Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Microsoft PR Rep is the Switcher 901

Here's a followup to our earlier story about Microsoft's "inverse switch" campaign. The AP tracked down the switcher and spoke with her: she's an employee at a Microsoft public relations firm but says she actually did switch from Mac to Windows. Microsoft's page is still 404 (but Google's cache still works). The interesting part to me is that the AP "tracked Mallinson by examining personal data hidden within documents that Microsoft had published with its controversial ad." Hmmmmmm. (Kudos to obidonn, the first to demonstrate the use of a stock photo, which piqued interest in this story. As of noon EDT Oct. 15, other stock photos are still being used in anonymous Microsoft "testimonials.")
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft PR Rep is the Switcher

Comments Filter:
  • Busted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by name_already_in_use ( 604991 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:00PM (#4450169) Homepage
    she's an employee at the PR firm but says she did switch...
    I love it. I mean, for the safety of your job, what would you say?
  • by ( 579491 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:04PM (#4450204)
    I fail to see how is EASIER than any other OS. A basic install of any operating system on any decent set of hardware is going to be equally easy to use. I use two Apple iBook's for music, not because I think the hardware is superior, but because my software [] isn't available for Windows yet. Most people that use Apple computers don't use them for what they are best at (multimedia, audio, video, etc) so they've basically spent anywhere from $500-$1500 more than a better equipped PC for absolutely no reason, they aren't benefitting from "ease of use," they aren't benefitting from the power.

    And getting people to switch from their Mac to Windows? Why even spend money on that effort? Windows machines may have been more difficult to use 15 years ago, but they've caught up... anyone who still thinks they are more difficult to use hasn't tried one.

    In my experience as the "computer guy" in my circle of friends I find that 95% of their problems come from using crappy software (and stuff that installs spyware) or using crappy hardware (e-machines).

    If you can't figure out the "start" button good luck trying to interface with OSX... (how is clicking start -> programs -> microsoft word harder than clicking Macintosh HD then searching around for your software? hm...)
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:09PM (#4450240)
    Microsoft spends big when it comes to it's PR and marekting firms. More than on any other single item in the budget.

    These firms have a mandate from MS to spread out and hit hard. They lurk here and on ZDNet, as an example, just waiting for opportunities to impersonate Joe/Jane Average user.

    They pump out hourly press releases that all have the same theme..."MS is best and who can fault a leader?...Join us in the fun and we will do all the thinking for you."

    It is all too clear what they think of their customers...brain-dead sheep, begging to be sheared.

    To understand the mechanics, it may help to first study a long standing 'marketing' ploy known as 'the big lie'. I don't normally use references like this, but the best manual I know is titled 'Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:13PM (#4450271)
    Don't think of cache as copyright infringement, think of cache as using a time machine and probing a web server *in the past* and returning the result. As far as I know using a time machine isn't illegal.
  • by Crispin Cowan ( 20238 ) <> on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:15PM (#4450287) Homepage
    I doubt any national TV stations other than TechTV read slashdot,...
    I was just watching CNN Headline News on TV, and the woman reading the story on the guy busted for pirating AotC [] actually quoted and attributed the Slashdot story.

    Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. []
    Immunix: [] Security Hardened Linux Distribution
    Available for purchase []

  • What surprises me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:16PM (#4450291) not that Microsoft has done this, but that they're so shocked and shaken over Apple's switch campaign that they felt this was necessary.

    Without getting too offtopic, I owned a Mac for awhile and wasn't too thrilled with it. Yes, it was usable, but the thought that kept repeating in my mind was "I can sell this on eBay and use the money to buy MUCH better hardware for my PC." - so I did. Do I regret no longer being "biplatform"? Nope...

    It wasn't so much that I had anything against the Mac platform... I just didn't NEED it. My PC didn't give me any trouble and all the apps I use for doing what I like to do work fine on the PC. I guess if I felt the same way about the Macintosh to begin with, I wouldn't want to switch either and no amount of Microsoft fluff could change my mind. In the end, it just comes down to using what it is you like to use...

    As a side note, I think some of you Slashdotters agree that you'd be more than willing to go "biplatform" if Macs weren't so expensive... There's a $199 Wal-Mart PC for the curious Mac users, where's the $199 Mac for curious PC users?
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:17PM (#4450296) Homepage Journal
    This isn't mainstream? []. Considering they broke this a few hours after it ran on Slashdot I'm not sure what else you expect. A CNN <blink>breaking news</blink> flash?
  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:20PM (#4450319) Homepage Journal
    Two things get me about this:

    1) The woman works at a PR firm--a business where Macintosh systems are fairly strong, albeit not quite as much as advertising and the graphic arts. So, what kind of Mac did she switch from? A crappy 6-year old Mac or something ancient? Hell, anything would make you switch from that.

    2) By being a contractual employee of Microsoft, this ad really doesn't give MS a lot of credit for their product. Can't they simply find a relatively honest person to endorse? I mean, really! Not everyone hates Microsoft, and I'm sure there are enough people to say, "Sure, it works for me."

    This can't be a good thing, and it only creates more alienation in a business where getting along still means a little something, if only to make friends before you merge your companies.
  • Corbis Corporation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by willpost ( 449227 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:29PM (#4450387),2163,43433,0 0.html []
    If a picture says a thousand words, then Corbis is one loquacious company. Founded and owned by Microsoft chief Bill Gates, Corbis holds the rights to more than 65 million images, putting it neck and neck with Getty Images as the largest such archive in the world. The company licenses its library for use in print and electronic media, including more than 2 million digital images available online to professionals and consumers alike.

    The leading supplier of stock images for business and consumers has an archive of 70 million still images and illustrations and more than 30,000 hours of stock film footage...The Getty family owns about 20% of the company.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:31PM (#4450401)
    The more outrageous news is that Microsoft has forced the some of the largest multinational ad agencies to get rid of competitors products (Novell, IBM, etc.) if they wanted to see any Microsoft$ in their books.
    I spoke with sysadmins, who told me that Microsoft audited their IS department on a regular basis to make sure that whatever Microsoft police decided to die is dead indeed.
    Compared to that this documented switch is just the tip of the iceberg.
    I really wonder that these incidents should also be included in the Microsoft anti-trust trial.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:31PM (#4450403)
    Download "ShowOffYourSkills.doc" from the web page.

    $ strings ShowOffYourSkills.doc | less
    /* truncated... */
    Show Off Your Skills
    Katherine L. Trunkey
    Microsoft Word 10.0
    Show Off Your SkillsTitle
    _Em ailSubject
    _ReviewingToo lsShownOnce
    Valerie Mallinson (Wes Rataushk & Assc Inc)
    Microsoft Word Document

    This "switcher" had her privacy compromised by Microsoft software. Her web site is not yet active but you can look up the "Wes Rataushk" firm to find that it is in Redmond. The following blog belongs to a coworker of hers, perhaps you could ask him more: UTF-8


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:39PM (#4450441)
    There is no escape from the nerd patrol. Taking down your web site won't help (even though google didn't cache it, damnit) :

    Valerie G Mallinson
    Valerie Mallinson
    820 NE 180th St
    Shoreline, WA 98155
    Phone: (206) 612-9084

    Registrar Name....:
    Registrar Whois...:
    Registrar Homepage:

    Domain Name: VALMALGAL.COM

    Created on..............: Tue, Apr 02, 2002
    Expires on..............: Wed, Apr 02, 2003
    Record last updated on..: Tue, Apr 02, 2002

    Administrative Contact:
    Valerie G Mallinson
    Valerie Mallinson
    820 NE 180th St
    Shoreline, WA 98155
    Phone: (206) 612-9084

    Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    Domain Registrar
    575 8th Avenue - 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10018
    Phone: 902-749-2701
    Fax..: 902-749-5429

    Domain servers in listed order:

  • by Duckz ( 147715 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:47PM (#4450493) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be funny if they did ask/sue for having that cache link and google responded by not caching or indexing any of's pages?
  • by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:51PM (#4450513)
    How about a Slashdot contribution fund to set up a commercial on Sci-Fi or thirty commercials on UPN?


    I'm actually being serious, it's get my $10.
  • by jeremyacole ( 617071 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:51PM (#4450515)
    Did anyone notice this: up above:
    Windows XP relieved my fears about switching. I can read my files, import e-mail addresses from my Palm* to the Microsoft Outlook® messaging and collaboration client, and keep my Web favorites.
    and then down below:
    *Editor's Note: Now that we've successfully converted
    our writer to a Windows PC, we will be working on getting her to try a Pocket PC. Stay tuned for more developments!
    "our writer" ? A small hint that it's a Microsoft employee?
  • Re:Busted (Score:2, Interesting)

    by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:55PM (#4450537) Homepage Journal
    actually it seems she's the one who wrote the 'how to get in touch with MS with your story about how you switched' Word file on the web site ... what a strange coincidence that the person who created that document is the same one the article's about
  • Re:The truth be told (Score:2, Interesting)

    by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:57PM (#4450552)

    I loved the Amiga too, but the UI of the Amiga wasn't all that cool. POTENTIALLY cool, but in practice it sucked. The Macintosh had it beat as far as usability goes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @09:59PM (#4450558)
    Oh, but isn't it a testimonial from an independent person? She must own the copyright, not Microsoft, right?

  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:00PM (#4450562)
    For instance the MacOS's file-type registry (you know, the thing that links the file type stored in the resource fork to the application that's supposed to open it?) would be inconsistant after such a delete

    I don't believe that was the case in 9, and I'm sure it's not in X.

    There are other things, like extensions being left around... and we all know that extensions NEVER, EVER, EVER cause system conflicts. Basically it's the DLL hell all over again, just renamed.

    Nope. Mac OS X uses "file wrappers", which essentially allow a folder to appear as a single file at the UI level. This lets you include localized resources, graphics, supporting libraries, etc. in (from the user's perspective) a single file. Drag it to the trash, and it's really all gone. The worst that happens is that you're left with a stray prefs file in ~/Library/Preferences, which is harmless. And Mac OS 9-style extensions are thankfully gone in X.

  • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:03PM (#4450574) Journal
    Not everyone hates Microsoft, and I'm sure there are enough people to say, "Sure, it works for me."

    Apparently not.

    It's telling that they couldn't find one single person that would give a testimonial.

    Have you ever thought that possibly every one of the "MS supporters" you see online are actually paid to astroturf?
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:10PM (#4450626) Homepage Journal

    Start, and maybe even finish

    That's part of the problem. You click the Start button to Stop the computer.

    I really can not think of any way that the OS could contribute to make me more productive.

    How about being compiled specifically for your processor's microarchitecture? Public-source operating systems (such as GNU/Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Darwin) can provide this, and operating systems designed to run only on one or two microarchitectures (i.e. Mac OS X, which runs on PowerPC G3 and G4) can provide this. Can Windows?

    I don't recall having XP crash (needing a reboot) in about a year now

    What about when it goes and downloads a patch to its networking stack, IE, the J?v? VM, or Outlook Express? Granted, that's not a crash, but it still needs a reboot.

    If you are really desperate, you can skin XP to make it look like Aqua.

    Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

  • by Refrag ( 145266 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:18PM (#4450689) Homepage
    And getting people to switch from their Mac to Windows? Why even spend money on that effort? Windows machines may have been more difficult to use 15 years ago, but they've caught up... anyone who still thinks they are more difficult to use hasn't tried one.

    They are easier to use. Try doing a drag & drop install or un-install on a Windows box for most of your software. ...and I'm a recent Windows defector. I was a MS OS user since MS-DOS and MS Word 2.0.

    Oh, btw, I keep my Applications folder in my Dock which means I get a context-menu for launching applications just like the Windows Start Menu and it even speeds up my drag & drop installs because all I have to do is drop them on that folder in the Dock.
  • by coolfrood ( 459411 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:19PM (#4450696) Homepage
    Just wondering... Isn't MS Word 10.0 the MS Word that runs on Mac OS X and not Office XP? If she already had Word on Mac, why did she have to switch to XP for it, like she claims she did?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:41PM (#4450818)
    how much more can i dig up on this woman?

    she and her husband helped produce a play [] featuring ugly, naked people at a local seattle theatre house. he was the lighting manager.

    here's all his contact information [], including his seattle based theatrical lighting equipment company, PNTA []

    and yes folks, his web site is powered by Apache [].

    Valerie's husband is an Open Source Software user. looks like she has her work cut out for her.


  • by Fished ( 574624 ) <> on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:45PM (#4450837)
    And getting people to switch from their Mac to Windows? Why even spend money on that effort? Windows machines may have been more difficult to use 15 years ago, but they've caught up... anyone who still thinks they are more difficult to use hasn't tried one.

    The emphasis is no longer really on "easy to use." It is on "easy to setup and maintain." Windows installations (I don't care the flavor, it's true of XP, 2000 and 98) tend to slowly degrade, becoming more and more flaky until you're left with no choice but to reload.

    Drivers are also a bloody pain in the you-know-what. Every time I have to reload Windows, I spend hours hunting around the net for drivers, then updating drivers, the downdating drivers, all to get everything to work together. (Good example: ati video drivers require directx 8, which you have to download running at 640x480 before you can install the driver.) Yes, I could keep the driver disks on-hand, but that's truly a pain in the but. A pain that i don't have to endure with my Macs.

    The point being this: 10 years ago, the focus of ease of use was menus, mouses, and drag & drop. Today, the focus is on configuration and maintainability. And here the Mac clearly has MS beat. And yes, this IS because Apple owns the hardware - but I don't care so long as it works.

  • water held (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:47PM (#4450847)
    Was Firewire a commodity item when it showed up on Yosemite? Was the crush zone car body a commodity when Mercedes introduced it to the world?

    Just because these items eventually show up everywhere, doesn't mean that at one time they weren't exclusive to one manufacturer...and costly as well. That's the way it works. If you want the best when it first comes out, you have to pay for it. Ask anyone with a 60" LCD TV...or a home elevator, etc. Expensive now...commodity later.
  • by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:52PM (#4450875)
    "Have you ever thought that possibly every one of the "MS supporters" you see online are actually paid to astroturf?"

    Yes. []
  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @10:58PM (#4450907) Homepage
    (1) Ms. Mallinson may be the "switcher", but did she actually write the article? If so, who is "Don Funk" and why is it his folder that is shown in the screenshot?

    (2) Did she actually buy XP Pro and Office XP, or did she get that for free as an M$ contractor? That's some pricey software; she must be one hell of a freelance writer to afford it.

    (3) Was the "switch" voluntary or was it part of a requirement for the campaign?
  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:08PM (#4450957) Homepage Journal
    I believe Office XP is 10.0 also. What would really be interesting is compare the metadata or actual file raw data (strings, hex view etc..) between the Apple and the Windows versions. I do not have access to an Mac but I doubt that the two versions of Office would create the exact same file, meaning there is probably a trackable difference between the two.
  • by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:08PM (#4450959)
    From the .doc on M$'s site:
    Microsoft will not share the information you provide with third parties without your permission except where necessary to complete the services or transactions you have requested, or as required by law.

    Yeah, and they most definitely won't distribute a Word document to a half million geeks on Slashdot that shows among other things your name, your email address, your website (for which the whois provides all your information), and the fact that you wrote the article about switching to Windows using Office X on Mac OS X.
  • by Slur ( 61510 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:17PM (#4451002) Homepage Journal
    She helped David Mozer to acquire, configure, and troubleshoot a PocketPC for his bicycle trip in Malawi, Africa "in October." (Last year?)

    Frankly the Microsoft Switcher article was embarrassing for a host of reasons besides the use of clip-art and a hired PR professional who is obviously an experienced user of Windows.

    It's abundantly clear that Val has never used Mac OS X. All her raves about Windows XP were about features which exist - and are much easier to use - in Mac OS X.

    For example, her excitement about being able to get Windows installed and configured "in under a day" is laughable. In 90% of cases Mac OS X can be installed and configured in under an hour.

    Bringing up Netscape as if it was the default browser on Mac OS was likewise a foolish gaffe. Most Mac OS users (9 and X) use Internet Explorer 5 as their web browser. Why would Val have chosen Netscape? Could it be she had only used Mac OS 8/9 at work where Netscape was pre-installed?

    Comparing the FREE AppleWorks to the $300-$500 Microsoft Office is a staggering faux pas - especially since Office v.X is generally considered superior to Office for Windows. (And who in the world likes Office's annoying hide-and-seek menus? I like my menus to stay consistent, and keep that feature turned off on my Windows box.)

    Finally, all the step-by-step instructions for migrating documents and Favorites were a glaring exposure of the complexity of Windows XP. The instructions for the same migrations to Mac OS X are only half as long.

    Alas, this was an amateurish article by an uninformed PR-lackey. Microsoft should know better than to try to pull the wool over our ever-watchful eyes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:28PM (#4451048)
    Some of these challenges are a result of MS's monopoly + it's just plain a de-facto standard.

    Some? Huh? I'm sorry, but almost all--ALL--of the examples you listed are examples of cases where a third party supports Windows because it is the de facto standard.

    If MS didn't have their monopoly, and weren't a de facto standard, those companies would be supporting other systems as well, or better yet, SOME STANDARD that can be applied across systems.

    Despite popular belief, there is some good for this.

    I can't believe this--the benevolent monopoly is a ridiculous argument. There is no good in monopoly. There is good in standards, but that is different from a monopoly. The argument of standards through monopoly is an argument for laziness and complacency.

    You're compatible with the internet

    Fucking right--MS should be compatible with the internet. That's because, at least so far, the internet is largely based on open protocols that anyone can use.

    MS didn't get big by bullying people around, it got big because it made computers into something average people can make really good use of.

    I'm sorry, but this is too much. MS DID get big by bullying people around--thus their conviction on antitrust charges.

    The argument about usablity for the average person is a joke. If that were all that were driving things, we'd all be using Apples.

    Look, I'm not going to say that MS doesn't do some things well. I still maintain that their office suite is probably the best around, and has been for some time.

    Linux does have its problems. But Linux having problems in no way justifies MS. The fact that Linux isn't the best at all things doesn't mean that I would choose MS if MS weren't a monopoly.

    I am flabbergasted when I see individuals who fail to see certain things:

    (1) MS is a convicted monopoly. This means they coerced themselves into the marketplace. This is something that would be apparent to many even if MS weren't convicted.

    (2) Being a monopoly is wrong for any number of reasons: it means the monopoly has an unfair advantage with regard to a cash safety reserve, time to screw up and then try and try again until you get it right, customer "choice", and any number of other things.

    The bottom line as far as I'm concerned is that I don't know whether or not MS does make the best product, because there was never any chance for real competition. The truth is, the way things are, WE WILL NEVER TRULY KNOW if MS was the best available.

    I think it's time we all stepped back and really took a look at what's going on: MS's only competition is from a bunch of people who are developing systems in their spare time and, through copyright, made it impossible for MS to do anything but really compete.

    And MS has had competition? Fucking ridiculous. It's going up against fucking activists. Linux is a fucking activist OS that is being used because there's no way to get anything any other way.

    Cripes--the whole GPL might as well say "By the way: MS, and any other corporation that wants to take away my freedom, fuck off. I made this thing myself. It's mine. I say everyone can use it, not just you. Go fuck your monopolistic self."

    Do you really think we would have the GPL if it weren't for MS? The fact the GPL EXISTS is a testament to the problems with MS and Windows.

    MS has had competition? It's like saying that a dictator was elected because there are rebels banging on the door that the people could conceivably support if the dictator's guards weren't doing everything possible to kill the rebels in the first place.

    Damn, I'm mad about this. I have to go do something else now.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Monday October 14, 2002 @11:46PM (#4451118)
    But then again my company does not manufacture software and thus it is a expense of doing business. We do however produce a durable good and since I can get the job done with linux I will price your ass right out of the market with the money I saved.

    You see just how simple that plays out.

  • by br0ck ( 237309 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:02AM (#4451183)
    First they'll have to remove the story from their own site! [] It's always great when MSNBC mentions Slashdot. The story is currently number nine on the Yahoo! most viewed news page []. A lot of people are going to be reading this story tomorrow.</grin>
  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:13AM (#4451227) Homepage Journal

    First of all, with Rh8, almost all of the examples you mentioned are not only possible in Linux, but quite simple. The print driver for my HP photosmart 1215 does not hang the machine like the windows version does, just to cite one example.

    Second of all, if you think MS has won because of ease of use, you've already bought into the propganda. Ever since MSDOS was ripped off of CP/M, Microsoft has consistently been technically inferior to all of its competitors. From the GUI to groupware, every one of Microsoft's product efforts has been a poor copy of someone else's work. If you call Windows the easy to use solution, you have to say that BSODs and the regular cycle of format and reinstall are easy.

    I was a CNE in a past life, and I saw first hand how MS got their market share. They send a representative to the CTO, and suggest that a license audit of all their windows workstations might be less difficult than converting their servers to NT. If this fails, they bribe the CIO/CEO, or engage in character assasination. Poof. Instant market share. The company's history is a prime example of bully tactics and practiced world domination.

    You can argue this if you want to, but you would be opposing observation with opinion. I know. I was there.

  • Re:2 Years? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jovlinger ( 55075 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:16AM (#4451242) Homepage
    I know what you mean, but eventually, people DID get fired for buying IBM. IIRC, it was compaq that finally falsified that truism.
  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @12:37AM (#4451369) Homepage Journal
    google is the only way to actually _find_ something you happen to _need_ from the their own system is a b*tch and constantly changing anyways.
  • by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:01AM (#4451489)
    I won't take this point by point, but I will give general commentary. Please correct me if I read something wrong.

    1) Microsoft gained some of their position through monopoly. This would include the browser, etc. IIRC, they did put in incompatibilities with other systems in the early days of Windows (read: 90-95), but I wouldn't say they were big enough to be called a monopoly -- Apple had a good chunk of the market until the AOLers (read: typical users) came onto the scene.

    2) Microsoft isn't *all* bad. Forced standards are at least standards. They suck, but it's better than outright chaos, at least in the short term.

    3) Settle down, Jimmy! I completely agree with most of what you posted. I'm a Microsoft and tech history buff, and what you speak is true for the most part. However, Microsoft is not as evil as certain other corporations (pharmaceuticals, maybe?). They're very, very stupid (read: the article this thread is in reply to), and they'll lie and cheat to sell their mother's eyes. And it boggles my mind. But it's not the end of the world, OSS will eventually win out. Why? Because it's a small niche right now and it can actually compete. But that's another thread...
  • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <> on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @01:42AM (#4451670) Homepage Journal
    Off topic but just a reply to the parent post.

    I respect your opinions but understand this--

    My parents had a Windows 95 system which would break at least once a month, and my parents would need additional tech support at least another time every month. So every couple weeks, I would have to drive over to my parents' house and fix their system or help them over the phone. This was fine when I was studying for my A+ cert, but when I started going on to the MCSE and LPIC exams it became a problem.

    So I built them a new computer and put RedHat 6.1 on it. I carefully placed icons on the desktop so they could get to Netscape, KMail, KPPP, and StarOffice, and gave them a 5 min. tour of GNOME. Now they are on RedHat 7.2, but are using KDE because GNOME crashed. They still call me for tech support when something actually breaks, but hey, they don't know what root is for, so that doesn't happen very often ;) In fact the last two times were due to hardware failure.

    And as much as I love RH8, the homogeneity of KDE and GNOME is a bit of an issue I admit :P Looks good on paper until you think you are in one and are in the other, and there is some little tiny difference that is preventing you from getting something done...

    But regarding MCSE, I still consider it to have been very helpful in my technical development (because I only used braindumps on one exam). If you study for it well, you CAN get something out of it (aside from the Network Infrastructure exam, where some of the networks look like they were designed by a 5-year old). In fact I think it is an excelent compliment to the LPIC exams (I am MCSE and LPIC-2 certified).

    Good Luck!
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:05AM (#4451736) Journal
    You know what though? That can't be true forever. I do feel that Linux can overtake Windows. The first step is to get millions of people running the OS. That's slowly but surely starting to happen.

    It's starting to happen. Just tonight, I was exchanging a faulty printer at the local Walmart. The gal behind the counter said that there'd been alot of printers coming back. I asked her why, and she said something like "They didn't have a Linux, or something like that".

    She had no idea what they were talking about, so I explained it to her a bit - that Linux is sort of like another "Windows", like Mac, only it works on normal PCs. She nodded blankly, pushed the barcode gun, and handed me my receipt.

    Maybe you don't remember the days when Apple "had the desktop" and PCs were "Hard to use" and "good for business and serious number crunching".

    Maybe you don't see the parallels here, but I sure do. Linux is "hard to use" but "good for business and serious number crunching".

    As I see it, Linux won't go bankrupt, won't just "go away" and gets better and better every year. Word of mouth is increasing, and people will make "free" work for them, eventually.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:29AM (#4451796)
    This is funny, but more so because Microsoft stooped down to Apple's level... especially since it wasn't necessary. The fact is that a LOT of people have switched from Apple to Microsoft. Just look at the numbers.
  • by Misch ( 158807 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @02:38AM (#4451816) Homepage
    No! Scientology would never [] doctor photos to make people appear that really weren't there!
  • by rjung2k ( 576317 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @03:43AM (#4452021) Homepage

    Why did MS do something this dumb?

    Because Microsoft leadership is a bunch of arrogant pricks who think that they're oh-so-brilliantly superior to the rest of the world, and thus believe they can pull a stunt like this and get away with it.

    Remember the doctored MS videotape in the antitrust trial that "proved" removing IE from Windows would seriously impact its peerformance? Same thing -- Microsoft figures, "hey, you're all morons, you'll believe whatever we tell you," and they get caught with their shorts down when a thinking audience shreds their efforts.

    Of course, it must work to some degree -- those Winlot zombies trolling the boards aren't being created out of thin air...

  • by Hater's Leaving, The ( 322238 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @06:06AM (#4452294)
    So we've simply got to prove to them that you're not ignoring it to run salt into their wounds.

    They do have a website feedback page, and they promise a response within 24 hours.
    It's been 12 hours so far since they received this from me:
    Why did you remove the "switch" testimonial?

    The story about that female writer (with the unfortunate name Don Funk according to that dialog box demonstrating how easy it was for her to do things in XP) who switched from Mac to XP was most interesting, but magically disappeared when I was half-way through reading it (I was going 'back' and 'forward' in the browser, which seemed to cause the page to reload)?

    If they do reply, I'll post it here, and if they don't I'll write another one, asking why they also break promises about reply times.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @06:28AM (#4452320)
    do you make sure they know about the perils of licensing? have you offered to do a license audit for them so that they dont get giged with a $25,000.00 per problem fine from the BSA? do they know that any disgruntled employee can turn them in for no reason and the BSA will not leave without a fine? and do they know that running an alternative OS is currently the only defense against this?

    do they know that running linux will eliminate users installing elf-bowling, and animated screen savers and websshots which all either hurt stability or increase internet bandwidth costs?

    If you are a consultant and you do not educate your clients in these problems with microsoft products, you are not acting in their best interests.

    RH 8.0 out of the box fit's their bill perfectly.

    groupware calendaring, outlook type clone, office.
    plus they no longer need to waste money and processing power on a virus scanner. and you can cut the costs even further by utilizing a terminal server instead of running everything on seperate machines... imagine installing OO.o once and every workstation is updated.... do THAT with microsoft.
  • I too do a bit of consulting for small businesses. The ones I generally deal with want absolutely NOTHING to do with the technology. They just want the damn thing to work.

    My clients are generally sole proprieterships who are getting on the web. Very few have the $60k to dump into "An Exchange Server, a MSSQL server, and a Dell Rack Mount running Win 2k." Their budget is a white-box athlon running RedHat and MySQL.

    They will pay for hardware, because you generally purchase it once and it has a clear ROI. Most small business owners I deal with are delighted to find they don't have to pay for the software, beyond my time to customize it. Very few if any actually have any IT staff, so training is less of an issue than "can this machine run unattended for months at a time?"

  • by skubalon ( 579506 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @08:36AM (#4452629)
    She has been associated with MS since at least '98 [].

    Although this isn't all that surprising.
  • Ask Val? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Tuesday October 15, 2002 @08:53AM (#4452689) Homepage Journal
    What we need is an 'Ask Slashdot' on this topic. Collect your questions, and then ask Val [mailto] what the real deal is.
  • Re:Curious quesiton. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MacDaffy ( 28231 ) on Wednesday October 16, 2002 @06:51AM (#4460422)
    The most galling thing about Microsoft is that their dominance could be understood if they were THE BEST at something other than the raw business-end of computing. They've out-maneuvered Apple, DEC, IBM, DrDOS, Netscape, Sun--you all know the list--and they've become the richest, most powerful company in computing.

    But they're RUINING the Internet experience for anyone other than those on the platforms they favor. They've "embraced and extended" critical standards for their own advantage (i.e. screwed them up beyond all recognition). As anyone who has worked with SMB will attest, they leave out important technological facts in the specifications that make the term "Common Internet Filing System" (CIFS) a bitter joke. They've coerced the world's computer makers into including their software on most of the new machines sold. They're thriving on technology that they've "adopted." Their security? Laughable, if it weren't so serious. To adapt a line from Peter Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon": "If they've got something cool, you can bet it belonged to somebody else." The majority of their products reek of "The Microsoft Touch" Their products are like a sexually attractive person with a bad dose of the clap.

    Again, if they were the best at ANYTHING technological--besides Exploder and their mice, I guess--it would be different. But their work is consistently bloated, shoddy and oversold. They have no problem polishing a turd to make a buck. They just seem to don't know a turd when they see one.

    "...No taste," as someone said.

    They deserve to be slapped by the federal antitrust court and slapped HARD. They are a drag on the industry as far as innovation is concerned and now they're applying the Microsoft Touch to "The Big Lie." What's next?

    Bravo to Slashdot for catching them. Shows the power of thinking for yourself.

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl