Archive 12

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).

Oracle Snoops On Microsoft

Posted 21 July 2000.

At the end of last month, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison was defending his company's decision to hire detectives to investigate two research groups that supported Microsoft during the antitrust trial.

So what did they find out?

Two research organizations, the Independence Institute and the National Taxpayers Union, represent themselves as independent advocacy groups when they are in fact funded by Microsoft.

Oracle said the company hired the detective agency because the organizations were releasing studies supporting Microsoft during the antitrust trial. The financial ties between the organizations were reported by The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Ellison said the two research organizations made it appear that it would be best for American taxpayers if Microsoft won the antitrust trial.

"They were bogus polls that said, 'If anything hurts Microsoft, our country will really suffer.' These experts were bought and paid for by Microsoft, by two taxpayers, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer," Ellison said, referring to Microsoft's top executives. "They said what Microsoft wanted them to say."

A Microsoft representative defended the company's relationships with the research groups, saying they were legal and well known.

"Oracle apparently believes its business goals are more important than the free speech and privacy rights of others," a Microsoft representative said in a statement. "The only thing more disturbing than Oracle's behavior is their ongoing attempt to justify these actions."

Can anyone spell HYPOCRITE?

"There are no other companies that operate like Microsoft. They destroyed the most innovative company in the Valley. Netscape is gone," Ellison said of the Web browser pioneer. "Our job is to hurt Microsoft. And we're trying to move from the second to the first position."

Cookie Update

Posted 21 July 2000.

Microsoft is offering a software patch for the latest version of its Web browser that will warn people when sites attempt to embed "cookies," which are sometimes used to track Internet users' online behavior.

The "enhancement" provides an alert when cookies arrive and allows people to reject and delete cookies implanted by third-party Web sites, the company said in a statement.

Well, isn't that nice. Netscape has had that feature as long as I can remember.

Stay Sharp

Posted 21 July 2000.

On CNet appeared the article:

Software bugs chew through Microsoft IE, Outlook
By Paul Festa
Staff Writer, CNET
June 28, 2000, 11:50 a.m. PT

Microsoft is investigating a trio of software bugs that analysts say could open the door to "Love" bug-grade security scenarios.

The security holes affect combinations of Microsoft products including its Internet Explorer browser, Outlook productivity software suite, Outlook Express email client, Visual Basic programming language, Access database application, PowerPoint slide presentation software, Excel spreadsheet software, and ActiveX technology for linking desktop applications such as these with the Web.

The first two Microsoft bugs, identified by veteran bug hunter Georgi Guninski, exploit the same technologies that were at the root of the "I Love You" virus and its mutants earlier this year.


So I wrote to the author (at the time, ie, the end of last month):

In the last paragraph, how can a bug "exploit" anything? Since a bug is a mistake in programming, surely it's morally neutral (albeit frustrating etc)? Nice article otherwise, though.

[Blah blah blah.]
Q: How many computer hardware engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None - "We'll fix it in software."

The tag line is random, but it seems quite appropriate. He was nice enough to reply:

good catch--thanks for the heads-up.


Same Old, Same Old (aka The Leopard's Spots)

Posted 21 July 2000.

Only a week old, IE 5.5 has already been the center of controversy. Last week, Web standards advocates complained that proprietary technology used in IE 5.5 will lead to the creation of Web pages that won't work with browsers from Netscape Communications, Opera Software and other providers.

Compare this to a quote from Microsoft itself, published in Standards, "the Offical Magazine of Standards New Zealand," June/July 1999 (from Archive 10):

In a recent statement on HTML, Microsoft notes, "Previous proprietary extensions from Microsoft and other vendors have confused the market, hampered interoperability and been ill-conceived with respect to the design principles underlying HTML"

The leopard doesn't change its spots.

Next Monopoly Move On The Way

Posted 21 July 2000.

Anounced just a month ago, this should be enough to strike dread into the heart of anyone who read Jim (Netscape founder) Barksdale's reaction to MS being broken up. He said it would have been better to leave Internet Explorer as part of the operating system part of MS, because the place it's been put will make it easier for MS to take over the Internet by creating its own version of the Internet.

In a strategy reminiscent of its drive in 1995-96 to catch up with the Netscape browser, the world's largest software company plans to remake itself with a new "dot-net" strategy.

Microsoft yesterday unveiled what it calls "Microsoft.Net" - an entire overhaul of all its products to completely integrate its software with the Internet and make it easy for devices of all types to share data.

The next generation of the Windows computer platform is to be known as Windows.Net; MS Office will be re-tooled to become Office.Net and Microsoft will produce Internet-enabled software for electronic books, cellphones, notepads and a variety of other devices.

The first .net products will be on the market next year.

Microsoft claims .net is effectively a new computer platform.

"It will affect every piece of code that gets written. There is not a Microsoft product that isn't touched," said founder, Bill Gates. "Our entire strategy is defined around this platform."

The target was to "meld computing and communications in revolutionary new ways."

"The impact of the Internet has been spectacular to date, but the pace of innovation will accelerate over the next five years," he said.

Yes, this is the start of that move.

Malicious Media Player

Posted 28 July 2000.

From CNet:

A compatibility glitch between Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system and a popular multimedia tool may cause computers running the software to destabilize and reboot, according to the company.


The glitch underscores potential difficulties with software working with Windows 2000, Microsoft's newest operating system...

The problems reported over the weekend occur because of a conflict between some versions of Adaptec's Easy CD Creator and Microsoft's new multimedia player, Windows Media Player 7. Windows Media Player 7 sometimes overwrites some critical parts of Easy CD Creator, crippling it until one of the programs is removed.


"It looks like the Media Player plug-in goes in and re-writes Adaptec's code, and causes the whole system to crash. This is unique for Windows 2000, because no other software has caused (this sort of) crash before..." said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group.

Bugger Microsoft

Posted 30 July 2000.

Reuters, AP. April 1, 2000

Toyota to lose rights to "Bugger" Advertising Slogan

In a landmark decision, the Australian Commercial Practices Court today ruled that Toyota is no longer allowed to run its advertising campaign based on the word "Bugger". Explained Court spokesman Loof Lirpa, "Some time ago Microsoft took out an injunction against the use of the word 'Bugger' in Toyota's ad. It was argued that 'Bugger' had been associated with Windows far longer and far more deeply than with Toyota's utes."

Lirpa went on to suggest that every Windows user in the world uses the word at least once a day as a direct result of using Windows. "No other product has ever achieved that degree of market recognition and for Toyota to muscle in on it was clearly a breach of commercial etiquette and, ipso facto, copyright."

Microsoft is now planning a media-wide campaign using their catch-word. A copy that has been leaked to us shows several familiar faces - Steven King is shown saving the last page of his new 800 page blockbuster in Word and then re-opening it to find that it has been reduced to three smiley faces and half a dozen Japanese characters. He smiles wanly at the camera and says "......"

Kerry Packer is shown shaking his head knowingly and muttering "......" when he discovers that the spreadsheet on which he based his latest $4 billion takeover has suffered from the notorious Excel "four sevens are thirty six" feature and that the Ayer's Rock Hot Pie Company is somewhat overvalued.

The head of the CIA (with his faced pixilated) is shown shouting "......" on finding that Outlook has just e-mailed the entire contents of his hard drive to the head of the KGB. She, in turn, says "byugyah" when the files are found to be in last year's Access format.

A spokesthing for Microsoft commented, "This is a logical move for the company that used "You make a grown man cry" and "The damned and accursed are convicted to the flames of Hell" as advertising slogans for its software. We anticipate establishing the slogan in the marketplace by including a t-shirt printed with "Bugger Microsoft" in every box of our software."

AMD Nothing To Worry About

Posted 2 August 2000.

From Tom's Hardware comes this report:

Different to Intel, AMD was actually well capable of shipping their Giga-Athlon and today they are happily selling their new Athlon, based on the 'Thunderbird' core at 1 GHz as well. The fact that the vast majority of gigahertz systems are actually equipped with Athlon rather than Pentium III processors made AMD so confident, that they couldn't really be bothered to beat Intel in the race for the next speed grade beyond 1 GHz.

While the normal users out there might not know about this, people in the hardware reviewing scene are well aware of the fact that AMD has shipped their 1.1 GHz Thunderbird samples to publications already weeks ago, while Intel was just able to get the rare samples of the Pentium III 1.133 GHz to the reviewers in the second half of last week. AMD is planning to launch their Thunderbird-Athlon 1.1 GHz in late August, giving us the chance to review the sample with ample time. Intel however shipped out their samples in the last minute, which proves who of the two companies is really able to actually produce 'Beyond-Giga-Processors' right now.


After the shameful defeat in the gigahertz race Intel is now trying to leapfrog AMD. By squeezing the last bit of performance out of the well-known Coppermine core Intel created a very fast processor. The fact that it is the most unreliable and instable CPU Intel has ever released equalizes the fact that it will hardly be available.

NB: "Giga Hertz" corrected to "gigahertz" in a couple of places. The next part of the article goes on to describe how the Intel CPU is only available in one packaging type which means that it can only fit into motherboards which use RAMBUS memory. And that means that no one can show that using them with PC133 SDRAM means better performance. That is, if you can actually find one of the CPUs at all.

Money Matters

Posted 2 August 2000.

PHILADELPHIA--While hundreds of companies have donated to this week's Republican presidential convention, Microsoft may have the most at stake.

Microsoft gave $900,000 in software and $100,000 in cash to the committee hosting the convention, landing the world's largest software maker among the event's top contributors. The company is the second largest campaign donor this election, giving $4.3 million to both parties, records show. Only AT&T has given more.

The Microsoft donations, a 20-fold increase over 1996, are part of a strategy to curry favor with lawmakers in general, and the GOP in particular, analysts say, in the belief that a Republican president would be more eager to settle the antitrust case without the breakup ordered by a U.S. judge.


Microsoft's $1 million donation to the Republican convention, and a similar contribution to the Los Angeles Democratic convention, is just the beginning.

[Keep in mind where the Democrat convention was held: Hugh Hefner's Playboy palace.]

Intel Pulls Plug On RAMBUS

Posted 13 August 2000.

From MacOSRumors:

According to an article in today's e-Insite Electronic News citing Intel internal documents, the dominant semiconductor maker in the x86 world has elected to backstep from its earlier stance that RAMBUS memory would permeate the entire computing market within the year. Instead, the company will market RAMBUS systems to the high-end market and continue to apply SDRAM technology to the mainstream and entry-level markets. This, in essence, is an acknowledgement that RAMBUS does not offer sufficient advantage to overcome its higher costs, reliability problems, and lack of widespread existing compatibility.