Archive 2

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 little doubt.

Hedge's Windoze

An interesting and amusing anti-Windows page.


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 added.)

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 next Windows."

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 products.

"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.

Next Stop Office2000

Paraphrased from MacOS Rumors:

The next "major release" of MS Office will be v2000. Can this massive-number-skipping thing get any worse in Redmond? It was bad enough when they skipped 91.89 versions with their OS.

And as for Windows "Mostly - Y2K - compatible - but - oops - did - we - mention - you'll - have - to - rewrite - your - apps? - Must - have - slipped - our - mind" 2000, it was going to be NT 5.0.

Windows' 50 Day Lifetime

(From MacOSRumors.)

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, Inc.

The bug, Smith noted, will throw off any time-sensitive application, such as electronic calendars and automated hotel wake-up calls.


And it goes on. For the full article, have a look at


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 seriously.

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).