Tech

Marketing: the answer to any mediocre product

The inimitable Mr Ballmer has just issued another one of his startling revelations - that the answer to customer apathy about Vista is a bigger marketing budget. Apparently $500m is just not enough yet to persuade people that Vista is the best thing since sliced, toasted and even magical crustless bread. “We’re going to have to invest more than we ever have in consumer excitement,” said the chair wielding Olympian.

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A sign of desperation

Am I the only one who thinks that Microsoft’s $44.6bn bid for Yahoo is primarily a long overdue admission of failure on Microsoft’s part? Google has been caning their ass online for years, both in terms of concrete market share and grass-roots popularity. Everybody loves Google - after all, what’s not to love? They give you great online tools for free, they sponsor open source projects by providing good hosting and running the Summer of Code, they’ve contributed to a ton of open, cross-platform APIs.

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Don't believe Sneakers

Sneakers is one of my all-time favourite films, but it’s perhaps a wake-up call to hear what’s really required to defraud a bank these days. You don’t need to be a hacking genius, you just have to have a few Excel and VBA skills. I’ve heard a number of scary stories in the past from friends about how IT systems are _real_ly operated in some quarters of the financial sector (as opposed to the surface impression, accreditations etc), but I’m still staggered at what appears to be routine behaviour, according to this article.

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Wii Headtracking Video

This video is a month-ish old but I’m posting it here as some discussions with friends last night indicated some hadn’t seen it yet, so I promised to post it here. Enjoy!

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Facebook 'working' the masses now?

Let’s get this out of the way early - I hate Facebook. Not because of the implementation, but because I hate everything Facebook stands for, in exactly the same way I hated the last hype-cycle of the Internet age, and every predecessor to Facebook that has been flavour of the month this time around. Here’s my reasons: It’s fundamentally a total waste of time and resources - social networks generally are of course; they’re just a great big hole to piss your time into for absolutely no measurable return.

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QNAP TS-209 - support experience

I’ve been thinking of blogging about this for a little while but I thought I would wait until some kind of conclusion had been reached before making judgement. As you might know, I bought a QNAP TS-209 recently, and my initial experiences with it were mixed. On the one hand, it was incredibly well put together and easy to set up - literally 15-20 minutes to plug in the 2 hard disks, connect it up to the network, and zip through the basic configuration set up.

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Microsoft vs Becta

If you’re not familiar, Becta (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) is an arm of the UK government that is dedicated to setting IT strategy for UK schools. Recently, they advised schools in a report not to upgrade to Vista or Office 2007, for several reasons: “…there remains a perceived lack of significant business benefit delivered by the new features in Vista to balance out the costs associated with its deployment…“ “…only an estimated 22 per cent of [existing] machines meet the specification necessary to run Vista effectively…“ “Our interim report recommended that Microsoft should develop a compelling business case to underpin any rationale for deploying Office 2007 in UK education.

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Home Media Server

I had an ‘incident’ over the weekend (which I won’t go into, suffice to say that it was somewhat down to my own carelessness) which resulted in me needing to restore a bunch of files from backup for my local Linux server - luckily I back up my server every day on a typical full/incremental backup cycle so all I lost was a few hours worth of spam (I’m 99% sure I haven’t lost any genuine correspondence, but if you think I’ve missed you, let me know).

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This is what's wrong with proprietary data formats

I heard today that, unbeknownst to people downloading it, Office 2003 SP3 drops support for loading a number of older Office formats, including Word 6.0 and Word 97. Now, it’s fair to say that these formats are as old as the hills, but here’s the thing - businesses will have lots of archived documents that they probably haven’t converted to newer formats that they don’t want to lose access to. To just drop support for opening this archived material is ridiculous and is understandably ruffling a few feathers.

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The '2 grand PC required' lie & proprietary hardware

Ok, rant time. I’m a multiplatform gamer, and my PC is still a key platform for me. Every time a new console comes out people predict the death of the PC as a gaming platform, but it never happens - sure, the traditional retail model continues to favour the consoles, on account of them having the marketing muscle of the console manufacturers behind them, plus the ‘idiot proof’ nature of the devices means that there are less issues with support (although the advent of patching on consoles does appear to be engendering more of a ‘release it and patch it later’ attitude in some quarters that we used to only see on PC).

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