Microsoft Open to Open Source?
When it comes to open source, Microsoft has a balancing act that would be tough for Philippe Petite. Redmond must pacify shareholders by hanging onto commercial licensing, but it can't totally irritate open source-friendly IT pros. If Microsoft is too much of an open source enemy, IT can turn their backs and move to Linux, MySQL and Apache in droves.
Microsoft argues that it's on the right open source track. It believes that open sourcers should respect Microsoft patents, and conversely Microsoft should interoperate with key open tools.
Recently, Microsoft exec Robert Youngjohns took to the podium at the Open Source Business Conference to argue Redmond's case. Youngjohns pointed to support of open file formats and PHP on Windows as examples of the new open source détente.
I am a fan of the Mac for its stability, elegance and sheer fun factor. But there's one thing I hate: the price. I can buy an Acer netbook for around 300 bills -- less than a third of the price of the cheapest mobile Mac.
This reality is not lost on Microsoft, which recently launched an ad attacking the economics of Apple ownership. I haven't seen the commercial yet, but apparently Lauren, a young woman, wants a laptop with a 17-inch screen. She goes to the Apple store and quickly finds the only screen she can afford is four inches too small. Instead of uttering the words I might ("$6%%8&!!!!") she deadpans that she's "just not cool enough" for the Mac. Instead, she buys an HP for $700.
My daughter is a young woman named Lauren. She had an HP but ditched it for a MacBook, and so far my Lauren has never looked back. Somehow, I just couldn't talk her into that $300 Acer netbook!
Getting an IT certification is no game...or is it? Microsoft believes that certification is not only serious business, but can be fun, as well. It has a new site that lets you test your skills in game-show fashion. The questions are multiple-choice, so even dummies like me stand a 25 percent chance of getting them right.
How did you do, and are certifications as cool as they used be? Correct answers only accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailbag: Conficker Scare, More
It's been two days since Conficker's (supposed) big day, and the world seems to have emerged largely unscathed:
Conficker was an April Fools joke on us. Went to all the trouble to update MS patches and virus scan over the weekend. Nothing there and nothing on April 1. At least it caused many to think proactively.
I live in New Jersey and I have had no problems with my home system consisting of four Windows-based computers that I use in a business and personal nature.
I think the media scare may have been worth the pain, just as N.J. uses motor vehicle inspection as a once-a-year opportunity to make folks check their lights and wipers. Perhaps the annual scare of the almighty worm may provide the same results, forcing those who do not perform due diligence to take stock in what they have and how they behave in their online activities.
On the home front, I battened down the hatches: AV updated, firewall updated, M$ Web site blocked (joking) and a shiny new version of Firefox. Despite the many variations I heard on the name ("Cornflicker," etc.), the reporting on Conficker and its possible threats certainly created a level of paranoia rarely seen outside of the military. I had inquiries from a few people asking if their home e-mail not working properly is a result of the virus. I almost thought the same thing when I started getting CRC errors when attempting to copy files from a dodgy (corrupt, that is) DVD. Mind you, it's hard to get a virus on a standalone computer with no access to the Internet and weekly manual AV updates!
Whether the dire predictions for Conficker will come true today or next week, who knows?
But besides killer computer worms, April 1 is a day for the pranksters. Take this reader:
This is best April Fools joke I ever did, and maybe the only one. I told my boss that I had spilled a can of Coke on this very expensive laptop that I was setting up. Louder and louder he kept saying, "You're kidding me! You're kidding me! You've got to be kidding me!" Before he had a heart attack, I took pity on him and told him, "April Fools!"
Recently, a reader took Doug to task for referring to himself as an "old sow" because sows are female. Apparently, the debate doesn't stop there:
As for "You do know that only female cows have udders?" I wonder if the person who wrote this knows that "female cows" is redundant because only cows are females. Males are not bull cows.
Just further clarifying and educating on farm and ranch terminology.
If you had used the correct term "boar" rather than "sow," you probably would have gotten corrected to say that it should have been 'bore' -- so you would have taken your lumps no matter what.
Tell us what you think! Comment below 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.