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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

gonz Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (387 comments)

> So it only took about a year of screaming from the users
> and slashdotters before Microsquishy paid attention and
> brought back the MENU instead of that god damned
> useless start screen.

No, what it took was a new CEO. Don't flatter yourself. What you have observed is merely the surface of a significant shift that is happening. The fact that these effects are already visible in the first 6 months is pretty telling.

about 4 months ago
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Microsoft Extends Updates For Windows XP Security Products Until July 2015

gonz Re:No, this is smart. This is to keep the customer (417 comments)

If Microsoft can have those people wait for Windows 9 and Windows 9 is an improvement of any sort, they stand a better chance of keeping the customers.

Really? MS didn't change much in Win8.1, and they are making Win7 really hard to buy. It implies they really believe Win8 isn't a disaster.

about 6 months ago
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Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Pass 10% Market Share, Windows XP Falls Below 30%

gonz Re:It doesn't matter (470 comments)

The head of the Windows division got fired shortly after Win8 shipped, and the whole company seems to be treading water while the board hunts for a new CEO.

It's unrealistic to expect any changes to the Windows 8 vision until that shakes out. But when it does, you can bet the Surface/metro thing will get ripped apart, and Julie Larson-Green will be replaced by someone who isn't just keeping a seat warm. Whether that's for better or worse really depends on who the CEO is.

about 7 months ago
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The Challenge of Cross-Language Interoperability

gonz Re:Cross language - what .Net gets right (286 comments)

.NET also has a managed C++ model, which as allows C++ objects to be tightly bound to C# including garbage collection in an extremely natural way, while still having inline assembly language and all the performance of C++. And for managed languages (C#, VB, PowerShell, Python, etc) you get very deep integration that is probably the best that could be hoped fo. The F# mutability example is unreasonable, given the radical difference between these languages. And for all of this integration you get to use a single IDE with a visual debugger that shows you a single callstack with thr different languages mixed together.

Microsoft solved this problem so thoroughly, you couldn't ask for much else, except that none of it works on any OS other than Windows.

about 8 months ago
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Fighting Zombies? Chevrolet Reveals New "Black Ops" Concept Truck

gonz Re:Real horsepower (220 comments)

and, in the case of zombies, a canter or even a slow trot will easily get you past any somewhat mobile rotting corpses.

...until you encounter your first ZOMBIE HORSE!
Nay, naaay!

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Teach IT To Senior Management?

gonz You are the inferior one (159 comments)

You refer to the audience as "senior management," but then you have framed this entire discussion around you -- the enlightened one -- trying to "teach" the bumbling, ignorant executives while tiptoeing around their childlike attention spans. A quick look at your pay grade should reveal the exact opposite. You each have a specialty, but /yours/ is the narrower mindset with the smaller impact on the organization. And they may be bored by technical details, but when it comes to the operational and strategic details that drive the day-to-day success or failure of your company, /your/ attention span is the childlike one. Want to see a bunch of snoozing engineers? Put them in a training session about how to extract more money from customers. :-)

In order to be truly successful with your goal here, you need to step out of your world of IT and let your audience teach you something. What were they doing before they came to the class? What are the problems facing the company right now? Why are they requesting the training? If there is an optimal outcome -- publicly congratulating you and asking to do a follow-up training -- what would that look like? (In other words, what was a similar past event that everyone remembers as being a great success?) Sometimes these questions have hidden answers, like people not wanting to be made to feel stupid, or wanting to learn a few simple tricks that will impress others, or merely needing to fulfill a mandate from higher up with the least effort heheh. To be really successful, you need to give them exactly what they want, not what you think they need.

You can ask these questions directly at the start of your session, but a better approach is to talk informally with some key people beforehand. Show them the material you plan to present, and ask for suggestions and feedback. Make them feel like you will implement their advice, so they have a personal interest in the outcome of your event. Technology is absolutely not the point of IT, don't let the conversation dwell on that. Instead, ask about the bigger picture, and try to understand the human perspective and reward mechanisms.

Above all, recognize that you have a blind spot that is twice as large as any executive's blind spot for technology. Accept it, develop some techniques to help yourself work around it, and you will find yourself light years ahead of your IT peers.

about a year ago
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Laser Intended For Mars Used To Detect "Honey Laundering"

gonz How credible is this story? (387 comments)

Here is the original self-promoting story from Food Safety News:
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/honey-laundering

However, from searching Google News (e.g. "china counterfeit honey"), the results are merely people's blogs that link to the same Food Safety News article. I'm sure FSN is providing a helpful service of raising awareness, but they are not an impartial group who we can expect to conduct a reliable investigation. Where are the confirming sources?

Their article references the FDA, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture -- but I can't find anything on those sites to support the article's opening claim that "A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China."

Can anybody provide a citation?

about a year and a half ago
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64GB MS Surface Pro Only Has 23GB of Free Space

gonz Re:They should tell the truth (588 comments)

If I were renting storage space in a building and said "this is 1200 sqft" and only made 500sqft available because I installed electrical and environmental equipment in there, I would be rightfully challenged by my customer(s).

Real estate square footages are usually measured from the building exterior and include areas inside the walls, chimney, etc. :-)

about a year and a half ago
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NZ Copyright Tribunal Fines First File-Sharer

gonz Re:It was just $6.37 for the actual infringement (102 comments)

Seems to me to be a perfect balance between high enough to deter people and low enough not to bankrupt people over an activity in which no one could be injured, no property can be destroyed, no one is harassed and economic damage is negligible.

What if he had downloaded 10,000 songs?

about a year and a half ago
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FDA Closer To Approving Biotech Salmon

gonz Re:stop complaining (204 comments)

"Anything with altered genes must be bad for your" is not an irrational fear of some new device or technology, it is a reasonable default position when considering a potentially irreversible change to the ecosystem and gene pool. Genetic engineering is not equivalent to selective breeding, because it can instantaneously produce radical changes that would normally take centuries to achieve. In many cases, the science is empirical, like a hacker making risky changes to a large code base because he "understands" the tiny fragment of code that he's changing, even though there may be unforeseen systemic effects. And what is the urgent problem that we are solving here? You're going to solve world hunger by creating more food? Isn't there an inherent flaw in that idea?

about a year and a half ago
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When Having the US Debt Paid Off Was a Problem

gonz Re:No, IT IS NOT MESED UP (633 comments)

I lug you some rocks, then I will be entitled to some kind of favor from you tomorrow. Maybe you'd give me a feast with a whole chicken. But I wasn't in the mood for a chicken that time, so I decided to put off receiving favor from you. After two years, I expect to still be entitled to that feast of whole chicken.

But if you had to choose between a chicken today, versus a chicken two years from now, you would certainly prefer to receive it today. So don't forget that the value of a chicken decreases over time, inflation or not.

more than 2 years ago
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HP Rethinking Wisdom of Spinning Off PC Division

gonz Re:My thoughts (239 comments)

Agreed, I have nothing but great stuff to say about my Brother printer. Cheap price, excellent usability, long lifetime including toner carts, really good drivers even for OS's that are newer than the printer, and a ton of advanced features that normally are only available for high end printers.

more than 2 years ago
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Google's Real Name Policy, Why You Are the Product

gonz Re:Responsibility (374 comments)

I work for one of the biggest faceless software corporations in the world. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about our customer needs and all the little details that affect the user experience. When we receive a bug report, often I am not allowed to talk directly to the customer, but I still think of them as a person and try find a solution that will make them happy and improve our product. Many of my coworkers have a similar attitude. The financial payoff for doing this is at best extremely indirect.

The fact is that humans often seek to do a good job regardless of the financial payoff. There's a whole theory about "Intrinsic Motivation" that explains this, see here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

more than 2 years ago
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Lodsys Now Suing EA, Atari, Rovio and More

gonz Re:When does the hurting stop? (84 comments)

Actually companies like Lodsys are doing a great job of raising awareness about the weaknesses of the current system. It's great to hear that they're going after big name companies with lobbying power, rather than hurting small businesses.

about 3 years ago
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60% of AOL's Profits Come From Misinformed Customers

gonz Re:Same thing with earthlink (301 comments)

If the "thousands of dollars" are less than around $5000, and if Earthlink has a company office in your state, then you might be able to take this to small claims court. It doesn't require a lawyer, and the judge would typically be biased towards the individual versus the Company.

more than 3 years ago
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Battle Escalates Between Airlines and Online Agents

gonz Re:They're all bad (279 comments)

Really? Did you try Virgin America? Their planes are new, with stylish white plastic and black leather interior, with disco color lighting. They have a Linux-based entertainment system with free games and movies, seat-to-seat chat, and a shopping-cart style electronic ordering system for food/drinks. To celebrate the holiday, the internet was free for all of December. And the price is comparable to shitty airlines like Delta and US Air. Virgin America kicks ass.

more than 3 years ago

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