And Finally It’s Microsoft’s Turn

In my continuing rant against Cloud Providers, the one I thought probably couldn’t go down just did and of course that is Microsoft.  Microsoft have effectively been in the Cloud Business for ages with Hotmail and their Live services (soon to be called “Microsoft Account”).

Apparently they were down for a while on the 29th February:

Best laugh is it was a “leap year” bug. Thought we had sorted all the date related bugs like the Millennium etc.

But yet again, even the super brains at Microsoft can’t avoid them!!

The worst thing with large cloud services like these is that they impact greater numbers of people in one go.  Stick with your own IT they can react much more quickly than these monster systems.



Mega Upload Innocent Customers To Lose Their Data!!!

I just read this with horror:

“MegaUpload has received a letter from the US Attorney informing the company that data uploaded by its users may be destroyed before the end of the week. The looming wipe-out is the result of MegaUpload’s lack of funds to pay for the servers. Behind the scenes, MegaUpload is hoping to convince the US Government that it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to allow users to access their data, at least temporarily.”

Read the full post here at Torrent Freak:

The shocking aspect of this and it’s something I have been ranting about on this blog for ages, is the danger of leaving your stuff with cloud providers who can just disappear in minutes taking your data with them. 

If I was a MegaUpload customer with all my private home photos stored on their servers and no access to get them back and worse, if I was foolish enough to not have them all backed up elsewhere I think I would be going out of my mind right now.

I cannot imagine how I would feel if my pictures of the kids when they were growing up and family holidays were lost. Additionally to add to the horror, what if the authorities decide to sell off the servers on which they currently reside to cover the debts that MegaUpload probably incurred to its debtors?  You now have the possibility that your private photos are being viewed by unscrupulous buyers of the MegaUpload hardware!!

As I say, treat all Cloud Services with extreme caution, as providers are appearing with services that have scant service level agreements and customers are foolishly trusting them with important, possibly irreplaceable data.

Dropbox for instance has a lot of stuff in their “Terms and Conditions” about them not sharing your data with anyone else, but I can’t see anything that looks like a service level agreement, this paragraph is probably the nearest to it:

Dropbox is Available “AS-IS

Though we want to provide a great service, there are certain things about the service we can’t promise. For example, THE SERVICES AND SOFTWARE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS”, AT YOUR OWN RISK, WITHOUT EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND. WE ALSO DISCLAIM ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. (We are not shouting- it’s just that these disclaimers are really important, so we want to highlight them). Dropbox will have no responsibility for any harm to your computer system, loss or corruption of data, or other harm that results from your access to or use of the Services or Software. Some states do not allow the types of disclaimers in this paragraph, so they may not apply to you.

Basically you do everything at your own risk and they can accept no liability.  Now I don’t blame Dropbox for that, if you are providing a free service I think you the consumer should not expect too much and take reasonable precautions.  What I would like to see is something about what happens if Dropbox goes out of business, what happens to my data? Will they guarantee that before sale the servers that hold my data will be erased so that it can’t be recovered. Also will they confirm what happens if I chose to leave the service, will they destroy my data so that it can’t be used by anyone else?

To me if any of this stuff matters to you, don’t use Cloud Services as none of them will guarantee any of this.



Windows 8


The new lock screen – So far so good.

I have played with the Developer Preview that was released last year in time for the “Build” conference. I installed it first on my HP laptop and my initial reaction was “OMFG!”, everything that the development of Windows to date was thrown out and it appeared MS had fallen “hook line and sinker” for the tablet paradigm basically because Apple did it with the iPad and had sold millions of the the things in a few days. Trying to run the Developer Preview with a mouse and keyboard was just horrific.


The new big tile interface seen above is called “Metro” and it is a direct port of the operating system used in Windows Phone 7.  Basically it is designed to be operated with your fingers rather than a mouse, so everything is big and easy to poke with your finger.

I and a lot of others ranted about it on the “Building Windows 8” blog in the comments, my biggest annoyances are:

  1. After years of getting the idea of not filling your desktop with icons as a) it slows down the opening of your desktop, b) it’s old fashioned and harks back to the Windows 3.1 “Program Manager” where you had a desktop full of windows with icons in them:
    and generally looks a bit of a mess.  I used it for years in work and it was efficient, but I immediately preferred the start menu when we got that in Window 95.
    Suddenly the clutter was gone and you had a nice organized hierarchy of programs within folders and your desktop picture of that far distant holiday island could be returned to whenever you needed inspiration.
    Since XP Vista and Windows 7 this newer paradigm has been improved.  Now with Windows 7 you can almost dispense with the start menu and just pin all your favourite applications to the task bar. Net result you have an always present strip at the bottom of your screen with your favourite/most used applications available.  Additionally the raised button look, tells you what else is open when you are in one application and can’t remember if you already opened another application. If you hover over the button you can peek at the contents of the application without actually leaving the one you are in. To me Windows 7’s Aero interface was as near perfect a way of working as there has ever been on a PC to date and I was really looking forward to what improvements they were going to make in Windows 8. So the Developer preview has been something of a let down to say the least….
  2. My biggest gripe is not being able to close Metro applications, this caused massive amounts of comment on Windows 8 blog and in the end the creation of the “Windows Metro Style apps forums”. Because Windows 8 uses the same interface code as the Windows Phone operating system it has brought with it the same way that phone applications work, they are basically suspended rather than closed.  I am not sure why they do this on phones unless it is because the time to open an application is slower than using up all the available RAM and switching back and forth by between all the applications you have open.  This however causes a huge problem in my opinion in Windows 8, as once you have been working for a reasonable amount of time opening various applications you suddenly find that when you want to switch to another application you have to wade through all the suspended applications.  It’s actually worse on a tablet as the method of switching applications is a swipe in from the left of the screen and it’s a sequential process unlike the old ALT-TAB or Windows Key – TAB method, you literally have to switch between each closed application until you get to the one you want.  It gets very old very quickly I can tell you!!
  3. Metro applications are full screen and have no “Chrome” as it’s called. That is they don’t have a menu bar at the top with the usual File >> Edit >> Options >> Help type  menus, or a title bar or Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons. Basically they are either running or suspended, you don’t close them, you don’t minimize them, you don’t restore or maximize them. They are either full screen or running in the background. 
    This is a picture of Internet Explorer running in its Metro IE10 version:
    This is Internet Explorer when you have swiped up from the bottom of the tablet screen or right-clicked if using a mouse. At the top you can see the pages you have open, the equivalent of seeing the tabs in the current version of IE9. Now this is all fine and dandy when you are using a tablet and your finger, but it’s mega frustrating to have to mess about like this when in Aero you just click a tab.  But what happens when you want to display multiple applications side by side? Well you can sort of?
    This is the Windows desktop on the left and the IE10 Metro App on the right.  You can only have this one quarter / three quarter split, all you can do is have it with the bigger screen on the other side (i.e. so it becomes a three quarter / one quarter layout going left to right). Which all seems a bit restrictive compared to the Aero desktop in Windows 7.  I suspect the reasoning for this is that when you are using your fingers as your pointing device all the usual Min Max Close and menus are too small to use with your fingers. I have had both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on a tablet and definitely Windows 8 Metro Apps do work much better with your finger.  My BIG problem with that, is that is not how I or other people will want to do their daily work.  Sure at night when they get back from work and want to chill out on the sofa and just read the news off a website or browse their favourite sites using a tablet, this is perfect.
  4. One of the big claims for the new start screen (I thought it was the desktop when I first started Windows 8), is that it is a) easy to start apps with your fingers and b) gives you instant feedback.  If you look at this screen grab below you can see that the tiles are showing status information about the user’s email and weather information etc.:
    This is great and gives you an instant feedback of what is going on.  You can obviously re-arrange the pinned applications so that the ones that you want are in the first part of the screen but for a desktop PC user the icons for the applications look like this:
    As you can see this all looks a bit like Windows 3.1, very cluttered looking, for me a bit too gaudy and because it seems to favour the text over the icons for non Metro applications (I suspect soon to be called “Legacy Apps” if the MS marketing drones get their way) they are actually less easy to locate than how they are on Aero and waste a lot of what I would call desktop space. I appreciate that there will probably be Metro versions of Word Excel and PowerPoint etc. but until then and for most users who want to stick with their existing software this will be how it looks for some time to come. To see more applications than shown here you must scroll to the right for what seems like hours on end.  On a tablet like my Zoostorm this is not brilliantly fast and becomes frustrating. Using the mouse and its scroll wheel you can scroll across quite quickly on my laptop but again it’s frustrating compared to having it on my taskbar or in easy to find menus.
  5. The biggest problem of them all however is the idea that a desktop PC user is going to get this “Touch First” user interface at all when they buy Windows 8 on their next Windows PC.  This problem goes to the heart of everything about Windows 8 focusing on a tablet paradigm.  Yes this will work great on tablets and I don’t care who you are, a tablet is NOT a computer you want to do serious work on. The only exception to that rule are people who take inventory or who do surveys and need a quick tick the box type tool with limited amounts of typing required. As soon as you have to type lots of information you need a keyboard and the on screen keyboards in both Windows 7 and Windows 8 (indeed any tablet OS) obliterate so much of the tablet’s screen that using them on something as complex as a spreadsheet or Word document becomes too disruptive as the keyboard gets in the way too much.  I have even tried filling in web forms using my tablet and it’s horrid. I spend more time hiding and showing the on-screen keyboard as I try and get to fields that are hidden behind the keyboard.

    For a desktop user this interface is OK and you can run desktop metro apps with a keyboard and mouse but why would you want to? Especially as it means giving up effectively multi-tasking for this clunky full screen single tasking or bi-tasking sort of idea where you can only have three quarters of a screen for your main app and one quarter for the one other one.  This is going t o be very crap on my dual 24” flat panels and for other people who run 3 or more screens.

    I just hope that Microsoft see sense and allow the user to turn off the Metro UI or allow us to have a proper start menu in the Aero Desktop as well as the start screen (there is a registry hack that works on the developer preview that allows you to turn off the Metro UI and it puts the traditional Start Menu back, note it sometimes causes weird things to happen if you decide you want to go back to Metro again!).

In fact I can’t see why there is this need to make all of Microsoft’s products have this corporate “Metro” look.  They have even put it on my Xbox 360 and it works Ok but it’s not needed for my money. I think they could quite happily have Windows Tablet Edition and Windows Desktop Edition and leave Metro off desktop PCs all together.

My hope is that when the full beta comes out they have answered a lot of the criticisms I have here such as making it possible to close Metro apps and being able to turn the Metro Interface off for desktop users and give us the Start Menu back.

As a person who makes his living writing applications for Windows and supporting business users PCs and Servers I am extremely worried as to how Business will react to this complete sea change in the user interface.  I think if Microsoft are not careful they are going to have another “Millennium” or “Vista” on their hands. Just as they managed to give the vast majority of Windows XP users a viable alternative to their current operating system.

I am very concerned that a lot of businesses who traditionally wait for a couple of generations of Windows operating systems before upgrading and who are now about to shift off Windows XP as it reaches its final support countdown in 2014 will take a look at this and think “I really don’t want the training costs associated with this transition” and will jump ship completely to the likes of Linux Mint. Mint offers them a no cost alternative desktop that has all of the benefits of Windows 7, i.e. it looks like traditional Windows, it doesn’t suffer with Viruses at the moment, it runs Open Office or Libre Office which can open MS format documents and provide enough functionality for most businesses.  The server Linux offerings like Red Hat can provide a similar set of email and collaboration applications that would almost satisfy the current Outlook/Exchange user. Also increasingly the Google Android market will satisfy the tablet and mobile phone areas and these are Linux based technologies so in some ways sit better with Linux than Windows.


If this starts to happen with a number of very big players, then the majority of business users might decide to follow suit and MS will be dead literally.

Let’s hope they see sense and accommodate the desktop and laptop user who doesn’t want to poke their screen(s) with their finger and do want to do serious work that requires a keyboard and mouse or we will all be honing our Linux skills.


More Ammunition Against Cloud Services

I don’t like to say told you so, but …. told you so!

There are a lot of good people who used MegaUpload for legitimate purposes who have now lost access to their data.  I just hope that they have made backups of their own as I suspect it will be a long time before they can gain access to their data whilst the authorities search through the files looking for more evidence of copyright infringement.

I have and always will have a big problem with my data being stored on someone else’s servers that I personally do not have any control over.

See my previous rants on the subject:

Permalink to What happens to data when your cloud provider evaporates- – Computerworld

Permalink to VMware Cloud Goes Down

Permalink to Now it’s Amazon’s EC2 that proves my point!!

Permalink to The Cloud–An Example Of My Distrust of Cloud Computing

Permalink to The Cloud–What do I think-

I know it’s all negative, but I think everyone should have a healthy mistrust for personal data stored on the web, you just never know where it goes what it’s used for and if it’s important to you whether it will survive the demise of cloud providers.


Has Microsoft Lost Its Way With Development Environments And Tools?

As you probably know if you know me, as much as I do IT Consultancy and Support, the other big thread to my daily work is application development.  I have been deep in programming work for the last 6 months for Lloyds TSB Bank and more recently for a security company in Gloucester called Advantage One. Most of my development work is done in Microsoft Visual Basic using Visual Studio 2010 and I compile most of my applications against the Dot Net Framework 4.0.

A Bit Of My History

Being a developer for Windows is quite hard as Microsoft keep moving the goalposts.  I started programming when I worked for Lloyds TSB using Clipper for DBase databases (not a Microsoft product).  Later as Windows took off with Windows 3.1 I started using Microsoft Visual Basic (VB).  This went through versions 1 to 6 in as many years almost and each time new capabilities were brought in that you had to learn to use to get the best out of it.  Early on I was using ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity) to connect to Access databases using Excel and programmatically using DAO to connect from within my applications. 

When I had just got my head round how to use DAO, the next Visual Basic release said that we should stop using DAO and move onto ADO (ActiveX Data Objects). So you start over and learn yet another methodology for talking to databases through your programs.

Just when I thought I had got that mastered Microsoft decided that VB had to change, if you wanted to move on beyond VB6; and you did if you wanted to take advantage of all the new shiny stuff that was in Windows XP and later in Windows Vista. So throw away everything you know about writing programs in VB6 and start afresh with VB.NET 2003. 

Suddenly, everything you could do without thinking, like populating a drop down list or accessing data was completely different.  Suddenly you had to import bits of the dot net framework into your program to get stuff that used to work without importing things in VB6.  It was a shock, all previous updates to VB were fairly straightforward.  This update stopped you working until you learnt all the new methods of going about programming.

In the background this was Microsoft coming up with an alternative to Java.  The Dot Net framework is a foundation on which you build programs like the JVM (Java Virtual Machine).  The idea of building Frameworks and Virtual Machines is to separate the key elements needed to produce programs like forms, buttons text boxes and the way your program manipulates files and databases, separate from the bare metal of the  operating system on which it runs. 

This means that if you want to implement the ability to run these programs on a different operating system like Linux or Mac OSX all you have to do is create a Framework or Virtual Machine that works on that platform and theoretically the programs that work against the Dot Net framework on Windows will now run without changing the source code on any of the other platforms that can run the framework.

Microsoft were envious of Java which was created by Sun who have now been taken over by Oracle, as it offered this cross platform environment that eluded their VB6 applications.  This is why we all moved to Dot Net. Suddenly MS had their own Java like platform.  Not only that, this platform was cleverer than Java because you could plug in any language you like to their framework, as far as I am aware the Java VM is only for the Java programming language. With Dot Net you can write in C#, VB, F# and Python and any other language if you have the time to write a language plug in for Dot Net.

There is a project called Mono which has implemented the Dot Net Framework on Linux, so now I can write programs for Windows in C#.NET and my code can be loaded in Mono and recompiled and will now work on a Linux PC. I haven’t actually tried it but that’s the theory! Great. So where is this rant leading?

Now To The Present

Well, just recently Microsoft did an early demo of Windows 8 and the presenter (Jensen Harris) went though the new interface, see it here:

the video is about two thirds of the way down the page. If you watch it, there was a key comment made at about 1 minute 20 into this clip, where Jenson says that the new applications that run in this cool new interface are built using standard web technologies, HTML 5 and JavaScript.

A lot of developers were up in arms at this, especially the developers who use Silverlight which is Microsoft’s version of Flash and is used on the Windows Phone 7 interface (see below):


As you can see its interface is pretty much identical to Windows 8 or rather it’s the other way around. 

You would imagine therefore that the Windows 8 interface would use Silverlight as well, but as per the video mentioned above, Jenson Harris said it was done using HTML5 and JavaScript.  I personally don’t have an issue with this as I am just as happy in HTML5 and JavaScript as I am in VB.NET or C#.Net, though I do find using HTML a bit tricky to get a database application working well without some of the rich controls you get in  VB.NET or C#.NET.

So in a stroke Microsoft pissed off a large quantity of Dot Net and Silverlight developers who could see all their time, effort and in most cases, cost, (training, books experience etc) flushed down the toilet!! All you need now to write applications for Windows 8 is HTML 5 and JavaScript, so you boys can all go home!).

I don’t read it quite as bad as that, as later in the demo it’s made clear that the old user interface can still be accessed and all your old style applications can be accessed through what might be termed the “classic” Windows 7 style interface. As developers though, we don’t like to think that all our work is now passé we want to be bleeding edge man!

The Big Picture

The bigger issue though for me is where are Microsoft going with all this? I can see if you take a short term cool and trendy (read air-head) approach, having your main Windows O/S look like Windows phone and be touch centric, you can then hop on the bandwagon, that thinks tablets are the ONLY way to run a computer in 2011 started by Steve Jobs and his iPad!

The best laugh is that it was actually started by Microsoft years ago (2001 era), when it developed its tablet interface version of Windows and Bill Gates famously opined that this would be the way ahead (how short some people’s memories are)!

As usual Bill was there first but Steve made it happen when technology was capable of delivering the idea.

So I can see there is some heritage to using tablet PCs within Microsoft and they feel that their next O/S must be capable of being operated with your fingers rather than a mouse and keyboard. 

The trouble is, this is the Apple view of the World, clearly they are a consumer based organisation.  I think Apple have in the main given up on the commercial World. They realised that after the success of the iPod then iPhone and finally iPad their “cool” products were suited better to Joe Public not business.  I think they realised that Microsoft has won that battle.  I think Steve Jobs wants to take the home Windows PC user away from Microsoft by offering the iPad for web browsing on the sofa and the iPhone for computing on the move.  Home users tend not to want to sit at a desk, they’d rather slop down in front of the TV with their netbook or iPad and multi-task between the two. 

My daughter Mary is a prime example of that, she always has her laptop on her lap, usually with Facebook and other websites open chatting with her pals and watching the television at the same time.  She claims that she can do both, in reality she’s doing both things badly, which seems to be the way with kids today, they have lots of buzz going on around them and claim they are multi-tasking.  They are not they are just flitting between different things and absorbing very little of it. But that’s a separate rant for another day!

I am sure if Apple found that owning the consumer space drove up demand for their products in the business world they would get back in, but at the moment that’s not likely to happen.

I think this idea of using a tablet on a sofa is consumer rather than business oriented, when I use a PC to do work I like to sit in a comfy chair at a desk with room around me for other papers and my printer and scanner and my full on audio system and two big screens. I am not the kind of user that this tablet oriented O/S is aimed at.  So is Microsoft reacting to Steve potentially muscling in on the private user space or are they now full of air-heads who think Apple is great and Windows is crap because it doesn’t look like an iPhone!!?? I hope wiser heads step in and start reminding the Windows UI team that some of us prefer a keyboard and mouse and don’t want to be in the front room in front of the telly.

Back To Developers

Ok so I can see why Microsoft might want to stop Steve stealing the Windows X Home Premium clientele, it’s a big market that Microsoft currently own, but Steve thinks he can chip away at it like he did with the iPhone against Nokia.  So I can see why you might make Windows 8 look like Windows Phone 7 and be ideal for tablets to try and fend off the iPad threat, but what if that really pisses off your Business customers, who pay a lot for their Windows infrastructure, Windows Servers, MS Exchange, MS SQL Server and vast numbers of Windows 7 Pro installations? I think that might be a mistake.

An even bigger mistake is to piss off your developer base. What is an O/S without any applications.  If you mess with us we’ll go elsewhere, nowadays there are plenty of lucrative alternatives such as developing for Android even IOS God forbid.

I always thought that Steve Ballmer understood the need for developers to make applications (NOT Apps) that made his O/S look good, see this clip:

Steve Ballmer–Developers


Trying to make Windows look “Cool and trendy” like the Mac, may seem sensible to the air-heads, but have they done any research into whether their massive user base actually agrees with that.  I don’t. I really don’t want my greasy fingers messing up my screen I am much happier with a mouse.

So as I see it, they have a lot of business customers who want to run productivity applications like Word, Excel, Photoshop and AutoCAD which now seem doomed to the “classic” Windows 8 interface, i.e. second class citizens.  They also  seem prepared to disenfranchise their key developers in favour of air-head HTML applications that probably run to a few hundred KB and are very limited in what they do.

Guess what, they will probably see developers jumping ship to more fertile shores like android or IOS and the business customers will follow the talent as they won’t be able to get the great applications that really do something of any use on Windows any more.

Own goal!!

Apple The Biggest Threat To The Internet

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia put into words what I have been thinking for a while about Apple (This excerpt from Andrew Charlesworth’s piece on Wales’ speech at Bristol University on 13th Jan 2011):

“The debate is a highly overblown issue,” said Wales in a response to question about his personal view of net neutrality. “A lot of the things that people are afraid of are in reality a long way from happening. The real threat comes from the apps model.”

Read more:


Apple has a completely different model to their computer ecosystem to Microsoft Windows based manufacturers.  One of the reasons I dislike Apple computers is the fact that Apple lock down their PCs so that a user cannot add their own components like additional RAM, bigger hard drives, replacement graphics cards etc.

I can understand on the one hand why as a company you would do this. If you want to ensure that your customers get a highly controlled experience with your products, stop the end user from messing their system up. 50% of the calls I get where clients have problems with their Windows PCs are down to the end user fiddling with their PC trying to add some new piece of hardware or software and getting things wrong, eventually getting to the point where they know they can’t sort it out themselves.

On the other hand though, I would still as an end user myself, support an end user’s right to mess their system up if they want to. They paid for the PC, why shouldn’t they feel free to try and modify or customise their system to better meet their own requirements.

PCs running Windows or Linux embrace this concept, the word PC stands for “Personal Computer”, to me that means it is mine not the bloody manufacturer who supplied it to me. If I decide to mess it up, as long as I understand that if after doing that, fixing it again might cost me some money then that’s fine.

Apple just want to keep everything locked down so that A) you can’t mess their computers up and B) if you want to do anything to modify your Apple PC you probably can as long as you pay them for the privilege of making that change.

This is where I part company with Apple, this locking down of PCs so that you must pay them to do even the most basic of upgrades is just sharp practice as far as I am concerned, especially when their equipment costs more than the equivalent PC anyway. (before I get loads of complaints from Apple fanboys telling me that ain’t so, I am basing my experience here in the UK and there is no question that Apple Macs cost more on identical hardware compared to Windows PCs, admittedly it’s not as bad as it was a few years ago but there is still a premium paid for a Mac).

Going Forward

Now given this history of wanting to lock down their system for the reasons above, the next step in Apple’s World dominance was to create iTunes.

Good idea in theory when the Music Industry was busy running away from technology and trying to sue everyone in the World for playing music on their PCs.  OK I know a lot of people have illegally downloaded music from the internet and I DO NOT condone that, you should pay for your music so that the artist can make a living and put food on the table. But nowadays most people listen to music on their PC/Mac/Linux box and being in digital format is VERY convenient rather than messing about loading disks onto a turntable or CDs into a player or PC.

So prior to iTunes you could only get music in digital format from illegal sources like LimeWire and at one time illegal Napster. 

Once iTunes was invented it was a good idea, except that Steve Jobs decided to make it a closed system, i.e. if you want to use their service you initially could only play the downloaded music on an Apple iPod or similar device.  Also the tracks were Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected which meant you could only play the vast majority of them if you had a current active paid for account with Apple. As soon as you stopped paying them your fee, the tracks wouldn’t play any more so you didn’t own the tracks you were effectively renting them.

Nowadays you can use iTunes + which derestricts the downloads but I assume that is much more expensive.

The trouble is I suspect that most users are blissfully unaware of these restrictions and will get a shock when they want to play a track on a 6th device in their house and can’t, or want to close the service and find that previously paid for tracks now won’t play any more!?

App Store

Now we have the “App Store”, this means that Apple want you to buy all your applications from them as well.  With all the restrictions mentioned above.

So now you are expected to buy your PC from Apple, if you want to upgrade anything you must buy it from Apple.  If you want some music you must buy that from Apple. If you want applications you must buy them from Apple!

I have heard that Microsoft are thinking about doing this as part of Windows 8, so that you buy all your software through their “App Store” subject to the legal battle over the name “App Store” they are both fighting at the moment.

Why this is a Threat

This kind of thinking by Apple is why they pose the biggest threat to the internet that I and Jimmy Wales are concerned about. 

I clearly remember my first experience of being “online” through CompuServe and after the initial euphoria wore off (after about 2 days) I became dismayed at the fact that I was effectively corralled within CompuServe’s walls.  AOL were up to the same thing at the time, it was a mess. 

Finally the internet took off and it was a breath of fresh air.  Suddenly there were millions of sites some good some bad, but all independent and the basis of something that was unrestricted.

Now you could find that niche information on a subject that was dear to you and probably only a handful of other people in the World, but because it was easy and relatively cheap to put up a website, people did and suddenly the entire human knowledgebase was accessible from anywhere in the World.

So why would I want to be restricted back into that coral that is a single vendor like Apple!? OK, I take arguments like its a great experience, you are safe from viruses and other malicious elements, but can’t everyone see that being forced to only buy everything from Apple is a BAD thing!?

I am worried that in their desire to be “trendy” and “cool” Mac users are encouraging the rest of the computer using world to get sucked into this round cornered hype that is Apple where you pay through the nose and increasingly you are being  locked down to only see what Apple wants you to see.



VMware Cloud Goes Down

Yet more woes for Cloud suppliers, this time VMware it appears an initial outage was fixed and then whilst the company was trying to figure out a procedure of how to prevent the outage occurring again in the process of doing that someone triggered a bigger outage. I just spotted this in Network World:

VMware causes second outage while recovering from first

This all goes to show that cloud systems are just as likely to be affected by human error as stand alone IT systems, another reason that they should be approached with caution and not accepted as the answer to all your IT problems. 

The words “snake oil” come to mind!!