TAG: Microsoft

Is Anti-Virus Software Failing Us?

Microsoft Security EssentialsNews of Microsoft’s anti-virus product failing to receive a certification for effectiveness has been circulating on the Internet. The outfit running the tests is AV-TEST and they consider themselves the “Independent IT-Security Institute”. In previous certification tests, Microsoft’s anti-malware application scored high enough to be certified, but starting in September, the tool started failing the tests. On January 16th, Microsoft responded in a blog that vaguely attacked AV-TEST for poor testing methodology. Of course, AV-TEST responded to that. This is what seems like a tipping point, as many have started to seriously question the effectiveness of locally installed Virus Scanning applications. This idea of depending on virus scanning applications has been on my mind, and I wanted to flesh it out.

Overall Impressions: Microsoft Office 2013

Office2013-1You’ve seen my thoughts on Outlook 2013, Word 2013, and Excel 2013 previously – now, I wanted to take a step back and look at the entire suite itself. The “fat” Office application suite has been with us so long, it’s almost easy to forget that this was a very non-cohesive set of programs not so long ago. Microsoft has certainly made gains in that regard as it integrates and includes no less than 9 different tools in the full Office 2013 package. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture.

Let’s Explain Windows 8’s Failure To Sell, Shall We?

10Tech-3In a far too tasty article written by the king of Microsoft hyperbole, Paul Thurrott we get an insane rationalization of why Windows 8 sucked over the holidays? Do we blame it on a bad product? Do we blame it on a poorly positioned product? Do we blame it on alienating OEMs from the market they should have been more excited about? No! That would just make sense!

He starts off by telling us the apparent success of Windows 7 was a lie. Because why? Because of netbooks!

Netbooks didn’t just rejuvenate the market just as Windows 7 appeared, they also destroyed it from within: Now consumers expect to pay next to nothing for a Windows PC.

Wow, that explains it.

Everyone Knows Microsoft Is Stodgy?

PCWorldIn an article on PC World, Matt Smith sings the praises of Microsoft’s Research and Development department – but not before making a bold (and dodgy) statement:

As far as 99.9 percent of the world population is concerned, Microsoft is a stodgy, old-guard technology company. Its bottom line is fully leveraged against PC operating systems and business software—hardly the building blocks of a future-thinking portfolio, right?

99.9 percent? Do these 99.9 percent think software is made by accident too? What then plays out is a chance for him to list recent projects, many of which we already know about, in an effort to win the prestigious “Best Microsoft Shill” award. I think the TV show Hawaii-Five-O is still winning in this one, though.

10 Most Important Technology Stories Of 2012

The year is drawing to a close and it’s a good time to reflect on the more important technology, hardware, software and news stories of 2012. It’s been something of a mixed bag, from financial news, to hardware releases, to a failing smartphone giant. We saw lots of new stuff, litigation and involvement from The Law. More than that though, one thing is sure to be quickly forgotten about 2012: The Mayans prognostication skills. Here, in no particular order, are the 1 most important technology news stories of 2012.

Basics: Install Microsoft Office for Free on Windows

The scenario: You need to get a copy of  Microsoft Office 2010 installed on your Windows-based computer, but don’t wish to buy a copy the Application. You heard there were free options available for this software but we’re sure how to get the application installed. Included in Microsoft Office 2010 Starter are stripped down versions of Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word. In this article, you’ll install a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 Starter or a trial version for free on your Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer (sadly, Windows XP is not included).

The Looming Office 2013 Pricing Debacle

As many of you know, all desktop client versions of Microsoft Office 2013 are going to see a price increase. Some of them, quite significantly so. With Office 2013 currently being released to manufacturing (RTM) and on track for a first quarter release date – many are wondering how much Office 2013 is going to cost, how high the increases are going to be and why Microsoft is raising prices on an already “cash cow” line of business. Since many business users still rely on the desktop Office application, they can’t (or won’t) move to the online Office 365 offering. I look at recent developments in a commonly used version of Office, in what’s shaping up to be a mess.

Active Directory IS Valuble

Many have considered Microsoft’s power from a consumer perspective, but in the blog “Microsoft’s Most Valuable Asset“, Jeffery Padgett is spot on about what is Microsoft’s major asset. he goes on to say:

Why?  Because after the fail of Novell, the only relevant, full featured alternative for the corporate marketplace is AD.  When Novell was king, NDS was everywhere.  In fact, I spent much of my career connecting devices to an NDS X500 directory.  But Novell pissed so many people off with that nasty Novell client that they started to lose market share to the then burgeoning growth of Windows NT.

This is so on the money – and contrasting it with how Novell fell from grace in IT departments is important too. I think the operating system landscape would have been very different with a strong and powerful Novell, maybe even a “real” client operating system from them. What surprises me is why Microsoft has taken the RIM/BBM approach and avoided licensing the heck out of the Active Directory. We should have seen this thing spread out and get used in ways never intended like large address books and maybe far flung authentication schemes in the cloud. Wasted opportunity, Microsoft.

Microsoft Surface RT Gets Priced – Can It Compete?

Surface PricingThis is interesting. Microsoft’s new RT-Based tablet devices have been priced and are available for pre-order online in the US. Pricing is is $499 US on the low end (with 32 GB) and $699 on the high end. My thoughts are this device can’t possibly compete on that pricing. This tablet is more analogous to the iPad than a PC – and the low end iPad (16GB) starts at $499. Many expected this device to undercut Apple by at least $100 to gain market share- but that’s not happening – well, it does, see below. It still looks like a non-starter.

And, remember, this is an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU that will not run any of your current Windows x86-based applications. This also includes Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview.