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One Strategy, One Microsoft, One Xbone
July 11, 2013 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced a reorganization of the company today to focus on devices and services. Ballmer said that the goal was to have "One Microsoft" where "our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most".

* Hacker News Discussion
posted by wcfields (214 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tried to hold off as much snark as possible in the OP, but most media is reporting it as a PR piece but Forbes has a scathing review of the announcement.
In that context, it’s less surprising that the company’s plan took more than 3,000 words to lay out, is laden with contradictions and contains an old-school “ reorganization.” Oh and it has almost no chance to work.
posted by wcfields at 11:22 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The most common phrase I'm hearing about this is "deck chairs on the Titanic". Pair this information with PC sales being down again, and it's easy to come to the conclusion that Microsoft is panicking.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:27 AM on July 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Am I the only one who's worried this is just another step to make the windows ecosystem another walled garden a la Apple?
posted by Carillon at 11:27 AM on July 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm glad Ballmer set a reasonable goal: one Microsoft instead of zero.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


Please please make it die this time
posted by colie at 11:29 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard they called it "Project Jabberwocky" internally.
posted by KMB at 11:29 AM on July 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


Corporate/marketing duckspeak at its finest.
posted by Sternmeyer at 11:29 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Idiot. Jesus this is annoying. Just release a stable, dumb OS and leave this consumer angle alone. Apple has no culture of supporting business infrastructure, yet MS is actively dropping as much of that empty market as possible. This is going to fail miserably, and it looks like the end of businesses giving them another chance. Nobody I know is seriously deploying Windows 8 because it's a support nightmare. Who's going to really wait for them to figure their shit out? Seems more likely people will start developing plans to transition to alternatives when the time comes to replace Windows 7.
posted by odinsdream at 11:30 AM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


The thing that would most help Microsoft would be the sealing of the rift to hell that's allowed Ba'almer to be embodied lo these many years. Seriously, it is his fell presence that has done more damage to that company than any ten other people.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:31 AM on July 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


They should reorganize into one division consisting of Microsuft and another consisting of Steve Balmer, located in a bunker somewhere far away.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on July 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


Pair this information with PC sales being down again, and it's easy to come to the conclusion that Microsoft is panicking.

David Bank's Breaking Windows delves deep into the history of pre-antitrust Microsoft and how Gates missed an opportunity to separate Microsoft into separate components that could better survive a critical event like the impending PC downturn. I'd say Ballmer is not going to last very long at this rate, but he's been kept in his present position despite several miscues that have continued to pull the company in the wrong direction (failed cloud computing, failed Kin, failed Yahoo! purchase, firing key executives who have kept profitable divisions working, etc.).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see anything wrong with the new mission statement. They are clarifying and focusing on providing 360° solutions for the home user, small to multinational corporations, and the public sector, both at home and around the globe, on a multitude of platforms. Seems a modest enough goal.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


At this point their best bet would be to reincorporate as the Ancient Mystic Society Of No-Ballmers.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I heard they called it "Project Jabberwocky" internally.

Business is changing; Changing at the speed of information. Whoever adapts first wins - in order to compete we Innovate; in order to Innovate we redefine; and how do we redefine? With a New Definition!
posted by Servo5678 at 11:36 AM on July 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yes, but what about the developers?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:36 AM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Joy of tech pretty much sums up how I feel about this memo, which I looked at with the intention of reading and then immediately didn't read.
posted by samworm at 11:36 AM on July 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


It's good they're focusing on the things people value most. It's not so good to focus on that other stuff.
posted by bleep at 11:36 AM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The real plan is just to do everything they can think of and hope something makes enough money to cover everything else.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sorry Steve, Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work

It's important to remember that outsiders often times have limited perspective.
posted by tracert at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think this is a great idea if it's aimed at internal organization. There are so many groups that, as far as I can tell as someone who's used and developed for Microsoft platforms along with having friends who have worked there, seem to think out-doing another team in the company is their main goal.

As it is, products are so-so at interoperability. APIs or frameworks that are presented as the best thing in application development are ignored the next year when a new best way is presented. I moved into C# desktop development a couple years ago and was puzzled by the fact there's been a new way to do threading/tasks presented in nearly every release with no real changes to the last way. From what I've heard from friends working on Windows 8 (ex-Metro) applications, a lot of development methodologies that have been encouraged have been removed from that set of APIs.

It'd be nice to have a clear message, if they get that from this reorg, go for it.
posted by mikeh at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


If only they'd just add more locks, marketplaces and cameras....

Seriously, asking customers what they want instead of telling them is usually an easier path to success and credibility.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have they announced how many people they are going to lay off? (I read a couple of the blurbs and didn't see that but usually it seems it's the first thing the Wall Street Journal readers want to know.)
posted by bukvich at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2013


I'm kinda torn between schadenfreude, pity, and just plain cringing.
posted by the painkiller at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


After 8 months of using Linux Mint, I happily reclaimed my 40GB of sequestered mystery files about a month ago. They'll have to do Patch Tuesdays without me.
posted by Twang at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I moved into C# desktop development a couple years ago and was puzzled by the fact there's been a new way to do threading/tasks presented in nearly every release with no real changes to the last way.

First we had threads, then we got threads with return values, then we got tasks.

Most of the code I write these days is "fixing" broken multithreaded code. I just upgrade to the newest method they give us and call it done. Oh, and I add locks.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:42 AM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


These out-of-control feudal barons (Google, Apple, MS etc) and their special language of idiocy are what make me most depressed in the world. Far worse than the NSA or drones.

It's not hard to see how the people on the special air-conditioned Google/MS buses might be the first to be lynched when the the working class (I mean those people that provide food and education and healthcare and garbage collection) finally revolts.
posted by colie at 11:44 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hasn't Microsoft been focusing on devices for fifteen years now since Windows CE came out?
posted by octothorpe at 11:46 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


How can something which was never organized in the first place be reorganized? (cue the description of The Ghost from Mark Helprin's /Winter's Tale/)
posted by oonh at 11:46 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


For most of the past half-dozen years it's looked increasingly like Steve Ballmer's priority is keeping Steve Ballmer in his chair rather than keeping Microsoft afloat. Which, you know, is his prerogative and certainly in keeping with no small number of CEOs who inherit formerly-successful companies as turnaround artists who never quite succeed... except that Microsoft wasn't a formerly-successful company when Ballmer took over, and as one of the cofounders he's intimately involved in the evolution of the corporate culture, and his personal fortunes are much more closely tied to the company's than the average hired-hand CEO.
posted by ardgedee at 11:47 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, who is going to step in and be the stable company that businesses rely on? Windows has been a monolith because Apple doesn't care about business consumers. Focusing on devices signals to me that Microsoft is about to give a fuck all about business. Someone's going to step into the niche - who is it?
posted by stoneweaver at 11:47 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If their reorganization could address the fact that in my role as "buyer" for our IT department I've become some kind of desperate scavenger frantically searching Dell and Lenovo outlet sites to find a GODDAMN WINDOWS 7 LAPTOP, because they've essentially abandoned the best OS they ever made in favor of their bullshit PlaySkool touchy-feely junk fest... I'd appreciate it.
posted by lattiboy at 11:48 AM on July 11, 2013 [23 favorites]


Seems more likely people will start developing plans to transition to alternatives when the time comes to replace Windows 7.

Android is already there. It's relentless. The upgrade path from Windows 7 on the desktop is Android 4.2.

This leaves a three way race between Microsoft, Apple and the Linux vendors for the creative and technical workstation market, where Windows is increasingly uncompetitive, and also in the back room, where it faces steep competition from entrenched players who are delighted MS no longer has its desktop monopoly to lean on.

But, hey, they own the hardcore PC gamer market... that's a vibrant and growing market segment, right? Snerk.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:49 AM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I got my new work laptop (Lenovo T430s! so great) yesterday, and when I opened it and saw the Windows 7 logo I audibly sighed with relief.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:50 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


lattiboy, generally if you buy an 8 license you can install 7 on it and be good. *I think.*
posted by cjorgensen at 11:50 AM on July 11, 2013


mikeh,

Seriously. #wtfThreading. I think each new approach is yet another attempt to abstract async ops to the point where a script-kiddie can (effectively) do it.

Sorry to say, if you don't know how to debug race conditions and deadlocks, there ain't no code idiom that can fix that.

I've been telling my mid-level guys, "There are only 104 keywords in C#. Everything else is framework. And if the framework OM is jacked, just write something that makes sense."

It'd be nice to have a clear message, if they get that from this reorg, go for it.

Yep. I just don't give a shit about the consumer angle, but for writing SAAS, their framework hijinks are nothing but bad news.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2013


When Ballmer writes about "One Microsoft all the time", I can't help but think of the leader's speech a certain TV commercial:
Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion.
Then again, this is the guy who has made such public statements as: "Google's not a real company. It's a house of cards."; "We don't have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference."; "Most of these mobile apps are substituting for the fact that the original app wasn't designed for the PC"; and "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


But, hey, they own the hardcore PC gamer market... that's a vibrant and growing market segment, right? Snerk

There's a reason Valve is starting to sell Linux ports of its games, and it's not the deep install base of Ubuntu.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't get all the hate here. I for one am very very very happy to hear Microsoft is getting out of the software business.
posted by DU at 11:52 AM on July 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


I used to work there. They re-org all the time and it means nothing. My team was part of a different division every year, pretty much. The change they actually need is to fire SteveB - this is just a deliberate distraction from that fact.
posted by w0mbat at 11:53 AM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


cjorgensen: "lattiboy, generally if you buy an 8 license you can install 7 on it and be good. *I think.*"

Maybe not, New laptops locked to support only Windows 8
posted by wcfields at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have learned that when anyone says "empower consumers" that I should probably hold on to my wallet.

(When they say "empower voters" I brace myself for another assault on my rights and/or benefits.)
posted by emjaybee at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


"generally if you buy an 8 license you can install 7 on it and be good. *I think.*"

You legally can't. Two different software products, two different key systems.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2013


...bullshit PlaySkool touchy-feely junk fest...

Thank You!
posted by j_curiouser at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


because they've essentially abandoned the best OS they ever made in favor of their bullshit PlaySkool touchy-feely junk fest...

TBH I'd just go ahead and get 8 and Start8 (or similar)since its pretty much Win7 if you ignore the start screen stuff and add a start menu.

8.1 looks to restore the start button and boot-to-desktop but doesn't have a start menu, you're still jumping to start screen.

Honestly I think trying to push the Start Screen do hard rather than just having it as an option is the dumbest thing they've done for years, and they've done a lot of dumb things lately.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


These out-of-control feudal barons (Google, Apple, MS etc) and their special language of idiocy are what make me most depressed in the world. Far worse than the NSA or drones.

Can't we be depressed about both? Also note, the companies in the former have been helping the latter.
posted by JHarris at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2013


All through the speech, the ghost of Thomas Watson Jr hovered at the back, pointing a long boney finger towards Ballmer.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing is, Windows still has a crushingly strong share of the PC market. PC sales might be down, but people still use them. Just because you want more income, that doesn't mean you have to throw aw--IT'S THE NEW WINDOWS 8 EVERYTHING iS GRIDZ NOWS YOU LIKE MOBILE INTERFACES DONT U BUY IT
posted by JHarris at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Microsoft is desperate to become Google.
Google is desperate to become Apple.
Apple is desperate to become Microsoft.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:57 AM on July 11, 2013 [46 favorites]


So, who is going to step in and be the stable company that businesses rely on?

This is the scary part of the equation, because business is still going to rely on MS. The idea that the huge install base of software in the enterprise everywhere, and the tons of bespoke and homegrown business-critical software people rely on is going to transition to Android in a timely and cost-effective manner is just not realistic. MS knows this, and it gives them the audacity to pursue such boneheaded strategies.

This is the point where all the people who thought Nobody got fired for buying MS are going to feel the pain, because MS is going to fuck them over for the next couple of years while they sort things out, and there's basically nothing they can do about it.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:58 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I choose Charizard! (edit: refers to blue_beetle's comment)
posted by JHarris at 11:58 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm really not a fan of the moniker that anti-fan boys have adopted and has been editorialized here in the title: the XBone.
posted by inturnaround at 11:58 AM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not hard to see how the people on the special air-conditioned Google/MS buses might be the first to be lynched when the the working class (I mean those people that provide food and education and healthcare and garbage collection) finally revolts.

It's ironic that Google or Microsoft likely produced the browser in which this opinion was both written and read.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


puzzled by the fact there's been a new way to do threading/tasks presented in nearly every release with no real changes to the last way.

I read that at first as "there's been NO way to do threading" and I was about to post some grudging respect for something MS finally did right.
posted by DU at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


To answer a few things about my rant:

1) Yes, you CAN "downgrade" to Win 7 most the time (if you buy an additional OEM license), but that's assuming driver support for Win 7... often not available or stable, especially for business machines.

2) I run Win 8 with Start8 at home. It's the best $5 I've ever spent, though not something I'm going to be rolling out to 40 remote salespeople or executives. One Windows update could break the whole damn thing.
posted by lattiboy at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Win8's impetus is clearly to create a more walled-garden environment. It's a shame; the OS is actually pretty nice. It's fast, efficient, and fairly bulletproof. It's usability sucks ass, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2013


I am a fan of it. I am SUCH a fan. I buy all its albums and am thinking of getting a tattoo.
posted by JHarris at 11:59 AM on July 11, 2013


Microsoft, here's what I need from you:

(1) A version of Windows that includes the kernel, the very bare minimum of system utilities (including an extensible one to push security/feature updates), the wide driver support Windows is known for, and a compositing window manager with XML-configurable taskbar, desktop, menu, and system tray modules. Don't send me a text editor, a full-featured browser, a media player, games, an office suite, or anything else. Discard every last bit of legacy garbage; assume I don't need to run anything that isn't x64. Windows Explorer needs to be extensible via a plugin system to be as useful as, say, Konqueror. Anything that was newly developed for Windows 8 gets the axe. And please let me just search by filename / with wildcards by default; I don't need any help from the ghost of Clippy.

(2) The Xbox One needs to be a more powerful version of the 360 with no ads if I'm paying you for a subscription service. Your new business model sucks, and you should abandon it. I want to buy the hardware once, pay you $X a month for the use of your dedicated servers, and buy physical or downloadable games for a set price. I don't want your stupid Kinect and I don't want social media or anything else you use to lure in the Noxzema set.

(3) An Office suite that does what the previous generations have done. SharePoint need to work as it already does.

Most of all, Microsoft, you need to stay out of my way. You sell commodities, not luxuries. I don't want to think about you. I want you to deliver products and services with quiet aplomb and a competitive price. Hand Steve Ballmer his fucking gold star and buy him a house where he can golf full time with Larry Ellison.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:01 PM on July 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


2) I run Win 8 with Start8 at home. It's the best $5 I've ever spent, though not something I'm going to be rolling out to 40 remote salespeople or executives. One Windows update could break the whole damn thing.

I'm actually a bit nervous about 8.1's "new" start button and this.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


lattiboy, I use Classic Start m'self. I've gone months without having to look at that grid.

A friend has a 360, and I notice they changed its shell to match too! WTF? But then I remember that Microsoft reskins the 360's interface every second Thursday. Say what you want about the boring old Wii, all the options remain right where they were the last time you turned it on.
posted by JHarris at 12:02 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


There will be four engineering areas: OS, Apps, Cloud, and Devices. We will keep Dynamics separate as it continues to need special focus and represents significant opportunity.

"We can afford to fuck up everything with this reorg except Dynamics."
posted by benzenedream at 12:05 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


You can downgrade from 8 to 7 providing you purchased the Pro version.

Downgrade rights for windows 8
posted by calamari kid at 12:05 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Microsoft is desperate to become Google.
Google is desperate to become Apple.
Apple is desperate to become Microsoft.


And people said The Human Centipede wouldn't translate well to gaming...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:07 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, who is going to step in and be the stable company that businesses rely on? Windows has been a monolith because Apple doesn't care about business consumers. Focusing on devices signals to me that Microsoft is about to give a fuck all about business. Someone's going to step into the niche - who is it?

I'd love to know. Speaking only about my personal experience managing IT infrastructure for large groups, it's a complete mess right now. Products and services from MS get touted as the "next best stable thing" and then next quarter you're stuck trying to cobble together a replacement from open-source tools and drivers you downloaded from a Russian bittorrent site.

The writing was on the wall with the release of Windows 7 in fact, which stripped out some really core GPO features for apparently no reason other than to force people into a "more branded" experience with desktop themes. This caused complete havoc with large-scale deployments (100+ workstations) and thin-client provisioning where WAN bandwidth is extremely costly.

I'm an Apple/Linux user personally, but there's no panacea there, either. Apple clearly jumps for consumers, not businesses, as shown with their handling of XServe end-of-life.

While I'd like to think there's a good solution on the way, realistically I think it's going to be a cobbled-together mess for at least a decade or so, while the companies that jump whole-heartedly into the cloud will be somewhat better off. I'm already dreading the moment when I can't buy laptops for my staff with 7 already installed, having to jump through downgrade hoops.
posted by odinsdream at 12:07 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pretty thin fpp with links to wikipedia, the developers clip and generic press releases. Though I am disappointed that Microsoft decided to focus on devices and services as opposed to unicorns and ice cream.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


What the hell is "Dynamics"?
posted by kiltedtaco at 12:10 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


$20, same as downtown.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:17 PM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


What the hell is "Dynamics"?

Used to be Great Plains. It's for accounting. It's awful.
posted by odinsdream at 12:23 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dynamics incorporates not just Great Plains, but also Solomon, Navision, Axapta and Microsoft's homegrown CRM product.
posted by Slothrup at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2013


Everything "Enterprise", Microsoft or not, is awful of course.
posted by Artw at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I was involved in a Dynamics rollout. I'm still mad.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


i liek excel
posted by mullacc at 12:27 PM on July 11, 2013


God, MS CRM. Worst damn thing.
posted by aramaic at 12:28 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hah, I was wondering if I was the only one with the particular threading/tasking/async gripe. Nope!

I also had a great deal of fun with some .Net 4.5 framework stuff this year. We're still compiling apps for 4.0 due to some shared library business, but... apps running on computers with the 4.5 framework installed may work differently. Seriously! I had to do some coding shenanigans because some of the validation framework stuff was putting stuff in a collection that appeared on child objects in 4.0 and it was now on the parent in 4.5 with no way to get to them.
posted by mikeh at 12:28 PM on July 11, 2013


Foci for Analysis: Though I am disappointed that Microsoft decided to focus on devices and services as opposed to unicorns and ice cream.

I'm disappointed that Microsoft decided to focus on devices and services as opposed to software, since I need to use their software but do not want their devices and services.

I really thought MS had learned something when Win 7 came out, but no.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:30 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


God, MS CRM. Worst damn thing.

Nah, you should look at Windows Azure. Note: I was in a sales presentation where the sales rep literally said: "You probably don't want to use it for production." Then spent the next hour back pedalling.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:30 PM on July 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I wonder if you put together an suite of Enterprise products that DIDN'T suck if It would gain any traction or just get ploughed under by inertia. It seems like an obvious win for someone, but nobody is doing it.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Consolidation is rarely a solution for anything. I see this all the time in the business and technical spheres... "if only everything were consistent, all our problems would go away!"

... clearly illustrating that you really don't understand your problems. See you at the next re-org!
posted by butterstick at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2013


I like Azure. Generating keys and importing them into websites is my favorite part of programming.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:31 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have never seen Windows 8 in person, I think, except maybe out of the corner of an eye at a Future Shop or something. Does that count? I didn't turn to stone, so probably not. I think the most current install we have here at home is 7 on the teenager's machine. I am fairly certain I haven't touched anything newer than Vista myself. Vista is the one with the green and blue login, right?

Actually I've been doing a lot of coding in JS Mono, which is a .NET ripoff. And it's not terrible. Good speed with pragma strict, runs on everything. So that's one nice thing MS's done: inspired someone else to make a good cross-platform toolset.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:32 PM on July 11, 2013


> Seems more likely people will start developing plans to transition to alternatives when the time comes to replace Windows 7.

Android is already there. It's relentless. The upgrade path from Windows 7 on the desktop is Android 4.2.


Oh my god why would anyone do that. Unity isn't exactly a UI godsend, but it's still vastly more consistent and usable than even vanilla Android, to say nothing of the various other skins and launchers. Plus with Ubuntu you have access to actual software instead of the several hundred thousand bad jokes that comprise the Play Store.
posted by invitapriore at 12:34 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Once you start to consider Metro as a giant start menu, 8 is pretty good. I mean, It has a giant start menu.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:35 PM on July 11, 2013


Microsoft recently opened a store at my local mall and they had Weezer play a concert for a select lucky few.

Weezer.

That's how forward-thinking Microsoft is these days.

I could hear the concert from across the lake while I was using my iMac, my iPhone in my pocket, my son happily watching something on the Apple TV or using his iPod.

Weezer.
posted by bondcliff at 12:37 PM on July 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


I wonder if you put together an suite of Enterprise products that DIDN'T suck if It would gain any traction or just get ploughed under by inertia.

You have to understand that Enterprise software is managerware. It's software written for managers and purchased by managers to make managers' lives easier. It accomplishes this mostly by making things harder for end-users and sysadmins. The fact that it sucks is a feature.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh my god why would anyone do that. Unity isn't exactly a UI godsend, but it's still vastly more consistent and usable than even vanilla Android

Well hold on there, at least you have more than a single column of launchers. It's true though, what's needed is a real taskbar or dock, something to represent running programs, and I like to have documents on my desktop.

Dammit companies, STOP FIXING WHAT WASN'T BROKEN.
posted by JHarris at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be fair, that Weezer video on the Windows 95 CD was pretty cool.
posted by mikeh at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2013 [25 favorites]


I wonder if you put together an suite of Enterprise products that DIDN'T suck if It would gain any traction or just get ploughed under by inertia. It seems like an obvious win for someone, but nobody is doing it.

I help develop software for the Enterprise, and my take on this is that the reason is hasn't happened is because the people evaluating, testing, and purchasing Enterprise software are not only not the end users, they have no incentive to please the end user.

This is a big problem with general suckitude of large Enterprise, that the people making large brush stroke decisions for these companies are completely disconnected from what the company's employees would truly benefit from, technology-wise.

This is also why Microsoft has crazy boatloads of money, they know how to sell into those channels and make those Enterprise people happy with all the boxes they get to check during evaluation. Ballmer is such a dunce for continuing to be so obsessed with the consumer space, the money is in the Enterprise.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:39 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but all the prestige is in consumer products. It has taken MS several attempts to learn, and they still haven't, that building things that consumers actually want is much much harder than building the things they sell to managers.
posted by kiltedtaco at 12:43 PM on July 11, 2013


Do you guys think they'll stop having eight zillion product tiers and MSDN subscription types? I think half of these exist just so they can justify the locally-deployed salespeople and contract-management types.
posted by mikeh at 12:44 PM on July 11, 2013


Dammit companies, STOP FIXING WHAT WASN'T BROKEN.

Facebook: ‘We Will Make Our Product Worse, You Will Be Upset, And Then You Will Live With It’
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:45 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hah, I have 21 MAKs left on my Win 7EE install disk. No, you may not memail me for one.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2013


You guys realize the last Apple thread the consensus was enterprise is an insignificant market and Microsoft is doomed to fail because it can't compete with the iPhone.

I would like this thread to go back in time and fight that Apple thread.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Enterprise software sucks because enterprises have a long history of wanting to tailor software for their specific needs. Some of this is historical, because there were was a point in time when that was their only option. Some of it is practical, because it's often cheaper to pay a small number of expensive consultants to tailor the software than it is to retrain a large number of less-expensive users. And some of it is because the desire to constantly learn something new isn't typically what attracts people to corporate accounting and IT jobs. I suspect that this pattern is slowly changing, but I haven't been in the real world in over five years so I'm not sure.

In any event, to sell this kind of software to enterprises, you have to be prepared to help the customer "implement" (i.e. customize) it. This requires an army of consultants willing to perform the crappy work of talking to the customer to figure out what they want, and the boring work of configuring or changing the software to do it. But a company like Microsoft doesn't want to be a body shop, so they need outside people to take on this work. These are sometimes called "system integrators", and they also become de facto salespeople for the software because they have a lot invested in selling the associated services. The application vendor is then heavily dependent on these resellers to sell the product. This creates a conflict; they can't make it to easy to install, configure or use the software, because that impacts the bottom line of the reseller.
posted by Slothrup at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: Seriously, asking customers what they want instead of telling them is usually an easier path to success and credibility.
I disagree, so I'm going to have to ask for a citation on that claim.

Determining what customers want before they know they want it is a traditional path to success. Facebook is the poster child of providing consumers something they didn't even know they wanted. Apple has been the poster child many times.

Windows-like GUIs for Linux fit the model of "providing what the customers ask for", but no single one of them has ever really taken off. There's multiple choices (Ubuntu, Mint, Red Hat), and at one point or another different ones have been slightly ahead... but that's not a model that will allow MS to survive.

Perhaps by the time the survey results are in, it's too late to corner the market.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:49 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


8.1 looks to restore the start button and boot-to-desktop but doesn't have a start menu, you're still jumping to start screen.

Penny Arcade shared their thoughts about the Windows 8.1 Start Menu a few weeks ago.
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:49 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I forget - which indie band did Apple have to hire to convince people to try out their store?
posted by mark7570 at 12:50 PM on July 11, 2013


Facebook is the poster child of providing consumers something they didn't even know they wanted.

What? How's that? There were plenty of social networks before Facebook, and there was nothing really surprising or novel about Facebook's original design. They just launched well, succeeded a little bit, and then - this was the novel part - didn't fuck up the transition to succeeding a lot. It had nothing to do with creating a novel service; it had to do with successfully scaling an ordinary example of a fairly well understood category of service up to a very large userbase.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:51 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Enterprise software sucks because enterprises have a long history of wanting to tailor software for their specific needs.

Oh yes, yes. I remember being told about the long multi-year nightmare my old company had in converting to SAP. I was in a department that was one of the last to jump onto their SAP CRM system, and it was LOADS of fun working to make sure that every conceivable product and variation of our product line was input correctly into the database.

And I don't get how people complain about Windows when SAP seems to have a much steeper learning curve (and has a proportionally larger support staff and consulting staff than MS Win).
posted by FJT at 12:53 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still miss the "Learn to program in CRM language" troll from FuckedCompany.com
posted by thelonius at 12:55 PM on July 11, 2013


I thought the windows 8 laptop with touchscreen I got my mom was pretty intuitive...at least for someone who has used a phone. Where windows 8 falls apart (or at least one of the many places it does) is that it's all clearly just surface crap, and that most of it seems to be shovelware. There is a hugely puzzling lack of expected functionality, too.

Worst for me is the idiotic IE10 in metro. Hide all address bars, AND open a new tab (hidden) by default for every website clicked on in email or whatever. My mother's machine died with 7,634 tabs (hidden) open. You're able to turn that off, but only by dumping yourself back down to the old behind-the-scenes interface, which has no touch functionality at all, as far as scrolling, zooming, etc.

I like the look of metro, and a good touch-screen interface is actually really intuitive to use on a laptop. But 8 is quarter-baked, at best.
posted by maxwelton at 1:02 PM on July 11, 2013


Well, in all fairness to Microsoft, I'm pretty sure that SAP rollouts have killed the companies attempting the rollout on more than one occasion.

...that's a tough act to follow for anyone. Nevertheless, I still applaud MS for managing to create an amazingly sucktacular CRM system.
posted by aramaic at 1:05 PM on July 11, 2013


Weezer.

That's how forward-thinking Microsoft is these days.


Geezer.

Seriously. It's 21 years old now. It can buy ironically plebeian beer by itself. It doesn't have to stand outside the SavOn and ask REM or Camper Van Beethoven to buy it for them.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:09 PM on July 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Microsoft recently opened a store at my local mall and they had Weezer play a concert for a select lucky few.

Wow I guess Mikey Welsh took the easy way out
posted by Teakettle at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2013


But 8 is quarter-baked, at best.

WP8 is the same. I can set an alarm but not a timer? That seems like a no brainer.

I think this iterative approach is just part of Microsoft's DNA, and part of the reason Jobs said Microsoft has no taste.

They don't actually want to make a decision about anything. Just release half features and see how the market reacts before they finish them.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing. Just not in line with what people expect nowadays. People like polish, not half baked things they can tinker with.

I think MS also suffers from negative goodwill, Even their good ideas are thought of as bad. They come from MS, so there must be something wrong with them.

A good case study was the battery technology they came up with that allows the user to put the batteries into a controller in any configuration they want. Once people found out it was from MS, they thought it was the stupidest shit ever.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:11 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The banal thoughtless evil of MS Enterprise pales when compared to the active malice of Oracle. Hearing you're about to get SAP, however, is reason to long for the days of hot iron pokers and clueless managers with meaningless spec sheets.
posted by bonehead at 1:11 PM on July 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Last time I worked in anything SAP related I ended up in a hellish sea of variable names based on acronymised German. It was like accidentally ending up working for HYDRA.
posted by Artw at 1:15 PM on July 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


I believe these org charts are still relevant. Note that they don't have one for SAP - it's probably out of their budget.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:18 PM on July 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


bonehead:
The banal thoughtless evil of MS Enterprise pales when compared to the active malice of Oracle. Hearing you're about to get SAP, however, is reason to long for the days of hot iron pokers and clueless managers with meaningless spec sheets.
Oh god our company is in bed with all three of them. I want to cry.
posted by charred husk at 1:20 PM on July 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Luckily, the activity I value most is sharing my data with security agencies.
posted by reynir at 1:20 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Microsoft one is horribly accurate.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on July 11, 2013


Nah, you should look at Windows Azure. Note: I was in a sales presentation where the sales rep literally said: "You probably don't want to use it for production." Then spent the next hour back pedalling.

At least they were honest. I spent like 4 hours trying to get Azure actually working, gave up, and did the same thing with Rackspace in maybe 20 minutes. For half as much.
posted by odinsdream at 1:24 PM on July 11, 2013


Is it really a mystery what's going to happen? Businesses will not move to desktop Linux, or Apple, or Android, or Windows 8, or anything else. There is no hidden basement at IBM where somebody has been keeping OS/2 up to date. It's going to be Windows 7 and Server 2008/12 and server-room-only Linux, much like now. Now that MS has clearly screwed the pooch with win 8, win 7 and srv2008/12 are going to hang around as long as XP and Server 2003 did when MS screwed the pooch with Vista.

Which is OK with me. People who have to work with 7 + 2008/12 will have time to learn them down to bedrock, as they did XP and 2003. Somebody will have time to write hot-whips utilities for 7 that make it dance to your tune rather than Redmond's, as Mark Russinovich and Nir Sofer did for XP. (Who will write them? Well, very possibly Mark Russinovich and Nir Sofer. Neither of them is ancient; they're both mid-career.) Once upon a time the line out of Redmond was "Don't even think about hand-editing the registry, the damage is instant and terrible." Now they say "Don't even think about hand-editing ~\winsxs, the damage is instant and terrible." It's just a matter of time.
posted by jfuller at 1:37 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have Azure working.

Like I said, After 2 days of generating keys of various types and clicking on buttons on the azure control panel I am now able to click my "deploy" button on VS2012 and have everything just work.

I think the issue is separation of concerns. I believe it is intended that an infrastructure guy would generate all the keys and do the initial setup as in most "enterprise" situations rank and file devs don't have access to enterprise certs or even the logins to the azure control panel.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2013


Weezer.

I wonder if they did any cover tunes, like the Weezer version of the Rolling Stones' Start Me Up. (You know, the one with the lyric: "You make a grown man cry"?)
posted by radwolf76 at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2013


All this talk of Weezer confuses me; IIRC they all died in a fiery plane crash right after the release of Maladroit.
posted by Tevin at 1:43 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


A few things I have learned in 20 years doing enterprise stuff:
1) NO ONE, NOT one, manager will ever look at any toolset/software/off the shelf product unless they know the name and it is MS/Oracle/SAP.... No matter how good and or cheaper it is and no matter how well it matches their business.
2) IF they ignore rule one it can cost them millions and millions of dollars to fix the problem because although the companies in control of #1 at least will be around. (anecdote: I just worked on a project that a third level company with a tiny amount of name recognition burned through about 14 million dollars, never delivered, had their code thrown out, replaced with "our" code screwed that up, we bought OUR CODE and brought it in house, gave them credit and paid them MORE).
3) Enterprise is the suckiest place to be right now and MS is fucking it up like IBM did
4) Anyone looking to start a farm?
posted by mrgroweler at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


OH AND azure Give me a break what a hell hole especially if you are doing anything with 10,000 plus users....
But I did use it to roll out something for my brother's company of 7.
DON'T get me started on trying to set up MS CRM online...
posted by mrgroweler at 1:45 PM on July 11, 2013


I like Windows 8. I'd like: They probably need to put back in a classic Start menu, sadly, though most people just use the icons on their taskbar. If the new Start menu just defaulted to a big sorted alphabetical list like All Programs that would probably do it.
posted by alasdair at 2:08 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Determining what customers want before they know they want it is a traditional path to success.

That is one way, but it's the hardest. Not only do you have to invent a new product/service space, you have to overcome all the initial inertia.

It's muuuuuch easier to give people what they want. And Microsoft is in the perfect position to do just that. Witness:

Microsoft comes up with a wonderful "improvement" and dictates to everyone "You don't need a start button!" The ENTIRE civilized world, more or less, replies, "Fuck you, we most certainly do need a start button!" Microsoft has (finally) realized that maybe their new setup, and the public's unhappiness with it, has negatively affected their sales. So here comes the start button.

(The fact that the new start button isn't going to work like the old start button is a whole new world of WTF, though.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:10 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's good they're focusing on the things people value most. It's not so good to focus on that other stuff.

Yes it's lucky they didn't decide to focus on things that suck.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:22 PM on July 11, 2013


I like a full-screen Start Menu. I have never needed to look at anything on my Desktop while I'm in the Start Menu. I also don't mind that I don't use an on-screen button to access it. It was a little confusing the first time, and now I don't think about it any more.

I am, however, not a fan of any Windows Start Menu, and a big part of this is how applications are still allowed to install: instead of a single icon in the menu (a la a phone launcher), we also get a scattering of icons of varying utility in a Programs/[ObscureCompanyName]/[ProgramName]/ directory.
posted by Jonathan Harford at 2:22 PM on July 11, 2013


What's a start menu?
posted by jason_steakums at 2:25 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


All I know is that when the first time in many years I had to do some quick ad-hoc windows programming I found out that the form load event is broken on 64 bit systems. I actually laughed out loud. IN AN OFFICE BY MYSELF LIKE A MADMAN.

Microsoft
posted by srboisvert at 2:27 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


the company today to focus on devices and services.

And the makers of PCs and sellers of support who have been a 'partner' of Microsoft have what reason to support Microsoft now that Microsoft is taking a shot at their line of business?

what is dynamics

Not OpenERP or Adepiere that's for sure.

(moving to OpenERP as it is less painful a learning curve than Adempiere)
posted by rough ashlar at 2:29 PM on July 11, 2013


Dammit companies, STOP FIXING WHAT WASN'T BROKEN.

What is broken ITNSHBS is that you are not handing over more money to them.

If you'all had just been paying full price for Microsoft software over the years, they'd not be this desperate now.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2013


Do you guys think they'll stop having eight zillion product tiers and MSDN subscription types?

Having 0 MSDN subscription types should put a stop to that complaint. (Yea, no more Microsoft MSDN, or so I've heard)
posted by rough ashlar at 2:40 PM on July 11, 2013


It's not hard to see how the people on the special air-conditioned Google/MS buses might be the first to be lynched when the the working class (I mean those people that provide food and education and healthcare and garbage collection) finally revolts.

Your misplaced targets for class warfare is going to create the bizarro version of Bob the Angry Flower's Atlas Shrugged 2, wherein the victorious proletariat realizes the downside of purging knowledge workers.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:41 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yea, no more Microsoft MSDN, or so I've heard

Um, what?

That'd be the end of anyone bar Sharepoint types developing in .net.
posted by Artw at 2:44 PM on July 11, 2013


Windows-like GUIs for Linux fit the model of "providing what the customers ask for", but no single one of them has ever really taken off. There's multiple choices (Ubuntu, Mint, Red Hat)

RedHat, Mint et al are not Windows-like GUI's for Linux.

"taken off" is all relative also.

The Android fork of GNU/Linux sure seems to have shipped a whole lotta units. And Sony is forking their own version of FreeBSD for the PS4, just like Apple has a fork of FreeBSD in Mac OS X.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:45 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yea, no more Microsoft MSDN, or so I've heard
Um, what?


Mea Culpa - I seems to have confused TechNet with MSDN.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinremde/archive/2013/07/01/breaking-news-buh-bye-technet-subscriptions.aspx
posted by rough ashlar at 2:52 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: "Do you guys think they'll stop having eight zillion product tiers and MSDN subscription types?

Having 0 MSDN subscription types should put a stop to that complaint. (Yea, no more Microsoft MSDN, or so I've heard)
"

Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa, what? What the hell.

You better come up with some sources on this because I'm going to freak out.
posted by boo_radley at 2:52 PM on July 11, 2013


Artw: "That'd be the end of anyone bar Sharepoint types developing in .net."
Yeah, no, not even. I'm a sharepoint dude and it'd make my situation hard.

rough ashlar: "Mea Culpa - I seems to have confused TechNet with MSDN."

Oh, thank god.
posted by boo_radley at 2:54 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


False alarm! False alarm!
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on July 11, 2013


4) Anyone looking to start a farm?

At least you can opt to avoid Microsoft products there.


HV-100 Open Source License Disclosure

Nov 6, 2012

Table of Contents
1. Apache License
2. Open SSL
3. Wlan_drivers SdioBusDRv.c
4. Copyleft: GPLv2
5. Copyleft: GPLv3
6. Copyleft: LGPL2.1
7. W3C Implementation of CRC-32

posted by rough ashlar at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2013


alasdair: "Automatic updates of apps (like is coming in iOS 7)"

Noooooooooooooooooo! Sometimes people hang on to older versions of software or apps for good reason. Like, for example, if version 8 removes an essential part of your workflow and replaces it with a bunch of tiles.
posted by subbes at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I hate automatic update for exactly that reason. Do not fuck with my stuff! I might be using it. First thing I do when I set up a machine is hunt down all the zillion different updaters and kill them.

It's my machine, anyway, what business does some megacorporation have deciding what I'm supposed to do with it and when?
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:10 PM on July 11, 2013


What is broken ITNSHBS is that you are not handing over more money to them.

Wait, what? I'm going to call acronym fail, because Google finds nothing.
posted by JHarris at 3:11 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


ITNSHBS - in their not so humble business solution
posted by rough ashlar at 3:14 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, C# threading. I layered threading onto an existing .NET image processing library. Due to restrictions on my code at the time, I wasn't allowed to use thread pools and async wasn't around. So I wrote my own thread pools. Once I had it implemented with no race conditions, I decided to never, ever, fscking touch that code again. It's been working that way for 4 years (passing continuous integration tests) on three different servers running 2 OS revisions and 4 .net revs).
Why on earth would I want to change that?

Say what you want about the OS and its shiny bits. Anders did a very nice job on C# and F# is also pretty damn nice (I have F# code that outperforms C++ in image processing).
posted by plinth at 3:16 PM on July 11, 2013


For some unknown reason I've agreed to be involved in a Dynamics CRM customization project. Weep for me.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:38 PM on July 11, 2013


One ___, one ___, one ___.

Nice Godwin there.
posted by acb at 3:57 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


For a long time after Windows 8 went beta (or whatever they call it), I didn't use it, but would periodically read reviews of it. Along with the many, many negative reviews that claimed it was horrible, I also saw some neutral or even positive reviews that made it sound horrible to me anyway. But, I kept thinking, sure, it's probably not all that good, maybe even a step backwards, but it can't possibly be as bad as it seems from these reviews.

In the past month or so, I've finally had the opportunity to occasionally use Windows 8, and it turns out I was very, very wrong. It's every bit as bad as the reviews indicated. It's almost inconceivable to me that someone, somewhere, thought that this would be a good idea. Let alone that that person is apparently employed at Microsoft and got others to go along with it. Had that person ever used a computer before?

Frankly, I think that Windows 9 should be Windows 7 with one difference: In the default "All Programs\Games" folder, along with FreeCell and Minesweeper and such, there should be a new game entitled "Mobile Phone Simulator 2013". Running it should switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8. You win the game when you finally stumble upon the way to stop the game.
posted by Flunkie at 4:09 PM on July 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Am I the only one who's worried this is just another step to make the windows ecosystem another walled garden a la Apple?

Are you kidding? Microsoft was convicted of antitrust violations for creating and maintaining a Windows monopoly with a walled garden.

And you're accusing Apple of being a walled garden? Apple removed DRM from iTunes purchases and redefined the music market. Apple is the largest Open Source developer in the world. These are not the moves of a company using a walled garden, this is a company using their influence to shift the entire market towards openness.

I know a lot of mefites love to bash Apple. But this is just ridiculous. Maybe it looks like a walled garden because you're standing inside one, and you think the walls are surrounding everyone else.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


man fuck all this. just give me a box that i can plug games into and i play those games and forget about life for awhile
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:42 PM on July 11, 2013


By what metric is Apple the largest open source developer in the world?
posted by tracert at 4:46 PM on July 11, 2013


Almost every metric, tracert. Pick one: Market cap, revenue of Open Source-based products, quantity of Open Source product shipped, number of developers, market influence, etc. etc.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:55 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also I think it is very extremely fair to say that iOS, the most widely used Apple operating system by far, is in fact a walled garden.
posted by tracert at 4:55 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Didn't Apple remove the DRM from iTunes under pressure from Amazon's DRM-free MP3 store? And then they upcharged you for any songs you'd already purchased if you wanted to get the DRM-free versions? And they used the chaos of that transition as a smokescreen to just raise song prices overall?

My memory is genuinely a little fuzzy there, those are roughly the milestones I remember after I stopped buying music from their store.

(which was because the Windows version of iTunes became a moldy turd on par with RealPlayer, and it really hit me how limiting it was going to be that I couldn't ever switch to something better)
posted by Riki tiki at 4:58 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to hear this from Microsoft. I got a xbox 360 a year or so ago and was blown away by how slick the integration with other services was and how great the UI was. I'd long ago given up on Microsoft for their operating systems and here was the best experience in my living room and it was from Microsoft. I tweeted something about how Microsoft could probably turn it all around if they doubled down on xbox stuff and ran with that instead of Office and Windows.

Someone later responded that the xbox never made any real money for Microsoft, given how much time and money went into the creation of it.
posted by mathowie at 4:59 PM on July 11, 2013


These out-of-control feudal barons (Google, Apple, MS etc) and their special language of idiocy are what make me most depressed in the world. Far worse than the NSA or drones.
colie

Can't we be depressed about both?
jharris


Did you see the Guardian today? Wishes really do come true! Prepare to be thrilled. MicroAppleGoogleSoft has you covered.
posted by spitbull at 4:59 PM on July 11, 2013


In Five Short Years, Apple's App Store Changed Everything

For good or for ill, there are the ones who've made the walled garden the model everyone is trying to copy.
posted by Artw at 5:00 PM on July 11, 2013


"Fried chicken!" One Vision
posted by RuvaBlue at 5:33 PM on July 11, 2013


I've skipped to the end to mock.

Yes, Microsoft is abandoning the enterprise. That's because *NOBODY* makes money on the enterprise. The enterprise customer demands you both grovel hard, and then demands insane discounts.

That's why Apple has, wisely, completely and utterly blown off the enterprise. There are billions of consumers in the world. There are 500 Fortune 500 companies, and not one of them will stand for you to make a profit.

And the rest of the world doesn't give a crap about Visual Blah Blah. Microsoft has very carefully locked their developers into their worldview. Their unprofitable worldview.

The customers, they're buying Apple and Not Apple. And Microsoft? They don't even rate Not Apple.

They assumed that they would always own the world. They assumed that they could announce a product and that would destroy the competition.

RIM set the wedge. Apple drove it home. Google rushed in to pick up the pieces.

And MS? They released Dot.Net 4.5.

Fail.
posted by eriko at 5:39 PM on July 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Microsoft was convicted of antitrust violations for creating and maintaining a Windows monopoly with a walled garden.

Not in this sense, no. You're going to have to back up that assertion.

These are not the moves of a company using a walled garden, this is a company using their influence to shift the entire market towards openness.

So why do I have to jailbreak my iPad to install non-appstore apps or access its filesystem? PHOOEY.
posted by JHarris at 5:40 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Almost every metric, tracert. Pick one: Market cap, revenue of Open Source-based products, quantity of Open Source product shipped, number of developers, market influence, etc. etc.

You are confused.
posted by tracert at 5:55 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


/wonders what's wrong with .net 4.5.
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Windows-like GUIs for Linux fit the model of "providing what the customers ask for", but no single one of them has ever really taken off.

There are no "customers" of Linux asking for anything Windows-like. There are well-meaning but doomed efforts by Linux people to try to me-too Linux up to try to lure people who like Windows away from the dark side.
posted by DU at 6:05 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're going to have to back up that assertion.

That's almost too easy. Shall we go back to the beginning? Let's start with Microsoft deliberately breaking system calls in MS-DOS 1.0 so that CP/M-86 apps like Wordstar and Visicalc would not function, forcing customers to buy new versions that only functioned on MS-DOS. That was the first brick in the wall.

I have a ~2Gb file of exhibits and testimony from the anti-trust trial, if you care to look through it.

So why do I have to jailbreak my iPad to install non-appstore apps or access its filesystem?

You don't have to. You can distribute it yourself with Self-Provisioning. Use XCode Organizer (free) to access the file system and OS internals.

Come on guys, if you're going to bash a company because they don't support $FEATURE then you probably should be sure they don't actually support $FEATURE and give it away for free.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:06 PM on July 11, 2013


Heh. Didn't realize you were joking.
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on July 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Apple might sell products "based on" open source, but that's pretty meaningless. They have a next-to-hostile relationship with a lot of open source projects, and are not viewed as a good place to work by most of the talented developers I know. The companies that really do open source? Google, obviously. IBM. Oracle, because they bought Sun. Mozilla. Amazon and Netflix are also significant.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:05 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oracle, because they bought Sun

Heh. Yeah, that's one that needs an asterisk.
posted by Artw at 7:06 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The enterprise customer demands you both grovel hard, and then demands insane discounts.
There are 500 Fortune 500 companies, and not one of them will stand for you to make a profit.


Microsoft understands how 'the enterprise' treats suppliers because they treat their product vendors the same way.

How'd Microsoft treat Sybase? How about stacker? Seattle Microcomputer? DEC's email product?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:09 PM on July 11, 2013


That's almost too easy. Shall we go back to the beginning? Let's start with Microsoft deliberately breaking system calls in MS-DOS 1.0 so that CP/M-86 apps like Wordstar and Visicalc would not function, forcing customers to buy new versions that only functioned on MS-DOS. That was the first brick in the wall.

It takes a damn huge amount of granting benefit of doubt to accept breaking API function calls to the walled garden of Apple's App Store. On "self-provisioning," well, Artw says you're joking, me I have a different name for it.
posted by JHarris at 7:17 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Microsoft: Unlike Google, they never had a Don't to get rid of.
posted by localroger at 7:18 PM on July 11, 2013


I was trying to restore a Windows 8 VAIO laptop today. Sony broke the standard shit so I had to find VAIO Care or whatever it is. So I clicked "Start" and went looking for it. Not on the tiles so let's go for all apps. Was it a swipe down move with the mouse? Or do I swipe up with it? Or where the fuck is it?

Oh it's in search. Why the fuck is it there? Why do I even need to go to charms and search? Why isn't there a box I can type into?

Jesus fuck this OS. I'm stocking up on 7 license while coloured squares can go to hell.
posted by Talez at 7:21 PM on July 11, 2013


Jesus fuck this OS. I'm stocking up on 7 license

Or you could just move away from Microsoft altogether. Why reward Microsoft with your money?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:23 PM on July 11, 2013


Or you could just move away from Microsoft altogether. Why reward Microsoft with your money?

DirectX.
posted by Talez at 7:42 PM on July 11, 2013


DirectX.

So a desire to be 'entertained' results in accepting an abusive relationship?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:45 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's ironic that Google or Microsoft likely produced the browser in which this opinion was both written and read.

And I have to be reminded how completely out of step I am sometimes. I had to look up browser share after that comment, I had no idea so many people used Chrome. I’ve never seen it, and I've only used Internet Explorer once, about 5 years ago, in the last 15 years. I didn’t like it.
posted by bongo_x at 7:48 PM on July 11, 2013


rough ashlar: "So a desire to be 'entertained' results in accepting an abusive relationship?"

Can't you entertain yourself by looking at this phong shaded screensaver?
posted by boo_radley at 7:50 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus fuck this OS. I'm stocking up on 7 license while coloured squares can go to hell.
Good luck finding a new machine that will run it, because of UEFI, most BIOSs are now 64 Bit, and incompatible with Linux (and I suspect, older versions of Windows)
posted by MikeWarot at 7:52 PM on July 11, 2013


MikeWarot: "
Jesus fuck this OS. I'm stocking up on 7 license while coloured squares can go to hell.
Good luck finding a new machine that will run it, because of UEFI, most BIOSs are now 64 Bit, and incompatible with Linux (and I suspect, older versions of Windows)
"

Well, you'd have to install a 64 bit version of Windows 7, but that's not a hard thing.
posted by boo_radley at 8:00 PM on July 11, 2013


You can't. It won't boot from UEFI.
posted by odinsdream at 8:02 PM on July 11, 2013


You can't. It won't boot from UEFI.

Yeah it can. My Windows 7 installation right now boots from EFI.
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>bcdedit /enum

Windows Boot Manager
--------------------
identifier {bootmgr}
device partition=\Device\HarddiskVolume1
path \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi
description Windows Boot Manager
locale en-US
inherit {globalsettings}
default {current}
resumeobject {2c6dbec4-cfc5-11e2-b106-e13bffc634e2}
displayorder {current}
toolsdisplayorder {memdiag}
timeout 30

Windows Boot Loader
-------------------
identifier {current}
device partition=C:
path \Windows\system32\winload.efi
description Windows 7
locale en-US
inherit {bootloadersettings}
recoverysequence {2c6dbec6-cfc5-11e2-b106-e13bffc634e2}
recoveryenabled Yes
osdevice partition=C:
systemroot \Windows
resumeobject {2c6dbec4-cfc5-11e2-b106-e13bffc634e2}
nx OptInM
My machine boots in seven seconds using UEFI instead of BIOS.
posted by Talez at 8:14 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have been deploying Linux on servers with UEFI for some years now. Also Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Windows 7 and Linux on workstations that have UEFI lately as well. You definitely can.

The Secure Boot thing is a different thing. Secure Boot is a feature of UEFI, and Microsoft has mandated that Windows 8 Certified PC's must have this feature enabled by default, but that doesn't mean that Linux or older Windows cannot support UEFI.
posted by tracert at 8:45 PM on July 11, 2013


This is also why Microsoft has crazy boatloads of money, they know how to sell into those channels and make those Enterprise people happy with all the boxes they get to check during evaluation. Ballmer is such a dunce for continuing to be so obsessed with the consumer space, the money is in the Enterprise.
Yeah, someone upthread called this out by wishing that this thread could be pitted against an earlier Apple thread.

The most profitable technology company in the world for the last decade is laughing at the idea there is more profit to be made in enterprise than in consumer.

Also, the idea that Apple desperately wants to be Microsoft? Are you kidding? Apple has never wanted anything less than to resemble Microsoft, even in the way of market dominance. Apple and Microsoft are nothing like each other, and this simple fact is obvious to anyone with eyes (metaphorically speaking).
posted by mistersquid at 8:46 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I Buy a Computer with Windows 8 and Secure Boot Can I Still Install Linux?

Short answer: Yes
posted by Artw at 8:51 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Secure Boot is a feature of UEFI, and Microsoft has mandated that Windows 8 Certified PC's must have this feature enabled by default

But (provided we're not talking about Windows RT) they've also mandated that the user be allowed to disable Secure Boot, should they choose to do so.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 8:54 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I use the Win7 start menu in a keyboard intensive way that still works in Win8 but can be jarring visually, like using Office 2003 keyboard menu path shortcut combos in newer versions. My biggest peeve with MS is Office 2013. Totally fucking washed out compromised for "consistency" visual UI. It's been described as looking at the sun or causing eyes to bleed. I found myself suddenly clumsy with Outlook all of the sudden and took a while to figure out why -- it's visually painful and discouraging to use across multiple design elements.
posted by lordaych at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The most profitable technology company in the world for the last decade is laughing at the idea there is more profit to be made in enterprise than in consumer.

Profit over X years is not the only metric of success. It's not very straightforward to compare making a profit of $300 on a phone you have to physicaly manufacture, stock and move around the globe with making a profit of $300 selling software licenses which are basically pieces of paper once you break even. Also the risk of, e.g. the next gadget concept coming along and displacing the iphone is probably small but still several orders of magnitude higher than every manager everywhere deciding to commit carreer suicide by ditching MS.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:13 PM on July 11, 2013


My biggest peeve with MS is Office 2013.

Almost nothing of value was added to 2013. There's nothing new. The cloud editing feature (edit in Skydrive) is neat, I guess, but for some reason whenever I have to save a document it wants to "connect to the server" and Word or Excel hangs. Every time. Why? Why? Why?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:31 PM on July 11, 2013


If their reorganization could address the fact that in my role as "buyer" for our IT department I've become some kind of desperate scavenger frantically searching Dell and Lenovo outlet sites to find a GODDAMN WINDOWS 7 LAPTOP, because they've essentially abandoned the best OS they ever made in favor of their bullshit PlaySkool touchy-feely junk fest... I'd appreciate it.

Windows downgrade rights. Microsoft have supported downgrading a 'pro' or higher licenced of windows for some time, generally up to 2 versions backwards; this applies to both OEM and volume licence versions, but not 'home' licenced versions alas, such as home premium.

So if you buy windows 8 pro PCs, you're fully entitled to put windows 7 pro on them. The machines that come with pro from big name vendors such as HP also usually have windows 7 drivers available, as they know corps will want to use the right.

The actual method involves putting windows 7 pro on them via install media (MS won't actually provide it, but assume you can get it via other means, such as technet, argg). Then either activate with your KMS if you're using a volume licence version (a windows 8 keyed KMS will also validate win 7 and vista), or ring up microsoft licencing, give them your windows 8 OEM key off the sticker and tell them you're doing a downgrade, and they'll give you the key over the phone to activate your windows 7.

UEFI is fully supported in win 7 x64, you just need to boot the dvd drive in uefi mode rather than bios emulation/legacy mode - you'll also end up with GPT partitioned disks instead of MBR.
Or install in bios emulation mode if you want windows 7 x86, pretty much all UEFI systems also support that.

One possible sticking point is secure boot, but part of the requirements is that you can turn it off on non-ARM platforms, i.e. standard x86/x64 PCs, so just don't buy 8 RT crippled tablets and expect to run real windows on it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:46 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


My mom was so excited to get a Surface RT (free somehow). Once she got it, she found it to be completely useless. It's so bad, she thinks it might have been part of some sort of pump-and-dump scheme, to inflate shipping numbers or avoid paying for landfill or whatever.
posted by breath at 2:27 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In 2012 iPhone made more money than all Microsoft businesses combined. As you, Dr Dracator, note, it's not straightforward to compare profit made by distributing software to profit made by manufacturing devices.

However, the market for enterprise client and server software licenses (which are two parts of Microsoft's total business) is eclipsed by one device Apple makes. When (not if) iPhone is displaced, that displacement will do nothing to change the fact that there is much more money to be made selling to consumers than to businesses (which ignores that some MS licenses are sold to consumers).

Also, the idea that "every manager everywhere [would be] deciding to commit carreer suicide by ditching MS" is suspicious, especially here in the Bay Area. Many shops allow users to choose devices from multiple platforms, which devices are then integrated to work with (in many cases) MS Exchange.

But here's the thing. Those MS Exchange, MS Office, and MS Windows licenses are still small potatoes compared to what Aunt Glenda and little Billy want for Christmas. So managers stuck on MS software doesn't mean a thing.

At all.
posted by mistersquid at 5:03 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I finally tried a Surface RT in a store, as a devoted iPad user for both fun and especially work (where the iPad has been transformative for my productivity in recent years both for a massive document workflow and as a general control station for the rest of my somewhat sprawling digital life. -- several servers, half a dozen big database projects, a dozen web projects, a large academic media archive I manage).

3 minutes on the Surface and I was convinced it faces the same fate as the Zune. I can't wait for the next iPad, however.


Poor sad Microsoft. Too late.
posted by spitbull at 5:10 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


In 2012 iPhone made more money than all Microsoft businesses combined. As you, Dr Dracator, note, it's not straightforward to compare profit made by distributing software to profit made by manufacturing devices.

Not only that - your link is talking about revenue, not profit: I have no doubt that a big chunk of that $46 bn is profit, but I bet things even out significantly once costs are taken into account.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:35 AM on July 12, 2013


My biggest peeve with MS is Office 2013.

I still haven't forgiven them for Office 2007. Still hate that ribbon six years later.
posted by octothorpe at 6:55 AM on July 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The timing of this must be partly an attempt to deflect attention from the recent NSA revelations.

Mircosoft's long standing problem was that unimaginative marketeers had too much influence and that internal fiefdoms spent more time in in-fighting than in producing better products. Nothing has changed.

The price of the Surface was reduced today as the death spiral of Balmer's ongoing suicide pact with Microsoft continues. What Microsoft needs is a Steve Jobs, failing that, surely Bill Gates has to make a comeback.
posted by epo at 7:18 AM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


spitbull, I'm curious about your use of a tablet to manage document workflow and "general control station" for your computing work. Would love to hear more.

I'd MeMail but yours is disabled.
posted by mistersquid at 8:10 AM on July 12, 2013


The timing of this must be partly an attempt to deflect attention from the recent NSA revelations.

Don't be silly. The timing of this is 100% driven by the fact that the fiscal year just ended, and they want a clean break between the old structure and the new one for financial reporting purposes. Investors are the primary consumer for this kind of announcement, and investors don't want reports that have been complicated by a massive restructuring in the middle of the fiscal year.

Also, the first time I heard a rumor about the restructuring was at the beginning of May -- well before the NSA stuff. And I think there's ample evidence that Ballmer has no special ability to see into the future.
posted by Slothrup at 8:15 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure the Surface Retweet.. er— *googlegooglegoogle* Seriously? Okay... Surface Not-explicitly-stated-but-believed-to-refer-to-RT-Architecture (whatever that is) will save Microsoft!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:33 AM on July 12, 2013


Back in the "old" days it didn't matter that Apple was smaller than Microsoft now Microsoft isn't as big and it matters. Strange.
posted by juiceCake at 10:39 AM on July 12, 2013


mister squid:

Files Connect
Notability
iSSH
Scanner Pro
Filemaker Go
Wyse PocketCloud

make my iPad (and iPhone when needed) a productivity monster
posted by spitbull at 10:58 AM on July 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


oh plus Skype/FaceTime and email of course, plus DevonThink of late, and mobile safari for the Drupal sites I manage, obviously.

and a good stylus (I like Kensington) and external keyboard when needed
posted by spitbull at 11:00 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: My biggest peeve with MS is Office 2013.

I still haven't forgiven them for Office 2007. Still hate that ribbon six years later.
OMG THAT FUCKING RIBBON! I STILL CAN'T FIND SOME OF THE COMMANDS WHEN I WANT THEM, AFTER 2 YEARS OF DAILY USE!
posted by IAmBroom at 11:58 AM on July 12, 2013


Also, the first time I heard a rumor about the restructuring was at the beginning of May -- well before the NSA stuff. And I think there's ample evidence that Ballmer has no special ability to see into the future.

Conspiracy theories time:

* MS is actually using the fallout from the NSA wiretapping scandal as a smokescreen to hide their dire straits. This is a lame theory, but I only bring it up as an off-shoot of my favorite-

* XBone's austere DRM scheme was a tempest in a tinpot brewed to hide the other weaknesses and problems with the platform. Think about it, after they yanked their original plans, have gamers even been complaining as much about the system?
posted by Apocryphon at 12:11 PM on July 12, 2013


Apocryphon: "* XBone... have gamers even been complaining as much about the system?"

Pretty sure everyone will just not care and not buy it.

Gamers don't complain about 3DO, CD-i, or Sega Saturn anymore because they are irrelevant.
posted by wcfields at 1:45 PM on July 12, 2013


Think about it, after they yanked their original plans, have gamers even been complaining as much about the system?

The new Xbox system comes with an eyeball and ear into people's homes, and after the collusion reported between Microsoft and the NSA, few in the tech world think it warrants much mention. That the griping only stopped, for the most part, after the DRM policy was revised is disappointing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:37 PM on July 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dr Dracator: “I believe these org charts are still relevant. Note that they don't have one for SAP - it's probably out of their budget.”

They're good, but the Microsoft one doesn't quite capture the scope of the problem. I think to get a good idea of how the Microsoft infrastructure works you'd probably be better off just reading this and replacing all the knights and dragons and kings and whatever with angry department heads. Also, the Microsoft version is a lot less friendly and a lot more brutal.
posted by koeselitz at 3:43 PM on July 12, 2013


Just to add that what makes the productivity enhancement is, of course, portability as such. My use of an iPad is not much different than he way I've used my laptops for the last 20 years, except it weighs two pounds, is in a waterproof case, cost less than $800, goes all day on a battery, and can be used without needing much to sit down or set up. The iPad is just a tablet, but one for which the display and software and form factor come together in a beautiful balance. (If only it folded down to the size of a phone, but the phone is too small to be ssh'd into a terminal window in one server, VNC'd to the desktop of another, and editing a database field on a third. It's a human limit, not a computational one, for my middle-aged eyes especially).

I'm sure you can do all of these same things on a Surface Pro (or even RT). But it's too late. My Apple-based ecosystem (which includes 'nix servers) just works. Supposedly this company ignores "enterprise" users, but like me, a whole bunch of "enterprise" users have found it possible and even delightful to incorporate these "consumer" -focused devices into enterprise workflows.

Microsoft could have owned the segment had they seen. -- in time -- the utility of a portable tablet control interface for their server and database products, and those of other origin as well. They have the experience, goodwill, and clout in that space that Apple never had.

But you see Apple products becoming well entrenched in Enterprise settings in the BYOD era, and even more now in custom applications (like flight manuals, inventory control, etc.).

Meanwhile, Surface is still basically a concept demo.
posted by spitbull at 6:50 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "The new Xbox system comes with an eyeball and ear into people's homes..."

While I get why this is bad, I guess it doesn't freak me out to have a stationary eye and ear when I already have a mobile eye and ear practically everywhere I go. While I'm sure someone will show the differences between an almost always connected smartphone and and optionally (after the Day One Update) connected Xbox One, I just don't see why one would accept the risk of a smartphone and not that of the Xbox One. I do look forward to the explanations/arguments.
posted by Melee Loaf at 12:16 PM on July 13, 2013


A smartphone camera isn't trained on you at all times like the Kinect sensor, though.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:54 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apocryphon: "A smartphone camera isn't trained on you at all times like the Kinect sensor, though."

The Kinect sensor isn't looking at you all the time either. I'm not bringing it with me to work, to get groceries, or when I'm hanging out in town with my friends.

A smartphone may not always be looking right at you, but a good chunk of the population has a hard time putting the things away. While you're holding the phone up to your face, the front camera can look at you while the back camera can look at what else is happening in the room.
posted by Melee Loaf at 12:21 PM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Just works"...I dunno. My home-built PC occasionally has hardware issues (power supply died after a move, one of my sticks of RAM recently decided it was done) but I have never had software problems with the OS itself (win 7).

Most of my exposure to Apple stuff is through a friend who is True Believer. A typical adventure: last year we were running a show. Our control room, such as it was, had no wireless or computers, but did have a wall jack that would let us onto the wired network. So he brought in iPads for people to use, some sort of Apple box that would plug into the wired network and provide wireless service for the ipads (a mini, maybe, or some sort of Apple access point? It had an apple on it), and a wireless Apple printer to output the stuff we needed for an awards thing later in the day.

Not much worked. The iPads could be typed on, but wouldn't talk to the box which was supposed to be out way to the world. (Someone eventually tethered the ipads to their (android, haha!) phone so they could get to the internet via 3G.) The printers didn't spit anything out all day; they said they were available, but jobs sent to them never made it out to paper.

Which, to me, just seems like normal "we're fucked" computer stuff like you'd expect when someone who doesn't know what they're doing tries to throw something together without planning at the last minute. No real fault of the machines or OS, except...

...this is where "just works" comes into it: he walked into his favorite Apple Store a couple of days before the show, told them what he wanted to do, and walked out with this stuff and assurances it would "just work." (He was given some basic instruction, and he's used Apple stuff forever, so felt this should be up his alley.) "Just works" means, to me, just that. You plug it in, and it works, no config, no secrets. Otherwise it's just regular computer crap--networks in odd places, using untested devices, are not for amateurs to set up--nicely packaged.

I have other friends who pull the "just works" BS and then proceed to tell me stories about this or that which sound remarkably like using any other computer OS. Again, I don't care that the hardware or drivers or whatever need fiddling with from time to time, but that's not the same as "just works".

I just bought a new iPad for testing, and I will give Apple this: it's a lovely device with a beautiful screen. Safari can suck it, though.
posted by maxwelton at 1:45 AM on July 15, 2013


That sounds like a wireless network issue - more specifically, it sounds like he was setting up a rogue access point someplace where they have equipment that shuts down rogue access points.

Apple gear is orders of magnitudes easier to set up and maintain, but it still requires someone who knows basic wireless networking administration skills when trying to deploy in a professional environment. The issue is usually non-Apple equipment, sure, but it's still an issue... one which usually elicits a "Not our problem" shrug from Apple when you gripe about it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:30 AM on July 15, 2013


"Just works" is definitely overstated, but it's a much better marketing phrase than what they actually mean, which is "we make a lot of assumptions about how your setup is going to look and then make it so that our products are configuration-free in that environment." For the most part I think it's an effective approach given what they're going for, although it can get insulting to be told how it "just works" when you run into one of the edge cases they decided to ignore.
posted by invitapriore at 8:04 AM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Otherwise it's just regular computer crap--networks in odd places, using untested devices, are not for amateurs to set up--nicely packaged.

It's been my experience too, running an annual conference and dealing with the technical and presentation end of things. Worse, most events companies won't certify that their stuff works with Apple. There's always a bit of angst when someone turns up with an apple product, perhaps a half-dozen a year.

About half the time, everything works fine, like any other PC, but frequently enough, there's some hassle we have to go through with networks or dongles or software incompatibilities. With presentations preloaded on supplied PCs, we almost never have a problem. Most of the issues are completely solvable, but I often wonder why things have to be clearly intentionally harder than they should be.
posted by bonehead at 10:50 AM on July 15, 2013


That sounds like a wireless network issue - more specifically, it sounds like he was setting up a rogue access point someplace where they have equipment that shuts down rogue access points.

Are you talking about jamming the wireless signal if it's not from an approved access point (I'm guessing that's what rogue means)? I could use something like that at work, can you give any more details about it?

(I'd bet this was an IP addressing mess otherwise - maybe there was no DHCP available, or the box was serving addresses in an already used range - or maybe the wall jack was just not connected to anything on the other side. This is my usual source of grief with Just Works stuff: if it works it works, but if it doesn't then it Just Doesn't Work.)
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:39 PM on July 15, 2013


Are you talking about jamming the wireless signal if it's not from an approved access point (I'm guessing that's what rogue means)? I could use something like that at work, can you give any more details about it?

Most modern wireless infrastructure does Rogue AP detection and disabling. I work with Aruba, Meru, and Fortinet gear most often - once a rogue AP is detected, the system uses its AP's to send out de-authentication messages posing as the rogue AP, or containing it at the switch interface if it's part of a wireless/wired infrastructure, or a number of other clever tricks (like sending tcp resets or fin packets to all rogue traffic).
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:41 AM on July 16, 2013


Hey, thanks for the information - I work for a university, the powers that be are always worried some enterprising student may try quietly "expanding" our network capabilities for nefarious uses.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:10 AM on July 16, 2013


Why Microsoft's Reorganization Is a Bad Idea: The immensity of this change can not be understated, nor can the risks. Ultimately, I believe the reorganization will paralyze the company and hasten its decline.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:11 PM on July 16, 2013


How Microsoft Lost Its Way, as Understood Through The Wire
posted by chavenet at 11:16 AM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


A choice excerpt from the above link:
"What does Microsoft in the Ballmer era have in common with drug kingpin Avon Barksdale’s organization in The Wire? For years, both of them had the strongest package. They owned their territory, owned their market, owned their users. They were untouchable. Then times changed, bringing new competitors with new, intense products. Their own product went weak. But they couldn’t let go. “We got a weak product, and we holding on to prime real estate with no muscle,” Avon’s cerebral second-in-command, Stringer Bell, complains to him. For the Barksdale organization, the product was heroin and the real estate was the drug-ravaged Franklin Towers housing project. For Microsoft, the product is Windows and the real estate is the PC."
posted by blueberry at 2:04 PM on July 22, 2013


> I like a full-screen Start Menu.

I didn't have to wait for Win 8 to get one of those.
posted by jfuller at 2:47 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why the Hell Are the Xbox One's Best New Features Behind a Paywall?
The tyranny of Xbox Live Gold was bad enough when it was limited to making you pay for services you were already paying for. But this is somehow even more insidious. Game DVR, OneGuide, and Skype were all promoted prominently as Xbox One features. It should be a safe assumption that when you buy a product, it will come with the features it's advertised with.

But it turns out that Game DVR, OneGuide, and Skype aren't Xbox One features after all. They're Xbox Live Gold features that you happen to access on your Xbox One. At best it's a ripoff; at worst it's disingenuous, an openly cynical marketing switcheroo.

Go ahead and charge me for online multiplayer gameplay, Microsoft. That's a distinctive feature that only you can provide. It's worth it. But don't make me pay twice for Netflix, don't tell me that my $500 buys me features that it doesn't, and don't make me pay 60 bucks a year for the privilege of using Skype—a company you own—when there are plenty of folks out there who'll let me access it for free.

The Xbox One might be great, it might be bad, who knows. But the one thing that's clear is that it's incomplete without an annual subscription. And that's absurd.
Meanwhile, at The Hall of Justice Sony HQ:

PlayStation 4's game recording and streaming features not tied to PlayStation Plus
SCE Worldwide Studios head and extremely active Twitter user Shuhei Yoshida answered as much when asked by fans directly if Sony's upcoming next-gen game console would require a PS Plus membership for recording and streaming gameplay, as well as watching streaming content (such as Hulu or Netflix). He flatly stated "no" when asked about the Plus requirement, and elaborated that "all" users will have that functionality. That's a reflection of the current state of PlayStation Plus on PS3 and PS Vita, neither of which require PS Plus membership for media streaming or online play. Most online multiplayer on PS4 will require a Plus membership, unlike the Vita and PS3.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:14 AM on August 8, 2013


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