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Microsoft's Technical Glitches at CES Explained

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the best-laid-plans dept.

Microsoft 428

Thomas Hawk writes "Sean Alexander is one of the guys on the Media Center Team at Microsoft who was involved in the CES presentation with Bill Gates. Sean also runs a very interesting blog called Addicted to Digital Media. Gates and Microsoft have taken a lot of heat over the course of the last two days for the technical glitches in Microsoft's presentation at CES. Sean offers us the rare glimpse on why the glitches happened and what it's like to be backstage at the big Microsoft presentation at CES. Very good follow up on Sean's part." Update: 01/08 19:03 GMT by T : Hawk writes with a static link to Alexander's story.

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Explained? Easy: (0, Flamebait)

Bad Move (774329) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296502)

Micro$oft sucks.

Same machine (4, Funny)

Bloater (12932) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296503)

Seems to be running his blog on the same machine as they used at the CES presentation.

Re:Same machine (3, Funny)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296541)

You are mistaken.

"SERVICE UNAVAILABLE" is his report. Very good work. I wish we had people half as good as this guy at the company I work for.

Re:Same machine (-1, Troll)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296578)

What's that? Someone made a joke that's technically incorrect within the details? I've never seen that happen before, I'm glad you got that straightened out!

Excuse me, but I have to make some jokes about monkeys only to be corrected by being told that chimps are actually apes.

Re:Same machine (3, Informative)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296616)

Wow...you must be fun at parties.

The second poster was actually furthering the first posters joke.

First poster "ha ha...the webserver doesn't work either"

Second poster "he he...no, it's working...but the report only consists of the two words 'Service Unavailable', which sums up the problem"

So now I'm in the asshat category for trying to explain it...oh well.

"asshat" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296710)

So now I'm in the asshat category for trying to explain [the joke]...oh well.

Don't worry dude, it's not the only reason! :)

Re:Same machine (3, Funny)

Aurix (610383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296745)


Second poster "he he...no, it's working...but the report only consists of the two words 'Service Unavailable', which sums up the problem"

First microsoft guy i've ever "met" that hasn't used a tonne of buzzwords and actually makes sense :P

Re:Same machine (1)

Shulai (34423) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296691)

Oh! I was sure it was those OSS communists responsability.

Service Unavailable (-1, Offtopic)

Arrowhead (7765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296504)

first post? anyway, that was quick.

Re:Service Unavailable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296515)

Sorry, your post has been delayed by technical difficulties.

It's nice and concise... (3, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296506)

The explanation we were all waiting for! Bill Gates' demo failed because...

"Service Unavailable"

That makes it all clear in just 2 short words! Great summary :)

Uh-oh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296637)

From Microsoft Legal, Slashdotters need to remember to properly attribute Microsoft intellectual property when such attribution is due:
"Service Unavailable TM" is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Copyright 2004-2005. Other registered marks that Slashdotters may not use without appropriate attribution include:
  • Brute Force: as in "it is easy to obtain access to any Windows server via Brute Force(TM)"
  • Devastator: as in "Microsoft products are often called the Devastator(TM) of network integrity and reliability."
  • Fist of the Lotus: as in "after we had our customer database stolen via the latest MS SQL Server exploit, I felt as if the CFO crammed the Fist of the Lotus(TM) up my ass."

Please see the Microsoft Trademarks website [microsoft.com] for additional details.

Deja vu (4, Funny)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296507)

Remember that video that was floating around of Win98 blue-screening during a presentation? Good times.

Re:Deja vu (4, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296654)

And notice that despite that, M$ still manages to be the software that is everyware.

Re:Deja vu (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296655)

Don't forget:

"UntstramanaBillGates! Mah mit pullon!" *smack in the face with a pie* (crowd gasps)

(Hold off on moderation until seeing the video yourself - and if at all possible, could someone translate what that guy's saying in it?)

Billy G as Donny T (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296511)

Poor Sean Alexander HAD to have gotten the Donald treatment with a big YOUR FIRED after that flub up... id put 10 bucks on it

Re:Billy G as Donny T (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296643)

id put 10 bucks on it

You'd think they'd be higher rollers since they just released Doom 3.

Re:Billy G as Donny T (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296750)

At id, a "buck" is equal to one meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelion dollars of non-id currency.

Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296513)

[Disclaimer: the following comments are my own based on my own perception of events. Provided as-is and confers no rights]
Wow, things have been so busy here at CES that I'm just getting around to blogging, starting with my promised behind the scenes of the Bill Gates CES 2005 Keynote. I've done a short version and a long version for those who have been emailing, asking me to follow up on my earlier post.

Summary
Wednesday night, Bill Gates hosted the 2005 CES Opening Keynote along with his surprise guest, Late Night's Conan O'Brien. Overall I think things went well, but as can happen with live events with so many variables, there were a couple of technical issues noted by sites like Engadget. The key thing for me that I could have done a better job on-stage pointing out is that despitea small glitch with a remotecontrol (IR) receiver, a single Media Center ran all theMedia Center demos andwe kept rolling despitethe hiccup. According to the postmortem, it appears a 2nd IR receiverrun over to Bill's seat failed, so the Media Center never got the signal. It could have been all the IR interference in the venue- cameras and plasma displays and lights, or the powered USB booster - a piece of equipment that gets a USB signal over a long-stretch. The production team also handled a small power outage exceptionally well in the minutes leading up which might have contributed. These things happen and the team pulled it out despite some obstacles out of their control.

Below is my account of what was happening back stage.

Rehearsals
Setup and runthroughs went great the day before and day of.We did about a half-dozen individual runthroughs and 3-4 end to end runthroughs. Everything was running great except for an intermittent Internet bandwidth issue. We replaced a router and that appeared to solve part of the problem but bandwidth continued to be intermittent as I noted in my previous entry.

15 Minutes Till Showtime: Makeup
Yes, we had to wear makeup. I sat in a chair next to Conan and we discussed our Irish roots and he was cracking jokes. The night before, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have dinner with Conan and a few folks from his Late Night team at Nobu in the Hard Rock Hotel. What a great guy, a great storyteller and super-funny. I can see why he's been announced as the next host of The Tonight Show when Jay steps down.

Showtime!
For the account below, here are my own thoughts and the timing is approximate thanks to Engadget :)

6:30pm - Everyone is charged up and ready to go. Gary Shapiro, President of the CEA (host of CES)is getting ready to go on-stage. But firsta little background - in order to drive the slides and overall production coordination, a sort of "Mission Control" is set up backstage to drive the technical systems - slides, prompters, timers etc. We're settling in for Conan's monologue when two electrical engineerswalk behind themain operations tables to check a piece of equipment. From my vantage point, one the UPSes (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) has been triggered and they're troubleshooting.

6:31pm - Everything is still running- troubleshootingis going onin the dark with flashlights, more engineers and members of the production crew are working methodically, as the UPS is running down, tracing connections, circuits. I'm standing clear w/ my team going over what I want to say. I find out later the presentation systems are all on the same UPS- slides moved to backup and systems are being powered down.

6:40pm - The UPS is going. The Xboxes for the Forza Racing game sneak preview demos (which we had back stage due to space restrictions on stage) lost power. It appears the main demo systems on-stage weren't affected except for Xbox from what I can tell. Their bringing their demosback up.

6:41pm - Keynote starts. We're looking good- the power circuit is back but the production team decidesto continue on backup PPT cuing systems as best I can tell. The show must go on. :)

7:09pm - Bill is showing the Nikon D2X WiFi-enabled digital camera. The pictures transfer flawlessly to the Media Center. People up-front saw thempop intoMedia Center's My Pictures UI. But Bill's Media Center remote control isn't working. In order to provide clear lines for receiving the IR signal from both Bill's chair and my demos across stage next to the same Media Center, we have a USB-based IR receiver w/ a powered USB booster running to Bill & Conan's area. Sure, we could have had two Media Centers, but we wanted to show it all running off the same Media Center as a hub.

In our postmortem, the team thinks one of two things happened- the USB booster failed or two much IR interference on-stage. We tested for this prior and ran into some minor issues with Plasma TVs used for timers and prompters creating interference on another system but Bill'sremote controlwas never an issue - moving the displays fixed the problem. Of course, we didn't have cameras going off regularly with IR autofocus during the runthroughs. The audiencecan see the pictures but everyone on-stage is seeing thumbnails. It happened so fast, people just see Bill clicking.

7:10pm - At this point one the production team has gone out and tries to troubleshoot, they thought they had the IR repeater working but it was not sothey move on.

It's a tough situation. My demos use the same Media Center PC Bill is using- it's as real-world as we can simulate on-stage. The Digitrex 40" HDTV streams WMV HD video right off of same Media Center. I'm sure the system itself isn't the issue. I'm about to go on-stage and I grab the Director of the show.

"I'm pretty sure Ican get the slideshow up. If I can, do you want me to pass back to Conan and Bill to finish their segment?"

"Can you do it? Can you ad-lib it?"

"Yes, it'll be funny."

"Go for it"

The slides were hilarious, (copy locatedhere)and done by Conan's emmy-award-winning team spoofing Bill and Conan's night out in Las Vegas, so I wanted everyone to be able to see them. Bill introduces me and I walked out on-stage. Some may not have noticed as I came out, I pulled the plug on thebad IR receiver that failed just to be safe. I grab a remote andthe built-in IR receiver on the Alienware Media Center is working just fine.Once I realize this, I threwback to Conan and Bill and the slideshow is runningrunning- Conan jokes he can't take this much direction and rolls with it, everyone's laughing in a fun way. Bill is smiling, I'm smiling. The slides area huge hit with the audience. Here we go.

I ad-libbed the photos section and music section to bridge back and I'm into my demo. My demos go off without an issue until I get to MSN Remote Record which is dependent upon the Internet connection and a Passport login thattimesout for security reasons. I had to refresh the page, but the Internet connection was slow. I ad-libbed for a few seconds and moved on. Someone shouted front-stage that the service was back up, but I had already moved on and we were over time. In hindsight, I should have come back to it, but c'est la vie...

The rest of my demos including the new LG LRM-519 DVD Recorder with DVR software by Microsoft worked exactly according to plan. The Digitrex 40" LCD HDTV with Windows Media Connect technology streamed the WMV HD movie downloadedearlier to the same AlienwareMedia Center PC we used throughout the demos. Yes, there's the applause :). The rest of the Digital Media and TV demos work great.

As for the Xbox demo, CES is traditionally a time togive a sneak preview of products coming later in the year and that's the risk you run when demoing unreleased software. I'm sure the power glitchdidn't help. If you get a chance, you should definitely check it out at the Microsoft CES Booth- amazing game.

My Final Thoughts
BIG kudos go to the production team andthe demo team - I'm so proud of how they handled the situation overall with some challenges, and how they kept things moving. Coming off the Windows Digital Entertainment Anywhere event in Los Angeles in October, this was the same production team and that event went flawlessly there. Sometimes things happen out of your control- you can be prepared, but you just have to roll with it.

As for whether I'll do another keynote like this again, sure thing. I'm just super-jazzed about what we're building for today and tomorrow and I get a kick out of showing it to others as I've been doing in our booth. Or maybe I'm just an adrenaline junkie :). Either way, the booth is packed, there's a TON of interest in the products shown and people are checking it out for themselves. When I'm not in meetings or the booth, I'm checking out some really cool stuff that Engadget and others are blogging on.

More on other CES happenings to come soon... ;)

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296531)

OK...how exactly did u get this? I get a SERVICE UNAVAILABLE.

Oh wait! You wouldn't happen to be SEAN ALEXANDER would u???

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296567)

Perhaps the guy has a subscription? (Slashdot has made slashdotting into a business model! :-)

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296589)

I don't, I just hit reload a couple of times. There is a difference between a slashdotting where the site disappears off the net, and one where you get a 503.

DUH? or DOH! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296594)

"Of course, we didn't have cameras going off regularly with IR autofocus during the runthroughs"

The IR stuff could have easily been mapped out on paper prior to testing and they would have known it was going to be a mess. Setting stuff up and moving it around until it works is not 'engineering'.

"...in the dark with flashlights, more engineers and members of the production crew are working methodically, as the UPS is running down, tracing connections, circuits."

Not knowing topology of power distribution makes things a bit dicey when something fails.

Troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296727)

Troll?
The parents parent says, 'we're not particularly competent at what we do', the parent takes note of this.

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (4, Funny)

Jacco de Leeuw (4646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296597)

It could have been all the IR interference in the venue

Next time, Microsoft had better attendees frisked for rogue remote controls! Damn GNU hippies! :-)

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (3, Insightful)

Khan (19367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296660)

Excuse my ignorance but, wouldn't it have been better to use a RF remote as oppose to an IR one?

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (1, Troll)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296673)

Damn GNU hippies! :-)

That's GNU/Hippies, GNU/dammit!

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296711)

Next time, Microsoft had better attendees frisked for rogue remote controls! Damn GNU hippies!

Try it and I'll tear you a GNU/asshole, MS slaveboy! :-)

Not IR remotes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296765)

In conferences, it's more likely to be the focus bracketing IR beams on cameras. These can cause havoc as they spread over a wide area - a high-end SLR may have as many as 7 or 15 beams used to determine focal distance. If you have an IR viewer you can get some really neat pictures in conferences as people snap away - hundreds of beams lancing all over the place as the autofocus kicks in.

While I would say that they should have anticipated this, the actual risks wouldn't have been easy to test or replicate beforehand - you'd pretty much need a room of random model cameras snapping away while you tried your remote. In most cases, I'd go for a wired remote over anything else - remember a conference is a concentrated gathering of devices you can't control, rendering Bluetooth, WiFi and IR risky at best.

Having said all that, the continuous outage looks more to be a kit failure (as mentioned in the article) - an autofocus would give you a split second blast of IR which would cause a momentary glitch.

Slides located "here"? (4, Informative)

ansak (80421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296649)

As in here [engadget.com] .

fwiw: I got into the page after 15 tries, myself.

cheers...ank

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (4, Interesting)

Momoru (837801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296725)

The UPS is going. The Xboxes for the Forza Racing game sneak preview demos (which we had back stage due to space restrictions on stage) lost power.

Random note...this same thing happened when Microsoft was going to demo the Xbox on The Apprentice...the xbox must suck some serious juice, or these road show teams just don't understand how much power one circuit can handle!

Re:Behind the Scenes at the CES Keynote (2, Interesting)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296761)

Wait... does this mean that the slashot [slashdot.org] story coverage claiming that the "Media Center PC Presentation Crashed" was an exageration? Say it isn't so...

... and now his blog is blue-screened. n/t (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296516)

n/t

Up and running Win XP 64 build 1289 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296517)

It is fast, stable, and just plain rocks on my AMD Athlon 64 3500+.

Too bad linus doesnt have any 64-bit support. Once again being left behind. Dont worry, Im sure you'll copy it just like you copied ... Start Menu, popup blockers, middle mouse button, etc., etc.

Re:Up and running Win XP 64 build 1289 (4, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296564)

Oh man what a troll. Do you even check your 'facts'?

1) There IS 64 bit Linux. (e.g. RedHat Enterprise 3 64 bit version)

2) The analog to a start menu was in the first Apple Mac GUIs, WAY before Windows.

3) Popup blockers have been around a LONG time in mozilla/firefox etc. IE has just finally got a very poor implementation of it.

4) 3 button mice were on many Unix Workstations as standard at least 15 years ago, At that time you couldn't even buy a 3 button windows mouse. Middle mouse button usage is stil far better integrated into the X window/Unix/Linux world than Windows.

Re:Up and running Win XP 64 build 1289 (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296623)

Oh man what a troll.
a) Good observation

Do you even check your 'facts'?
b) Did you check your first sentence?

Re:Up and running Win XP 64 build 1289 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296665)

My XT PC had a three button genius serial mouse and that was at least 15 years ago. It was one of the ugliest looking mouse I ever had, and came with a very hard green platic mouse pad that could be used as a cutting board.


Granted this XP was not using Windows 3.11, but good old MS Dos, Display Write (old word processor) and a few other very simple games.


But agree with everything else.. ;)

Re:Up and running Win XP 64 build 1289 (1)

DJBanaan (700806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296582)

Left behind, eh? http://www.windows-longhorn.org/ [windows-longhorn.org] for details on being left behind.

Re:Up and running Win XP 64 build 1289 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296638)

Excellent troll. You brought the zealots out in force.

Actually, WinXP 64bit runs like crap... (1)

adamgeek (771380) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296668)

you talk about "middle mouse button" .. does your box even recognize more than 2 button mice? more than 3? seriously, the overall lack of drivers and peripheral support, combined with some pretty major bugs (multiple installs of mine failed to run notepad, outlook express, windows media player, windowsupdate, etc). I dont generally feed trolls, i'm more posting this as a commentary to anyone who is considered building a 64bit windows box.. perhaps you would like to read about my experiences [adamgeek.com] with WinXP64 beta.

Re:Actually, WinXP 64bit runs like crap... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296744)

The RC1 seems a bit better (haven't crashed notepad yet) but there's still no drivers...

The beta recognised my graphics card, but the RC1 doesn't any more, so I was left running in 800x600. Still no network drivers so no network.

At the moment it's little more than a toy, but I'm sure they'll get there before the release (they'll have to, otherwise it'll be the first MS OS to actually fail utterly).

Blooper Video (5, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296519)

Click here [zdnet.com] to view a streaming video. It shows Conan O'Brien [nbc.com] easing the tension with his classic humor as Bill Gates [microsoft.com] encountered problems with his remote control while demoing the Windows Media Center.

Re:Blooper Video (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296584)

Just in case you were curious, this video is hosted on The Internet [internet.com]

Re:Blooper Video (1)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296703)

"Right now about 9 people are getting fired"

That was great! I wonder if they got fired.

No explanation here (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296522)

Service Unavailable

How ironic

Ah .. (-1, Flamebait)

catalax (826962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296525)

Ah, and I already though M$ product were bunch of crap.

MS IT Forum - Copenhagen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296529)

Gotta say that approx 40% of MS demos during presentations I attended at the forum above failed to work 100%. Was a little disappointed in that.

Any karma whores out there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296539)

Anybody grab the text? Slashdotted w/ only 8 comments on the story.

Reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296549)

It must've been all the extra IR interference, because everyone knows that MS products always work flawlessly.

Apparently another glitch (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296550)

because the service was unavailable.

IIS - that explains it! (3, Informative)

Hamstij (831222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296551)

Wow - not even half a dozen posts and his website is already down.

But Netcraft (and "What's that site running?") goes a long way to explaining why!

blog.seanalexander.com Windows 2000

How do you explain it? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296552)

They were running WIndows, that's how you explain it!

some folks never learn (3, Interesting)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296554)

This is interesting. If I hit it in Mozilla, I immediately get service unavailable. If, however, I just telnet in, I get the page after a few minutes of waiting.

Well, try again and I don't:

mdchaney@fractal:~/taxi$ telnet blog.seanalexander.com 80
Trying 66.226.14.131...
Connected to blog.seanalexander.com.
Escape character is '^]'.
GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: blog.seanalexander.com

HTTP/1.1 503 Service Unavailable
Content-Type: text/html
Date: Sat, 08 Jan 2005 14:49:42 GMT
Connection: close
Content-Length: 28

Service UnavailableConnection closed by foreign host.

Re:some folks never learn (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296574)

I didn't have any problems and I'm using Mozilla 1.7.5.

I even tried using the UserAgentSwitchers, and for all browsers (IE, Firefox, Opera) and all OSes, the site worked fine.

Could just be a coincidence?

Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (4, Insightful)

JPyObjC Dude (772176) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296556)

Has anybody ever seen an OSX box crap out on Steve? I have not heard of this or seen it.

Hmmmm.

Good excuses are still just good excuses.

JsD

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (4, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296566)

Yeah, I used to work with a Steve. There was this one time where his machine had a kernel panic. So it can happen. Just cos you're named Steve doesn't mean you're immune...

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (2, Insightful)

peechdogg (793310) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296607)

and i don't think i've ever heard of a Solaris box dumping on McNeally either. but when practical matters are taken into consideration, most folks can't even afford the hardware to run these OS'es, much less find the tools and apps they want to. i know Sun is working to make Solaris usable on x86, but that's a long way from being widely usable.

i don't have any difficulty finding several cars that meet my needs. getting the combination of good hardware and software seems darn near impossible.

i don't thing we're near as technically advanced as we would like to believe.

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (3, Informative)

kristofme (791986) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296617)

Here [macobserver.com] is just one of many examples (from a while back).
Of course, keep in mind that he gives demos all the time, and more so than Gates, so it's bound to happen now and then..

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296715)

sure it happens but the original poster said "OSX box". the Mac Observer article was from 1999. isn't OSX only 4 years old or so?

Unrelated (-1, Flamebait)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296622)

When was the last time Jobs & Crew didn't take something already popular and just improve it?

Apple isn't known for being innovative in bringing NEW technologies - they're inovative in refigning existing technologies. Kind of like BASF "we don't make the products, we make them better"

The reason Mac isn't #1 is because of the slower pace and 100% clean room controlled product cycles.

Kudos to Microsoft for still running with the show and having fun. I look forward to seeing the products refigned.

Re:Unrelated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296647)

You seem to be implying that MS is this major innovative force in the industry. I hate to break it to you, but Apple does a lot more engineering work/innovation than MS does.

Re:Unrelated (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296653)

show me one place where Apple has been more "innovative" in creating something that hadn't existed before?

The only thing i can think of was the apple newton - but even then there were others with similar products.

Re:Unrelated (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296712)

FireWire (IEEE1394)

a hot swappable power carrying serial bus (I'm referring to ADB, which is what USB is essentially a newer implementation of)

Re:Unrelated (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296694)

Apple isn't known for being innovative in bringing NEW technologies - they're inovative in refigning existing technologies. Kind of like BASF "we don't make the products, we make them better"

Yes because ADB, META Files, HPFS, IWM, just to name a few. were all ripped off from someone else.

Enjoy,

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296640)

Literally happens to everyone. I've never seen a presentation NOT have some technical glitches of some kind. There was an old Times editor who said "I'd wager there's not been a single copy of The New York Times that hasn't had some kind of error".

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296651)

There is a difference between a typo and having the paper catch fire while you are reading it.

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (1)

zakath (180357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296746)

I'd wager there's a difference in Gates' demo not working 100% and his PC catching fire too...

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (4, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296749)

There's also a big difference between a paper catching fire and an IR remote signal getting confused by flashbulbs going around it. If you read the blog, you'd see they just went ahead with the slideshow manually. The Xbox game was kind of unexcusable, though (although, Bungie did pull off an impressive demo during E3 last year, so it kind of makes up for it).

As far as I know, Steve Jobs has resorted to trickery for most of us presentations. The original iBook that had Airport used a custom external wireless video interface to display on the main screen (it cost more than the iBook itself). Steve claims he's used "Keynote" for most of his presentations (even before it was released), but the fact that it caused kernel panics on ATI hardware makes me question that. That's why he referred to as a "master showman" and not a "master presenter".

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296672)

"I'd wager there's not been a single copy of The New York Times that hasn't had some kind of error"

That's rather optimistic. I would wager there has not been a single article in the New York Times that has not had some kind of error.

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (2, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296697)

Nor an OS/2 box on David Barnes...remember the shootout in texas? He mopped the floor with windows NT.

M$ has always been inferior, yet they are still on top. Hopefully it will change soon with the uprising of linux and osx.

Re:Never seen Steve Jobs in this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296723)

Good excuse are still excuses, true. If you don't want to hear them don't subject yourself to them by reading. Some people *are* interested in postmortems and finding out why things may not have functioned as intended.

Hate to break it to you Apple-fanboi but they aren't perfect either.

The Problem... They used Windows (2, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296579)

Things would have gone better otherwise.

Re:The Problem... They used Windows (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296677)

How does using Windows stop a remote control working?

Re:The Problem... They used Windows (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296731)

Bad karma...

It's encouraging... (4, Funny)

RealBeanDip (26604) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296596)

to see BG's machine craps out when he needs it the most just like mine does when I do.

Unfortunately for me, I don't have anyone to fire.

Re:It's encouraging... (0)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296626)

Yourself maybe? My machines are rock solid except for that time I dropped my old powerbook and it landed right on the 802.11g card.

Service Unavailable (0, Redundant)

freaksta (524994) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296601)

Seem Sean must be running Media Center to host his blogs.

come together (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296603)

The most interesting part of this story is that Alexander still has all his fingers left to type a report on the debacle.

The other most interesting part of this whole story is that the rest of us don't have Alexander, the MS Media Center Team, or the Windows source code. So when we get the BSoD, we're left scratching our heads. That's why we use Linux: with Open Source, we're as privileged as Bill Gates, to whom Windows is Open Source, because he's got the keys to the vault. His CES debacle should open everyone's eyes to the difference. Especially the "communists" in the global IT community who'd rather not spend more on Gates' closed source, and get less - and get hung out to dry with a crashed Windows app thousands of times a day, around the world.

Read the article before bashing! (0)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296662)

The problem was with the IR receiver; a hardware failure, not a software crash. Read the article before you start saying how everyone gets "hung out to dry with a crashed Windows app thousands of times a day" because "rest of us don't have Alexander, the MS Media Center Team, or the Windows source code". You might discover that it doesn't further your communist agenda after all.

Re:come together (1)

Hinhule (811436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296786)

Well, in this case, I believe the "communists" are the "good guys", and the "capitalists", who want to profit from their innovations by using closed source, are the "bad guys".

So you my friend, are the bloody commie bastard. Kinda makes you think doesn't it.

Bill Gates (5, Funny)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296631)

If Bill Gates had a nickel for every time Windows crashed, he'd be... oh wait never mind

Re:Bill Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296771)

I think a penny would be sufficient. I myself have contributed $1268.34, and that was just this morning.

But did the demos actually work? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296641)

Perhaps the enjoyment of poking fun at M$ would be noticably reduced by taking note of the fact that the demos on the Media Center at CES actually worked...or did you all forget to read the full blog article?

(Yeah, so I don't have a /. account and I'm too cowardly to create one - sue me)

Re:But did the demos actually work? (1)

CoolSilver (794518) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296690)

I won't sue but the RIAA will! :P

Re:But did the demos actually work? (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296704)

or did you all forget to read the full blog article?
Most of us got treated to the "executive summary version" - you know - "Service Unavailable"

Here we go again... (1)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296648)

... doesn't this "digital hub for your digital (i)Life" stuff sound familiar? Sigh, copycats... and bad at it too! Shame though that people will buy this crap en masse and still sneer at the poor Apple-ite... I'm worried though; today people have Office because it's the "stadrard" for business, bla, bla... tomorrow, will we all have to own "Home" to watch the DRMd pics & vids of the latest addition to the family?

The only good thing is the fun granted by future worms spilling true amateur porn over the net. You see a hot chick across the street? p2p to check if she's worth the effort ;-)

With 30 billion.. (1)

NfoCipher (161094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296656)

.. there should be no glitches, security holes, blue screens or rebooting on every patch.

Torrent (1)

mnordstr (472213) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296657)

The third time I post this comment, but here goes (worth the download):

Torrent of the entire show on my blog [nordstrom.fi] .

Post Mortems of the demo miss the point (5, Insightful)

lildogie (54998) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296680)

Explaining what went wrong in the demo, and how environmental factors contributed to the glitch/crash, misses the point that the audience so obviously got:

Microsoft products have problems with crashing. Everyone who uses them knows that. Conan knows that. Bill knows that.

The amusement factor is that even the leader of the company knows that and experiences it in the most sensitive moments.

If you need software to run critical proceses in a nuke plant or an airplane, would you use Microsoft products?

CES keynote, a bad infomercial at 2am? (3, Insightful)

webdev (605160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296709)

Fake questions, with broken demos? Gates must of had a stong drink back at the hotel that night. I was laughing just like I do at those bad 2am infomercials where the blender doesn't work.

All year I read about how Bill Gates is the wealthiest, most successful businessman in the world. I don't want to hear about internet access challenges when you are showing off technology that uses the internet. At that point in the keynote I began to wonder why is Microsoft even at the show (nevermind the keynote address)? Shouldn't the keynote be given by a person from Sony/Apple or some other vender that can deliver reliable hardware and software?

The Forza Motorsport demo should have been a slam dunk. Who wants their console gaming experience to be more like a pc experience? With the Xbox Microsoft is introducing unreliability in the gaming console market. Bravo.

They should only have a small booth in the back of CES in my opinion.

I doubt... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296714)

...any Slashdotters will be convinced. Afterall, we are talking about Microsoft, one of the richest companies anywhere!

Interesting blogs at microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11296726)

I have always wondered what it was like to knowingly work for a criminal enterprise.

That's live theatre, folks (4, Insightful)

Dammital (220641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296740)

While I get a chuckle every time Microsoft is hoist by their own BSOD petard, in this case the production staff is due some kudos for staying cool under fire.

In my other life I do tech for a local community theatre group. Folks, anything can happen during a live performance. No matter how much you might prepare, stuff happens, and it happens in front of everybody. Power can fail, body mikes can break, lamps burn out, RFI can wreak havoc. You can't prepare for every eventuality, but you can handle the situation with grace.

It sounds to me like the Microsofties did fine.

The blog is down! /.ted! (0, Redundant)

raeldc (845107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296756)

Is this news meant to bring down the blog site? because i think it went down! /.ted! http://blog.seanalexander.com/PermaLink,guid,586ba c82-e272-44f7-a439-a3d1e6176aef.aspx it says "Service unavailable" when I visited it.

mirrordot (1)

digit (3825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296759)

Just go to mirrordot.org [mirrordot.com]

Sean's Post (4, Insightful)

Thomas Hawk (796343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11296762)

Say what you will about Microsoft but I think it's really great the amount of communication that they are sharing with the public through blogs and posts like this. I think that to work somewhere where you can post a blog entry about technical glitches at CES and not get fired is pretty cool. Microsoft's most famous blogger, Robert Scoble, is often offering up posts that many might find to have "anti Microsoft" tones and he can do so without fear of losing his job. Sometimes criticism, even self criticism, can be a good thing and allows us all to improve. What impressed me the most about Sean's post is that it was allowed to happen at all. It adds a very human element to Microsoft and opens up a way for Microsoft and the public to directly communicate. I think the tollerance that Microsoft has and the willingness to be open about problems and issues with their software is refreshing and will make the company and the software that much better in the long run. Kudos to Sean and his team. They did a great job and pulled off a great recovery in one of those awkward technical moments that we've all been through ourselves in the past.
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