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).
The Borg Absorbs A Fellow Monopoly
Posted 16 November 2001.
In the joining of the two largest monopolies in New Zealand, Micro$oft
and Telecom have recently partnered to create what is expected to be the
most-visited NZ Internet portal. Telecom NZ Ltd runs the largest ISP in
New Zealand, which it calls Xtra. The Xtra portal is now part of the M$
Update on US Govt vs M$
Posted 16 November 2001.
2 November: The US government reached an out of court settlement of a
three-year battle to curtail the monopoly. Understandably, M$'s rivals
weren't too happy.
6 November: Several of the 18 American states that sued M$ along with
the government are heard to be gearing up to reject the settlement.
A previously unposted flashback:
... evidence from an internal email from Microsoft spokesman Greg
Shaw, who wrote: What data can we find right away that shows Netscape
browser share is still healthy? It would help if you could send me some
reports showing their market share is healthy and holding. This is for
The reply came from Robert Bennett, a product manager for Windows:
All of the analysts have pretty well come to the same conclusion,
which is that [Netscape's] share is declining and [Microsoft's] is gaining.
Judge Jackson laughed when David Boies read these emails to the court.
And from MacWorld in June this year:
If you need any proof that the days when Netscape was synonymous
with the World Wide Web are long gone, look no further than a story about
the browser developer that hit the newswires earlier this month. Reuters
reported that AOL Time Warner had decided to reposition its Netscape unit
as a media company... But what's interesting about the news that Netscape
will de-emphasize browser development is how little reaction it's provoked
from the public... Back in 1995, the company's eponymous Web browser enjoyed
an 80 percent market share of the Web-surfing audience.
"Netscape is not important for Web browsers anymore," Oliver Joppich
[handles customer support for iCab] says. "They lost against Internet
Explorer so they had to change their focus."
Win XP Ads Digitally Defaced
Posted 16 November 2001.
Situated in the East End of London, England. The original read "clicks"
Posted 16 November 2001.
The most serious of Micro$oft's recent moves that I have only just learned
of is yet another anti-competitive move that once again makes it very
difficult for one of its competitors.
M$ has removed the option of having plug-ins in the latest two versions
of M$'s Internet Explorer. Various technologies that compete with M$ technologies
can no longer operate without some work-around.
For example, the html tag for embedding a movie Apple's QuickTime technology
cannot run without the plugin, and required the QuickTime team to hastily
write an Active X control, which in turn required more HTML code within
the page. Instead of just the embed tag a web page creator now needs six
to eight lines of HTML that will use the Active X control. Otherwise no
movie, or (depending on the format) the Micro$oft player will be used.
Anti-competitive practice at its worst.
Thore Winther writes: "France is pushing out Microsoft.
A new law that says that all goverment offices are not allowed to use
Windows! Only open source like Linux... check it out. England is about
Unfortunately, the "check it out" was linked to a page in Norwegian,
and since I can't read very much of that language, I can't confirm the
Say No to HTML Email
Posted 8 December 2001.
For all those people who don't have the guts or personal integrity to
say no to Micro$oft Outlook for their email, there is now one more way
of decreasing your virus risk while using that program.
No-HTML plug-in for Outlook available
By Thomas C Greene in Washington.
Posted: 06/12/2001 at 11:08 GMT
I've always believed that if the US Government were ever to get really
serious about Internet security, the top players in Microsoft's management
hierarchy would find themselves handcuffed, blindfolded, led onto a
tarmac within some obscure Air Force base, and shot.
Witness if you will Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, the two
most efficient virus propagation utilities ever devised by human intellectual
Among the more ostentatious security pitfalls deliberately coded into
Outlook is its determination to accommodate the mighty Direct Marketing
Association (DMA) spam lobby by refusing to allow users to shut off
HTML (which exposes us to myriad forms of malicious code in received
messages), as this would have a devastating impact on advert click-throughs
for hot, wet teens, scientific studies have shown.
You can decline to send HTML messages, as any decent Netizen does;
but you can't decline to receive them. No, that would be downright hostile
to the spam establishment, and Microsoft knows better than tangle with
one of the few industries which dwarfs it.
However, some of us now have a nifty tool called NoHTML
to disable HTML displays in Outlook, thanks to Russ Cooper of NTBugtraq.
In Outlook 2000, NoHTML supposedly converts HTML to RTF. In Outlook
2002, it converts HTML to plain text. Pretty neat.
The plugin, regrettably, won't work with Outlook Express, whose
users tend to be those most in need of this sort of protection.
But once it's adapted to OE and its little glitches are sorted out,
I'd say we have a winner here. Too bad Microsoft couldn't manage something
like this on its own, simply as a setup option. Heavens, had they done
so, they might not now have to whine so piteously about devastating
... Yesterday I finally get Office v. X in the mail after 15
days of anxious waiting. Pop it in, do the install, go to put in
my Product Key, didn't work. Checked it a few hundred times just to
make sure I wasn't making a typo or reading it wrong. Finally convinced
myself I wasn't blind/stupid, so I call up MS's tech line and this is
what they've told me in a nutshell:
They've had a lot of the special upgrades of Office v. X ship with
bad product keys. So I figure "Oh, no big deal. I could see that
happening, they'll give me another key right?" Well they would,
but not only do they have a supply/demand problem with the software,
but get this: "We're out of product keys, call back in two hours
and hopefully we will have more generated by then." 2 HOURS?!?!
Business politics I figured, 50 dipshits in administration, so I kept
my cool and called back in 2 hours. Still no product keys! Now they've
told me to call back in 24 hours! Absurd! Does it take WinXP
that long to generate a key?
... Far as I can tell I've spent US$150 on a coaster with some ballbreaker
copyrights attached. Figures, all this to stop piracy and MS can't even
handle being legit.
I had that problem also. Fortunately for me, I was one of the first
to experience it because it only took me 2 phone calls and
30 minutes on hold to get a working number.
And another comment on the top posting:
Just last week UPC (europe's biggest cable operator) dumped Microsoft
because they couldn't deliver the promised software for their set-top
boxes. King mediocrity rules in Redmond.
Sarah Sticks it to Bill?
Posted 8 December 2001.
best thing about this interview with Bill Gates is that Sarah (the interviewer)
is just 15 years old. Her questions included:
Your company is now a household name but some people claim you have
a monopoly on the IT industry. How do you react to that?
How did you take the news that Microsoft were going to be taken to
court over the supposed monopoly?
What do you think of the way some people seem to dislike the success
you've had with Microsoft?
What do you think it is that they particularly dislike?
She got the non-answers that we have come to expect from Bill Gates.
To finish with, she asked the following.
Sarah: And finally, does your computer ever crash?
Bill: Oh definitely...
She's 15, Bill! Get those hands down and look her in the
The Peasants are Revolting
Posted 12 December 2001.
Well, that appears to be what Microsoft normally thinks of the general
public. However, this time the general public has pointed out that Microsoft
has got it wrong once again. From an article by By D. Ian Hopper (Associated
Microsoft unveiled changes Monday to its offer to settle private antitrust
lawsuits by donating reduced-price software, computers and training
to schools. The changes are designed to answer criticism that the donations
will extend the company's market dominance.
More than 200 educators, parents, technology experts and private citizens
have written to the judge who is reviewing the proposal. The vast majority
oppose the settlement's terms - although many say they would welcome
some sort of plan to settle the case by giving schools badly needed
"I believe Microsoft's intent was positive and they truly believed
that they had a solution that would be acceptable and useful to schools,"
says Bill Fiske, the instructional technology coordinator for the Rhode
Island Department of Education. "Sadly, you mix in a little bit
of corporate arrogance and a misunderstanding of the educational environment
and you end up with a solution that horrifies everyone."
Simply because someone believes they are doing a good thing does not
mean they actually are. The same sort of misguided blind belief can be
seen in cult groups.
Intel Stealth Moves
Posted 13 December 2001.
From CNet (by John G. Spooner, 11 December 2001, 2:55 p.m. PT):
Intel is planning the stealth introduction of a chipset that will let
computer makers connect the Pentium 4 to speedy DDR (double data rate)
memory. Intel will allow PC makers to quietly begin taking orders for
computers fitted with a new version of its 845 chipset Dec. 17, CNET
News.com has learned. The official announcement of the chipset and the
corresponding fanfare won't come until early January.
Intel declined to comment.
Intel began the shipments a couple of week ago to coordinate PC makers,
motherboard makers and other companies that will sell the new chipset,
Intel follows chipset makers such as Via Technologies and Acer Labs
in introducing DDR SDRAM for the Pentium 4. The Via chipset, however,
is the subject of several lawsuits between Intel and Via.