satans sphincter

Ghost of Clippy-past

Cortana has some great functionality crippled by an obsolete, out-of-date set of concerns generated, perhaps, by Windows 8. Cortana wouldn’t be terribly out of place in 2010, but today?
clippy
A few days ago, Windows bamboozled me. A little pop-up appeared (grr, and stole focus): “If you tell me which teams you like – or don’t – I can tell you how they are doing”. My third thought(*1) was “who is this message from?!”
I’m just guessing it’s from Cortana, if so it seems like the Cortana team is for some reason resurrecting the worst of Clippy… (*2)
askmeany
Thanks to daily interaction with Google, Amazon, Facebook, Siri, etc, a modern user will interpret “Ask me anything” on a device differently than they would have in 2010.
disablesearchIf your plumber has to google every step of a basic repair job for you, you’re going to try another plumber next time. You don’t hire an accountant on the basis that they “know the URL for TurboTax”.
When someone says “ask me anything”, the response “you can look that up on the web” quickly becomes a contradiction of the original statement.
Eventually, it feels like they lied.
That’s the current presentation of Cortana.

VMwin

Still trying to rescue one of my virtual machines on my ESXi 5.5 blade that I erroneously upgraded to 5.5 virtual hardware (which prevents you from using the vSphere client to edit settings any more). I finally got an evaluation vCenter running, only to find: you can’t use vCenter to manage a free ESXi host. Even if you pay $6k for vCenter, it can’t manage a free vSphere host.

VMware: We’ll take your money, look – a dog!

I continue to be impressed at just how customer-hostile VMWare manage to be.

Step 1: Give all products vague and conflicting names (VMware vCenter Server requires VMware vSphere Client to access),
Step 2: Make every feature a product rather than having products with licensable features, because that was cool in 1995, damnit,
Step 3: Instead of hiring copy/technical writers for your web site, make instructional videos that are approximately related to something vaguely within a a page or two of of the link you clicked on.

I just watched what appeared to be the “omg you want this” promo for vCenter, and it was all about how the client is now web-based which can now do a search, and you can do other stuff while it searches and go back to the search. Seriously, the entire video was in the context of “sure, there’s other stuff to click, but look – we can go back to our search!”

What brought this on? I have an old SuperMicro server blade that hosts my Ubuntu apt-cache and Windows server, and I thought I’d try upgrading my ESXi from 5.0 to something newer. Even though the blade has stock e1000s, when I upgrade to 5.1 or 5.5, they kinda quit working, and you have to dig down into VMware forums to find a link that basically says “force it to reinstall the 5.0 drivers using magic shenanigans”.

Then I got shanghai’d with 5.5 – it’s still free but they’re cutting off access to the “vSphere Client” you use to manage it, and I upgraded the “virtual hardware” on one of my machines, It paused for a while so I went to click again, exactly as a dialog appeared with the “OK” button directly under my mouse.

This was presumably the dialog that was mean’t to warn me that upgrading the virtual hardware would lock me in to requiring vCenter Server to change settings on the server in future.

And now that server won’t boot because the mac address conflicts with something. So I wanted to install the vCenter Server trial, I think. So I follow the link that the old vSphere client provides and … I have no damn clue what this is that I’m installing.

The website is just a mess. It’s harder to shop for a specific product than it is to find a decent Windows 8 tablet (ka-ching).

Well played, VMware, well played. I’ve left your site feeling dazed and confused and with a strong desire to buy shares in Microsoft…

 

VS 2012: The one I probably won’t own

A long time ago, in a Grimsby far, far away, a young kid saves up enough money to buy a C compiler for his Atari ST. So the transition to Microsoft C was pretty natural for me. I’ve owned personal copies of each version of MSVC since C/C++ 7 in 1992, I still have my boxed VC6.

Based on my experience with the VS 2012 developer preview, beta and release candidate … Microsoft have killed everything in VS that made me choose to fire it up over Code::Blocks or KDE or VIM.

Windows gets viruses, but who lets them in?

Kind of interesting article linked from Slashdot, finds 37% of infections are via the Java JRE (I’m not surprised, Java is secure, not impenetrable, but average Java developers don’t understand the difference), 32% via Acrobat/Reader and 16% via Flash. 85% in we finally get to the usual suspect, MS Internet Explorer: 10%.

Of course, if you look at the other stats, it should be fairly clear that many of the infections are happening during browser usage, and they give a breakdown of browser exposure (to attacks: 66% IE, 21% ‘Fox, 8%  Chrome).

But next time we are mocking Windows security, remember: 85% of infections via Sun/Oracle and Adobe.

Secret reveal of Microsoft’s iTunes killer

Xhack: I finally hate Windows Live.

A few weeks ago, someone managed to get access to my Xbox Live gamertag, and charge nearly $130 to my account via Paypal. I might not have noticed except I saw the Paypal emails and knew for damn sure I hadn’t made any paypal payments in the last 7 days.

It took me a little work to find a billing history, but sure enough, my Xbox Live account had mad two big Microsoft-point buys and spent the resulting points on several games… All while I was nowhere near an Xbox.

Thanks to Microsoft’s “live” single-login concept, reporting this issue means my Xbox, Zune and Windows Phone are all kaput…

IceCat with Flash

If you’re going to install some fancy graphical web browser, chances are the first plugin you’re going to install with be the Flash plugin so you can view porn videos at youtube.

Unless your fancy graphical web browser is IceCat:

GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons.

Lets be specific here: IceCat isn’t a home-brew Firefox lookalike. It is forked from the Firefox source code.

And the reason for diluting the Firefox marketshare? So that you won’t be offered plugins you can’t obtain source code for (their use of “free” relates to source-code availability, not cost).

Oh hai Adobe, thx4hak

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/03/26/179248/New-Malware-Overwrites-Software-Updaters

(No, I haven’t been affected)

Intel Parallel Studio

GRRR.

http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/intel-parallel-studio-features/

My favorite part of the overview video at the top is the “Parallel Composer” part, specifically where he shows us some menu items.

Uhm; wait a second… Parallel “Composer”… Appears to be The Intel Parallel Compiler Professional, which also includes the Thread Building Blocks and IPP libraries… And, uh, also come with what is badged here as “Parallel Inspector”.

Infact, so far as I can tell, the only difference between buying “Parallel Studio” and Intel Parallel Compiler is that the Parallel Composer version comes with Parallel Amplifier (which sounds like it might be v-tune).

Their naming bothers me immensely, it is outrageously false advertising: