Archive for the 'Peeves' Category
And no, I’m not talking about the TV station. Well, maybe it does, but that’s guilt by association.
No, I’m talking about Microsoft Windows Small Business Server (SBS.) Look, truth be told, it exasperates me, much like Microsoft Access exasperates me. And no, this is no mere Microsoft-bashing. Why, I love SQL Server. I love Visual Studio.
The truth is both SBS and Access are accessible to inexperienced consultants and then others – ie me – have to come in and tidy it up when the system inevitably scales beyond what those systems permit.
I wrote a piece on iTWire, “How Linux is keeping Microsoft honest (and why SBS sucks.)” The point wasn’t even really to criticse SBS as such but to show that Windows has been bolstered as a result of the rise of Linux. This is a good thing, competition sharpens vendors. One example is PowerShell – after years of Linux being derided for keeping the real power at the command line instead of a GUI we see Microsoft doing the same thing. I don’t doubt PowerShell was influenced by the BASH shell.
Nevertheless, it was my comments about SBS that drew the most attention from bloggers worldwide. I got a lot of responses. The SBS consultants did themselves no favours; after all they agreed SBS doesn’t let you have trust relationships, you’re limited to one SBS server, you can’t run terminal services on your SBS machine, your user numbers are capped, you’re stuck with 4GB RAM and so on.
What was most interesting though was a Microsoft SBS MVP gave me the real reason why consultants advocate SBS – and it was nothing to do with technology (or price for that matter.)
Hoorah! It’s iPhone-eve! The world will be watching as the clock draws towards midnight … except one segment of phone buyers who have been totally excluded. In a mess of mixed messages the telcos seem to have hired the famous Seinfeld soup Nazi as their director of enterprise and government pricing. That’s right, “No iPhone for you” despite the claims it’s a better business device than BlackBerry.
Here’s my story about trying to buy an iPhone to sign up to my company’s corporate pricing plan. I was continually told it wasn’t possible. I tried to dig further to find out just why out of every mobile phone my telco offers this one is so different. The reason, in my view, is due to Apple’s demand for a grab at the ongoing cash — which at the same time makes a mockery of their claims to now offer enterprise level features like push e-mail.
I periodically travel through Sydney. I don’t live there and do not have an e-tag which is a terrific device that saves time at toll booths, but has a monthly fee.
Consequently, I generally sign up for a temporary electronic pass when visiting. Imagine my surprise to receive some penalty notices when it turned out my e-pass for the M7 through Roam Tolling does not cover me for travel on the Lane Cove tunnel, operated by Roam Express.
It’s a bit confusing for non-residents to have different operators handling different parts of the roadway, especially when they both call themselves Roam!
iTWire: A lot has been said of late concerning the way Apple slipped in a brand-new Safari installer into the Apple Software Update used by many hundreds of thousands of iPod-wielding Windows users. Let me offer a new perspective, from the open source point of view – why what Apple did was bad, and why open source developers wouldn’t do it.
Microsoft have often been accused of dirty tricks – there have been allegations in the past that Internet Explorer would cripple Netscape Navigator, Windows Media Player would cripple Real Player and so on.
Whatever the reality may be, Apple have won no fans in the Windows world by foisting their Safari web browser upon its legions of PC-based iTunes users. It’s bad enough that you don’t seem able to install iTunes sans QuickTime but this last week the Apple Software Updater popped up that it wanted to install the Safari web browser.
Now, many Apple fans have been quick to point out how effortless it is to uncheck the “Install” box. Yet, that’s not the point. The issue is the principle of the matter. Apple’s tool was not offering an update to an already installed product. It was attempting to install an entirely new product. I find this an affront and a disappointing move by a company who, like Google, have tried to portray themselves as the do-n0-evil “good guys” but – again, like Google – have a lot of darkness under the covers.
EDIT: My iTWire colleague, Alex Zaharov-Reutt, has blogged on this too.
Back in 2003 I purchased an electronic copy of Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead the People Who Deliver Technology from Amazon.Com.
At the time, naive to the subletities of digital rights mismanagement, as DRM should be known, I hadn’t realised what a waste of money and time this would be.
I couldn’t print more than a small number of pages. I had to download some Adobe software to open the PDF in the first instance. Then I had to authorise it on my laptop and desktop. When I replaced my laptop I had to download it from Amazon.Com again, then download the Adobe software again then re-authorise.
And now, having decided I’d like to read it again, I find it is no longer available for download from Amazon.Com and has been removed from the “My Digital Downloads” section.
Fortunately, I’d saved the original PDF. Unfortunately, double-clicking on it – and having Adobe Acrobat again prompt for the proprietary DRM management software to be installed – yields the sad result, “This cannot be opened, please re-download from the original store.”
I’m sure there’s nothing corrupt with the PDF, just it has not been authorised for this machine. Yet Amazon.Com won’t let me download it again because they no longer have it available for reasons unexplained. (Perhaps due to their new Kindle direction?)
I wish I’d bought the print book in the first place; then it’d have been a much more pleasant reading experience (reading on the laptop screen is one thing, but trying to use a PDA as an e-Book reader turned out to be a short-lived exercise in futility and frustration and a sure way to make your eyes bleed) and I’d still be able to read it now.
DRM gave me less rights and a greatly shorter usable product life than the print version of the book.
ITWire: Forget vampires, there’s a world of evil in corporations across the globe infesting desktops everywhere. It’s the database product known as Microsoft Access but fear not: there is a chosen one, the [Silicon] Valley open source software revolution born with special strength and a destiny to fight Access.
Access must die, and here’s why as well as three top quality open source databases to do the job.
Aaarrgghh … why do people insist on using Microsoft Access to make corporate databases??