Trustworthy Computing.

From Jimmy Palmer at the DRM Blog:

If you look up the meaning of trustworthy computing you will find marketing terms such as security, privacy, reliability, and best business practices. Don’t believe the hype. It just means that all the DRM now has a pretty ribbon wrapped around it with a good name. The only trust taking place here is between very large companies that want to sell you content, hardware, and software that violates your privacy, artificially inflates prices, and makes it illegal for you to tinker with.


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The Ultimate irony.

In case the professional version of Windows hasn’t been cutting it for you, Microsoft has an even better edition – the Ultimate Edition – of Windows Vista and Office 2007:

The new retail package, which was not part of the Office 2007 lineup announced back in February, will offer nearly all the components available to large businesses in one $679 product. A Microsoft representative said on Thursday that the new entrant in the lineup was "created as a result of customer feedback," but didn’t offer more details on its origins.

I can just imagine that conversation:

Customer: Hmmm. We’ve got the top of the line Professional Windows and Office versions, but I feel that we just need something more.

Microsoft: We can help. We have this new ultimate edition. It has everything you already have, but it costs more. And you can play videos and games just like at home.

Customer: But we already have everything we need. And we don’t want our employees playing videos and games. We just remove all of that stuff.

Microsoft: But it’s the Ultimate version. You don’t want to be a dinosaur do you?

Meanwhile, can somebody explain to me the difference between the current versions of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional? Other than those merely printed on the license agreement?

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Sony math.

I purchased a Sony VAIO PC a couple of months ago, because it had 1 GB of memory and 100 GB of disk space. The PC had become painfully slow so I decided to defragment the hard drive. At that point I discovered something interesting. Apparently for Sony, 87.15 GB is the same thing as 100 GB. Can you say false advertising?

Based on my experience I can highly recommend that you don’t buy a PC from Sony.


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13% of all humans use MSN each month.

MSN Spaces is now the largest blogging service with over 100 million unique visitors. But the press release contains another tidbit that nobody commented on.

Apparently approximately 13% of the population of earth visits Microsoft MSN each month:

MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide.

Whether or not this number is accurate, one wonders how many of those unique visitors just never changed the default home page in their copy of Internet Explorer.


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Web 2.1

Given that O’Reilly has trademarked the term "Web 2.0" and has actively begun to threaten others using the term with legal action, I will heretofore be moving to Web 2.1.

After all, everybody know that the .0 release is always full of bugs. I much prefer the .1 version, with most of the problems worked out.

Update: For everyone that is commenting on the "attempt" to trademark the term "Web 2.0", CMP actually has the trademark. You can read all about it here.


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What real teens do.

Paul Kedrosky points to Steve Jurvetson’s summary of a conversation with teens:

All six panelists have iPods and cell phones (50% Motorola, 83% Cingular) and are active computer users (50% Mac). None of them buys ring tones or cell phone applications.

None of them plays mobile videos or listens to music from their cell phone. They primarily use their phones and computers to communicate.

With the computer, multitasking is the norm… with 13 open IM windows, music, email, browser and homework.

With two sons aged 18 and 20 I get pretty much the same impression. Their cell phones and IM are their primary modes of communication, and they typically make plans using IM rather than the phone, which is much more efficient for groups. They have plenty of windows open, working on a number of things simultaneously. One son uses a PC and the other a Mac.

My 20 year old doesn’t watch TV; he downloads torrents. He doesn’t download ringtones; he copies songs and photos to his phone via Bluetooth.

Both of them still buy CDs as well as downloading songs from the net.They have no plans to watch TV on their phones anytime soon. They text message, and have their email accounts set to forward messages to their phones.

Their friends are pretty much the same.


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Another one bites the dust.

I live in Waterloo, Canada, a town with modest high technology industry consisting of local companies. Ok, there is RIM… and everyone else. And yesterday one of those others – RSS Solutions – was acquired today by Visiprise of Atlanta, GA.

I had recently heard that one of the founders had left, so I assumed that something like this must be up.


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A day without Microsoft.

Ephraim Schwartz asks:

What would happen if Microsoft and all of its technology disappeared tomorrow?

Ephraim, I’m typing this post on my Macintosh Powerbook so I personally wouldn’t even notice.

Yet it is difficult to answer that question, because you presuppose an addiction to Microsoft technology that only exists because its technology exists currently.

If Microsoft were to cease to exist today, people would merrily work along, probably for years, using the software they already had, since Microsoft wouldn’t be there to tell them that it was now obsolete and that they needed to buy the newest version.

If Microsoft had never existed then people would just have some other way of accomplishing the same tasks.They wouldn’t be addicted to Microsoft software in the first place.

A better question to ask is:

If Microsoft had never existed would our use of computers be as efficient today?

My uncle used to say that we would have had integrated circuits (and computer chips) twenty years earlier if scientists hadn’t wasted twenty years figuring out what transistors did. Is it possible that twenty years of figuring out how to use the many versions of Windows properly actually held us back in developing more useful software?

How much productivity was lost in the writing and rewriting of software to keep up with all of those versions of Windows? How much productivity was lost in the effort by Microsoft to crush competitors, and the effort by those companies not to be crushed? What did customers gain from the fight to crush Netscape? How about the fight to crush Google?

How about this one:

If Microsoft had never existed would we have had a more productive web years earlier? Or has the existence of Microsoft fostered the competition that has driven such advancement?

Let’s be fair. Microsoft was the driving force behind standardizing PCs on a single platform – Windows and Office. But since that time they alone have been the greatest driver of upheaval, and problems like viruses and malware, on that platform. They were also the driving force behind my switch to the Macintosh, even though I still use Office. But I could just as easily switch to something else. What I really benefit from is the competition.


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SkypeOut isn’t free for me.

Last week Skype announced that all calling within the US and Canada would be free at least until the end of 2006. Unfortunately for me I still had a Skype credit of $12.27, money I paid in good faith for services they are no longer charging for, and all of my calls are within the US and Canada. Now Skype claims that my credit won’t expire but it is of no other use to me, at least until the end of 2006. Twelve dollars isn’t much but I’m sure I’m not the only user in this situation so Skype is merely using our money for a float.

I sent a note to Skype Customer Support on May 15 asking for my money back but so far I have had no response. As long as they have my money my calls aren’t free at all.


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Winning the lottery.

A new top level domain suffix, .mobi, opened for registration yesterday and at $140 per trademark name and $45 per generic name annually, Mobile Top Level Domain (the registrar) just won the lottery. The company believes that this domain suffix will guarantee a better experience for users:

If all Web sites created for cellphones adopted the dot-mobi suffix, phone users would know that they would be guaranteed consistent and pleasant experiences when using dot-mobi URLs, says Mr. Edwards of Mobile Top Level Domain.

That is a lot to expect from a mere suffix, but they do have some basic rules:

To make wireless surfing smoother, Mobile Top Level Domain has required Web developers to follow a set of rules. One rule requires dot-mobi sites not to "cause pop-ups or other windows to appear." Another requires developers to "divide (dot-mobi web) pages into usable but limited size portions."

I can see some potential benefit for users but there is a lot more benefit for the companies involved:

Many big companies are backing this initiative because they will all benefit if the dot-mobi suffix takes roots among consumers. Wireless carriers like Vodafone could generate more revenues from data usage. For their part, Google and MSN are looking at advertising on cellphones, which is expected to be more effective than online advertising because the cellphone is perceived as a more personal device.

Will the tools available on the web suddenly change just because they have a new domain name? If companies haven’t felt the need to do it right so far, what has changed? Perhaps the real reason that customers don’t use the mobile web is because of the dearth of useful applications, and the high cost of using them.

Give customers useful tools and don’t charge them through the nose to use them and we might see usage increase. A perfect example is text messaging – easy to use, and cheap. And people use it in droves.


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