Mea Culpa (Latin For Oops)
Last week I complained that Microsoft was waiting to patch its Windows Meta
File/graphics handler vulnerability, about which the press got real upset. I
said the patch wouldn’t be released until hundreds of thousands of computers
were attacked and compromised. Well, mea wronga. Hours after I crafted this
minor masterpiece and sent it to my editors (yes, this newsletter is edited;
you should see how little sense it makes before fellow editors Becky and Dan
take a look) Microsoft changed its tune and released
-- making me seem even more foolish than I ordinarily do. What’s
bad for me is good for IT, so I’m happy Microsoft embarrassed me with
an accelerated patch release.
See SPOT Crash, Crash SPOT Crash
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bill Gates made his annual
keynote address with his yearly promise to become more significant in the world
of entertainment and gadgets. There’s a whiff of desperation and envy
to this perennial affair as Microsoft, no matter how hard it tries, can’t
manage to come off as cool as Steve Jobs does with ease.
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Of course, the real problem has been that Microsoft’s consumer products
are as hard to use and prone to sudden failure as its enterprise gear. Consumers
don’t like perplexing interfaces and inexplicable failures to operate.
But like a hormone-driven teenage boy, when Microsoft sees something it wants,
it’ll keep after it. As part of its effort to have Windows everywhere
-- even where it doesn’t really belong -- Microsoft is pushing Smart
Personal Objects Technology (SPOT), a way for basic devices like watches,
wallets and what not to have basic intelligence and the ability to get information
from the Internet.
Vista, the Future of Everything
Besides touting SPOT, Gates
pitched Vista to the CES masses, showing off never-before-seen consumer
features. As much as I poke fun at Microsoft, Vista is a once in a lifetime
opportunity to do something amazingly cool -- and affordable for the masses,
even the Barney household. That’s the challenge: to give Dell and HP a
rock-solid, abundantly featured, groundbreaking operating system for all their
$300 desktops and $500 laptops. That’s the possibility. Now, it’s
up to Microsoft to keep its end of the bargain. Don’t let us down.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.