What Do Apple Users Not Hate?

Does anybody actually think Microsoft cares about Mac Office? I think it's hilarious they released the ArtOfOffice.com before releasing Microsoft Office 2008 Mac edition. That's a real slap in the face. And you know what, as long as you attack MS for being a business OS, they will never take you seriously.


To all the PO'd Mac users out there, why don't you stop whining about something and start proving you're not just whiners by putting a bunch of links to something that didn't come out of Apple that you actually like.

I'd really be fascinated to see what types of things Mac users like. If they are not complaining that Vista is a rip off of OS X which is a rip off of Linux, then they are complaining they can't get Microsoft's new version of Office on a Mac.

Moreover, they hated the new iMac design back in 1997. They are even so insecure they think Adobe hates Mac users. I'm sure Adobe puts more into developing Microsoft products ... kind of like a 95% market share thing there.

They hate brushed metal interfaces, and all of the sudden the don't really hate Microsoft.

My favorite has to be they think they hate their Mac, but they are not quite sure.

Anyway, if you are a Mac user and you've written about something you really like, I'd be fascinated to know what it is ... I mean anything other than Steve Jobs and Apple products that is ...

I think you guys secretly love Microsoft Office 2007 with the Ribbon ... Let it out!!

Over and Out


Google / Yahoo Phone

Just a quick side note on this one:

I think this is a move for both companies to get into Internet Tablet devices. I'd be betting Google and Yahoo are using the term "Phone" to appeal to certain people while the intent is to develop their own Internet PC's.

I wonder if Web OS's will take of in parallel?

Over And Out


Two Mobile Devices / Accessories I'd like to see

1) Touch Screen LCD with Web Browser and Bluetooth

I don't really care if it's Bluetooth or some other equal technology, but I'd like to see a tiny touch screen that can pair with my mobile phone that merely includes a full web browser sort of like the iPhone. The idea would be the built in Web Browser would be able to display any content from the mobile phone or internet VIA some type of wireless connection. I could put it on my desk to run a slideshow or I could carry it in my pocket to browse the web.

2) Standalone Cellular Internet Router Device

A mobile device which connects to cellular networks (note device has no LCD Screen or Qwerty keyboard), and broadcasts that internet connection over a short range wireless connection. The purpose of this device would be merely to enable other types of wireless devices to use a shared internet connection. You could connect the above screen to this device thereby utilizing the web as an OS.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of these things so if anyone has any suggestions as to what devices I should be looking into please let me know. As of current, I do not believe these devices exist.

Over and Out


Digestion Phase of Web 2.0

Another blatant repost from ReadWriteWeb's Alex Iskold:

"If the value created by the companies is greater or equal to the money put into them, then we are fine, we can continue to grow. If the technologies that we invented will be used not only by a few hundred thousand people, but by millions, then we are fine, we can continue to grow. And if these new tools work well by themselves and together enhace our online life then, great, we are in good place.

But if the answer to some of these questions is a no, then we need to pause. If the answer to all of these question is a no, then we might need to take a step back. In the worst case scenario, it may mean that we will slow down and maybe even slide back. We may not like this, but this is just how all cycles work."

The Digestion Phase: How We Got Here And Where We Are Going Next


Tafiti: Under the Silverlight hood

I'm particular. I looked through the www.Tafiti.com source code and noticed a bunch of stuff that I didn't like about how Silverlight is building the underlying RIA.

In www.tafiti.com there is a function called startSkipjack that uses a Silverlight.createObject function. Back in the day's that used to be a call to ActiveX or some sort of COM object in the browser - but this function is obviously a JavaScript wrapper for the creation of the Silverlight plugin. I'd assume an actual plugin is loaded that is not 100% JavaScript - I'm sure Microsoft would like me to think that too.

Kind of a strange strategy to make a plugin dependent on XAML and JavaScript at the page level but then again I guess any scripting language will suffice and XAML is just XML.

After seeing a working demo certain things escape me ...

Use of Styles

It's use of styles ... Consider this EX//

SJ.Hyperlink(0, 0, 55, 0, "feedback",
"FontFamily='Verdana' FontSize='9' Foreground='#ffffff' Opacity=' 0.8'",
"mailto:tafiti@microsoft.com ");

One would think inline styles would be replaced with CSS. By externalizing CSS developers would be able to modify styles by simply modifying the underlying CSS template. This just makes things easier to maintain. But Kudos for actually using the same syntax in the inline style declarations.

Text Content in JavaScript

My final criticism is: Isn't a huge problem with these Rich UI's (Flash) that search engines have a ton of trouble indexing the actual text and links? In Silverlight text and link info is included in the JavaScript which most search engines will just ignore. Consider this EX//

signInSignOutLink = new SJ.Hyperlink(0, 0, 35, 0, userIsAuthenticated ? "sign out" : "sign in",
"FontFamily='Verdana' FontSize='9' Foreground='#ffffff' Opacity=' 0.8'",
userIsAuthenticated ? userSignoutUrl : signInSignOutLink.openWithName = "_self";
if (!userIsAuthenticated) {
signInSignOutLink.onMouseEnter = function(sender, args) { SJ_ShowToolTip(sender.visual, "Sign in with your Windows Live ID so youcan access your stacks from multiple computersand post stacks to your Windows Live Space.", args.getPosition(SJ.topCanvas)); }
signInSignOutLink.onMouseLeave = function() { SJ_HideToolTip(); }

They (Microsoft Silverlight) could have easily put time into developing a sort of hide region feature whereby things like the sign in sign out link could be defined in markup to be hidden and then merely organized using Javascript / Silverlight. They could then subclass the hyperlinks into external and internal Silverlight hyperlinks. This would support search engine indexing ... Consider this alternative to above EX//

Site Size:

I'd be curious to get a Flash developer to develop a simple "Hello World" application and then compare the size of that application to a Silverlight application. My guess is that Silverlight will be significantly larger than Flash merely because it requires XAML and JavaScript to run before launching the application and it's provided in the raw mark-up files. I see this as a drawback for anyone wanting to develop a high performance RIA in Silverlight.


My understanding is that in using Silverlight you may effectually write a client side multi threaded interface. I'm curious to understand how we can actually multi thread when communication between the browser and Silverlight is dependent on JavaScript. Possibly Microsoft can better explain this.


I'm very suspicious. Is this a plugin or a cached clientside JavaScript library. Or is it as it looks, a hybrid mash-up of a bunch of trendy technologies: Plugin + XML + JavaScript. And if it is the later, why in the lords name wouldn't they make indexing the content a priority and why would they leave crap like inline styles in the source. I'd assume that would be a huge win over Flash etc. especially if the search crawlers can already crawl html.

My Quick Asks For Silverlight:

1) Show me how Silverlight can be used to create Virtual Earth Mash-Ups.

2) Make Silverlight work on Opera Mini.

3) Show me a multi threaded UI example.

Let me know what you think about Silverlight.

Over and Out


POLL: Are you more productive in Microsoft Office 2007?

It's time to either make yourself known as a fanboy, or a hater ...

Please take a second to respond to my Microsoft Productivity poll which you can find in the right side bar.

Are you more productive in Microsoft Office 2007?

Ideas for upcoming polls:

Does Microsoft Sql Server Integration Services make you more Productive.
Does Microsoft Sharepoint make you more Productive.
Does Microsoft Windows Vista make you more Productive.

If you'd prefer something else, or would like me to make one of these a poll question immediately, please let me know by posting a comment.

iPhone Apps = Mobile RIA = Blackberry X with Opera Mini

Yes the iPhone is a cool product that runs OSX over UNIX on a mobile device. My bet is the touch screen will bother more people than it helps, and I’m sure it’ll be a warranty issue as screens get scratched and fail to function. I like my tiny QWERTY that I can feel.

I had a Compaq iPaq back in 2001. It had a touch screen you COULD use with your thumb. It played Audio and Video. It worked on the Cell Network and doubled as my cell phone. It could communicate wirelessly over 802.11a and 802.11b, and even had an external GPS device. Sure it ran Window’s Mobile, not UNIX and OSX. Why didn’t it last in the consumer spectrum? Possibly because there were no mobile services for the device.

So I ask, what is the benefit of running OSX over UNIX when application developers write code for the Safari Browser? With the recent flurry of Mobile RIA’s targeting the iPhone is there really any reason Apple would open the platform and provide a native SDK?

Regardless, I have a Blackberry Pearl. It plays music, video, mobile TV, and runs many popular mobile applications like Opera Mini 4.1. Sure the screen is about a quarter the size of an iPhone, but guess what? It has no problem running iPhone RIA’s!

Try it for yourself:

Navigate to http://www.operamini.com/beta/ (on your device), download and install the new Opera 4 mini beta browser (which as a first includes a little mouse you can control with your trackball!!).

Setup Opera Mini on your device by launching it in the Main Menu (you should see the red O icon).

Navigate to any of the following sites:
  1. Facebook: http://Iphone.facebook.com
  2. NetVibes: http://M.n1.netvibes.com
  3. Meebo: http://www.meebo.com
That adds Social Network, News and IM functionality to your Blackberry device. Everything should run fine. I'm not totally sure if these sites run in Opera 3, regardless, I've installed Opera 4 mini beta.

I think it’s time that the industry in general starts labeling these Mobile RIA’s rather than iPhone applications.

Side Note: I bet there are a lot more Blackberry's out there than iPhones so branding a Blackberry / iPhone site may actually make a lot of sense.

Free Advice to RIM: Drop the Blackberry Browser and replace it with Opera Mini 4 on the base device. If you have features in the Blackberry Browser that are not in Opera Mini than work with Opera to have the features included.

Over and Out


Resolved: Google / Blogger no longer violating my privacy

OK so here is the deal. The Show my Email address option does not apply to instant message coordinates. So if you have an email address in your IM Username field Blogger will display that in your profile.

I think this is a bit silly because I clearly have not shared my email address. Further, there is no setting to share / not to share your IM address. Be weary not to include your IM Username.

I guess an email address isn't an email address as far as Google / Blogger are concerned. I'd just as soon not share any email addresses when I specify not to - but I guess this is a loophole.

Check out my new profile!

Over and Out


Google / Blogger Violating My Privacy!!!!

I just did a Google search for my email address. It directed me to my blogger profile. Well I thought that was strange because I clearly have not selected the checkbox that allows Blogger/Google to share my email address.

I would really like to see what Blogger / Google has to say about this. Possibly I shouldn't be using my gmail address, possibly I should be creating a new email account just so I can blog. I already have about ten so what's another one?

Here is the proof (I guess you'll just have to trust me that the trick works):

Google Search for my email:

Blogger Profile View Clearly Shows My Email:

Blogger Privacy Setting Does Not Specify that Blogger / Google can share my email address:

I've put in a support request but still no luck!

Over and Out


Narcissistic Microsoft Productivity Enhancements: Are you More Productive???

I'm not sure if Microsoft Sales staff is serious when they say their products make people more productive. From my experience lately there is absolutely nothing from Microsoft that makes me more productive. In fact, in abstracting the layers further away from me, I'm becoming increasingly less productive with each iteration of Microsoft technology.

The following productivity enhancement claims from Microsoft have actually made me far less productive. At times up to 90% less productive:
  • Microsoft Office 2007 (Access, Word, Outlook all suck, Visio and Excel are the only apps that are considerably better).
  • Microsoft Windows Vista - don't even want to start on this one. All I wanted to do was change the default font size.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services: how can it take 1 day to setup an import data routine? How is it possible to build such a beautiful diagnosic display with such contextually irrelevant error reports?
I decided to check my NetVibes.com start page and did a search for Microsoft and Productivity (I tried variations like productiv etc. to get the most results).

The image at right includes some of the biggest technology blogs and yields no results.

I decided to look a bit deeper into the rabit hole and did a Google Search for Microsoft Productivity. The first thing I noticed was that every result on the first page was to a Microsoft site.

So I decided to do a Yahoo Search for Microsoft Productivity same thing except it contains links to Microsoft Applications that once again claim to make you more productive.

So I decided to do a Windows Live Search for Microsoft Productivity and guess what, there are actually links to 3rd party sites for Microsoft Productivity.

Is Microsoft living in a bubble with respect to measuring productivity? I've lost at least 2 months this year to learning curves in updated Microsoft Tool Kits. I'll never get those 2 months back ever - and it was at the expense of Microsoft Clients that I learned this stuff.

What do you think? With each incremental product release, are you becoming that much more productive? Or are you just like me, frustrated, and looking for other options?

Please let me know your opinion.

Over and Out

Where SQL2005 SSIS meets Developer Hastle in Toolage

This is a very simple thing and it pisses me off that MS gives us such a limited solution here. I'm writing an SSIS package to import Microsoft Dynamics AX information into SQL Server (I know could use WS but the AX implementation is at a client office).

The create table statement that I wrote has about 140 fields. Check out the limited editor window in the below screen print.

Microsoft, please allow functions such as find and replace in this window. Syntax highlighting may be too much to ask for but what the heck. Can't you guys make this open into a nice SQL Query Analyzer form?

The window I'm talking about is called: Enter SQL Query.

Please service pack fix this!

Over and Out

Passenger smuggles monkey onto plane under hat

This is so funny ...
A man smuggled a monkey onto an airplane, stashing the fist-size primate under his hat until passengers spotted it perched on his ponytail, an airline official in New York said.

On a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to New York's LaGuardia airport, people around the man noticed that a marmoset — which normally lives in forest and eats fruit and insects — had emerged from underneath his hat, Spirit Airlines spoksewoman Alison Russell said. The man's journey had begun in Lima, Peru.

"Other passengers asked the man if he knew he had a monkey on him," Russell said.

Other passengers asked the man if he knew he had a monkey on him
The monkey spent the remainder of the flight in the man's seat and behaved well, said Russell. She did not know how the monkey skirted detection in Lima and during the man's several-hour layover in Fort Lauderdale.

LaGuardia airport police were waiting for the man and his monkey when the plane landed, and he was taken for questioning. It was unclear if he would face any criminal charges.

The city's animal control agency said the monkey appeared healthy. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was planning to take it for disease testing and keep it quarantined for 31 days, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said.

If the monkey is healthy it could wind up in a zoo.



VCs: Startups Are Too Reliant on the M&A Market

The people at ReadWriteWeb have always been good at allowing me to blatantly repost their great articles. The following is written by Sean Ammirati and talks about how Startups are Too Reliant on the M&A Market. Very interesting read

If you like the article, please take time to visit their site!

I'm at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit reporting for Read/WriteWeb. This afternoon there was an interesting presentation about the state of the venture capital market. Specifically, it started with a presentation by Paul Denninger, Vice Chairman of Jefferies & Co, entitled "Why Aren't VCs Happy?" and then Paul joined a panel moderated by Mark Stevens, a Managing Partner of Fenwick & West. Other panelists included Roger McNamee, a Partner at Elevation Partners (probably most famous because of their association with Bono of U2), Erik Straser, a General Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Bill Gurley a General Partner at Benchmark Capital.

I've attended a number of presentations and panels at industry events over the last six months on the state of the venture capital market. In addition, there seems to be a recurring meme in the blogosphere on the subject. To be honest, each of these panels - while interesting - seem to raise the same issues every time. They focus on how inexpensive it is to start and reach critical mass for consumer web services. Thankfully then, this panel today actually took a very different path. Paul laid out a number of interesting statistics around options for exits. It leads to some interesting questions that entrepreneurs need to evaluate.

Why Aren't VCs Happy?

Paul started by stating, "Despite the topic of my talk, I think that VCs are happy. But I believe they maybe shouldn't be." He then focused on a number of 'facts' and contrasted them with some common 'myths'.

The Technology M&A Market

The first myth he discussed was that the M&A market is back and going strong. Instead he argued that the technology M&A market is actually well below historical averages. He said that people are usually surprised by this, because there are some big deals going on nowadays and they are in the news. However, the fact is that most of the large (greater than $50M) exits have been to Private Equity firms. He explained that this time last year, there was a total of $40B private debt financing around companies that were looking to eventually exit to public capital markets. Today, there is $230 billion of private financing around private equity backed companies.

As if that reality wasn't grim enough, he also emphasized that the deals that are being done by public technology firms are actually being sold to a very small group of companies. Specifically, he explained that 35% of of all tech deals greater than $100 M were done by 10 companies, with a total market cap of $100 B.

The IPO Market

The other myth that Paul focused on was that "the IPO market is back". He said the fact is that before the bubble, in the early nineties the public markets had about 130 IPOs per year. This year, Paul believes we'll probably do fifty or sixty. He explained the reason it feels like 'the market is back' is because we went through a period of doing twenty-five or thirty a year.


So according to Paul, most VCs have been funding companies that are "reliant on the M&A market." He said it was 90% of VC liquidity last year. The increased focus on M&A has also meant a decrease in each of the last 6 years of the number of public tech companies. For context, before this streak of consistent declines you need to go back to 1988 or 1989 for when there were 2 straight years.

Right up to this point, everything Paul had laid out was consistent with things I'd heard before; but complimented by strong statistics. However, right then he delivered an interesting point about the future of the market.

Hypothetical Question: The Cisco Market Cap at the time of its IPO was $225M. Today, he asked would Sequoia Capital or other VCs have taken Cisco public, or would they have tried to shop it to AT&T for $250M? The data shared with us seems to lead to the belief that they would have tried to find an acquirer. The challenge is: would Cisco have created the value in the tech market and for other entrepreneurs if they had simply been acquired?

So VCs, Are You Happy?

At this point, the rest of the panel entered to discuss if they were indeed happy! After everyone introduced themselves, Roger McNamee said:

"Can I push back on what Paul just said? I've seen all the statistics he saw and I agree with the data. However, I think it doesn't matter, because predicting the future is fairly futile."

However, he continued by noting that "in the battle between fear and greed, fear is temporary but greed is permanent." Therefore, if there is money to be made, then Wall Street will pull those companies to the public markets out of greed.

Bill Gurley said that he actually felt like this was a fairly liquid time. But if he had one concern it would be "the lack of desire of executives to run these public companies." He explained that the average expense to become Sarbanes Oxley compliant was $2.5 million. He told a few good auditor jokes, but also continued to reiterate the concern around identifying executives who want to step into those roles.


While the panel was looking at this from the perspective of a venture capitalist, it did raise some interesting issues as an entrepreneur. What kind of company is each of us trying to build? Obviously, we each need to ultimately make sure we're creating value for our shareholders.

However, this panel showed a very different perspective - that maybe we're focusing too much on being acquired by a limited set of companies. What do you think?

Canadian teams chase $500,000 space elevator prize

This is pretty cool. I wonder if I'll ever see it in my lifetime.

Canadian teams chase $500,000 space elevator prize

I must also say that I'd love to volunteer my time on any project that has anything to do with any this stuff ...

Over And Out


YSlow: A Front End Web Performance Tool By Yahoo!

YSlow analyzes web pages and tells you why they're slow based on the rules for high performance web sites. YSlow is a Firefox add-on integrated with the popular Firebug web development tool.

Performance view scores the page against each performance rule, generates an overall YSlow grade for the page, and lists specific recommendations for making the page faster.

Stats view summarizes the total page weight, cookie size, and HTTP request count.

Components view lists each component (image, stylesheet, script, Flash object, etc.) in the page along with HTTP information relevant to page load times.

YSlow gives you:

* Performance report card
* HTTP/HTML summary
* List of components in the page
* Tools including JSLint

Download it now and wait to see just how bad that auto-generated .Net Markup really is!

Over and Out

Ha Ha ... Crapple iPhone Fixes

I was talking to a friend at Microsoft about the Mac vs. PC debate. Apple seems to promote their products as being virus free - or at least as the commercial would say - there are many more viruses for Windows. OK but what about the exploits.

My friend was very quick to point out that Apple controls less than 5% of the OS market and because of that few exploits had been written to cripple Apple systems. Well, the iPhone is predicted to be a huge success for Apple, so it isn't very shocking that hackers would attack it.

The real shock are the types of vulnerabilities that are being fixed. I consider these vulnerabilities to be very fundamental and require little understanding of hacking to actually execute. As the Apple press release states:
  1. 2 Cross Site Scripting Vulnerabilities in Safari.
  2. 2 Heap Buffer Overflow flaws in Safari cause arbitrary code execution or application termination.
  3. 1 Fishing Scam Flaw
  4. Another MASSIVE flaw allowing any internet programmer to completely take over the device:
"When the iPhone's version of Safari opens the malicious web page, arbitrary code embedded in the exploit is run with administrative privileges. In our proof of concept, this code reads the log of SMS messages, the address book, the call history, and the voicemail data. It then transmits all this information to the attacker. However, this code could be replaced with code that does anything that the iPhone can do. It could send the user's mail passwords to the attacker, send text messages that sign the user up for pay services, or record audio that could be relayed to the attacker."

Here is a little video showing the MASSIVE iPhone flaw

The guys who found this massive flaw suggest 3 strategies to mitigate risk in using the iPhone:
  • Only visit sites you trust. If you don't visit attackers' sites, you give them one less attack vector.
  • Only use WiFi networks you trust. If attackers have control of your Internet connection, they have the ability to insert exploits into any website you visit.
  • Don't open web links from emails. Many current viruses send links to malicious sites in emails that look like they are from trusted contacts.
I've never seen any of these flaws on my Blackberry.

Dozens of vulnerabilities and bugs were covered by a total of six downloads for Mac OS 10.3.9 (Panther), Mac OS 10.4.10 (Tiger) on PowerPC, and the Universal version of Mac OS 10.4.10, as well as the server versions of each of those operating systems. Each download contains several patches to correct flaws, and Apple is recommending that all users of those operating systems download the updates.

Also, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over the fact that Apple wasn't sufficiently clear as to whether a user could replace a battery. With soft sales figures for the iPhone, these issues have to be taking their toll on Apple resulting in the stock falling since the iPhone's release.

Over and Out