MicroSoft Weasel Words

The boys at the office have been experimenting with Redis at the office however the server they were using was a Windows Server, and therefore the Redis database was running on Windows. So I took a look at the ‘release notes’ from Microsoft and their ‘Lawyer Speak’ was all over it.

MSOpenTech™ Redis on Windows

We strive to have a stable, functionally equivalent and comparably performing version of Redis on Windows. We have achieved performance nearly identical to the POSIX version running head-to-head on identical hardware across the network. Aside from feature differences that help Redis take advantage of the Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis should work in most situations with the identical setup and configuration that one would use on a POSIX operating system.

Having seen this type of language from Microsoft before, in ‘Open’ products like LDAP and ODBC where Microsoft would alter the implementation specification standards to suit themselves, I am wholly obliged to translate their opening paragraph into English for those who don’t ‘get it’. The paragraph should read as follows:

Microsoft’s Proprietary version of Redis for Windows
We have not managed to achieve a stable, functional equivalent or comparably performing version of Redis on Windows yet. We have managed to produce performance almost as good as a POSIX version running head-to-head on identically throttled networks connections. Aside from the changes we had to make to enable it to work within a Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis (using a Microsoft infrastructure) could almost perform using a setup and configuration that looks like a Posix operating system.

Reads a bit differently doesn’t it.

I have warned the developers here not to implement a production system based upon Microsoft’s version of Redis. I do not have anything against Redis, just the dark hole MS expects developers to jump into again.

Economics of computing devices

I have been observing that as smartphones are becoming smarter, they are also becoming more expensive, there have been a segment that have also entered the market once fill by feature, or dumb phones, but they are almost designed to entice you upgrade to the more expensive and glamorious models.

At the same time, laptops, particularly ChromeBooks are now dropping below the price of the average smart phone. Add in the increasing use of pads, especially Android pads and you have to imagine that MicroSoft should be getting very worried.

Desktop computers, PC’s, are almost non-exsistent these days, traditional laptops are in decline and the base for an exclusive Microsoft Windows empire is crumbling before our eyes.

Aren’t we glad that Bill Gates is still the richest (published) man in the world.

And to put another nail in the bed Microsoft sleeps in, no one wants Windows 8.0 or 8.1! Why not just rename Windows 7 to Windows 9 and go on from there? Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

Prediction: Surface RT slab Fails

This one is the first prediction I’ll make for the new year. The Surface RT slab will fail in 2013. (as in period) Windows 8 on Surface Intel processors will be unstable, but the ARM RT will vanish entirely.

microsoft-surface-rt-014

UPDATE: Told You!!! Samsung to stop sale of Windows RT tablets

UPDATE 2: Somebody agrees? Microsoft’s Partners Refusing Windows RT OS

If it moves, it breaks!

Having been in IT for the better part of 30 years, I still sometimes forget, so when the New 500GB disk in my new laptop threw an error, I thought it was my fault. It wasn’t, it was, what is often refered to as ‘Infant Mortality’ a physical failure of the disk. The ‘Smart Disk’ technology on the drive controller built into the diskdrive identified the drive as ‘Failing’ and the Mint OS marked the drive read-only.

This allowed me to backup most of the the stuff I’d put on the drive to an external drive, but then it was useless. The drive has been sent back to PC Specialists for a replacement. The only good thing about this was the ease of repair of my new Clevo Laptop The disk removal took less than 5 minutes, two screws to open and remove the disk.

I am now using the laptop, booted from a new Mint installation on a 16GB SanDisk Cruser thumb drive. There isn’t much space left, and I get an occasional I/O pause with this setup, but try this with Windows, or a Mac and see how far you get.

But remember: ‘If it moves, it breaks!‘ backup often and more often!

My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists

This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.

UPDATE:

      Benchmarks
-------------------------------------
CPU Blowfish	    4.070
-------------------------------------
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
------------------------------------
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
------------------------------------
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
------------------------------------
FPU FFT		   0.972
------------------------------------
FPU Raytracing	  3.688
-----------------------------------

Nokia’s direction down

If anyone has any doubts about the sanity of Nokia’s, rather eFlops selection of windows to hang Nokia’s future upon, this should settle them as Nokia Lumia 800 sales forecast gets chopped that puts first batch sales almost half of what the MeeGo powered N9’s sales already achieved. And that was even after the N9 sales were deliberately handicapped by eFlop himself into some of the most obscure markets in the world. If the N9 had been sold in the same regions that the eFlop 800 is being pushed into, there would be no deigning that Window-Phone is a flop, an Elop.

If you Love/Hate Nokia read this


Will the Real Stephen Elop, Please Stand Up?

I couldn’t on my best day, speak to this better than this article.

If anything it should speak to any CEO/CFO/CTO that arrogantly enters a new company environment with preconceived notions of what strategy should be applied to their new positions. So this article isn’t just about Nokia, it’s about ignorance of facts.

Browser Stats – Internet Exploder

I have been observing a vast increase in traffic, traffic without apparent purpose, over the last several weeks.

And I didn’t give it much thought. However I now know that its MSNBot a Bing Robot that is deeply scanning all my postings. But it’s not very thorough.

And then the evidence, it’s telling my site that it is using Internet Explorer as the browser. It not telling me it’s a search engine or a spider, it pretending to BE a browser to the statistics recorder on my site as a Internet Explorer browser. Internet Explorer has been declining in the statistics over the past few years, and it now seems that Microsoft is attempting to drive that number up on websites around the country to indicate an increase in Popularity for Internet Explorer.

Has anyone else see this in their site statistics?

Sync Me Up



How do you keep your connected devices connected?
How many different services do you depend on to keep your ‘stuff’ safe and available from anywhere?
Could you imagine a better way?
I can, and I almost have it working with my ‘stuff’,
now I’m just working on a way to make it easy for everyone else to do the same.

Smartphones, thick as Flies!

Well if anything, you can’t say there there are too few choices in the Smartphone arena. Joining in the iPhone , Rim, Palm Pre , Windows Mobile firefight, there are now Maemo and LiMo. The later two (Maemo and LoMo) are entering the market just as there is an Android explosion of new phones. And while the Android phones are very tempting my requirements still point me at the Nokia N900, and I think that unless the Vodafone M1/H1 360 doesn’t get traction early, LiMo will be an early dropout.

NOTE: as predicted Vodafone 360 – An Absolute Failure?

Webmin back door

NOTE: Do not accidently drop your own permissions to su to root.

{Unless you happen to remember to have Webmin running. }

This weekend while trying to get CUPS to print on my DYI-Server I managed to grant myself ‘CUPS management’ and lost all other permissions, including the ability to su to root. If you aren’t a sysadmin this is roughly the equivalent of locking your keys in your house. OpenSolaris, and most of the modern Linux distro’s don’t allow root login. So I thought I was thoughly screwed, until I calmed down, and realized that I had Webmin running, so permissions repaired. Yet another harrowing learning experience.

I’m learning too much that a classic, easy to administer desktop operating system might be beyond Linux and OpenSolaris. Windows and MacOSX have just managed to hide most of the pain involved from the average user. And believe me, there is a lot to hide. Unfortunately for Linux and OpenSolaris, the developers and discussion groups associated with these OS’s ARE NOT end users for the most part, and have little interest in the area of user experience. So if printers don’t print and webcams only work ‘sometimes’ that’s Ok, something of interest, just not a serious impact on their development or their perceptions of the impact to the end user experience.

I appreciate that OpenSolaris is reasonably stable, and features are abundant. I’d just like to snap a picture off the webcam, and play a DVD movie once in a while and not just marvel at ZFS time shifting and what not.

Now back to the books….;-)

A different thing in a real OS.

Through the weekend I believed that I had managed to screw up my OpenSolaris installation. So serious was my suspicion I was planning to erase the disk and reinstall the entire system. The sound system that I’d manage to get working wasn’t, the ZFS snapshot system kept failing into maintenance mode and the NetBeans IDE that I installed disappeared. Perhaps living in a windows world tainted me but in my ignorance, I recognized my lack of understanding and started Googling.

Sometimes panic can instill reason, and so with some illustrations and illumination from the OpenSolaris.org site, I discovered that the issue was the multiple packages that I had been downloading. The ZFS file system had been doing boot snapshots and I was rebooting into one of many boot ‘pools’ that were ‘confusing’ the system, when I was shown the tool for selecting the correct boot environment, and deleting the others, everything became stable. The sound works, the tools were there and it all works.

One note, the ZFS file system in OpenSolaris will surprise you, it takes a ‘snapshot’ of the ‘partitions’ you choose, and performs a type of backup journal of all the files there. Given that, the file manager, using a slide bar, allows you to ‘time slide’ the directory through the entire snapshot history to display the changes that have happened. Very interesting, but it takes a bit of getting used to. I have ‘time machine‘ on my Mac, though I have not used it, so I suspect this behaves in a similar fashion.

There was one issue, of course created by myself, in and effort to get video on the system I purchased a Logitech 3500 video class webcam with built-in Mike. And while the Ekiga VoIP and video conferencing application could detect and use the video from the camera, the built-in mike would kill the sound system. So I’m operating without the camera, hoping for a bugfix.

The conclusion, more or less, is that the fixes I perform, did not require a drastic rebuild and the loss of my work. Only some understanding, and some learning on my part. Learning about how a real OS operates, and protects itself. Something toy OS’s from the past have made us all believe don’t exist.

Time to learn that something old, is new again.

A sheep in Wolfs (Windows) dressings

If I were managing Microsoft, I’d announce a new Operating System (OS) and prepare copies to hand out of Windows 7 “pre-betas” at PDC, WinHEC which consists of a slightly re-skinned Vista OS which no one wanted when it was called Vista.

And you know, no one will notice, or care that 99.9% of of the new OS is just the same as the old OS and relabeling it will make all the difference in the world!

One more foolish Palm move

if this rumor is true that Palm’s Treo Pro in the wild, probably not fake. Then Palm has got to be the most foolish company in the world. Just when they are promising a new OS, a Linux cum Android like platform, they should announce yet another Windows based Phone, makes the company management come off all unfocused and wishy-washy in the vision department. How foolish can you be? Bring out the new OS, dammit, even in beta format. Get on with it Palm!

Microsoft legacy

Microsoft will NEVER be free from the support requirements of Windows XP, you know why? Take a look at the photo I took today;

If they can’t get VAR’s from using ancient Windows NT 4.0, they will never be rid of Windows XP ;-)

And if Microsoft wanted anyone else to buy Windows Vista, they shouldn’t have invoked The Osborne Effect when they started talking about Windows 7 There isn’t a major corporation that will install Vista now, not when Win-7 is right behind, which is more suited to a corporate deployment timeline.