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Comment: Re:Obligatory Joke (Score 4, Informative) 60

by lord_mike (#48876531) Attached to: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge

Yes, actually...

"In 1986, the new BASICODE 3 standard was developed. The most important additions were routines for simple monochrome graphics, reading and writing data from within programs and sound output. BASICODE 3 made BASICODE popular in the computer scene of the GDR, and from 1989 onward BASICODE programs were transmitted via radio throughout the GDR. Also, a book was published which included a vinyl record with Bascoders for all computers common in the GDR. The last revision of BASICODE, which featured color graphics, was released as BASICODE 3C in 1991."


In the UK during the early 1980's, pop star Chris Sievey released a 7" single record where side B was the program code in audio format for the Sinclair ZX81 microcomputer. You plugged in your turntable's output into the ZX-81 "loaded" the record into memory, flipped over the record, played the music on Side A while running the program which gave you a "music video" while the song played. It was very innovative at the time:


Comment: Yes, absolutely!!! (Score 1) 392

by lord_mike (#47919251) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The best programmers and other IT professionals that I've ever worked with had liberal arts backgrounds. In fact, a programmer named Paul Laughton who wrote the original Apple II DOS and the current RFO Basic app for Android has publicly stated that in his decades of experience, the best programmers he's worked with have almost always been musicians. Music notation is definitely a code, and the structure of music performance is very much like code writing--quite logical with leaps of creativity when necessary. In general, the ability of liberal arts grads to research, find creative solutions to problems, and communicate them to others is an exceptionally valuable skill in any profession. With modern applications being so graphically intensive, any artistic and graphic design skills are a value added complement to coding skills. The skill learned from studying the liberal arts allow IT professionals give a significant leg up on their peers who do not have that kind of experience. Of course, the liberal arts skill set is only a compliment, not a replacement, to traditional coding and other STEM skills. IT professionals who have both skills enjoy a significant competitive advantage. The study of liberal arts should be strongly encouraged for all STEM students as a stepping stone to future success.

Comment: Re:I'd love to be in his class (Score 1) 179

by lord_mike (#47720281) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

My reference to Exchange/Office was meant to include other "back office" products as well, since once a business is a "Microsoft shop", they tend to use Microsoft products for most of their other needs as well. While this is a highly profitable arrangement for Microsoft, it makes them even more vulnerable to a competitor coming in and offering an cheaper better solution by breaking up the "microsoft shop" mini-monopolies at businesses. Microsoft doesn't tend to fare well with open competition once their barriers to access have been broken. Blackberry was very successful and made a lot of money, too, but were also extremely vulnerable and collapsed with frightening speed. I would be somewhat nervous if I was a Microsoft shareholder... only somewhat nervous since they have a lot of cash to burn before they crash, but their future looks kind of shaky at the moment.

Comment: Re:I'd love to be in his class (Score 1, Insightful) 179

by lord_mike (#47719501) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

Ballmer defenders like to point out the stock value and revenue numbers, which is valid, however Ballmer's reign ended Microsoft's dominance in mindshare and allowed their monopoly to essentially break up. Their revenue gains were made at a great cost to the company's prestige and future dominance and are likely to be short lived. There is only one product now that is making money and that is Office/Exchange and their cloud version of that. The desktop Windows market is shrinking rapidly, Surface is a financial failure, Windows Phone is a laughingstock, Silverlight a joke, and Xbox One is circling the drain. Where is the future? No one cares what Microsoft wants to do in the marketplace. They are ignored. Ballmer made them a one trick pony--a revenue generating one trick pony, but one that is extremely vulnerable to being completely toppled by a better, more respected competitor.

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 4, Interesting) 322

by lord_mike (#47519573) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Here's a real life car analogy... GM in the 80's "unified" all their drivetrains. The same engines/transmissions were available in the Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, etc. The only differences were in the style, body, and nameplate. It didn't particularly go over well with auto enthusiasts or consumers in general. The GM brands became rather superfluous, and consumers were quite lukewarm to the generic "all-in-one" options for GM cars. GM cars from the 80's are considered to be the worst built and least desirable of the company's history. You don't see any of those models still driving around with classic plates on them. Few consumers wanted them then, even fewer want to preserve them now.

Comment: Re:The should restructure as an income trust (Score 1) 272

by lord_mike (#47487295) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

That would make little sense. You acknowledge in your post that the product line is dying. Milking everything you can out of it makes sense, but if you don't replace it with something else, you'll end up like every other IT company that decided to just sit on their cash cow until it was too late. Novell Netware, Banyan Vines, RIM/Blackberry, SCO, all companies that cashed in mightily on one trick wonders, only to crash and burn incredibly quickly when their product was surpassed by someone else. One of the reasons why Microsoft was so successful in the 1990's was that Bill Gates refused to let anyone get ahead of his company. Your recommendation is one of certain corporate death.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs