Category Archives: Microsoft

Halo 3: My First Thought

Besides the script, how exactly is this different from Halo 2 and Halo 1? The graphics don’t seem any better (based on my limited progress through the game), and I expected something a little more than running through the woods killing the same creatures that were in the first two games with the same weapons. Thankfully I got my copy from the company store so I didn’t have to drop $60.

I think Halo 3 will fall into the realm of “great multiplayer” games, cuz the single player mode just bores the crap out of me.  

A Comment on a Leopard / Vista Article

I read the article below and while I don’t necessarily share ALL of the writer’s expectations with regard to Leopard over Vista or Apple over Microsoft, he does indicate that Leopard will embarrass Microsoft (and specifically, Vista). 

I blogged recently about how I don’t believe Microsoft has to fail in order for Apple to win. Apple is already winning (just look at their products and look at their stock price – clearly a winning company). I’m not sure if the author of the article below feels the same way, but when he said that Leopard would embarrass Microsoft, I don’t agree. I think *Microsoft embarrassed itself* when it released Vista.

There are those who will say that Microsoft has sold 88 million copies of Vista and how huge those numbers are and how that makes Vista a success. But when I hear people say that, I think about how Microsoft forced Netscape and other browsers out of the market based on questionable business practices and loads of anti-trust cases and I really start to wonder what makes up that 88 million.

Clearly people are buying new computers at record rates. So that’s got something to do with the 88 million number, particularly when you stop to think about how Microsoft would not allow OEMs to ship a computer with anything BUT Vista. That was overturned, and now vendors like Dell will sell you a computer with XP, but it doesn’t take away from the point: Vista sold a lot of copies because vendors simply were not allowed to sell a computer with any other operating system (servers aside). Is this reminiscent of those old practices that got Microsoft in to so much trouble with the law? Who knows. But it’s one point that starts to make ME wonder.

CNET Blog Entry

First Impressions

I bought the family pack of Leopard this evening and only had to wait on line about 25 minutes. There were about 200 people ahead of me, but somehow they were able to move those people through the store very quickly. Interesting thing to note was that when I had made my way up through 75% of the line, I looked back and the back of the line was at the same point at which I started. This blog entry is called “First Impressions”, and with that in mind, I will keep this very short and say three things.

1. I had hoped that doing an upgrade on my Mac Pro from Tiger to Leopard would be sweet. When I was a Windows user, I had upgraded time and time again, through virtually all versions of Windows, and each time the system was extremely sluggish and very disappointing in performance. I therefore formed the opinion that no one with any kind of technical know-how should EVER do an upgrade of their operating system. It’s just too big of a deal. I was of the frame of mind that whenever you were going to install a new OS, you needed to reformat your drive and start from scratch.

Apple wasn’t able to sway me from that opinion. While my Mac Pro performs acceptably, it most certainly doesn’t perform like a quad-core 3.0 GHz system with 5 gigs of RAM. I will therefore be doing a reformat and reinstall on this box as soon as I have the time. Meanwhile, I will enjoy the GREAT features of Leopard, such as Spaces (discussed in item 3).


2. A fresh install of Leopard is quite literally amazing. My MacBook Pro (which I think is the first-generation 15″ unit with 2 gigs of RAM) performs (I swear) BETTER under Leopard than it did under Tiger. And that’s something I absolutely NEVER could have said about any Windows OS upgrade. My MacBook Pro is extremely responsive and I’m just loving the experience. This is a far cry from when I first tried out two other major releases this year: Vista and Office 2007. I spent so much time trying to figure out how to do things I already knew how to do that I became very sour on those products and just stopped using them.

3. Spaces is just freakin’ awesome. This concept of having multiple desktops that you can switch between is by no means new to either Mac OS or Windows, but in Mac OS the implementation is just SWEET. The performance is amazing, the user experience is nothing short of what you’d expect from Apple, and I’ve already found Spaces super-useful even though I’ve only had it installed for a couple of hours. I plan to get in to Time Machine when I get a new external hard drive. I’ll also blog about various other Leopard findings. But I feel it is important to make one final point.

I first installed Vista Beta 2 when I was a devout Microsoft Fan Boy and I was both disappointed and surprised at what the public was to come to expect as the next “major release” of Windows.  Similarly, I installed Leopard as a devout Apple Fan Boy almost two years later and contrary to my Vista experience,  Leopard feels like an extension of all the goodness, reliability, and strength that I already had at my disposal in Tiger – not a replacement of things merely for the purpose of change.

More to come! 

October 26th: Leopard

I was delighted to finally read that the official release date for Mac OS X Leopard is Friday October 26th. The Engadget story mentions the pricing: $129 for a single license, $199 for a 5-license family pack. It then goes on (in a bit of sarcasm) and mentions how there is no upgrade pricing. Well let’s just think about that for a second.

While I too would love to get it cheaper, I think it’s important to note here that the $129 full retail price (for the version that has everything – the only version they sell) is $30 cheaper than the upgrade for Windows Vista Home Premium. I might also add that the Home Premium edition doesn’t even have all the features that Leopard does. If you want to come closer to Leopard, you’d need the Ultimate edition, whose upgrade price is a whopping $249. Almost twice as much as a full license to Leopard.

While people can (and will) always complain about pricing (even as I have done in the past regarding an Apple product), I just have to say that $129 is a pittance for a product like OS X. It’s a price that makes it an option for millions and millions of people. The family pack, which allows me to install it on up to five machines in my home is a steal at $199.

I’ve gotten free versions of Windows for the past seven or eight years because of the MSDN subscriptions that I’ve had, so I never had to look at pricing. It wasn’t until I had to buy a friend a copy of Windows Ultimate from the company store that I found out how much it was and I just couldn’t believe it. A retail price of $399.95. I was floored. That wasn’t for a family pack, mind you. That was just ONE license.

Office 2008 for Mac. Here We Go Again.

I read a couple of news stories the other day describing the release date and pricing of the delayed product Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. As I read the information, I was both surprised and not surprised at the same time. I didn’t even realize that was possible.

Rather than just release the product, Microsoft has (once again) decided to split it up into different editions (people might be most familiar with this because of the five or six different editions of Vista). The “basic” edition of Office 2008 contains all the Office applications and will sell for a whopping $400. A “home and student” edition will sell for $150 (almost twice what iLife 08 costs – for the only edition they sell – a complete edition). A “special media” edition apparently ships with “Expression Media for Mac”, which is an image management application. That one sells for $500.

First, I have to talk about pricing here. These prices are just insane. This concludes the talk about pricing.

Second, “Expression Media for Mac”? Admittedly, I know nothing of this product. But if it is indeed an image management application as some articles suggest, does Microsoft seriously think they’re going to take market share AWAY from iPhoto – on the Mac platform? What are they smoking? And can I please have some? If, however, it is indeed something entirely different, I’d love to take a peek.

There are some neat visual and functional enhancements as depicted on the site (notice, no Silverlight). Some of these really help to bring parts of Office for Mac up to the level of iWork 08, and that’s a good thing. One thing I still think is a huge blow to Microsoft is how Apple was able to release software that made Office 2007 file formats readable on the Mac platform BEFORE Microsoft did. My thinking is that a converter should have been released along with the release of Office 2007 for Windows so that all of the loyal Microsoft Office for Mac customers weren’t left behind. But maybe this kind of thinking is why I’m not the richest man in the world. Oh well.

Things will obviously become more clear as we get closer to the launch date in several months. One of the things I’m particularly interested in is the performance of the applications. Performance is an area in which the current version of Office for Mac left a LOT to be desired.

A Thought About Market Share

I read an article this morning that reminded me of a subject I wanted to blog about but forgot to. It has to do with the age-old battle between Macintosh OS X and Windows – particularly Vista at this point.

Many, many people make comments about Apple trying to gain market share and how it is (or is not) eating away at Windows. As this morning’s article proves, sometimes they discuss how Apple needs to do X, Y, and Z in order to beat Windows and talk about a 3% market share for Apple.

I look at things a little differently than pure competition. Consider the cars on the road today. You see tons and tons of Fords, Chevys, Toyotas, and Hondas. You see fewer BMWs, Mercedes, and Bentleys. But that doesn’t mean that BMWs, Mercedes, and Bentleys aren’t as good or wouldn’t provide a better driving experience for *everyone*. It just means that they’re at the higher end of the market, so fewer people own them.

I apply that view to Macintosh computers versus Windows computers. I didn’t used to, as many who read this will recall, but I think it’s just fine if Apple wants to go on making its higher-end software. I don’t believe it’s necessary for Apple to beat Windows. I don’t think they’d regret it if they did, but I also don’t believe it’s a requisite of Apple’s success. Just look at the differences in stock performance over the last five or six years. Apple is up (over six fold) and Microsoft is basically flat (up about a dollar or two). Obviously their stock prices are not a reflection solely of their computer operating systems, but it does tell an interesting story.

So, I present those who make it a point to discuss or criticize Apple’s lack of market share with this thought: isn’t it ok if the pursuit of raw market share isn’t the point?

Hmm. Quality instead of quantity. What an interesting thought.

Here’s the article:

Internet Explorer's Reign of Mediocrity

I saw this on today and I have to admit that I am one of the (apparently THOUSANDS) of people who are tired of having to tweak their standards-based code just so that IE 6 and 7 (MIcrosoft’s browsers which do NOT adhere to web standards) can display their web pages the way the developer or designer originally intended.

With IE’s reduced market share due to the success of Firefox, Safari, and Opera, combined with Microsoft’s several-year development cycle to release IE 7 – a browser that doesn’t even bring IE up to date with the competition – I think people are really just starting to say, “You know what? Screw you.” What do YOU think?

Please comment! Opinions are welcome.