Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

 

The Bing Commercial

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

The Bing commercial just aired. It’s the one with a blind Internet search ‘taste test’ between Bing and Google. Bing wins.

Duh. They’re paying for the ad.

Funny thing, unbiased reviews also show Bing produces more search satisfaction. So why am I not using Bing?

I don’t trust Microsoft.

Yes, without Microsoft personal computing as we know it would not exist. I am grateful. They still can’t be trusted.

The first hint was Micrsoft’s attitude toward content owners as shown in Vista. End users could no longer record the audio playing through their computer. They shut down a feature which had been available to Windows users and which could be used legally. My uses are legal.

Anti-consumer move.

Microsoft is the current owner of Skype. Until Microsoft bought Skype your conversations and video chats were heavily encrypted and protected. Microsoft changed how Skype communicates and no longer makes a claim for security.

Then there’s Microsoft’s method of selling its office suite to governments considering a switch to Linux. FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) spread by Microsoft dominates the geek press coverage. Scare tactics.

And Steve Balmer.

So, even if Bing is pretty good and Google is no longer a saint, I’d still rather not send my business to Redmond. It took a long time to develop this attitude (theirs and mine). It won’t go away overnight.

Las Vegas Boulevard After Dark – Panorama

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

This is a 360° panorama consisting of sixty separate images and put together in Microsoft ICE. I took this standing on the curb at the North Entrance to The Mirage on Las Vegas Boulevard.

lv-blvd-pano.jpg

Entrance To The SW Steakhouse At Wynn Las Vegas

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

This is a 28 shot panorama which covers nearly 180° horizontally and 140° vertically. It was shot in Canon RAW and then assembled in Microsoft ICE. Finishing touches (sharpening, levels) were added in Photoshop. This is a very small sample of the actual image.

entryway-to-SW-Steakhouse.jpg

Expertise Is Underrated

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

This comes directly from “Clients from Hell.”

Prospective client: $400 for a logo?! Why are you so expensive? My nephew has Photoshop—I can just get him to do it.

Me: Does your nephew have Microsoft Word?

Prospective client: Yes.

Me: Then have him write you a novel while he’s at it.

Expertise is underrated!

About The Big Bing Rumor

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Briefly–I’ve seen lots of posts suggesting Microsoft’s Bing might pay News Corp (Rupert Murdoch) to let them index News Corp sites with the proviso they don’t allow Google to do the same.

How is this not restraint of trade?

Old Laptop – Fresh Install

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I am typing on a 2½ year old Dell 640m laptop. Like most computers it has slowed over time. It’s not wearing out. It’s the victim of dozens of instances of poor or sloppy programming! It can be fixed–in fact it has been fixed.

Unfortunately, installing programs in a Windows computer is not as simple as it would seem. Windows (all versions of Windows) depend on a “registry.” Here’s how PCMag.com defines it:

The configuration database in all 32-bit versions of Windows that contains settings for the hardware and software in the PC it is installed in. The Registry is made up of the SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT files. Many settings previously stored in the WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI files in 16-bit Windows (Windows 3.x) are in the Registry.

Over time the registry gets bloated and full of orphan files.

On top of that some programs are just not as nice as they seem! They can take up resources even when you’re not using them!

Most computers also end up with a few handfuls of ‘helper programs.’ These are little applets that run all the time checking of the master program needs updating. They each use a little memory and processor power though they’re seldom really needed.

I might as well point a finger at myself too. Over time I’ve been a software slut installing lots of programs and never uninstalling them when I stopped using them.

Anyway, long story short, I decided it was time. Dell nicely dedicates a portion of the original hard drive to an image of the factory fresh install. I backed up the files I figured I’d need, rebooted and started the journey.

The actual Windows Vista Business re-install didn’t take long. What was tedious was going to Windows Update to get all the patches and fixes–nearly 100. The process was slow and the progress was poorly conveyed by Vista. I often wondered if anything was happening. Some patches wouldn’t even install!

Yeah, that’s right. A totally virgin install of Vista didn’t properly update using Microsoft’s own tools! Seriously. That’s disgraceful.

Dell’s not much better. Their support area has many patches listed for the programs in this machine. Unfortunately, their links lead to an error message indicating the patches aren’t there!

I’ll wait a day before contacting Dell. This seems like the kind of problem they’ll quickly find on their own. Right Dell?

I was surprised by how little of my stuff was on this machine. My photos get pushed to a backup drive. Most of my documents live ‘in the cloud’ on a Google server somewhere.

Vista features the Aero interface with translucent windows on screen. When I first got this machine I turned it off. I originally thought it was a resource hog. It’s on right now because I’m no longer sure shutting it down really does make a difference.

Mostly Aero is eye candy–and not particularly Earth shattering.

I really won’t know this machine’s true state until I start editing photos. My RAW photos from the Canon Xsi weigh in at 16Mb per shot (approximately). Photo editing and manipulation is really heavyweight math. That’s the true test. If the machine performs as it did all this work will have been for nothing–and that’s a real possibility.

My best guess is the job’s around 75% done. There are more programs to load.

At some point I expect I’ll realize something I need no longer exists–inadvertently left off the backup. Hopefully nothing too important.

Microsoft’s Greatest Gift

Friday, August 21st, 2009

system-restore.png

Microsoft has this really great idea which most computer users don’t know about–System Restore.

Basically with System Restore you reset you computer so it’s just as it was on an earlier date and time. It’s especially useful when you’ve installed something and there’s a problem or you’ve installed something you really don’t want to use.

We need this in real life!

There are so many times I’d just want another shot at saying the right thing with perfect timing or preventing myself from being a dork. I’d like the entire month of June 1972 as a do over. Whatever the reason they stopped calling me at GMA–I’d fix that too.

I we could do a System Restore on life we could undo email¹. Message Unsent! Wouldn’t that come in handy?

When I was a kid I really thought this kind of stuff should bepossible. Of course I also thought you could close your eyes briefly and instantly experience a God-driven dissolve. Poof, you’d be in the future. A fast forward button for life².

Adapting System Restore for humans might be Microsoft’s greatest gift ever. If it were open source it would be ported to reality already.

¹ – I write angry, pissy emails all the time. When finished I go back and edit, tightening things up to make my prose more powerful. Then I delete it.

You get 90% of the pleasure without any of the morning after guilt.

² – More desirable at 9 than 59.

Google Changes Everything With The New Google Chrome OS

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

A little after midnight Google made a startling announcement. Late next year Google will roll out an operating system–Google Chrome.

Price out Windows Vista (or soon-to-come Windows 7) or Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard and see how they stack up against free! Google’s new OS will be open source which means free.

Some of you reading this are more technophobe than technophile so here’s a quick explanation. An operating system connects the programs you run with the underlying hardware that is your computer. Different operating systems interface with programs differently. Software must be written or rewritten for each OS. That is why my Mac friends kvetch so often about applications they want not being available for their machine.

Google’s OS promises to untie applications from a specific OS.

The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Actually there are lots of promises starting with security and speed.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

This is a huge announcement. Microsoft and Apple stock will plunge this morning. As of now their business plans are suspect.

It’s more than just a tech thing. This is a seminal moment in the history of communications, computing and media.

A Very Large Panorama

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

IMG_8086_stitch_thumb.jpg

Helaine and I were walking on Las Vegas Boulevard when I asked her to wait “a sec” while I took a few shots. We were in front of the Mirage Hotel. Before the sec was up I’d taken 37 photos each overlapping the previous one.

I ran the shots through Microsoft’s free Image Composite Editor to create a panorama and output the file in their Deep Zoom format. Here’s the result¹!

The deeper you zoom, the more detail you see.

Because of the technology behind this there is very little delay and zooming into this immense image is smooth as can be.

I don’t often ask for them, but your comments on this ‘trick’ are encouraged.

¹ – Microsoft Silverlight (which you might already have installed) is required.

What Encarta’s Death Taught Me About Microsoft’s Search

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I published an entry on Appscout.com tonight about the demise of Microsoft’s Encarta. I’d read about it on another site, but that’s not an acceptable way to source the story.

I went to Microsoft’s site and tried to ferret out the official information. Zip! I finally found it on Microsoft.com through a link on Wikipedia.

I know Microsoft is once again trying to go after Google. Nothing useful in search will come from Redmond until they figure out how to index their own website efficiently. Right now they can’t.