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Tales From Behind Microsoft's Firewall

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the strange-but-true dept.

247

lizzyben writes "CIOinsight.com is hosting an interview with Robert Scoble on life after Microsoft. 'By blogging for the world's largest software company, Scoble changed the way companies communicate with the world and became an industry celebrity in the process.' He talks about MS culture, senior management and the benefits of blogging from inside the belly of the software beast." More from the article: "We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog. Even if they had no readers and were just ranting, 'I hate Microsoft,' I could see that and link to it, or I could participate in their comments, or send them an e-mail saying, 'What's going on?' And that told those people that someone was listening to their rants, that this is a different world than the one in which no one listens. It was an invaluable focus group that Microsoft didn't have to pay for."

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behind their firewall? (5, Funny)

Wizzerd911 (1003980) | about 8 years ago | (#16292493)

If I was behind a Microsoft firewall, I'd just feel insecure ;)

Short list (3, Funny)

MECC (8478) | about 8 years ago | (#16292505)

"We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog. Even if they had no readers and were just ranting, 'I hate Microsoft,' I could see that and link to it"

That's sure to be a short list

What are "CIO" and "Insight" doing in the same word anyway? Are they leveraging an optimized something or another?

Re:Short list (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292627)

They should search for "Micro$oft" "M$" and "Micros~1"

Re:Short list (1)

russ1337 (938915) | about 8 years ago | (#16292937)

>>> "We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog. Even if they had no readers and were just ranting, 'I hate Microsoft,' I could see that and link to it,"

I bet they had an awful lot of links to slashdot posts then...

Re:Short list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293057)

Good point.

If I were them, and wanted to see anyone who mentioned Microsoft, why just stop searching at the string "Microsoft"?

Often I have seen Microsoft 'haters' use other ways of writing their name or professing disgust for Microsoft...

-MS
-M$
-Micro$oft
-MSFT
-Evil Empire
-Windoze
-Winblows
-Internet Exploder
-Bill Gates
-Billy G
-6 of 7 (yeah, thats a borg reference, just for /.)
-Anti-Christ
-Son of Satan

And I'm sure the /. community can expand upon my list. :)

If he really wanted to find the ones hating on Microsoft, these guys would be the ones.

BTW, why name a company with a word that isn't too kind of a description for your manlihood?

Re:Short list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293707)

I've always been fond of Microsloth..

focus groups and corporate bs (0, Troll)

jacquesm (154384) | about 8 years ago | (#16292509)

If MS would spend a % of their cash reserves on developing a *real* os instead of the load of junk they ship (no, this is not a troll, this is an observation) we'd have a one-shot amazing piece of software that would set a new standard for useability and reliability.

unfortunately they spend that cash on marketing....

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (3, Funny)

yo_tuco (795102) | about 8 years ago | (#16292657)

"...we'd have a one-shot amazing piece of software that would set a new standard for useability and reliability."

But I doubt we'd have any interoperability.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

jacquesm (154384) | about 8 years ago | (#16292791)

good point, but I wonder if you meant to make it, interoperability with what ?

A mono culture of a cheap reliable and highly useable os would quite possibly do more for the image of computing as we know it than what passes for production grade systems these days.

Interoperability issues, the multitude of different windowing environments and the enormous amount of work duplication in the IT branch would better be concentrated on doing it once and doing it well than everybody just doing their own thing because they can.

Some 14 years ago I did a bunch of contracting on a Canadian built system called QNX, and I'm still amazed at the level of quality (stable, fast, easy to program for) and productivity we achieved.

If I compare that system (which is now marketed almost exclusively to the embedded systems market) to what I can get on my desktop today (and that includes Linux, which I'm writing this on) then we haven't moved at all in the last decade or two.

 

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

jcasper (972898) | about 8 years ago | (#16293471)

would better be concentrated on doing it once and doing it well than everybody just doing their own thing because they can.
I don't think everybody does their own thing just because they can, they do their own thing because what they want is different than what somebody else wants. It's not possible to make a UI, or OS for that matter, that is best for everyone because everyone is different. I want a minimilist GUI, just enough to have a couple of terms and emacs open; my dad wants everything graphical, automatic, and easy. Something that can do what he wants it to do is going to be too bloated for what I want.

If I compare that system (which is now marketed almost exclusively to the embedded systems market) to what I can get on my desktop today (and that includes Linux, which I'm writing this on) then we haven't moved at all in the last decade or two.
That just means we haven't moved towards what YOU deem the perfect OS. Linux has moved quite a ways and become pretty dang close to exactly what I want in an OS, but not with Gnome or KDE. Windows has moved quite a ways and has, well, come closer to what my dad wants in an OS.

Choice is good.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (5, Insightful)

Steve Newall (24926) | about 8 years ago | (#16292681)

Microsoft have tried to support a *real* O/S, Xenix. I used this on AT class hardware many years ago and this got me hooked on Unix and other derivatives (AT&T SvR4.3, Minix, SCO Xenix, SCO Unix, Novell / SCO Unixware, and obviously Linux). ( See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenix [wikipedia.org] for a brief history of Microsoft's involvment in Unix) But, as you note, they seem to be primarily a marketing company, and it's in their best interest to promote the O/S that sells and gives them the greatest return for their investment.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

NineNine (235196) | about 8 years ago | (#16292889)

In a perfect world, you're right. Build a good product, and people will come running. Well, let me just begin the list of good software with bad marketing that have failed due to the lack of marketing:
OS/2
Word Perfect
Lotus ...

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

goofballs (585077) | about 8 years ago | (#16292955)

wordperfect was not a good product that failed due to bad marketing- it was a good product that failed to keep up with the market, and became a bad product...

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

spockman (532973) | about 8 years ago | (#16293179)

Failed to keep up with the market do to companies that bought and failed to improve the product to keep up with times, i.e. Novell and Corel. They ran what was the top product at the time in DOS days into the ground instead of keeping up with the likes of MS Word.

Mod Parent Retarded (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292935)

Micrsoft does ship a real OS. It's called Windows and millions of people run it without serious problems or they wouldn't stay with it.

Re:Mod Parent Retarded (1, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | about 8 years ago | (#16292989)

>>> "millions of people run it without serious problems or they wouldn't stay with it."

Perhaps these 'millions of people' don't realise they actually have a choice.

Re:Mod Parent Retarded (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 8 years ago | (#16293419)

"millions of people run it without serious problems or they wouldn't stay with it."
Perhaps these 'millions of people' don't realise they actually have a choice.


Perhaps they don't want to realise they have a choice. They aren't like us, computers aren't "fun" for them, they are just a tool. What OS they use has little meaning to them, but they wouldn't want to have to learn another, even if it were better. Having to choose an OS would only confuse and anger them. Sorry, I love Linux as much as the next rabid slashdotter, but people who care about what OS they use are a tiny minority.

Re:Mod Parent Retarded (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293535)

Not to mention that an OS like Linux would be a disaster for your average user. That's the problem with the views given at sites like this. They are coming from people who are generally very technically adept whereas your average user is not.

Re:Mod Parent Retarded (1)

aliendisaster (1001260) | about 8 years ago | (#16293719)

I try to talk everyone I know into switching to Linux. They always say "What is Linux?" After I explain this, they say "What is an operating system?" And after I explain this, they always say "Don't I already have one of those? Everyone else has Windows. If I switch then you'll be the only one I can go to to get help." Its not that people don't realize they have a choice. It's that they don't care. They have what works for them and don't want to go through the hassles of switching. And honestly, I'm glad. Not that I like Microsoft, but I don't want to go to all my relatives house after they read on a joke website that typing rm -R /* would make thier computer run faster.

MOD PARENTDOWN, FLAMEBAIT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292991)

If MS would spend a % of their cash reserves on developing a *real* os instead of the load of junk they ship (no, this is not a troll, this is an observation)

You are right, itis not a troll.

It is clearly FLAMEBAIT!

re: MS spending on the OS (2, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 8 years ago | (#16293029)

I think your observation is flawed. Throwing money at problems almost never efficiently solves them. The fact that MS has been so successful indicates they've made very good use of their money, really. If they were able to spend their "marketing" cash on OS development instead, they'd (in an ideal world) end up with a teriffic OS, but one that most people weren't aware of or convinced to switch to.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293291)

"unfortunately they spend that cash on marketing...." ...and legal fines

There is nothing "unreal" about NT (2, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | about 8 years ago | (#16293395)

Microsoft did hold back the industry for about three decades, but they finally dropped the DOS based line of operating systems with XP.

We can still complain about their illegal and unethical business practises, and of course specific software glitches. But today, their OSes are as real as any other provider.

Nonsense. (2, Insightful)

Grendel Drago (41496) | about 8 years ago | (#16293425)

They have a vast collection of tremendously bright people. I think they've just reached the limits of how massive a monolithic system can be maintained, even given effectively infinite coding muscle. The UNIX model, on the other hand, doesn't run into this issue; the layers provide well-defined interfaces, and apart from that, remain blissfuly ignorant of each other. This design bothers a lot of people, but it does having the overwhelming advantage of scaling much better than the MS approach.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

dotdash (944083) | about 8 years ago | (#16293453)

Mods awake? The parent comment is 50% Informative?

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (3, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | about 8 years ago | (#16293455)

NT is a real OS. It's just saddled with a bunch of buggy insecure CRAP in userland, including userland that gets too friendly with parts that should be privileged (I'm looking at you IE) and a poorly-documented afterthought of a commandline toolchain born of a culture that actively disdained anything not graphical. Underneath all the cruft is a damn nice OS.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 years ago | (#16293467)

Version 7 of UNIX was the first one to be really nice to use. Some regard it as the pinnacle of UNIX, with everything added afterwards as bloat. I wouldn't go quite that far, but it was definitely a very nice system, particularly judged by the standards of its era.

Microsoft licensed it from AT&T and marketed their derivative (which included some BSD enhancements) as Xenix, a full-blown UNIX for 16-bit x86 computers. For a while, it had the majority of the UNIX market share. Xenix was eventually dropped by Microsoft (and sold to the old SCO) when they started developing OS/2.

At the moment, Microsoft are working on Singularity, an OS using type theory as the basis for security (based on similar ideas to the JNode operating system).

Over the last three decades, Microsoft has developed three 'real' operating systems; Xenix, OS/2, and Singularity. They have developed Windows NT, which is quite a nice OS buried under a pile of userspace crap written for backwards compatibility. The closest thing to a real OS that they have been able to sell is NT, and that's because of all the backwards compatibility junk, rather than the strength of the OS.

The moral of the story? You can build a better mousetrap, and the market will decide it's rubbish because it doesn't come in purple.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (0, Flamebait)

hutchike (837402) | about 8 years ago | (#16293661)

It would be easier for Microsoft to just buy the 90% of Apple they don't already own, and assimilate it "borg-style". I can't see those guys up in Seattle writing anything nearly as good as OS X in my lifetime. Hell, they would even have a decent MP3 player and produce laptops with enough juice to run Vista.

Re:focus groups and corporate bs (1)

metlin (258108) | about 8 years ago | (#16293679)

If MS would spend a % of their cash reserves on developing a *real* os instead of the load of junk they ship (no, this is not a troll, this is an observation) we'd have a one-shot amazing piece of software that would set a new standard for useability and reliability.

Excuse me, but in the past few years that I've seen, Windows has evolved significantly.

And guess what? Usability is hard. Designing good interfaces is hard. It's a fine line, between security and usability - anything that's convenient isn't always the best thing because someone could take advantage of that convenience.

And for all of Windows' faults, I've not had either 2000, XP or 2003 crash on me. All you need to do is look up CERT's bulletins to know that the number of security exploits in Windows has been steadily decreasing. Combined with the legacy applications that Windows users insisted on using (and unlike some companies [apple.com] that break the applications, Microsoft at times actually caters to its customers), it takes time to migrate away from a legacy codebase, with so many flaws.

Here's the thing - the usability of Windows makes it usable to anybody. Simplicity is not easy. Grandma Rogers can use Windows, but remember that she - the user - is the weakest security link.

The fact that you make a system so usable will mean that everybody will use it - usability is a double edged sword.

The reason why *nix is so stable is because Grandma Rogers cannot use it - the level of skill needed to use *nix means that you inherently do not have an ignorant user.

At the end of the day, Windows has come a long way.

Yet nothing is changin.... (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | about 8 years ago | (#16292529)

Robert,

You may have responded to some rants on how Microsoft products work (or don't), and that is all fine and dandy, as it was appreciated. However, the problems are *still* there. I still get the little hardware wizard that wants to help me when I plug in a new mouse, or Windows will still notify me that there is either a new network found or that my computer is at a security risk because of virus subscription expiration in the middle of a Powerpoint presentation!

It's stuff like that (and much more) that are driving people to alternatives

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1, Funny)

MECC (8478) | about 8 years ago | (#16292585)

So what you're saying is that you'd rather that MS actually fix something rather than use a blogger or bloggers to pretend to listen.

That's just plain crazy talk.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 years ago | (#16292625)

and if Microsoft didn't warn you people would complaine about that.

"Microsoft didn't tell me my Antivirus protection had expired, just because I had a power point slide open!"

There is no way to make everyone happy, so you provide the best protection you can and try to make the least number of people pissed. To me, a better question would be "why did you let your antivirus expire?".

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | about 8 years ago | (#16292725)

and if Microsoft didn't warn you people would complaine(sic) about that.

Actually, no.... I would not.

How unprofessional is it in the middle of a presentation to have something like that happen? In the movies, they call it interruption of suspension of disbelief. In business and science, it's called absurd.

There is no way to make everyone happy, so you provide the best protection you can and try to make the least number of people pissed. To me, a better question would be "why did you let your antivirus expire?".

That is a cop out that lazy people trot out when they do not want to do the real work required to think about how people actually interact with their computers. Actually, there *is* a better way and Apple computer has showed us.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292871)

Actually, there *is* a better way and Apple computer has showed us.

Yeah, thats why I have such a hard time finding forward cursor deleting - because Apple has shown the way to usability.

Fanboi.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | about 8 years ago | (#16293025)

Yeah, thats why I have such a hard time finding forward cursor deleting

It is in the same damn place as on windows - dufus.

Mod parent up! (1)

khasim (1285) | about 8 years ago | (#16292891)

There are so many different ways of handling system messages.

#1. An icon on the task bar that changes appearance to indicate you have system messages.

#2. A list of messages pops up when you log on.

#3. A list of messages pops up when you come out of a period of inactivity.

Your "check engine" light does not take over the windshield of your car, does it? Why should a less important message on your computer take over the monitor?

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (2, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 8 years ago | (#16292743)

Why can't MS notify you about that when you first boot instead of at some unpredictable time when the whole world might be watching?

To me, a better question would be "why did you let your antivirus expire?".


Perhaps because Symantic is one of the very few companies that suck worse than MS!

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 years ago | (#16292755)

Well yea, if you use Symantic your asking for it. But why is that Microsofts fault?

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 8 years ago | (#16292807)

Symantic's suckiness isn't Microsoft's fault. I only mentioned it to answer your question.

Popping up a message at any unpredictable time, instead of when you're least likely to be in the middle of something IS Microsoft's fault.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 years ago | (#16292825)

I guess I just dont see how Microsoft would know that your in a meeting. Sorry.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

ComaVN (325750) | about 8 years ago | (#16292945)

Powerpoint in full-screen mode would be a good indication

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 years ago | (#16292997)

What if your not using powerpoint? How about that the user could have just disabled the warnings if they where such a big deal.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

kenneth_martens (320269) | about 8 years ago | (#16292981)

I guess I just dont see how Microsoft would know that your in a meeting. Sorry.

Windows should know that you're giving a PowerPoint presentation. All it needs to do is check to see if PowerPoint is running, and if it is, ask PowerPoint if it's giving a presentation.

And it shouldn't be limited to PowerPoint. There needs to be a standardized API so that Windows can query each running program to ask it whether it's busy doing something that shouldn't be interrupted. So whether you're giving a PowerPoint presentation or taking a timed test online or playing a time-sensitive game, Windows should know enough to not interrupt you.

It's actually a really hard thing to do, so I don't criticize Microsoft too much. For one thing, you can't always trust what the application tells you. What if some idiot programmer writes an application that always claims to be busy and uninterruptible? Should Windows blindly believe that program, and *never* show any alerts? Clearly not. So Windows should sometimes show alerts anyway, even if a program claims to be busy. And what about old programs that don't inform Windows when they're busy? What should Windows do about them? Just ignore them? Or maybe inspect their GUI and use some heuristics to guess whether the program is busy? There are a lot of different solutions, most of them wrong. It's a significant challenge.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 8 years ago | (#16293125)

Excellent points! One of the biggest flaws of Win3X, and to a lesser extent Win9X, was that a badly written app could block its "cooperative multitasking" and freeze the system.

However, allowing a badly written app to blantantly interrupt a mission-critical app (or an embarrasing one like the PP presentation) is bad too.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 8 years ago | (#16293767)

"It's actually a really hard thing to do, so I don't criticize Microsoft too much."

No, really, it isnt.

Unrequested drastic UI and focus alterations are _always_ undesired. You dont need to query anything about wether the user should be interrupted; the user should _not_ be interrupted. For anything. At any time.

Nobody _ever_ has so much spare time these days that they sit around doing nothing but wait for random suggestions, be it from telemarketers or syslogs. They're always doing something, and unless 'looking at the system messages' has reached their priority queue, whatever they're doing is always more important.

(Actually, there is one time where an interruption is appropriate; notification that they're going to be a whole lot more interrupted in a short while, such as notifying the user that a system shutdown is imminent or the battery is about to explode)

There. Now that we've concluded that interruptions with push-information are more or less always inappropriate, the question instead becomes 'how do we quickly and unobtrusively notify the user that there is information available when his attention strays'?

The answer to that, of course, is things like notification bars, system trays, tickers, etc. Unobtrusive UI features requested and placed appropriately by the user.

"It's a significant challenge."

No, really, it isnt. Anyone who's been in a classroom should be able to solve it; thirty unruly programs need to learn to raise their hand and wait to get asked, rather than blurt out whatever's on their mind.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293005)

It doesn't really matter. The system is flawed for exactly that reason. MS can't know you are in a meeting, but unless instructed otherwise should assume the least obnoxious position. Changing the bubble notification system to small, slowly flashing icon in the system try would be a good start. If we want additional information, it is at OUR option. What really kills me about MS is that they display USELESS information, and hide CRITICAL information. Oh thanks, I'm glad to know there is another wireless network in range, and I'm sure glad you didn't waste my time letting me know about all of those disk IO errors in the eventviewer.

It's the same with focus stealing imo. The OS should monitor keystrokes, and not allow a new window to take focus until a specified timeout period (probably a second or less). Ideally there could be several levels of 'urgency' in the API with different timeouts. Urgent pops up 1 second after typing ceases. No activity for a minute, deal with level 2 urgency. I can't count the number of times I've been typing only to have a dialog pop in mid sentence. It flashes briefly, and goes away because my typing activated one of it's shortcut keys. I'm left wondering just want the hell I told my computer to do, and hoping it was something harmless.

This isn't strictly a Microsft issue of course, but as the big players they could actually innovate instead of regurgitate and market.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

ender- (42944) | about 8 years ago | (#16293687)

I can't count the number of times I've been typing only to have a dialog pop in mid sentence. It flashes briefly, and goes away because my typing activated one of it's shortcut keys. I'm left wondering just want the hell I told my computer to do, and hoping it was something harmless.

This is especially bad on a server. I can't figure out why they have to have a dialog pop up every 2 minutes asking if you want to reboot the server now or later, after an update has been run. I've already told it I'll reboot it later, now stop bugging me!

I was going to wait until everyone went home to reboot the server. But I was making another change on the server, so I was still logged in and working. That Reboot now or later dialog popped up JUST as I was about to click on something. Guess which button had popped up under the mouse cursor?!? So in the middle of the day, the server rebooted, giving no chance for people to close their files, and taking out our DNS server while it rebooted [It's a small office, so it's a mutli-function server].

Aside from being annoyed at the fact that I have to reboot the server for every little update each month, that kind of thing just infuriates me. The debian servers in the office only have to be rebooted if there's a kernel update, and *I* choose when that happens. Are you listening Microsoft?!?!?

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (2, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#16292817)

Why can't MS notify you about that when you first boot instead of at some unpredictable time when the whole world might be watching?

Well, the very few times it's happened to me, it *has* been when I first logged in. More specifically though, I'd imagine that it happens when the AV software notifies the security centre that it needs to be updated, which is likely to be whenever it feels like it.

I'd be wary of pinning all the blame for this one on MS; it's entirely possible that it's the av software that's nagging you.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

AceCaseOR (594637) | about 8 years ago | (#16293081)

So, perhaps a better question is - Why are you using an anti-virus program that can expire?

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (3, Insightful)

JustASlashDotGuy (905444) | about 8 years ago | (#16292823)

and if Microsoft didn't warn you people would complaine about that.

"Microsoft didn't tell me my Antivirus protection had expired, just because I had a power point slide open!"

There is no way to make everyone happy, so you provide the best protection you can and try to make the least number of people
pissed. To me, a better question would be "why did you let your antivirus expire?".

Exactly! People bitch if MS doesn't pop up a notification and people will bitch if MS does pop up a notification. MS tries
to make everyone happy by making everything customizable (IE: local/group policies for everything under the sun it seems).....
however, the extra code to accomodate the configurable options adds to bloat. So people will bitch about the bloat and the
higher machine requirements.

You will never be able to make everyone happy. Particularly certain linux crowds that will complain over any little thing MS
does.

It's ironic that a major source of the bloat in the MS code can be traced back to end users whining about wanting (or nor
wanting) certain options. Of course, if MS didn't listen and just said 'Tough.. your getting it the way we want you to have
it so that we can keep the code base small'... people would whine about the lack of options.

It just like politics... Dems/Reps will complain all day about 4.7% of the public being unemployeed, while ignoring the 95.3% of
the people that are employeed.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | about 8 years ago | (#16293009)


Exactly! People bitch if MS doesn't pop up a notification and people will bitch if MS does pop up a notification. MS tries
to make everyone happy by making everything customizable (IE: local/group policies for everything under the sun it seems).....
however, the extra code to accomodate the configurable options adds to bloat. So people will bitch about the bloat and the
higher machine requirements.

You will never be able to make everyone happy. Particularly certain linux crowds that will complain over any little thing MS
does.


That's because certain linux crowds (like me) think the focus is wrong.

These days, a Linux or OS X virus would make huge waves, and people are working on such a beast. Especially in the server relm, a Linux virus would be national news overnight.

I don't care whether Vista or XP has a "your antivirus is outdated" notification or not. As far as I'm concerned, once your system is compromised, you cannot return it to a "known good" state without a great deal of work, including having all the binaries on your system (including macros) checked by signature from a read-only boot media.

Most Microsofties cannot see the forest through the trees. The issue is not whether or not anti-virus displays a notification. The issue is whether or viruses are a problem on the platform, and currently all indications for Vista indicate it will be.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

MECC (8478) | about 8 years ago | (#16292917)

"so you provide the best protection you can and try to make the least number of people pissed"

Its doubtful they're even doing that. They could at least try to make it more configurable. That, of course, would make it look more complex, and frighten the hopelessly dumbed-down masses. They've painted themselves into a corner, and don't seem to have either the ability or percieved need to get out of it.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 years ago | (#16292967)

Um, it is configurable. You can turn off all the warnings in question through an easy to use wizzard.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

MECC (8478) | about 8 years ago | (#16293131)

So can it be configured not to pop up during PP presentations? That's be a handy tidbit.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 8 years ago | (#16293435)

Which service pack added this easy to use wizard to regedit?

(You can click through the control panel applet to change the notification settings for Security Center items, such as virus protection. But AFIK there is no gui interface for turning off all the damn annoying dialog balloons, such as new network notification, new program installed, etc., etc., etc.)

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 8 years ago | (#16292931)

I think the important thing here (in this particular issue) is the way in which Windows lets certain things steal focus. This has long been a known problem in Windows, of things stealing focus in stupid ways and at stupid times.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293039)

I still get the little hardware wizard that wants to help me when I plug in a new mouse

I'm not sure what kind of mouse you use, but I've never gotten the hardware wizard to pop up when I plug in a new mouse. The only thing I see is the alert in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen and it just installs the mouse automatically. It never requires user intervention.

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293135)

Robert,

You may have responded to some rants on how Microsoft products work (or don't), and that is all fine and dandy, as it was appreciated. However, the problems are *still* there. I still get the little hardware wizard that wants to help me when I plug in a new mouse, or Windows will still notify me that there is either a new network found or that my computer is at a security risk because of virus subscription expiration in the middle of a Powerpoint presentation!

It's stuff like that (and much more) that are driving people to alternatives


Yes, Linux can fix all those "issues" for you

I still get the little hardware wizard that wants to help me when I plug in a new mouse, - Yeah, I'd rather have to go find drivers every time I plug in a new mouse. Actually, no, I'd rather just write my own. What? Thats not practical for a Business Executive? Tough!

Windows will still notify me that there is either a new network found - Whats that? My computer won't work on the company network? My Flavor of Linux can't be verified and is too customized? Hrmph! MS Fanbois!

my computer is at a security risk because of virus subscription expiration in the middle of a Powerpoint presentation!

I don't know about you, but since I run Linux, I don't have to use Antivirus. Its part of my OS already! Wait...integrating different components is a BAD thing! Fanbois!

Re:Yet nothing is changin.... (1)

knghtrider (685985) | about 8 years ago | (#16293219)

*Sigh*..

You can turn off that notification in the Security Center--assuming it's not GPO'd..

Perception is changin.... (1)

spun (1352) | about 8 years ago | (#16293503)

Perception is all that matters to Microsoft. They don't have to fix their product, they just have to fix people's perception of it. If someone rants about their problems on a blog and out of the blue someone from MS makes a conciliatory comment, probably the first damn comment they ever got on their blog, now Windows has gone from "That piece of shit OS written by that greedy callous company" to "that loveable, quirky OS written by that friendly company that cares enough about me to post on my blog!" Problem solved, from Microsoft's point of view, anyway.

"It was an invaluable focus group... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292551)

...that Microsoft didn't have to pay for."

Which must have driven the bloggers nuts, so they stop posting in protest. Talk about sneaky!

Too much work (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#16292573)

"We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog. Even if they had no readers and were just ranting, 'I hate Microsoft,' I could see that and link to it, or I could participate in their comments, or send them an e-mail saying, 'What's going on?' And that told those people that someone was listening to their rants, that this is a different world than the one in which no one listens. It was an invaluable focus group that Microsoft didn't have to pay for."

Why didn't he just read Slashdot? Faster, cheaper, and probably holds the core user/developer base that would have the most to say on the subject of Microsoft software. Face it: even the most virulent criticism of MS here would contain enough useful information that if Gates & Co. actually paid attention, they'd find innumerable ideas for improving their wares. And all for free.

Re:Too much work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292653)


>improving their wares

You misspelt warez.
You don't actually pay for MS products do you ?

Re:Too much work (1)

RLiegh (247921) | about 8 years ago | (#16293551)

Gah! Just because we're into Free Software doesn't mean we're a bunch of software pirates. That's the script kids; people who use FOSS generally know the value of a buck and choose FOSS because it provides the best value proposistion to match their requirements. A lot of us have gone from closed-source programs -which we paid for- to FOSS for a variet of reasons. We use FOSS because we appreciate having an OS that we genuinely own and appreciate the advantage that Linus' Law ("many eyes make bugs shallow") gives us.

So please reconsider your words the next time you want to paint us all as basement-dwelling pirate theives; there are a wide variety of FOSS advocates here -and while I'm sure there are theives on this board the vast majority prefer legitamately owning our software.

Good day.

Re:Too much work (5, Insightful)

justkarl (775856) | about 8 years ago | (#16292669)

Face it: even the most virulent criticism of MS here would contain enough useful information that if Gates & Co. actually paid attention, they'd find innumerable ideas for improving their wares. And all for free.

Criticism != constant flames. They'd have to sort through hours of "Micr0$0f7 suxx, lam3r!!!" in order to get any useful information. Not terribly dissimilar from regular Slashdot users.

Re:Too much work (4, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 8 years ago | (#16292867)

They'd have to sort through hours of "Micr0$0f7 suxx, lam3r!!!" in order to get any useful information. Not terribly dissimilar from regular Slashdot users.

But quite dissimilar from the +5 moderated posts. Slashdot has this unique automoderation feature that one seems interested in copying. Flames on /. take the shape of a lot of nested posts with, occasionally, one intelligent argument being shown at +5.

Really, the signal/noise ratio is very high here compared to other forums.

I don't linke the "we are the core of the technology world" meme, though...

Re:Too much work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293391)

I disagree... there are still far too many +5 "Windows?! You have to reboot daily and it bluescreens ALL the time! Call me when its stable..." posts, which has not been true for more than 6 years now. There are some objective +5's to be sure, but they are few and far between all the posts with an irrational "M$ sucks, Linux is the one true operating system" attitude running through them.

MS coming here is about as useful as going into a #linuxhelp irc chatroom and asking why you can't just plug stuff in and have it work. All you will get is "STFU Noob, RTFM, or some convoluted explanation on how yes, linux can do that, all you have to do is go into /etc/conf/somethingorother add the line "$SETTTING=#@#%$*&", recompile the kernel with -xyz flag, and of course it will "just work" now stop spreading FUD NOOB.

Linux zealots are often the worst kind of zealots I have ever come across. Its an OS guys, not a religion or some definition of your being. It only impedes adoption by the mainstream.

If the previous argument doesn't convince you that the zealots are hurting linux, imagine your boss trying to play with linux and reading LDP, not getting the answer he needs and going to an irc chatroom and getting the kind of responses new users get there. He probably wouldn't let Linux near his serverroom after a typical experience there.

Three step solution to Microsoft's problems (1)

soft_guy (534437) | about 8 years ago | (#16293065)

Step 1: Buy Apple.
Step 2: Don't change anything at Apple, except to tell them to license their OS to other manufacturers.
Step 3: Plan the transition from XP to OS X.

Re:Too much work (1)

archen (447353) | about 8 years ago | (#16293385)

They'd have to sort through hours of "Micr0$0f7 suxx, lam3r!!!"

Actually if I were a top exec at MS I'd be very interested in these posts as well. When people flame windows what do they usually point out? These are the top things that you need to work on (perception wise) to change in Windows. For each argument against windows you render irrelevent, windows becames a product which is harder and harder to argue against. With Linux gaining pros and fixing cons, that's going to become more important.

Re:Too much work (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 8 years ago | (#16293621)

Not if they read comments at 3-5. Yes a few rants slip through but I find the moderation system weeds out most of them. Unless I'm moderating I read everything at 3+, maybe 2 if it's a topic I'm particularly interested in or it's a fresh story with few comments.

Rants or criticism, whatever you want to call them, comments modded 5 about Microsoft most likely give a pretty good feel about how savvy users and developers are feeling about them or a given product of theirs.

Re:Too much work (1)

Goblez (928516) | about 8 years ago | (#16292719)

This was my exact thought.

Why do I get the feeling that small, discrete blogs are being found and attended to, but something major where there is a user base of skill and regular usage of their products that aren't being paid attention to, or (gasp) heeded at all.

Or do they read /. all the time, and just keep it on the download so we don't become full of M$ loving?

Re:Too much work (1)

Goblez (928516) | about 8 years ago | (#16292759)

Down Low, sorry, sometimes the geek in my fingers overrides the person typing. ;)

Re:Too much work (1)

AaronBrethorst (860210) | about 8 years ago | (#16292789)

We keep it on the down-low, not the download ;-) There are actually quite a few MS employees I know who read Slashdot. I comment on here on a semi-regular basis, but you'll never see my musings unless you're reading comments in developer-related articles.

Re:Too much work (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 8 years ago | (#16293175)

If you think that an agent of Microsoft isn't reading Slashdot you are way off base.

I'm sure at one time no one thought Scientology was reading, but we all know that isn't true.

Re:Too much work (1)

Goblez (928516) | about 8 years ago | (#16293607)

It's not that I don't think there aren't people at M$ that read /. The question is whether anyone that actually has the power to implement changes and/or gathers feedback for usage in the improvment of their products does.

And Scientology on /.? I won't even go there, but as it was said on SouthPark, "You're getting Sued!"

Re:Too much work (1, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | about 8 years ago | (#16293035)

Maybe he does read Slashdot?

looks around nervously

Maybe he's reading right now.

Re:Too much work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293501)

Because the average slashdot poster is not Microsoft's target audience. Microsoft's primary goal is to sell their products, which means targeting the average person. What should hopefully be obvious to anyone here is that those are two completely separate entities. The average person wouldn't know what Slashdot is and wouldn't give a toss about anything on it if it were shown to them.

While Slashdot may contain some of the most detailed criticisms of Microsoft products, they don't necessarily reflect the views of the masses. To be blunt, fixing everything to a degree where Slashdot users would be happy will never be cost-effective for a company like Microsoft and is simply never going to happen.

focus group might improve things (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | about 8 years ago | (#16292599)

Actually, I beg to differ on the characterization that the world's blog is being considered like a big focus group. When a real focus group pans a product idea, the maker doesn't try to rationalize the current design, the maker drops it or improves it and starts over. Blog writers are howling into the wind, and it doesn't matter if they are heard or not: Microsoft will just go on doing what Microsoft wants to do, because they're big enough and the market is big enough that they feel they can ignore the whiners.

Re:focus group might improve things (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 8 years ago | (#16292695)

And this differs from the Vista beta testers exactly how?

Re:focus group might improve things (1)

truthsearch (249536) | about 8 years ago | (#16293095)

Because a focus group focuses on one group. Vista beta testers are all over the place on user characteristics.

Re:focus group might improve things (1)

Speare (84249) | about 8 years ago | (#16293107)

Beta testers are ALSO not a focus group. If they report a flaw, the team triages that report. The maker decides if they want to file the burr off the edge, or record the flaw for future improvements, or ignore the complaint. If they report that they don't like something, the chances that their opinion will be heard is vanishingly small.

Re:focus group might improve things (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 8 years ago | (#16293617)

I think you misunderstood. You were saying "Microsoft is gonna do what Microsoft is gonna do, not matter what the bloggers say"; and I was saying the same is true for the beta testers - Microsoft is still gonna do whatever they want.

Re:focus group might improve things (2, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | about 8 years ago | (#16293541)

Not necessarily. Companies can ignore focus groups just like any other data.

One case is the last version of the Chevy Caprice. It was a new curvy design, and they brought in some focus groups. Response was favorable, but for 1 detail - the rear wheelwells were not rounded but "skirted", in a throwback to an earlier design aesthetic. The focus groups pretty consistently said that detail made the car look heavy in the rear, giving it a "fat ass". The chief designer ignored this data, insisting that his design would be considered stylish and that "focus groups don't know anything."

The Caprice was introduced to universal dislike of it's proportions, and sales were slow. After a few years, GM revised the rear quarter panels to a rounded arch, making the rear of the car visually thinner and less heavy, but by then the damage was done. The car only lasted a couple more years and was dropped, along with all of the GM rear drive line. (they have since brought back some rear drive models)

I hate Microsoft! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292717)

But I feel my hate might diminish in inverse proportion to the number of free activation keys I might be sent by somebody from somewhere.

Should have searched for "Micro$oft" or "M$". (0, Troll)

agent (7471) | about 8 years ago | (#16292787)

Microsoft comments to underage gammers. So, did you know that most of the people that make on-line porn use MicroSoft software. We are even helping them with DRM. That way, you can not share your porn with your frat brothers when you get to college.

And they wonder how they got the title Big Brother (3, Insightful)

M00NIE (605235) | about 8 years ago | (#16292829)

"We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog. Even if they had no readers and were just ranting, 'I hate Microsoft,' I could see that and link to it, or I could participate in their comments, or send them an e-mail saying, 'What's going on?'
Is anyone else thinking 'gee, maybe contacting people who are writing that they hate Microsoft aren't exactly feeling BETTER that they got contacted about it too?' Just remember, Big Brother IS watching and is scouring the net for you - whew, I'm glad they cleared that up to make me feel better!

Right of reply (2, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | about 8 years ago | (#16293103)

It's published on a blog, not squirreled away in some secret diary or whatever. Microsoft also say they're using blog search engines - well then, that implies the blog they found is actively pinging those search engines.

It's hardly a surprise to learn that deliberately publicised information is being found and read - that's the whole point, surely? I remember reading a comment from the BBC News web team a while ago saying pretty much the same thing - people were saying it was scary when the Beeb team replied to them. Er...why?

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Right of reply (2, Interesting)

M00NIE (605235) | about 8 years ago | (#16293317)

I hear your point and it's well taken, but I have to admit - this is chiefly why I won't use blogs and other publically available and searchable mediums to write my thoughts about ANYTHING.

If I indicated I hated the President of United States in a blog somewhere, I would be equally annoyed, offended and paranoid about some advocate of the President contacting me to sell me on whether he's a good President or not. Interestingly enough, I don't see other companies or organizations doing that, much less touting it as some great thing.

I just think it's bad form whether or not it's possible or whether the information is public. It's like telemarketers calling my house because they got my phone number. Sure, my phone number is available publically - doesn't mean I like, or want, companies to abuse that knowledge to interrupt my dinner.

Re:Right of reply (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 8 years ago | (#16293569)

Find yourself a copy of USA Today. There is a rambling story about bloggers being sued by various entities, indicating that other companies and organizations are indeed watching.

Re:Right of reply (1)

M00NIE (605235) | about 8 years ago | (#16293613)

Greeaatt - yet more reason to feel like I can't freely express my opinions. What country do I live in again? Last I checked, I was guaranteed the right to say I didn't like stuff without worry of being persecuted for it (up to and including saying I hate the President) - or sued in this case.

Spare me, Robert (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | about 8 years ago | (#16292837)

I have one of the "I hate Microsoft" [msversus.org] web sites he linked to. I used to read Scoble's blog and comment on it occasionally before he become famous. As soon as his blog started to get any traction he stopped posting anything intelligent. He became a pure evangelist who claimed Microsoft should listen to the haters, then bashed anything critical of Microsoft. And in the end, not much if anything changed. Microsoft used him to try to improve their image. And having this fake power Scoble became full of himself. He's a tool. Microsoft still ignores critics.

Call me cynical, but... (4, Interesting)

tommasz (36259) | about 8 years ago | (#16292841)

...I never quite understood Scoble's impact or why so many people considered his tenure at Microsoft so important. I can't think of a single Microsoft product that has significantly changed as a result of his interceding on some poor user's behalf. It was more like a grand, and public, experiment in listening to the users. Considering they let him leave and especially since they haven't replaced him, it says they've heard enough.

Re:Call me cynical, but... (1)

Tankko (911999) | about 8 years ago | (#16293673)

Man do I agree with that. Scoble is just in a big circle jerk with the rest of the self-proclaimed A-list bloggers. No one really cares except them, and they just go around linking to each other saying "hey, look at how great we are".

I have no doubt MS was happy to be rid of him.

who did what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16292977)

Scoble changed the way companies communicate with the world...

Scoble, um something what???? I haven't seen any change over here. And to think, I didn't know he even blogged.

Easy one... (1, Redundant)

Chaffar (670874) | about 8 years ago | (#16292983)

Just spell it Micro$oft, M$ Windoze, or /\/\1Cr0$oF7 5\/XXo|Rz.
No rant is complete without a gross deformation of Miyoursoft's name.

Re:Easy one... (1)

jo42 (227475) | about 8 years ago | (#16293043)

Don't forget Messysoft...

Wow (0, Troll)

hey (83763) | about 8 years ago | (#16293063)

Wow, a guy used blogs and suggest that other people should.
But that's just too radical for Microsoft so he's out.

Yeah, they listen allright (1, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | about 8 years ago | (#16293203)

I could see that and link to it, or I could participate in their comments, or send them an e-mail saying, 'What's going on?' And that told those people that someone was listening to their rants, that this is a different world than the one in which no one listens.

More like, they search all the blogs like /. and mod down anyone who critizes Microsoft or calls their products proprietary pieces of shit.

Re:Yeah, they listen allright (1)

TheZorch (925979) | about 8 years ago | (#16293775)

Ahmen to that. I can easily see Microsoft doing someth8ing like that.

Gimme a f'ing break (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16293237)

We used blog-search engines to find anyone who wrote the word 'Microsoft' on their blog.
Gee, that's a lot of hits. And you're telling me straight-faced that you responded to them? Oooh right... to some of them? Huh? How many? 4? Well, in a sea of about 18,700,000 you did pretty well, wouldn't you say so?
Give me a fucking break;
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