February 29, 2008
To Marianne Kearney-Brown, who refused to sign an oath that countered her moral and religious principals of non-violence, (she's a Quaker, they don't do violence):
Oh, what did she do?
Each time, when asked to "swear (or affirm)" that she would "support and defend" the U.S. and state Constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," Kearney-Brown inserted revisions: She wrote "nonviolently" in front of the word "support," crossed out "swear," and circled "affirm." All were to conform with her Quaker beliefs, she said.Of course, I look forward to various fundie Xtians' tortured logic on why Jesus requires you to be ready to kill for your country without thought or discourse. Because conscientious objection based on religion isn't a valid reason to refuse to commit violence.
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February 28, 2008
Who comes up with this crap?
I mean seriously. Who is vetting the list of "obsolete" skills at Obsolete Skills? First, any time you're taking ideas from Scoble, you need a better checking process. But every letter has stuff that's just wrong...
AS/400 (Written wrong, and although renamed, is still very much in use and active production)
AT commands for modems (Again, no.)
Balancing the tonearm on a turntable (Vinyl, and turntables still aren't dead.)
Biasing Vacuum Tubes (Guitar techs and players everywhere are giggling at this)
Building a log cabin (I imagine the Amish would have something to say about this)
Calligraphy (huh? It's not even close to dead)
Changing Vacuum Tubes (obviously, the Music industry doesn't count)
COBOL (Um...clueless much?)
Cufflinks (Geeks don't go to many formal events, but that doesn't mean they don't exist)
Dewey Decimal System (?)
Driving a stick shift (again I say: ?)
EBCDIC (Again, just because the technodweebs don't like big IBM iron does mean it's gone)
So on and so forth.
It is apparent that both Le Scoble and the people running this site need to make use of another "obsolete" skill, namely using the correct word. "Uncommon" and "Obsolete" are in fact, quite different in spelling and meaning. True, they both have 8 letters, but that does not make them the same thing. Really. I know Scoble is astoundingly clueless about anything happening outside of his little dorkosphere circle jerk, (Seeing modern pictures of the universe made him cry. What did he think NASA and the ESA, and their Russian/Japanese/Chinese counterparts were doing all this time? Oh wait, it wasn't blogging or social networking, so it didn't count. Sigh), but this is just a tad ridiculous.
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A small wish
Would it kill the camera companies to come out with a DSLR that didn't require a couple of hours to learn the controls?
Basically, a digital version of the Pentax K1000. With that many controls.
Because you know, that? I'd buy that. The overcomplicated shit they sell now? No fucking way. Just gimme something that I can set shutter speed, "film" speed, f-stop, focus, and optionally zoom, then push the button and take the goddamned picture. No "modes", no craptacular UI on a wee tiny LCD screen.
For what they're charging for DSLRs, and as over-complicated as they are, the damned things should take the picture for me, without me even knowing there was a picture to be taken.| Comments ()
February 26, 2008
I just want competence
Could we please make it a requirement that the fucking office of the White House be more tech-savvy than a retarded monkey?
It's not just Bush, by the way, this has been a problem for decades:
Two Washington, D.C., watchdog groups, the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, have filed suit against the administration in U.S. district court to force the recovery of the e-mails and the establishment of an effective archiving system for electronic communications at the White House. Meredith Fuchs, general counsel for the National Security Archive, said that the problem is not unique to Republicans or to the Bush administration.
"This has been endemic to the White House since my organization sued the Reagan administration, the first Bush administration, and the Clinton White House about their preservation of e-mails," said Fuchs, who attended Tuesday's hearing. "The reality is that society has changed, electronic communications are what we're going to be doing for the foreseeable future, and it's time for the White House to catch up and be responsible."
Of course, it's not like the Bush administration can resist the chance to point out it no longer cares if we know they're bullshitting the American public or not:
Waxman's committee recently made public a 2005 White House study that identified 473 separate days in which no e-mails were saved from various offices within the executive branch.At least have the decency to pretend you think you're telling us the truth. Of course, what do they blame it on? Transitioning from Notes to Exchange:
Last month, however, another White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said, "We have no reason to believe that any e-mails, at all, are missing."
Theresa Payton, CIO for the White House Office of Administration, said in her prepared statement that the incoming Bush administration transitioned from Lotus Notes to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Exchange over a two-year period from 2002-2004, and that the ARM System established by the previous administration did not work properly with Exchange.That, for my less tech-savvy readers, is what we call bullshit. There is no reason why changing email systems means you lose backups, recycle tapes, or lose emails sent from one system or the other. I've done email system transfers, preventing data loss is quite easy, if you do it right, and you plan it out properly. "Planning it properly" is not only a significant problem for the Bush administration, (See "Rumsfeld, Donald", and "Going to war on the cheap"), but endemic to IT projects everywhere, because planning is neither glamourous or easily explained.
"ARMS was a custom-designed application," Payton testified, "and I understand that it was discovered that it just could not be effectively integrated with Microsoft Exchange."
It's also abso-fucking-lutely necessary so you don't have these kinds of humongous cockups, but hey, fuck planning, LET'S GET'R DONE!!! Note for the next administration: Larry the Cable Guy is not a fucking infrastructure planning algorithm.
What was lost?
As a result, thousands or even millions of e-mail messages to and from White House officials -- many of them generated during the crucial period in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, in March 2003 -- have proven to be irretrievable. The White House has given various and conflicting responses on the matter of the lost e-mails. In April 2007 White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said at a press conference, "I wouldn't rule out that there were a potential 5 million e-mails lost."This is bigger than the standard inter-party warfare bullshit. Ten, twenty, a hundred years from now, when historians and others attempt to analyze this period of history, they won't be able to, because the crucial documentation is fucking GONE, because of ignorance and stupidity.
I almost don't care who's president, (well, okay, not Huckabee, because magical thinking is only appropriate at a magic show, not running a country, and McCain has pandered away all the respect I once had for him, which in 2000 was considerable.) I just want whomever wins to be technically competent and to base critical IT decisions on best practices for the White House, with an eye on its unique situation in this country.
Compared to the years of critical historical importance lost due to this...incompetence, Nixon's 18 minutes are a rounding error.
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"Repair Permissions" is STILL not a magic spell...
No matter how many times you insist it is. Not surprisingly, I am in complete agreement with John Gruber on this issue, even though TUAW insists on making John's position look quite different than it really is.
Oh, and this line?
For example, you might learn that repairing permissions with Disk Utility won't change the permissions to any of your user-centric files -- it's meant to restore application and system file preferences to their as-delivered condition, (emphasis added) That's rather misleading, (the "preferences" bit is just completely wrong. Preferences != Permissions), since TUAW doesn't specify what kinds of applications. However, it's not like information on how Repair Permissions is available, right?
Well, it's not like there's anywhere you can find a list of what Repair Permissions looks at, right?
Here's a list of what
strings /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DiskManagement.framework/Versions/A/Resources/DiskManagementTool | grep Receipts gives me on Mac OS X 10.5.2:
So what TUAW should have written was:
For example, you might learn that repairing permissions with Disk Utility won't change the permissions to any of your user-centric files -- it's meant to restore specific Apple application and system file permissions to their as-delivered conditionThat would be a lot more correct. Oh yeah, and stop misrepresenting Gruber's position on Repair Permissions. That should be done too.
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This explains so much...
You know how you see a pic and you really don't have to explain it?
Yeah. That's what I thought too.
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February 25, 2008
Still waiting on Acrobat
Hmm...it's over a month now since Office 2008, and still not even an announcement from Adobe regarding Office 2008 integration with Acrobat.
I know, I know, we all know what the answer's going to be, assuming the Acrobat team gives us the basic courtesy of an answer. Some vague bullshit about how without VBA, it can't be done with some even lamer blathering about workarounds, probably requiring InDesign.
Of course, if the Acrobat team would stop insisting that only VBA is the answer, then they could have been improving this integration since 2004. (Word's dictionary was kind of broke-dick prior to that, so Adobe did have a point about limitations prior to that. That's not saying that no improvement from Acrobat 5 until the release of Acrobat 8 was justified, just that they were rather limited in what they could have done.)
But, that would require the Acrobat team to change their EVERYONE MUST USE WINDOWS worldview, and we all know they've smoked too much of that crack to stop now. Addiction is indeed, a terrible thing. One might think the Acrobat team wants PDFKit to fully support the current PDF standard, so they can just dump any support for the Mac beyond PDF altogether.
I'm not sure why, it's not like they spend a lot of money making Acrobat a particularly good Mac application. Lord knows, the entire marketing savings won't even buy a cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.
Of course, they could always surprise me, and do the right thing for their Mac users, and start making Acrobat Mac something better than a "Here, now STFU" application.
Right, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.
Adobe Acrobat Team = Annoying
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February 22, 2008
So, in the past, I've yelled at Rixstep for stealing other people's content, and using it for their own purposes. Sure, they noted where they got it from. That's right up there with "Hey, I stole Bob's car, but I'm noting it's Bob's car I stole."
You still stole it.
Just to head this off, yes, I do think copying content without prior permission, either explicitly and specifically from the creator, or in a license, is stealing. Period. Not excerpting, or quoting. In quoting and excerpting, even though you use someone else's content, you are being clear that it's not yours, and you should, barring the source being a douchewad whom you don't want getting traffic from your site, properly link back to said source. Is that perhaps sophistry? Maybe. But, at least with quoting, you aren't attempting to take credit for someone else's work, nor are you attempting to make it sound like the other person speaks for you. You are using their words, and (hopefully) some vague analysis to make your own point. Ideally, you have an equal, or greater amount of your own content in there.
But taking unedited content, and pass it off as your own? Or even kind of passing it off as your own? Yeah. Stealing. Plagiarism at the very least, but still, stealing. Even worse, removing "bad" words. Now you can't even steal it right.
Enter Sam Downie. Sam is trying to become an Internet 2.0 star. You know the type. The ideological child of Scoble. Basically, he's a New Media Douchebag. Lives for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Him and that other New Media Douchebag poster child, Adam Jackson, did a 24x7 livecast of Macworld Expo.
Sidenote the first: I always wonder, do they turn it off when they take a shit? Because if so, then it's not truly 24x7. What if they get lucky...er, when they're spanking it, wishing they were getting laid? Not that anyone should see that, but, if you're going to claim 24x7, then you better step up and do it all.
Look at Sam's site. New Media Douchebag, all the way.
Sidenote the second: He's charging 50 fucking pounds sterling an hour to help set up a firewall!?! I hope there aren't that many suckers in GB, but if there are, I'm emigrating!
Sam has some form of Internet Radio Show. Yay for Sam. We all need something. Sam, like many radio show hosts wants guests, but alas, Sam's a New Media Douchebag. He doesn't want to do the work. Ah, the intarweb to the rescue! He makes with the typing, and goes to Shawn King's site, and listens to Shawn's Internet radio show, Your Mac Life. Now Shawn is not a New Media Douchebag. He can be a douchebag about many other things, but he really is not a New Media Douchebag. It's one of his good qualities. (That, and I can run faster than him :-P)
Shawn, not being a New Media Douchebag, does a lot of work to get his guests. He spends a lot of time getting them on the show, and making sure that their segment is interesting for the listeners. He's really good at it. When it comes to da radio, Shawn is in fact, quite amazingly good.
A few weeks ago, on February 13th, Shawn had Tim Gibbons on. Tim is a producer and director, who unlike many who claim those titles, actually works in those fields. It was a good interview, but Shawn's good at that.
Alas, Sam, as are many New Media Douchebags, was looking for content, without all that pesky "work". Spin Magic Wheel of Entitlement Douchery, Spin! Find me my content so that I don't have to work!
click...click...Yay! Your Mac Life! So Sam does his New Media Douchebag thing, and Tim Gibbons gets a tweet from Sam:
@Tim_Gibbons hope u r listening to my radio show as U are about to be on it :) tune-in at: www.dsoundz.co.uk and click Listen NOW :)Shawn starts getting Twitter queries from Tim. Tim is very confused, for Tim does not remember being on Sam's show, and he's probably fairly certain that he's not on the show as he's reading that tweet. I imagine Tim had a moment of "HOLY FUCK, LSD REALLY DOESN'T EVER GO AWAY!". If Tim never did LSD, (not saying he did or did not, it's a comedy moment, chill), then I imagine it would be even more disturbing to have your reality fucked with.
So Tim replies back:
@samdownie Wait, I was on your show? I think I missed that! :)"Since Shawn follows Tim on Twitter, he sees Tim's tweet, and from there, Sam's. Hmm.
Tim tells Shawn that he had never been on Sam's show, and asked Shawn if he'd given Sam permission to rebroadcast the interview. Shawn had not. So Shawn goes to Sam's site and sees:
I went to Sam's web site and, sure enough, he had a message on his site, "You are listening to Shawn King talking to Tim Gibbons on my radio show NOW!"Da Fuck? No, actually, it was Shawn talking to Tim on Shawn's show, as stolen and rebroadcast sans permission by Sam. As Shawn wrote:
You can listen to the audio of the show and, sure enough, with about 36 mins left, he starts pimping the interview with Tim Gibbons. Now, to be fair, Sam doesn't pass it off as his own interview or say I'm a "correspondent" or anything like that. He does mention Your Mac Life and our URL but he does *not* make it clear that he's simply taking our content and rebroadcasting it.
The wheels on the New Media Douchebag bus go 'round and 'round...
What kind of fucking crackhead thinks this is fair use? I've been over that section of U.S. Copyright law too many times for my own good, Sam in no way meets that, and I'll take a WAG, and guess he's not doing legal Fair Use under the UK version either. Attribution, even proper, is not permission.
Shawn is not doing this because he's a great guy, he's doing it because that's his job. He has other people, among them Audible.com, who pay him money to rebroadcast his stuff, and oddly, they get pissy when other people do it for free. Go figure. Shawn's pissed, and he has a right to. This is his work, his time, his efforts, and Sam, like the New Media Douchebag he is, just fucking slices it out of his show without so much as a by-your-leave? Even worse, he fucking censors it, so that no one has to hear teh bad werds. He's not only a New Media Douchebag, he's too much of a wuss to not fuck with the content he steals. Jerk.
What a fucking cockmonger. I mean holy fuck, is it that hard to ask? He's on Twitter, I assume he can work email, Shawn is a real easy guy to get ahold of. Even if he didn't let him just rebroadcast that interview, I'm pretty sure he'd have worked with Sam to help out somehow, within his particular constraints.
But no, "it's on da intarwebs, it's free!". Bullshit. Bull-fucking-shit, it ain't free for you to copy without asking. Take me for example. The stuff on this site? I'm mellow about it. It's annoying when it gets republished without credit, but face it, anyone who's read me will know what's up. I have a...unique voice. However, when I sell articles, then I do get pissed. Someone else paid for that work, that effort, and I fucking did the work and the effort. (If you think it's easy, YOU do a detailed look at SNMP on Mac OS X 10.5, see how fucking easy it is.)I, the asshole doing the work chose to sell that work and certain rights to it for an amount of filthy lucre that I find agreeable. No, you do not have the fucking right to republish it without fucking asking.
You don't have the right to do it with this stuff either. (Especially since y'all are some cheap fuckers...my google ads ain't even payin' my bandwidth bills. Just a click people, don't be that way.) Not without asking.
In short, Sam Downie is a New Media Douchebag, and needs a good scrotal tasin'. Dickhead.
<OMG!!111 TEH AWSUM UPDATZ! Sam is now quoting Digg's fucking TOS at me! (at Shawn too) Because, as we all know, there's no better way to prove you're not a fucking douchecrumpet, (See? See that? Douchcrumpet! 'Cause Sam's British, so they eat crumpets! That's why I'm cool, I use region-correct invective!), than to quote DIGG'S TOS at me. Because O NOES! I MIGHT GET BANNED FROM DIGG!!!! TEH WHOREOARS! TEH WHOREOARS! Sam? Here's a tip: That shit only works on other New Media Douchebag's. I don't give a fuck about Digg liking me or not. Maybe you should go for, you know, a response that is actually...effective next time.>
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February 21, 2008
Time for a fun head game
Because she thinks messing with people is "fun"...
From now on, always refer to Ann Coulter as "Man Coulter". If you see her, say:
"Man? Yes, so if you're such a good Christian woman, how come you ain't got no babies? Is it because you were born a man?"
Everywhere. Don't worry about her reply, we don't care. We just say that to her, and walk away. Over and over. Until we've her so nuts that she starts screaming incoherently whenever she hears the word "man" in any context. Until she pulls a Britney.
Then when, inevitably, she's on TV doing a Nancy Kerrigan, and tearfully whining "Why meeeee? WHYYYYYY", someone calls in and says "So Ann...is it still funny to fuck with people just because you have unlimited media access and they don't?"
Sometimes, you have to beat sense into people. No reason why it can't be entertaining to millions.
So to recap:
- "Man Coulter"
- "Man? If you're such a good Christian woman, how come you ain't got no babies? Is it because you were born a man?
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February 19, 2008
So Chuck Goolsbee, friend and geek, has a fun button to push. Tell him your network speed is fast or slow and watch him go all pedantic and explain the difference between network speed, (there's one: c, aka the speed of light), and network bandwidth is how much data you can shove down a given network pipe type. But from a modem to 10G over fiber, it all moves at c. The truth is, he's right. Network speed is unchanging, bandwidth is not, and regardless of common usage, the two terms are not interchangeable. 300 million people in agreement can be, and often are, wrong.
So I see people on Twitter talking about lens speed, when they mean aperture. The spirit of Chuck rises..."Um...light is moving through that lens at the same speed no matter what. That lens is neither fast nor slow, since it's not altering the speed of light, (yes, I know c is the speed of light in a vacuum, but I've yet to see a lens advertising itself with "we alter the speed of light for better pics!", although it would be a neat trick), and since the shutter mechanism is (normally) not in the lens, the lens cannot be fast or slow."
Oh holy fucking shit, you'd have think I pissed on the cross, helvetica, and vi all at once. People start throwing Wikipedia definitions of lens speed at me, blah, blah, blah. (Note: when the definition of a "fast" lens is:
A lens with a larger maximum aperture (that is, a smaller minimum f-number) is a fast lens because it delivers more light intensity (illuminance) to the focal plane, allowing a faster shutter speed.That's wikipedia saying "we call it speed, but really, it's the amount of light the lens allows in, which allows you to use a faster shutter speed, so even though we use "fast", the lens isn't doing fuck all faster, you just are using that word wrong." Aperture is analogous to bandwidth. All lenses work at the same "speed"...that of light. The amount of light coming in the lens changes, and greatly, but that's bandwidth. It's all moving at the speed of light.
300 million photographers are still wrong, even when they yell really loud.
Like I needed to be more pedantic.
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Stop Stupid People from blogging
Look folks, read his article. It's simple. The AppleTV is there for you to spend money on iTunes. That's it. It's not there to be the Apple version of the Windows Home Live Office MSN Media Center 4 Sure. It's a media terminal. You want a media center, hook a fucking Mini to your TV. Bang, done. Would it be *nice* if the AppleTV had a Blu-Ray player? Sure. But it doesn't. Deal, or don't buy one.
Either way, I fail to see how this is a big deal. First of all, let's get something straight. Unless you're Chuck Goolsbee in his Lair In Seattle, with All The Bandwidth, downloaded video only, and I mean only wins on convenience. Period. Don't believe me? Of course you do, but for the idiots out there, let's break it down.
Last night, I bought the Blu-Ray "Blade Runner" collection. Five discs. Three versions of the movie. HD versions. Interviews. All kinds of goodies, something like nine hours worth. If I'm lucky, I may be able to download the different versions of the movie. No extra goodies. Time-limited. How much time to I have to watch my movies? Forever. How many times can i watch them? Until I can tell you what back-flip Darryl Hannah farted in, and the angle of her anus when she did.
There's not a download service in the world that can touch the value proposition of that. None. The only thing about my new purchase that's not better than download was the latency, because driving to Target and buying the discs does take longer. But from a bandwidth POV, physical media kicks the shit out of downloads, at least with regard to to DVDs and movies.
No, you can't compare movies to music. While the music industry was ass-raping its customers with no overall improvements since what, 1982, the movie industry came out with DVD, and now, Blu-Ray. When did DVDs hit it big? And we're now on a major improvement with great backwards compatibility. You know why i don't really give a rat's ass about ripping my own DVDs? Because I always get my money's worth when I buy a DVD, Blu-Ray or no, and, physical media has a FAR better selection than downloads do. When you think about it, movie downloads are only good when you don't want to wait. Other than that, they suck ass compared to physical media.
So no, the AppleTV isn't all things to all people. It's not better than a PS3 at playing high-def movies. It's not going to cure cancer, make dinner, or fellate you. Get over it. Use it for what it is, or get something else. But stop the fucking whining already.
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February 15, 2008
Et Tu Wal-Mart?
Oh man, that's going to leave a mark...up Toshiba's ass. Sony's marriage of Blu-Ray and the PS3 is starting to look like the long-range strategy they've been claiming it was.
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Why do people keep doing this?
So, some time ago, I called out Flip4Mac because their installer did a dumb thing.
it was a situation that Mac OS X 10.5 fixes, but still exists in 10.4. Lots of people know about it. So you think, ahh, with Office 2008 FINALLy being a package installer instead of that VISE shite, and the Office 2008 Resource Kit specifically talking about deploying via Apple Remote Desktop, it didn't even occur to me that this would happen again. Because I know the Mac BU tests on Mac OS X 10.4. I know they use Apple Remote Desktop. There have been many articles showing the "Wall Of Minis" in their test lab where they specifically talk about using Apple Remote Desktop. So obviously, the Flip4Mac thing won't happen.
I was so wrong
What's the culprit? Well deep in the Office 2008 mpkg, is a sub-package called Office2008_en_dock.pkg. Inside that, in Contents/Resources/ is a postflight script, and this is where all the magical Dock modifications happen. The installer quits the dock, mods it, and restarts it. In Mac OS X 10.5, if you're not logged in, nothing happens. In Mac OS X 10.4? Look at the picture. Initially, all that was there was the Dock. Click on the Finder icon, voila...full root access sans any login.
How to stop? Easy. Comment out line 43,
osascript -e 'delay 0.25' -e 'tell application "Dock" to activate', and the Dock won't start. I'd comment out line 16,
osascript -e 'tell application "Dock" to quit' -e 'delay 0.25' too, as it's useless, at least to me.
This is truly a Mencia bug.
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February 14, 2008
Microsoft's Corporate Period
Aka "Yet another fucking reorg". I mean it can't just be to hide bodies, there aren't enough bodies in Washington State to have that many to hide, and yes, I am including Ted Bundy's and Gary Ridgway's dedicated work here. Romney on a unicycle, Microsoft has reorgs like Mario Cantone has hemorrhoids.
Oh...and one more thing. I know it's normal to use the last name in sentences by itself, i.e. "Welch is an asshole"...however...let us please understand that some names should not be used in that manner, such as the last name of the former head of the Microsoft Mac BU, Roz Ho:
“Ho will lead the new Danger Inc. team and continue to focus on various consumer-focused premium mobile offerings in mobile communications,” Microsoft officials said. (Can you say Pink and Purple?)Actually, all I can say to that works to be something along the lines of "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?"
In such cases, "Roz will..." or "Ms. Ho will..." works just as well.
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February 13, 2008
Some advice for people who get blindly angry because of what someone said:
Anyone who can make you lose your temper can control your life
There's no better way to say it.
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February 12, 2008
Macworld.com article up
So some of you may have noticed that I'm writing somewhat regularly for Macworld.com. If you haven't, well, I'm writing somewhat regularly for Macworld.com :-P
It's all about stuff that relates to IT and Macs. The first few articles have been a mix of first looks, reviews and opinions:
Analysis: The end of Netinfo
First Look: Leopard preview: What's new with Mac OS X Server
Review: Mac OS X 10.5 Server
How Entourage 2008 fares with Exchange
Xcode: Apple’s not-so-secret weapon
What Microsoft’s Yahoo bid means for Mac IT
It's not a column or like I have my own blog area, ala Breen/Cohen and iPods/Games, but, Macworld has been pretty straight up with me that they know there's a need for more IT stuff, and they've been pretty cool about me not dumbing things down overmuch. If y'all like the idea, then go read things. The more traffic these kinds of articles get, the more Macworld is encouraged to do this kind of coverage, perhaps even with people who are not me. More info being published means we all benefit.
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February 9, 2008
Yahoo to Microsoft: Nuts!
Thanks, but no, we think this is a real bad idea. Besides, your stock price has dropped two bucks a share since you decided to play hardball less than a week ago. So we figure that if we can outlast you for a month or so, we'll be able to buy Microsoft with the change I found in my couch this morning, and I'll be drinking green beer out of your skull for St. Patrick's Day.
Love to the fam,
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How Entourage works with Exchange
If you are running Microsoft Entourage in an Exchange environment, then this excellent post by Amir Haque is now officially required reading for you.
Actually, you should subscribe to Amir's site, as it's the best thing I've seen yet for E'rage<=> interaction information.
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What if Microsoft wasn't run by insecure pharts?
With all the Yahoo-Microsoft PR-festing going on, I'm almost curious that the fact Microsoft would do this isn't a surprise to me. Not in the sense of "It's a bold move harkening back to the Microsoft of the 90s, when they took what they wanted and dared you to say boo about it." There's nothing bold about this. It's big, but it's terribly conservative. Microsoft has admitted that for all the real talent they have working for them, the people running it don't have the confidence to eviscerate the bureaucracy that's keeping them from using that talent. They simply don't trust that the thousands of brilliant people working for Microsoft can come up with...well, brilliance. They instead hope that if they buy enough brilliance, it will create brilliance in spite of the stultifying size of the Microsoft bureaucracy.
Think about the size of Microsoft for a moment and how many of those people create nothing. They don't code. They don't plan the next version of an application or operating system. They don't do research into the next big thing. They shuffle paper, make personnel evaluations, and generally, do nothing but justify their own existence, and ensure they get that next promotion. They are remoras, clinging to the sharks, slowing them down, living from their scraps, and generally, just fucking up the program.
So why keep these people around? Why allow the rapid expansion of useless people? Because people without any real talent other than justifying their own existence are very good at whispering sweet nothings in the ears of power. What do you want to hear, they'll tell you just that. Of course you're doing a great job. No, we're doing fine. So what if the stock price hasn't been anything to enjoy for years and years. We need to expand into more markets, just like you think, you're brilliant Steve. The Zune, we'll eventually get it right. If the Plays4Sure people say we fucked them over, well, they just don't see the greatness of your vision Bill. We just need to find the right name for Windows/Office/Whatever Live, and we'll blow Google away. Google's got nothing you can't beat Steve. The problem is that our people just need some more help to get search right, so we just need to buy the right talent and assets and then we'll be able bury Google. The Xbox will eventually win. So what if the Wii is outselling us, Xbox Live will save us. You're brilliant Bill, you're the best CEO ever Steve.
Sound familar? The problem isn't that they're justifying their own existence. It's that the people in power buy into that bullshit. Because people like Ballmer, and even Gates love to hear that they're right. They need to hear that they can do it all. They need to know that they can reinvent every wheel and make it better. They need to know that every idea they have is the best. Why? Because at heart, they're insecure as hell, and they keep attracting people who are similarly insecure or feed into it.
Look at the public statements and actions from the top. Not the people doing the work, but at Ballmer's level, because no matter how many times Microsofties insist that Microsoft is not a monolithic entity, if their statements about playing nice with others clash with Ballmer's, who wins?
Right. El Jefe.
The classic Ballmerisms, his vague threats against Linux users show just how insecure he, and the rest of his team is. He can't actually beat Linux fairly, because Linux is playing a different game. He can't get people to buy into his fake-assed "studies" showing how Linux sucks, because Microsoft spent the 90s bullshitting people, and no one believes a goddamned thing that company says without a lot of verification. So he either has to play nice, win by making Windows that much better, or he has to try to get people to stop using Linux. Of course, he pulls a McCarthy, with a "list of patents" and vague threats.
What he wasn't expecting was for Linus and the rest of the world to say "Fuck off Frankenstein, either show us the proof or have a big cup of Shut The Fuck Up."
But that's Microsoft. The people in charge have so many issues with anyone else's good ideas that they will spend billions to reinvent an idea that works really well. The idea that they cannot, or should not own every market that might possibly vaguely relate to Windows is evil to them. The proposition that they should occasionally say "no" to money on the table, and instead figure out how to work with the people doing that work far better than they ever will? BWAAAHAHAHAAHAHAHA. No way dude. They're Microsoft. They muscle into established markets, kill off the innovators, and then bang, you deal with them, because they're the fucking prom king again.
But what if they had adults in charge. Not just old guys. But people who were secure in themselves. Who had the ability to say "no". "That's a neat idea, but it's not a good fit for us, it's not a part of our core competence. We'll work with the people doing it well so we make sure our stuff works with it, but we don't need to own everything."
I'm a big fan of the "What If" series from Marvel. They take established canon, and give it a twist, and see what happens. So..."What If Microsoft was run by adults?"
First, it would be a far smaller company. Far smaller. But they would not be any less brilliant or competitive. They'd just realize that what they do well is not everything, because no one can do everything well. They'd realize that they do certain things well. Operating Systems. Servers. Productivity Applications. The infrastructure that helps all of these work together. The side technologies you need in an OS, like digital media, html engines, etc.
They'd realize that while they do some damned good work, they are never going to be the only game in town. Which is okay. Because if they work well with others, I mean really and truly work well with others, then others will use their stuff more, and they win anyway. So things like the IE/Netscape wars wouldn't have happened the way they did. Oh, don't get me wrong, they'd offer great deals to ISPs and others for promoting IE, but without the threats. Without the strongarming. Rather than forcing the EU to make them share the SMB and other networking code, they'd do it voluntarily. They'd make sure that Windows Media worked on every platform it possibly could and damned well too, because rather than forcing you to use Windows to get the best Windows Mobile experience, you'd get that on every platform. Why? Because if Windows Mobile works better on everything than any other platform, then what does everyone use?
That's right. Microsoft wins, only with quality and excellent product. They win because they have the best damned product out there. No putting the arm on people. No bullshit like crippled WiMP players. No making you use Silverlight, and to just view a fucking movie on the internet only. When the media companies said "We want this draconian-assed DRM or we won't let you have access to our content", Microsoft would be able to pull a Jobs and say "Who the fuck are you kidding? You clowns can barely spell Internet, and you think you're going to run it? Let us explain this to you, you have already lost. Your content is being downloaded by everyone with anything faster than dial-up, the genie is not only out of the bottle, but he's snorting coke off of a stripper's tits he bought with your stupidity. We will work with you, but we are not going to treat our customers like fucking thieves just because you morons got facials from RIAA and the MPAA, and forgot that you control them, not the other way around, and you're embarrassed about it. We agree that copyright and the rights of the artists and other creators need to be respected, but we are not going to use them to ass-rape the people who make all of us all of our money. Now stop being douchebags, and lets make us some infrastructure and a shitload of money, and as a bonus, not make people hate us."
That would be bold. That would be brilliant, and they'd own a market with an infinite income potential. Not because they force you to use their stuff. But because they were just the best way to do things.
OS/2? Would have never happened that way. Instead, picture Microsoft saying "Look, we're just too different of companies to do this. It won't work out, so good luck guys, but no." Would OS/2 have succeeded without Microsoft? No, IBM was too damned incompetent to market shit to anyone smaller than GE. But they wouldn't have wasted the time with it either. Instead, OS/2 would have failed on its own, and Microsoft would have still done NT.
Office? Oh, Office on Windows would still be the better product, because they would have that OS control that they simply can't get anywhere else. But you'd have more resources for Office for the Mac, because Microsoft would realize that if you have 20 million Mac users running Office, and happily, they win, because if Office:Mac kicks ass, then why do you care about anything else?
Office:Linux...yeah. Think about that. Instead of a Ballmer only working with Linux at the point of a gun, you'd have a Microsoft realizing that Linux was going to be a success, so why not make an assload of money off it? Office:Linux. Or any other platform that has staying power and a user base.
In essence, instead of Microsoft becoming the big bully kid in "Salem's Lot", careening from getting his ass beat by Mark Petrie, wondering what happened, and unable to realize that he was no longer dangerous, except accidently, they'd be the spider. Networking protocols, electronic media, productivity applications, computer operating systems at the server and client level, but that's it. No Xbox, but Direct X...on every platform. Because every time someone wrote a video game, Microsoft would get a licensing fee. No Windows Mobile, but ActiveSync everywhere. So every time you wanted to use your cell phone with any OS with a user base worth a damn, Microsoft makes money.
Instead of the bully, Microsoft becomes the spider. The Kingpin. Each move is made carefully and deliberately, like a chess master, or a pool shark. No flailing about, but calculated precision. No "good enough" but "excellence in all we do". It would be a smaller Microsoft, but a richer one. They'd be the ones trading at Google prices, because instead of watching FireFox and Safari slowly but surely take the lead in standards support and openness, the IE engine, open sourced, would be the choice, because it would be the best there is. Instead of using ActiveX to bind you to Windows, it would be used to tie you to ActiveX, on whatever platform you want. Because again, every time someone licensed it, Microsoft wins again. Instead of fearing the rise of Google, they'd welcome it, because Google's success would mean more success for them, only with a lot less work. Licensing is always a better margin than doing it all yourself. Really.
They'd be a smaller company, with fewer, if any remoras. But they'd be the center of it all man. Because instead of fearing some other company dominating a given market, they'd set aside fear, analyze the company and the market with confident calculation, and if it wasn't in their core competence, they'd instead figure out how to work with that company and that market, and turn it into yet another license to print money.
That would kick some ass. But because Microsoft is not run by confident men and women, who understand that sometimes, by saying no, you still win, it won't happen.
Because of the personalities of Gates and Ballmer, and the people they work with at their level, Microsoft as the blundering giant? Hoping to to buy talent and capability because they no longer trust the huge amounts of it they already have? It was inevitable.
Microsoft is walking the same path IBM walked in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The only question now, is who will be Microsoft's Gerstner to fix the morass that Ballmer-as-Akers is building?
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February 5, 2008
For pete's sake
I put up a tweet about how I love Henry Rollins talking about evolution, and some fucknut has to start challenging it.
I DO NOT BELIEVE IN MAGIC. CREATIONISM and ID ARE MAGICAL THEORIES. PERIOD.
While I'm not an atheist, (although given the state of the alternatives, even my very abnormal view of $DEITY$ is starting to make me feel dirty), I much prefer them, because THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN MAGIC EITHER. In fact, they believe in it less than I.
I love atheists, their reliance on reason, logic and facts make my bum all tingly.
Is Twitter now where all the internet stupid lives?
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Why Henry Rollins is my hero
Because he hits the money shot so well:
"You can't get God to come down to the lab and prove a fuckin' thing"
Much love to PZ Myers for the link.
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February 3, 2008
Dear Zimbra Customers
On Microsoft buying Yahoo, and if it succeeds...
You poor bastards. Some Prep-H will help with the stinging.
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