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I think we're entering the best time - we consumers decide what works best for us - instead of being forced to use WMA as an audio format, it was soundly rejected in favor of mp3's - in everything from graphic card drivers to DVD rippers - if you try to decide what format "is best," we as consumers decide if we accept or reject it. If you post your clips in Real format, someone will convert it to Divx or QT ... and if you add a "copyright" filter like Google is doing to YouTube, we'll just move to on to another new video player site. WE CONTROL ALL CHOICES from here on out. Companies like MS don't really get it - they still keep cranking out a Home Media Pc with layers upon layers of DRM when we can download a FREE DVR software to run on any computer - XP, mac or LInux ... Companies better get used to it. We will crack any DRM, we will ignore anything we dislike and we will make the final choice - it's that simple. Standardization is fine for corporations because they are all about uniformity - consumers are not - that is why MS is failing in this new world order. They just don't get consumers thinking what they decide is good enough is "good enough." It's not. MS is doomed if they continue along the same path as they did in the 1990's - they'll survive but be a niche corporate supplier with no resonance at all with consumers.
There is only one problem with the Google's "Docs & Spreadsheets". Google is holding the family jewels!
I agree with jBelkin. Our dependency on MS is slowly whithering away. Amen to that! Consumers will make choices on what's best for them.
On another note, if we do continue along the current path, we may see the "splitting" up of the internet into different use groups/channels. For example, corporations may want to ensure that they continue to run optimally on MS based products since that's where they see uniformality and minimal transition costs While consumers may want to surf on other channels because other companies, like Apple and Google, are offering free or products better suited to their needs.
Taking one quick review of Vista's EULA is enough reason for anyone to look further. The more MS has been warned about monopoly tactics the worse they get. I'm through being corraled into following the Piper!
My last Microsoft is XP. It's not broken and I can run it as a virtual machine. I'm now learning Linux. Using the Xandros distribution, because it comes with programs like CrossOver that make the transition easier. Discovered my Logitech mouse has no Linux driver and is a source of instability, so I'll stay away from Logitech products that have no Linux drivers - gotta expect small live-and-learn experiences when leaving the increasingly restrictive Microsoft nest, I suppose. The way I see is - the RIAA killed the Zapster music community and, without that Internet equivalent of local radio, CD sales began their steady slide. The more 13-year-olds they sued, the worse it got. And that is the crashing train Microsoft, with its DRM and ph9one-home crap, has decided to board. You know, if I have to shop for hardware a little more carefully to get away from that, it's worth it.
I bought Vista Basic for two of my home machines. I don't want all the added junk in my OS that the other versions have. I have to say, it has been amazingly painful for the applications I count on the most that do not carry the Microsoft brand. As a result I'm slowly moving more on to web 2.0 type apps since they tend to be more stable and less reliant on the OS. As a result, I think once I find all the things I want on the web, I'll probably move over to Linux. The "live" DVD versions I've tried recently don't have any more issues with drivers etc. than Vista.
Philip from Australia
Could the lack of uptake be because the early adopters got onto the public Beta bandwagon? When does that time out? That would explain some. So would software incompatabilities. I didn't get XP until after service pack 1. And is less than expected sales the same as not making money? Philip
I just can't see corporate purchasing managers rebelling against Vista--it would be career suicide. They'll just blame the IT dept. for any problems with Office, etc. Monopoly means that consumers have NO choices. Office and other apps practically guarantee this.
Chris Wegener
This is an interesting thought experiment but that is just as far as it will go. I work with many end users and very few have any concept of the choices. If people want to run Linux, more power to them, but if the problem with users installing software that breaks their computer is large on Windows it is huge on Linux. Users are complaining about adjusting to the new look and feel of Office 2007 trying and grasp the problems with every application have a different interface, many with no standard or usability testing behind them. Users complain about the difficulty of using Microsoft help, what will they do with applications that have no help files at all? For all of Microsoft's faults, and there are many, their applications by and large follow the same standards and exhibit the same behavior with the same inputs. The popular open-source software packages copy, rather slavishly Microsoft's menu structure and dialog box design. This makes it seem simple to move users over to these software packages until you try to accomplish some more esoteric tasks. Anyone ever try to automate any of the open source spreadsheets to simplify routine office tasks? Suddenly Excel and VBA seem golden. Certainly simple letters and memos are trivial. What about work group coordination or task sequencing over the web. What happens when your internet connection fails just before a deadline? Let's not kid ourselves here. Until the open source movement puts as much time and energy into usability design, interface standardization and documentation there is no viable alternative to Microsoft.
Sean McMullin
I am certainly no MS slave, but Chris has it entirely right. Usability and documentation are key to the success of other OS choices becoming viable, and have been for years with absolutely no progress in the area. It's the skateboarder problem all over again. How does a community improve its image when the whole idea behind the community is rebellion from accepted standards? Answer: it doesn't.
There are two main problems with Vista: One: for businesses, upgrades to the OS and the application suite (we use XP and Office, with a handful of Adobe CS users) provide zero benefit. The computer already does what we want it to do. There are only "anti-improvements" possible on the word-processing front, for instance; even Office 2003 was a big step backwards for usability (talk to any company that thought they'd trained their staff how to do simple mail merges, for instance). The only additional functionality we are interested in is coming from advanced database applications (web or otherwise), not consumer stuff. So Vista is pointless; the desktop is basically perfected. Two, the home consumer wants a media solution (and though I HATE that word, here it makes sense, because all we have to date is problems). And Vista can't address that desire, because of DRM. Unless and until Microsoft bucks the entertainment industry, they won't be able to do anything. And that's going to have to be a very big, expensive, bitter public fight. Actually, that applies to anyone, including Apple. The Mac people like to think they've solved all these problems, but they haven't, not even close. The solution hasn't been made yet. It sure as hell isn't "Web 2.0" whatever the hell that's supposed to be. But when it comes it will not have DRM. I'm not convinced by Google, either. They've got a ton of cash, but it's all from ads. That's nice for them, and lets them play around with stuff a lot, but very little of what they're coming up with is a long term answer to anything. Docs & Spreadsheets? Neat idea, but if you think Word and Excel are bloatware...those things are bloated beyond recognition just to get an inch off the ground. And yes, I have broadband and a hot new PC. But they are SLOWWWWW, and worse than slow, they're herky-jerky and latent. Videos? if crap quality is what you want, and as long as Sony and Universal haven't got ahold of you yet.... So: for the two main uses for computers: offices don't want to upgrade to Vista, and players CAN'T upgrade because of DRM. The computer of the future is....a standalone region-free DVD player from China, $50.
Hieu Hoang
AFAIK, the J in AJAX is JavaScript (aka ECMAScript), not Sun's Java.
The J in Ajax does NOT stand for JavaScript either. It is a common misconception that Ajax stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML, but that is untrue. Ajax is merely a term, not an acronym. That being said, Ajax is used in conjuction with Javascript and, often, XML.

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