Category Archives: Geek Stuff

Microsoft to buy Gator?

One of the interesting stories from a couple of weeks ago was Microsoft were going to buy the parent company of Gator – the ad-ware / spyware thats in so many p2p programs.

Well it seemed like the world was going to end. Had Microsoft gone mad? What idiot was behind this idea?

I think it would be fantastic for Microsoft to buy them – and then shut them down!!!

With all the effort Microsoft are putting into security and anti-spyware tools. There has to come a point where you just say “Buy them out and close them down”.

Imagine if Microsoft re-released all the p2p programs without the spyware included? Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Might certainly be in line with a sharing, caring Microsoft that seems to be trying to emerge.

So what happen’s next? Someone else comes up with a plan to make millions by distributing their spyware infected program? Well there is that risk. But its a lot harder today to make a big impact with a new program. A lot of what is out there is established. There are great new services like Skype and Flickr that have made an impact in the last 12 months. But someone launching a new (say) MP3 program today would be up against it.

I don’t think the Gator deal has been completely squashed yet either. No one is confirming, no one is denying.

MS Betting Big – Again

One of the interesting lines I picked up from Microsoft’s announcement that RSS will be integrated into IE7 and Longhorn – they were Betting Big on RSS.

That’s a big statement from Microsoft. They don’t say it often – probably about every 5 years. Previous Big Bets have been The Internet, Security and XBox.

RSS will no doubt be a huge part of the way we deal with computers in the near to long term future.

Since I installed the Desktop Sidebar with its integrated RSS aggregator, it has completely changed they was I surf the web. A common story among anyone else who has explored RSS.


I think RSS will eventually evolve to a point where most people dont know they are using it. And that will be a good thing. Services will just use RSS, and people will just use those services because they are simple and they work. Few “users” will care what is behind it all.

RSS could indeed be The Main Reason why people will upgrade to Longhorn ! Certainly no-one seems to fussed with the announced features so far. Not when most of them can already be added on to XP with a minimum of fuss.

Including my Desktop Sidebar. It’s a brilliant tool and I love it – but its a free add-on for XP and it works today. I don’t need to wait another 18 months for to pay for Longhorn to get it.

An interesting thought: What would have happened if Microsoft were “on time” with Longhorn and were releasing it now? RSS wouldn’t have made it – just as Windows 95 missed out on the internet because it shipped just as it was taking off.

Longhorn would have shipped without native support for probably the most important bit of technology emerging today. Everyone would then be complaining and waiting impatiently for Longhorn Mk II.

Sometimes you win…

Who is this Microsoft?

No one could deny that Microsoft has been taking a pounding from press and users for the last 12 months. Even more so than usual.

They have been beaten up about security, bugs, IE6 being stale, delays in SP2, delivery of SP2, SP2 breaking things, etc etc.

The lead-up to and release of Firefox from Mozilla got a huge amount of press, Apple have been scoring big with OSX Tiger, iTunes, iPods – even one that had no screen that everyone said would be a fizzer. Instead its taken over the market.

Probably apart from Halo 2, Microsoft has been pretty “uncool” for most people. Lornhorn has been plagued by negative stories about features being pulled out, expected delays and a general “why bother”?

A lot of people have called Longhorn “XP SP3” (which initially it was supposed to be). However the funniest term for it I have seen is Windows ME2 :) But lately they seem to be turning a corner. They have been releasing some new software – Acrylic and so on. Even if most people thought the new stuff sucked – at least they were talking about something new.

MSN Search seems to be getting a lot of good feedback. I doubt it will ever overtake google in the foreseable future – but never say never. They have gone from nowhere to industry top 4 since they started.

Of course the big announcement at Gnomedex about IE7 including support for RSS, and Longhorn in general supporting RSS – was a huge positive. Especially as the method for integrating it will be available under Creative Commons license .

The Channel 9 forums and Robert Scoble’s Weblog have been a major positive for the company.

With the upcoming Lornhorn beta testing program about to start, a lot of positive stories have started to be written about it.

A lot of people are writing Microsoft off – I think they have turned a corner.

Apple and Intel

As you might know, a couple of weeks ago Apple announced that it will be moving from its current platform of IBM Power PC chips, to intel.

At first it seemed like a huge rumour that “leaked” a few days before the conference to generate some hype for it. Certainly no one was talking about it before CNet leaked the story, but for the next 3-4 days that’s all everyone talked about.

I was so intrigued about it happening I wandered into my office about 4am (keynote started at 3am local time here) to see if it was true. It was.

Overall I think it will be a great thing for Apple to do. Finally OSX will compete on level playing field with Windows machines. Yes Apple is a hardware company first – they make their money on selling boxes rather than copies of OSX (although the paid upgrade cycle doesn’t seem to hurt them).

But now they can sell the magic of OSX and the whole Apple experience without the burden of having to prove that a 1.5Ghz PPC is the same as a 2.5 Pentium 4.

In a one on one duel between Windows XP and Apple OSX – Windows is in all sorts of trouble.