Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

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0xBADFEED
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby 0xBADFEED » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:You didn't have whiteboards in your classrooms? Or overhead projectors?
...
But it can also be used improperly, and the latter use is far more common ... PowerPoint (or any other slideshow system) will try and force into a cognitively useless format.

There are some things for which whiteboards are just woefully insufficient. I specifically remember my graphics theory class. That professor made very good use of PowerPoint and it was a class where the use of PowerPoint really enriched the material presented.

I agree that PowerPoint is abused by lots of people. But what would really benefit the majority of these people is a general course on how to present information effectively. Given any presentation program, slide-based or otherwise, I'm confident they'd fuck it up. I'm not really sure to what extent you can blame PowerPoint for this.
At my workplace, we put everything (including Word documents) into version control anyway. If you want a version-controlled rich text document repository, you're much better off with a wiki or some other integrated server-client solution than to scatter Word files around everywhere anyway.

That's what we do too. But then, we work in tech and we're savvy. The problem with the wiki is that now you need someone to administer it and set it up and train people to use it. The Word system is easier, even if it subjects them to vendor lock-in. It's quite a bit more pleasant to work with also as you can see diffs in-line with the text as you edit it, comment on specific changes without affecting the content of the document, all seamlessly. It's just easier. And what's easy is usually what businesses go with, especially small businesses.
phillipsjk wrote:I don't agree with this. The "Document History" and "Information Rights Management" can never work effectively. It is like the recovery console requiring the Administrative Password before fixing a windows installation. The restrictions are only guaranteed to be enforced by the Microsoft tool. Even then, the Microsoft tool may have unexpected exploits.

Well of course they're only enforced by the MS tool. If you're editing these docs in something other than what they were created in then you're doing it wrong. The real WTF is someone supplying the documents in this format expecting everyone to have a copy of Word.

And that's really the biggest problem. People who don't know anything about anything try to treat Office as if it's a standard. They expect everyone to have Office and furthermore they expect everyone to have the exact same version as them.
phillipsjk wrote:We can still dream can't we? (I figure the "two wrongs don't make a right" is cliche)

I was just pointing out that this type of behavior isn't specific to MS. I'm sure most people here understand that. But, I have met people who seem to think that every other software company on the planet is all about freedom and empowering users and whatever other rainbows and unicorns bullshit they believe in. And that MS is the only company out there that operates like this, when it's really just systemic to the entire industry.
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Philwelch » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:53 pm UTC

0xBADFEED wrote:
Philwelch wrote:You didn't have whiteboards in your classrooms? Or overhead projectors?
...
But it can also be used improperly, and the latter use is far more common ... PowerPoint (or any other slideshow system) will try and force into a cognitively useless format.

There are some things for which whiteboards are just woefully insufficient. I specifically remember my graphics theory class. That professor made very good use of PowerPoint and it was a class where the use of PowerPoint really enriched the material presented.

I agree that PowerPoint is abused by lots of people. But what would really benefit the majority of these people is a general course on how to present information effectively. Given any presentation program, slide-based or otherwise, I'm confident they'd fuck it up. I'm not really sure to what extent you can blame PowerPoint for this.


If Microsoft includes enough warning labels and adds these disclaimers to their marketing materials I'll stop blaming them, fair enough? One company shoving PowerPoint down everyone's throat is still the root cause of this abuse. If people didn't have PowerPoint they'd do what they always did: use slides when appropriate, use whiteboards otherwise, write and read papers in complete sentences rather than project bullet points on a screen, so on and so forth.

OK, maybe some other company or some other product would have filled that gap. But regardless of what the rest of the industry might have done, pushing PowerPoint on everyone is what Microsoft did do.

How did your professor use PowerPoint?

0xBADFEED wrote:I was just pointing out that this type of behavior isn't specific to MS. I'm sure most people here understand that. But, I have met people who seem to think that every other software company on the planet is all about freedom and empowering users and whatever other rainbows and unicorns bullshit they believe in. And that MS is the only company out there that operates like this, when it's really just systemic to the entire industry.


Microsoft is the leader of the pack, though. They have the power to influence the rest of the industry.
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby 0xBADFEED » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:27 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:One company shoving PowerPoint down everyone's throat is still the root cause of this abuse. If people didn't have PowerPoint they'd do what they always did: use slides when appropriate, use whiteboards otherwise, write and read papers in complete sentences rather than project bullet points on a screen, so on and so forth.

I still think the fault lies with the users rather than Microsoft. It's Microsoft's job to sell its products and it is something they do very well. The real problem is that the abuse has become acceptable. It's the acceptance of this practice that's the problem. If people wouldn't stand for it then it wouldn't happen. It's the same thing with people who use Excel to do things that should really be done with real accounting software. Is it Excel's fault or is it the lazy user's fault? The user could go get a real accounting software package and learn to use it, but they'll keep plugging along on Excel because they don't want to put in the effort to learn another piece of software.

Access is another piece of software that's so often abused. It's great for someone who doesn't have the technical know-how to run a real DB and they just want something like a simple personal client database that has a few thousand records. But when people try to use it as the back-end of a real system it just doesn't work. That's not what it's for. It doesn't pretend to be a high-performance, high-volume DB. To my knowledge, Microsoft has never tried to sell Access this way. It doesn't stop people from trying to use it this way.
How did your professor use PowerPoint?

He used it for pretty much every lecture I can remember, but every slide had a specific purpose. If something was on a slide it was because there was a crucial visual component to it. Things like how the different color-spaces relate to each other and how they in turn relate to the entire space of visual colors. Or, a nice rundown of different types of splines and their basis equations which would be quite tedious and difficult to do accurately on a white-board. Or, examples of different surface constructions: NURBS, implicit, subdivision, etc.

The main point is that, for the most part, if it was on a slide then it was something that is just much more natural to process visually. There were no slides that were just parroting what he was saying. The primary content was the lecture, slides were purely to supplement the meat of the lecture with visual examples for concepts that can be difficult to imagine without a visual reference. This was also mixed with live demos of rendering algorithms and other things you would expect to see in a graphics course. It's been several years but I think there was probably an average of 10 slides for an hour lecture. I think this is a perfectly valid use of PowerPoint. Come to think of it, most of my CS professors were quite good in their PowerPoint use (those who used it anyway).

Contrast that with some of the business classes I took. An hour lecture could have 60+ slides with it, easy; most of them just repeating whatever the professor was saying. Seriously, some people know how to use it some people don't. Similarly, some people are shit at programming and always will be. Is it the programming language's fault*?

*Assuming the language is not VB
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Philwelch » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:38 am UTC

0xBADFEED wrote:
Philwelch wrote:One company shoving PowerPoint down everyone's throat is still the root cause of this abuse. If people didn't have PowerPoint they'd do what they always did: use slides when appropriate, use whiteboards otherwise, write and read papers in complete sentences rather than project bullet points on a screen, so on and so forth.

I still think the fault lies with the users rather than Microsoft. It's Microsoft's job to sell its products and it is something they do very well. The real problem is that the abuse has become acceptable. It's the acceptance of this practice that's the problem. If people wouldn't stand for it then it wouldn't happen. It's the same thing with people who use Excel to do things that should really be done with real accounting software. Is it Excel's fault or is it the lazy user's fault? The user could go get a real accounting software package and learn to use it, but they'll keep plugging along on Excel because they don't want to put in the effort to learn another piece of software.


I still think this is to Excel's credit and PowerPoint's detriment, because Excel has a multitude of good, legitimate uses and PowerPoint has relatively few.

0xBADFEED wrote:He used it for pretty much every lecture I can remember, but every slide had a specific purpose. If something was on a slide it was because there was a crucial visual component to it. Things like how the different color-spaces relate to each other and how they in turn relate to the entire space of visual colors. Or, a nice rundown of different types of splines and their basis equations which would be quite tedious and difficult to do accurately on a white-board. Or, examples of different surface constructions, NURBS, implicit, subdivision, etc.

The main point is that, for the most part, if it was on a slide then it was something that is just much more natural to process visually. There were no slides that were just parroting what he was saying. The primary content was the lecture, slides were purely to supplement the meat of the lecture with visual examples for concepts that can be difficult to imagine without a visual reference. This was also mixed with live demos of rendering algorithms and other things you would expect to see in a graphics course. It's been several years but as I remember it for an hour lecture I think there was probably an average of 10 slides. I think this is a perfectly valid use of PowerPoint. Come to think of it, most of my CS professors were quite good in their PowerPoint use (those who used it anyway).


That's a perfect use of PowerPoint. If only it were designed to make that kind of use easier, and the typical forms of abuse harder, though. The way it's set up is perfect for bullet points but the typical use should really be to string together pre-existing images and diagrams in a consistent-looking way. Still, the competition is little better (and this includes Apple's Keynote, which is mostly an improvement but will not single-handedly turn you into Steve Jobs.)

I guess it comes down to this: most PowerPoint users would be better served with some lo-fi solution. Most Excel users still need Excel, they just need something more powerful on top of it. To cross streams with another religious war, PowerPoint abuse is like C++ programmers who try to shove every feature of C++ into a program, including multiple inheritance and templates. Excel abuse is like C programmers who try to do OO by hand, call longjmp() and use goto's for no good reason, always use global variables, and try to win the Obfuscated C Contest in production code. In one case, the tool makes it too easy to do all the wrong things—in the other case, the tool lets you do anything you want, so by trying hard enough you can create some monstrosity that never should have been.
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Shriike » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:40 am UTC

I want to go ahead and step in and defend Powerpoint. I have a (cs) professor who uses powerpoint, to be honest every slide he just completely reads the slide before going on to talk about the content (he also has code examples on most of the slides which he doesn't read out loud). I have to say to some people this would simply be annoying, but for me it's really useful, I've tried just listening to him without looking at the slides, if my attention fades a little I'm completely lost, having the slides there keeps me focused, let's me know what he's trying to get across (in general, I then have to listen to get the specifics).

That being said, for something like this I'd personally rather have a handout that lists main points. Even though I'm talking about a classroom here I think it still applies to any kind of presentation, some visuals are nice to have on the slides, but for talking points I don't think having them up on the screen is any worse then having them sitting right in front of the people you're talking to, using powerpoint just saves paper.
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby 0xBADFEED » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:58 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:I guess it comes down to this: most PowerPoint users would be better served with some lo-fi solution. Most Excel users still need Excel, they just need something more powerful on top of it.


I can agree with this.

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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Philwelch » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:27 am UTC

Shriike wrote:I want to go ahead and step in and defend Powerpoint. I have a (cs) professor who uses powerpoint, to be honest every slide he just completely reads the slide before going on to talk about the content (he also has code examples on most of the slides which he doesn't read out loud). I have to say to some people this would simply be annoying, but for me it's really useful, I've tried just listening to him without looking at the slides, if my attention fades a little I'm completely lost, having the slides there keeps me focused, let's me know what he's trying to get across (in general, I then have to listen to get the specifics).

That being said, for something like this I'd personally rather have a handout that lists main points. Even though I'm talking about a classroom here I think it still applies to any kind of presentation, some visuals are nice to have on the slides, but for talking points I don't think having them up on the screen is any worse then having them sitting right in front of the people you're talking to, using powerpoint just saves paper.


My CS prof posts class notes online.
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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Main » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:32 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:... In other words, Windows is an adequate choice for you because you're not knowledgeable enough to understand its flaws.

As for Office, it's fucking overrated. ...
I mostly agree with your post, but this bit made me laugh out loud.

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Re: Microsoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Minstrel » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:02 pm UTC

OpenOffice has some butt ugly icons.
Its menus need some reorganizing.
There are some defaults that don't make sense (like why highlighting a column in Calc went from ctr-space in OOo2 to ctr-shift-space in OOo3 - WTF?!).

All that said, I've met very few people that couldn't use OOo for everything they do with Office without much difficulty, outside of Outlook (yes that's a big exception).

Just saying that the tech savvy type people who post here sometimes aren't exposed to what the rest of the world uses computers for, which is often very much more mundane. The pivot tables I've made in my current job I can count on one or two hands (incidentally, I've found the data pilot wizard (OOo's pivot table) much easier to use than Excel's), and I've never written a single VB script for Excel. Mail Merge is about the most complicated task anyone here does in Word.

For many of those industries, a solution that is free, easy to upgrade and has compatibility with just about every file format under the sun is more than worth the few times that you won't be able to do some very high level function, or the minor hassles with poorly formatted menus and bad icons.

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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby eviloatmeal » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:15 pm UTC

Fun fact: Running Ubuntu, the LED light on the front panel of my case actually has a function. It indicates when the computer is working with something.

Whereas running XP, it would constantly be working and blinking like mad, whether it was running a game or idling on desktop or anything in between.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby eviloatmeal » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:48 pm UTC

Woah... what was that :shock:
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Joeldi » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:41 am UTC

I need to vent, and this thread seems to be a good enough topic for it.

So I'm doing a database course, and the lecturer basically says "Oracle, SQL_Server and mysql are what real people use, access is for mucking around with, but it has a bunch of stupid things that don't conform to the standards etc, Isn't it stupid" I figured: OpenOffice base must be better!

HOOOLLLLYY FUCKING SHIT, WAS I WRONG. I try to run the simplest of SQL statements and it tells me the "Statement is too Complex" Haven't people been working on this thing for years? I swear a version of it came with Dapper three years ago, and I've just dled the latest the other week and it can't even handle Subqueries yet. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:17 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:HOOOLLLLYY FUCKING SHIT, WAS I WRONG. I try to run the simplest of SQL statements and it tells me the "Statement is too Complex" Haven't people been working on this thing for years? I swear a version of it came with Dapper three years ago, and I've just dled the latest the other week and it can't even handle Subqueries yet. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby OOPMan » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:49 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:I need to vent, and this thread seems to be a good enough topic for it.

So I'm doing a database course, and the lecturer basically says "Oracle, SQL_Server and mysql are what real people use, access is for mucking around with, but it has a bunch of stupid things that don't conform to the standards etc, Isn't it stupid" I figured: OpenOffice base must be better!

HOOOLLLLYY FUCKING SHIT, WAS I WRONG. I try to run the simplest of SQL statements and it tells me the "Statement is too Complex" Haven't people been working on this thing for years? I swear a version of it came with Dapper three years ago, and I've just dled the latest the other week and it can't even handle Subqueries yet. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Why would you even try to use OpenOffice base? I mean, it's part of an Office applications suite. The average persons idea of a database is Excel :-)
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Shriike » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:37 pm UTC

OOPMan wrote:So I'm doing a database course, and the lecturer basically says "Oracle, SQL_Server and mysql are what real people use, access is for mucking around with

So, there we go your lecturer was right. Access is generally hated across the board, Open office shouldn't be any different since it's meant to fill that same niche.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Xanthir » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:16 pm UTC

Indeed. Listen to your lecturer and use mysql if you want an open-source db.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Philwelch » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

PostgreSQL is another open-source DB. It may be better suited for some applications than MySQL.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Varyon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:29 pm UTC

I wouldn't use MySQL anymore.
The way they implemented Standard SQL is not really funny sometimes.

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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Shriike » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:04 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:PostgreSQL is another open-source DB. It may be better suited for some applications than MySQL.

I ask out of pure ignorance here, but why would you recommend Postre over My?

I know very little about each, so from what I know either would be just as useful, which is why I ask.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Philwelch » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:23 am UTC

Shriike wrote:
Philwelch wrote:PostgreSQL is another open-source DB. It may be better suited for some applications than MySQL.

I ask out of pure ignorance here, but why would you recommend Postre over My?

I know very little about each, so from what I know either would be just as useful, which is why I ask.


Not sure if you're asking me. I have the same question.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby ash.gti » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:11 am UTC

there have been a few threads that talk about some of the mysql and postgresql differences, viewtopic.php?f=40&t=15054 lots of little details really but they are nearly identical in capabilities and have similar performance for certain parameters. Generally MySQL can be faster than PostgreSQL for select statements, but PostgreSQL has built in relations, views, triggers, etc. MySQL has all those also but you have to use InnoDB which is slower than MyISAM, MyISAM also doesn't respect data types like SQL is supposed to but a lot of people ignore that fact and rely on their applications for data type integrity rather than the DB. MySQL 5.0+ has views, triggers and all that other stuff thats pretty common in lots of SQL implementations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyISAM has some comparisons of MyISAM to InnoDB. InnoDB isn't from MySQL.

MySQL is working on a new table engine called Falcon for MySQl 6 which is supposed to replace MyISAM and have all the features of InnoDB.

Anyway, there are lots of differences, so depending on what your doing it could be 1 or the other you need. Also, a lot of people don't talk about it as much by SQLite3 is actually pretty powerful in a lot of cases.

*Edits

I guess I should explain a bit of what I am talking about more. MySQL has different table engines which lets you have different features. The InnoDB was a third party table engine that is not the default engine in MySQL. MyISAM is the default table engine in MySQL.

PostgreSQL follows more of the standards than MySQL but to be honest no db really follows them 100%...
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Joeldi » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:47 am UTC

Well, basically, I did just want something to muck around with. I've currently got no need to go to the trouble of setting up a server and all such like, I just wanted a quick environment to practice SQL in, on my ubuntu box. I have Access on my other computer so it's not a problem. I was essentially just adding to the topic of Microsoft vs. All with the sub topic "Microsoft's shitty DBMS vs. OpenOffice's shitty DBMS"
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby ash.gti » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:04 am UTC

Well if you want a straight up answer, I'd, from personal experience, recommend SQLite3 for anything that will only ever have 1 connection open to the DB, MySQL if your looking for something with multiple connections and speed is important and PostgreSQL if data type integrity is important.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Area Man » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:27 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:Well, basically, I did just want something to muck around with. I've currently got no need to go to the trouble of setting up a server and all such like, I just wanted a quick environment to practice SQL in, on my ubuntu box. I have Access on my other computer so it's not a problem. I was essentially just adding to the topic of Microsoft vs. All with the sub topic "Microsoft's shitty DBMS vs. OpenOffice's shitty DBMS"

Get yourself the SQLite manager addon. SQLite is just a storage engine, doesn't enforce any constraints, but very often that's exactly what I want, and the logic is necessarily in another layer of an app.

On the topic of DBs, MySQL seems more sloppy than PostgreSQL. Silent truncation and such may be OK for a hobbyist, but unacceptable otherwise.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby zerohero » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:45 am UTC

I am personally a Linux user. I dual-boot Windows XP and Debian Linux, but most of the time I use Debian.

There are lots of arguments, and really, no point in expressing them; they've all been aired several hundred times. Microsoft is a business. Microsoft has a monopoly on the operating system market only; nothing else. Don't like MS? Don't use their software then. I really don't care about MS, I use their software where applicable but I could just as easily go without and use (my much preferred) free and open-source alternatives.

With all these subjective arguments, there are two crucial facts:
- Open-source means open-source means access to source code means software abandoned can be continued by someone else. If an author releases a peice of open-source software, the only thing powering them is their reputation; there is no money to fix problems, so there is more incentive to make bloody well sure that the software is written well (especially since others will look at your code). Open-source software is usually developed in proper pace aswell (unlike in a closed-source software company where the programmer has a boss demanding him to release the software right now, even if it's buggy or unfinished); open-source software is released when it's finished, or otherwise explicitly marked "beta" or "alpha".
- Most open-source software is free of charge
I look for two things when shopping: quality and price. If something is better but costs too much I won't buy it. If something is cheap and crap I won't buy it. If something is cheap and really good (and thus good value) I might buy it. If something is free and good, I'll take it.
The third thing I look for of course is relevance. Quality and price is all well and good, but the thing actually has to do what I want; if more so than not, I'm more likely to be interested.

Honestly, Microsoft is not that bad. I'm pretty sure the people who actually work on developing MS software are nice people who serve only in the best interest of others who kindly ask for their help. Many companies have the appearance of being "evil" only in how they operate -at the end-*
I'm pretty sure Steve Ballmer is a nice guy; I'd honestly love to have a chat with the guy at some point in my life. The same applies to the former Bill Gates, and CEO's of other companies (like Steve Jobs, for example) or pretty much anyone in any business/job/whatever.

* 'at the end' meaning 'executive decisions, as opposed to the many small decisions by several hundred employees that are the true deciders as to how the final product comes out'.
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Joeldi
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Joeldi » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:56 am UTC

Area Man wrote:applications

Yep, that seems to be just what I was after. Thanks.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby phillipsjk » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:24 pm UTC

I think Microsoft's decision to become some kind of DRM platform is short-sighted. They are betting that their market share will carry them enough to charge big bucks for their DRM.

The problem of course, is that DRM doesn't work. To make matters worse, Microsoft has to sacrifice usibility to even give DRM the appearance of possibly working. For example, Windows NT6.x does not allow administrative access any more. This makes simple things like changing file ownership convoluted. The Administrator must first "grant" the user in question "full access" to the file. The Administrator must then log in as the user and "takeown"ership of the file. In most posix systems, the administrator would just use "chown."

I don't know how long it will take, but once people realise MS Windows is not very useful anymore, people and companies will leave the platform like rats from a sinking ship.
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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby phlip » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:30 pm UTC

Huh? UAC doesn't have much if anything to do with DRM... and neither does the interface failure of changing a file's owner...

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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby Sc4Freak » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:10 am UTC

Indeed. UAC is closer to sudo than anything else. For security reasons, certain actions (eg. modifying system files) requires administrative privileges. UAC allows a standard user to temporarily grant himself administrative priviliges by entering in the username/password of an administrator account. If the user is already an administrator, UAC still asks him to confirm the action. By default an Administrator's UAC prompt just involves clicking "yes", but you can change that default to request a password, which acts like sudo does.

"Ownership" is necessary because while permissions control who can access an object, ownership determines who can change the permissions themselves. The concept of "ownership" isn't unique to Windows. And nobody's forcing you to use the Explorer GUI to change file ownership/permissions - if you don't like it, then just use takeown on the command-line!

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Re: Mіcrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby phillipsjk » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:54 am UTC

Sc4Freak: The Administrator is not allowed to assign a file they own to somebody else (using icacls).
The error is something like "permission denied."

phlip wrote:Huh? UAC doesn't have much if anything to do with DRM... and neither does the interface failure of changing a file's owner...


It may be the 20/20 hindsight talking, but if Microsoft really cared about ease of use and security, they would have developed Virtualization instead of UAC. Windows NT had a resonable security model, but with Windows XP, most people ran as the administrative user in order to run badly-behaved software.

The difficulty is that most bady-designed software since 2000 requires administrative access not because the programmers are assuming the win98 security model, but because they are implementing some kind of DRM. It is trivial for the Administrator to circumvent DRM being run by a limited user. Any virtualization software letting you run 'misbehaving' software as a limited user would let you circumvent any DRM.

<Conspiracy mode> Microsoft wants to market their own DRM schemes. Exposing previous DRM schemes for the frauds they are would undermine that goal. So instead, they decided to make the computer a console. They lobby the hardware manufacturers to include secret interfaces: cutting Free and Open Source Software at the knees. We are told we need to encrypt our display connections in order to wacth 'TrueHD' movies.</Conspiracy mode>

I know I may sound like a crazy man, but DRM is only the tip of the iceberg. Check out Scott Charney (Microsoft Vice President of Trustworthy Computing) talking about end-to-end-trust. He seems to strongly imply that Governments should legislate the Microsoft platform in order to authenticate end-users.

Scott Charney, about 13 minutes in wrote:In the United States for example, the United States Congress has long been concerned -- and rightly so -- about protecting children online. Therefore, they have looked at different laws to regulate content on the Internet; or to help regulate identity. These laws have been struck down by the supreme court as unconstitutional. One of the problems with passing a law that regulates identity is that there are many privacy concerns about being forced to prove identity on the Internet. And the "IT identity metasystem," although now in design, and in early stages of deployment, is not in wide-spread use. So here you have a political objective, which is a good one, but social forces and IT forces don't allow that objective to be reached.

[Chart 14:03]

So part of getting End to End trust to work is to ensure that at all levels; when we think about the political environment, the social environment, the economic environment, and the IT environment: we can align these forces to achieve the right social objectives.


The "IT identity metasystem" is supposed to aliviate privacy concerns by ensuring only Pass/Fail identity tokens (administered by a trusted third party like Microsoft) are passed to the organization requesting information.

I have not yet gotten arround to publishing the full transcript or rebutting it point-by-point. The target audience for the presentation seems to be people in power with limited computer knowledge.
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phlip
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Re: Miicrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby phlip » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:11 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:Sc4Freak: The Administrator is not allowed to assign a file they own to somebody else (using icacls).
The error is something like "permission denied."

Have you tried this from a run-as-administrator command prompt? Or just the usual administrator-user-with-a-limited-security-token UAC deal? And, again, Windows's interface failures have nothing to do with DRM.

phillipsjk wrote:It may be the 20/20 hindsight talking, but if Microsoft really cared about ease of use and security, they would have developed Virtualization instead of UAC.

They did that too. It's called the VirtualStore. It sucks by a very large margin, because it's a complete hack. [edit] Oh, or did you mean virtual-machine-type deals? You'd have to elaborate more on that before I'd be able to say whether that would actually gain you anything, security-wise. [/edit]

phillipsjk wrote:The difficulty is that most bady-designed software since 2000 requires administrative access not because the programmers are assuming the win98 security model, but because they are implementing some kind of DRM.

Do you have any evidence for that? In my experience, programs that don't run properly as a limited user do so because (a) they're old programs that date back to single-user Windows systems, or (b) they're written by programmers who don't know any better (which is depressingly common). There's nothing stopping a program from using DRM but still being capable of running as a limited user - the two concepts are entirely orthogonal.

I suspect this is another case of you not knowing anything about what you're talking about, but not letting that stop you from posting regardless.

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phillipsjk
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Re: Miicrosoft Platform Vs. All

Postby phillipsjk » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:56 am UTC

phlip wrote:
phillipsjk wrote:Sc4Freak: The Administrator is not allowed to assign a file they own to somebody else (using icacls).
The error is something like "permission denied."

Have you tried this from a run-as-administrator command prompt? Or just the usual administrator-user-with-a-limited-security-token UAC deal? And, again, Windows's interface failures have nothing to do with DRM.


Yes, it is possible the PIBKAC. I use GNU/Linux not Windows. However, I don't think it works with UAC disabled. You can test by creating a file as the administrative user, then trying to assign ownership to a limited user. I don't really have access to a Vista or Win7 machine to test.

Edit:Since extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof; and people have been dropping hints that it is just UAC I am complaining about: I will borrow Windows Vista and 7 computer time in the next week to test my claims more thoroughly. Update: still planning to test this. Vista laptop I am likely to borrow has an awkward problem that would need fixing first.
phillipsjk wrote:It may be the 20/20 hindsight talking, but if Microsoft really cared about ease of use and security, they would have developed Virtualization instead of UAC.

They did that too. It's called the VirtualStore. It sucks by a very large margin, because it's a complete hack. [edit] Oh, or did you mean virtual-machine-type deals? You'd have to elaborate more on that before I'd be able to say whether that would actually gain you anything, security-wise. [/edit]

Yes, I was talking emulating WindowsXP (or even Win3.1 or DOS) in a virtual machine; giving mis-behaving programs all the "access" they want.

Another DRM-related difficulty is that it would make the use of some dongles awkward.

Edit: For Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise; it is called Windows XP mode.

phillipsjk wrote:The difficulty is that most bady-designed software since 2000 requires administrative access not because the programmers are assuming the win98 security model, but because they are implementing some kind of DRM.

Do you have any evidence for that? In my experience, programs that don't run properly as a limited user do so because (a) they're old programs that date back to single-user Windows systems, or (b) they're written by programmers who don't know any better (which is depressingly common). There's nothing stopping a program from using DRM but still being capable of running as a limited user - the two concepts are entirely orthogonal.


Well, I will admit I like to blame unexplained problems on DRM until proven otherwise. On occasion I was even proven right. Other times I was wrong. What you say is true, but as you say, that is orthogonal to DRM. DRM does need Adminstrative access for the reason I stated. If a limited user is allowed to run the program after installation, that is because the DRM (authorization token verifier made up term) is running as a service either locally or remotely.

I have tried and failed to install games and Adobe Flash as a limited user in Windows. It could be programmer incompetence, because I can install the flash mozilla plug-in as a limited user with no problem under Linux. Under Windows, you have to install as the Administrative user, then go in and disable the extension for the Administrative user.

As for Game DRM, as far as I can tell, your are expected to keep your 'work' computer separate from your 'game' computer (unless you trust the DRM providers). Software for work is just as likely to implement DRM. Microsoft has been pushing "Information Rights Management" as a way to help control the flow of information in an organisation for example. My Dad is a teacher, and the local school board sign-in thing is some ActiveX application that needs Administrative access to read a USB key for "two factor" authentication. The need for two separate computers implies that neither is a "general purpose" computer.

I suspect this is another case of you not knowing anything about what you're talking about, but not letting that stop you from posting regardless.

No, I have still not gotten around to reading the draft HTML 5 spec yet. I have lots of things I haven't gotten around to doing yet.

Edit: In this case I would like to be proven wrong. It would make me feel better.
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