Excessively Microsofted

Microsoft reorganizes their websites every now and then. The recent change to TechNet has vastly improved the URIs and UI both. But I think someone involved with the redesign must be a few cards short of a deck.

The security page, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/, used to refresh into a god-awful mess of an URI that had something to do with a table of contents. Now the index page loads this:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />
<meta http-equiv=refresh content="0;URL=/technet/security/default.mspx">
<meta name="title" content="File has moved" />
<meta name="description" content="File has moved" />
<title>File has moved</title>
<font face="verdana, arial, helvetica" color="navy" size="2">
<b>The location of this page has been changed, please update your favorites.</b><br />
You will automatically be redirected in 3 seconds to <br />
<a href="/technet/security/default.mspx">http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/default.mspx</a>

Oh, good Lord! Why? Why not just use default.mspx as the DocumentIndex to begin with?

Other pages on microsoft.com use a somewhat less idiotic variation on this: a GET of http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/ results in a 302 redirection to http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/default.mspx.

Remember, He’s Marketing

OK, now I’m going to pick a nit. Schwartz says, regarding IBM,

Finally, the ‘P’ in Power5 stands for Proprietary. You can’t claim your chip is open if you’re the exclusive supplier, guys – at least you can dual source SPARC from Sun or Fujitsu.

Motorola, anyone?

And while SPARC is outshipping Power 3:1 (so sayeth IDC), sure sounds like we’re the industry standard.

Apple ships a hell of a lot more POWER architecture chips than Sun ships SPARCs.

The competitive analysis holds up a bit more under scrutiny:

IBM saying they’re using this to come after Sun really suggests they’ve gone a few degrees shy of plumb – the single biggest threat to low-end SPARC isn’t a funny low volume Power5 box without an operating system. The big alternative to SPARC arose years ago from volume in the x86 market.

Nice pictures, though.

The View from the Sun

I’m finding that Jonathan Schwartz’s journal provides an interesting perspective on Sun and this industry. Regarding HP, he writes:

But that said, I think HP faces an enormous challenge. And it’s not related to the cancellation of PA-RISC, or weakness in their Itanium transition. Or even Dell’s printer onslaught.

To me, HP’s problems spawn from the death of… their operating system, HP/UX. Like IBM, they’ve elected to ask their customers and ISV’s to move to Red Hat Linux or Microsoft Windows on x86 systems. And if you’re an ISV, how does that differentiate HP? – they’re a box vendor. If you’re a customer, where does that leave you with your HP/UX investments? Facing untimely change – with a vendor no longer in charge of their OS.

Contrariwise, Ian Murdoch points out that HP picked Debian in order to exercise more than a little influence.

In the same piece, Schwartz remarks

I continue to hear customers disappointed in the realization that ISVs don’t qualify to “linux” (or specifically, Fedora) – so they have to pay big bucks for RHEL if they want commercial support.

By ISVs he means Oracle, etc. — the part of the solution stack on which customers depend but over which they exercise little control. I think the problem there is with the qualification process. This is a problem which several Linux distributions attempted to address with the United Linux specification, before SCOX decided that they’d be more successful in court than in code, but I think that branding effort was going awry before SCOX v. IBM.

The problem is the lack of discrete test cases leading to a synergetic whole. Instead of qualifying components, the whole blob is tested, so failures in discrete parts may not be immediately apparent.

How to Upgrade RedHat 9 to Fedora Core 2

Requires: apt.

$ sudo wget http://freshrpms.net/packages/builds/apt/sources.list.i386 -O /etc/apt/sources.list
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Some people might prefer to /usr/sbin/shutdown -R now afterward.

BTW, this fixes a bug in the RedHate 9 network initialization script for DHCP, where the script tests that the interface is UP before making a dhclient request, but the interface can’t be UP because the IP address has not yet been assigned.

Picasa v. iPhoto

On my Windows desk, I’m using Picasa to look at the pictures from the new camera. It compares quite favorably to iPhoto, and even beats it in some respects. I don’t like to compare speed because the hardware aren’t from comparable generations, but Picasa seems a lot snappier in response than the iPhoto, version 2.0, I have.

One feature I like is how Picasa handles importing. If you’ve imported photographs already, but they are still on your xD card because you haven’t figured out how to write back to the card and don’t want to delete them, then they are excluded from the next import. It’s also fast.

Those Pesky Borderlines

There’s an amusing political story in today’s paper, in among the depressing stuff. The county board of elections has removed two candidates from the ballot. The funny part is the reason why they were removed: State election law requires caucuses to be held within the entity the candidates are seeking to represent.

The county Board of Elections this week knocked two Brewster village trustee candidates off the Conservative line on November’s ballot because the party caucus where they were selected was held outside of the village.

But Southeast Conservative Party Chairman Joseph Berger yesterday said he might go to court to reinstate the two, Jeffrey Rollins, 40, and John “Jack” Ciesielski, 51, to the line. The village is an incorporated part of Southeast and the town parties organize the village caucuses. Berger held his caucus at Sciortino’s Restaurant on Route 22, steps from the village boundary. Two of the village’s 19 registered Conservatives attended. [emphasis mine]

“I’m not saying I was right about it,” Berger said. “But it’s not a grave, grave matter of injustice if you’re only 100 feet away from the village.”

Potential Electoral Changes

The Political State Report reports that there is an amendment on the ballot in Colorado to address allocation of that state’s electors. I’m still not sure why the opponents of the Electoral College think that the problem with it is that the popular loser could win the College. There has have only been one two three cases where that has happened, in 1876, 1888 and 2000.

I suppose that the proponents of election by a simple majority of the populace think that they have nothing to suffer from that particular expression of the General Will. Without addressing that particular problem, the Electoral College remains an adequate, if clumsy, defense.

(I really should double-check the record before making assertions.)

Alternate Wars

One down-side of vacation was that I didn’t finish Harry Turtledove’s Settling Accounts: Return Engagement. The books in this mileau are showing signs of tedium. In other words, his editor needs to start working. Since the books do not stand alone, there is no need to reintroduce the characters — there is especially no need to reintroduce personality traits each time the character is mentioned.

I’d also like maps of the military campaigns, but that may be too much to ask.

A Miss is as Good as a Mile

Back from a wonderful trip in Florida, where we slid between hurricanes into fabulous weather, lost two pieces of luggage, and have nothing but nice things to say about Disney Cruise Lines and JetBlue.

But Larry and I weren’t able to meet. 🙁 Maybe next time. It’ll only be two years.

Less Loss Digital Photography

driving the shopping cart

We finally made the leap from analog to digital photography, and have started our period of adjustment. We bought an Olympus D-580. I haven’t found anything to complain about, yet, but give me time. The shutter is sluggish in low-light situations; I understand this is a problem with all digital cameras.

When I transferred the pictures to our iMac, with iPhoto, I chose to “delete images from camera after transferring.” Half were transferred successfully, and all were deleted successfully. This was not good. It appears that the cause of failure was a full disk. Looks like iPhoto needs to catch a disk full error.

Anyway, Rick Ochoa reminded me that there are photo recovery utilities, so I quickly bought and used PhotoRescue. There are lots of choices out there, but this seems to work well enough.

Emergency Brand Management

Transparent backend systems integration is critical to brand management.

I called JetBlue to find that Sunday’s and Monday’s flights to Orlando were cancelled, and rescheduled for Tuesday. Then I called Disney Cruise Line‘s Cruise Command Center to rearrange our trip. They were helpful, within limits, and patient with my displeasure. Because, you see, while they were quite forgiving about fees related to changes, they had a problem: they could not reschedule the four nights at the resort. Nor could they refund any monies from our losing Sunday and Monday. Because one company, Disney Cruise Line, buys packages from another, Walt Disney World, and has no leeway to alter the terms of the package. It was just not possible for them to move the four days from before the cruise to after the cruise.

The could, however, cancel the land package, and give us a partial refund. Meanwhile, I would have to book those nights separately, with Walt Disney World.

The customer sees both companies as the same company, and expects them to act like it. Being able to act like it is a system integration problem, but it appears that contractual arrangements between these companies got in the way.