Even being the richest man in the world doesn't stop you
from getting a pie in the face.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV).
Moral: Don't Go With MS
Apparently, Qualcomm's decision to switch from Palm OS to Windows CE
for its Internet-enabled phone is the root of many of the company's current
problems -- and, as a result of the company's new "alliance"
with Microsoft, pressure is being put on Qualcomm to dump Eudora. This,
combined with the company's troubles with Planner, are making for major
changes in that division in the near future. That much is in extremely
And in the Feb/Mar 1999 New Zealand PC Buyer (which is also the
first issue of this magazine, replacing the New Zealand Computer Buyer)
we have the following quotes:
"Wasn't the ZX the series identifier for
a range of muscly [sic] sports cars from Nissan a few years ago?"
Sigh. Not even a mention of the ZX80, ZX81, and ZX Spectrum, which have
more to do with personal info managers than cars do. ZX2000? More portable
than the ZX81 I suppose. But in a computer mag! Here's a good one:
"In making its first NT 5.0 presentation
in Australia, Microsoft admitted that most user problems come from
bad applications, and that Microsoft itself has been doing perhaps the
worst job of any company in writing clean ones." (Emphasis
How "nice" of them to acknowledge that. But the weird part
is that they are going to try to do something about it with the release
of Windows 2000 (=NT 5.0) - by enforcing requirements for programs to
run the way they are supposed to, "right out of the box." I
won't hold my breath.
And from an article by Paul Lynch on USB:
"As late as a month before the release of
Windows 98, a technical spokesperson for computer controls company Honeywell
said the company would not be making USB keyboards and mice this year,
because they still were not convinced that USB would be stable in the
Honeywell's fears turned out to be unfounded, but this makes a good example
of large companies' confidence in Microsoft's ability to deliver stable
"The promotors of USB point out that the
new bus will allow a user to connect up to 127 devices... Or... 254
peripherals ... if you exploit both sockets to the max."
Sorry, Mr Lynch. Two sockets, one bus. Unless you've got a very
unusual PC (or a standard new Mac), both of those USB sockets are actually
on the same bus, not individual, separate buses. So the total of 127 devices
would be spread over both sockets.
"Firewire, originated by Sony..."
An outright lie - or an example of sheer stupidity or incredible ignorance
considering his job (but see the previous quote). Apple originated Firewire. Yes, Sony has embraced the technology wholeheartedly,
but market it as i.Link, not Firewire.
According to countless media outlets, Windows98's time algorithm will
cause system damage to computers running the minor update to Windows95
if the computer is active exactly 49.7 days after its installation.
Microsoft has posted a patch, but considers it unsupported (e.g., if
you install, Microsoft won't be responsible for or provide support related
to any problems that result -- which makes the upgrade useless for businesses
and many others).
Microsoft Downplays 2001 Glitch
January 15, 1999
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT)
by Sharon Gaudin
(IDG) -- Microsoft Corp. is downplaying a bug in its Windows operating
systems family that is set to throw off program timing on April 1, 2001.
The bug, which is caused by a single missing equal sign in Visual C++
code in the runtime library in Windows 95, 98 and NT, causes an error
in calculating the beginning of Daylight Savings Time in 2001, throwing
it off by an hour. The bug doesn't wind itself out until April 8, 2001
when it shifts back to the correct time, according to Richard M. Smith,
president of Cambridge, Mass.-based development company Phar Lab Software,
The bug, Smith noted, will throw off any time-sensitive application,
such as electronic calendars and automated hotel wake-up calls.
I won't bore you with repetitions of what Melissa is - instead, I'll
just present this quote from an article by Scott Rosenberg.
The culprit here is not e-mail itself, which remains a pretty benign
form of electronic communication that can do very little to harm your
computer system. The real problem lies with Microsoft Word, Microsoft
Outlook and Microsoft's whole design philosophy. Microsoft wants to
automate tasks and build suites of products that work together, but
it hasn't done a very good job of building security and safeguards along
the way. In the past Microsoft has dismissed the issue of macro viruses
by labeling them "prank macros"; maybe Melissa will finally
send Microsoft an "important message" to take the problem
MS Employees Incompetent
Microsoft employees absolutely believe that they work with the smartest
people on the planet, so the thought that they're being outsmarted by
the government-- the government!--is almost too painful to contemplate.
"It doesn't bother anybody when we're called monopolists," says
one Microsoft hand. "But it drives us crazy when we look incompetent."
MS vs DoJ
In a series of illuminating and often rather funny articles
on the events of the anti-trust case against Microsoft last November,
Joseph Nocera gives us an insightful look at what hasn't been mentioned
by most of the press.
Regarding the video testimony given by Bill Gates:
You've no doubt seen some of it by now, since bits have been playing
on TV ever since. You saw the person widely viewed as one of the world's
sharpest businessmen claiming not to recall E-mails he wrote, professing
ignorance of important company goals, behaving as if he can barely remember
his name. You may have seen the bit where Gates, when asked who attended
a Microsoft executive staff meeting, replied, "Probably members
of the executive staff."
Here's what else you didn't see. You didn't see Judge Jackson shake
his head in amazement at some of Gates' responses. You didn't see spectators
guffawing in several places.
And from a later article (not in this series):
The low point comes when Gates and David Boies, the government's lead
prosecutor, engage in a hilarious "Who's-on-first" exchange
over the meaning of the phrase "pissing on," which is contained
in a Microsoft E-mail. It takes Boies a good ten minutes to get Gates
to concede that the phrase is not, as Boies sarcastically puts it, "some
[Microsoft] code word that means saying nice things."
So apart from Boies' desire to show Judge Jackson how reliable Bill Gates
is as a witness, why else have Gates on video?
But there's another reason for using the Gates deposition, which becomes
clear today when I get my transcript of Monday morning's abbreviated
session. Remember that sidebar--the one no one could hear except the
lawyers and the judge? During such huddles a court reporter transcribes
what is said, and it becomes part of the published record of the trial.
In yesterday's sidebar, as I can now read for myself, Microsoft's lawyer,
John Warden, began by complaining about the unfairness of releasing
the tape to the press. "A videotaped deposition is a highly misleading
record," he told the judge, "not to the court, of course,
but to the public." He asked Jackson to rule that the videotape
shouldn't be transmitted beyond the courtroom on the grounds that it
violates the stricture against having cameras in federal court. Only
a transcript should be released, he pleaded. The judge replied that
under the rules, all evidence must enter the public domain. Since the
video itself is the evidence--rather than a transcript of the deposition--it
is the video that must be released.
And that's why the government prefers Gates on video to Gates in person.
If the government called him as a witness, only the 150 or so people
in the courtroom would ever see his testimony. But with the deposition
introduced as evidence, the whole world gets to see how Bill Gates answered
questions about his company's behavior. It's the ultimate spin control.
I like the article this next quote is from. It's very reassuring to know
that Avie Tavanian is so intelligent.
An extraordinary thing is happening this morning: The witness is taking
control of his own cross-examination. Steve Jobs calls Tavanian "one
of the smartest people I've ever met," and today we see why. Apple's
software chief may not be a lawyer, but he has an uncanny feel for how
to play this judge and this trial. Bill Gates could learn a few things
by watching Tavanian handle his cross-examination.
And from the same article (Thursday 4 November), the bit about the judge
taking over the questioning from the MS-paid lawyer is delightful.
Mac vs PC
An excerpt from test results described in an article by Laura Cox and
Nick Stam and can be found at ZDNet.
Adobe Photoshop is known for being optimized to run well on both platforms
(we tested with Version 5.02). Except on the 30MB floating-point-oriented
Lighting Effects test, which ran in memory, the 450-MHz Pentium II PC
just couldn't compete. The G3 outperformed the PC on 12 of our 13 tests
by an average of 35 percent. We suspect the G3 would also beat a comparably
configured 500-MHz Pentium III on most tests, even with SSE-enhanced filters
(which use new MMX integer instructions).