Gates in Decline
Bill Gates may be brilliant, but he's not immune to the collapse of capital. In the latest Forbes 400, Gates is still ranked the richest person in the world
, but he lost enough money to support Bernie Madoff's lifestyle for a year. In one year Gates went from $58 billion to $40 billion, and I'm sure his family has made some tough economic sacrifices. I don't think he's at the point where he serves Two-Buck Chuck and Old Milwaukee to Bono, but he may be putting off that new Lexus.
What's really interesting is that Gates, in terms of proportion, lost far less than pal Warren Buffet, a professional investor. Gates is only No. 1 because his foundation gives its money away carefully. Every disbursement is researched to the fullest; there are no earmarks or fluff in how The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spends.
If this style of smart charity interests you, and if you use your IT skills for good, I want to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Windows 7 Better than Vista
I wrote a two-part series arguing that Windows 7, still in beta, is already better than Vista. Microsoft apparently agrees, letting slip that Windows 7 runs many apps that Vista chokes on.
I always felt that Windows 7 needed a whole new kernel. Yet even with the old Vista kernel, it's far more compatible and way faster. I guess the problem is with the millions of lines of code that surround the kernel, not the core itself.
Of course, I could be wrong, and the production version of Windows 7 may well disappoint. Let's hope not!
Patch Full of Holes
Remember the "Grapes of Wrath"-style truck the Three Stooges always drove, where the tires were patched and then the patches patched? That's what a DNS patch from Microsoft this week looks like, once its own holes are blocked up.
This patch only works if the server hasn't already been attacked. If so, the patch doesn't remedy the problem or offer protection. The only solution? Patch your systems fast, before they're compromised.
So who's your favorite Stooge (besides Iggy Pop)? I think Shemp is the only Stooge with true sophistication, and I never got the simplistic humor of Curly. Send in your votes for Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe Besser or Curly Joe at email@example.com.
Your Turn: Green IT
Do you care about green technology? Is there pressure to save energy? Have you pushed any green initiatives, such as virtualization? Are there ways to use Microsoft software more efficiently and has Microsoft told you about them?
Help me spread the green word by writing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailbag: IE 8 Needs Work
Microsoft has been touting IE 8 as the next big browser, particularly for enterprises, but these readers think it still has a long way to go:
I had nothing but problems with IE 8. It crashed too many times for me. I love IE but I could not bear IE 8 on Vista. I got so frustrated with that browser, I decided to go back to Mozilla and uninstall the update. I think the most annoying thing was seeing that stupid box that says IE has stopped responding. I just couldn't bear that error message and how slow it was over anything.
Until they fix IE 8, forget it. IE 7 is much better.
I used the beta version of IE 8 and found one of the banks I use did not support it. Then it was a nightmare to remove IE 8 and go back to IE 7. Once IE 8 gets its foot in, it doesn't like to be removed!
IE 8 in 64-bit is awful. I have to use the 32-bit version, installed side-by-side, as the 64-bit version crashes 99 percent of the time (on Vista SP2 and Win 2008 Sever).
My biggest complaint about IE 8 is how it "fixes" sites for you. So far, I've only run into a couple of problems, but guess what one of them is? Gmail. Coincidence? If I have 'Compatibility View' turned on, the page constantly refreshes...never to load. If I turn it off, it acts like I'm running Netscape 2.0 and shows me the Gmail footer in italic Times New Roman. I have to use the dumbed-down HTML view for Gmail whenever I'm running IE 8 now.
Share your thoughts with us! Leave a comment or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.