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User Journal

Journal Journal: Just testing out some journal submission changes 8

I don't actually have anything to say. Kathleen is due any day, and I'm looking forward to a few weeks of staying home, getting poor sleep, and changing diapers.
But mostly I'm testing to see if journal saving works properly.

Windows

Journal Journal: Digitimes: Windows 7 Won't Drive PC Sales. 1

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.

Upgrades

Journal Journal: email not shown publicly

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.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Updates to Journal System 13

We've made some significant updates to the submission/journal system. Visiting Submissions and Journals yields a new form that allows stuff like tags to the data types. There are a number of annoying bugs, but for the most part the dust is starting to settle. More notes will be coming, but this journal entry is really just me putting the final test on the new Journal form.

Windows

Journal Journal: Vista 7 Fail Videos 1

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:

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.

2009

2010

2011

The Media

Journal Journal: Amazingly Bad Defense of M$ Monopoly Practices. 1

From the dept of brain dead or bribed journalists.

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.

Windows

Journal Journal: M$ Employee Admits M$'s Poor Security Reputation. 3

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.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Seven Dead Men 1

I have released my first feature, Seven Dead Men, under a creative commons license. Feel free to download it off of LegalTorrents. If you would like to buy a copy, order it though google checkout and use the coupon code "slashdot" for a discount. The path to get to this point has been a long and circuitous one. If you have any questions about the process, ask away and I'll do my best to answer them.

Microsoft

Journal Journal: Mini Microsoft Bemones a Moribund M$

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.

Windows

Journal Journal: Two short stories about a stinkin Mac user

1: Due to a combination of illnesses and cutbacks, I'm doing some desktop support this week. After fixing the issues on a user's PC (network shares got lost, sound cable got yanked) I noticed that the font in her email client was many points larger than her desktop font. I asked her about it to verify that my guess was correct, then quickly clicked Display -> Settings -> Advanced -> Large Fonts. She was astonished, then effusively thankful.

No one else here would have given that a second glance (or even a first). Also, about half our LCDs (that I haven't adjusted) are set to some non-native default resolution. Oh well, at least fuzzy edges aren't as bad as the 60Hz headaches I used to get.

2: My officemate and I moved an old printer in between our desks. It doesn't happen to play nice with our departmental print manager, so I decided to add it directly by address. OS X was straightforward (Print & Fax -> Add button -> IP tab), but XP (virtual) was giving me grief. Finally I google the answer and burst out laughing. In order to connect to a network printer by IP, you go into the Add Printer Wizard, select "Local Printer" (instead of "Network Printer"), then go into the Printer Port Wizard and tell it that the printer's IP address is a local port. Well gee, that's obvious, isn't it? I explained this to my officemate, and he thought it was an interesting trick, but still didn't get why I was laughing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Zone Alarm 8 Causing Firefox to Hang

As mentioned in the previous entry, I updated Zone Alarm after high DPCs caused by version 7.5s outdated True Vector service (vsmon.exe) caused my system to become unusable. The problem disappeared and everything was fine until a new problem occurred: Firefox would hang after ~30 minutes usage, refusing to load new pages. Firefox would also refuse to quit or start again, requiring a restart of the computer to fix this ... before it would happen again. Ridiculous.

I did a little Googling and the evidence seemed to mount up against the new version of True Vector. Suggested solution: use a different firewall. Uninstalled Zone Alarm. Installed Comodo Firewall. Using it in Custom Policy Mode pretty much replicates Zone Alarm's pop-up allow/deny dialogue (with the minor niggle that the 'allow permamnently' tick-box's state is persistent (from a previous answer) instead of always defaulting to 'do not remember this answer' - and so allow or deny on a case by case basis unless a deliberate exception is chosen.

Firefox no longer hangs. Seems to confirm that True Vector was indeed the culprit. Silly Check Point.

The Comodo firewall seeemed to have issues with Avast! antivirus (not exactly confirmed - it caused running firewall after initial reboot to fail) so I uninstalled Avast! (which I liked) and used Comodo's antivirus - along with the entire Internet Security Suite (using the built-in Defence+ instead of Windows Defender). I do like all the information that Comodo gives me (details of every connection etc.) although some aspects of it are slightly non-intuitive (especially compared to ZA's user-friendly interface).

One day and one night running successfully. Early days.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vista High Deferred Proceedure Calls (DPCs) Causing High CPU

After the latest round of updates from Microsoft, Vista's Deferred Proceedure Calls would go though the roof on certain network activity. Actually it was rather too high before the latest updates (as of the date of writing) but they increased exponentially after the updates.

Before the updates, and for some time now, on loading a webpage in either Firefox or IE, especially one that had heavy image content, audio would stutter (in Winamp and other audio programs) and the mouse pointer would jitter. On my Quad core Core 2 Duo Quad Q6600, Core0 would be at around 85%. The others would spike at around 50 to 75%. The fault was due entirely to high DPCs. Running Azureus would result in similar high DPC. It was suggested that the shitty audio drivers (Sigmatel) were to blame. This turned out not to be the case.

After the updates, the situation worsened, with Core0 pegging at 100% and the others reaching up into the 80s. I could do nothing else while a graphic heavy webpage was loading, or a torrent was downloading (seeding was without incident) as my mouse pointer lurched all over the place and the system was almost entirely unresponsive. Process Monitor revealed that the vsmon.exe (Zone Alarm) was doing an awful lot of something.

I checked for an update for Zone Alarm (7.5) and updated to version 8 and all these problems went away. Whatever Microsoft had been tinkering with had severely fuxx0red with what Vsmon.exe was trying to do, and it couldn't keep on top of things anymore.

Once again, Zone Alarm, that free, ubiquitous (and actually not too shabby) firewall had proved to be the culprit. Nothing to do with Azureus, Firefox, Sigmatel audio drivers, my chipset or Vista.

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