Bill Gates’ True Feelings Toward Microsoft

30 06 2008

With Bill Gates saying good-bye to Microsoft this week, we’re realizing more by the day how much we’ll miss the guy. And when reading through the many interviews floating around this week, we came across this jewel from 2003. A leaked memo from Microsoft, it’s several pages of Gates just laying into his design and programming staff for—among other issues—his personal experience when trying to install Windows Moviemaker. And it’s a very fulfilling read if you’ve ever been frustrated by a Microsoft product.

From: Bill Gates
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM
To: Jim Allchin
Cc: Chris Jones (WINDOWS); Bharat Shah (NT); Joe Peterson; Will Poole; Brian Valentine; Anoop Gupta (RESEARCH)
Subject: Windows Usability Systematic degradation flame

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues.

Let me give you my experience from yesterday.

I decided to download (Moviemaker) and buy the Digital Plus pack … so I went to Microsoft.com. They have a download place so I went there.

The first 5 times I used the site it timed out while trying to bring up the download page. Then after an 8 second delay I got it to come up.

This site is so slow it is unusable.

It wasn’t in the top 5 so I expanded the other 45.

These 45 names are totally confusing. These names make stuff like: C:\Documents and Settings\billg\My Documents\My Pictures seem clear.

They are not filtered by the system … and so many of the things are strange.

I tried scoping to Media stuff. Still no moviemaker. I typed in movie. Nothing. I typed in movie maker. Nothing.

So I gave up and sent mail to Amir saying – where is this Moviemaker download? Does it exist?

So they told me that using the download page to download something was not something they anticipated.

They told me to go to the main page search button and type movie maker (not moviemaker!).

I tried that. The site was pathetically slow but after 6 seconds of waiting up it came.

I thought for sure now I would see a button to just go do the download.

In fact it is more like a puzzle that you get to solve. It told me to go to Windows Update and do a bunch of incantations.

This struck me as completely odd. Why should I have to go somewhere else and do a scan to download moviemaker?

So I went to Windows update. Windows Update decides I need to download a bunch of controls. (Not) just once but multiple times where I get to see weird dialog boxes.

Doesn’t Windows update know some key to talk to Windows?

Then I did the scan. This took quite some time and I was told it was critical for me to download 17megs of stuff.

This is after I was told we were doing delta patches to things but instead just to get 6 things that are labeled in the SCARIEST possible way I had to download 17meg.

So I did the download. That part was fast. Then it wanted to do an install. This took 6 minutes and the machine was so slow I couldn’t use it for anything else during this time.

What the heck is going on during those 6 minutes? That is crazy. This is after the download was finished.

Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night — why should I reboot at that time?

So I did the reboot because it INSISTED on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state.

So I got back up and running and went to Windows Updale again. I forgot why I was in Windows Update at all since all I wanted was to get Moviemaker.

So I went back to Microsoft.com and looked at the instructions. I have to click on a folder called WindowsXP. Why should I do that? Windows Update knows I am on Windows XP.

What does it mean to have to click on that folder? So I get a bunch of confusing stuff but sure enough one of them is Moviemaker.

So I do the download. The download is fast but the Install takes many minutes. Amazing how slow this thing is.

At some point I get told I need to go get Windows Media Series 9 to download.

So I decide I will go do that. This time I get dialogs saying things like “Open” or “Save”. No guidance in the instructions which to do. I have no clue which to do.

The download is fast and the install takes 7 minutes for this thing.

So now I think I am going to have Moviemaker. I go to my add/remove programs place to make sure it is there.

It is not there.

What is there? The following garbage is there. Microsoft Autoupdate Exclusive test package, Microsoft Autoupdate Reboot test package, Microsoft Autoupdate testpackage1. Microsoft AUtoupdate testpackage2, Microsoft Autoupdate Test package3.

Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable? The file system is no longer usable. The registry is not usable. This program listing was one sane place but now it is all crapped up.

But that is just the start of the crap. Later I have listed things like Windows XP Hotfix see Q329048 for more information. What is Q329048? Why are these series of patches listed here? Some of the patches just things like Q810655 instead of saying see Q329048 for more information.

What an absolute mess.

Moviemaker is just not there at all.

So I give up on Moviemaker and decide to download the Digital Plus Package.

I get told I need to go enter a bunch of information about myself.

I enter it all in and because it decides I have mistyped something I have to try again. Of course it has cleared out most of what I typed.

I try (typing) the right stuff in 5 times and it just keeps clearing things out for me to type them in again.

So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that Microsoft.com is a terrible website I haven’t run Moviemaker and I haven’t got the plus package.

The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind. I thought we had reached a low with Windows Network places or the messages I get when I try to use 802.11. (don’t you just love that root certificate message?)

When I really get to use the stuff I am sure I will have more feedback.

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10,000,000 Millionaires!

25 06 2008

Add an extra zero to the ranks of the millionaires club.

American investor Warren Buffett is the world’s richest person. His ranks — the superrich — are growing.

The number of people around the world with at least $1 million in assets passed 10 million for the first time last year, according to a report. And their bank accounts are growing even faster.

The combined wealth of the globe’s millionaires grew to nearly $41 trillion last year, an increase of 9 percent from a year before, Merrill Lynch & Co. and consulting firm Capgemini Group said Tuesday.

That means their average wealth was more than $4 million, the highest it’s ever been. Home values were not included in asset totals.

“The growth of their wealth is outpacing the growth of their population, and that’s a trend that’s going to continue in coming years,” said Ileana Van Der Linde, a principal with Capgemini.

The ranks of the wealthy are growing fastest in the developing economies of India, China and Brazil. The number of millionaires in India grew by about 23 percent.

The United States still reigns supreme when it comes to fat wallets, though: One in every three millionaires in the world lives in America. Combined, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America account for one in 10.

All told, there were about 600,000 more millionaires in the world in 2007 than in 2006, for a total of about 10.1 million. That’s a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

Ten million may seem like a big number for such an elite club, but it still represents less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the world’s 6.7 billion people.

The rarefied group of the superrich — those with at least $30 million in assets — got richer, too. There were 103,000 of them around the world last year, 9 percent more than the year before, and their wealth grew by nearly 15 percent.

The 600,000 new millionaires was unsurprising to Brian Bethune, an economist with Global Insight, who said inflation and the expansion of the world economy account for the growth.

Besides, $1 million isn’t what it used to be. One million dollars in 1996, the first year the report was issued, would have been worth about $1.3 million last year, Van Der Linde said.

Steady growth powered economies worldwide in the first half of 2007, but more mature markets were hammered in the second half by the U.S. housing and credit crises. Emerging economies were largely unaffected, the report found.

The downturn started catching up with emerging economies in the beginning of 2008, Van Der Linde said.

Already, the report found, the millionaires club wasn’t expanding as fast as before. From 2005 to 2006, the group swelled by more than 8 percent. The club has grown every year since the report was started.

Because of the economic slowdown, the wealthy tended to shift their money to safer investments such as bonds and money-market savings accounts, and away from less stable investments such as real estate, the report found.

Cash deposits and fixed-income securities accounted for 44 percent of the assets of the world’s millionaires, up from 35 percent in 2006.

The wealth of the world’s richest is projected to reach almost $60 trillion by 2012, the report said.





Adobe Acrobat 9

25 06 2008

Adobe on Wednesday released a revamped version of its Acrobat document creation software that includes built-in support for Flash and multimedia content.

Acrobat 9 lets users convert MOV and WMV files to Flash content that can be embedded within PDFs alongside audio content and even 3D models. The free Acrobat Reader 9 will play the movies, eliminating the need to open other media players.

Adobe released a beta test version of Acrobat 9 earlier this month, along with a new online service called Acrobat.com that includes a Web-based word processor, conferencing and remote access, PDF creation, and 5 gigabytes of file storage.

In combination with the Acrobat.com service, Acrobat 9 lets multiple users collaborate in real-time online to share documents.

The new PDF Portfolios feature in Acrobat 9 lets users drag and drop documents and multimedia content into a single PDF document, then choose from myriad layout and presentation options.

Acrobat Pro Extended 9 will enable maps to be marked up, preserving latitude and longitude.

Mapping features only in Acrobat Pro Extended 9 preserve geospatial coordinates and enable users to mark locations and measure distances.

The new Acrobat will take snapshots of Web pages and convert entire pages or chunks of them to a PDF that preserves links and animation.

Developers can tweak layouts with Flex Builder 3 or Flash CS3.

Acrobat 9 comes in three flavors: Standard at $299 (or $99 to upgrade), Pro for $449 (or $159 to upgrade), and Pro Extended for $699 (or $229 to upgrade). Pro Extended also comes with Adobe Presenter, which plugs into Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 for adding interactivity to presentations.

Adobe said that Adobe Reader 9, the free PDF document reader, will be available early next month.





Monet Painting Defys The Market

25 06 2008

A water lily painting by impressionist master Claude Monet was sold for more than $80 million at auction Tuesday, kicking off a week of modern-art sales expected to reach records that defy the global economic downturn.

"Le Bassin aux Nymphéas" is part of a collection painted by Claude Monet dated 1919.

“Le Bassin aux Nymphéas” is part of a collection painted by Claude Monet dated 1919.

The painting “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas,” or “Water Lily Pond,” was sold by Christie’s for $80,451,178 including buyer’s premium, making it the most expensive work of art sold by the auction house in Europe.

It was part of a four-work collection of water lily paintings that Monet put up for sale during his lifetime. He saw the oil paintings of his water garden as a cumulative work in progress, and rarely sold them.

The four large-scale paintings of Monet’s water lily garden were signed and dated by the artist in 1919. One of the other paintings is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, while another was sold at auction in 1992 for $12.1 million and is in a private collection. The final painting in the series was cut into two before World War II.

The one sold Tuesday was bought in a 1971 New York auction for $320,000. It has not been publicly exhibited since.

The bold brushstrokes in the painting are characteristic of Monet’s later works, especially his “Grandes décorations,” a 22-panel work of water lily paintings that was installed in Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris five months after Monet’s death in 1926.

Monet created his water garden in Giverny, France, by rerouting a river. He selected different hybrids of water lilies in an effort to get as many different colored flowers as possible, deliberately creating the garden as a motif for his paintings.

Tuesday’s auction kicks off a week of major modern-art sales at Christie’s and its rival Sotheby’s, as the international market continues to set records despite global economic troubles.

The Christie’s auction also features a rare pastel work by French impressionist Edgar Degas showing two ballet dancers. It is expected to fetch $8 million to $12 million





iSuppli’s 3-G iPhone Rundown

25 06 2008

iSuppli revealed today that its widely covered iPhone 3G teardown was performed virtually, “using insights from [its] analysis staff to develop estimates of iPhone content, suppliers and costs..”

“The analysis team consisted of iSuppli’s leading experts in the areas of teardown analysis, semiconductors, displays, mobile handsets, consumer electronics and wireless infrastructure,” the firm said in a statement. “iSuppli had planned to withhold any analysis of iPhone content and costs until it had conducted an actual physical teardown of the product. However, due to strong popular demand for information on iPhone costs and pricing, iSuppli has decided to release a preliminary analysis to the public.”

The market intelligence firm promises to perform an actual, detailed teardown of the new iPhone’s components and cost structure once the handset becomes available.

In the meantime, a breakdown of the virtual teardown is being provided below. An analysis of the breakdown was presented on Monday.

iPhone 3G virtual BOM




iTunes Australia Adds TV Shows

25 06 2008

Australia became the latest country to receive TV shows at the iTunes Store on Tuesday. The new section of the local service, which arrived without a formal announcement, contains listings for ABC Studios, Disney, MTV, Nine Network and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; though a number of the shows are American, such as Lost, Scrubs, Pimp My Ride and Hannah Montana. There are also a number of Australian-produced series, such as Sleek Geeks, We Can Be Heroes and McLeod’s Daughters.

Unlike the American or UK storefronts, prices at the Australian store are consistent across the board at $2.99 AUS per episode. There are no season passes however, which forces shoppers to buy seasons at costs that may be higher than an equivalent DVD set.





iPhone To Be Released In Morning?

25 06 2008

There’s a possibility Apple and AT&T may launch the iPhone 3G on the morning of July 11th rather than in the evening.

There’s an unsupported rumor floating around that AT&T store managers are being told that the July 11th iPhone 3G launch will kick off at 8:00 a.m. local time, rather than 6:00 p.m. like last year.

Unfortunately, the rumor is based off a single tip that several publications are working to confirm, but hadn’t as of press time. Such a move would obviously aim to ease first-day sales lines given that a new activation process will require customers to at least partially activate their new handsets during the point of sale.

Though Apple and its partners have been slow to release information regarding iPhone 3G launch procedures and call plan options, they eventually will and it will and all that information will be presented clearly and concisely for FryBlog readers. As such, it’s recommended that prospective buyers wait arrival of the official details in days ahead rather than get tangled up in rumors.