Tag Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft and Apple face harsh realities


It hasn’t been a good week for Microsoft or Apple, and difficult decisions will have to be made at both companies. I suspect Microsoft’s will be more difficult, but neither is off the hook.

First, Microsoft: Layoffs at the company are rare, with a one-time layoff of 5,000 employees back in 2009 the first major staff reduction the company had ever seen. With their renewed push into mobile, however, and the heavily-questioned acquisition of Finnish smartphone maker Nokia, as well as the appointment of new CEO Satya Nadella, layoffs are not as rare as they once were.

Thanks for letting me know, Microsoft!

Low Battery!

Recently I received a notice on my Surface Pro 2 tablet that the battery was running low. Then I got it again. And again. And again. And again…you get the idea. Usually if the battery is running low a band appears across the center of the screen informing you of that fact, however this time it gave me the full-blown strobe treatment (which, appropriately, syncs up perfectly to “Boogie Shoes” by K. C. and the Sunshine Band). Not only that, every time the banner appeared, it took control away from whatever I was doing, so this video of it happening was not easy to record.

Apparently I had not fitted the magnetic power adapter to its receptacle properly, so I’m glad it informed me, but it really wanted me to know!

Here’s the video of it happening. It goes on for over a minute, although the actual event was much longer. Watching it now, it’s almost hypnotic, mesmerizing. Bask in the Zen of Microsoft’s low battery warning, let it relax your soul and clear your mind. Or let it hypnotize you into thinking you’re a duck. Either way, be sure to charge your tablets!

PixelSense display at the Mob Museum

Mob Museum

A few weeks ago I went to the Mob Museum, and although I was skeptical I have to admit it was quite interesting. There were many displays, both static and interactive, including a Tommy gun you could fire (not real bullets, of course, that would end badly). You could sit in a replica electric chair, stand in a lineup, and they had the actual wall from the St. Valentines Day Massacre. Macabre, but this is the Mob we’re talking about.

It Begins

You may notice in the Twitter feed over there on the right side of the page, I recently sent out a Tweet stating a July 29 release date has been confirmed for Windows 10.

Ironically, I made that Tweet on my Mac. About an hour later, when I started up my Windows machine, I saw what many of you likely saw on your own machine – this little guy in the system tray!

Well hello there!

Well hello there!

Jobs v. Gates: Go!

As a (virtual) card-carrying member of the Computer History Museum, I love anything that involves the history of technology or computing. Imagine my glee when I discovered the National geographic Channel has created a mini-series called “American Genius,” which focuses on famous rivalries throughout history. It also has a fantastic webpage you should really click over.

There are more than you might think: The series includes such rivalries as firearms manufacturers Colt and Wesson and publishers Hearst and Pulitzer. But the one I am most interested in is the one between computer luminaries Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

A CPU built in Minecraft

Minecraft is nothing less than a phenomenon. Originally developed by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson and his company Mojang, the blocky, open-world game in which you can build your own world out of various types of blocks was very recently bought by Microsoft for $2.5 billion, making Markus an overnight billionaire and allowing him to pay $70 million cash for the most expensive house in Beverly Hills, which was in the process of being bid on by several celebrities.

The house that Minecraft bought

The house that Minecraft bought

Microsoft turns 40

This post is going to (try, at least) look in to the future, but also take a very interesting look into the past.

In looking ahead, I was surprised to find out that Microsoft turned 40 last weekend. *I’m* older than they are! But it’s no small feat considering the derelict companies and products that waft idly at the bottom of the sea of good ideas and potential. CP/M, Northstar, WordPerfect (which apparently still exists), TRS-80, these and many more just couldn’t survive the turbulent tech ocean, especially during the beginning of the industry. None of these products were bad, mind you, in fact all of them had distinct advantages when compared to their competitors, but the fact is very few of what was there in the beginning is still there now. 

Internet Explorer’s Swan Song

It’s been a long time. A very long time. Back in the halcyon days of the Web, circa early ’90s, we had the early browsers such as Lynx (a text-based browser that predates the graphical front-end of the Web, and you can see what current websites look like as text-only at this page), along with NCSA Mosaic and Netscape Navigator.

At that time, Bill Gates felt the Internet was only a fad and didn’t put much thought into a browser. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that he might be wrong. Very wrong. When he realized it was the future, he wrote that memo that turned the entirety of Microsoft towards integrating with the potential of the Internet.

It’s Cyber Monday

This is a weird Black Friday/Cyber Monday year for me. Usually the big tech companies have rolled out one or two things that make me say “I have to have that.” Last year it was the Surface Pro 2, which also made me the first customer at Fashion Show’s Microsoft Store. This year, however, for the first time in I can’t remember how long, there just isn’t anything that moves me or make me say “One, please” (If anyone finds sticks of 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1866Mhz dual-channel RAM on sale, let me know. That stuff never goes on sale. Get it together, Corsair! I need more RAM!).

There are smart watches and tablets and PCs and 4K UHD TVs and all sorts of fun things that will make your life better, easier, and make you a better person. 4K TVs, especially, are expected (by some) to be a big hit. They’re all great devices and I love to see the forward march of technology, but this year I’m happy with my status quo. Especially with the final nail in plasma’s coffin having been delivered earlier this year, I’ll hold on to my plasma ’til the end; you can pry it out of my cold, dead hands!

European Union wants to break up Google

Those of us who were around in the 90’s may remember when Microsoft became subjected to lawsuits by competitors and even governments because of what was perceived as their monopoly status, their aggressive tactics in maintaining that status, and their stranglehold on the PC market, which was an issue of their bundling of Internet Explorer with their OS, and their use of Media Player. Speaking of the European Union specifically, they have sued Microsoft again and again and again. Of course, Microsoft can give it as well as take it.

While I always understood the concerns and the actions taken, I always felt the relentless pursuit of Microsoft specifically was uneven in the tech industry, when other companies were dominant in other areas, such as AOL / Time Warner. It wasn’t as though people couldn’t download other browsers, and the concern about browsers is long over with all of the options available.