A fairly unoriginal but large software company that dabbles in hardware and creativity occasionally. In the 1990s and early 2000s they were quite scary.
From Skype's The Big Blog. I've seen bigger.
Skype for Windows 8 is almost here and we are incredibly excited by this important new version of Skype. This is our big step forward together with Microsoft to introduce a completely new Skype experience, which is designed to be always on, immersive, effortless and fun to use.
To be fair, there are things in Windows 8 you can't do on other platforms, just as there are things in iOS you can't do on Windows 8. Still, prioritising one platform for a multi-platform client is what we feared when Microsoft bought Skype.
I used the word platform four times in this post. Please mind the gap.
I'm surprised at the amount of scorn and jokes being levelled against Acer for their threat to stop manufacturing Windows hardware if Microsoft releases their Windows 8 tablets. You don't all have that much of a short term memory, surely?
Image from Engadget's coverage of the Courier.
According to a report by Preston Gralla for ComputerWorld:
Acer is considering abandoing [sic] the manufacture of Windows hardware if Microsoft releases its Surface line of Windows 8 tablets. So says the company's president of personal computer global operations. Is it a real threat or just empty bluster?
A good question. It seems Twitter has already made up its mind, most comments I've read include jokes at Acer's expense.
If you think about it logically though, they're in a perfect position to comment. Unlike Apple that ties software to hardware, Acer are at the mercy of what Microsoft produces. When they start selling machines with Windows 8, they have to conform to what Microsoft wants. In addition, with Microsoft selling hardware, they're also in direct competition with their primary software supplier.
I'm glad you asked!
This is similar to Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, and the position that puts their hardware partners. If you were Google or Microsoft, wouldn't you give your internally developed hardware priority access to code, before handing it to your hardware competitors to sell? Samsung are a shining outlier and an unstoppable juggernaut because people have fallen in love with their hardware, but there's no escaping the fact the general outlook for OEMs is bleak.
Even if we just stick with Microsoft, remember how they got their hardware partners to adopt PlaysForSure, then abandoned them with the Zune?
Don't get me wrong, Microsoft have put out some solid good hardware over the years. It's just not what their hardware partners want to see. Acer's president of personal computer global operations isn't making a threat or shouting bluster, he's just being honest.
Sean Ludwig writing for VentureBeat:
Google announced today that its Gmail service has 425 million monthly active users. That means it has blown past Hotmail for the first time, becoming the largest email service in the world.
While this trend was inevitable, I think a far more interesting comparison would be the number of people using alternatives to email. Aside from a few fringe cases, people still have and use email, but are supplementing them with social networks and the like.
I long since ditched both Hotmail and Gmail, but ironically enough I still know far more people at UTS with Hotmail/MSN accounts than anything else!
A wow moment after reading Yahoo News:
Microsoft Corp will invest $300 million in Barnes & Noble Inc's digital and college businesses, valuing them at $1.7 billion. [..] Microsoft will get a 17.6 percent stake in the new unit, while Barnes & Noble will own about 82.4 percent
This has the potential to shake things up big time, if they play it right. Will the Nook become a Windows Mobile device? Will Microsoft use B&N in their phone's media store to take on the iPhone and iTunes? Will this largely ignored mobile platform and this runner-up to Amazon fizzle out? I don't know! The battle lines are being drawn though.
And before anyone asks, yes I know that Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon, I just thought it was a fitting image!
Was intrigued by this graphic from the Windows Live login screen. Arguably all three phones are displaying the same information for each message, and (barring the names) even the text is a similar size. Yet iOS and Android manage six to seven full previews, and WP only does four.
I'm not arguing message counts and more efficient layouts automatically correlate with increased productivity or usability, but it'd certainly cut down on time spent scrolling!
Andy’s Answers: How Microsoft is influencing the influencers:
Microsoft is carefully constructing a network of credible, motivated digital evangelists to spread the word about its products, says communities director Nestor Portillo. That's allowing the company to scale up its outreach, and to build relationships with customers around the world.
An even more far out idea, make products people desperately want to use and talk about, and we'll do it for you. Or to put it in the context of a film:
Technology may have created new ways to engage audiences but industry players say success boils down to something tried-and-tested - a good, engaging storyline.
A question for someone more in tune with Microsoft licensing. Is it acceptable under the terms of the Microsoft EULA to run an OEM copy of Windows XP in a virtual machine, provided its still being run on the same hardware it came on?
I've been running Windows 7 for a few retro games and Visio for about a year, and have finally had enough.
Coming to you live from the Mac tables on the ground floor computer lab in UTS building 10, it's time for another instalment of everyone's favourite blog post series of which there is only one post: Blogging from University! Today's post, the Mac tables on the ground floor computer lab in UTS building 10.
I'm a people watcher. Not in the stalkerish way that creeps victims out and poses quite the legal challenge when you're caught doing so, but on occasion I've been known to observe people as they go about their daily lives while I'm in a coffee shop or similar locale with my laptop.
So picture this if you will, or if you dare. Dare is a brand of coffee milk drink in Australia, and though its tastiness falls short of the invincibly amazing Farmers Union Iced Coffee of which I got thoroughly addicted when in Adelaide, Dare is rather good.
I had just finished one of my evening classes when I decided to check my email on a computer terminal. I had yet to configure my iTelephone with the [horrid] Microsoft Exchange email system UTS provided, and I preferred not setting up forwarding as I wanted sent email to originate from UTS rather than a disposable account. I'd also been informed from various lecturers that they -- and the spam filters -- place a higher priority on incoming messages from .edu accounts, particularly those from UTS. But I digress.
Strolling onto the ground floor computer pool in UTS building ten, I noticed bank after bank of plastic fantastic HPs or Dells or whatever they were, complete with 15 inch TFT displays. Most were vacant, so I had no problem finding a machine to use.
Suddenly, as I'd just logged into Windows 7 Extreme or whatever the version was, I noticed a row of shiny new iMacs. And they weren't just iMacs, they were the monsters with the 27 inch IPS displays that by themselves likely havd more resolution than all my displays at home combined, minus their plastic bezels. I rebooted the Windows 7 machine that had taken an age to load the desktop, and made my way over.
The machine accepted my credentials and presented me with the desktop in no time, and they even had Firefox preloaded on the dock ready for my use. It almost seemed criminal to use such an amazing display to read email!
It was then I observed some interesting behavour. Despite the computer lab having an entire row of these shiny 27 inch iMacs, the few people who were still there were hunched over their Dell or HP (or whatever they were) plastic fantastic towers on the other side of the room, complete with their 15 inch TFT displays and long Windows 7 boot times.
Clearly, while Apple continues to make strides in market and mindshare, more people still feel more comfortable on Windows, so much so that they'd rather use a slow machine with a tiny screen than a clearly superior piece of hardware. I don't mean for that to sound fanboy-ish, but even a Windows aficionado would be hard pressed to claim a budget Pentium tower compares to a current iMac.
A friend from one of my classes put forward the theory that those who spend multiple hours in computer labs at university are more likely to have less disposable income, and were probably more likely raised on cheap Windows boxes. Another chided that they had to use Windows because Macs can't run the right software, a claim I found harder to believe given most of the people were merely using Firefox in that computer lab late at night.
I suppose that while generally people will take the time to learn a new system if they can see tangible benefits (Mac, Linux, so on), most are still perfectly fine with whatever version of Windows they happen to be using. I suppose it's akin to those who's idea of coffee is Nescafé; if you've never had real coffee and are comfortable with your dehydrated granulated mediocrity, more power to you.
And hey, it has its benefits... it may be more likely those iMacs are free again in the future ^_^.
That silly story that Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than others may have obviously been a hoax, but even comical exaggerations need a kernel of truth to them to be funny, however small such a kernel is. A microkernel, if you will.
For those who haven't seen the story, a report recently surfaced and went viral that Internet Explorer users have a lower IQ than those who use competing browsers. Opera users were graphed as being the most intelligent, and IE6 users the least.
The story had all the hallmarks of a successful viral campaign. The story exploited existing preconceptions about people who refuse to move to newer versions of IE or to more standard compliant browsers, and successfully played on the anger and frustration web designers and developers feel when having to bend over backwards to accommodate Microsoft's browsers. All the story needed to be perfect was a couple of quotes from a mental healthcare professional working in Minnesota.
As you probably did too, I didn't buy the story from the start, but it did get me thinking. We all know IQ is as effective at gauging intelligence as the BMI is at calculating your health (Adolphe Quetelet would probably have endorsed Atkins), but what does browser use say about the person using it?
Since IBM handed Microsoft their monopoly in the early 1990s, and since Microsoft decided to illegally leverage their clout to drive browser competitors out of business, most internet users accessed sites through a flavour of Internet Explorer. That's now changing, on three fronts:
For all but the most die hard Microsoft fans, it's pretty obvious to us what's happening here. With the high end and tech savvy markets slipping away from them, users of Internet Explorer now mostly consists of those for whom the blue e is "the internet" because it happened to come with their cut throat priced beige box, or for those who have no choice on their business machines.
While Microsoft's sudden change of heart with regards to standards has convinced a few to move back, for others its too little, too late. It's hard to find a nerd now not running either Firefox or Chrome, and to a lesser extent Safari and Opera. Web stats on many high profile technical sites are all being reported as favouring these browsers. Not to put too fine a point on this, but those who claim otherwise are ignorant of this, wilfully or otherwise.
What browser a person uses now says nothing about their IQ, but its a safe bet it speaks to their technical proficiency (knowing of alternative browsers, running [GNU/]Linux) or income (Apple hardware), something advertisers might be very interested in.