Microsoft Vista, RIP

I’ve managed to take a look at the release candidate version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. There’s no “killer” feature of it that mandates you upgrade–it’s just full of nice little things that show attention to detail.

It runs just as fast as Jaguar or Panther did on my three year old Powerbook. In fact, some things are faster. (Some are slower, but not terribly.)

No performance penalty, and a lot of nice little touches–and not much money to upgrade. Sounds like a winner to me. (Though I have no idea how to use the new version of Interface Builder… I may stick to xcode 2.4 for a while…)

Contrast that with Vista, which, eight months into its lifespan has seen endless complaints, offers a few eye candy features, but, overall sucks the life out of your computer and offers few if any productivity benefits. Many people are switching back to XP. I own three Vista licenses, and I only use one. (The second is on a VM on a Linux box. I have yet to use the VM.) The first is a VM on my desktop Mac, and I use it side by side.

At work though, my VM is XP. I can’t imagine going through the work day needing to do the kinds of things I have to do in Windows on Vista and not want to kill people.

Still, none of this would necessarily undermine Vista as inevitable, if unloved. Some compare it to Windows ME. I think ME wasn’t so much ignore because it didn’t do anything but because XP was only a year away. Now we know better than to expect Windows 7 anytime before 2011.

Anyway, that’s not what I think will ultimately cause the whole house of monopolistic cards to fold. The reverse engineering of MAPI is. Check out OpenMAPI. Assuming they really have done a clean-room reverse engineer of MAPI, and every e-mail client will later be able to come out with Exchange support (which MS could only kill in a future release… good luck with that) and Linux based servers could drop in as replacements, I think you will see a bigger movement towards Linux and opensource software in places where IT managers have to justify budgets.

(It’s free!)

If OpenOffice can come out with an integrated, free MAPI supporting e-mail client that runs on all platforms OpenOffice does, I think you can essentially call that the second trumpet sounding in the end of days of MS. (The first being the Vista itself.)

There is nothing I use in Word 2007 that wasn’t in Word 97. In fact, Word 97 is less annoying. I could say that about all the Office apps, except possible Outlook. XP is better than Vista. See a trend?

It’s not that Microsoft is incapable of producing a good product, or that opensource’s shit–or Apple’s for that matter–doesn’t stink. It’s that they choose to operate in a certain way. That model is finally on the verge of breaking down.

Now we’ll see if Linux can really get itself on the desktop, and Mac can get itself into the workplace. If so, I think it’s fair to say we could see real OS competition for the first time in 20 years.

I’m not going to over-venerate that period. It sucked when you had an Atari, your friend had an Amiga, and your dad used an IBM at work, and then you used an Apple at school. It was almost a miracle if you could even get them to read each other’s floppies.

But that’s not the case now. Not just because of the web, or because of Java, but because of open standards, almost every operating system reads and writes the same kinds of files and so on. So, it won’t be the 80s all over again. In fact, the first system to stop using those standards will probably cease to exist. In a nutshell, that is what is endangering Microsoft’s monopoly. They always do a pay-through-the-nose-copy-of-something-someone-else-did, which was one thing when it wasn’t lamer or late. Now, with things like wma after mp3 or c# after java, or the zune after the iPod, they just are behind.

As far as I know the only thing Microsoft actually genuinely created without either buying an outside team, copying another idea, or licensing it is BASIC and Flight Simulator.


OK, so unsurprisingly, the tazer kid is a total ass hole.

He was an ass hole in the video. He was asking Kerry assholish questions. In fact, reading some of his work reminds me of a deluded ass hole I know who lives in Washington. He may have some psychological issues—a touch of Asperberg’s, perhaps.

But even if I thought of the person in this country whom I think most deserves a taze (that could be any number of Republicans, despite the fact that some of them might enjoy it), that doesn’t mean he gets tazed.

What you have in that YouTube video is Exhibit A in the end of the era (if it ever really existed) of a country of laws, not of men. Lady Justice’s blindfold has been removed, and she’s on the rag. Judgment is as swift as a text message spread from teenager to teenager. “He’s an asshole” means that he has no rights.

I wrote long ago on this blog, and have been saying for longer than that the aspirational conceit that we are such a country is dead. We are a country of men, not laws. When Chief Justice Marshall said the opposite, he was affirming the idea that no man was above the law, and that, especially since we didn’t have a king, it would be the law that would decide.

And by “the law” I don’t mean Freudian picnic cops. I mean the written words.

Now, a person’s fate is not judged by the laws, apparently, but whether he is an asshole. In our time, I think, people have lost patience for deliberation. They have lost patience because there is so much out there that makes people pissed—but it ain’t this guy. It’s the devil people don’t believe in anymore, the leadership that is really creating this environment.

It’s quite likely that this kid will get his 15 minutes and then a hefty settlement in court, but the impulse to taze him, because he was an asshole, is what disturbs me.

Invade first. Recriminations later.
Fire inconvenient US attorneys. Resign later.
Swiftboat him now. Suffer the FEC investigation later.
Taze now. Lose lawsuit later.

The punishments in these instances are never enough to deter the behavior. We are allowing people to pay cheaply for their weregild. And no one in that crowd would stop him, because they knew at first blush he was an ass hole.

In the Internet age, by the time lady justice has put her blindfold back on, there have been 1000 intervening ADHD inducing events, and we’ve forgotten.

So, the message is, take and strike first, you may get away with it. Welcome to the land of men, not laws.

Another Step Towards Fascism

The Petraeus Puppetshow was a classic Conservatron sideways shot. The faux Troopergate story in the early Clinton years, for example, was supposedly about the misuse of Arkansas State Troopers, not smarmy sex innuendos. Of course, appropriating the good government angle was really just a way to puff up the salacious smear. So too was the Petraues report an apolitical vehicle to make a political point. The entire Conservatron Hive Brain has been repeating, “wait for General Petraeus” for several months. Generalissimo Bush used his testimony as the centerpiece for a week of media stunts starting with a “surprise” visit to Iraq and punctuated by an Oval Office address. Was there ever any doubt that the thrust of Petraeus’ testimony would be “stay the course”? His own credibility desecrated, Generlissimo Bush hid behind the dehydrated rooster visage and vastly overrated Princteon pedigree of his latest patsy to cynically drag out his chuckleheaded war until a real President takes over in 2009.

The MSM got its panties wet enough over this one to let ‘ol Fratty Frat George give them one more Rohypnol fuck for old times sake; but the public at large seems to have the horse sense to know politics for politics regardless of the clothes of the politician. The standing and elemental debate surrounding the Iraq War has not changed. Even the jellyfish cartilege in the Congressional Democrats’ spine has solidified enough to not wuss out on their Iraq measures.

The blurring of the line between military man and politician is what is disturbing about the Conservatron’s latest ploy. In this case the policy is so flawed, and Generalissimo Bush is so transparently disingenuous to everyone but the Washington Press Crops, that military prestige could not carry the day. Like Powell, Greenspan and the rest of the pathetic Bush Patsies before him Patreus seems content to have forever squandered his credibility to the worst President in American history and will skitter out of the limelight like the final phlegm ball from a nasty cold. The next Politico-General may not be so sanguine about surrendering his power.

Can this be?

I am getting a stronger and stronger warm fuzzy for … Senator Dodd. Yeah, he voted for the AUMF, but I’m starting to believe that Obama would have too had he been in the Senate. His record of political courage isn’t thrilling me.

Ernest Goes to President

In a hiccup of nostalgia I recently took in the only watchable “Ernest” flick “Ernest Goes to Camp”.

It was truly awful, as in full of awe and terrible, to behold how Ernest’s mannerisms resemble those of the chuckleheaded Generalissimo Bush. Not necessarily for his cartoonish shenanigans, but for his tireless self-confidence in the face of them. Ernest’s blithe, confident, mildly arrogant “heeh heeh” laugh sounds like a Bush impersonation.

Democrats and their base; misc.

The Democrats seem to think they were put into office to hold hearings and get the worst of the demons to resign. Maybe they accomplished that–and they raised the minimum wage from ludicrous to hyper poverty, effective in maybe half the states. But they’ve bent over faster than a toe-tapper in the Minneapolis airport whenever the subject of Iraq comes up. It’s the Iraq, stupid. That’s why you were put in there, and not just by a few swing voters, by your base. To all those Democrats who have been pissing on Ralph Nader’s grave for 7 years… don’t recreate those circumstances.

How, please tell me, are you going to shake the pussy image when you won’t defend a majority position against a president with a 25% approval rating??? Weak. Can we bring Howard Dean back, please?

The reason the Republicans aren’t turning on their base, even in the face of such an implosion is that they know they are nothing without them. Democrats have turned their back on their base for decades, ever in pursuit of this illusive “swing voter.” You know what a swing voter is? It’s like any other swinger: they aren’t loyal and they will cheat on you. And why? Because they don’t give a shit. They won’t donate money, they won’t canvass, they won’t vote Yellow Dog–they’ll vote on the best commercial or the worst haircut.

The swing voter is the prole who cannot be awakened. Ignore them. Get a good haircut if you must, but ignore them.

Quick Hits

  • Microsoft has temporarily lost its attempt to get its OOXML format certified as an international standard. OOXML is not truly open as it stands right now. Do you really want your data–data that you’re supposed to be keeping available forever–controlled by gatekeepers in Redmond? I don’t. Even if Microsoft’s ham-handed attempts to bribe ISO members into voting in their favor won’t matter. ISO’s imprimatur won’t convince serious data managers to fall for this.
  • I saw another report of another general saying the “next few months” in Iraq are going to be critical. Why is that still being printed?
  • What’s with the Iran noise? I’m not sure what will happen if they really go through with that. Part of what a lot of left wing paranoids don’t get is that there are limits. Bush isn’t doing anything that he hasn’t been allowed to do by the opposition and the media elite. The blame isn’t zero sum, it’s not just Bush’s fault. . . but those powers permitted everything that’s happened so far. Has he done anything without at least some Democratic complicity?