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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 14th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Innovative versus Functional

Posted in Apple, Law, Microsoft, Windows at 5:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I think that “innovation” is a four-letter word in the industry. It should never be used in polite company. It’s become a PR thing to sell new versions with.”

Linus Torvald


MICROSOFT loves the word “innovation”, which is uses extensively in order to spread the illusion that it leads in terms of technical merits. Not everyone accepts these vacuous promises.

But we don’t need an innovative Microsoft. Simple competence would be improvement enough.

Microsoft sure innovates in the legal department (another one is the marketing department). Here is a new translation of the Windows EULA as it would have applied to books.

If Microsoft’s EULA Applied To Books


1. GRANT OF LICENSE. Richard Dooling grants you the following rights provided that you comply with all terms and conditions of this EULA:

2. INSTALLATIONS AND USE. You may install, use, access, display and read ONE COPY OF THIS BOOK on a SINGLE PERSON, such as an adult, man, woman, teenager, or other human person. This book may NOT be read by more than one person.

3. MANDATORY ACTIVATION. The license rights granted under this EULA are limited to the first thirty (30) minutes after you install the book by opening it, unless you supply information required to activate your licensed copy of the book in the manner described on this page. You may also need to reactivate the book if you modify yourself or alter your personality.

Those Proprietary Toys

The iPhone and Google’s Android are doing pretty well (UNIX and Linux, respectively) and the main losers are the 5 dozens of so makers of Windows Mobile-based handsets, according to this BusinessWeek article.

T-Mobile G1, a phone based on Android, an operating system backed by Google (GOOG), has met with popular demand

Even those who respect or love Microsoft are losing hope in Windows Mobile, which some say is “dying”. Tim Bray (re)discovers that some of Apple’s products are very shoddy too.

Apple Owes Me $99


…I have to run the Time Machine backups by hand and I also have to connect by wire for big ones, because the default setup leaves my BlackBook in an endless “Preparing Backup” cycle. So I went and bought another WiFi router for $99, and now at least we can both be on the Net. I’d advise caution with the Time Capsule product until Apple’s done a couple more releases of the hardware and OS X too. Pfui.

Don’t ever let Apple’s $300,000,000 marketing budget (annual!) distort reality. This is far from the first complaint about Apple products that simply don’t work. Even their own fans are complaining loudly [1-6].

[1] Fanboy reviewer has problems with MacBook Air

IF YOU ARE a Mac fanboy reviewer and you think that anything that comes from Apple must be great, what do you do when something clearly isn’t?

Paul Venezia from InfoWorld seemed to have hit this crisis of faith when he came to look at Apple’s MacBook Air.

[2] Apple’s iPhone 3G troubles spawn a lawsuit

It was only a matter of time.

With all the griping going on by a subset of iPhone 3G users, it was inevitable that someone would seek redress through the law. The first someone was Jessica Alena Smith, a Birmingham resident who filed her complaint this week in U.S. District Court in Alabama.

[3] Apple + ActiveSync is eating email on my iPhone: iCrap?

I’m a huge Apple fan. Today, however, I couldn’t be more disappointed. I keep seeing pretty, shiny things…and then finding out they’re iCrap underneath.

[4] My MacBook Air dies while Google Docs is offline

I have to reboot every 30 minutes or so to get back to a workable condition and then wait for the CPU to max out again.

[5] iTunes Store ‘Unavailable’: This iPod Touch Owner is Stuck in Update Limbo

I’m not alone. I’ve been able to find plenty of iPod Touch, first-gen iPhone, and new iPhone 3G owners just like me stuck in the same boat. For over 8 hours I’ve been unable to update my iPod Touch because the Apple iTunes Store’s servers are overwhelmed.

[6] iPhone 3G Frenzy Causes Glitch

Across the world they gathered and waited like little children hoping to see Santa at the local shopping mall, only to be disappointed and find what many had expected on opening day. It wasn’t exactly a lump of coal, but, Apple’s much coveted slick new 3G device was not only in short supply, but in many locations, there were problems with getting the phone to actually work.

Microsoft Under the Scalpel

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”

Steve Ballmer

AN interesting new headline has entered Google News. It states: “Why Microsoft Is Headed to $4.” While it seems like an exaggeration, depending on what time range one considers, it does raise some valid points.

A while back, when Microsoft shares were trading in the mid-$20s, we used charts to predict they would eventually fall to $4 or lower. How could such a thing happen to a company with a product that dominates the software world, and with cash reserves totaling more than $20 billion? For starters, consider that Microsoft used to have twice that sum on hand but squandered a big chunk of it on investments that would make the guys at Bear Stearns look like visionaries. Also, they have not exactly enticed new customers in droves with the clunky Vista operating system. While the Redmond behemoth may have been able to ram this product down the throats of captive business and institutional customers, much as they have been doing for years with each new, gratuitously enhanced version of Windows, individual buyers have deserted the platform en masse. Just look around you the next time you’re at Starbucks: probably half of the computers one sees these days outside of the office and commercial airliners are Macs. The percentage is even higher at college libraries. These are tomorrow’s business users, and most of them wouldn’t use a PC if it were given to them free.


But the stake through Microsoft’s cold, monopolistic heart may be the new product announced last week by IBM –an office suite that runs on cheap :thin clients” connected to a backroom Linux server. IBM says customers will save $500-$800 compared to what they would spend to license Microsoft’s office suite, which includes the ever popular Excel, PowerPoint and Word. The savings would come not just from the software, but from, reduced costs for hardware, electricity and air conditioning.

Microsoft’s stock is already shaken and a formal warning from Microsoft seems likely following at least one warning from analysts. This was covered by quite a few Microsoft watchers:

Todd Bishop: More questions over Microsoft profits

Microsoft shares are currently down about 6 percent on the day, to $19.38.

What would a Microsoft earnings warning look like? For a clue, you have to go all the way back to December 2000, in the middle of the dot-com bust, which appears to be last time the company issued such a warning. It came out around the middle of the month, on Dec. 14, so if the past practice is any indication, any new warning could be a few days away.

Mary Jo Foley: Microsoft walks the downturn-messaging tightrope

Is Microsoft poised to join other tech vendors in announcing dismal second quarter earnings or is the company going to yet again manage to meet or beat its traditionally conservative guidance (this time against seemingly impossible odds)?

Joe Wilcox: What Happens if Microsoft Warns?

Microsoft issued a dire profit warning at the start of the last recession, in December 2000. Will the 2008 recession lead to another warning?

Eric Savitz: Microsoft: Waiting For The Warning

Morgan Stanley’s Adam Holt this morning notes that the company has not negatively pre-announced earnings since December 2000. But given that business conditions have deteriorated since the company last provided guidance in October, he thinks the company could come up short of its targets for the quarter, whether or not they give the Street advance warning.

In addition to this, IDG has an article about something it calls “Microsoft’s identity crisis,” which is characterised by odd steps they have recently been taking.

The Softwear t-shirts seem like another directionless Microsoft move, much like the short-lived Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld ad campaign, which by the way, was voted the No. 1 bad commercial while Apple’s “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads were voted the No. 1 good commercial in Anderson Analytics’ 2008 survey of 1,000 college students.

Microsoft layoffs have already begun [1, 2, 3, 4] and the following erroneous report [via Google News] says “EXCLUSIVE: Microsoft To Lay Off 1,500 In California; 200 In L.A.” It’s not true, not just yet anyway. But what if Microsoft issues a warning?

Financial crisis

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