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Blogger thanks Apple for making him switch back to Vista (Eh?) September 24, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Hardware, Microsoft, Oddities, Operating System, The Other Side of the Fence.

A blogger posted a big thank you to Apple for making him switch from Vista to Mac, then back to Vista. While on the surface this sounds like a back-handed compliment, it actually makes sense – I think.

Aviv Eyal, co-founder and VP of Grouper Networks (which was eventually acquired by Sony), and co-founder of Friskit, wrote in his blog that Macs made him appreciate Windows Vista, which had previously confounded him no end:

I was getting very frustrated with Vista on several of my PCs and laptops on a daily basis to a point that I stopped enjoying working on computers. On a clean Vista Pro install with just IE, Outlook and Office on strong Dell workstations and on a Vaio laptop, I kept getting hangs and crashes left and right. I now run Vista using the excellent Parallels Desktop for Mac software. It is worth every penny.

Eyal calls Windows the “light” side of the force, and Macs and OS X the “dark” side. He expounds further on this odd compliment:

With 4GB of RAM on a 2.4ghz Intel core 2 duo MacBook Pro laptop, I get very decent performance from Vista running virtually in Parallels, in full-screen mode it is easy to forget that you are not running Vista natively, so if I need to use word or powerpoint I just switch back to the dark side virtually on Parallels and if Vista hangs crashes I just quickly restore the virtual machine to a previous state while I keep working on my Mac apps.

Uh …ok. I think. At least this underscores that fact that there is no reason not to buy a Mac these days. Even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

Check out Eyal’s post on his blog here.

WinDiscrimination: Microsoft slaps Mac users; apologizes September 23, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apps, Issues, Microsoft, The Other Side of the Fence.
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Several days ago users of Microsoft‘s Windows Live Messenger who used dotMac addresses to get their Windows Live IDs found out that they were being blocked from using the online service. When trying to log in, it would return an error message that told them they had now had to change their address in order to continue using the service.

Because of a recent system update, you must change the email address that you use to sign in to Windows Live Messenger. Until you change your email address, you won’t be able to use Windows Live Messenger.

Eh? Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?

Other users who registered with other addresses like GMail were not affected, and only those with .Mac-related logins were specifically rejected from the Microsoft service.

MacNN contacted Microsoft about this, and MS officials told MacNN that it had recently become aware of an

…internal error during routine testing that resulted in customers using .Mac domains being asked to change their e-mail address in order to access to their Windows Live IDs.

Internal error. Surrrrre it was. Some code became wonky and spontaneously, independently and without human intervention, began mysteriously blocking their IM users, but somehow only those using dotMac addresses. Internal error. Creepy code, that.

Microsoft immediately created a support page for affected users and further apologized in a statement that read in part:

Access to Live IDs has been restored to our customers who use .Mac domains. We regret any inconvenience this caused for our customers.

Hmph. We regret it too.

(This begs the question: why would some folk who obviously use Macs actually sign up for a Microsoft online service? Does this imply that they deserve what they got? Hmm.)

Doing things big-time September 2, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Funnies, Microsoft, Pics.
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Piccadilly Circus, London, England:

Photos snagged from MacFormat.com.uk.

What the XML?!? August 13, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apple Inc., Apps, Microsoft, Updates & Patches.
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A recent comment on one of the posts here from my friend and fellow P.W.I.T. Jason partly goes “…to hell with all those *.docx and *.xlsx and *.pptx files that people keep sending me.

Jason’s comment is characteristic of the dissatisfaction with the file format Microsoft is pushing as a standard with the introduction of the new version of Office. On Windows itself it’s been a little problematic, and its compatibility with other apps is spotty, and usually read-only. Development is dog-slow, and people are wondering why.

In particular Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit has been unable to release converters for its new formats to allow older versions of Apple’s suites to open Open XML files from Office 2007. A direct result of this difficulty has resulted in the pushing back of the release of the Mac version of the new Office suite to early 2008.

Lo and behold, it had to be Apple itself to break the logjam by being the one, a third party, to manage the feat ahead of Microsoft, the creator of the format. Mac support for Microsoft’s new format has come not from Microsoft, but from Apple, though iWork ’08, which can Open XML files made with Office 2007.

Talk about beating them at their own game.

More here.

No ribbon for you! August 3, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apps, Microsoft.
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Full disclosure: the Doodler likes Microsoft Office 2008. Having tried it out at launch and using a complimentary trial version for a month, I liked the software suite. Hated Vista, but loved Office. I immediately hoped Mac users would get a version soon. Redmond promised a late Q3 or Q4 2007 release, but it is not to be.

Microsoft has officially announced that the suite’s release will be pushed back to early next year, at the earliest at Macworld in mid-Jan for the launching, and Q1 08 for availability.

Oh well. Better’n nothing.

Shocking news July 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, iPhone, iPods, Microsoft, Music, News.
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A recently completed survey by the Eagle Research Group found out that 70% of Zune users surveyed are not happy with their players and intend to switch to either an iPod or to an iPhone as soon as their service contract expires.

36% said that had they known Apple was coming out with the iPhone they never would have purchased a Zune. Also of note is that 3% of the survey respondents were either employees or contractors of Microsoft.

Imagine that.

Heads-up: Bonjour for Windows update released July 29, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Microsoft, New Stuff, Share/Freeware.
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Something extremely useful for OS X users that they’ve taken for granted for a long while now has finally been updated for Microsoft Windows folk.

Bonjour 1.0.4., formerly Rendezvous, is now available for Windows 2000/2003, XP (with latest service pack) and Vista.

This was first released with Jaguar in 2002, with a not-so-full-featured Windows version released in 2004. What is it, exactly?

Bonjour, also known as zero-configuration networking, enables automatic discovery of computers, devices, and services on IP networks. Bonjour uses industry standard IP protocols to allow devices to automatically discover each other without the need to enter IP addresses or configure DNS servers.

More details and download link (2.1MB) for Bonjour 1.0.4 here. Users of 64-bit versions of Windows can get theirs here.

Hide your iPod in a Zune July 15, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Funnies, iPhone, iPods, Microsoft.
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Now I’ve seen everything.

iPods and iPhones are popular targets for thieves, snatchers and muggers, and an enterprising company has figured out the best way to protect your Apple gear – hide it in a Zune!

These guys at Hide-A-Pod buy unwanted Microsoft Zunes from eBay, gut them and modify the case to accommodate an iPod or an iPhone so you can hide it in plain sight, without fear of theft.

The cases come in brown only (for more protection) and are available online for US$29.95 (although you’ll have to inform them of the model you plan to use with the Zune casing to make sure it’ll fit). There is a simple cable to connect to your Apple product to enable you to use it from within the case, and it comes with big truckloads of wonderfully sarcastic features, like a special “squirt” module you insert in the case and fill with liquid, so you can squirt unsuspecting folk from your “Zune”. Welcome to The Anti-Social indeed.

Hide-A-Pod is unique in that it sets a high watermark for protective technology while maintaining a high level of sarcasm. Check their site for more information, a FAQ and user testimonials. Microsoft loyalists and Zune lovers are advised to look at the fine print on the bottom of each page of the site.

Heads-up: Office update July 13, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Downloads, Microsoft, Notebooks, Updates & Patches.
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More updates, gang. Those nice Mac folk who run Microsoft apps in their computers might want to know that Microsoft’s released an update for Office 2004 yesterday, proving there is still some residual love, however small, for the Mac in Redmond. The Office 11.3.6 Update is largely a security fix, with some other little tweaks and fixes.

What this update is:

This update fixes a vulnerability that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. This update also addresses an issue with using public folders in Entourage, and it contains the latest postal code information for Japanese addresses.

What this update is for:

Office 2004 Standard Edition, Office 2004 Student and Teacher Edition, Office 2004 Professional Edition, Word 2004, Excel 2004, PowerPoint 2004, Entourage 2004.

It’s a 15.6MB download, and you can get it here.

Famous Last Words: Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer six months ago July 4, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, Microsoft, People, Reminiscing, Video.
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Jeez. As Bugs Bunny once said: What a maroon.