Friday, June 30, 2006

Symantec CEO: Microsoft is NOT Synonymous with Security

And Symantec is?

Quick, ask three novice computer users out there about their feelings about Symantec?

Bloatware?

Yes, BLOATWARE!!!

Notice that I tried to be fair and did not ask advanced users or gurus about the company and their 'security' products.

How I long for the days of Peter Norton and his eponymous Norton Utilities product.

What do they say again?

Something about stones and living in glass houses.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Thursday, June 29, 2006

IE7 Beta 3 Released

IE7 Beta 3 has been released and can be downloaded here.

Thanks to Hive member/moderator Waggler for this heads-up.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Water-cooled Xbox 360

This guy is a nut!

What a rig, eh?

Active Directory to connect to Windows Live ID

Microsoft is working to connect AD to Windows Live ID.

I see a lot of problems ahead for smaller companies if this solution is adopted by them, since they generally do not have defined security policies or security support staff in place.

I must confess I have not read any official announcement from Microsoft and will wait until I have more information before making a recommendation to clients.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Toshiba Tecra M7

Just after I authorized the order for a Gateway M285, comes information about a new 14.1" widescreen dual-core Tablet PC from Toshiba, the Tecra M7.

Currently announced in the EU but rumored for availability in the US from next month.

Hopefully IBM/Lenovo/whatever they are calling themselves today will also announce a dual-core large-screen and widescreen Tablet PC in the same time frame.

As you expect, I cancelled the Gateway order immediately.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Unimatrix Zero-1 Moves to Cable Broadband

After a month of super slooooow DSL, I finally bit the bullet and called Comcast for their cable modem service.

(I have DISH Network satellite service because of the sweetheart deal from bromwichmajor Communications for HDTV in every room, including the kid’s room, a total of 8 TVs for a low, low price.)

Anyhoo, I did not want to go the cable broadband way because the listed cost, $49.99, was a whole lot more than the $17.99 I was paying for DSL.

However, the slow speed of the DSL totally eradicated whatever goodwill I felt towards the helpful support crew at at&t. I just couldn’t take it anymore; it was getting to the stage where I wanted to heave my system outta the window.

Ordered the cable broadband service and was told of a Convert-from-DSL discount making my cost $29.99 per for the 1st year, installation in two days. You can imagine how fast I jumped aboard, this price good even without subscribing to the cable video service! Talk about eating your cake and having it!

So, Unimatrix Zero-1 now has fast broadband service, and all is well.

What I don’t know is if I was automatically signed up for a 1-year contract with Comcast.

PS. I need to call at&t mañana to cancel the DSL.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Surveillance Drones for LA County

When I first read this bit of news, I was like, “O Oh!

These guys who can’t fly straight would be using drones? OMG!

I guess I was thinking of the General Atomics Predator drones and wondered why these kids would be trusted with it.

We can all rest easy. The drone in question is this folding device here.

Whew! What a relief.

All jokes apart, kudos to Sheriff Baca and his deputies for looking into such ways to extend the always meager resources of his department for the safety of his charges, the people of Los Angeles County.

NOTE: I met the current LA Sheriff, Lee Baca, in person once as we were both paying for parking in downtown LA and he was the most down-to-earth person in government I have ever met. I wish him the best.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Vista Beta II, VistaTorrent, & Avalanche

Tried to stay out of the Vista Beta II download brouhaha since I had downloaded my copy as part of the official beta a long while before the public floodgates were opened, but the news, over the weekend, that Chris Pirillo’s (IMO) helpful VistaTorrent.com website was deactivated prompted this.

Say what you will about the legalities of the issue, but Pirillo was trying to ease the woes of many potential upgraders.

Believe me, the initial download experience, or lack of thereof was a terribly dampening one for the newbie Vista™ testers. This I know from experience with earlier builds and the attendant horrendous download speeds.

Moreover, that takes a spark away from those who would like to give it a whirl despite all the negativity surrounding the Vista™ builds by media types trying to make a name for themselves by knocking an otherwise improved product.

Right after the last Vista™ Lab in May, I felt that whatever provisioning arrangements and services being planned for the public Vista™ Preview Program would fall horribly short of forecast, and I secretly hoped that Microsoft would use this opportunity as a tested for Avalanche, their Torrent-like distribution service under development by Microsoft Research. If not as the primary download mechanism, then as an adjunct to the general download.

I mean, even the Office 2007 Beta II download of a few days before was a serious drag on my happiness quotient – let’s not even start about the slow DSL speeds at Unimatrix Zero-1, formerly known as La Casa John, which I have since rectified by subscribing to Comcast Cable.

If as reports were in June of 2005, for which there was a thread in The Hive, that speeds were up for 4GB downloads at the time, surely the fine-tuning of the algorithms involved should be producing much better results now; in the very least better that what a lot of people were seeing.

Please don’t comment that there was an option to send for a DVD, OK?

I know that, OK?

However, the fact that you could get the download simultaneously, introduced the immediacy concept to potential testers, making the mail-order option a 'pleasure-delayed' final option.

The sensible thing to have done was to have opened the Beta II process a while before the download release to mail-order fulfillment, with initial deliveries timed to the download announcement/release. As previously done in the past with, I believe, a beta of Office or Windows. That would have alleviated the pain tremendously.

Or, make plans to utilize Avalanche.

Sadly, no one at Microsoft either saw the problem - which I don't think, as there are too many smart people employed there, thought of the Avalanche solution, or if they did, did not make enough of an effort to take the case to management that this was a superb opportunity for field-testing both Avalanche, and fine-tuning the delivery mechanism for future builds.

I know of no Vista beta tester that would not like to participate.

Alas, Avalanche, as a delivery option for Vista Beta II was not to be.

Back to VistaTorrent.com.

Shortly after the public release of Vista Beta II, and in response to (the beta) public outcry, Pirillo, with a partner, started VistaTorrent.com which aimed to ease the frustration of the potential testers. To assuage Microsoft’s fears of hacked, cracked, or malware-infested code, the site offered the following (from their site):

The only official tracker for this torrent is found here at VistaTorrent.com. We're providing an MD5 hash to verify the file after download to make sure you're getting the real thing. If the torrent URL is anything other than the one from Vistatorrent.com, don't download or install the file! We're staking our reputations on providing a clean ISO torrent here. There is no registration required to download this torrent.

By all indications, downloaders loved the freebie service, as observed by the number of compliments in the blogosphere.

But, all good things must come to an end and a boilerplate cease-and-desist letter was sent to VistaTorrent to deactivate downloads. Which was done immediately.

Unfortunate.

While Microsoft is totally right in issuing the C&D to protect its intellectual property, I cannot help but be upset that a product with a great upside (Vista) missed the chance to utilize another potential great product (Avalanche) to bring a very good download experience to a lot of potential beta testers.

A missed opportunity indeed.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Windows Live Messenger 8 (Gold) Released

According to this press release, Microsoft will officially release Windows Live Messenger 8 tomorrow.

However, my friend Steve Bink, of Bink.nu, already has a link to the download here (for the English version).

Other language versions can be found by following this link to bink.nu.

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

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Live.com & WindowsLive.com email addresses

The next land grab.

And you know what?

I'll be waiting in line.

Acer Ferrari 5000

I want to get one of these a my desktop replacement while I use the Gateway M285 as my primary tablet.

Especially if it is offered with a 17" screen.

And carries the colors of my FIA Formula One team!

Gotta talk to Hive member Barb about the specs.

Gateway M285

Looks like the new replacement for my primary laptop is going to be the Gateway M285 convertible Tablet PC.

Why Gateway?

Don't like their systems, configurations, initial crapware installed policies.

Not one bit!

However

  • The M285 is the only dual-core convertible Tablet PC out there with a 14" wide-screen.
  • Convertible since I like the option of typing. I know, the Lenovo/IBM X41 has a better keyboard, but the screen size is less than 14" and there isn't currently a dual-core option.
I hate this choice like a mutha' but want to make a decision within the next couple of weeks, unless there is an announced maestro out there; e.g., Acer Ferrari dual-core AMD tablet with 14" or more.

That I would wait several months for.

Heck, I don't even know if the M285 can 'Glass' on Vista, since the top video option is the ATI Radeon 1400 w/ 64MB.

Major Bummer!

Thanks to Hive member/Moderator/Microsoft MVP Terri (Terri Stratton) for the research, hands-on demo, and recommendations.

Terri Stratton is also Editor-in-Chief of The Tablet PC
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

RIAA: Illegal Downloads Contained

You think?
Wasn't the download epidemic a figment of their collective imaginations?
File this under 'Who Are They Foolin'?'
Can you imagine these yo-yos making a fair assessment of anything?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Founders’ Era at Microsoft Ends

In an unexpected announcement today, William H Gates III, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, and co-founder of Microsoft, revealed that he was stepping down from the CSA rôle immediately, handing the reins over to Ray Ozzie, one of the Chief Technology Officers at Microsoft.

The transition will take two years, with Bill G. stepping away from Microsoft duties in July, 2008 when he becomes plain ol’ Chairman.

To say that this development was unexpected is a titanic understatement. And the fact that the resignee is Bill rather than current CEO Steve Ballmer, must have come as a systemic shock to the Wall Street-types who have been clamoring for Ballmer’s resignation, especially since the announcement of increased CAPEX spending and the subsequent stock slide.

In fact, I had the same conversation a few weeks ago with a client and Microsoft stockholder who wanted to wave Stevie B. bye-bye.

My position, which this resignation validates somewhat, was that Ballmer, and Gates, were doing the right thing in refocusing the company due to the new competitive threat, which was not only Google, per se, but everything built on AJAX, and web-enabled. I mentioned the hiring of Ozzie, and the changes he was bringing to Microsoft by asking for a web-based component of all their products, and, most importantly, the numerous numbers of innovations, most of them under strict NDA, that the Microserfs were trying to bring to market.

Unfortunately, the only innovations we hear about are either the failed ones or their positioning vis-à-vis those of the current media harlot darling, Google.

Well, now the cat is out of the bag.

As expected the media airwaves and blogosphere is abuzz with this news, with everyone and man + dog holding forth their opinions on the subject.

The general reaction has been one of shock; with most shocked that Bill G would retire. As usual, the reaction of the conspiracy theorists in the Hezbollah wing of the open source movement (is there any other wing?) is that this is part of a Grand Design to further Microsoft-ness to the human race.

Since we are charged with bringing you cogent information, we decided to go to the top and ask longtime industry and Microsoft analyst, Mary Jo Foley about what this means.

"I think Microsoft needed to do something to show company watchers that it is preparing itself for the next phase of life for the company. While many folks have been predicting CEO Steve Ballmer would step down, it ended up being Gates who is moving on. I think a Microsoft without Gates is going to be a very different company -- probably more cooperative, less cut-throat and less feared," said Mary Jo Foley, Editor of the Microsoft Watch newsletter and Web site.

True that!

Bill Gates is synonymous with the might of Microsoft and the fear it induces; both in partners and competitors. As a result, there is a feeling that a kindler gentler, Microsoft might emerge with Gates’ resignation.

Indeed, as Michael J. Reyes, CEO of Hardware Geeks informed me, “Some users on our forums seem to think that Microsoft will be better off without Bill Gates at the helm. But I say, Bill gates did a great job at Microsoft no matter if you liked how he did it or not.”

You do not become the Big Kahuna just by playing nice; you have to fight for success. And if you look closely at Microsoft today, even in the midst of all the generally unfounded negative press, the average Microserf is still as committed and passionate about making a difference as the first Microsoft employee I met over sixteen years ago. Which is impressive.

A different take on Bill’s stepping down can be found in this statement by Larry Richman, Public Relations Officer of both Pro-Networks.org and VistaMaNiA.org, touching on another part of Gates’ character: “I have wanted him to do this for a long time. His foundation not only is the largest philanthropic organization in the world, but he has given away more money than all the great philanthropists combined. His money does so much to help the poor, hungry, sick, uneducated -- I've wondered why he doesn't put all of his own physical and political energy towards that as well. To me, Microsoft is small beans compared to what he could do if he puts his day-to-day efforts towards what he is now putting his considerable wealth towards. I am thrilled by this decision. I applaud him and wish others would follow his example. Bravo, Bill, bravo.

Wow!

Actually, double WOW!

Totally lost in today’s news is this facet of Bill Gates: his philanthropy, and Larry is right to point it out.

Chief O. Asuelimen, Chairman and Managing Director of DAGMA/Remix Group Limited, in Nigeria, echoed Larry’s sentiments “While we have placed, in conjunction with Logikworx a lot of computer systems that utilize Microsoft software, my respect for Bill Gates comes entirely from his foundation. Every time we specify Microsoft software, I can still see, in my mind's eye, photographs of his father visiting the sick and impoverished throughout Africa, and I respect and pray for him a little bit more.

I will attempt to contact more community leaders, influencers, users, and friends over the next few days in order to get a pulse on this development.

Larry Richman and Michael J. Reyes are also members of The Hive, a community of community leaders.
Copyright © 2006, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

Ray Ozzie will Replace Bill G. as Chief Software Architect

A very good omen.

Hey, if Bill G. calls you the 'Best Software Programmer in the World', despite the fact that you were then working for Manzi, followed by IBM - in their minds his chief competitor, he (Bill G.) purchases your company, and then hands you the reins for making gut-wrenching decisions to move his baby forward, I don't expect anything less!

And from the start, it was a good purchase, and a very brilliant hire.

Kudos guys.

Bill Gates is leaving Microsoft in 2008!!!

What a surprise.

I got the call from Michael Reyes, CEO of
Hardware Geeks, asking me if I had heard the news.

I thought he was making a bad joke, but then again, Mike sounded down.

Flicking on the boob-tube, I went to Bloomberg and received the blow: it WAS true!

Bill G is leaving MSFT in 08!

I am still stunned!

Michaels newsflash is
here, and Im sure you can catch a glimpse everywhere for the next few, with dissections in the blogosphere and other insiders telling us bullshit as news.

On The Wheels of Steel - Week ending June 17 2006

This week, I have DJ Jimi Ds Naijamix Select VIII

Sacha - Show me love; Biglo - Delicious; Azadus - Madam; Lord of the Ajasa - Ajasa; Madmelon & Mountain Black - Danfo Driver; El Dee - African Chiquito; Trybessmen ft D.Art Alade - Youngman; DBanj - Tongbolo; JJC - Ewajo; Mr Solek - Your Number; El Dee - Do tie; 2 Face - Keep on Rocking; The Last Two - Keshin Kalaye; Magic System - 1er Gaou; DBanj - Ika O Da; Awilo - Karolina; Omahane Pozo - Miana Mekoye; Eduboy - Gwam Gwam Gwam

DJ Jimi D is a Bad A$$ MixMaster! He can be found at the Afrigroove website or reached at jimi@afrigroove.com.

60% Infection Rates for PCs?

The headlines scream that figure out.

Microsoft scanned 270 million PCs from January 2005 thru March 2006 and found malicious software on 5.7 million of them.

Now, I am not a rocket scientist, actually, I am, but my math, being fuzzy after all these years in IT does not compute that to be 60%.

However, that is a whole lot of PCs carrying a malicious payload.

Trip this: some of those same PCs were re-infected with completely new malware after an initial disinfection, some many more times.

Reminds me of a couple of old saws from back in Nigeria, one of them from Uromi: a dog which runs out into the street without heeding its owner’s calls is looking to get hit by a car; and a Yoruba saying: the person looking to die generally finds someone looking to kill him/her.

Moral: no matter what you do, or what OS is in place, some ‘Net users will always be victimized as a result of their stupidity!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

KB24 is #3?

The prognosticators at Dime magazine have declared, in their Top 10 NBA players, that Ko8e KB8 KB24, aka Kobe Bryant, is the 3rd best player in the league, behind D-Wade #1, and Dirk at #2.

What? Are you kidding me?

Normally this would elicit a vitriolic response from Johnny O, but this time, I will contain me-self.

Why?

Because the same Madamme Cleos at Dime magazine foresaw the New Jersey Nets winning the NBA championship this year.

Yeah, New Jersey!

'Nuff said!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Schumi Comes in 2nd at Silverstone

While this is over 1000% better than the debacle last season, just WTF is wrong with Jean Todt and the entire Ferrari team?

Renault?

In the past, OK. But not right now!

If Ferrari cannot leverage the current regulations and Schumi, once Michael's skills start to deteriorate, they are fucked.

Heck, most renaults are sold with 4-cyls, and when you think of the Ferrari road engines, from the legendary flat-12s in the Berlinetta Boxers from the days of yore, to the current offerings, the V8 in the F430, and the 612HP V12 in the new 599 GTB, the question again is, "Renault?"

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Alonso wins pole for Silverstone

For this weekend's British Grand Prix, Alonso wins the pole while Schumi and Massa fall to third and fourth respectively

Friday, June 09, 2006

Google co-founder in stable condition after concience removal

This article in Silicon Valley's Good Morning Silicon Valley blog says best what was on my mind over Serge's admission.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Favorite Hedonist

My favorite Hedonist, Paul Allen, of Vulcan Ventures, has his yachts described in this article.

From the article:

....Paul Allen, for example, owns a $200 million 416-foot yacht called the Octopus. It carries a ten-man submarine, two helicopters, and a crew of 60.

[...]

The kicker to this is that Allen actually has two other yachts: the Tatoosh which at 301 feet is the 15th-largest in the worldand the 198-foot Meduse. Alas, the Meduse can carry only one helicopter. To show you how far out of hand things have gotten, the Tatoosh was the third-largest private yacht in the world just three years ago...
I just love this guy! He should be appointed the Federal Secretary of Enjoyment & Leisure Services.

BTW, Allen is also co-founder of Microsoft.

Vista Beta II CPP

Microsoft has announced the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program. This opens the Vista Beta to all who want it.

And I advise all who want it to try it.

Current CPP build is 5384.4

Monday, June 05, 2006

John III Starts Preschool Today

For the 1st time.

Off to John's Preschool I go.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Applied Digital CEO: Immigrants Should wear RFID Tags

Just when you think it is safe to go back into the water, comes a bit of stupid, moronic drivel, this one coming from the pie-hole of the CEO of Applied Digital, Scott Silverman.

In a particularly frightening statement, this idiot states that, "if foreigners were tagged using Applied Digital RFID implants at the border, the technology could verify their identities in the workplace."

The mind boggles!

Can you imagine anything this horrid?

When I, as an American, go abroad, do I want to be tagged?

Hell Fu*king NO!!!

Not by a despotic government! And definitely not by a government in a heavily-industrialized - read that as NATO - country.

I mean, WTF is next?

Tagging criminals?

Tagging schoolkids? Sorry, some bonehead school district in California already tried that.

Tagging babies at birth instead of names? Vic & Rosa, here is THX1139? or 7-of-9?

Or the best two yet:

Tagging by ethnic group?

Tagging by criminality potential, a la Minority Report?

Where does this stop, Scott?

As a Black man, and a member of a global ethnic minority, developments like this are downright scary!

Goes to show, just because you run a relevant company, does not mean you have any common sense, moral, or decency values.

Scott Silverman, take a bow. Officially, IMO, you ARE an A$$hole!