when marketing turns into propaganda

June 18th, 2009

I am developing some exciting new features for INTERDUBS. I made the mistake of not testing the code I wrote for 3 days in Internet Explorer. When I check it again I realize that this cock-sucker of a browser just quits. So I had to roll through three days of changes to find out what exactly made this piece of shit simply quit. No warning, no indication. Nothing. Just fucking ended displaying the page. 6 other browsers were fine, and had been during those three days of development. There were no warnings, no hints of something causing a problem. Nothing. Turns out that a simple

made the ‘thing’ puke. This wasn’t the first time that working around Internet Explorer took almost as long as doing the actual work. Internet Explorer is just horrible and bad. Later version might be better. But overall Internet Explorer is a waste of time.

This would not be worth the ramble. It has been like this for a long time. But Microsoft has the audacity to put out a page like
this. Here it feels that IE8 is just awesome. Indeed it is much better than Firefox.

Which is pointing to a bigger problem: Somehow people started to believe that in marketing everything goes. They believe that it is OK to blatantly lie about things. The bigger the better. I don’t know where that comes from. But it is rampant. A competing company to INTERDUBS inflates the client count by roughly 200% on their public site. They don’t deliver the slightest proof for that number. Their web site looks very pretty. But it is still emitting something that is outside of the truth. And somehow that is supposed to be OK.

I think it is a problem. Not so much on their end. I can understand that they try to get away with as much exaggeration than possible. The problem is us: We let an administration get away with getting into a war over weapons of mass destruction. When there were not any, somehow nobody ever cared to follow up on that. So if nobody gets in trouble for sending the country into war for the wrong reasons, what could be so wrong in tripling your client count? What is so wrong on Microsofts end to claim that IE8 is more secure than Firefox? I personally think it is a miss-conception that something really great can be built on skewed facts. Maybe that competitor hopes to reach that claimed count one day and therefor make their lie less wrong. Problem is, that during the process they lost all credibility. Internally and externally.

Truth is a tricky thing. It will show up. Always did, and always will. Everything else is just a detour. Microsoft will learn that too.


May 19th, 2009

five point six appears to be a good guess for the number of Cheops pyramids that could have been built in the time that people spent trying to work around Internet Explorer.

numbers: don’t count on it

December 12th, 2008

I am an casual office software user. I write things in vi or text edit. And yes, that’s how they sound. I never was that big in to spread sheets. But graphing solutions I need. I had written my own things for SGI, but even though OS X is OpenGL as well, it is just too much work to maintain.

Since my kids now start using office software I thought I’d get them iWork. Big mistake. Pages is ok (compared to vi and text edit). Numbers however is just outright lame. I hate the fact that Apple is able to pretend that this pile of junk is software that you can make an attempt to sell. Trying to graph anything in this turd of a bloatware reveals how 0.5 ass this thing is. The problem is that crappy software is worth negative money: It took me hours to figure out that it was actual this ’spreadsheet application’ that was just unable to do even simple tasks.
“Numbers” has no understanding of time. I will download now Mac Office 2008. Which is even reasonably priced these days. Looking forward to use Microsoft software. How weird is that!

not gonna work

May 7th, 2008

in a million years

unbelievable how bad it actually it. From start to finish. Idea to execution. Whom are these people kidding?

betting on the wrong horse

May 2nd, 2008

Years ago when both Microsoft and Apple decided what to put into their next operating systems they had to look into the future. Picking arbritrary one from each company makes for an interesting comparison: Vista got a feature where a memory stick could be used by the operating system to speed things up. Harddrives are 10,000 times slower than memory. USB2 still 10 to 40 times faster than most drivers. Makes allot of sense. It is probably a very tricky thing to implement: the user can remove the stick at any time, and things still need to work. Trouble is: Internal memory got dirt cheap. So a complicated and expensive idea that has no future net gain.

Compare that to “TimeMachine”. The actual concept of a backup is nothing new or innovative at all. But Time Machine makes it possible that people back up easily. External drives are inexpensive and easy to use. Makes 100% sense. The TimeCapsule rip off lets show apples dark side again. But at least they did not extend it to normal drives. The value of a working backup is huge. Once people have stories to tell that TimeMachine saved their Live they are sold for good and forever to run only Macs. Maybe if hey will backup to Memory Sticks in the future …

old computers that still work

February 23rd, 2008

A new problem that is looking for solutions: Computers are worth replacing while they are still work fine.

Some solutions

Interesting is the theme that the OS is often the reason to kick it to the curb: It is outdated (OS9), just got slower and slower (windows used to do that, does it still? Luckily I have no idea) or it just filled with malware (That WOULD be a windows feature). The hardware might do some good. I am always surprised how little harddrives have been. “Back in the day”.

hitting on the ugly girl

February 9th, 2008

It really must suck to be Microsoft these days. Their attempt to buy Yahoo for more money that they actually have was a desperate move to begin with. And now they even got rejected. Who know that Yahoo! of all companies had choices. In this whole M$ bid media frenzy everybody seem to have forgotten about the layoff story that Yahoo had coming out. Yahoo is ailing. But they seem to have decided that they rather disolve like AOL or Netscape than to be part of would have been the worst merger in the history of Internet companies. Hitting on the ugly girl, since you think you have a chance is bad enough. Getting rejected leaves you with a little less than nothing. Not that I would know anything about that.

I have some computer with that

November 2nd, 2007

Learning Javascript. Different story all together. Internet Explorer does things differently than the rest. Bascially you have to branch in your code all the time. That’s why people use frameworks. I am OK with frameworks, after I understood the underlying methods. And I only understand things that I did. So I need Internet Explorer. I could find some hard drive space (tricky, it’s 99% full) and install VMware as well as Windows XP or Vista on my MacBook Pro. Or I could buy a laptop with some Microsoft OS on it. Which is probably what I will end up doing. Not that I have use for a windows laptop. Or would ever use it in public. I rather publish my browsing history - if you know what I mean.

When I looked around Windows was 300 US$. VMware is not free either. I have a real problem giving Microsoft 300US$ for their operating system, just because they tried to reinvent standards during those browser wars. At Walmart they sell an Acer Laptop for 348. Details are sketchy, I just assume it runs some Redmond OS, and I take a wild guess in that 1GB of ram should be enough - for a web browser.

It’s kind of crazy that it’s cost effective to get a whole computer instead of just some software.

the break up

May 17th, 2007

The Break Up
Uploaded by geertdesager

no comment on the ending. OK. Maybe just one: lol. Of all people why are those saying this? They are the worst offenders of what they critisize.

uncle festers bluf: called

February 25th, 2007

simple, yet powerful

zune review

November 25th, 2006

What will Steve B throw next?

Microsoft, poor Microsoft, Zune falls flat. Vista unfolds. Let’s see how.

larger than life

November 15th, 2006

Some things are so odd, weird, strange and yet predictable, you simply can not make them up:

Microsoft launches two products right now. “Vista” and “Zune”.
they migh have trouble working together

In case you don’t trust a site called “appleinsider” to break news about Microsoft products, here it is from the the horses mouth

OJ can stand for the juice of oranges or for a strange man, that had an even stranger run in with the legal system.

Youtube has now attorneys. And apparently they are bored.

top 10 spammers are supposed to create
80% of all spam
I guess that each dollar a spammer makes costs around 10,000 US$ in damages. It might be good for the world, if these individuals would be prevented to use computers. Maybe a few companies get together and make sure that the top 10 spammers are always being caught?

surprising alliance

November 3rd, 2006

Two kings got together. No, not those. This times it is Novell and Microsoft. To do Linux.

Without having the time or intention to go into detail of the press release the headlines and sound bites read pretty hilarously. Let’s just pause for a second and look back: Microsoft did try everything they could to stop or surpress Linux. For years. They fucking failed. Language? Yes, it is justitified. Since this is a big deal. Not the announcement of Novell and Microsoft doing whatever they feel like doing. The big deal is that Microsoft was unable to win against Linux. They still dominate the desktop, and probably will for years to come. But they lost billions in server revenue. Not to somebody. They simply could not make the money. Nobody did, since Linux is essentially free. If the last sentense should prompt thoughts like “that’s communism” or “but there is total cost of ownership” in your mind, then let me tell you, since today I can, and it is oh so sweet: You merely parrot Microsoft prograganda of a past aera here. Not even the people that paid millions so that you would think these things claim that anymore. Yes, there is also corporate flip floping. No, Ballmer did not stay the course. He never did say that either.

Today it’s allot of fun to quote Sun Tzu:

According to my assessment, even if you have many more troops than others, how can that help you to victory?


August 17th, 2006

Microsoft likes more people to develop games for their consoles. In their press release it sounds like a Windows XP machine is all you will need to develop games for their consoles.

The range of impact goes from ‘flash in the pan’ to ‘Sony is finished’. It all depends on the details of the implementation and capabilities. Nobody has ever opened game consoles to a wider development community. It might or might not take off. Trying it is a bold and innovative move.

Microsoft is a funny companies these days: Some of their divisions do all the right things, while others are as stupid as the Ottoman empire in 1907.

Trolltech makes a phone now. Trolltech got big with a toolkit for graphical user interfaces called “Qt”. I used it years ago, and it is not bad. Now they make a phone that runs embedded linux, and their user interface on top of it. In other words it is an open source phone.

From the pure aspect of technology these developments had to happen. The very interesting question is, what will come out of it. Content is a very tricky thing to predict. Hollywood survived despite constant failures in this area. As long the movie industry existed they tried to mechanize and control creativity and content creation, so that they can churn out products like a nuts and bolts manufacturer. And it never worked.

One the other side of the argument one could see Microsoft and Trolltech shipping typewriters to a million monkeys.

And, of course reality will fall somewhere in between. And once the revolution happened, it will be so clear why it did. Same in the other outcome.

Games could really use some injection of innovation. Roaming the show floor of what was the last E3 of it’s kind I was pretty surprised how alike most games looked. I don’t play. But I care about the technology and business side of this industry. There are racing games and first person shooters. Lot’s of those.
With production costs high new content development is tricky. That’s why I liked Rockstar’s Table Tennis.

Tetris was written by a russian programer when there was still a country called “Soviet Union”.

The situation with phones is similar. They don’t suck, but I never saw a phone that made just sense. Of course all Apple fan boys hope that Steve Jobs will come down Moses like with a phone on his arm. They hope so, since phones are ok, but definetely not as useful as we want them to be. And as they could be. If open software can fix this is to be seen.

power of *

July 24th, 2006

Mircrosoft and Nortel want to do things together

Billion dollar companies flow and merge, yet, the winner is already the tiny little Asterisk. I never used it, but I can imagine how it runs circles around those dinosaurs. If you get your phones hooked up the Microsoft-Nortel way you can easily pay a thousand times more for less features compared to Asterisk. What get’s me excited about Asterisk is, that, since it is open source, you can add your own features if you would care to do so.
Having coded interfaces for Nortel systems I can not wait for them to go out of business. It’s beyond horrible.

Microsoft buys iView Media Pro

June 28th, 2006

Peter Krogh comments
iView Media Pro has a stupid name but works fine otherwise.
I understand that they sold themselves to the people out of Redmond. I just don’t see how the product would benefit from it.

we have no email

May 17th, 2006

I have the best immigration lawyers you can imagine. I know since I also had the worst years ago. The current people are great, not the cheapest, but they really come through with everything. Today they did send me some forms to sign and send back. As Microsoft Word files. Of course they only open as garbage on my computer. I asked for PDFs and these poor souls can not even create them.

Kind of funny that people rather send around a format that can be edited, does not work in all cases and even can contain malicious software.

And, again, these are probably the best immigration experts you can find.

Not being able to send forms and text in PDF is like saying ‘we have no email’. In 1999.

project origami and how it folds

April 15th, 2006

this sounds like a personal Steve Jobs nightmare before Macworld, but it is rather the harsh reality of tech-CEOs trying to use their own products.

Amazing how these companies get to waste Billions of dollars just by ignoring s simple fact:

Features don’t exist if they are not accessible.

The amount of high tech they cramped into those device is certainly impressive. But those don’t do anybody any good if they can not be used.

Windows is not an interface, it’s a hack. People use it since they have to, not because they like to. The biggest miracle is how a crappy system like this could get so far. Trying to resize it into Origami dimensions is not helping.

But let’s focus on something less complex than a OS interface to show that Origami is a dead concept: Battery life.
So it went black during the presentation. That will happen to allot of people. Imagine that the alpha geek you know shelled out seven hundret dollars for this lump of plastic. Eagerly does want to show it to somebody. The chances are rather high that it will run out of juice just inmidst or before this private demonstration. Let that happen a couple of times and your product evangelist moves on to the next gadget. Something that does not let him down when he needs to show off with it.

Origami’s are a debacle. They might get sold to a couple of vertical integrators. But ’selling’ to big companies and the government does not really count. Those processess share an eiry ressemblance with inner working of the market-economy of the failed soviet empire.

Intel, Microsoft and Samsung might be able to churn out some industrial products in vast numbers. But together they can not innovate. 800 pounds gorillas can not enact a decent ballet.

five years

March 24th, 2006

OS X is out since five years

Almost as long as Vista is delayed.

I think that the PS3 and Vista will both come out together: Never. They share the sickness of the incumbent king. Too fat and saturated to really move. Sony is dreaming about 100 Million PS3 sold, only because they did so with PS1 & 2. And likewise Microsoft thinks that everybody will have to have Vista. Both are in for a surprise.

The same patterns can be found elsewhere: Google Video is not really amazing. It’s outright lame. Google is the incumbent search engine. Not their core business sucks yet. But new launches like Video or base or personal pages are less than great.


March 10th, 2006


Thinking another day about UMPC. It’s doomed. Unless somebody comes up with a killer application that generates a blackberry like niche this will go the way of the Newton. Just faster, since there are less hardcore M$ fanboys compared to the number of Apple fanboys.

this will fold fast

March 9th, 2006

The cocoon called Origami contained only a UMPC. Microsoft tried some hyping. They have to learn allot before they are able to launch products like Apple: This one folded. During those three weeks between Scoble’s plug of some hollow flash teaser and the actual release at Cebit lots of people saw an Origami concept video at the digital-kitchen website. The ill fated hipster assemblage sat prominently for one year next to a similar piece about the “SPOT Watch”. It should be in the interest of the company in Redmond not to mention this device in the context of Origami. It is not only the wireless component that the digital dud from 2003 shares with the latest greatest: In both cases Microsoft tries to innovate. Actually the leap for the SPOT device seemed even further: Microsoft started it’s own content distribution network based on FM for it. Big deal, specially since it tanked.

Is the UMPC doomed? Is there really an uncanny valley between cellphone and laptop? Will the bones of the UMPC get bleached next to the one of the PDA in the unforgiving sun of tech history?

Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and a couple of mid sized electronic makers are behind the UMPC. 100 Million UMPC devices till 2008 is the number that they floated. A 50 billlion US market. That is nice. Would be nice. The Microsoft Origami team is made up of eleven people. Not including Mr. Scoble.

Microsoft tried to push the tablet PC. And it did not work as hoped. Outside of the corporate Cool Aid sprinklers it is hard to find a person using such a device. The UMPC is featuring the same operating system: Windows XP in it’s tablet Version.
That is great, since there is so much software for it. That is not so great since there is so much malware for it. Those 100 Million networked UMPC’s could make lots of evil guys in Russia happy. An army of mobile nodes in your bot net, what could you ask for more?

The bigger problem is, is that XP is an ok desktop operating system and interface. Not great, not terrible. The tablet edition I don’t know anything about. Now the poor thing has to serve in yet another iteration on the UMPC. Which is where there is a problem: Usability. In the marketing videos people interact magically with the thing: They barely look at the thing and it jumps into action. Does exactly what they want it do it. Which would be great for a desktop system, but it is critical for a mobile device: All these ‘wouldn’t it be great’ scenarios that these clips dream up only work along our busy lives if they can be used effortless. I never saw anybody use a XP install effortless. Not having a keyboard and using a touch screen with 800×480 does not make things easier. To say the least. Things need to move very very smooth in this field of dreamed up application. And that’s where the UMPC falls into the void. It does not deliver on the promises that it makes. The core technologies are interesting: A touch screen, 2 pounds, Wifi and bluetooth. That oughta work. Some of them even have cameras and microphones and smart cart readers.
It’s not the hardware that’s broken. It’s the idea that you want to deal with Windows XP while you are standing on an intersection. Yes, that is a scary thought. XP is not compatible with real life. Period.

It is true that there is a gap between Laptop and Cellphone / ipod. The form factor will make for a very sucessful and nice media player, if managing media is as easy as it can be. Don’t think that XP is particularly great at that. Media Center is made for that. Is it good? I have no idea.

Vista? It will run, so they say. They have to. Would be funny to launch this cat right away into a dead end. The minimal specs for vista are pretty far away from what these little guys have to offer. We will see. Maybe there will be a 7th edition for UMPCs.

The average UMPC might do rather well under Linux. Imagine Samsung hiring a decent designer (and one for the hardware while they are at it, please!!) and a couple of geeks that boil down a nice distro that auto updates etc, etc. Then they would be up to something. OK, Mr. Scoble would not hype them anymore, but apart from that that side of the road is only pretty: Media center features under an UI that is made for the device.

People have high standards these days: Something does interact less than google does with search for instance and they walk away. UMPCs are priced between 500-1000. You expect it to be useful for something if you spend that kind of money on it. The hardware is certainly capable. The problem is to make it all work smooth enough to make it worth while. Running XP you can use the biggest software library there is. Just that you have limited resolution and battery life compared to a laptop at home. And on the road you need to figure out how to get EVDO or similar to work. And you need to cary it around. I used to develop software for the Newton. The thing was interesting, but in the end just way to heavy.

So, final word: two thumbs down

Not gonna work. Come back here in a year and see if I was wrong.
Try that with the rest of my blog ;-)

is it safe?

December 31st, 2005

If you buy a brand new windows machine then there are ten steps to keep it safe. Well, as brand new as those tips appear to be, even if you do so, you can get your Windows PC infected simply by visiting a website.
one of the many articles disscussing the matter
If you are so unlucky and use a Windows PC then you could have been infected by clicking on that lick. Of course the link above is legit. But do you trust me? How many links do you click on?

I have written this again and again: I use no firewall, I use no virus protection, I am in the internet 16 hours a day and leave my computer on 24/7. I jump on every wifi that I can find if I need to. I visit all sorts of websites. Really everything. My cookie list reads really disgusting, that’s for sure. Various reasons, not really what you think. Point being that I behave extremely ‘dangerous’ and never had a single problem. No spyware, no virus, nothing. My computer runs what I want. No a single bit more. Always have been.

I am not particularly lucky nor smart. It’s just that I don’t run Windows.

It’s one of these things that make you shake your head if you look at it in clear daylight: You can even buy ‘virus protection software’ for OS X. People are so used to think that Computers need some extra protection that they miss the point that the whole switch will get you out of the mess that grew around Microsoft Windows.

The other day somebody told me that it was funny to watch me becoming such a Mac zealot. I think it’s more a passion for the alternative, that is less fucked up. Apple sucks in many ways: I am writing this, with a Microsoft mouse attached to my PowerBook6,7 since the trackpad goes stale till the next reboot. I have open bugs with their ‘pro’ division, and they didn’t come up with a solution. At all. But getting a new computer and having to go through ten steps to make it somewhat secure? Clearly I have an easier life. Imagine you buy a car and then have to go and get brakes and seat belts and a lock for it from somewhere else.

apple and microsoft in 2006 and beyond

December 16th, 2005

I am not sure if Adobe is that important.

But the underlying question that Apple is indeed challenging Microsoft’s operating system monopoly is interesting. And not news to me.

What I had not realised is the vertical integration depth of all those Office applications and macros arouund it. This will most likely not go away. Ever. Vista will have a chance if all those tiny little visual basic thingies continue to work.

Those IT monsters will not go away. They rather turn the internet off of safety and glue the CDROM drives shut before they try to migrate those tangled webs of IT gopher tape to /anything/ that is different.

longhorn news

December 3rd, 2005

Yes, I know they call it Vista now. It’s just fun to mess with branding campaigns by ignoring them.

No more reboots sounds like a great concept.
No, I mean that. Especially if it comes from a company that used to require a reboot for a change of the IP address. I am _that_ old: Windows 95 was my last -and actually only- Windows machine. Side by side with an SGI O2. I cloned that machine yesterday: It’s a funny feeling to suddenly see yor desktop again after five years.

Back to ‘no more reboots’: I liked the concept, until I read “… Restart Manager will work with Microsoft Update, Windows Update, Microsoft Windows Server Update Services, Microsoft Software Installer, and Microsoft Systems Management Server … ”
Reading monster word heaps like this I am so glad that I don’t need to undertstand what it means. I spend 80% of my waking times with my computer during those weeks away from the my family. And I am so god damn glad that I don’t have to deal with any of this junk. The names alone make me cringe. I would hate my job if I would need to deal with stuff like that.

In other news Microsoft released SNARF today.
Bill should hire The Word Company.

great campaign, Sony

November 23rd, 2005

The xbox crashing meme has reached slashdot.
Sony is huge. Their Music division probably messed up on a scale that will be stellar for times to come. But their Playstation 3 dept. does rather well: For the XBox 360 this week is really really important. People listen to what people have to say. If the bad news continues to stick with the XBox 360 then this could be tricky for those brave people in Redmond that took on the gaming market. All the pre order sales have been done by hard core gamers. I don’t numbers on this, but my guess is that you really start making money with games (and therefor the consoles) once you reach the broader range of the not so hard core gamers. And for those people it matters if they spend 400 now or 400 later. These people might just wait for the PS3. If they do then Micosoft just lost a big part of the head start bonus. Looking at those ‘internets’ right now it appears as if Sony does an excellent job in putting bad word of mouth around the 360.
Just don’t think that the Music division could benefit from Sony’s PS3 underground marketing skills. They will simply never find the person who might in charge for this. That has nothing to do with the cladestine nature of this. It’s just that Sony is as broken as most big companies are.

Lear jets

September 3rd, 2005

don’t make you happy. At least not if you are Uncle Fester.


July 22nd, 2005

vista , Billy …

infected in 12 minutes?

July 1st, 2005

those numbers are fishy

The article does not say what version and which circumstances.
But yes: if you would find an unopened PC box from 2001 somewhere, open it and connect it to the internet then it would melt.

microsoft asks what they should do

June 29th, 2005

ok it’s only Scoble

I would go back to “Independence the movie” when that Alien presses the unshaved scientiest against the glas. And answer along those lines “I want you to go out of business”.

Sorry, but Microsoft left this really bad trail in the history of technology while they could. I don’t see why we should tolerate their existence. Once the power game has flipped against them. Which has not happened yet. OK, Longhorn is the most unexiciting Operating System annonuncement. They needed to through something like RSS in. Which is pathetic:

RSS is one potential way of letting information flow. The point is that information wants to just do that: flow. Now we have the bandwidth, and there will be more tools. But putting RSS into the OS is like making a car that can perform really well when you drive around an New York intersection. RSS is ok right, I hope it will be replaced added on by the people quickly for whatever direction it needs to go. Nice for M$ to come up with the Version 2. Those Microsoft ’standards’ are bad enough if it comes to web pages. I think they really caused enough harm for one company. Right now they should just merge with Sun and look inwards for synergy for ten yours or so, till they are both history.

Ballmer: Google in their last throes

June 27th, 2005

Steve Ballmer says that MSN will be at par with google in six months. I wonder if they will run linux by then as well …