Archive | June, 2004

GNU Bash reference

MacOSXHints points out a really useful reference for Mac OS X, Linux or Windows CygWin users, for that matter – the GNU Bash Reference.
Written by the authors of the shell, this book covers the concept of
the shell, its commands and variables in 180 pages. The book can be
purchased for $29.95 or downloaded in PDF from their website for free.

Off to Waltham!

Off to Waltham this evening for the meeting of the Boston Area FoxPro User Group. Dmitry
Litvak will show how he accesses Visual FoxPro using ASP.NET.
Directions to the meeting – open to the public – and enrolment
information for our low-traffic announcement email list is also
available at the website.

The Answers Really Are Out There…

Andrew MacNeill – AKSEL Solutions responded to my query about Office having a 3% upgrade rate: “Only 3% of Office Users Using Office 2003?. Ted
wanted to know where Jeff Riefman got his facts from on his complaints
about Office, etc. Here’s the quote right from Ballmer’s mouth, in
response to a question about long vs. small steps (back on April 7,

2, it is not like Office releases, in any sense, have slowed down. We
did Office 2000; we did Office 2003; we are working away on the next
release. Most of our customers do not use Office 2003 yet. It has been
in the market, what, four or five months–something like that–and
maybe 1, 2, 3 percent of the installed base use Office 2003 so far. I
think we have got plenty of headroom before we need another product to
bring huge benefit to a lot of people. “

Read the entire article: here. By the way, Jeff’s original comments were in the Seattle Weekly

Thanks, Andrew!

Yet Another Switcher…

Ernie The Attorney blogs “Microsoft guy switches to Apple and guess what?.
Jeff Riefman writes about his experience with Windows: I began using
Microsoft products 23 years ago, at age 11, and I worked for Microsoft
from 1991 to 1999 as a technology manager. For many years, I was a
Microsoft loyalist.” Yawn! Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Yes,
yet another switcher story. This one has some interesting variations,
but really, folks, let’s get over it: most people who try out
Microsoft’s competition stay away.

But wait. If you can plow thorugh his whining that he has to reboot his
Windows XP machine every day and that Outlook locks up on him (sounds
like his machine could use some work), eventually he gets into a
discussion of the economics and business model of Microsoft that
actually has some merit. Very interestingly, he cites the “fact” that
less than 3% of the installed Office base has upgraded to the latest
version. Do any of my readers (yes, both of you!) know where he got
that statistic? I’d really like to learn some more about that.

Steven Levy: A Net of Control

Steven Levy posits the Internet of the future in this article in Newsweek:

Picture, if you will, an information infrastructure that encourages
censorship, surveillance and suppression of the creative impulse. Where
anonymity is outlawed and every penny spent is accounted for. Where the
powers that be can smother subversive (or economically competitive)
ideas in the cradle, and no one can publish even a laundry list without
the imprimatur of Big Brother. Some prognosticators are saying that
such a construct is nearly inevitable. And this infrastructure is none
other than the former paradise of rebels and free-speechers: the

Chilling. Levy goes on to describe the downsides of Digital Restriction
Management and TMCA and Microsoft’s Palladium, now renamed “Next
Generation Secure Computing Base.”

Like shopping anonymously in a grocery store (if you don’t use the
store card) or eating at a restaurant without identifying yourself,
there is no justification for broadcasting your digital identity to any
who want to know. Law enforcement can track down your addresses and
electrons and bits should they need to, but every vendor doesn’t have
the right to know everything about you, to be able to turn on or turn
off your access at their whim. We are in a slippery slope where
Internet citizens can lose some of the features that make the internet
the great place that it is.

Cory Doctorow to Microsoft: DRM won’t work

DRM: A Bad Business Move for Microsoft.
“Invited guest Doctorow told the Microsoft Research staff that DRM
systems don’t work; are bad for society; are bad for business; and are
bad for artists. In short: “DRM is a bad business-move for Microsoft,”
Link from Microsoft Watch from Mary Jo Foley.

Great speech linked on the Microsoft Watch site: a simple and clear
explanation of why Digital Restriction Management is dumb and
impractical. Copying things for backup, time-shift, place-shift and fair use should be easy; stealing things is wrong. Let’s work out how to make that happen instead.

Should Microsoft ask for a refund when FUD flops?

Microsoft distances itself from Alexis de Tocqueville Institution Linux study.
“Microsoft is distancing itself from an Alexis de Tocqueville Instution
study which attempted to cast doubts on the origins of Linux.” Link via
Ars Technica

Microsoft funded the “Institution” but their report was too outrageous
to be believed. How many more organizations are out there, funded by
vendors and reporting falsehoods?

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.