Category Archives: Microsoft

Windows – what is still Missing! Free + cheap must-haves!

Must-have-Windows-8-apps-for-your-PC-or-tablet

Window 10, Windows 8.x, Windows 7, Windows XP Users!
We have a LIST for you…

I find it a bit surprising I have to download so many things for a 30 year old OS. Microsoft has plenty of money to buy all of these and bundle into the OS. But here is what I download on any new Window installation. It makes Windows a lot more productive, powerful and friendly.

Advanced Users (novices ignore): Rather than install these one at a time go to https://ninite.com/ and let it install many of these at once, and keep them up-to-date all at once 😀

Very Good Lists (with different choices) on others Blogs!

The downloads divided into groups

Everyone will want to download the Productivity group. Other groups just depend on how you use your Windows machine.

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Productivity

  • Clipmate – because cut and paste in Windows is very limited. This fixes all of that in a dreamy way.
    Download @ http://www.ClipMate.com
  • Chrome by Google – because IE sucks. Chrome is much more secure than IE and FireFox. patched faster for years in response to new threats. Blocks malicious software if users download and try to install.
    Download @ http://www.google.com/chrome/

  • Search Everything – because Windows search sucks. This is tiny and super fast. can find anything on your disk durn near instantly with very little overhead.
    Download @ http://www.voidtools.com/
    Read more about it @ http://techsuperheroes.com/?p=361
  • EverNote – a good cloud note taking system to keep lists and notes on your Windows that you can get to on your phone, tablet, Mac, work PC, etc.
    Download @ http://www.EverNote.com
  • FireFox – because IE sucks, and FireFox has a few add-ins I still need that Chrome do not.
    Download at http://www.GetFireFox.com

  • FoxIt PDF Reader – a FREE lighter, faster version of Adobe Reader. More secure. Uses less memory. Loads faster.
    Download @ http://www.foxitsoftware.com/Secure_PDF_Reader/
  • GoScreen Wish you had 2 or more monitors but cannot afford them? Way better than Windows 10 virtual desktop. Way Better. Virtual Monitors done right for people with only 1 monitor.
    Download @ http://www.goscreen.info. Not FREE, but under $30 and worth every penny.
  • TextPad+ – Because Notepad sucks. Only needed by people who edit tons of text files.
  • Download @ http://www.Textpad.com
  • Tor Browser – Allows you to browse sites your company forbids and blocks. Hides the site you browse from everyone who monitors your network. For something even better than Incognito/Private mode (some corporations may not allow this)
    Download @ https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
  • UltraMon – If you use 2 or more monitors this setups 2 or more separate task bars with relevant programs on the correct task bar (not all same programs lumped on several taskbars).
    NOT FREE – approximately $40 but I love it.
    Download trial @ https://www.realtimesoft.com/ultramon/
  • XMind – I think MindMapping is even better way to take notes than Notepad 😀

IE-Browsers

Web Browsing!

Here is the list anyone serious about browsing the Web and Safety needs to have:

These should really make you able to browse with more power (and safety) and speed.

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Graphics and Photos and Webcam Goodies

I have picked the programs that are easiest to got started with graphics, photos, and your webcam.

cloud-computing

File & Disk Management & Backups & Cloud – oh my

If someone else manages your computer, you do not need these. But if the person managing your computer is not using these, you may need a new computer person 😀

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System Maintenance / Troubleshooting

If someone else manages your computer, you do not need these. But if the person managing your computer is not using these, you may need a new computer person :D

  • Belarc Advisor – must have for system survey. Not sure what hardware or software you have. This makes a nice multi-page report including product keys, product version numbers, etc. Allows you to answer anyone’s questions aobut “what kind of machine?”, “what software is installed”, etc.
    Download @ http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
  • Long Filenames or Pathnames keeping you from deleting, copying or renaming a file?
    Get help @ http://longpathtool.com/
  • PC Decrapifier – remove all the extra junk software the PC makers added to your machine to save disk space and memory. Easy to use. Eezy peezy Japaneezy.
    Download @ http://pcdecrapifier.com/
  • Process Lasso – because Task Manager is sucky and weak and missing key features.
    Download @ https://bitsum.com/processlasso/
  • Oracle Virtual Box Not for everyone, for people who want to install other operating systems on their computer (other versions of Windows, Linux, hacintosh). Because free Virtual PC is too weak and VMWare is too expensive.
  • Registry Workshop to make registry editing a dream @ http://www.torchsoft.com/en/rw_information.html
  • Speccy – detects some things that Belarc Advisor does not. Gives you every technical spec on your system if any tech support asks you what your PC model, graphics card, disk drive, etc. is
    Download @ https://www.piriform.com/speccy
  • Take Ownership – when Windows screws up a file permission set so bad you can’t open a file. Read the fix @
    http://www.askvg.com/add-take-ownership-option-in-file-folder-context-menu-in-windows-vista/ (the fix works for Win 7/8/10)
  • Unlock Files that will not allow deletion or rename or the like – see the article @
    http://www.howtogeek.com/128680/how-to-delete-move-or-rename-locked-files-in-windows/
  • TeamViewer If you try to help family and friends far away this lets you take over their machine, see what their monitor sees, use the keyboard and mouse on their machine as if you were there. Because the Windows remote desktop client is stone age compared to this and hard to setup and use. And decent multi-monitor support if the target machine has 2 monitors. It is multi-platform. Nothing new to learn on other platforms. iPad or Android can control a Windows machine and vice versa.
    Download @ http://www.TeamViewer.com

Music, Movies, Music and DVDs and CD Goodies

Yeah music and multimedia rocks and here are the ways to get your computer rocking, dancing and singing (well rocking and singing at least):

* If you do not know what an ISO File is, you may not need this. But it is a pretty amazing thing I will attempt to explain here. Rather than load a CD/DVD into your computer’s drive to install software, you can transfer the CD or DVD into an ISO file (CD Burner XP is one way to do this). Or if a boss or co-worker wants you to install something rather than a CD or DVD they may just give you an ISO File. ISO mounting software lets you double-click on the ISO file and make ti pretend to be a CD/DVD drive then you install software while putting nothing in your CD/DVD drive. Very nice huh?

Why so many Add-Ons?

These tools should be built into Windows. Its a question people should be asking to Microsoft employees, at press conferences, in blog comments and when being begged to get excited about buying yet another site license and upgrade.

We are at Windows 10 by 2015 and after 30 years I should not need these many add on products to make it usable.

When this kind of consumer neglect kills Windows, I will not grieve for the lack of interest in Windows machine (and people using their phone as a PC or tablets, or buying Macs or Chromebooks) because this was easy and cheap to fix.

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Windows still missing some BIG STUFF Microsoft

What I wish Windows had built in that sadly it still does not. Such huge omissions after 30+ years of Windows and over a decade of DOS are one of the many reasons people won’t trust or buy MS Operating Systems any more for personal use:

  • Security – unfortunately your newly purchased Windows 7/8/10 is still highly insecure. If you want security for your PC, friends or family, there is a WHOLE other set of Security add-ons you must download for free and/or buy and learn how to use.
    • MS spent billions fighting DOJ and Europe to force a browser on you even after FireFox and Chrome are way better, so you do not need IE.
    • MS threatens Dell and HP and all PC makers to not dare install a better browser for you that makes IE look bad, but does not stop them from installing so much crapware that  PC Decrapifier  @ http://pcdecrapifier.com/ is a THING you must download.
    • MS won’t fight DOJ or Europe to make your PC Windows as safe as Mac, Linux, iOS or Android. But instead they will spend a few hundred million encouraging their staff and loyalist bloggers to spread very inaccurate FUD about Mac and Linux and Android (and running Ads that Windows 7/8/10 is the most secure Windows ever).  But apparently the world’s safest OS needs another set of FREE and paid downloads to protect it.
  • Partition recovery tool – Every fricking tool that fixes this costs $50-$200 and you will use it for an hour. You will not need it again for years. And its all because the stone age MS partitioning tools do not support an Undo.
    • I guess Microsoft missed that day at “we care about the user” school.
    • Many Live Linuxes have this. So a bunch of hippies deliver something free a company with several billion does not?
  • File recovery tool – Many Live Linuxes have this. So no matter how much you pay for Windows, your boss pays, and your PC maker pays Microsoft does not care if you lose your files but a bunch of Linux hippies do… In fact Microsoft thinks if their OS loses your files with no UNDO you should pay a $50-$200 penalty and have to buy something to fix a Windows you pay for, your boss pays for, and your PC makers pay for. Pay for many upgrades by 3 sets of people and Microsoft could not put a crowbar in their wallet and recover your files they allowed you to delete without an undo feature? FT.
  • Basic Cleanup Toolssee this post!
  • A Desktop App Store (the Mac has one) – you should be able to buy Windows apps (not Metro/Modern apps) in their own store.

They have OUR Money and Profits! Spend some on Windows

I hope the new Microsoft CEO that replaces Steve Ballmer fixes 20+ years of neglecting customer needs on Windows. So far he does not seem to be, as Windows 10 has none of this. They can spend billions on Skype, AQuantitive, losing tons on Xbox and not spend a few million on either making all this unnecessary or just buying and integrating these products.

Still Using XP on a Machine – we got your back and some advice

This is what we have for you:

Hope this LIST makes your Windows more productive – Charles Carroll

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Windows Search is Broken! Here is the FIX!

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Fixing Windows Search

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Why is it Broken?

Windows Desktop Search is a memory hog, a disk hog and a CPU Hog! Its not that fast and ignores attached cloud storage (like Google drive and DropBox).

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What can I use instead?

http://www.voidtools.com/
is awesome and is FREE.

Install this and uninstall Windows Desktop Search to speed up your computer.

Why MS did not fire the Desktop Search Team when they saw this and just replace it with this and hire the talent…. Just quit giving a damn and quit holding themselves to the high standards Gates set in the 90s.

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How can I disable search to speed up my PC again and regain disk space?

Here are the details by each Windows type:

Hope this makes a big difference for you!
Charles Carroll!

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iPad MS-Office – Crippleware & NOT FREE :(

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Microsoft twists the meaning of FREE again

Office for iPad unlike many cloud solutions that are actually FREE and full featured is crippled in some key ways.

As a loyal Windows and Office purchaser since 1.0 I am not a freeloader. Just letting people know it is FREEMIUM not Free, so if they see competing FREE software (of which there are many in the Cloud Office space) they know they are not comparing Apples and Oranges.

But I expect FreeWare, Jr, Software, Limited Feature or Freemium to be labeled correctly by a big company like MS – surely they have lawyers who should be tolling them misrepresentation is risky with pockets as deep as theirs.

Yes premium features will be the Gotcha.

The history of Windows and Windows server is littered with free crippled things that once you get serious you realize you need a better license. And then MS or people say “You did not expect us to give away everything?”. Actually if you say something is FREE for a certain class of customer, or in certain usage situation it should be feature complete, or it’s not FREE. Its crippled.

I used free Windows Server for a personal project. I bought the awesome O’Reilly Windows Server Cookbook on scripting, and none of the scripts would run. Once I asked around and Googled I found out it was because they removed many core ADSI scripting objects in the free server.

What Others Have to Say Besides Me to Inform Your Choice

Plenty of others have wrote well about what you get for FREE and what will cost you, here are some of my favorite articles:

[Note: I will be updating this list of links frequently as new insightful reviews hit the web].

Even the Paid Stuff From Microsoft is Incomplete These Days

I paid for an Office 365 2 years ago, since I paid I expectd my Word and Excel to be feature complete. I expected the Office 365 I paid for to be fully internationalized since my children who use that PC sometimes are bilingual like my children. I did not expect to have to pay more to type text into my Office 365. Particularly since the Japanese IME is built into Window and works with Wordpad, Google Docs, Zoho, etc. its an example of me paying for software worse than the FREE equivalents. And not even good warnings – I had to Google to see why Japanese input was broken in my paid Office 365 – no error messages or warning when I tried to use it in Office 365.

Sometimes the FREE thing is the most expensive

The Japanese say “sometimes a FREE thing is the most expensive”. I think if you want certain features the competitors will always be cheaper and better, easier to use and the features more robust when every level of user can access them. Less people pay premium fees or for Feature packs so less testing and believe it or not MS has less interest in fixing FREE stuff, even when Premium or Feature Pack customers are involved.

Microsoft is lying when labeling FREEMIUM stuff as FREE – gaining the prestige from naive customers who use other excellent FREE products without being extorted to upgrade for basic functionality.

Blame the Consumer – How dare they expect FREE stuff from us?

Those who who would call me a complainer because I want something for FREE or want advanced capability is not fair. I buy a lot of software (I do not pirate), and have bought a lot of Microsoft and other software. Quite often the things I get for FREE turn out so useful I buy them out of gratitude, not because I am extorted to do so. XMind has a very capable free version as does ClipMate. I bought them because the FREE ones are so useful I felt gratitude towards the developer – not because an essential feature was hidden behind a “pay wall”.

A lot of the Must Have Products for Windows Power Users @ http://techsuperheroes.com/?p=278 I love have FREE versions. Yet in many cases after falling in love with the FREE versions I upgraded to paid ones out of gratitude not to get any features.

There are FREE and cheap Cloud and App and Desktop Offices out there

I use quite a few with great success:

  • Google Apps in the cloud.
  • Zoho.com has an amazing suite of Office products that run in the browser/cloud – the free version is very capable.
  • On the desktop Libre Office and Open Office. I use a paid Open Office variation called Neo Office that cost me $10 on the Mac.
  • on the iPad Pages and Numbers and KeyNote [very different UI from Office but fairly easy and powerful]. KeyNote is much better than the free PowerPoint for iPad.
  • Docs to Go on iPad and Android.

Bottom line: If you are not trying some great new Office software by Microsoft competitors you are missing a treat – many have better UIs and a much cheaper TCO (total cost of ownership). Paying for and updating MS software over the years can get expensive.

But But But they don’t do everything MS-Office does

That is the trap I fell into. These days I use MS-Office when I need a high end feature, and many other things that all write MS-Office files fine when I don’t need these features. I used ot passionaetly argue the “party line” with others – if you use a lesser product and they don’t have a edge case or high end feature you need well you are doomed with your choice.

They could have easily answered – “well THAT document I will use MS-Office for and keep most other simpler documents in easier FREE or cheaper products” Many of these products are easier, friendlier and better designed competitors. And very low total cost of ownership or FREE.

Sometimes you need a hammer, not a sledgehammer, electric impact hammer, or jackhammer. Using a Swiss Army knife when you need just one of it’s features is often using an inferior tool (the stand alone tools have better handles than on a Swiss Army knife). But MS changes the conversation “that way” when people think of using a competitor because they fear that scenario. I maintain a couple hundred documents ad some core business documents with FREE and Cheap Office software. And a few dozen with MS-Office when I need the high end features – SmartArt (great feature), Label Sheet printing, book document features (indexes, TOCS, references). I use other easier friendlier tools when I don’t need all that and save to Word if others need to see it.

And I don’t get “locked in” to knowing only Microsoft products, and have blinders on about the great products others are inventing. I discover some delightful friendlier, easier Office software. After some initial learning curve I found my productivity higher due to innovation and focus on ease of use many of these have.

MS could offer FREE for past office customers
They have tons of past and current customers money to do so

There are companies that offer FREE software subsidized by their paid software, and MS has plenty of budget to do that. They paid several billion for Skype and it is FREE and labelled as such. And is hardly crippled. One only pays to contact landlines. No features are missing – I can type non-English languages in the chat, etc. so they know how to offer TRULY FREE STUFF AND DO.
I would be fine if they labelled it as Freemium.

Free means FREE. Freemium is a correct designation for what they offer. The commercial Office 365 is incomplete and crippled as sold. Bilingual people with non-Latin alphabets are not mutants. I should have to pay again on top of my paid Offie 365 level for a “feature pack” unless it is labelled as such – i.e. Office 365 Jr, Office 365 Gold-Silver-Platinum, etc.

A company with double digit billions in cash can give away a premium office to keep us locked into their file formats and because it inter-operates well with other products they sell or just as advertising to keep mind share, or “dumping” to hurt Cloud upstarts like Google and the like.

FREE does not equal Freemium

I paid a fortune for several versions of Office and Windows and we collectively contributed a lot to these profits.

It should be labelled as Office Jr, Office Gold-Silver-Platinum

Otherwise running a huge “we are FREE” campaign is disingenuous.

Some of us paid a lot for every Office since 1.0 suddenly trying to shame us as cheap skates is not OK. And we deserve better features than iPad users trying Office with no history of buying it before.

Those of us who bought many offices deserve a better office than the newbies – be it free service packs, etc. or you are treating new customers better than loyal ones. I think customers with prior versions of Office (heck even current versions on Windows) don’t deserve the same “feature paywall” everyone trying iPad Office FREE has to deal with.

micro-lies Not-Free

Windows 8.x – broken and never fixed?

Where to get Windows 8 help….

There are several places when I consult, I go to get Windows 8 help to help my customers.

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If you came here because your Windows 8.x is having troubles, you can stop reading here.  The rest is a deep and objective discussion about Windows 8 and Windows 10.

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The Windows 8.x failure – Why It Failed…

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The Windows 8.x Failure – Why it DID NOT FAIL

I hear really bogus reasons Windows 8.x failed all the time. They sound seductive but fail the tests of general semantics and critical thinking. Some fall for the bogus reasons, but here they are and easy refutes for them:

  • “You just hate learning new things.” Actually tech types love it. They just love learning the fastest, easiest way. iOS and Android are offering that.
  • If you had a touch laptop you would love it.
  • If you had a touch monitor you would love it.
  • It is the bravest thing Microsoft has ever done.
  • Just throw away everything you learned about programming to make Win 9/Metro/Modern apps

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Why Windows 8? Why Windows 10?

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Why Not Windows 8? Why Not Windows 10?

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Win1-and-Win8 Windows8-idiocy

A list of really obvious Windows 8.x problems there are no answers to

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt despite what Microsoft blogging engineers and blogging IT types want you to believe.

  • TCO
  • iPad Copying
  • Android copying
  • One OS to rule them all
  • If you think these are wrong, you may want to research confirmation bias.
  • The hatred of Skeuomorphism and love of flat.
  • The embrace of ugliness and bad typography.

How bad is Windows 8?

Well there are many signs it is much worse than it’s Stockholm Syndrome cheerleaders are willing to accept via their rose colored irrational glasses:

  • People use their phone and tablet because it is easier than their PC.
  • The rising new purchase of Chromebooks and Mac OS and Hardware.
  • People are upgrading phones and Tablets both hardware and software.
  • Gifts and Prizes.

This is some hefty evidence. Only victims of confirmation bias, Stockholm Syndrome and MS Fanboy status (even ones in denial) will refute these.

But Windows is SUCH a better Corporate and Productivity OS

Ah this one sounds so good, but is easily answered with rock solid counter points.

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Don’t be an OS bigot. Bigotry is how a bunch of Christian people found themselves in White Sheets burning crosses on lawns. Now bigots are too busy leaving nasty comments on Windows 8 blogs, refusing to buy Apple devices, buying Microsoft stuff for family members that want Android and Apple, or commenting rabidly on blogs that dare to criticize the great Microsoft. Microsoft Supremacist may sound better than White Supremacist, facist, socialist, et al. but supremacy mentality combined with confirmation bias is how Joe Stalin and Grand Dragons became who they are.

Anecdotal Problems I had that discouraged me from using windows 8 full-time

I run/ran Windows 8 in a virtual machine. I have to know it to support it as a consultant and for friends and family. but I cannot bear to subject my best machine to it.

  • I had the Wifi problems everybody had.
    • No internet access while every other device (Win 7, Win XP, Mac, Android, iPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, iPhone) had Internet fine when connected to Wifi.
    • In a connected world not being able to access Internet from WiFi is a show stopper. Do not ship till you got this right. My Windows 8.1 is totally up to date and was bought in March 2014 so I am not an early adopter. They had several years to fix this.
    • There are fixes in fact http://everythingsurface.org/4-ways-to-solve-your-windows-8-1-surface-pro-wi-fi-issues documents 4 fixes.
  • Ugly colors. Ugly icons. Ugly typefaces. Tiny icons. Boring icons. Monochrome dialog boxes and icons.
  • Bugs. Bugs. Bugs.

The best fix to Windows 8

There are many best fixes to this.

Use Windows 10 the minute it comes out as a free upgrade to Windows 8. I like the beta-test/customer preview versions of Windows 10. I do not LOVE it like I loved past Windows because Mac OS X and iOS and Android provide me with so many things I usually count on windows for.

Use Other better products instead of Windows. Read about your options @
http://techsuperheroes.com/?cat=297

But then you are just an Android and Apple and Mac Fanboy! And anti-Microsoft!

Well that is a nice thought that sidesteps the legitimate issues I raise here and the massive agreement that the purchasing public and usual Microsoft cheerleaders discredit.

But read this article on Fanboys and if you still think I am after that, well I have done my best to present you with the objective truth. Even I can’t beat confirmation bias.

Hope this all helps – Happy Windowing! – Chaz

 

 

What I STILL love about Microsoft

Microsoft has lost my trust and respect. Almost 15 years of Ballmer did that. I love what Bill Gates did, but Ballmer spent over a decade destroying what Bill’s teams built and not adapting and out-competing Apple, Google, Amazon and a couple hundred small companies and cloud vendors so everything I do with personal and business computing is often “everything but Microsoft”. Here are the things I still love (with caveats):

  • I love some of the amazing software made by 3rd parties. ClipMate, Process Lasso, BelArc Advisor, XPLite. UltraMon, GoScreen, etc. do not like that Microsoft does not help or promote those companies. Their habit of sucking all the oxygen out of the room and only promoting paid partners is appalling.
  • I know it might not be popular but I like the Ribbon UI in Word. I do think objectively they are unfinished and unpolished and most people will never like them till they make a few core improvements. But for what I use them for, they are awesome.
  • Smart art in Word rocks.
  • The task Bar in Windows 7 is awesome.
  • WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) rocks. The fact it has no first class website like ASP.net does is a disaster 🙁
  • Windows 8 improved boot times are awesome 😀 The fat that Metro / Modern UI is there when you do boot yuck. iOS and Android got Touch UIs “good enough” – you blew it so far Microsoft. The price = yuck. Should be FREE! every other OS I use now is: Mac, iOS, Android.
  • Most of the Microsoft employees are arrogant, think they are smartest people in room, unresponsive to emails to a sociopath level, have Stockholm syndrome, post disingenuous things about competitors, and just generally hurt more than help Microsoft. But a few are easy to love: Jerry Hibbert (inventor of ASP), Joshua Trupin, Michael Corning, Scott Hanselman, Scott Guthrie and Yasser. The smarter ones already left: Omar Shanine, Mark Anders.

I wish I loved more about Microsoft. Unfortunately there is too many things to hate, and too many things to love in the Post PC World, I hope the new CEO can fix it but I seriously doubt it – he has shown no evidence he will work on the root of the problems, just the superficial parts.

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Microsoft Lousy Attitude towards customers

My experience in early 2000’s traveling to Microsoft many times is that there were several kinds of arrogant and clueless staff who were far more prevalent than the humble, hard working, customer caring ones.

The attitude still pervades to this day. Here are some examples:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/andypennell/archive/2014/02/06/common-questions-and-answers-about-windows-phone-8.aspx is a prime example of this.

 

 

Microsoft Lousy Attitude towards external partners

In the 2000s I encountered a lot of Microsoft employees who totally did not get what it meant to have partners in an industry. They reminded me of some of the worse people I ever dated or lived with.

As an example at a .NET conference I heard Microsoft laughing about how much money HP lost in the mobile space on hardware. I also know that MS charged them a pretty penny for OS licenses and software licenses.

My experience with the HP sync utility MS provided to HP and how it made a $1,200 mobile machine worthless.

What Microsoft MUST do to survive – and will not

A lot of pundits suggest what Microsoft must do next. But they do it without deep knowledge of why Microsoft failed and how they built that failure over 10 years and longer. And  without a deep understanding of how the present and future players threaten Microsoft.

Knowing a lot about both those I offer my Microsoft suggestions that are urgent:

  • Remove DRM / Licensing Keys on all current software
  • Remove DRM / Licensing Keys on all past software
  • Provide truly FREE licenses for personal use for several products
  • Provide very cheap and toll free customer support. This would be a nightmare in first few years for them, a dream for their customers.
  • Windows 7 and 8.1 should upgrade a Windows XP or Vista and retain all programs
  • MS begin to treat their hardware and software partners like partners, not like suckers.
  • MS must expand their definition of partners
  • MS must make their software run on a first class way on Linux, Chrome, Android and IOS.

Death of Microsoft for consumers? Introduction

But why is Win 8 not getting traction?
Why is the iPad selling so many iPads that it is on a track to sell 1.5 billion units in the next few years total exceeding the number of PCs in the work place?
Why are Android based smart phones threatening Apples and weakening MS?
Why are Android tablets (inlcuding Kindle Fire) threatening Apple and Laptop sales in long term?

http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/05/microsoft-windows-rt-price-cuts-dont-stop-death-spriral/ http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/11/idc-shows-windows-8-is-actively-destroying-pc-sales/

Laptop sales are non-existent practically while Tablets and Smart Phones fly off shelves and assembly lines, and Surface sales are dismal compared to any other tablet. Given Ballmer (not Gates, he tended to follow through on failures and turn them to sucess) track record it and Apple and Amazon and Google’s tremendous sucess that is not likely to change.The term post-PC is not quite the right term to describe the transformation of the computing landscape. I finally wrapped my mind around what is happening, and what it does to the present and future of computing and I think can offer some insight. For 2 decades we used Business Computers (BCs) as Personal Computers (PCs) and relied on CDs/DVDs.

Then Smart Phones and Tablets and EReaders and TV Boxes (Apple TV, Roku) the first true PCs came – they relied on the cloud and streaming and app stores and were so cheap compared to laptops and so thin and light – and apps tied to the cloud like Facebook, Yelp, Google Maps, Pandora and games meant people had personal PCs that fit in purses and pockets finally not big expensive Business Computers. Heck we buy a new smart phone every 2 years at phone stores and delight in using them and learning them. Smart Phones and Tablets are TRUE PCs (personal computers) because they are just so easy to hold and use. I Skype on my iPad even when my Dell and MacBook Pro are nearby because it is so light and easy to point the video camera at me or my house and yard when Skyping with my kids in Tokyo for example. I prefer my tablet and many prefer their phones on subways and commuter trains to watch movies and TV shows and browse web with headphones and instant message and chat and SMS with family and friends. How do Laptops feel when doing that? When one takes a pic with Personal SmartPhone computer or uses their GPS (and Trapster) when walking or catching bus or driving or maps the sky with Google Sky maps while star gazing one realizes how personal these devices are and how useless laptop BCs are in that scenario. When we file insurance claims after a car crash at roadside, or use Yelp to see where to eat, or lookup a flight number on our phone or tablet it feels better than a laptop.

Laptops and Desktop sales ground to a halt while people purchased and upgraded PCs from phone stores, won tablets in lotteries, bought them for themselves and family members and enjoyed PCs without bloated business apps and bulky expensive machines with big clunky OSes and expensive apps and error messages. They even are losing interest in their bulky consoles because they don’t fit in purses and pockets. BCs/Laptops have short battery lives and are well more bulky BCs than PCs.

Now why do they want to buy BCs with Window 8 except luddites embracing the old model? Luddites who laugh and savagely critique tablets and iDevices as fails (just like Mainframers laughed at PCs) while regular people buy and use the devices in droves… When I use my laptop its for business its not a great Skype machine (my Tablets are better love to Skype on them), a miserable reader for news and docs, not small enough to stream my music and movies my other devices are a PLEASURE to do all that and iCloud makes backup transparent while backing up laptops and accessing my laptop data anywhere is still lots of work and planning. I also switched from Dell and HP to MacBook Pros and Airbooks which are so far ahead of WinTel boxes in speed, backup ease and customer service and LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT and gorgeous, and run the awesome Mac OS and Windows faster than most Windows hardware. Laptops are bulky and the keyboards are not needed for most personal apps and games so MS is lost in this fast growing market with over priced worse hardware and OS way behind Android and iOS and 1/1000th the number of apps which is what people want. The money here is in apps, store stocking fees (the 30% Apple takes from every app and whatever % Google takes), commissions on sales and Apple, Amazon, Google, HTC, Samsung, Roku has tons to offer here and so much more in the pipeline and Microsoft almost nothing now and little in the pipeline and what personal devices they do have few want… The torch passes to true PC Makers because Ballmer unlike Gates could not see change, embrace it and become a player there.

I am as guilty as many I laughed at iPads (while buying 3 new Android smartphone in under 5 years and numerous iDevices for my kids). But when I won an ipad 2 at a lottery I fell in love with it as a PC once I used it for many tasks I was doing on my laptop or would never do on my laptop as it was not practical. And my family were more interested in using my Tablet than my laptop. I ended up buying an iPad with Retina Display I grab and use instead of my laptop for many personal tasks, and simple business tasks.

This is NOT a typical cycle.

XP, Vista lots of Desktops and laptops were being bought.

Now laptops and desktops are such a low sales item that Dell and HP (the big 2) are in serious financial trouble, and those people used to make money hand over fist.

HP is so upset by Surface read: http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/05/microsoft-windows-rt-price-cuts-dont-stop-death-spriral/ http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/11/idc-shows-windows-8-is-actively-destroying-pc-sales/ they are ramping up to make Android tablets where they feel they are not at a huge disadvantage since MS does not pay for Win8+Office when they factor in Surface costs compared to HP and Dell and others (Samsung, Lenovo) who have $100-$150 added to cost of their tablets to have those things in a very cost sensitive market.

And when laptops and desktops don’t sell MS revenue is super low when no one buys the BCs (for biz or personal use) but other software makers are selling droves of software on post-PC devices like Smart Phones (Androids and iPhones) and Tablets not made by MS and huge commisions are being collected on app and content sales on those devices. For the first time in history MS is not in the personal computing market while Apple, Android HW makers running Android by Google, people are buying massive music and TV/Movie services running on iTouches, Rokus, Apple TVs and Xboxes*.

It is not business as usual whether you realize it or not. Laptop sales and Windows used to be the way people compute, and Desktop apps were a whole ecosysytem but they now are on SmartPhones and Tablets doing the tasks they used to do on Windows and more including apps at obscenely consumer friendly prices and cloud apps on these personal devices. And MS is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy behind and does not seem to have a strategy to get back and be profitable and high volume while Apple, Google and Amazon are raking in the profits and controlling the present and future.

* The only place MS has a presence but they lost billions to gain that presence while Apple and Amazon and Goggle makes billions in profits. And a whole cloud based and app based software market exists Microsoft has no products in and no revenue stream from and its clear that market is where people are spending their money.

One response:
Waiting on Windows 9, every time MS has made a big change in Windows the
first version of it is a waste, Windows 3 v Win 311, Win95 v Win98, WinNT3.5
v WinNt4. Vista v Win 7. Given the pattern Win 8 v Win 9. It is just the way
this company rolls; even back to DOS 1.0 vs 2.0. Ship deadlines are far
more important to them than shipping a working product. I think there is a
lot of potential in Win8 but experience has taught that to see that
potential realized wait until version 9 ships. On the server side Windows
2012 R2

Microsoft made money off HW Mfrs who shipped tons of machines, companies that bought software licenses (Office, Server stuff, Visual Studio, etc.) and individuals that bought software (Office mostly) and hardware (mice, keyboards).  Now how do they make money off iPhones, Droid phones, IDevices and iPads and Android Tablets and Kindle/Kobo/Nook readers? Plenty of people are making money: the mfrs, the app developers, the comissions to Apple and Amazon and Google on tons of apps and digital content, where is Microsoft making money in this scenario? Short answer is they don’t. Ballmer missed this chance and burned the partner and customer bridges  so many times he can’t fix this, and even if he miracuously did no one would beleive him and continue to trust Apple, Amazon and Google who understood this early enough and worked hard enough to ‘own’ this new era for now. Can HP and Dell make money in this scenario? Maybe if they take Apple, Samsung and HTC seriously and out compete them and make their alliance with Android/Google not MS.

I think Ballmer and MS grossly miscalculated that the future of computing is only business software and business devices, when in fact individuals doing personal/entertainment computing are quickly creating a separate multi-billion dollar market with no MS presence. And they are so badly managed the only market where they saw and conquered an opportunity they lost billions (the Xbox) rather than made billions.

Desktops and laptops are BCs (Business Computers) under my definition. Microsoft has made a boatload of money in the past because people bought BCs (Laptops and Desktops) for home and personal computing. Now better PCs exist, and BCs will ONLY be bought for business a smaller market segment than PCs.

Now actual devices exist that are PCs – Handheld Computer Phones, Handheld Tablets, TV Boxes and E-Readers. These people will not buy BCs and use them for personal use, but they will buy many PCs much moreso than BCs. Phone upgrades every 2 years, new tablets frequently and multiple tablets, set top boxes and tiny iDevices for Music and simple tasks. These PCs are a HUGE market much larger than the BC market in fact thanks to Cloud apps on the web we can do business tasks on them too so for example I filled in my Timesheet on a train instead of my work computer but then went back to all my PC tasks. BCs are LOUSY at personal computing tasks. PCs excel at these and threaten BC sales (laptops, desktops), consoles (DS, Playstation, PSP, Wii) and TV providers (Comcast, FIOS, TimeWarner Cable, Direct TV) because they are so small and cheap and the apps/games cost $1 and up whereas BCs and consoles want $20-$60 for their games/apps. And the people who make this OS (Apple and Google and Amazon) are making a killing off comission of app sales, movie sales, TV sales, book sales.

I never said BCs are dead, but what I did say is that PCs are now a viable separate entity and for many reasons will outsell these BCs in droves. A person with one BC at work will own a smart phone and a tablet and a Roku say and a iPod for the gym, and his teens and parents will have 2 or more devices that are PCs. These devices will outnumber PC and they will prefer cheap apps and cloud apps that can be used on any device not feature heavy monolith apps corporations prefer. A cloud free or super cheap word processor for example will thrive in these devices with a few decent features, upselling them to an expensive office suite becomes hard.

BC sales were high in past because people bought them to use as PCs. Now they are ill suited for that task. So they permanently lose a place in the market for people to use them for personal tasks. It is not like we are going to pull out a laptop and take pictures at a wedding like we would a smart phone or point it at the sky like google maps or listen to it talk us through navigation down a street like we use Google maps. Nor will we curl up in bed watching a Youtube / Music video or TV show with our laptop.

A luddite response:
I’ve read several stories on the death of the PC but i’m buying it.
I’ve worked for a company that employees 1500 workers and uses literally hundreds of PC’s. They are not going to give them up to run tablets or even laptops.
I visited libraries all over and not one of them uses tablets or laptops. They all use PC
Even schools use PC not anything else.
From small businesses employing a handful of workers to major companies the PC is still king.
For myself i can really only afford one system. So i now use just a laptop because i travel on occasion. But given a choice i’ll take a PC every time.
Considering the hackers and the mistakes companies make i prefer to keep my own files and not use a cloud.
I can also use my files without having to go on line.
I never buy into the scare tactic that something is on the way out.
I still listen listen to AM radio. I’ve yet to find anything worth replacing it with.

I never said BCs are dead, but what I did say is that PCs are now a viable separate entity and for many reasons will outsell these BCs in droves. The hard actual sales figures of every retail channel and manufacturers confirms this, it is hardely future speculation. A person with one BC at work will own a smart phone and a tablet and a Roku say and a iPod for the gym, and his teens and parents will have 2 or more devices that are PCs. These devices will outnumber PC and they will prefer cheap apps and cloud apps that can be used on any device not feature heavy monolith apps corporations prefer. A cloud free or super cheap word processor for example will thrive in these devices with a few decent features, upselling them to an expensive office suite becomes hard.

Desktops and laptops are BCs (Business Computers) under my definition. Microsoft has made a boatload of money in the past because people bought BCs (Laptops and Desktops) for home and personal computing. Now better PCs exist, and BCs will ONLY be bought for business a smaller market segment than PCs. Of course offices and libraries will have BCs but most people don’t need them to do the things they can do with smart phones and tablets so they do these things and don’t avail themselves of the library BCs.

As for your personal experience, that tells what you will do, not what mainstream population will do.  Sales figures from various channels and observing how many smartphones, tablets, Ereaders and iMusic devices people are using in public confirm what the mainstream trends are. And worldwide even in super poor areas people get smartphones and then use them people who will not lb likely to own BCs for a long time. I ride on subways and trains where the smart phones and tablets and Ereaders and iMusic PCs outnumber the laptops by huge multiples with most people carrying two or more of these non BC devices.

Now actual devices exist that are PCs – Handheld Computer Phones, Handheld Tablets, TV Boxes and E-Readers. These people will not buy BCs and use them for personal use, but they will buy many PCs much moreso than BCs. Phone upgrades every 2 years, new tablets frequently and multiple tablets, set top boxes and tiny iDevices for Music and simple tasks. These PCs are a HUGE market much larger than the BC market in fact thanks to Cloud apps on the web we can do business tasks on them too so for example I filled in my Timesheet on a train instead of my work computer but then went back to all my PC tasks. BCs are LOUSY at personal computing tasks. PCs excel at these and threaten BC sales (laptops, desktops), consoles (DS, Playstation, PSP, Wii) and TV providers (Comcast, FIOS, TimeWarner Cable, Direct TV) because they are so small and cheap and the apps/games cost $1 and up whereas BCs and consoles want $20-$60 for their games/apps. And the people who make this OS (Apple and Google and Amazon) are making a killing off comission of app sales, movie sales, TV sales, book sales.

I never said BCs are dead, but what I did say is that PCs are now a viable separate entity and for many reasons will outsell these BCs in droves. A person with one BC at work will own a smart phone and a tablet and a Roku say and a iPod for the gym, and his teens and parents will have 2 or more devices that are PCs. These devices will outnumber PC and they will prefer cheap apps and cloud apps that can be used on any device not feature heavy monolith apps corporations prefer. A cloud free or super cheap word processor for example will thrive in these devices with a few decent features, upselling them to an expensive office suite becomes hard.

BC sales were high in past because people bought them to use as PCs. Now they are ill suited for that task. So they permanently lose a place in the market for people to use them for personal tasks. It is not like we are going to pull out a laptop and take pictures at a wedding like we would a smart phone or point it at the sky like google maps or listen to it talk us through navigation down a street like we use Google maps. Nor will we curl up in bed watching a Youtube / Music video or TV show with our laptop. I listen to FM radio stations via Tune-in or I Heart Radio or Sirrius or Pandora on a Bluetooth headpiece from my phone or tablet a laptop seems an atom bomb to kill a fly on that one in both size and weight.

BUT high end BCs for gaming and dev are becoming the minority and PC devices the majority.

Will I still love my high end BC Dell Desktop with 2 monitors? Yes. Will I still love my high end MacBook Pro Retina I run OSX and Win 7 on? Sure. Will Google, Apple and Amazon and many mfrs sell dozens or hundreds of PCs for every 1 BC sold? you bet.

Ballmer and any developer that miscalculates the number of PCs out there and how they can play games, run apps, run cloud based apps in browsers or apps and does not go where the bulk of the customers are will have severe profit problems as the BC market is now the least likely place to find high profits.

The iPad with Retina Display and 4 GPUs will run some superb games too as can say the Galaxy Note II or Galaxy 4 and Kindle devices, Nexus, etc. so we as developers need to avoid the mistep Microsoft made by dissing or marginalizing the rise of the PCs and decline of the BCs.

My premise not that BCs will go away or are dead. I love my MacBook Pro as laptop running OSX and Windows 7, and I love my work desktop.

My premise is that Microsoft assumed the high BC sales that started a few decades ago will and woud continue and their strategy of assuming they would control 90% of the computer consumers and hardware vendors and need not develop for any other assumption except corporations control most of the money is just proving to be wrong. True personal computers are selling so well and outselling BCS in huge quantities, and getting upgraded so often and the center of innovation that corporations and people are buying them in huge numbers and MS has no viable strategy to tap the massive profit base and win the hearts and minds of these customers.

I believe BCs (laptops and desktops) will be here for a while longer till docking frames (monitors that servers second monitors for PCs, mice, full sized keyboards) and hybrids (pcs that run desktop OSes when in frame, bootcamp style) make them obsolete.

But I think MS is so far behind Apple, Amazon and Google even a new CEO after Ballmer may not be able to regain these lost markets.