Posts tagged: Microsoft

It’s about the apps…

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By , November 30, 2009 11:07 am

Many people have been noticing for a while now that the mobile telcos have been promoting the apps that run on their phones as opposed to the OS, or even the specific device. I have no doubt, this was inspired by Apple, and the App Store, but it seems to have spread rather handily to non iPhone carriers as well. With this in mind, I think we have started to see an age of mobile computing that really doesn’t care about the OS that is running the phone as long as there are a collection of apps that will allow the user to get the work that they consider “mission critical” to get done, done. People also don’t want to have to bother with the OS at all when they are using a phone. Form factor also comes into play, as some people like the keyboard and others don’t, but the long and the short of it is that if you want to be able to get to your Facebook on the go in addition to being able to use star charts, you have X number of choices. As you increase the length of the wish list, the number of devices that you would find acceptable drop, assuming you are equally comfortable in any environment.

This last point is important, as if you are not comfortable in the the interface presented on say the Blackberry, and prefer the iPhone app, well then you are likely going to pick an iPhone (or iPod) when it comes time to get a phone. If one of the compromises that you are not willing to make when mobile is the use of physical keys, then you might be forced back the ‘berry, but you might then also consider one of the Android or Symbian phones out there. These sorts of compromises are expected when looking at the smaller form factors, but as the form factor gets larger, people are willing to compromise less and arguably, the definition of mission critical application also changes.

Moving into the netbook space and beyond, you might start looking at being able to do more than initiate and respond to messages. You might want to be able to create and edit, with some degree of sophistication, content. Both MacOS and Windows based laptops provide this functionality, but with different amount of babysitting on the part of the user. The MacOS and Win7 provide “just works” level of operation, while XP, Vista and *nix systems will suffer some with respect to usability. This need to babysit the OS detracts from being able to use the apps that one wants to be able to get to for their work. As the machine gets bigger, physical and connectivity compromises change, but there will always be the need to give and take with respect to something.

Nothing I’ve said here should be rocket science to anyone, so why take the time to write this up? Well, this weekend I got thinking about ChromeOS and what it will take for it to really take off with the non geek crowd. It will be the apps. There are already ‘net based versions of Photoshop and Office and I can’t imagine that with those two suites moving to online offerings, that others won’t follow. Right now, those apps will work on a range of browsers, making compromises for all manner of browser based issues. But if that ‘net app is accessed through Chrome, some of those compromises will likely be mitigated as they would be able to have access to many more resources than they currently can. So if Chrome rolls out with a suite of apps from Microsoft, Adobe and Apple (I really hope Apple is thinking about doing something with respect to a ‘net based Aperture for Chrome), things might just take off, solving another problem users of netbooks and larger systems. That being what the heck should they buy?

This question is what crystallized this post for me yesterday while watching the game with my brothers. Apple has really helped users simplify the purchasing process by presenting the basics – size and price (and charging a pretty penny for this simplification). Windows systems on the other hand are just as complex a buying experience as ever, in large part due to the selection that serves to drive prices down to loss leading levels. So how should someone looking to buy a computer make the choice these days? It should not matter what the hardware is or what the OS is. Google’s move into the OS market might help this out however. If ChromeBooks start coming out next year, the hardware will really become irrelevant. It won’t matter if you get one built by Acer, Asus or AnyOneElse. With Chromium, it won’t even matter if the hardware is Apple, once you boot and login, you have access to what really matters, the apps that you use to get things done.

Project Natal

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By , June 3, 2009 11:31 am

I know I’m late blogging about this, but I’ve been busy looking at Wave and trying to find out as much as I can about Natal. The end result on both is that there is surprisingly little, but the promises are considerable. I’ve signed up for my Wave account and I’m seeing that some people on Twitter and in the blogosphere have played with it and are liking it quite a bit. If you can put the ideas of Natal together with the data management of Wave, you are really getting close to the Minority Report interface for all manner of content. If you haven’t seen the promo video, take a look at this – and appreciate the irony of a MS demo being delivered by Google:

The only issue that I can see right now is getting people used to pantomime to control. I can’t imagine MS not wanting to get into the prop market as well and selling wheels and swords and all manner of other props. It’s going to be interesting to see the stories of the first person to go through their TV.

This idea has real credibility in my mind with the stuff that Molyneux has done with Milo:

This technology is going to really change games, and hopefully it will enter other applications quickly.

Win7 – MS’s toe back into the door

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By , May 3, 2009 3:23 pm

Well on May 5th, it might just be the one day that ISPs around the world wished that would never come. Torrents or not, geeks by the millions are going to hammer servers at Microsoft, it’s mirrors and torrent hosts like never before. Even MS haters and ex users might be getting into the action, and for just over one year, they will all get to use Win7 for free until June 10th 2010 (GN). This might be a good thing as I don’t think that everyone who wants to get the iso on the first day (or who doesn’t already have it) will likely have to try for a few weeks to get it down. By giving away Win7, MS will effectively play the Linux game for a year and allow everyone legitimately use the OS without paying for it, taking the one thing that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of MS haters out of the equation. This year will also allow a massive amount of public beta testing to be done on MS’s behalf.

If MS plays it’s cards right, it will release the official version of 7 Ultimate for around the same price as OS 10.6 (or 7) – and not through OEM (which is already cheap), but as legit new version/upgrades. This strategy might also have the impact of killing off the Hackintosh market. These hacks are the people that MS wants back in thier camp, because these are the people who are telling average consumers what to get. And now that there are equivalent apps on all OSes, getting these users back into the fold is going to be more important than ever.

So what does that mean for me?  Was my experience in one day so Earth shatteringly amazing that it’s got me thinking about using Windows of my own accord? Well not really, but if I build my Hackintosh in early 2010 and it fails to “bless” properly (bonus points for those who remember about blessed folders on OS9), I will have a machine that I can use Adobe’s Lightroom and Premier Elements on without having to deal with the issues associated with RYO production apps (though I’m pretty sure Lightzone and FilmGIMP -aka Cine Paint – on Ubuntu 9.04) are going to be pretty brainless to support). I will, if I build it in the right case, have a machine that I can stick into my component stack  and use as a Home Theater PC – for sure an over build, but certainly future resistant. And in an odd turn, if that comes to pass… I will be using a Mac to get “real” work done and Windows will be my toy OS.

Lame Laments from Lemmings

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By , January 8, 2009 4:30 pm

I got this passed on through a colleague in the office today. It seems that the author’s laments about moving to the Mac are based more about bemoaning learning a new system as they are about any true deficiencies in system. But before you lambast me about being a fanboy, I think this would be the same lament as would be leveled against any transition – XP to Vista, Windows to Linux, Toyota to Lexus (yes… I know they are the same company, hence the inclusion).

People are moving to the Mac faster now, largely in part because it is “the thing to do”. Apple is having great success with its campaign, as evidenced by the number of these stories we are getting. But as these mid stage adopters come onto the new platform… like the lemmings (and I’m referring to the characters in the game, not in real life) in the middle of the line, there are going to be bigger bumps for them than those at the front who might be able to dodge issues because they are leaders or those at the very tail end who are having everything already sorted for them.

In the end, this has as much to do with diffusion and change management as it does with Mac/PC.

iSlates gets a Dragon

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By , December 15, 2008 11:51 am

MS has released Seadragon for the iSlates and it includes a Photosynth browser making the platform good not only for games, but as one heck of a travel guide as well.

I’m a PC…

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By , September 19, 2008 8:30 am

Well, it looks like MS wants to rumble in the ad space that Apple created with its “I’m a Mac/PC” ads. Even as a fanboy, I have to admit, these are well done – showing the diversity of PC users. But Apple could just spin the same ads, because they have the same users as well. Afterall, it’s a tool! It is DeWalt vs Makita, or Toyota/Honda or Nikon(ptui)/Canon. Both are mature tools that are capable of doing just about anything that one would want to do. The differences are in how each does the job, and that is where you’ll find the rub for using one over another.


WW Tele is here

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By , May 14, 2008 1:14 pm

MS has released WW Telescope out to everyone – so fire up anything but Safari and check it out. 

Worldwide Telescope

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By , February 28, 2008 10:48 am

When this shows up, it it supposed to be better than Google Sky.

Throw Sugar out the Window

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By , February 12, 2008 10:03 am

Wired is reporting that the XO rev that is Windows capable is now getting field tested. Wired is saying that this is likely as much to do to ensure that kids in the developing world are “hooked on Windows”. While, I would agree – not being an MS fan – I think there might be a more “bigger picture” element to it for MS. It might be a way to get them to get Windows to work within stricter limits and help them see what is really needed in the system. It is also a way (I don’t know if it’s being thought of this way) that you can think that XOs running Windows are going to be slightly friendlier for NGOs to extend and support as they are likely bringing resources that at Windows based. It might be more expensive for NGOs and others to develop for the Linux based system, where there might be all manner of resources available for Windows that can be deployed to children and communities in short order. The biggest of all these I’m thinking is Flash – it seems that Flash will be far friendlier on Windows than Sugar and it’s flavour of Firefox.

Maybe Flickr is a diamond in the rough?

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By , February 6, 2008 4:12 pm

Well it seems that the din has died down a bit over the Yahoo/MS thing, but it still seems to be there when it comes to Flickr. There are people posting all sorts of defiant images before anyone knows what (if anything) will actually happen when the two elder Internet companies collide. But C|Net points out something interesting when it comes to the social space. Flickr is the only social networking site that seems to be really working between the two, combined with the chat clients that both have, there might be something there that the two could build on. If Flickr does die at the hands of MS, there are many other places that people could go – Picasa web could have possibilities if Google pays any attention to it and there is always pBase and other gallery sites. But none have that community feeling that Flickr seems to inspire, and (because I haven’t looked) they don’t have the “coolest thing” that Flickr has – Explore and it’s related Interestingness… maybe that is what MS might be after.  

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