David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

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  • I know I shouldn’t, but the EU is beginning to make me wonder what they are playing at .. is it personal and how is it better for the people in the EU?

    It is strange that I have come to accept that we live and work in a global economy quicker, it appears to me, than the EU. I accept that we can’t be the best at everything in the EU and we have to work out what our value is to others – true for every business. However, the EU seems to have an anti-non-EU feel to it. It also seems to want to create competition, even when no-one wants to compete – just to stimulate the industries, rather than because “punters are asking for alternatives”. This week I’ve seen two things that I wanted to share that raise concerns in my mind. Oh, in case you weren’t sure – this is a personal rant – nothing to do with anyone else but my own opinion! First was the Intel vs AMD piece which talks about requiring Intel to raise prices to avoid being nabbed for anti-competitive practices - disco-tech | Discovery Institute's Technology Blog: EU vs. Intel : Since Intel can't possibly know what AMD's cost of production is, we either have to accept collusion or accept that Intel...
  • Official Google Blog on Microsoft and Yahoo and David Overton's thoughts on it

    This is a personal rant. If you want to read on, please do so, if not, thanks for getting this far. Oh I love how people wave flags "for the greater good" when they really mean "for my own good". Today I saw something that just made me have to comment. Unless you have been in a bunker, you should be aware that Microsoft have made a bid for Yahoo. Google, who obviously care greatly about Yahoo decided to have a pop at it: Yahoo! and the future of the Internet The openness of the Internet is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It's what makes the Internet such an exciting place. So Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation. Could Microsoft now attempt...
  • While Microsoft is often accused of being the big bad company on Patents, IBM continues to lead the way

    I always find it sort of silly the way Microsoft is accused of being tight with information on how to develop with our products, yet there is loads and loads of information on MSDN and then the ability to license information as the Samba group did. IBM is often 1st up to hit Microsoft with a "your mean and successful and patent everything" yet here is another article, another year and IBM leads the patent list: This story appeared on Network World at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/011408-patent-list.html IBM retains slim lead among patent-winners; Samsung, Microsoft gain ground U.S. patent backlog more than 1.1 million after drop in patents issued By Jon Brodkin , NetworkWorld.com, 01/14/08 IBM secured 3,148 patents in 2007, besting all other competitors for the 15th consecutive year, but Big Blue's lead is getting slimmer and Microsoft charged into the top 10 with 1,637 patents, according to an analysis that will be released Monday. Microsoft, which ranked No. 6 on the annual list after failing...
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  • More on Vista vs XP performance - why doesn't everyone want a racing car, but instead do they opt for safety, comfort or even the ability to have more than one passenger?

    Having been quotes by Vlad and others (or was this others? ), some more views worth reading here and some Windows Blog stuff here I thought I had better make myself a bit clearer. 1st off, this is MY opinion, not something that is sanctioned or designed by anyone else in Microsoft. I did benchmarking for 5 years and won plenty of business by it, but I also understand when a test is Apples to Apples and not Apples to Oranges. If the purpose of Vista was to be the fastest engine for Office 2003 (as was the test), then there is a lot that can be done to the product to make that happen, but that was not the goal, so testing it on that one goal and then saying it fails is a bit poor. You can turn off the new features that "slow" it down if you want, but then you don't get the feature. My car accelerates faster with the air-con turned off, but on hot days, being comfortable is more important that the acceleration, so I opt to go slightly slower rather than get there just a bit quicker. There is more to...
  • Susan B's article that just made me smile or I like to think of it as "how much money is being spent to help competition for no user benefit"

    I've been ranting a bit recently about wanting everything for nothing and then I saw Susan's article - http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2007/11/29/so-how-much-money-has-been-wasted.aspx - and it just goes further to say how much time is spent not moving forward, but going backwards. I thought I would add to the list with the Microsoft-EU debate about Windows Media player. As a Microsoft employee, to comment directly would be very, very bad - apparently the press might think I was expressing a Microsoft opinion and then either me or my employer could be in hot water. So I won't really comment except to state some already published facts and that a huge effort went in to build a version of Windows without Media Player. That is definitely spending money for the user to get less, but if that is what the user wants, then it should be built..... however it was announced that this version has sold well ... 1 in every 15,000 copies of Windows. That version that has cost millions and was the centre of...
  • Is Vista really that bad or do we have rose tinted glasses - How well was Windows XP accepted in the early years

    I have had a bit of a rant with Vlad over at Vista SP1 vs. XP SP3 Performance Stats: Flawed Samples or Market Reality? and the comments are good - the communication is very worthwhile, but I thought I would share some of the "what was it like with Windows XP" reality. That does not excuse the issues people see, but rather highlights the fact that with XP, it took some time for things to bed down and hopefully what you are seeing with Vista is a more responsive Microsoft and partner eco-system. Complaints about Whistler (Windows XP and 2003) come in the form of performance, adoption rates, application compatibility, relevance - all things people are complaining about today with Windows Vista. I will say it again - ONLY DEPLOY VISTA IF IT MAKES SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS. What is more, only deploy Windows XP on new machines if there is a compelling reason to NOT deploy Vista . Remember that if you buy Vista Business / Ultimate and downgrade you can then re-load Vista at a later date without having to re-buy...
  • Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here>

    I saw the article at ZDNet ( Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test - ZDNet UK ) and at various other places and decided to comment. It compares a 1GB XP machine and a 1GB Vista machine and says that Vista is slower - both using beta service packs. This article links back to the blog of a certain benchmarking company ( http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-xp-sp3-yields-performance-gains.html ) and the result was an article with quotes in it like: "Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds. Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent." Now this annoyed me twice. So did they turn off things like the pre-loading of applications, was this a fresh PC or one where the inbuilt tools could optimise themselves? Did they...
  • EU Pundits Want Windows-less PCs - I just want options

    I saw this and just thought it was very silly. I do need to point out that this is a personal opinion and not one that represents Microsoft or that of its employees. However I do think that this idea ranks right up there with "everyone should write their own software" which an certain Open Source advocate once said to me. So let me get this right, the reasons why people like pre-loaded software are: Machines can be turned on and used OEM supplied software is supported by the same people who supplied the hardware, so one stop show OEM software is great value and often less than retail software Drivers and add-on software are all provided in the box so no searching around to set the system up More tools in the box from 3rd party vendors No technical knowledge required to set up machine The reasons why OEMs like pre-loaded software are: Machine will be usable as soon as turned on making happy customers Easier to support a known installation configuration Financial incentive from some 3rd party software...
  • The Open XML Vote (OOXML) and why I hate politics

    This is a rant and it is my opinion and does not reflect that of Microsoft or others - It is my Opinion! From 1992 to 1995 I had to write document converters - I had to pick apart binary file formats and translate them to another format. It was hard work and I JUST WISHED people would create a largely encompassing standard for documents that was documented so I did not have to do all the work myself. Role forward to today, Office is still the prominent document format (which is now documented on http://msdn.microsoft.com ), but there is a new kid in town that encompass everything that an Office document is and more. This is the Open XML document format. People have cried for years that they wanted the Office Document standard to become more than a defacto standard, they wanted it to become a format an open standard. It was always going to be large, but to cover all the features and functions available in Office, it would have to be. There is no point in the standard being something different to that used in Office...
  • Site Updated as opinion of Government body said the site was too Microsoft

    I know I work for Microsoft and never hide the fact, but this site is not about "Isn't Microsoft Great", it is about offering tips and advice on technology and how it impacts ISV's and small businesses. The opinions here are mine and NOT MICROSOFT's. So I've changed the background and removed the SBSC logo (as much as it hurts me as I have earned it privately outside of Microsoft) and stated up the front that this is not an official site. I hope you like the new look -the background is a paint effect of one of my Antigua holiday photos and the graphics on the top left are simply a PowerPoint set of graphics saved as a png file. Amazing what you can do with PowerPoint. Anyway, hope the site looks OK. ttfn David
  • Live Earth Concerts - playback available, plus the "how it was made with MSN"

    On Saturday, 7/07/07, MSN sponsored Live Earth, The Concert for a Climate in Crisis . This 24-hour global event featured more than 150 of the world’s top bands performing on all seven continents, with concerts in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Istanbul, London, New York, and other cities around the world. There have been many, many critics of the Live Earth concert ("all the pop stars traveling leaves a huge carbon footprint" , "there was not 2 billion people watching", "why should we believe the pop stars", " climate change is not real, not even the scientists can agree "), but even if the world is not about to blow up, surely being better to the planet is good for us, great for our children and sometimes a matter of survival for other people and animals in the more extreme climates. If you have missed everything that Live Earth was about, go have a look at the SoapBox video here . An interesting blog on the whole should we shouldn't we explore these types of events can be...
  • Google Checkout downchecked by UK users (The Register) and Google doesn't mind not asking about Privacy

    I'm obviously in a little bit of a carefree mood as I am going to offer my personal opinion on one of the Internet greats. Google has built an amazing advertising business through search, but their company slogan of "Do no evil" seems to be more "deny any evil doing". Lets be honest, Google is a business, like any other who's primary aim is to live longer, grow bigger and feed shareholders. I have seen a few things that Google do that I don't like. I don't like them reading my e-mails, the meta data of the documents I have, my every browser move. These have been discussed by others many times before, but this week I have seen two storied that smacked of "sorry we got it wrong... its not our fault". I remember the reaction when I said sorry on the blog and it seems that a little bit of that humble pie is needed elsewhere (and more at Microsoft obviously). The two areas I am thinking about are their Checkout tool and their mapping tools. The Register, who I have had...
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  • Don't e-mail me and then block me with your spam list

    I get lots of e-mail. I answer it all hours of the day and while I can be snappy sometimes (sorry Guy), I do try to get the right information out there. One thing that has caught me out a few times (especially when I am mailing from a train or while disconnected from a useful Internet connection) is that when I reply I get a message saying that my address is blocked, could I go and verify myself. I know this is a bit of a rant, but if you want me to reply, please go and put me into your system so I don't have to do this... pretty please, it just makes my life sooo much easier when I get hundreds of mails a day. thank-you David
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  • I hate seeing computers advertised on TV with 512MB of RAM with Vista

    This is a personal rant !! I was watching TV and saw a device advertised at a very attractive price, but with only 512MB of RAM. While Vista will work on a machine with 512MB of RAM the RECOMMENDED MINIMUM for all versions other than Home Basic is 1GB , meaning that the systems are shipping with just half the recommended minimum they should ship with. The recommended minimum amount of RAM for Windows XP was 128MB RAM with 64MB being the absolute minimum. Shipping a home premium or business machine with below the recommended minimum is a bit like running Windows XP with 64 (or even 128MB RAM). Think what XP would be like and while Vista is not that bad with 512MB, it is definitely not great. So, please, please, please, 1GB minimum, 2GB and above for power users. I've seen this discussed in so many places, but please, 512MB is just no fun - don't let it happen to your customers - prepare them now. I just bought 2GB of RAM for about £30 per stick so when buying new PCs, be a good person and put it in there...
  • The price of Vista in the UK - some really, really bad maths

    OK, so this has really got my goat - I read that there is a £100 difference between the UK and US prices for Vista Premium Edition, so I thought I would add my PERSONAL view on this. Microsoft does not set the prices, the resellers do - some offer products at a loss to bring you in, some add plenty of margin because they believe the market can bear it When comparing prices we need to do so on as close to a level playing field as possible - so no VAT & state tax etc There is some difference due to the unusually high exchange rate - and using the market exchange rate rather than a normal punter exchange rate does not reflect the man on the street pricing The figures stated don't seem to bear out in reality in my opinion I found a typical story here : UK customers face disparity and confusion over the pricing of Microsoft Windows Vista , Computing Which? has discovered. Windows Vista Home Premium has a recommended retail price of $240 (£125) in the US. But to buy the same software in the UK would set consumers...
  • Was Vista's arrival a surprises to anyone? No? Then how come so many people were unprepared - hardware vendors, ISVs, even Microsoft to an extent

    Lets start off by saying this is a RANT. If you don't like rants, look away now. I saw this in CRN and it made me laugh and cry. We have seen news that iTunes has undisclosed issues with Vista (even after being fixed ), poor drivers from nVidia and others and even enough to stop a BBC reporter from getting it going , yet from the list below, most are down to 3rd parties. I have only a little sympathy for hardware partners who didn't get drivers out - I was at WinHEC 3 and 2 years ago when the need to build drivers was hammered home. I have seen the offers of help to ISVs to get their applications working. I have seen the large amount of online training available for partners of all sizes to understand the benefits of the products. However, I have also seen the difficulties people have in when to bet on Vista and deploy the resources - I think its success has taken a few people by surprise! Microsoft is certainly happy with the launch . If like me, when you have 2 years to solve a problem it is always tomorrows...
  • Blog abuse - how to comment on my blog

    I have quite thick skin, but a few things really get my goat, so it is time I published my rules This my blog, not Microsoft's or for that matter, anyone else's Comments posted to the blog should respect me and others posting here, otherwise they won't get published As to no.2, that means talking to me and referring to Microsoft as Microshaft or M$ will stop your comments being published - I have added them to the spam engine as high count spam words Comments should refer to the blog or previous comments - it is not to share YOUR view of the world, industry or your life Comments should not be used to advertise products, your website or other places you want people to go to for your advantage (a link to more information that is informational is OK) Posting to tell me that I missed and apostrophe is useful, but I failed English 1st time at school, so the odd grammar mistake is to be expected - this is not some polished communications vehicle that is managed - it is the dribble that extends from my brain...
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(c)David Overton 2006-18