Posts with tag "Microsoft"

Heaven just came to Earth for tech professionals

For all those techs out there a gift for when on the road working on customer machines If you are a tech who works on Windows computers then chances are the name Sysinternals is one that you are very familar with as is the name of the man behind it – Mark Russinovich. Sysinternals is well known for writing some of the best software around when it comes to dealing with Windows to the point that the company was bought up by Microsoft in 2006. There was a big hue and cry at the time as diehard fans of the software felt that Microsoft would ruin the products.

In this case however it was pretty well much the opposite as  the software has been consistently been improved on and is still free for everyone to use; and today it got even better. As reported by Ed Bott on his ZDNet blog all the Sysinternals software is also available via a new service called Sysinternals Live.

The new service enables you to execute the most recent version of any Sysinternals tool directly from an Internet-connected PC, without having to hunt for the executable file and manually download it first. To access the complete library of tools, use either of these methods from a Windows-based PC:

  • Go to the Sysinternals Live directory (http://live.sysinternals.com) and click the name of the tool you want to run. Because the directory listing is a bare-bones HTML file, it can be used in any browser.
  • If you know the name of the executable file for the tool you want to use, enter it directly, using the syntax \\live.sysinternals.com\tools\<toolname>, where <toolname> is the name of the executable file. (Note the UNC syntax uses backslashes, not slashes, as in a URL. Start with a pair of backslashes to indicate that live.sysinternals.com is the remote server, and don’t include the angle brackets with the tool name.)

Right now the service is available only through a plain HTML directory listing so as Ed says you will need to know the name of the program you want to run. I tried it out myself with a few of the programs and when you click on the *.exe of any of the programs you want you will get the typical Run or Save File dialog window popup. Just select the Run button and then once more from the second dialog (Security Warning dialog) window and you are good to go as the selected program will be started up for you at that point.

For tech’s working out in the field on customer machine this is going to be a real big help and it’s nice to see that Microsoft is holding true to its promise to always make these excellent tools available for everyone to use free of charge – and in so many ways.

Windows 7 Multi-Touch – pass the Windex

Man that's some dirty windows you have there So is everyone all breathless over the exciting news that came out of the D6 conference in a five minute demo that Windows 7 is going to have multi-touch capabilities?

As usual the response is all over the place on this with MG Siegler suggesting on VentureBeat that he sure hopes that Microsoft won’t cave to the naysayers and actually bring this idea to market. His thinking is that besides adding some interesting capabilities to Windows it could also redeem Microsoft and lift it out out of a funk.

Me? Well I have a couple of questions

1. Are we going to have to buy new monitors to be able to use this glorious new technology?

2. Past the first five minutes of the oh isn’t this frikken cool factor will anyone really use it?

3. Whose gonna pay for my now required purchases of Windex and paper towels because of all of the greasy fingerprints forever on my monitors?

Sorry but I’m really ambivalent over this whole multi-touch thing and I sure hope that there is more to this horse and pony show than just being able to move stuff around your screens with your fingers.

Windows 7 – a whole lot of assumptions so far

windows7 Today must have been let’s flood the blogosphere today with a whole lot of nothing day as it seemed to be all about Windows 7 on just about every Windows oriented blog that I read. Admittedly I am a Windows OS user who hasn’t been the most impressed with Vista and I really have some high hopes for the next version of the OS better known right now as Windows 7. As high my hopes might be I am also realistic enough to know that the chances of even a small percentage of what I would like to see happen to the OS will actually come about.

I have written previously about some of my thoughts on Windows 7 so it was rather interesting to see this sudden glut of information about the OS hitting the web today. Everyone from Mary Jo Foley (who had two pieces) who threw out a lot of thoughts about what was in the pipe to Robert Scoble who has basically written off even being concerned with it at this point.

The only really interesting stuff that I saw are the supposed screen captures that found their way into CrunchGear’s email Inbox and are said by both Matt Hickey of TechCrunch and Peter Ha of CrunchGear to have been verified as actual screen shots. I’ve included a few of them here for you to take a look at. If you want to see them all just head over to CrunchGear and have at it. I will say I think it highly likely that these are real but if they are then there are some interest user interface changes happening.

Win 7 screen cap 1 - May2008

Win 7 screen cap 2 - May2008

Win 7 screen cap 3 - May2008

Update: I was just notified by a someone I trust that the screen shots are indeed fakes.

Of all that I read today though the most useless post had to be the c|net interview with Steven Sinofsy the head of Windows development and has been parsed and re-parsed ad nauseam. Even though Ina Fried of c|net tried hard to get the Chief Secrecy Officer to crack under her relentless questioning about what we can expect with Windows 7 Steven kept true to form and said a whole lotta nothin’.

While the guys at LiveSide like to think that this same tactic of silence won’t work on the web services side of Windows the fact is that Sinofsy also has those teams under his thumb(screws) as well. So regardless of which part of the Windows development; OS or web, we look at all we are going to hear for some time is either silence or misdirection.

Stuck in Google Search and Advertising Hell

AdSense Panel - Click for larger view Every so often we hear some spin about a new company that is going to set the search and advertising world on fire thereby giving good old Google a run for their money. So far all this has done is to provide even more hot air to inflate the already fat Google balloon to new levels. In the process both web users and bloggers become even more tied into their Google reliance whether it be through their search or their advertising results.

Now Cliff Gerrish over on his blog Echovar saysSearch is about to change, you can feel it in the air.” but as much as I really want to believe him the only thing I am smelling is the same old game where Google is getting to set all the rules in what has basically become their monopoly playground. A playground that we as users of search and advertising are being told that all the toys belong to Google and if we don’t like it – tough on us.

Even though Tim O’Reilly might not see Google as yet being the dominant player and that Microsoft might just as well let them become just that

The critical point is whether or not, having achieved critical mass, you take the next step and turn that aggregated data into a system service. If Google doesn’t do that, and the rest of us have done their homework, then someone else will beat them in search because the network effect of the entire system will be greater than the network effect of the search ecosystem alone. If Microsoft understood this, they’d be competing with Google by making search services that are more open, re-usable and re-deployable than Google’s search services. Since they aren’t operating this way, they ought to throw in the towel.

The problem with that attitude is that in the long run the consumers of Google search; and as a by product Google AdSense, will get screwed because there will be no initiative to evolve any part of their systems. As Michael Arrington said in rebuttal to Tim’s first post – MicroHoo: corporate penis envy?

I simply cannot believe that just a little over a decade into the commercial Internet, Tim O’Reilly is willing to say that the search war is over. Did he not read his good friend John Battelle’s book, The Search? He’s not the only expert out there who thinks the war is over – Danny Sullivan argued as much on the Gillmor Gang last week. But I simply cannot believe that this is all we can expect in terms of search innovation.

There are so many areas on search that remain to be conquered. Semantic search. Real language/AI search. The deep web. Media search. Today search basically returns web documents. What I want is for search to complete tasks for me. We’re no where near that today.

We are just getting started in search. To think that search has reached its pinnacle today is like saying aircraft were perfected before World War I. And if just one company were to carry on in aircraft innovation at that point, I doubt we’d have jetliners whisking us around the world today.

Innovation does not occur at a rapid pace without competition. If Google or any company were to control search exclusively, we could expect to see little happen in search technology or business models over even the medium and long term.

As it stands right now in my opinion we have seen no real improvement is the search field let alone from Google. Oh sure we got some cutesy little arrow icons that will let us scroll through ads now and we got some ability to beautify up the ad displays; or as they are testing now some results showing links to discussions about the item.

Cliff pointed out in his post that even for the simplest terms Google returns a supposedly insane number of results

You can measure the quality of Google’s search results by searching for something and reviewing the usefulness of the first two pages of results. For example, the first result for the query “search engine” on Google is a link to “Alta Vista.” Google also indicated that there are 118,000,000 links in the result set. I couldn’t find any simple way to find the last result, the link that Google ranked as the lowest in importance. But since users rarely look beyond the second page of search results, all the rest is a puppet show. The business of Search is the quality of the first two pages of search results.

How is this kind of thing even close to being consider an improvement to search when in reality 99% of it is just useless noise. The same kind of noise that carries over into Google AdSense that unless you are a specifically targeted type of site does you next to no good. Yes I use AdSense here as you can tell by looking at the sidebar and unlike people who seem to think that because I do I shouldn’t be criticizing them I think that is exactly why I; and every other user, should be. Because they aren’t doing a good enough job and they don’t seem to care.

If you take a look at the example graphic with this post or even the live version in the sidebars 99% of the time those ads only reference things to do with blogs not with any of the possible subject matter within any of the posts on the page; and this is with implementing Google’s own suggestions for fine tuning the service.

As Alexander van Elsas pointed out in a post today75% off all advertisement spent goes to Google!” That is a lot of frikken money so it is no wonder that they can be lackadaisical in any move to improve or even evolve their services. After all why should they when they can be making that kind of money without actually having to improve.

Michael put it best at the close of his post

Microsoft can’t ignore the online advertising market, it’s just too big and important. And we need to be behind them in this effort, because if Microsoft and Yahoo lose interest, we’ll be stuck with a monopoly, and the Internet will suffer. Competition drive innovation. Competition drives prices down. To wish this away is irresponsible.

Not only is irresponsible it also leaves us the users and content producers with less than useful products while a single company continues to pile up the billions.