Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Segway ‘Centaur’

A search on the ‘Net found what I was looking for: the 4-wheeled Segway, the Centaur in the November 7, 2004 issue of Popular Science.

Nice, Nice.

Of course there isn’t any new info about it since the November 7, 2004 article. It is now called the Concept Centaur on the Segway website at Segway.com.

Here is a link to a video on it; Windows Media format, of course! And a slideshow .

I’ll probably have to convince Wifey of my (immediate) need for the Segway

Ballmer: “Vista Still On Track”

We’ve now heard it from the top: Stevie B., aka Steve Ballmer, the more gregarious half of the IT duo, The ‘Softies, made the declaration today in New York.

According to him, Vista™ is on track to be shipped in the first half of January 2007; barring, of course, any last minute snafus.

Now, let the speculation continue to run rampant!

Off-Point: Segway mulls Offering Purchase Financing

Since I started losing weight, this is welcome news.

I have wanted one for a while but the weight limits were a problem, since it was not built for ‘Big Guys’.

And I had seen a quad in either Popular Mechanics or Popular Science, which seemed like the cat’s meow!

I could imagine me-self showing up at Starbucks and parking the quad, leaving a couple of wheels popping a wheelie while I sip my plain coffee, Splenda® only, fat-free cream. (Quite a fall from an upside-down double-white chocolate moca, with whipped cream, isn’t it? Then again, I’m happy to be alive and WILL beat this diabetes thing!)

It would make the entry cost so little as to pass muster with She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.

If only she can get past her fear of my killing myself….

Ballmer Defends Microsoft’s ‘Cash Problem’

The fact that he has to shows how much the world has changed since the 1980s.

At that time Michael R. Milken was vilified for using debt offerings. Now, debt is all the rage!

I’m quite sure GM would like to have Microsoft’s problem

Monday, May 29, 2006

Greek & Turkish Planes Collide

In this newsbite from the beeb, two F-16 fighters, one Turkish, the other Greek collided over the Aegean Sea, with the Greek pilot losing his life. The Turk ejected safely and was rescued.

But for the Greek loosing his life, this stupid game would be funny.

The report startlingly reveals that this kind of low-level skirmishes have been occurring for a while, which begs the question, "Why is this the first fatal incident?" I mean, WTF???

For the Greeks and Turks, this IS your tax monies at work! Enjoy.

Desmond Dekker, R.I.P.

Reggae great, Desmond Dekker died in London this past weekend.

Singer of that wonderful 1968 hit, The Israelites, Dekker was 64 and survived by a son and daughter.

Among his other hits were the stark 007 (Shanty Town), and Rude Boy Train.

He will be missed.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

715!

What a milestone!

Here's hoping that quite a few 'baseball purists' have freaking fatal heart attacks.

To all who wanted Barry to 'just retire' at the start of this season, "May your souls rot in hell"!

Mutha'fu*kers!!!

Now that he has surpassed the 'Bambino', what are you going to do?

So much has been made of Bonds getting to 715 that today a few words seem necessary from Yours Truly.

To all that say it won't be celebrated, fine!

No problem. I don't remember any celebration when McGuire passed Ruth's 60-homer single season mark on his way to breaking Roger Maris' record.

And this would not have been a problem if Bonds was a Tiger Woods/Michael Jordan-type media harlot.

He's Bonds, well aware of his place in time, in (baseball) history.

Long after the 'purists' are gone we'll remember Bonds, not some hack for a fishwrap insert newspaper name here.

Then there are hypocrites like Tommy Lasorda, who says he does not want to have anything to do with it. Err, Tommy, it is now 15.01. Take a bow. Your fifteen minutes are over. Go bye-bye. Did you not have a certain closer that is now deflated?

The steriod thing?

A canard!

Thrown, a la that thrown around about (The Los Angeles Lakers') #24(8) to justify their personal dislike for his 'arrogance'.

Arrogance it is when a Black man asserts confidence.

Since we're on 'The Black Thing', how many homers would Ruth have hit if people of color were allowed in the Bigs back then? Would he not have faced a more balanced competitive field as the players of today do?

I'm tired of these a$$wipes walking of the halcyon days of yore as if back then all players were saints!

For goodness freaking sakes, remember the Black Sox Scandal?

Now the same purists bastards want to deify the members of the team, with the crap that, "Enough time had gone by.."

There's an 'X' marked on my A$$, mutha's. Feel free to kiss it.

Barry is at 715.

Die already.

Congrats, Barry.

PS. Unless he IS a better person in his personal life, I still would not ask him to be a dinner guest, based on the news we hear about him.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Friday, May 26, 2006

Blogging from Office 2007 Beta 2

Isn’t this nice?

Prior to installing Office 2007’s prior betas on all my production systems – yes, I like living on the edge, I used Blogger for Word™, which was broken with the betas.

Now I can blog from within word all over again.

Cool!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

MSN Spaces

Don't look now, but MSN Spaces has been a sleeper hit.

Actually, it has shot to the top of the charts, becoming the largest blogging service worldwide, according to comScore Media Metrix.

101 unique visitors in April? Wow!

Microsoft press release is here.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Keeping things in perspective

While a lot has been said and written about the slowness of downloads of the new betas from Microsoft, Robert Scoble, the Scobelizer, in this post, reminds us of how it used to be.
He writes
Hey, I remember when I was a beta tester on Windows 95. I had to download the entire OS on a 28.8 modem! I did that every weekend. How things have changed!
Personally, I remember when I upgraded to a 1200baud modem!

And I was The Man then!
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

IM'ing with Terri

Logged on to Windows Live Messenger 8 beta, and, one of my contacts, Terri Stratton, editor-in-chief of The Tablet PC and a moderator of The Hive popped up.

I asked her about an interview she had with Jim Alchin posted to The Hive and she replied that she was on vacation in Alaska!

Alaska, and had just come in from fishing!

This IM thing makes you tethered to the world, eh?

Tekmaven (Bink.nu): The Real Reason Why Windows Vista Was Delayed

When talking heads blogosphere pundits without a clue start talking about stuff for which they don't have a clue, watch out.

So much has been written about the Vista that members of the public without insider knowledge have started taking what they hard read as Gospel. And it is all conjecture. Worsened by those with knowlkedge looking for traffic drivers to their sites.

My pal, Ryan Hoffman, tekmaven, of the popular Windows technology website, bink.nu, was able to get the reasons for the Vista delay straight form the horse's mouth. Yes, he got the reason from Jim Alchin himself.

In an article found here, tekmaven reveals that:

Most PC manufacturers don’t make their PCs in the US. In fact, most manufactures import their PCs from overseas, and they aren’t flown in to the US, but brought over by boat. As you could imagine, importing PCs over to the US by boat is a slow process, and these PCs end up taking months to arrive after their order. If Vista was released right before the holiday season, most PCs in stores would still have XP. In fact, only very few computer companies would actually have the ability to deliver Vista during the holiday season. Imagine walking into Best Buy, and seeing three PCs with Vista, and thirty running XP. Which would you buy? In fact, most of these manufacturers breathed a huge sigh of relief when Microsoft announced the delay, and some has been quietly thanking Microsoft.

Jim did tell us, that any machine shipping with the Windows Vista Capable logo will have full driver support in Vista – in fact, it’s a Microsoft requirement. This isn’t going to be one of those ME -> XP upgrade disasters that happened prior to the XP launch.


Isn't it nice to get information from those who know?

Thanks, Ryan.

PS. Ryan, where's my WinHEC swag?

Stupid Article: Your World Wiithout Microsoft

Coming out of the piehole of a 'pundit' at InfoWorld is an article with the above title.

More disturbing is the quote from a Mac fanboi on the editorial team at that magazine in response to a question that, "Microsoft's disappearance would be a good thing, saying, "I hope it would jump start the kind of competitive innovation we haven't seen forever."

????

Whew!

I'll stop here while you catch up.

What an assinine position.

It makes you realize the exact reason InfoWorld has faded into obscurity, and worse yet, irrelevance.

In the mid/late '80s and through the 1990s, InfoWorld was a font for cogent, on-point, IT journalism, albeit a perennial runner-up to PCWeek. The decline started when editorial management decided to turn the paper into a opinion slag, and their readership voted with their eyeballs going elsewhere. The paper has niche'd itself to where it is today.

This nonsensical article is just the kind of stupid response-baiting I have come to expect from it.

New blog policy: No hyperlinks to articles from idiots. I'm trying to create an idiot-free zone.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Global Piracy

In this article, Ars Technica rightly takes the BSA piracy numbers to task.

Personally, I have always wondered about these numbers that seemed to be SWAGs, and bandied around by law-enforcement types and legislators just before they reduce our rights furtther.

I mean, if that was the case, everyone in LDCs must be software/media pirates!

Puh-leeeeeeeeeese!!!

Just how do you extrapolate an order of magnitude?

Shills! (Not that there is anything wrong with being a shill.)

KEY:
SWAG: Stupid Wild A$$ Guess - A tern invented by military intelligence.
LDC: Less-Developed Country - PC name for the 3rd World.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Microsoft's Pay-As-You-Go PC Program

This hearkens back to numerous posts I have made virtually everywhere about Microsoft's need to seed the emerging markets with Windows, in order to make it truly ubiquitous.

And it IS a very good IDEA.

If it catches on, forget about the immediate, attendant PC sales! This will not only increase the affordability, in the markets that can barely afford it now, but are getting industrialized, of PCs using Microsoft software several orders of magnitude, it provides a 'soft' lock-in: familiarity with the program would make it a greater de facto standard than it is now.

Looking forward 10 years, what do you think the newly gentrified populace would be using?

This program, in many ways would definitely slow down the adoption of open source in most LDCs as their leaders realize that it 1) lowers the entry cost of computing for the masses, and 2) allows the people to use the leading-edge programs used in industrialized nations, as opposed to a copycat second-class (though definitely not second-rate) open source poor cousin.

I have always thought that a way of getting Microsoft software into the hands of the proletariat - I wanted it to be as close to free as fiscally possible - was the way to go, but this program, offering a unified software/hardware solution is even better.

Shameless Plug!

A quote from Yours Truly to Mary Jo Foley, of Microsoft Watch, made it into this week's issue of eWeek, both print and online.

I read my first issue of PC Week, the predecessor magazine to eWeek back in 1986 and I 've had a subscription since 1987. Now, I'm in it!

I have admired her for years, and Mary Jo's Microsoft Watch site introduced me to some valuable sites such as Daily Rotation which allows me to aggregate news without an RSS feedreader wherever I am - talk about mobility, etc,. So you can imagine my pleasure at meeting her a couple of weeks ago at the Microsoft Windows Vista Beta II Labs in Seattle, Washington.

Nice, nice!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Antoine Walker

In a post here, just after KO8E's 81-point coming-out party, I excoriated Antoine Walker for stating that he would have clotheslined Ko8e in order to stop him from getting to 81.

Well, I now stand sit before you munching on a platter of crow.

Listening to Antoine talk a few minutes ago on a Sports Talk Radio interview - the show name I won't mention because the host is an abominable swine, and I was scanning stations to listen to until I got the snippet, he waxed eloquently about all of his team members and of the playoffs. (For me, as a Los Angeles Lakers fan, the season IS over.) The host decided to ask him a question, "If you were starting a team right now and have the 1st pick of the draft of any player in the NBA, who would you choose?

Walker's answer?

KO8E Bryant!

I was stunned! So was the oafish host, who asked the question again! Walker replied that Bryant was the best player in the league while the (really) Big Shaq was the most dominant.

As a result, I an having this crow feast.

Goes to show, when some of these clowns deinsert their feet from their mouths, they are sometimes capable of coherrent utterances!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What a moron!

David Pogue must be a moron!

Over the past several, I get tired of his constant Microsft bashing.

Every review of his is a referendum on Microsoft, Windows, etc.

I can't burst open the NYTimes fishwrap without some stupid rant disguised as a review form that idiot.

The latest: the Treo 700p. The best part about it is the Palm OS?

Homie, shake yourself!

Dell to use AMD Chips

That thud was my jaw hitting the floor.

More on this as I get it.

Samsung 16GB Flash Drive

Gizmodo is reporting that the Samsung 16GB solid-state announced last year is being setup for ordering by a certain web site for $1999.00.

Yes, $1999.00!

WTF???

If, as expected, 8GB USB drive become available later this year for $175 to $200 MSRP, just what is the point of a doubling of the capacity for 5x the price?

Unbelievable.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Vista Minimum Hardware Requirements

Microsoft today released the minimum hardware requirement specifications for the upcoming Windows Vista operating system.

From the press release, found here:

To qualify as Capable or Premium Ready, PCs must meet or exceed the following requirements:


Windows Vista Capable

Windows Vista Premium Ready

Processor:

Modern processor (at least 800 MHz)1

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64)1

System Memory:

512 MB

1 GB

GPU:

DirectX® 9 capable

(Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) support recommended)

Runs Windows Aero2

Graphics Memory:

- -

128 MB

HDD:

- -

40 GB

HDD Free Space:

- -

15 GB

Optical Drive:

- -

DVD-ROM drive3

Audio:

- -

Audio output capability

Internet:

- -

Internet access capability


Simultaneously, there is a beta release of the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, the details of which can be found here. This software attempts to determine the suitability of your system for an upgrade to Vista.

While there are no surprises here, the question remains, "Will OEMs follow through?"

And that is a very poignant question.

Right now, even Tier-1 OEMs tease suckers customers with door-buster systems with the absolute minimum specs required to run XP, leaving the cattle purchasers bereft of the entire XP experience.

For which they are free to blame Microsoft.

Contrast that with the Mac experience where you have an entire system built to provide a total experience, an experience totally deserving of it's price premium relative to PCs.

I hope Microsoft finds a way, due to both antitrust/legal decrees, and commercial considerations, to enforce certain rigid hardware, and default security state requirements of OEMs as necessary to obtain both Vista-capable and Vista Premium certifications. I mean, who needs the craplets OEMs install on both consumer and business PCs? Who???
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

1000 Posts

Hive member PhotoStory just pointed out that I had made my 1000th post to The Hive.

The Hive is a community of community leaders from all over the world and serves as a repository for some of the broadest ranges of views on computing, especially Microsoft- and Windows-centric computing.

I'm surprised. That it is only 1000! In actuality, while 1000 is a lot and I hope it won't take me as long to get to 2000, I expect to spend more time there.

Really though, I have found it to be a refreshing departure from some of the more vitriolic virtual cafes; /.

And I am not only proud to be a member, but count that membership as a priviledge. The knowledge I have gleaned has beought me back from the purely fiscal side of the IT business back into a melding of hands-on technology and financial matters. As it pertains to my target audience, the small and medium business.

My thanks to management of The Hive, especially Aaron Coldiron, Manager of the Windows Communities, Nick White, who manages The Hive, and all the moderators, Terri, Waggler, and friends - Michael-HWG, Hidden_Hunter, fyiguy, to mention a few -I have made over the length of my membership there.

Couldn't have done it without you all.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Windows Media Player 11 beta & URGE Released

URGE, the new online music service offering from a Microsoft/MTV collaboration was released to the public today, along with the attendent Windows Media Player 11 beta.

I am in the process of applying for the 14-day trial in order to browse the playlist (for songs from the 1980s).

I also hope that music videos are included; that would be an excellent valueadd.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Build 5381 Preview Report Released

My Vista 5381.1 Preview Report has been released on the internal Logikworx website.

A more detailed review will be released next week, along with my Vista Beta II Lab report.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

The Right Legacy.

Give props where props are due.

Mr. President, props to you for the immigration reform speech yesterday.

Long after his 2nd term ends, President Bush will be remembered, and applauded for his courage and vision in finally tackling this problem.

The ostriches would like to send the people home.

To where?

Do they seriously think that Mexico, assuming 50% of all illegals are from there, can absorb 6 milliom people? Even over a period of several months or years?

Or have they looked at the financial costs, both direct and indirect, of sending them back? Using $5000 as a baseline, you have a $60 billion invoice for the relocation costs directly.

$60 direct costs.

When the repatriation is complete, let us now look at the indirect costs.

What do we do about the jobs that the illegals did that American citizens do not want to do?

Oh, I remember: mobilize everyone on welfare and send them to the farms.

Puh-leeese!!!

This solution is a big win for businesses.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Expression Web Designer CTP1

Microsoft has released the Expression Web Designer CTP 1.

After using the product for the past couple of weeks as part of a private beta, I can tell you unequivocably that this is a very capable product.

I likes, I likes!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Goin' Back Home

Well, it is finally over!

Going back to NoCal to edit my reports and blog threads and post them.

Goin' Back Home

Well, it is finally over!

Going back to NoCal to edit my reports and blog threads and post them.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Windows Live Messenger 8 (beta)

Now public, WLM8 beta really changes things.

Shared Folders, Windows Live Contacts, Windows Live ID, offline messages, Windows Live Mobile - utilizing SMS for transport of messages to cellphones, VoiceMail, free PC to-PC-VOIP, and $0.02 (2 cents) per minute international or PC-to-landline calls, MSN messenger phones from Uniden, etc., and a host of others.

  • Shared Folders: this feature allows you to create, as the name implies, a folder shared between two or more contacts, letting contacts share both files, and nested folders. A particularly brilliant aspect of Shared Folders is the ability to add contents to it offline, with the items getting synchronized whenever the target contact comes back online. This direct sync absolute negates the need for an FTP directory for most casual uses.
  • Windows Live Contacts. IM contact contact management outside the IM client. How cool is that? Just going to MSN Spaces and having the entire browser page to perform contact management is virtually a God-send.
  • Windows Live ID. This is Passport(tm) all grown up. Addressing privacy concerns, and using WS*, Windows Live ID makes the management of my several MSN & hotmail accounts a snap. Upon signon, you get access to all. Nice, nice.
  • Offline messages. About time! You are now able to send messages to your contacts at any time, whether they are online or not. When they come online, the messages are they forwarded to them. So you don't lose your thought, or rant.
  • Windows Live Mobile - utilizing SMS for transport of messages to cellphones. I love this added functionality of WLMsg 8. It keeps my contacts tethered to me at all times; remember the old saw about life in the former CCCP? "In Russia, you don't have to find a party to go to, the Party would always find you." I can always send information to a contact I cannot find online, when I have their cellphone number. Please note that this functionality is limited to cellphones that have SMS capabilities; then again, which modern cellphone does not?
  • VoiceMail. Aaah, voicemail. What else can I say.
  • Free PC to-PC-VOIP, and $0.02 (2 cents) per minute international or PC-to-landline calls: In partnership with Verizon, Windows Live MSG8 lets you add voice to your IM communications. The free PC-to-PC functionality extends globally.
  • MSN messenger phones from Uniden, etc., and a host of others. These phones decouple you from the PC. Think of it as a roaming IM.
Furthermore, add-in capabilities for WLM8 was announced yesterday. I cannot wait to see what the horde of developers out there come up with. Remember that all the Express Editions of Visual Studio programs are now free!

More on this later.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Origami







Thanks to Aaron Coldiron of Microsoft, I have some pictures of a sweet UMPC Origami device. Yes, I have decided not to call it 'Humpiq',

This special edition copy is from TabletKiosk.

Don't you just love the case?

Try not to drool on your keyboard!

Actually, drool!!!
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Brain is bursting!

Sessions from 9.00am until 6.00pm!

Have to go to sleep right now and sort out the ready-for-public-consumption news from NDA'd stuff.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Firemen setting fires!

What the fu*k is this with firemen everywhere setting fires?

Redding, CA. Milan, New York. SoCal!

Sheeez!

Vista Beta II Lab

Dateline: Redmond, Washington.

Courtesy of The Hive.

Introduction of Nick White, manager of The Hive - by Nick White.

Prior to now, Nick ran the developer program for Embedded Devices for Microsoft and now works the consumer-facing Microsoft Windows Featured Communities and The Hive.

By virture of our site, SmallBizVista.com, being both a technology influencer, and a sponsor of The Hive, I am in attendance at this lab, the second in the series and the second I have attended.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

HALO 3

Now, this is why I got the Xbox 360 and HDTV!

Windows Vista Beta II Lab

Off to Redmond.

It is the time for the Microsoft Windows Vista Beta II Lab, to be held on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.

Yours truly was invited (again) and will be reporting (for SmallBizVista.com) and blogging from there on topics that are not under NDA.

Watch this space.

See ya!
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

PS3 Specs & Prices Announced

...and the basic system, to cost $499 will be without WiFi, a memory card reader, and HDMI output, among other things.

Sony, Sony, Sony!

Schumacher Wins Grand Prix of Europe

Well, the best driver in the world has done it again.

Unlike last year where he was hobbled by a slow chassis and fu*ked up tires, Michael Schumacher won last Sunday's FIA Formula 1 Grand prix of Europe, run at the Nürburgring.
Hopefully, this signifies a turn-around for Schumi and Ferrari.

Monday, May 08, 2006

SGI files for Chapter 11

Sad, sad day!

There was a time, when you wanted the very best in visualization computing, you called SGI, then known as Silicon Graphics, Inc. Deskside supercomputing? SGI!

They had the finest, sexiest systems around, with cool names like Iris, Indigo, etc.

However, management were Myopians. And missed the boat.

They've floundered since.

What a shame!
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Now I have DSL!

Yippie.

I now have my DSL connected, albeit at a slow speed.

I must give props to Jason, of the at&t support team for getting me through my most effortless and lowest stress DSL setup routine.

When I asked, as I have on other occassions, to manually set up the DSL modem, his words were, "OK". Just totally cool. An very nice to boot.

Coupled with Margaret the other day, I must confess that at&t is starting to convince me that they mean it when you either call customer service or tech support.

Thanks, Jason.

NBA MVP award is a callous joke!

Don't look now, but the NBA MVP award has now become a popularity contest.

Steve Nash, my ass!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kehinde!

My wife, Kehi, is 40 *%^$# years old today.

Of course, since she is a twin, her clone, Taiwo, is also 40 *%^$# years old today.

Baby, I love you always. And forever!

Happy birthday to both of you.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Season Over!

What a drubbing!

What makes it worse is that it is by that effiminate team from Phoenix!

A big shame.

We'll be back.

Lakers for Life!

Barry Scheck & Peter Neufeld

Why don't these guys have a Nobel Prize?

Why?

As founders of the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld have been directly involved in getting the wrongful convictions of 179 inmates reversed.

Trip this: a majority of those were on death row!

Death Row!!!

Sickens me to think that there might have been innocents wrongfully executed by the actions of bad cops, DAs, etc. A total shame as these bad apples are probably only a fractional percentage of good, honest police officers and district attorneys.

Still, 179 is a lot, especially since the crimes are extremely violent, with the wrongful convictions allowing the real perps to go free. To commit more crimes.

Therefore, my prize for Humanity goes to Barry C. Scheck & Peter J. Neufeld.

God bless you guys.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Windows Live QnA

Another day, another Windows Live product!

Introducing.......

Windows Live QnA (beta)


In January of this year, we were privately briefed under a very strict NDA about what would eventually be called Windows Live QnA, a product akin to Yahoo! Answers! but aiming to mightily surpass it.

Now that the NDA has been lifted, more info from the team behind it:

This new Windows Live Search vertical offering will help consumers simply find what they need, from anywhere by providing a place for people to ask any question, get credible answers and vote on the quality of the responses on any given topic from a large community of helpful people, not just experts. This service will allow consumers to tap into the power of the online community by facilitating a melting pot of human knowledge that isn't easily accessible or available on the Internet today.

Topics will range from business, health, arts, sports, technology and more.

[...]

Key features include:

* In a one-to-many system, consumers may pose questions to the Windows Live QnA community, thereby creating a store of human knowledge containing facts, opinions and experiences on topics ranging from business, health, arts, sports, technology and more.

* People then can rate answers and reputation-based scoring is available so you and others know which sources are most reputable.

* Questions are tagged so others can easily find similar or related questions and answers to learn from

· The ability to mark and remove inappropriate content

Ultimately, QnA will be deeply integrated with Windows Live Search, providing a rich, integrated searching service - enabling you to search and find answers on the Web, or from experts on a given topic as part of a vertical search experience.
Nice, isn't it?
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Windows Live Mail Desktop (beta)

This is a nice, small-footprint email program.

I actually prefer it to the Windows Mail program in Vista since it allows you management of your HTML mail as well.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gartner: Vista to be delayed! Film at 11!

The prognosticators analysts at Gartner have decided that Vista will be delayed by Microsoft until the April to June 2007 time period.

All this for a buck ninety-five a copy.

A Tale of Two at&t Support Reps

In my post about AOL found here, I promised to tell my experience with a support representative at at&t who put the service in customer service.

When I tried to change my phone and DSL service to my new address, I was told I could only get the $17.99/month Pro package if I signed up online; also, my new number had to be working before I could perform the order.

Wha??? Yes, believe that! OK, I said and upon getting my family ensconced at mi casa, I went to wifey's clinic to order DSL.

Hello!!!! Screeching stop! System couldn't find my new phone number and tried to upgrade my former number. Fortunately, there was a customer service number to call and I did just that. Support serf couldn't help me and offered to escalate my problem to a specialist. "Do that", said I, and was given the phone number to the specialist I was being connected to.

Specialist came on the line and intro'd herself as Margaret. Cool, calm, and helpful; totally unlike the initial order-taker.

Unfortunately, I got disconnected. Called the number the support serf had given me. Got to a support droid masquerading as a specialist. Totally unhelpful. Told me I had to wait for a week to ten days before I could order DSL from at&t. Did not want to take any of my info to look into my account. Just as I was about to tell her how to perform recto-cranial de-insertion surgery on herself before screaming at her to copulate with herself, my cellphone rang. It was Margaret the at&t Specialist.

Thankfully, she had looked at my account details, retrieved my alternate contact info, and took it on herself to initiate the callback to finish the order. Contrary to her idiotic colleague, and I use the word colleague in the loosest sense, I did NOT have to wait for a week to ten days. My DSL should be active on Monday, May 8, albeit at 756Kbps to 1.5Mbps. I thanked her profusely for her assistance.

Her willingness to engage customers at such a high level is very commendable.

One company, two representatives, two levels of assistance. I am upset that I don't recall the name of the droid who was totally unhelpful.

Specialist Margaret, props to you.

Honorable mention in the customer service space: PG&E for the use of technology in alleviating customer frustration due to long wait-on-hold times. The technology: callback. The call management system offers to call you back without your losing you place in line. Great idea.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

7th Level of Hell

Whoever is in charge of usability for AOL deserves to be banished to the 7th Level of (AO)Hell immediately.

Moving this week, I tried to get the morons at SBC, 'scuuuuuuuuze me, at&t, to transfer my old number and service to my new address.

Could these Mensas do it? NO! I had to cancel my prior account and start a new one! Adding insult to injury is the fact that my DSL service is interrupted. (No, I don't want cable broadband; those cableco clowns have never heard about the phrase, price normalization. As it relates to cable broadband versus DSL in all [forms].) Was that enough? No. To rub salt in the wound, my new home is so far from the CSO, I can only receive the lowest tier of DSL service.

Am I pissed? Yes. While I am thankful I have broadband, the speed is so slow as to be called pseudo-DSL. Still, it IS better than dial-up.

Sorry, I digressed; I will have another post about a wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful at&t support specialist who helped sort out my DSL problem.

....Back to AOL.

Since I couldn't have a broadband internet connection at the mi casa until, hopefully, Monday, May 8th, I decided to take the low road and procure one of those AOL coasters and do a temporary signup for the next week.

What an experience!

Inserting the disk into a temp XP boot partition on my test rig made me (remember &) regret using AOL again.

The AOL install program asks just one question, paraphrased as, "Do you want to try AOL?", then proceeds to install a myriad number of worthless and useless programs on your system: AOL deskbar, REAL player basic, Quicktime, are the most annoying. It insinuates itself deeply into your startup processes. Tell me: do you at any time in your life, need AOL to be started when your system boots up? Do you?

To crown it all, you cannot remove the program without it leaving insidious artifacts of itself all over your system.

Can you fu*king believe this?

Can't wait for my DSL to kick in!
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®