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April 20 2011

19:20

Who Says Seagate’s Purchase Of Samsung HDDs Is A Good Thing?

Of course, that is how it is being sold. But when it comes down to the real details, will it be a good thing for Seagate and Western Digital to own 90% of the hard drive market?

When there is less competition (and make no mistake, there will be less), the importance of Samsung’s production of quality drives, keeping the price of hard drives down, which has benefited everyone who buys HDDs, will certainly be felt.

The perfect analog is the graphics business. While you may say that there is vigorous competition there, a second look shows that the competition is only vigorous when the two competitors agree there should be. There are certain pieces which roll on at their own pace, never falling victim to the price drops which would normally occur if there were a third choice. The example I can think of immediately is the Radeon 4740 cards. Though they were surpassed in performance relatively early in their lifespan, they never were victim to the continued drops in price of other cards. The pricing stayed above $130 everywhere as nVidia had produced nothing to introduce competition, and AMD kept the numbers small all through production.

What happens when the two drive competitors decide that there is only going to be competition on certain models? The choice then, is to pay extra for what you want, or go with the price performers that they decide are good for you.

With one less drive manufacturer, there will be one less R&D unit working, so no matter what gains can be had through greater mass of production (which at the volume of any of the drive makers would be extremely small) will be more than offset by the lack of drive to work more performance into the product.

The article which gave the news of the purchase also gave a quote by a person from an independent group -

“I think there will still be plenty of competition between the three remaining players. Ninety percent of the market will be split pretty much evenly between Western Digital and Seagate, with Toshiba playing in some niche opportunities,” said John Webster, a senior partner at market research firm Evaluator Group.

What else might they say? No one is going to really stand up and state that most of the competition is gone, as only a small flurry would be needed to wipe that notion from the mind of the greater public, before getting back to agreed upon business practices and pricing.

There will be some changes coming, for sure. The price drops of drives, as they are superseded by larger ones, will proceed in a much more orderly fashion, as there won’t be any third party upstart, making the big two play nicely. Toshiba, as spoiler, won’t work. They don’t have enough of the market to force anything – not even in the 2.5” drive market.

Some may say that this is a reaction to the Western Digital purchase of Hitachi, but is is different in that Seagate was larger than Western Digital until the purchase, and was still not hugely affected by the addition, as the Hitachi numbers had dwindled since the company was known as an IBM business, whereas Samsung was getting to be a very big player, both in moving disk and solid state drives.

The sad part is that nothing can be done about this, as it is so very large (and multinational) that no oversight group can complain with any perceived effect.

Life is far from over for the hard drive buyer, but it is certainly going to change significantly.

§

19:20

Who Says Seagate’s Purchase Of Samsung HDDs Is A Good Thing?


Of course, that is how it is being sold. But when it comes down to the real details, will it be a good thing for Seagate and Western Digital to won 90% of the hard drive market?

When there is less competition (and make no mistake, there will be less), the importance of Samsung’s production of quality drives, keeping the price of hard drives down, which has benefitted everyone who buys HDDs, will certainly be felt.

The perfect analog is the graphics business. While you may say that there is vigorous competition there, a second look shows that the competition is only vigorous when the two competitors agree there should be. There are certain pieces which roll on at their own pace, never falling victim to the price drops which would normally occur if there were a third choice. The example I can think of immediately is the Radeon 4740 cards. Though they were surpassed in performance relatively early in their lifespan, they never were victim to the continued drops in price of other cards. The pricing stayed above $130 everywhere as nVidia had produced nothing to introduce competition, and AMD kept the numbers small all through production.

What happens when the two drive competitors decide that there is only going to be competition on certain models? The choice then, is to pay extra for what you want, or go with the price performers that they decide are good for you.

With one less drive manufacturer, there will be one less R&D unit working, so no matter what gains can be had through greater mass of production (which at the volume of any of the drive makers would be extremely small) will be more than offset by the lack of drive to work more performance into the product.

The article which gave the news of the purchase also gave a quote by a person from an independent group -

“I think there will still be plenty of competition between the three remaining players. Ninety percent of the market will be split pretty much evenly between Western Digital and Seagate, with Toshiba playing in some niche opportunities,” said John Webster, a senior partner at market research firm Evaluator Group.

What else might they say? No one is going to really stand up and state that most of the competition is gone, as only a small flurry would be needed to wipe that notion from the mind of the greater public, before getting back to agreed upon business practices and pricing.

There will be some changes coming, for sure. The price drops of drives, as they are superseded by larger ones, will proceed in a much more orderly fashion, as there won’t be any third party upstart, making the big two play nicely. Toshiba, as spoiler, won’t work. They don’t have enough of the market to force anything – not even in the 2.5” drive market.

Some may say that this is a reaction to the Western Digital purchase of Hitachi, but is is different in that Seagate was larger than Western Digital until the purchase, and was still not hugely affected by the addition, as the Hitachi numbers had dwindled since the company was known as an IBM business, whereas Samsung was getting to be a very big player, both in moving disk and solid state drives.

The sad part is that nothing can be done about this, as it is so very large (and multinational) that no oversight group can complain with any perceived effect.

Life is far from over for the hard drive buyer, but it is certainly going to change significantly.

§

April 17 2011

22:40

Does Microsoft Have Its Own Tick-Tock Strategy?


The followers of technology are fully aware that computer chip giant Intel has a strategy for its processors, which they describe as Tick-Tock. In short, it is a biennial plan where in the Tick, the process size is taken down a notch, yielding faster processors which use less energy, and the Tock is the next part, where the architecture is changed, allowing for improvements in basic design. The idea is a brilliant one, as the design team can work on the architecture for a much longer program, and the team involved with shrinking the process has that much more time, yet there is constant innovation.

It’s like the very best Gantt chart you could come up with for microelectronics innovation.

Lately (and by that I mean yesterday and today), I have been doing much reading about the changes found in the leaks of the alpha code of Windows 8, including the rumors as well as the verified stuff, and thinking that perhaps Microsoft has actually learned something about itself, and in doing so, come across its own tick-tock strategy of sorts.

With Windows 7, not much was really changed under the skin, the basics are not identical to Vista, but they are much closer to Vista than to anything previous, and the largest changes were on the UI, making something that most everyone approached during the extended beta period seemed to like. That made the changes flow and the time table more fluid, and less worrisome for the clock watchers.

In the things which are leaking from the various sites, and the rumor mills where the early betas have been leaked, it is clear that less is changing with the UI and more with the underpinnings. Things already spoken of, like hybrid boot, are clearly aimed at the improvement of performance, and have nothing to do with looks.

The new task manager, from early appearances, is designed to be easier to use, but also make the average user that can read with understanding into more of a power user, having more fine control over the actions of the machine, without a great deal of study, or interest in Microsoft-speak. This can only be a good thing, and will also affect performance, and though the look is different, it is for effective use, and not style, that the look is changing.

Unfortunately, not all of the new underpinnings appear to be of the helpful variety. There appears to be a new part of the Windows system devoted to the installation being Genuine, and you just know that is not a good thing. Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I say that as a victim of Windows Genuine Advantage and other system checks going completely wrong, when in fact my system was perfectly valid and authentic.

My worst problem was when I was working on my dual-core Phenom II machine that I was trying to turn into a triple or quad core machine. This was during the first week of operation, and also during the week of October 22, 2009. I had installed my Windows 7 Ultimate Steve Ballmer Signature 64 bit edition of the Microsoft operating system, and when the effort to unlock the third and fourth cores went awry, my system was telling me that my system was not genuine, putting up a lot of fuss while I worked to return things to normal.  I was fully expecting a visit from Mr. Ballmer and the thought police. If I, someone with lots of experience with WGA and Windows in general was having problems, imagine what Joe Average would have experienced.

With the move to an even more apparent effort at keeping the system under the Microsoft thumb, it remains to be seen how the Genuine Center may foul the otherwise smooth waters of Windows 8.

In all, it really does look as though Microsoft, unable to capably cope with the schedule that was once deemed appropriate – every 3 years a major release – has opted to change the guts every other update cycle, while changing the cosmetics every other alternating cycle, allowing both the core and GUI teams to work at a pace which is more comfortable, and allowing Microsoft to have the every 3 year influx of dollars it wishes to enjoy.

§

22:40

Does Microsoft Have Its Own Tick-Tock Strategy?

The followers of technology are fully aware that computer chip giant Intel has a strategy for its processors, which they describe as Tick-Tock. In short, it is a biennial plan where in the Tick, the process size is taken down a notch, yielding faster processors which use less energy, and the Tock is the next part, where the architecture is changed, allowing for improvements in basic design. The idea is a brilliant one, as the design team can work on the architecture for a much longer program, and the team involved with shrinking the process has that much more time, yet there is constant innovation.

It’s like the very best Gantt chart you could come up with for microelectronics innovation.

Lately (and by that I mean yesterday and today), I have been doing much reading about the changes found in the leaks of the alpha code of Windows 8, including the rumors as well as the verified stuff, and thinking that perhaps Microsoft has actually learned something about itself, and in doing so, come across its own tick-tock strategy of sorts.

With Windows 7, not much was really changed under the skin, the basics are not identical to Vista, but they are much closer to Vista than to anything previous, and the largest changes were on the UI, making something that most everyone approached during the extended beta period seemed to like. That made the changes flow and the time table more fluid, and less worrisome for the clock watchers.

In the things which are leaking from the various sites, and the rumor mills where the early betas have been leaked, it is clear that less is changing with the UI and more with the underpinnings. Things already spoken of, like hybrid boot, are clearly aimed at the improvement of performance, and have nothing to do with looks.

The new task manager, from early appearances, is designed to be easier to use, but also make the average user that can read with understanding into more of a power user, having more fine control over the actions of the machine, without a great deal of study, or interest in Microsoft-speak. This can only be a good thing, and will also affect performance, and though the look is different, it is for effective use, and not style, that the look is changing.

Unfortunately, not all of the new underpinnings appear to be of the helpful variety. There appears to be a new part of the Windows system devoted to the installation being Genuine, and you just know that is not a good thing. Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I say that as a victim of Windows Genuine Advantage and other system checks going completely wrong, when in fact my system was perfectly valid and authentic.

My worst problem was when I was working on my dual-core Phenom II machine that I was trying to turn into a triple or quad core machine. This was during the first week of operation, and also during the week of October 22, 2009. I had installed my Windows 7 Ultimate Steve Ballmer Signature 64 bit edition of the Microsoft operating system, and when the effort to unlock the third and fourth cores went awry, my system was telling me that my system was not genuine, putting up a lot of fuss while I worked to return things to normal.  I was fully expecting a visit from Mr. Ballmer and the thought police. If I, someone with lots of experience with WGA and Windows in general was having problems, imagine what Joe Average would have experienced.

With the move to an even more apparent effort at keeping the system under the Microsoft thumb, it remains to be seen how the Genuine Center may foul the otherwise smooth waters of Windows 8.

In all, it really does look as though Microsoft, unable to capably cope with the schedule that was once deemed appropriate – every 3 years a major release – has opted to change the guts every other update cycle, while changing the cosmetics every other alternating cycle, allowing both the core and GUI teams to work at a pace which is more comfortable, and allowing Microsoft to have the every 3 year influx of dollars it wishes to enjoy.

§

April 16 2011

17:45

Comcast 105 Megabit Service – Is It Worth It?


The news has come that Comcast wants to be the big boy on the block, with offerings of the fastest service for general use, at 105 megabits per second, called Xfinity (no one said they were good at naming conventions). That is very fast indeed, and makes things very quick for those that have the service.

The service is still greatly asymmetric, with upload speeds capped at 10 Mb/s, so anyone wishing to run a busy server will still want another offering. No doubt running a server is specifically disallowed, its barring most certainly found in the small print of the contract one must sign when one obtains the service. It always seems to be that way – running a server always incurs business rates, which is just another way to gouge the customer, though they might actually use less bandwidth than someone else doing heavy downloading as part of a busy household.

The service will only be available in large cities for now, with other cities added eventually. So, if you were counting on this to be your salvation from dial-up in West Fencepost, Wyoming, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

The service, at 105 Mb/s will allow for many things to be done, but the price is fairly dear, at $105 per month for the first 12 months, but after that, the price zooms to $200 per month. The insult which is added to that injury is the fact that the caps which might be expected to evaporate with such an expense, are still remaining. 250 GB per month can go quickly at 105 Mb/s! For those unable to imagine this, it could come in about 5 hours – though that would take a coordinated usage of the pipe. Still, that is not unreasonable in many households these days.

Can you imagine using up your month’s data allowance in less than a week? I know I can with the internet junkies in my house!

A bit more about the service, one must also have Comcast as their television and phone provider, because the subscription to the “Triple Play” is what allows the reduced price of $105 per month. Without the phone and television, it is still available, but that price has not yet been released. A good bet would be that it hovers at that $200 mark.

So will many bite? I’m certain that some will, just to be able to show off for their friends, but the lack of caps being lifted, along with the phone and television usage adding to the data transfers, and the fact that recent news of cable companies having problems with measurements on metered services, all leads to the suspicion of $105 per month not being the end of it – and who wants that?

Worrying about one’s usage, or fighting about the mis-measurement of that usage, is not something that is Comcastic!

The way that these new and explorative services are always priced comes under the “whatever the traffic will bear” banner, and for the good of all, people should not bear it – opting instead to have Comcast either drop the pricing, or drop the caps. I’m certain either would have the customers flocking to the service in droves.

§

17:45

Comcast 105 Megabit Service – Is It Worth It?

The news has come that Comcast wants to be the big boy on the block, with offerings of the fastest service for general use, at 105 megabits per second, called Xfinity (no one said they were good at naming conventions). That is very fast indeed, and makes things very quick for those that have the service.

The service is still greatly asymmetric, with upload speeds capped at 10 Mb/s, so anyone wishing to run a busy server will still want another offering. No doubt running a server is specifically disallowed, its barring most certainly found in the small print of the contract one must sign when one obtains the service. It always seems to be that way – running a server always incurs business rates, which is just another way to gouge the customer, though they might actually use less bandwidth than someone else doing heavy downloading as part of a busy household.

The service will only be available in large cities for now, with other cities added eventually. So, if you were counting on this to be your salvation from dial-up in West Fencepost, Wyoming, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

The service, at 105 Mb/s will allow for many things to be done, but the price is fairly dear, at $105 per month for the first 12 months, but after that, the price zooms to $200 per month. The insult which is added to that injury is the fact that the caps which might be expected to evaporate with such an expense, are still remaining. 250 GB per month can go quickly at 105 Mb/s! For those unable to imagine this, it could come in about 5 hours – though that would take a coordinated usage of the pipe. Still, that is not unreasonable in many households these days.

Can you imagine using up your month’s data allowance in less than a week? I know I can with the internet junkies in my house!

A bit more about the service, one must also have Comcast as their television and phone provider, because the subscription to the “Triple Play” is what allows the reduced price of $105 per month. Without the phone and television, it is still available, but that price has not yet been released. A good bet would be that it hovers at that $200 mark.

So will many bite? I’m certain that some will, just to be able to show off for their friends, but the lack of caps being lifted, along with the phone and television usage adding to the data transfers, and the fact that recent news of cable companies having problems with measurements on metered services, all leads to the suspicion of $105 per month not being the end of it – and who wants that?

Worrying about one’s usage, or fighting about the mis-measurement of that usage, is not something that is Comcastic!

The way that these new and explorative services are always priced comes under the “whatever the traffic will bear” banner, and for the good of all, people should not bear it – opting instead to have Comcast either drop the pricing, or drop the caps. I’m certain either would have the customers flocking to the service in droves.

§

April 15 2011

22:53

OpenOffice Without Oracle? Is That Like A Fish Without A Bicycle?

When I was a little boy, there was a feminist joke about a woman without a man being like a fish without a bicycle, and the same logic may apply to the OpenOffice group. There may be absolutely no reason for the continuation of the association, and all that Oracle money may not make one iota of difference to the development process.

The whys about that, for those that have not followed the saga of OpenOffice since the sale of Sun to Oracle, may not be readily apparent.

It begins with the disclosure that all those within the OpenOffice group were not happy with the sale of Sun to Oracle before the deal was ever finalized, and that many were secretly wishing that IBM had gotten the nod instead. With the announcement of the acquisition by Oracle, OpenOffice personnel were extricating themselves from the upcoming perceived mess, and in doing so, created The Document Foundation, with its baby, LibreOffice.

There is also the problem of OpenOffice becoming a commercial product, as Oracle went through a period of wanting to monetize absolutely everything, going so far as to ask ridiculous sums of money for Open Document Format plug-ins, which had begun their lives as free downloads. That idea has gone the way of the dodo however, as Oracle has scrapped all the plans for that, including the cloud office portions, which were, for a time, being heavily promoted. Several longstanding URLs dedicated to the promotion of the commercial Oracle Office product, which was to be completely rewritten using proprietary JavaFX, have gone completely 404.

The Register, where this news originally came from, offers no explanation for the outwardly sudden change of direction, and wonders if it was a religious conversion -

Oracle offered no reason for its sudden change on Friday. Oracle may well have had a Saul-like road-to-Damascus conversion to the principles of open source. Sources close to the company have been telling us lately that Oracle has realized it has taken needless lumps for its actions on open source and Java, and is learning how to work with the open source projects it inherited from Sun.

With the long held values, and direction of Oracle, shown clearly by Mr. Ellison, that sort of change is doubtful. It is much more likely that Oracle wishes to cut its losses, seeing that the remaining OpenOffice crew may have been near a mutiny, or perhaps simply realizing that Oracle’s fate was not expressly tied to being the everything-to-everyone corporation. (Microsoft already has those delusions of grandeur.)

While The Document Foundation appears to be doing nicely on its own, the continued work of that body is not absolutely certain, as all the monetary streams flowing inwards are not known. OpenOffice was always dependent on the largesse of Sun, and it is uncertain how long the new, lighter OpenOffice team, with or without a recombination with their mates that formed The Document Foundation, can survive in the world without a sugar daddy.

Will OpenOffice strike out on its own, alone? Are the ties to Oracle simply being loosened, and we are misinterpreting the words of the Oracle spokesperson? Or will OpenOffice and LibreOffice recombine to become a more formidable product, where the adrenalin rush of the recombination pushes them to new heights?

§

22:53

OpenOffice Without Oracle? Is That Like A Fish Without A Bicycle?


When I was a little boy, there was a feminist joke about a woman without a man being like a fish without a bicycle, and the same logic may apply to the OpenOffice group. There may be absolutely no reason for the continuation of the association, and all that Oracle money may not make one iota of difference to the development process.

The whys about that, for those that have not followed the saga of OpenOffice since the sale of Sun to Oracle, may not be readily apparent.

It begins with the disclosure that all those within the OpenOffice group were not happy with the sale of Sun to Oracle before the deal was ever finalized, and that many were secretly wishing that IBM had gotten the nod instead. With the announcement of the acquisition by Oracle, OpenOffice personnel were extricating themselves from the upcoming perceived mess, and in doing so, created The Document Foundation, with its baby, LibreOffice.

There is also the problem of OpenOffice becoming a commercial product, as Oracle went through a period of wanting to monetize absolutely everything, going so far as to ask ridiculous sums of money for Open Document Format plug-ins, which had begun their lives as free downloads. That idea has gone the way of the dodo however, as Oracle has scrapped all the plans for that, including the cloud office portions, which were, for a time, being heavily promoted. Several longstanding URLs dedicated to the promotion of the commercial Oracle Office product, which was to be completely rewritten using proprietary JavaFX, have gone completely 404.

The Register, where this news originally came from, offers no explanation for the outwardly sudden change of direction, and wonders if it was a religious conversion -

Oracle offered no reason for its sudden change on Friday. Oracle may well have had a Saul-like road-to-Damascus conversion to the principles of open source. Sources close to the company have been telling us lately that Oracle has realized it has taken needless lumps for its actions on open source and Java, and is learning how to work with the open source projects it inherited from Sun.

With the long held values, and direction of Oracle, shown clearly by Mr. Ellison, that sort of change is doubtful. It is much more likely that Oracle wishes to cut its losses, seeing that the remaining OpenOffice crew may have been near a mutiny, or perhaps simply realizing that Oracle’s fate was not expressly tied to being the everything-to-everyone corporation. (Microsoft already has those delusions of grandeur.)

While The Document Foundation appears to be doing nicely on its own, the continued work of that body is not absolutely certain, as all the monetary streams flowing inwards are not known. OpenOffice was always dependent on the largesse of Sun, and it is uncertain how long the new, lighter OpenOffice team, with or without a recombination with their mates that formed The Document Foundation, can survive in the world without a sugar daddy.

Will OpenOffice strike out on its own, alone? Are the ties to Oracle simply being loosened, and we are misinterpreting the words of the Oracle spokesperson? Or will OpenOffice and LibreOffice recombine to become a more formidable product, where the adrenalin rush of the recombination pushes them to new heights?

§

09:45

Native HTML5, And Other Microsoft B(asic) S(trategies)

Microsoft can say pretty much whatever they wish when it comes to Windows operating system technologies, because no one else produces a Windows workalike operating system. When it comes to browser technology, however, they should stick to things they can defend completely or explain with little trouble.

When one of the chief purveyors of the current Microsoft browser line spoke in a speech about native HTML5, as a Microsoft domain, I’m certain that no one really knew what the hell he was speaking of, but no doubt the fanboys were about ready to wet themselves, as a new Microsoft neologism was about to begin life. Unfortunately, the developers at Mozilla and Opera got wind of this B(asic) S(trategy), and called foul, as it was clear that all cleverness aside, the speech was full of nothing but the hottest of hot air.

When someone takes it upon himself to coin a word, it is important that they give a clear definition of what it is they are communicating at the outset. Dean Hachamovitch of Microsoft did nothing like that, preferring to let those in attendance infer what they might from his words. The people from Mozilla and Opera must have gotten the exact transcript, and when no clarity was provided, they decided to give the speech the full recognition it was due, which began with its classification as top-grade fertilizer.

Though Hachamovitch was trying to give the impression that the Windows 7, IE9, HTML5 combination was capable of some sort of synergistic effect, he was far too clumsy in his delivery, and sounded like the current head of Microsoft, another person frequently at a loss for precision of speech, though never at a loss for words. It seems to be the post-Gates Microsoft way.

While the Mozilla folks were very acerbic in their statements, which were as free flowing as the original remarks from the minister from the church of Microsoft.

PC World in its coverage gives a few of the witticisms, but perhaps the most on point is the following  -

“I’m pretty sure Firefox 5 has ‘complete native HTML5′ support,” said Asa Dotzler , Mozilla’s director of community development. “We should resolve this as fixed and be sure to let the world know we beat Microsoft to shipping *complete* native HTML5.”

Word from the Opera camp was a bit more sedate, but still must have taken at least one of the leaders aback, as he is co-author of a book called Introducing HTML5 . The author then stated that the beauty of the web is that there is no one best platform, or as the Microsoft orator put it, native choice. So many things work with it and each delivers what is needed to those using the specific hardware/software combination.

We might hope that this sound drubbing might get Microsoft to speak more explicitly and exactly, with less of their own flourishes, known to many as FUD. Looking at the next flourish from Microsoft will tell the tale, as we will see either more cake with less icing, or it will be back to the same old phrasing, guaranteed to irritate and aggravate those outside of the halls of Redmond.

 

§

09:45

Native HTML5, And Other Microsoft B(asic) S(trategies)


Microsoft can say pretty much whatever they wish when it comes to Windows operating system technologies, because no one else produces a Windows workalike operating system. When it comes to browser technology, however, they should stick to things they can defend completely or explain with little trouble.

When one of the chief purveyors of the current Microsoft browser line spoke in a speech about native HTML5, as a Microsoft domain, I’m certain that no one really knew what the hell he was speaking of, but no doubt the fanboys were about ready to wet themselves, as a new Microsoft neologism was about to begin life. Unfortunately, the developers at Mozilla and Opera got wind of this B(asic) S(trategy), and called foul, as it was clear that all cleverness aside, the speech was full of nothing but the hottest of hot air.

When someone takes it upon himself to coin a word, it is important that they give a clear definition of what it is they are communicating at the outset. Dean Hachamovitch of Microsoft did nothing like that, preferring to let those in attendance infer what they might from his words. The people from Mozilla and Opera must have gotten the exact transcript, and when no clarity was provided, they decided to give the speech the full recognition it was due, which began with its classification as top-grade fertilizer.

Though Hachamovitch was trying to give the impression that the Windows 7, IE9, HTML5 combination was capable of some sort of synergistic effect, he was far too clumsy in his delivery, and sounded like the current head of Microsoft, another person frequently at a loss for precision of speech, though never at a loss for words. It seems to be the post-Gates Microsoft way.

While the Mozilla folks were very acerbic in their statements, which were as free flowing as the original remarks from the minister from the church of Microsoft.

PC World in its coverage gives a few of the witticisms, but perhaps the most on point is the following  -

“I’m pretty sure Firefox 5 has ‘complete native HTML5′ support,” said Asa Dotzler , Mozilla’s director of community development. “We should resolve this as fixed and be sure to let the world know we beat Microsoft to shipping *complete* native HTML5.”

Word from the Opera camp was a bit more sedate, but still must have taken at least one of the leaders aback, as he is co-author of a book called Introducing HTML5 . The author then stated that the beauty of the web is that there is no one best platform, or as the Microsoft orator put it, native choice. So many things work with it and each delivers what is needed to those using the specific hardware/software combination.

We might hope that this sound drubbing might get Microsoft to speak more explicitly and exactly, with less of their own flourishes, known to many as FUD. Looking at the next flourish from Microsoft will tell the tale, as we will see either more cake with less icing, or it will be back to the same old phrasing, guaranteed to irritate and aggravate those outside of the halls of Redmond.

 

§

April 14 2011

15:17

With USB 3.0, AMD Once Again Proves Its Worth To The Little Guy


USB 3.0 might be the invention of Intel, but try to find native USB 3.0 on any Intel motherboard.

You won’t.

Right now, there are no motherboards which include USB 3.0 ports as part of the core chipset. The very first ones which will include USB 3.0 are coming from rival AMD, and will be found on their chipsets which use the combined CPU+GPU processors, which AMD aptly names Advanced Processing Units [APU].

Intel may not be pushing the USB 3.0 specification on its motherboards, because of LightPeak Thunderbolt, but that specification will need some time to develop connecting devices, and plant itself into the minds of the user base. USB 3.0, on the other hand, is a step up in speed for a public that knows exactly why USB is a good thing, and how to use it. There is also the number of USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices which will hook up immediately to USB 3.0 ports, whether they are on a motherboard or connected to a hub – there is no analog in the world of Thunderbolt. All of those connections will be new and different, save for perhaps a few very lonely Apple devices.

With this, the number of devices which support USB 3.0 will increase drastically, and their prices will drop – by small amounts at first – but they will be dropping. That means lots of USB 3.0 cables, external hard drive cases, and other SuperSpeed peripherals.

“AMD Fusion Controller Hubs will provide competitive performance while consuming low power with active USB 3.0 traffic for high definition video and fast connectivity with the latest SuperSpeed USB devices.”

[PC Magazine]

It can be argued that many things don’t need the increased speed, but as with other designs that came before, the availability will bring speed as the device manufacturers see that it is available.

Certainly video will benefit, especially HD video, and for those who wish to debate the USB – Firewire thing, it can be moved to another realm, as SuperSpeed USB does not have the intelligence of Firewire 800, but it has the raw speed. In many cases, that is all that is needed, because not many people, or devices, take advantage of the daisy-chaining capabilities of Firewire. Firewire continues to be a professional and prosumer standard, while USB is what Average Joe uses, and it works well for him.

If this development continues to mirror the older USB standards, it will be mid-2012 before we see many USB 3.0 devices and cables on shelves, but when they do hit, they will hit in a big way, and USB 2.0 stuff will dwindle rather quickly.

I await the purchase of my first Belkin USB 3.0 7-port (or greater) hub, for around $50…

§

15:17

With USB 3.0, AMD Once Again Proves Its Worth To The Little Guy

USB 3.0 might be the invention of Intel, but try to find native USB 3.0 on any Intel motherboard.

You won’t.

Right now, there are no motherboards which include USB 3.0 ports as part of the core chipset. The very first ones which will include USB 3.0 are coming from rival AMD, and will be found on their chipsets which use the combined CPU+GPU processors, which AMD aptly names Advanced Processing Units [APU].

Intel may not be pushing the USB 3.0 specification on its motherboards, because of LightPeak Thunderbolt, but that specification will need some time to develop connecting devices, and plant itself into the minds of the user base. USB 3.0, on the other hand, is a step up in speed for a public that knows exactly why USB is a good thing, and how to use it. There is also the number of USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices which will hook up immediately to USB 3.0 ports, whether they are on a motherboard or connected to a hub – there is no analog in the world of Thunderbolt. All of those connections will be new and different, save for perhaps a few very lonely Apple devices.

With this, the number of devices which support USB 3.0 will increase drastically, and their prices will drop – by small amounts at first – but they will be dropping. That means lots of USB 3.0 cables, external hard drive cases, and other SuperSpeed peripherals.

“AMD Fusion Controller Hubs will provide competitive performance while consuming low power with active USB 3.0 traffic for high definition video and fast connectivity with the latest SuperSpeed USB devices.”

[PC Magazine]

It can be argued that many things don’t need the increased speed, but as with other designs that came before, the availability will bring speed as the device manufacturers see that it is available.

Certainly video will benefit, especially HD video, and for those who wish to debate the USB – Firewire thing, it can be moved to another realm, as SuperSpeed USB does not have the intelligence of Firewire 800, but it has the raw speed. In many cases, that is all that is needed, because not many people, or devices, take advantage of the daisy-chaining capabilities of Firewire. Firewire continues to be a professional and prosumer standard, while USB is what Average Joe uses, and it works well for him.

If this development continues to mirror the older USB standards, it will be mid-2012 before we see many USB 3.0 devices and cables on shelves, but when they do hit, they will hit in a big way, and USB 2.0 stuff will dwindle rather quickly.

I await the purchase of my first Belkin USB 3.0 7-port (or greater) hub, for around $50…

§

04:07

Repeated Mistakes Revisited – Internet Explorer 10 Will Not Install On Vista

If this sounds like something you have heard before, you are right. This time however, Microsoft may just get away with it, as the numbers of people using Windows Vista are much smaller than those running Windows XP who were told that Internet Explorer 9 would not be an upgrade for them.

Microsoft continues to show amazing hubris, as the developers believe that their browser, which arrived last month, performing in the middle of the pack, is something that users of their operating systems cannot do without. That was something never established, and will hardly become the norm in the time of so many other, better choices.

Only the Microsoft zealots and fanboys will find this to be a problem – and they may not, for the ability to run IE10, when it arrives, may be as simple as doctoring a few lines of code in the installer, as it was with running the recently purchased Windows Defender, on Windows 2000 operating system versions, before Microsoft even bothered to remove the last traces of the marks from Giant Software. Microsoft had notice that Defender would not run, but with the changes to the installer, it was possible with no further attention.

After all, there have been no major changes to the underpinnings of the system from Vista to Windows 7, the things on the surface looking like the work of a adequate mechanic, who wishes to turn his late model Chevrolet –equivalent into a Cadillac Escalade. The looks are there, but a closer inspection reveals the origins as being different from the exterior clues.

There may be no move in that direction, however, as there are so many other choices that the extra effort involved to obtain the use of a browser, yet unproven and without pedigree, may not be undertaken.

Only when Microsoft brings in a browser that debuts at the top of the charts will there be a wish for the masses to use it. When it is fast, easy to use, and brings something to the table that no other browser does, it will become necessary. Until that time it will take more than a blue lower case “e” to get people excited.

Keeping those happy with Windows Vista from using the new browser will only anger many, for they see that Microsoft wishes to push upgrades on those not wanting them, and thus more scrutiny will come to the fact that Microsoft has yet to get the last niggling bugs out of anything they produce, and that the repair for long standing bugs is always shown as the paid upgrade.

As someone stated on another site, it looks as though IE9 is the new IE6. Microsoft has done well by keeping versions of its main cash cow, Office, compatible with as wide a number of things as possible; it might follow that they would do the same with anything else that had become a major effort.

Clarity in thinking and continuing consistency should be the hallmarks of any large corporation, but Mr. Ballmer has not yet learned that lesson.

 

§

04:07

Repeated Mistakes Revisited – Internet Explorer 10 Will Not Install On Vista


If this sounds like something you have heard before, you are right. This time however, Microsoft may just get away with it, as the numbers of people using Windows Vista are much smaller than those running Windows XP who were told that Internet Explorer 9 would not be an upgrade for them.

Microsoft continues to show amazing hubris, as the developers believe that their browser, which arrived last month, performing in the middle of the pack, is something that users of their operating systems cannot do without. That was something never established, and will hardly become the norm in the time of so many other, better choices.

Only the Microsoft zealots and fanboys will find this to be a problem – and they may not, for the ability to run IE10, when it arrives, may be as simple as doctoring a few lines of code in the installer, as it was with running the recently purchased Windows Defender, on Windows 2000 operating system versions, before Microsoft even bothered to remove the last traces of the marks from Giant Software. Microsoft had notice that Defender would not run, but with the changes to the installer, it was possible with no further attention.

After all, there have been no major changes to the underpinnings of the system from Vista to Windows 7, the things on the surface looking like the work of a adequate mechanic, who wishes to turn his late model Chevrolet –equivalent into a Cadillac Escalade. The looks are there, but a closer inspection reveals the origins as being different from the exterior clues.

There may be no move in that direction, however, as there are so many other choices that the extra effort involved to obtain the use of a browser, yet unproven and without pedigree, may not be undertaken.

Only when Microsoft brings in a browser that debuts at the top of the charts will there be a wish for the masses to use it. When it is fast, easy to use, and brings something to the table that no other browser does, it will become necessary. Until that time it will take more than a blue lower case “e” to get people excited.

Keeping those happy with Windows Vista from using the new browser will only anger many, for they see that Microsoft wishes to push upgrades on those not wanting them, and thus more scrutiny will come to the fact that Microsoft has yet to get the last niggling bugs out of anything they produce, and that the repair for long standing bugs is always shown as the paid upgrade.

As someone stated on another site, it looks as though IE9 is the new IE6. Microsoft has done well by keeping versions of its main cash cow, Office, compatible with as wide a number of things as possible; it might follow that they would do the same with anything else that had become a major effort.

Clarity in thinking and continuing consistency should be the hallmarks of any large corporation, but Mr. Ballmer has not yet learned that lesson.

 

§

April 12 2011

18:04

Which End Of The Spectrum Is More Exciting?

These days, it is an amazing thing to look around and see that massive work is being done at both ends of the PC spectrum – the top end, where Intel dominates with their i7 processors, and the extreme bottom end, with their newest Atom platform, code-named Oak Trail.

Intel is determined to own both ends of the market, and the changes at the low end may be more important than those at the top, for if Intel can push enough performance from the Oak Trail platform, while being parsimonious with the energy expenditures, it is just minutely possible that the company can keep the x86 platform in the spotlight, and keep the efforts of the ARM producers in the background, wondering why their plan didn’t work.

Oak Trail is an amazing leap from the original Atom offerings, with the Atom Z670 processor and SM35 Express Chipset, the newest platform consumes less power than its predecessor, it can decode 1080p video, has Flash support and can be paired up with multiple software platforms, including Windows, Android and MeeGo. The Z670 is clocked at 1.5 GHz, and features GMA 600 integrated graphics, a built-in memory controller, and has 512kB of L2 cache.

Of course, for the extreme low power notebook market, there is the Cedar Trail platform, which has all that Oak Trail includes, but adds better support for Blu-ray, including all the additions of the 2.0 specification, and yet to be fully fleshed out offerings like Intel Wireless Display, Intel Wireless Music, PCSynch, and FastBoot.

All of these things will make high quality, small form factor PCs a reality for many, with the ability to carry all one needs easily, and power it for hours without worry of where the next AC outlet is located. If this is sounding like a challenge to iPad2, you’re right. The iPad2 may still win out on overall frugality with power, but what can be done on the Intel products will be much more to the liking of anyone that currently works with a standard PC, requiring much less adaptation, and only slightly more power.

There has yet to be any answer from AMD in this market space, as nothing they have yet announced, or has been leaked, will exist at such a low power state. With the market beginning to move in that direction, including all the Android devices, as well as the iPad which Apple is hoping to make ubiquitous, it only is reasonable to think that AMD will be bringing something to this segment, yet nothing approaches the power envelope of these newest Intel products.

While many may still have their gaze fixed on the i7 and the support hardware, which breathes fire and chews up corporate spreadsheet calculations like midnight snacks, the lower power segment is going to be much more important to most, just as the frugal and fun Mini Cooper is a more attainable goal than any of the creations of Enzo Ferrari are to the driving crowd.

§

April 11 2011

22:36

Opera 11.10 Near Release Final As RCs Come At A Furious Pace

The bugs are dying at an incredible pace in Norway today, as the Opera Desktop Team has put forth another release candidate, these last few coming with point numbers! The latest, and 2nd for this very long spring day, is RC 4.1, which brings lots of presentation bugs to an end.

Pages which were presented much differently in Iron, or Internet Explorer 8, are now mostly the same, with only minor variations. As to which is truly correct, we’ll have to wait for the Acid testing. One of the things I have noticed with Opera 11, since version 10, is that some pages incorrectly render as if it were a mobile browser – mycokerewards is one of them. I am thinking that this is because the page does not correctly interpret 2 digit versioning, and we’ll probably not see much change on this until we get Internet Explorer 10, which will force some of the lazy sites to come into some sort of compliance.

I’ve always maintained that if all sites were coded correctly, the bad actors, like Internet Exploder 6, would disappear at near light speed.

Changelog

DSK-333655 Opera crashes when you cancel a Unite download

DSK-333661 Missing close button in notification popup

DSK-333313 Second column not created when tabs are set to wrap and tab bar is to right/left

DSK-333669 CSS parser crash

DSK-333662 [Mac] Fix for missing extensions for certain file types

CORE-37911 [Mac]Hidden plugins on Mac don’t initialize

Above are the latest noted changes, but as the site declares, there are many other little things fixed which were niggling problems for so long. The speeddial page is usable now, though a bit of futzing with the parameters is necessary – the way to get non-standard layouts is different than before, as there is no need, or effect, to manually editing the ini file.

There is more speed in page renders than with 11.01, and the general direction of the efforts shows that the guys on the development team are still pushing for the very best browser, as judged by those not otherwise predisposed to long held prejudices.

The download is worthwhile, and very stable. It may only be a day or so until the final product is released, but until then, this revision, 2092 [Windows], is a big step up from 11.01 Stable, and worth the time to remove 11.01 and install 11.10 Beta 2092. The long standing ability of installing over older versions is no longer recommended by the Team, as some of the ini files and other areas where vital information is stored have changed, making overwritten installs do strange things.

 

§

April 10 2011

17:38

Microsoft to Its Users – Dude, You’re Getting An Update!

There is no way around it this month – if you use any supported version (and a couple of unsupported ones) of any of their operating systems or Office packages, you will be in for a round of updates in a couple of days. Patch Tuesday will bring new code for all included above, as there are that many things with problems, and in need of update. There will also be patches for the provider’s programming tools as well.

There are 64 vulnerabilities in all, which if not an absolute record, must be close to one.

The operating systems which will see updating are Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7.  There are 9 critically rated bugs, and Vista is the big loser here, with all 9 affecting those operating systems, Windows XP is affected by 7 of the 9, and Windows 7 by 8 of the 9 listed. One again, it reinforces what I’ve said over and over, Microsoft just does not learn from its mistakes, making the same ones over and over with each new OS, and then finally fixing them en masse, after they become exposed.

According to a researcher noted in a Computerworld article, by the name Mandt -

In spite of the security measures introduced [in Windows 7, it] is still susceptible to generic kernel pool attacks.

The good news is that Mandt did state that he felt Microsoft would eventually harden the kernel, where the problems are, as the mitigations involved were rather easily accomplished, yet he declined to state why if that was so, that it had not already been done.

Mandt had fully noted [pdf] the kernel attack method which affects Windows 7, in a paper released at a Black Hat conference earlier this year, so the methods are out there, for those who wish to try and employ them.

Also probably due to get patched are the exploits in Internet Explorer 8, which was embarrassingly easily hacked just recently, at a contest to see how easily browsers were hacked. A man named Stephen Fewer had easily gained access to a system using Internet Explorer 8, and those bugs, while removed from the IE9 code before final release, have not been removed from the IE8 codebase. Internet Explorer 6 and IE 7 will also be patched, this perhaps being the last noteworthy patch done on Internet Explorer 6, as Microsoft tries desperately to move that version into oblivion.

With the Office products, there is no escaping the need for a patch, whether you are using the product on a PC or a Mac, as both have problems. Office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2004 for Mac, Office 2008 for Mac and the newest Office 2011 for Mac, are all going to feel the sting from patches applied this month, as multiple vulnerabilities have been never fixed through those versions.

The Microsoft programming tools are also getting repairs, which is good, as by doing so, they will be putting forth new code, less susceptible to the hacks of many that know how to exploit these built-from-the-start problems. Visual Studio and Visual C++ will both feel the changes applied, so that attacks on the GDI subsystem (the graphics rendering system for Microsoft products) are eliminated.

April 12 will be a long day for the Microsoft servers, and just might be a long day for some others, as when so many problems are addressed at once, the chances for difficulties multiplies. The usual practice of letting a machine update silently may be one to eschew this time around, especially if you have one of those magic combinations that gets more than its share of those 17 patches applied. Watching for the odd error so that you may be a bit more aware of what might be the problem could be a lifesaver; as well as doing a system restore point on Monday!

§

April 09 2011

23:55

Comodo Releases Dragon 10


The release is 10.0.0.2 (April 06, 2011) to be exact; which is built using the Chromium 10.0.648.204 code, and includes all of that release’s goodness, with none of the call home features, but with a few things included that are not a part of its close rival Iron.

SRWare has made a great browser with Iron, and has been typically speedier with the upgrades to Iron than Comodo is with its upgrades to Dragon. This is somewhat interesting, as SRWare is releasing versions of Iron for Windows, the Intel Mac architecture, and also for Linux, whereas Comodo is concerning themselves with a Windows release only. (There have been threads in the Comodo forums concerning the release of Mac or Linux versions, but thus far, they are falling on the same deaf ears that are being asked for a 64-bit version of the Windows offering.) The updates to Dragon are coming at a faster speed, and with extra features courtesy of the Comodo coding staff.

Comodo differentiates itself from Iron in other ways, too. In the latest release of the Dragon browser, there is a very nice online help system, which not only explains many of the browser’s settings, it does so without any observable mistakes upon cursory examination. To this writer, that is amazing, when one thinks that it is something Microsoft, with its millions of dollars and thousands of coders, has, as yet, been unable to produce.

Another thing where Dragon is immediately distanced from Iron is in the small things, which may seem trivial to some, but my view is that if you put a feature into something, it should work as expected. In Iron, obtaining bookmarks from my default browser, Opera, is an exercise in frustration, as the transfer works, but not in any manner that I might wish for. The bookmarks get transferred, but in a manner resembling a lengthy trip through a high speed food blender – the hierarchy of the individual bookmarks is lost totally. In Dragon, not only is the process faster (though it does take some time, as my bookmarks in Opera occupy about 280KB on disk) is produces the same hierarchy when going to the Other Bookmarks area. Nice!

The download is a hefty one, and no one is divulging the details as to why Dragon 10 is such a large download, at about 40MB, versus much smaller sizes for Iron, at about 17MB, and another Chromium-derived browser, Chrome Plus, at 23MB. Since the majority of the help system is in the cloud that cannot be the reason for the heft. The sandboxing of the browser should not be much different than the sandboxing which is part of the base Chromium code, and should not contribute to such a difference. (Some have wondered aloud if the debugging code has not been stripped away, and that might be a part of the explanation, but should not account for that large a difference.)

One area, from where some of the code heft comes, is the ability to check for updates from Comodo, which is a nice touch. Such ability is not a part of the bare knuckles approach of Iron. Also, Iron, when allowing the user to get themes or extensions, points to pages set up by SRWare or their affiliates, instead of the equivalent, but much more complete, Google pages. This may be ultimately more secure, but it is frustrating for those who wish to differentiate their browser’s look with the widest choices available. With Dragon, when looking for themes or extensions, the user is taken to the Google pages, allowing the greatest choice, and the most current versions to be obtained (so as to be free of quirks and anomalies). Also, where some extensions fail to work properly with Iron, due to programming choices in the name of security, Dragon has shown not one of those problems, allowing my installation of any extension I wish to try.

Still another area where some code is found without analog in Iron, or Chrome, for that matter, is that once most of the set up of the browser is accomplished, Dragon asks the user if he wishes to use the secure DNS offered by Comodo, which is nice, but as the fine print attests, may cause some people problems. A nice feature, and also nice that the explanation is there for those not possessed of highest skills – no surprises for those who can read.

The user experience with Dragon is smoother than with Iron, which I can only compare to the driving of a individually built race car versus a factory effort – the home brew may be marginally faster, but the factory effort will be much more satisfying over time. Dragon has that feel which makes one satisfied. The details are all worked into the right fit, and the polish is applied, where Iron sometimes looks a bit ragged.

§

The latest model Dragon (10.0.0.2) is found here.

23:55

Comodo Releases Dragon 10

The release is 10.0.0.2 (April 06, 2011) to be exact; which is built using the Chromium 10.0.648.204 code, and includes all of that release’s goodness, with none of the call home features, but with a few things included that are not a part of its close rival Iron.

SRWare has made a great browser with Iron, and has been typically speedier with the upgrades to Iron than Comodo is with its upgrades to Dragon. This is somewhat interesting, as SRWare is releasing versions of Iron for Windows, the Intel Mac architecture, and also for Linux, whereas Comodo is concerning themselves with a Windows release only. (There have been threads in the Comodo forums concerning the release of Mac or Linux versions, but thus far, they are falling on the same deaf ears that are being asked for a 64-bit version of the Windows offering.) The updates to Dragon are coming at a faster speed, and with extra features courtesy of the Comodo coding staff.

Comodo differentiates itself from Iron in other ways, too. In the latest release of the Dragon browser, there is a very nice online help system, which not only explains many of the browser’s settings, it does so without any observable mistakes upon cursory examination. To this writer, that is amazing, when one thinks that it is something Microsoft, with its millions of dollars and thousands of coders, has, as yet, been unable to produce.

Another thing where Dragon is immediately distanced from Iron is in the small things, which may seem trivial to some, but my view is that if you put a feature into something, it should work as expected. In Iron, obtaining bookmarks from my default browser, Opera, is an exercise in frustration, as the transfer works, but not in any manner that I might wish for. The bookmarks get transferred, but in a manner resembling a lengthy trip through a high speed food blender – the hierarchy of the individual bookmarks is lost totally. In Dragon, not only is the process faster (though it does take some time, as my bookmarks in Opera occupy about 280KB on disk) is produces the same hierarchy when going to the Other Bookmarks area. Nice!

The download is a hefty one, and no one is divulging the details as to why Dragon 10 is such a large download, at about 40MB, versus much smaller sizes for Iron, at about 17MB, and another Chromium-derived browser, Chrome Plus, at 23MB. Since the majority of the help system is in the cloud that cannot be the reason for the heft. The sandboxing of the browser should not be much different than the sandboxing which is part of the base Chromium code, and should not contribute to such a difference. (Some have wondered aloud if the debugging code has not been stripped away, and that might be a part of the explanation, but should not account for that large a difference.)

One area, from where some of the code heft comes, is the ability to check for updates from Comodo, which is a nice touch. Such ability is not a part of the bare knuckles approach of Iron. Also, Iron, when allowing the user to get themes or extensions, points to pages set up by SRWare or their affiliates, instead of the equivalent, but much more complete, Google pages. This may be ultimately more secure, but it is frustrating for those who wish to differentiate their browser’s look with the widest choices available. With Dragon, when looking for themes or extensions, the user is taken to the Google pages, allowing the greatest choice, and the most current versions to be obtained (so as to be free of quirks and anomalies). Also, where some extensions fail to work properly with Iron, due to programming choices in the name of security, Dragon has shown not one of those problems, allowing my installation of any extension I wish to try.

Still another area where some code is found without analog in Iron, or Chrome, for that matter, is that once most of the set up of the browser is accomplished, Dragon asks the user if he wishes to use the secure DNS offered by Comodo, which is nice, but as the fine print attests, may cause some people problems. A nice feature, and also nice that the explanation is there for those not possessed of highest skills – no surprises for those who can read.

The user experience with Dragon is smoother than with Iron, which I can only compare to the driving of a individually built race car versus a factory effort – the home brew may be marginally faster, but the factory effort will be much more satisfying over time. Dragon has that feel which makes one satisfied. The details are all worked into the right fit, and the polish is applied, where Iron sometimes looks a bit ragged.

§

The latest model Dragon (10.0.0.2) is found here.

April 01 2011

22:45

Exuberance Over Internet Explorer 9 Not Enough To Stave Off Overall Losses


http://www.lockergnome.com/theoracle/2011/04/01/exuberance-over-internet-explorer-9-not-enough-to-stave-off-overall-losses/

Had you not already viewed the title of the article, you might have thought that the release of Internet Explorer 9 would have resulted in a gain for Internet Explorer in overall market share.

Alas, that was not the case, with the 1% overall usage of IE9 not nearly enough to bolster the slipping numbers as the users remove the thoughts of using Internet Explorer from their lives.

Of course, Microsoft has done some of this to themselves, as not only did they decide to make Windows XP ineligible for the upgrade to IE9, they are actively promoting the removal of support for the much older, and easily compromised, Internet Explorer 6.

The blurb from Computerworld has a quote from one of the Internet Explorer staff at Microsoft -

"It was a very deliberate decision," said Ryan Gavin, senior director of IE, talking about the move to exclude XP users from IE9. "You simply can’t build on something that is 10 years ago."

It’s too bad that no one in the operating systems division of Microsoft operates upon that same theory – we might actually have a version of Windows that removed itself further from the humble beginnings known as Windows.

California-based firm Net Applications states that the overall usage of Internet Explorer is 55.9%, which is a new low, dropping 0.9% in the month of March. If people were only switching from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 8, in the case of Windows XP, or the movement from IE8 to IE9, then there would have been no slide measured.  The release of Mozilla’s Firefox 4 was perfectly timed it seems, and allowed the company to grab some of the spotlight already shining on Internet Explorer 9’s debut. The event was enough to boost the browser’s share of the overall market to 21.8%.

The really bad news in all of this is that Internet Explorer 6 is still used by 11% of the population – though there is no way of knowing how many of those so identified have bolstered their usage by the implementation of Chrome Frame, or another similar product.

Microsoft is still counting on a boost with the upcoming push of Internet Explorer 9 to all running Vista and Windows 7 machines, along with the server machines running compatible operating systems. When that comes, the company will be able to brag about numbers of downloads, but will the usage actually spike. I’m certain usage will increase marginally, but nearly all power users will allow the upgrade, but then allow IE9 to languish on disk, as another choice is used in all but the most odd circumstances.

As the testing has shown, Microsoft’s use of graphics acceleration has still only put their browser solidly in the middle of the pack, which makes anyone having the knowledge to put another browser on their machine making that choice.

§

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