're trolling (and not in the good way) or generally contributing to behavior that I don't like. Maybe you used a derogatory term toward someone inappropriately. Maybe you're starting to spam Goatse links. Maybe you're trolling in an exceedingly childish form. If that's the case, I'll remove you. I friend people exclusively because I enjoy their posts. If I stop enjoying them, I'll remove them very quickly.
5) I removed you because I felt like it. This hasn't happened yet (unlike #4 and earlier), but I do reserve the right to remove you for whatever reason I like.
In short, I need the room on my list, and your number came up. I'm sorry. I truly am. There is a silver lining, though: If you continue to make insightful posts, I may just re-friend you again.
Just remember one thing. You're on my friends list because your posts entertain me or maybe because I learned something from you. As such, if you continue to be fairly reasonable with others and continue to participate on Slashdot, you'll probably stay on my friends list indefinitely.
There is yet one more exception to the culling that I occasionally perform (like now) on my friends list. If you have added me as a friend, you're automatically immune to culling. I don't have a lot of fans, so I can't imagine that the number of fans will approach 200 users any time soon, and for the foreseeable future, if you've friended me in return, you'll never be removed from my list. Fans are slightly more likely to receive beneficial moderation than exclusively friends, but you do still have to make a worthwhile post.
Okay, I get it. Do You ever Downvote Friends/Fans/Foes?
Nope. I never downvote except in cases of obvious spam which is almost never. I will never, ever, ever, ever downvote anyone. Even if you've added me to your foe list and you hate everything I stand for, I will never downvote your posts. Modding posts down is, as far as I'm concerned, a filtration method for spam and clearly abusive posts. I realize some Slashdotters tend to resort to downvotes as a means of -1, Disagree, and I think that's wrong. That's why you'll never receive a downvote, even if I disagree with you 100%.
Of course, as I pointed out, you will probably receive upvotes from me for various reasons--much more often if you're a friend or a fan--and it's not because I agree with you. Upvotes are useful for increasing the visibility of quality posts, posts that correct the obvious errors of others, or posts that otherwise deserve to be made more visible.
Again, you're on my friends list because it's a useful bookmark to make your posts more visible to me. Nothing more, nothing less. There are some (rough) rules that I follow to maintain the quality of my "organic bookmark" system, and if you're here, hopefully you've learned a little about why you received that ominous note: Relationship Changed.
I simply can't believe how awful Windows is, and (unfortunately) how gullible I am. [my laptop] came loaded with Vista Business, and a "fallback" DVD for XP Professional. I tried running Vista on it. I really tried, I really wanted it to work, and I said exactly that in my blog here. But it didn't. Every time I tried it, things started out looking promising, and after a month or two it would go belly-up. Three or four times I reloaded Vista from scratch and tried again, hoping that the latest Microsoft Updates would fix it. Eventually I gave up, reloaded one last time with XP Professional, and ran that with no problem for two years.
A month or so ago, through my own carelessness, I wiped the disk on this laptop. I had to reload everything from scratch, so (like a fool) I thought well, Vista SP2 is out, everyone says that it is "all fixed up now and works great, and reliably", so I'll try that again. I loaded Vista from scratch, added all the updates to SP2 and beyond, and I've been running it that way since. Until today.
... Windows is unreliable garbage, it always has been, it always will be, and if you use it you should be willing to accept that risk. I am no longer willing to accept that risk, even part-time as a secondary operating system on this laptop. Windows is gone, it has puked all over its disk for the last time here, and I will not reload it. I am in the process of transferring the data to one of the Linux partitions - yes, Linux is quite happy to read the partition that Windows says is hopelessly corrupted.
Please, PLEASE, unless you want to hear a very long string of words that I learned during my military service, do NOT tell me that the "solution" to this problem is to give Microsoft even more money and "upgrade" to Windows 7.
... if Vista is not stable, or reliable, then Microsoft should withdraw it and either offer a free "upgrade" to Windows 7 or offer a refund of the purchase cost. ... I absolutely don't believe the Windows 7 is any better, any more stable or any more reliable than Vista. They come from Microsoft, they are utter garbage...
Digitimes has another reason for Windows 7 sales to be low.
PC replacement demand is not driven significantly by the consumer market, but rather enterprise and government purchases
... most enterprises in Europe and North America are expected to start planning annual purchasing budgets for the year in March and April of 2010, actual replacement demand is not expected to spur until the second half of the year.
Companies and government might buy computers next year, but they should already be buying orders placed in March and April of this year. There are already accounts of corporate rejection of Windows 7, so that OS is not likely to have anything to do with corporate buying and government won't be a big market because UAC still does not meet government security standards . Back in January, retailers at CES remembered being "burnt by Vista" and saw nothing to change their minds about the contracting PC market. Perhaps OEMs and retailers could deliver the gnu/linux netbooks and desktops that people actually want to buy.
Who decided that all story submissions would be tagged with user email addresses? You might as well demand and publish people's real names.
This is a breach of trust that will drive away long standing users such as myself. Email addresses were collected under the promise of never being published. Now I have the choice of submitting things as AC, publishing my email address or just giving up. I'm leaning towards giving up. Boycott Novell has been more fun anyway.
Despite all the hype, it is easy to predict that Windows 7 will go the same way Vista did. Vista was a failure in every way, so a pretty new face was made to sell the same buggy and customer hostile core and the Microsoft hype machine was turned on full blast. Now that Vista 7 is RTM, we no longer have to make predictions, we can simply watch the results. Here is a collection of Vista 7 failures found on YouTube. Enjoy what I found in a few minutes:
- Counter Strike Fail
- Power Management Fail Hibernate seems to be broken. Any power management working would be an improvement over XP or Vista but we should not expect such miracles from non free software.
- Cracking Video shows how to p0wn "activation." Soothing music welcomes you to the botnet.
- Good rundown of Windows 7 problems by seasoned IT professional who has yet to give up on Windows. He's not correct about being able to upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.
Update 1/2/2011 Real users have been forced to buy Vista 7 with their new computers for more than a year and it's Vista all over again. They tell the story better than I can.
Here are videos that have collected at YouTube over the last year. Windows 7 is no less a pig and no more secure than Vista was, everything the Microsoft boosters say is a lie. All of these videos were made after the RTM date and most after the October 22nd, 2009 shelf date. The best have bold dates.
- 07/28 - an amazing Windows 7 failure video. Ten minutes long but fun the whole time.
- 09/11 - buggy dual monitor action. It's funny how my PIII can correctly do this kind of thing with composting using E16 and Debian. Multitouch on Windows 7 has had a lot of high profile failure too.
- 10/22 - Fails the day it was released to the public. Man forced to wipe Vista to install Windows 7 and ends up with two dead computers.
- 12/29 - Windows 7 speech recognition, impressive and completely worthless.
- 12/31 - What Windows 7 OEM "support" is really like, explained by a former Gateway support tech. The techical issue was product activation but the video is a profoundly sad portrait of betrayed US tech workers.
- 01/03 - A gamer hates Windows 7 performance and broken Steam
- 01/05 - Another user abandons the Windows world over Vista/Windows 7.
- 01/15 - Another tech and XP fans tell his users to go from XP to Mac OSX because Windows 7 is so poor
- 01/18 - This poor user thinks Vista was better, how pathetic.
- 04/19 - Hardware does not work with Windows 7, user hates it.
- 07/10/2010 - Excellent critique by long term Windows user fed up with Vista/Window7. After fighting "updates" for two years, user runs to Mac and vows to never purchase Windows again.
- 07/29 - Windows 7 ruins a netbook and lots of other hardware, user can't use CDs and is very frustrated.
- 8/21 - Infuriating general flakeyness, poor user wants his XP back.
- 09/04 - Poor battery life of Windows 7 graphically illustrated.
- 09/30 - Windows 7 broken so that user can't log in.
- 10/04 - User complains about poor performance and incomplete Vista facelift for Window 7. Thinks it works a little faster with "classic" 1995 like menu bar.
- 10/10 - Fake AV demonstrated, shows that Windows 7 is still insecure and preyed on by all sorts. The demonstrator should have actually used virtual machine if he really needed Windows.
- 10/31 - Slow shutdown ruins someone's day.
- 12/10 - Great demonstration of CPU usage in Windows 7 vrs GNU/Linux.
- 02/01 - Bugs and clown music
- 02/11 - Microsoft Anna voice tells you how annoying Windows 7 is
- 02/13 - Windows 7 ruins $1,000 computer so user is unable to play games, make videos and whatnot.
- 03/16 - Five crashes a month belies hype for this man. He wanted an improvement over Vista and 64 bit OS, but thinks Windows 7 is worse than Vista, which he also thought suckes. Wants to go Linux but has a few programs holding him back.
This ZDNet opinion piece has got to be the worst defense of unethical business practices I've see to date. Basically, the author admits M$ bribes and punishes OEMs and that's AOK with him. Let's preserve this gem:
a company gets twice as much from a PC with their brand on it as one they make for someone else. MSI needs this money to survive in a world where its Chinese partners can undercut them. The margin justifies MSIs existence.
It is also true that Linux cannot afford a presence in the channel. Its not how we roll. You cant invest in retailing if your product costs nothing. There is nothing to invest. Thats why Linux and open source depend on the Internet.
A monopolistic practice occurs when two sides are offering the same deal and one side gets all the business. But in this case both sides were not offering the same deal. Microsoft offered channel support, Linux a hearty handshake and rhetoric about freedom.
... What Linux needs to succeed is a way to offer more than was offered MSI. The question is, how would you structure a deal?
Well, that's a good question. What besides an OS that works and costs zero dollars does free software offer? OK, it can cost up to half what Windows costs if you get it customized and maintained by a company like Xandros. "Channel Support" is just a code word for exclusion of competition by bribes and threats, the very definition of anti-trust conspiracy. Lately, "Channel Support" has come at a terrible cost to companies like Asus. Retail partners like CompUSA, Circuit City and others who got themselves channel stuffed with Vista. This is what Li Chang, vice president of the Taipei Computer Association, was complaining about and it's worth a DOJ investigation. People don't want Windows, they want computers that work. Retailers and OEMs that don't deliver are going the way of other M$ partners and M$ themselves.
Ordinarily, I don't pick on language and style but the phrase, "how we roll," references to his parents' national origin bring special disgrace on ZDNet and the Wintel press. It's hard to tell if he's being cynical or if M$'s culture has really degenerated so far. This single article earns Dana a place in my Poison Pen Collection.
Roger Grimes makes this startling admission of public perception:
Youll often read similar recommendations to dump Microsofts Internet Explorer (I work full-time for Microsoft) and use any other browser instead. To completely protect yourself, theyll advise moving off of Microsoft Windows all together.
He goes on to make some long winded excuses and insult users in a way that's completely torn apart in the comments. His readers sanely point out that Window's endless problems have been well demonstrated. What's interesting about this article is not the same old blame the user and "popularity" excuses, it's that M$ is no longer able to pretend to the general public that "computer experts" still trust Windows. They don't and neither does anyone else any more.
I enjoy gloating, so a pair of articles, 1 and 2, from the M$ employee known as Mini Microsoft were quite enjoyable. It sucks to work for a big dumb company that's being raped by greedy and stupid people at the top of the org chart. It must suck even more at a company like M$, which long ago became a parasitic cult, loathed when people have the inclination to care. Mini's observations come through rose colored glasses, but there's no mistaking the lack of motivation and useful leadership.
He's got mood swings the size of Steve Ballmer's ego. He swings from wishing everyone well to wanting people fired, now - damn it! Desperately, he seeks a simple solution for his broken company but realizes none is can be found. This is typical of the emotional rollercoaster employees of a failing company ride.
Do you think that the concept of shared sacrifice would work at Microsoft? If it still felt like a company driven by the employees, probably so.
... if we still felt like the drive and ambition of the front-line employees shaped the company and defined it, then helping one another would make sense. But the huge growth shattered that sense of employee ownership, abetted by the abysmal Microsoft stock performance we've had since, yes, Mr. Ballmer became CEO.
Microsoft gorged itself at the buffet bar of mediocre hires. And now we're bursting at the seams and deadlocked. We are stagnant right when we have two major product releases coming in for landing
... Zero attrition. Stagnation. Organizational constipation. Nothing good comes out of that but corporate sepsis.
He proposes a crazy plan where people can move freely in the company but crashes hard the very same day. He celebrates the fifth birthday of his blog by basically saying, "I was right, M$ is stupid and hopeless. All of my efforts have been wasted."
Soon to be five years ago, I started this blog up because I felt Microsoft was a train not only off-track but also heading straight for a cliff. We were massively expanding and incapable of dealing with the exponential complexity that a fast growing Microsoft required of us. It appeared as though we were growing for growth's sake and without a particular elegant plan in mind. [twitter note: most people think they were just buying revenue to keep their stock price from collapsing.]
... Early 2009, we publically reached that cliff and went flying off.
... all the publicity this blog has garnered and the awkward questions it forced to be asked, none of it helped to avoid that cliff we've been steaming towards the last five years. My reality check has been cashed.
Yes Mini, you were right. Non free software quit making sense about a decade ago. Everything M$ has done since then has been to perpetuate a lie to enrich top leadership at M$, broadcast media and other fraudulent companies. Vista is non free software's crowning achievement in treacherous and disfunctional computing. Re arranging the org chart won't make Windows 7 any better. The non free software development model will never be able to provide enough resources to code production to make it competitive. This is true even if M$ were to quit wasting billions on Zune, Xbox, advertising and executive toys like the world's larges private yacht and failed private resort towns. But they won't do that any more than they will divest NBC, CNBC or any of the rest of the news organizations bought by M$, the Gates Foundation or funded by M$'s massive budget. The lies will go on till the company falls over like Enron did. M$ has entered the same death spiral it created for so many more worthy companies over the years. M$'s demise alone won't bring the owners of those other companies justice. That will take many protracted lawsuits to strip the ill gotten wealth from those who think they have gotten away with it. A country of ruined worker bees will be more than happy to see it happen.
To: Microsoft Internal
From: Walmart/Linux Taskforce: Robin Bradshaw, Christine Briggs, Mark Croft David Hoffman & Tom Perrier
CC: Rogers Weed
Date: May 16, 2006
Microtel PCs without an operating system ("naked") first started appearing on Walmart.com in CY 01. We responded by workding with Walmart.com on the language that was used to market those PCs. The focus was on "anti-piracy" messages.
The first Microtel Lindows PCs appeared on Walmart.com in June 2002. We are responding with a taskforce and coordinated efforts to understand the situation and intentions of all parties involved.
To date, there has been a lot of press about the Linux PCs selling on Walmart.com (See attached list of articles.) The media has been mixed, some telling a positive story about the Linux efforts and some pointing out the flaws in the offerings. One consisten message is that these are "substandard" PCs based on todays technology advances.
There is one critical data point we are missing: volume. Walmart will not disclose the volume of Microtel PCs they are selling, and Microtell has told us they are under a "non-disclosure agreement with Walmart." We have been working on some tactics so attempt to obtain volume estimates, but at this time, we can't confirm any numbers.
- We understand that Microtel is shipping approximately 100 units per week on Walmart.com orders.
- We understand that most of the volume is at the $199 price point.
- We understand that most of those systems are shipping with NO OS. (Naked Systems)
- We understand that there has not been a customer satisfaction issue. Walmart sets fairly strict standards for customer return rates and service calls.
The PR activity and focus from Walmart has definitely increased out efforts to understand the Linux threat on the desktop. Several Linux PCs were purchased and evaluated. See the summary of those findings below.
Linux on the Desktop
Microtel is a small system builder in the City of Industry California. A couple of principles in the company came from a previous OEM Mitsuba. Microsoft filed suit against them in _____ for piracy and they went out of business. They haven't been proponents of Microsoft, their volumes haven't warrented direct account management, and we just began to engage and build a relationship with them in 2002.
We started to engage with Microtel in the beginning of FY02, but the AM was met with a closed door and had little if no success. When the Lindows issue broke, Tom Perrier (tperrier), Microsoft System Builder RSM, discovered that Rich Hindman was their VP of Sales/Marketing (from Mitsuba). Tom had worked with Rich prior at AST Computer. Tat got us in the door and Rich is open to work on the relationship with Microsoft and Tom, but isn't sharing any information regarding their plans of volume. This is a summary of his progress with Rich:
1.) Continue the engagement with Rich Hindman to focus on strategies to differentiate the offerings as Microtel introduces a new wave of SKU's. This will seperate the offerngs and focus on the added value of the Windows based systems. (Avoid the current situtation where the $299 Windows Home SKU is the same config as Lindows model but $100 more for the same model with XP Home, with no other differentiation). This can be accomplished with scenarios like the Office XP 20-Day trial (in place today).
2.) They are still very "non-disclosure" oriented. I tried and tried, but could not get Rich to divulge any shipment data. I continue to think that the shipments out of their facility in City of Industry are small. In addition, Rich would not give me any real data for the current PRM Account Profilling that we are doing.
3.) All of the conversations with Microtel are centered on growing their Microsoft business, and improving the relationship between Microtel and Microsoft. We avoid any direct conversations on Linsows.
4.) Rich realizes and states that Microtel is getting increased focus and attention based upon their offerings on the Wal-Mart.com site. He will continue to take advantage of these opportunities as they arise.
5.) In developing the relationship with the local VIA Sales Rep, Roger Goh (rogergoh), System Builder AM was able to determine that the systems built for Walmart.com are build somewhere on the east coast, and the volume is approx 1000 a week. He was not able to get the mix.
Tom has been working closely with the taskforce team and David Hoffman on driving a longer term strategy with Walmart.com. Microtel seems willing to do the implementation.
Retail relationship efforts have been historically focused on Walmart corporate and not walmart.com. There is a high level of autonomy at walmart.com. They are not managed under the same guidelines and processes as Walmart corporate. They are making their own decisions about product offerings. Luke Ellison is the Technology Manager at Walmart.com. David Hofman, Microsoft HRD Account Manager, has developed a relationship with Luke. He is eager to work on some additional Microsoft programs with David, but isn't sharing too much regarding their Linux plans. This a summary of his meetings with Luke:
1.) Luke is concerned that Microsoft is mad at them for selling Linux PCs.
a. He wanted to make sure that we knew that www.wal-mart.com is very "pro-Microsoft"
b. They feel that customers that purchase Linux PCs were never a "Microsoft" customer anyway, and that by offering Linux PCs, they were broadening their customer base
c. Their goal with Lindows was to hit a very low price point - if it sold, they would keep it, if it didn't they would dump it after 90-120 days. It's selling.
2.) "Naked PCs" (no O/S) are still outselling Linux PCs (but not by much)
a. They plan to start selling Windows XP OEM (bundled with mouse) as a standalone product (technically this is legit)
3.) All the machines are build-to-order and that www.wal-mart.com carries no inventory.
4.) They are currently working on a way to offer additional software bundles with all of their PCs (like Office, Anti-Virus, etc.)
5.) He mentioned that Microtel was upset about the E-machines deal with Wal-Mart retail, but that Wal-Mart didn't think Microtel could handle being a retail partner - it was just too big of a job for them.
David is working with Walmart.com to help them promote the Windows XP PCs that are listed on walmart.com today. In an effort to differentiate the Windows XP PC from the Linux PC, we are working on a consumer software title bundle to promote as part of the purchase of the Windows XP machine.
1.) Continue the relationship efforts with Microtel and Walmart.com. (Tom Perrier & David Hoffman)
2.) Develop a deeper understanding of the Linux efforts at other System Builders and OEMs in the US. (Datel, ZT Group, MEI etc) (Tom Perrier & Ken Goetsch)
3.) Work with Windows Team to understand options for a Windows XP eval solution. (Mark Croft)
4.) Stay close to HP and eMachines (tow OEMs selling PCs at Walmart) to understnd their efforts and position in the account.
http://biz.yahoo.com/fo/020821/doesn t do windows 3.html
Wal-Mart Sells Windows-Less Computers
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/review/2002-07-17-walmart-computers x.htm
Linux finds fans at Wal-Mart
Sun, Lindows.com Strike Deal
Mandrake on Lindows
Ever wondered how the tech press all ends up talking about the same stuff at the same time and why so many stories look like dupes that make Slashdot look original? There was an editorial revolt against PR practices by TechCrunch and Wired spills all the beans. TechCrunch is tired of "Embargos", a practice where talking points are issued to everyone who's willing to wait till a specified date to publish. Both TechCrunch and Wired are fed up with spams by people too lazy to build propper relationships. Both report ugly details of abusive manipulation by the PR firms and their masters. Though TechCrunch apparently fears Waggener Edstrom, they were happy to show off an ugly letter from someone from a weaker firm. The arrogance displayed is breathtaking.
Lois is one of the most obnoxious PR people you'll ever meet, and the poster child for everything that is wrong with the industry.
... Lois takes pleasure in making people miserable, and her specialty is spamming. ... [here's what she wrote someone who asked to be removed from a list] "CES publishes a list of press. You are one of a few thousand. ... I have seen nasty people like you melt away faster than a snowball going up hill in the rain. I am waiting for an apology. Maybe we can meet at CES for a hug or a slug. P.S. I just visited your web site. I would hardly call your blog a publication, However, you do have very interesting content ...."
Translation: eat my spam or die. TechCrunch thinks the PR firm's days are over,
As the economy turns south, PR firms are under increasing pressure to perform and justify their monthly retainers which range from $10,000 to $30,000 or more. In short, they have to spam the tech world to get coverage, or lose their jobs.
It's good to revolt against these practices but they only scrape the surface of what's wrong with tech writing. Neither deals with OEM manipulation that always backs up the worst of hack writing. PR firms are also engaged in a whole other world of abuse, astroturf and heckling designed to stifle academic and professional conversations which fall outside of market force control. The sooner these games end, the better informed all of us will be. Traditional news has long failed to inform, now much of it also fails to make money.
Story also submitted to firehose.