Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shying Away from Vista

Sorry it's been a while, but I spent last week working on my hardest project ever: exploiting buffer overflow in 7 programs for Network Security. We worked at least 45 hours over 4 days to get 6 of the 7. I've gotta say, hacking is hard work. Now, over the break I have homework in three classes and a project to start on for OS, so I still can't post much. Exciting, no?

Not to throw unwarranted support for Macs (I think they're cool, but I'm not part of that cult), but I think that this is a pretty funny little ad:

I remember a time when people were just railing on Vista for being too flashy and having too many versions. Now, IT professionals are shying away from upgrading. When the integrity of your business relies on a piece of software that has more anecdotal evidence behind crashing than the alternatives and it has known issues with certain hardware (though this has been a receding problem, to Microsoft's credit) and potential problems with business applications it's a bit daunting. It's past irrational worries, these people don't want to deal with a mess. This is a pretty sizable issue for Microsoft. Windows is their bedrock, and a significant portion of their sales goes to enterprise customers. If they lose the trust of these people, and they turn to Linux and OS X, this will surely erode the good name of Microsoft. In my humble opinion, this could be the beginning of the end for Microsoft. I know, that's an extremely bold statement, but I don't think it is because I think that they're going to re-organize, smarten up with Windows 7, and put out a more worthwhile OS after getting feedback from Vista. If it's another flop though, you'll see more defections, and by then it'll be too late for Microsoft. They'll still be around, sure, but they won't be the powerhouse they are today because when it comes down to it, their fame and fortune is predicated upon Windows. They have a bevy of other products, and they'll continue to bring in money, but without their crown jewel they'll bleed for a while. I hope they see Vista as a stepping stone to a better OS, because I think that it's the shell of what could've been something amazing.

Across the water in Washington, Amazon put out a new product called Kindle. I have no private knowledge of this product other than totally ambiguous rumors back in the summer so what I'm about to say is just my own personal thoughts. It's a pretty cool little product, but what confuses me is the target audience. Basically, it's a e-Reader that runs on EVDO wireless (for free) so you can download books on demand pretty much where ever you can use your cell phone and you can also have news papers and blog posts delivered straight to your Kindle automatically. It uses a special screen that's easy on the eyes, which takes little power to hold the display of text so it lasts an extremely long time on one battery charge. The problem? It's $400! I don't understand who would buy this because any bibliophiles would find it cheaper to go to a library or just order the books, and it doesn't support pdfs so the business professionals who could use it for reading company documents and such are out of luck. I think at $200 that it would be a much more palatable product. Not to mention the fact that people just like to have a hard copy of their books. Still, I think that for this product category, this is as good as it gets. It's easy to use, it's small, it's lightweight, it actually has built-in wireless, and it's just a great niche product. If the price goes down, I think you'll see more interested persons.

This Friday is Black Friday, a day named such because business use it to go in the black (turn a profit) when the holiday season starts. I encourage you to be careful if you brave the crowds. There are a lot of nuts out there. If you're not sure what's out there, this site has a nice compilation of the deals in a spreadsheet. Supposedly, Amazon will have some good deals also, but you have to wait until Friday to see them.

Ok, I need to get back to Finance homework, so I'll do my best to post again before the end of the break. My special girl got me Cranium Wow, and I've played it a couple of times already. It's been a lot of fun, but let me play it a little more over the break before I give you guys the skinny on it. It's basically originally Cranium with a couple of new games, some fun figurines, and a couple of twists on the rules to speed up the game. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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