$1.5 Billion: To Anyone Else, That's Real Money
French company Alcatel is now about a billion Euros richer, having
won $1.5 billion in a lawsuit against Microsoft
. The court decided that
the way Windows converts sound files into MP3s violated patents Alcatel gained
when it bought Lucent.
How worried was Wall Street? It drove Microsoft stock down all of 3 cents!
Vista Apps List Growing
of "Certified for Vista" applications is now over 100, which sounds
impressive until you think about how many apps exploit Vista versus how many
are merely compatible. Our analysis is that it's going to take many months and
perhaps several years before we see a groundswell of software that truly taps
the power of Microsoft's latest desktop OS. Check out Redmond editor
Ed Scannell's take on this issue here.
Meanwhile, Microsoft updated a whole host of tools to help you migrate to Vista.
Check out the deets here.
The Mac: Cheap Vistas Need Not Apply
I am more than a mite dumbfounded over the news that only
high-end versions of Vista will be authorized to run on Intel-based Macintosh
computers. Through Boot Camp, Parallels and other forms of virtualization, there
is nothing technical stopping you from running XP, Vista, heck, even Windows
ME on a new Mac.
But Microsoft is putting its foot down on Vista, only allowing the $300 Business
edition or the $400 Ultimate to run. That's a huge hunk of change for an OS
you'll only run half the time.
Microsoft argues that the lower-end versions are a security risk in these virtualized
environments. I wonder what Redmond has to say about running Vista Basic under
its own virtual PC?
Doug's Mailbag: The IE7 Shuffle, System Wipeout Advice,
In Defense of the Dark Side, More
So, is IE7 a deal or a bust? Ian Campbell from Nucelus Research is convinced
it's the latter, saying that IE7 isn't worth using and, worse, is a pain to
uninstall. Here are some of your thoughts:
So, I too got caught in the IE7 backdoor install. Strangely enough, it
broke my Eudora e-mail -- specifically, it disabled the certificate function
so I was unable to read any e-mails sent with certificates. I uninstalled
the S-Mime plug-in and reinstalled it (from two vendors) several times to
no avail. Since I was due to get a new laptop with Vista and Office 2007,
including IE7, in a few weeks, I thought I'd wait for the new laptop and maybe
have better luck then. I know you've already guessed the results: absolutely
the same. No matter what I do, the S-Mime plug-in won't work. I could start
using Outlook, I guess, but I've been avoiding it for so long, I don't want
to give in yet. Still, no one -- MSFT, Eudora or our help desk -- has any
I am the default sysadmin for a small nonprofit. While trying to add
new users to Small Business Server 2003, there is a need to use the browser
to reach the server to join the domain. If you attempt this in IE7, the program
will hang and you need to reboot to do anything else. If IE7 is uninstalled,
which is no fun to do, then IE6 will at least allow the script for joining
the domain to run. Now, there may be a way to bypass this behaviour, but I
don't have the time to learn a bypass for each oddity that MS decides that
I need to have!
My main complaint with IE7 is the unexplained load time increase if your
start page uses https. Additionally, the migration away from security pop-up
windows for certificate problems causes problems as a good number of developers
don't have their certificates set up and the certificate error page looks
very much like the "page cannot be displayed" page.
There is one thing I like about IE7, though: the "browser safe mode"
option for startup. I've worked in a help desk environment for several years
and most users don't like to be told their browser bar of choice is the reason
they cannot visit whatever page or display whatever content. I can start using
'browser safe mode' and then demonstrate a functioning page and usually convince
them they do not need to have whatever shopping assistant or search bar loaded.
Personally, I find a lot of IE7's new features useful. It has taken a
little getting used to, but I'm working better with it than IE6. I have had
a few niggles, but no more than I have with previous versions. I have used
Firefox and again it takes a little getting used to, but being a Microsoft
centric user/engineer, I do tend toward MS offerings.
week, a reader wrote in about a problem he encountered after patch installation:
His computer was unexpectedly returned to its original default state. Frank
offers one possible explanation:
In regard to a letter you ran last week from a user who thinks MS's updates
changed his computer back to the default user state after patching, I would
strongly suggest that he look over his event logs and system state events.
I would bet you a T-shirt that he finds errors relating to bad sectors on
his hard drive. Unfortunately, all it takes is to have a bad sector that contains
his ntuser.dat file to prevent the system from reading an existing profile.
If the OS can't read the information relating to an existing profile, it will
create a new profile with the same name but with only the "default user"
settings and icons to start it out with.
When he goes to Windows Explorer, he'll be able to see and possibly read
all his files in his old profile because they haven't been affected by the
bad sector (yet). If he lets it go long enough, though, he will eventually
lose more and more of his data as the hard drive sheds. I've done many data
recoveries for users that ignored their system logs and let their hard drives
blow up on them without a backup.
I've also worked with computer users long enough to realize that many
times the errors or problems already existed; it's just that they didn't realize
the problems were there until someone/something other than them touched the
computer. Then all of a sudden there are all sorts of problems that they "never
I mentioned yesterday former independent analyst Michael Gartenberg's recent
conversion to the "dark side": He now works for Microsoft as a
product promoter. Unlike some of Gartenberg's critics, I didn't think there
was anything wrong with his switch. Here's what some of you think:
I don't think you are necessarily wrong. However, I would argue that
there are some things more important in this world than a fat Microsoft paycheck
-- for example, honesty, integrity and impartiality, to name a few.
You're right! It's a free country. I happen to like most Microsoft products.
They brought the computing power to the people, after all. Before that, it
was geeks pushing command line codes that made up the computing world.
If someone else out there has a better way, let them step forward and
make their billions!
You're not wrong at all. Those critics are just some jealous-ridden idiots
that are emblazoned with spite. I have always said that I work for the highest
bidder, as long as the winner is not an immoral entity. I see no immoral practices
going on at Microsoft, and what are being dubbed as such are only arguable
at best. If the company is ever involved in immoral business practices, then
there's plenty of lawyers to go around. I say, "Good luck to Michael!"
treatment for the Gates children; Bill and Melinda strictly limit how much
time their kids spend online. Here's how one reader keeps tabs on his kids'
We run Safe Eyes at our house and restrict computer game playing to10
to 15 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays for our children. I am thankful for
the site blocking for myself as much as for the kids. The computers are in
one location in the house. We would never allow anyone to have their own computer
or TV in their room. Any parent that allows this and is not monitoring their
children is simply asking (no, begging) for trouble. Obviously, when the children
get to college, they will have the ability to do what they want, but like
in other areas, we hope to train them.
With regard to the Internet, one must be "innocent as doves but wise
Finally, one reader questions why I'd want to boycott Vonage after I mentioned
that the company's pop-ups keep, well, popping
up in spite of Firefox's pop-up blocker. Readers
had since written in, commending the company and saying that they haven't
experienced a similar problem:
I thought your idea of the boycott was because of Vonage's pop-ups getting
through. If so, then why publish all these happy customer letters? You aren't
going to use Vonage because of its pop-ups getting past Firefox's pop-up blocker
mechanism. Unless, you are aiming at getting a handout from Vonage.
After reading this, boycotting a company's product because its pop-up
ads get through is rather immature and ridiculous. Isn't there snow to be
Got a bone to pick? Let me know by commenting below or sending me an e-mail
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.