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Windows; a Life Without Walls? 22 September, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Vista, Windows.
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World renoun for shocking advertising, Microsoft has moved onto the next phase. Microsoft has traditionally not relied on advertising, and so has done poorly. They were fairly widely criticised for their advertisiong campaigns ‘the mojave experiment’ and Jerry Springer ads. Windows kicked off a new phase of advertising with the slogan ‘life without walls’. This is doing much better than before, but has problems.

1 The ads use the phrase “I’m a PC” in response to ads by Apple. Not generally the best policy to respond to criticism from a smaller competitor.

2 The slogan ‘life without walls’ is stupid. In a ‘life without walls’, who has need of windows? Or, as the broader joke goes, “In the world without walls and fences, who needs Windows and Gates?”

3 The slogan might think that Windows is about freeing you and letting you get on whith what you want to do. Not so. Windows Vista is not really liberating, and I would say the opposite. It slows down your computer, sometimes doesn’t work with different hardware, has no support for open formats out of the box, and has DRM. You need to buy the latest version of Office to open .docx or .xlsx files. Is that liberating? As to DRM, it has not really been a problem yet, but could be a problem in the future. I’m not talking about software piracy; restrictive DRM software could hurt ordinary people.

4 Getting people to make their own ads is popular at the moment, but I don’t think that that many ordinary (non basement-living geeks) people really feel that strongly about Windows. Many of the ‘positive’ views about Windows are that it is not as bad as it could be.

5 The site looks really bad with noscript enabled.

Beware the Eye of Sauron!

Beware the Eye of Sauron!

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HP finally releases Linux netbook 17 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Cloud Computing, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Linux, Netbooks, Suse, Vista, Windows.
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Despite having product details for the Suse versions up for a while, Hewlett Packard has finally decided to release its Suse enterprise version of its 2133 Mininote. But only for two versions, compared to Vista’s 6.

Also of note; Dell has expanded its Ubuntu lineup by 2 computers, including a 1,200 USD XPS model. Perhaps they are getting more serious about offering Linux, putting it on not just the lowest grade hardware.

Lenovo joins the crowd in not offering Linux 11 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Cloud Computing, Linux, Netbooks, Vista, Windows.
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Lenovo has unveiled a new series, the Ideapas S series. With two optionsa available, the S9 and the S10, sporting a choice of XP or Linux, Australain and US consumers will get the choice of the 10 inch model only and XP only. Why? There’s absolutely no reasonable explanation. Unlike the others, like MSI that just delayed the Linux model (but of course they had enough parts for the XP model to launch on time) or Asus, making the Linux version of the 900 series more expensive than the XP model, Lenovo has made up no excuse as to why Linux models cannot be offered here. But the US? That’s steep. They offer SLED versions of the Thinkpad there and not here. So does Dell with Ubuntu, again not here. And so does HP, offering a SLED mininote there, but I haven’t seen one here (probably available at an online retailer). Same with the linux version of the Acer Aspire.

And yet we keep applauding each manufacturer that joins the fray and offers a nonexistant Linux computer. I don’t think that the Linux netbook market really exists. Yes, there are low cost devices that are aimed at poor people, and education. But they aren’t available for retail.  Then there are the ‘consumer’ Linux models. But they suck, pure and simple. They are usually small, low speced seven inch models, with tiny screens and keyboards. Reviewers always seem to point out the difficult to use touch pad (especially the cloudbook’s), fairly short battery life, etc…

So, if you want a good netbook, you’ll be wanting an 8.9-10 inch model. And you’ll have to pay more, and that means that it’s that much easier to slip in the cost of a MS license. Manufacturers use dodgy pricing and confusing configurations to mask the cost of the Windows operation system, and to make higher margins. And the Linux versions that everyone is raving about seem to dry up. And I’m getting sick of another hyped up product that I’ll never see in a shop, or never consider buying.

Don’t we all love hard disk indexing? 10 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Linux, Vista, Windows.
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Daily hard disk indexing is a useful idea if you forget about where you put yesterday’s files, and need to search for them every day. For the other 99% of us though, we’re not that stupid and it’s a huge waste of resources. And, despite the fact that most users won’t ever use it, developers lumber us with indexing. It was one of the criticisms of Vista, but some Linux distributions insist on it. Why? Developers don’t understand the end user’s needs, and so make something based on what they think will be useful. The only problem with this is, it ain’t so.

Before I upgraded my ram, ‘find’ (or ‘updatedb’) would make the computer unusable, even just to browse the internet, as my slow 5000 rpm laptop hard drive would be busily reading from the disk, writing index tables back to the disk, and dumping all of my memory to swap, and reading from swap in order to run my programs.

My advice? Delete /etc/cron.daily/find or /etc/cron.daily/updatedb. You’ll never notice the difference, since you never use ‘locate’ anyway, adn your computer will run much faster, and you won’t need to enter your root password at every bootup to kill a process.

Mojave Experiment 2 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Vista, Windows.
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Microsoft has come up with a new marketing angle. Slated to be brilliant, Joe Wilcox says ”

Microsoft really has hit a marketing home run. That said, I can’t infer that Microsoft Vista marketing is suddenly going to turn around, even with a $300-million ad campaign about to kick-off in earnest. Good marketing is about appealing to people’s emotions, which Mojave does through embarrassment. “I was wrong” isn’t the best way to sell a product, although it has some pull here because Vista perceptions are so negative.

….The Mojave Experiment is typical, analytical Microsoft. There’s smart marketing here, but building off core Microsoft culture rather than corporate behavioral change. That’s why I’m taking a cautious view about what Mojave might or might not mean for future Microsoft marketing.”

And then he turns it around, saying that Microsoft has gone in completely the wrong direction. There’s two types of advertising, one that assumes that the consumer is smart, and one that pitches to the lowest common denominator (which is pretty low, believe you me.) And Microsoft, unfortunately has gone for the latter. After an ad failed to redirect me (noscript on) I google ‘mojave experiment’ One result is the site, everything else is negative reviews. Good one Ballmer.

Summary of the hate: There were users of “Mac, Linux, Windows 2000 and XP” yet all of them were amazed at how good ‘mojave’ (Vista) raelly is. Find me a Linux kid that will say that and I’ll be honestly impressed. Oh wait, you only showed videos from 65 of your 120 test subjects. How scientific.