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Palin vs. McCain On Defense Cuts

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No comment, this speaks for itself.

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Ready for Vista Final? (Code-named Windows 7)

For two days in a row TechMeme was overflowing with Microsoft news coming out of PDC: Azure, Windows 7, Web Office (whatever the MS name will be).   But on the very day that supposedly all belonged to Microsoft there was a stream of seemingly unrelated items on TechMeme all pointing in the same direction, none too good for Microsoft.

Joe Wilcox @ Microsoft Watch declared that Windows Vista No Longer Matters :

Contrary to ridiculous assertions recently made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Windows Vista is a flop. If businesses aren’t buying Vista, after waiting six (now seven) years, it’s no success. Yet, during the last day of the Gartner 2008 expo 10 days ago, Steve asserted that Vista “has been extremely successful.”

Success in terms of revenue does not mean actual product acceptance.  The fact is, most of the Vista revenue comes from consumers, not the corporate Market.  Consumers don’t intentionally buy Vista, they buy computers: good luck trying to buy a system without Vista on it – unless it’s a Mac or the refreshingly new category of Netbooks.  And if you cough up the extra $50-$99 most OEM’s charge you to “downgrade” to XP, it is still booked as a Vista sale!  Like I’ve said before, don’t be blinded by Vista sales numbers.  No wonder MS omitted the Vista licence count during last week’s earnings announcement.

PDC has shown that Microsoft is now eager to forget about Vista, a bad dream, fully focusing on Windows 7.   They must have realized that no multi-million-dollar marketing campaign can fix Vista’s badly tarnished reputation.

Where public opinion is more divided is whether this was just a perception issue, or actual product problems.  Count me in the latter camp – no Mojave Experiment can convince me otherwise.  The problem with Vista has never been appearance, or features as originally designed: it’s the zillions of inconsistencies, little things that fail every day turning us Vista-users into Vista-sufferers.

The stream of messages coming out of PDC appear to confirm this: it’s clear that Windows 7 does not mean major architectural, infrastructural changes – that’s what Vista did.  Win7 is all about the user experience – in other words, putting the finishing touches on Vista.  I said over a year ago: we don’t need another desktop OS.  But I guess I am OK with Windows 7, provided Microsoft:

  • Releases it as  Vista Final (meaning it works)
  • Provides it as a free update to Vista
  • Attaches  a letter of apology to all Vista victims (yeah, fat chances…)

Whether it’s Vista or Windows 7, almost doesn’t matter – it will likely be the last major desktop OS MS releases, and as such it represents the end of an era.  Obviously Microsoft themselves recognizes it (finally!), this years PDC is all about moving to the Cloud, be it the Azure initiative, or the announcement of moving Office to the Web.  (To be precise it’s the announcement of a future product announcement).

This trend will only be accelerated by the shift in what devices we use for our (cloud-based) computing needs.  Time to Leave the Laptop Behind – says The Wall Street Journal, joined by Coding Horror’s Jeff Atwood who declares: The Web Browser is the New LaptopEvery day another Netbook is announced, at lower and lower prices, and they change how we access information forever.  I’ll be devoting the next post to this subject, in the meantime leaving you with another post from Henry Blodget:  Microsoft Windows: The Beginning of the End.

(Originally posted @ CloudAve)

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Finally Some Common Sense: Business Methods Not Patentable

Reuters reports:

A U.S. patent appeals court ruled on Thursday that business methods, such as Amazon.com Inc’s  one-click to buy goods on the Internet, cannot be patented.

This is great news for innovation.  Why?   I leave the analysis to Techdirt’s supersmart Mike Masnick: Court Greatly Limits Software And Business Method Patents

(Cross-posted from CloudAve)

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Come to Defrag

Next week I’ll be in Denver, attending Defrag, a boutique, intellectual, intense, very participatory conference.  I’m attending despite the fact that I’ve cut down on conference attendance, not because of the current economic turmoil, but largely due to burnout.  After a while they just all feel the same: empty session rooms, bored exhibitors, people just enjoying ad-hoc hallway conversations.  But there is something intriguing about Defrag: friends and smart minds I respect keep on tweeting about Defrag, and the agenda just looks exciting.

  • I’ve always enjoyed reading Paul Kedrosky, whose posts deliver the punch in just a few words – or an image.  I’ve never met him, so I’m looking forward to his keynote.
  • Howard Lindzon’s keynote, titled It’s Always a Good Time to Start a Web Business will no doubt have a very special meaning in the current economic situation.
  • I’m really, really looking forward to the next keynote, Getting Into the Flow Applications – a subject I somewhat touched upon, and likely will re-visit before heading to the conference.
  • The first breakout session will be a huge dilemma: I literally should split myself in two halves, I badly want to attend both Dis (and Re)-aggregating the Web with Disqus, Intense Debate and my6sense, but I can’t miss Re-imagining the metaphors behind collaborative tools with Atlassian, Mindtouch, Liquid Planner, One Place either.  (Update: now I really can’t miss it, as I’ll be moderating this session.)

I could go on, but I’ve just realized I’d literally have to duplicate the entire Agenda here.  Have I just discovered Defrag’s secret sauce?   Conferences are never about sessions, it’s all about the ad-hoc networking, even lobbycon-ing – yet I find myself wanting to attend most sessions, in fact two of them in most of the breakouts.  Defrag promises amazing intellectual content, and if I just follow Twitter, an extraordinary group of innovators plan to attend. From what I hear, this is the conference where the attendees participate just as much as the speakers.

Do yourself a favor, check out the Agenda, read Eric’s 10 reasons to come to Defrag and register. (Use discount code “zoli1” to receive $300 off).

Update: Microsoft’s PDC is in full force today, and guess what, the conference wi-fi is failing.  This seems to be the fate of all conferences, including ironically Web 2.0 Expo.  The only exception I’ve seen so far is the Office 2.0 Conference, which teamed up with Swisscom to build rock-solid wi-fi.  What is less known though, that they got the tip and contacts from Defrag organizer Eric Norlin.  Yes, Defrag, working with Swisscom was the first conference to provide industrial-strength, reliable wi-fi throughout the entire site, including rooms in the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency.  So if you come to Defrag, you’ll be connected 24/7.  (OK, just 24/2: Nov 3-4thsmile_wink)

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Freezing Heat. Dumb Ads.

Screenshot from Yahoo Weather this morning:

We’re expecting heat today, and Yahoo (weather.com) placed a snowy pic, offering all sorts of winterizing services along with my forecast.   I guess it did not notice the weather display was in Celsius, and 31C is about 88F.

For more advertising blunders see:

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McCain’s Bailout Plan for You: Marry a Beer Heiress

This is just hilarious – courtesy of The Onion:


McCain’s Economic Plan For Nation: ‘Everyone Marry A Beer Heiress’

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$279 Fully Configured Acer Aspire One Notebook – Real or Scam?

I know netbook prices are dropping, but not this fast!  Just a day after hearing about a $309 deal here’s an ad for a higher-end Acer Aspire One, for $279, shipping included!

The lowest price for this configuration so far has been on Amazon, @ $399.

I am speechless… this looks too good to be true.  I can’t find any info on the vendor (BeneficialTech.info), there is a contact email but no phone number – - but they have Google Checkout.

So I leave it to my dear readers to decide: do you think this is real or a scam? smile_eyeroll

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Startups: Growth or Revenue First? The Case of Twitter and Yammer

The New York Times presents the perfect showcase for what I’ve been preaching in my recession / business models mini-series:

  • turn to businesses
  • stop poking around, create a valuable service
  • charge for it (yes, revenue is not a crime)

The showcase compares Twitter vs. Yammer and their categorically different approaches to business.

Twitter is the leading micro-blogging service – they have a strong brand with zero revenue.

Yammer , riding on Twitter’s coattails has followed the exact opposite model: focus on revenues from Day One.

Is one model better then the other?  Are they both sustainable, especially in a downturn?

Read more here

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Google Lockouts are not Fun. Are You Prepared?

Loren Baker, Editor of Search Engine Journal discusses his experience of getting his Google account frozen without a warning.  Nothing new, we see these cases every few months. If you’re a well-know blogger like Loren, getting resolution might take 15 hours –  I don’t even want to think how long it would take for less prominent users get their account issues fixed.

There are a few things we can all learn from Loren’s case:

  • Communication – $50 buys you Phone Support
  • Backup – offline, within Google or another Web service
  • Your Domain – should be a no-brainer for Branding reasons anyway, and when all hell breaks lose, allows to quickly switch to another provider.

I’m discussing these and other steps to avoid disruption on CloudAve. (To stay up-to-date on SaaS, Cloud Computing and Business, grab the CloudAve Feed here).

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Uncov’s Back… Sort of.

I’ve never particularly liked Uncov, the anti-web 2.0, anti-startup, anti-everything rug.  Not that it was always wrong: it’s criticism was often well-deserved, just a bit too vitriolic for my taste.  But vulgarity is popular, and titles like  I’m Going To Scale My Foot Up Your Ass certainly grabbed attention.

Of course it’s always easier to criticise than actually build, and for Uncov editor Ted Dziuba the opportunity to put his money where his mouth was came when he finally launched his own startup, Persai – soon renamed Pressflip.   To focus on the startup, Ted and his fellow authors shut down Uncov.

Will Pressflip make it?  Too early to say, but TechCrunch wasn’t too positive about it a few months ago.  (they can always rebrand it again, this time to Pressflop).

A few days ago Uncov came back to life, but with a twist: it opened up to guest bloggers.  And here’s Dziuba’s Ars Poetica, which perfectly sums up why I still dislike Uncov:

If you want to blog at uncov.com, it should be in the style of Uncov. It doesn’t have to be technical or nerdy, and you should feel free to take shots at people, so long as you do it in the Uncov fuck-you-and-everyone-that-looks-like-you fashion.

The latest twist in the story: Ted Dziuba has just quit Pressflip.

I’m leaving for personal reasons: mostly because I’m going to be a father in March and need some stability, but also because I’m tired of the fight.

The announcement is on Ted’s personal blog, not Uncov. It probably does not meet Uncov standards.  For the first time Ted Dziuba sounds perfectly normal. Family man. Human.

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