Category Archives: Computers and Internet

Getting back to the Blog

I will dedicate this blog to anything I find interesting.  Smile

First off, I just got back from the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas—big success.  They had some wi-fi issues, and there were too many parties, so networking was tough…but in the end; it was a good conference.

I just purchased a new Windows Phone.  I was upgraded free of charge to the Lumia 920 by AT&T since I spend *thousands* of dollars a year with them.  I must say that this phone is incredible.  HEAVY, but still a beautiful piece of equipment.  I’ve been using Windows Mobile/Phone since the late 1990s.  Microsoft truly has outdone themselves this time.  The functionality is the most robust of phones currently on the market.  I just thought I would talk about one feature that truly knocked my socks off.

The Camera

The Nokia 920 sports a 26 mp camera with a Carl Zeiss lens….don’t know what any of that means.  I just know that it does something that completely amazes me (and freaks me a little).

You know how sometimes when you are taking a picture and someone or something goes in front of you while you are snapping it and you have to take another?  Well no longer.  This camera doesn’t care and will let you remove the offending object from the pic.  In the pictures below you will see that I’m taking a pic of the steering wheel in my car and then as I snap the pic, I pass my index finger by the camera to simulate some jerk going in front of me.

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So now the offending object needs to go away….fine, so I press the eraser icon and get the following option:

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It ‘sees’ what it thinks shouldn’t be there and puts an outline around it.  You’ll see that the camera also outlined some other things it thinks don’t belong.  I will ignore those and choose the outline of my finger:

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Yeah…it takes out the image of the finger and even shows me what is *behind* the image…that’s the part that is “freaky”, to me.

Can your camera do that?

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Zune Team better get ready to rumble

Being a former MSFT blue badge, I know how competitive it is in Redmond.  Teams fight to establish and keep their identity and a "takeover" or "merge" with another group is hardly ever looked at as a "win-win" as they try to tell you in the Town Hall meeting.  Someone always lost.
 
With the new WinMo7 series phone I can’t help but wonder what the folks in the Millenium complex are thinking and talking about.  This is an obvious encroachment on their territory and especially since they haven’t been able to really be iPod/iTouch killers and WinMo has never been the iPhone killer…it almost makes sense for Redmond to merge the two.  Zune is a better mp3 product than iPod.  Hands down.  WinMo7 lacks the feature set it needs to be the iPhone killer and integrating the Zune (umm..assimilating is a better word) could possibly give Microsoft what it wanted three years ago.
 
When the phone gets released, what will the Zune team do then?  What new features will be available on the mp3 player the WinMo7 phone wont have?  If the story isn’t compelling, the Zune may be doomed.

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Netscape to die……AGAIN

FROM WIRED:
 
The browser that started it all is going the way of the dodo.

Tom Drapeau, AOL’s director of the Netscape brand, announced in a blog post Friday that AOL will cease development on all Netscape web browsers on February 1, 2008. The company will continue to support the current version of the browser, Netscape 9, by releasing patches or security fixes until that date. After February 1, all development will stop.

Drapeau recommends that anyone running a Netscape-branded browser make the switch to Mozilla Firefox, the open-source browser upon which the last few versions of Netscape have been based.

"AOL’s focus on transitioning to an ad-supported web business leaves little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be," he writes. "Given AOL’s current business focus and the success the Mozilla Foundation has had in developing critically-acclaimed products, we feel it’s the right time to end development of Netscape branded browsers, hand the reigns fully to Mozilla and encourage Netscape users to adopt Firefox."

Originally released in 1994 during the nascent days of the web, Netscape Navigator was the underdog contender in the "browser wars" of the late 1990s, when it faced stiff competition from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser. Even though Netscape championed web standards and was first to market with dozens of new features, Internet Explorer shipped on the desktop of every new Windows computer. So while Microsoft continued to enjoy the larger market share, Netscape, which needed to be downloaded and installed, lagged behind. This issue was central to the United States’ anti-trust case against Microsoft.

Eventually, AOL purchased the Netscape Communications Corporation in 1999 and released its browser code as the open-source Mozilla project.

Many believe the original Netscape died with the AOL purchase. Since then, the web browser scene has been rife with change — Mozilla gave way to the leaner, faster Firefox and Apple developed its own Safari browser — and Netscape’s browser has been rendered largely irrelevant. Indeed, as Drapeau points out, his team has failed to put a dent in IE’s dominance, and the latest release of the Netscape browser is simply "a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions."

Security Watch blogger Ryan Naraine applauded AOL’s decision on Friday, pointing out that the latest Netscape releases lacked up-to-date security fixes, leaving their users vulnerable to attacks.

Asa Dotzler, one of Firefox’s original developers, greeted the news of Netscape’s demise with a simple, "Good riddance."

AOL’s Drapeau sullenly notes that any users feeling nostalgic for the days of old can install Netscape’s theme and extensions pack for Firefox.

There’s no word yet on what will happen to Netscape browser’s small engineering team, but all development and support for all Netscape browser products will end on February 1. Support for all versions of the software will be off-loaded to the Netscape community forum. Netscape.com will continue to live on as a web portal.

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The Surface and the parody

OK,  Let me start out with saying the Surface is the coolest device anyone could have.
 
Of course you’ve gone to http://www.surface.com , right?  If you haven’t–you need to.  As Bill Baer says, Feng Shui baby!
 
You ask, "Have you seen the YouTube parody?"  Yes, I have.  It is funny.  Very funny until you stop and think…uhhh…I already have a big ass table in my house.  Some people have more than one.  OH and get this…YOU, the reader probably have one.
 
Yes, you do.  It’s called a BIG (Plasma, HD, et al) SCREEN TV.  Oh, and get this:  you have a big ass table, on a STAND, on its SIDE, and all you do is LOOK AT it.  Point a remote control at it to change the picture every once in a while.  Nice.
 
Now the parody isn’t funny any more.  Its stupid.  Myopic. Makes you almost feel hypocritical, because the Surface is something more than a big ass table; that does more than just display video.  You can touch it, manipulate the images, get the information you want at any time with no TiVo or DVR necessary.  You can interact with it. And your Big screen TV?  you sit and look at it.  Oh..you have theatre surround sound?  oooohh…
 
 
<Parody voice> One day you will sit on your fat ass looking at a big ass table, on its side, on a stand, with theatre surround sound.  All day.  And you will invite people to come over to look at it.  It will do nothing more than display video.  You will need to control it with a remote.  Behold…the Big Screen (Plasma, HDTV) Television!</Parody voice>
 
 

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If you are going to TechEd…

Join Me at Tech·Ed Connect!

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Microsoft Licensing: PhD in nuclear physics, economics, and philosophy needed…

On my trip to Redmond and in the meeting with Steve Ballmer, I wanted to ask him a question about licensing.  He wouldn’t allow me, but I felt I needed to blog on why I am so upset.

First, have you ever tried to understand Microsoft licensing?  No, really.  Besides the knee jerk comment, "Yeah, I understand, just pay money."

When you buy an "Enterprise Agreement" (EA) with Microsoft, you get a bunch of stuff.  You get the Enterprise Editions of software that you will use and pay the requisite CALs (Client Access Licenses).  This EA costs a LOT of money.  When my client bought the EA, they were told that they needed to get Software Assurance (SA) to ensure that they could upgrade WITHOUT cost to the next version.  Fine, wallet comes out again and SA is bought.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) comes out and my client gets the bits for the next version.  We go to lunch with our Microsoft reps to let them know that we will be upgrading and to ask them some questions about other things.  During the conversation the MS rep pulls out a document that lists the features of MOSS vs SPS 2003 and the licensing structure of each.  What to our surprise, the MOSS we are implementing isn’t the same MOSS that Microsoft thinks we are implementing.  No, we want ENTERPRISE features and hey, that costs EXTRA.  What happened to our EA with SA?  The whole point of buying those packages is so that we don’t have to worry about EXTRA costs.  Microsoft says EA doesn’t apply to SharePoint because there is only ONE version.  The ENTERPRISE FEATURES are EXTRA features and require MORE money.  How much more?  $25 each.  Not just 25 dollars *more*…you have to buy the REGULAR license at $75 each and then $100 each for the ENTERPRISE stuff (Search, BDC, Excel Services, etc).  That’s $175 per person where it should have been FREE!!  Multiply that times 100,000 users.

You hurt me with $75…you INSULT me with $175.  OK…I’ll stop frothing at the mouth now…..

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Even Microsoft has “down” days

I browsing the SharePoint MSDN blog and all of a sudden it goes dark.  I close the browser and open another and try to navigate again to the site and get the following screen:
 
 

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