Finishing Touches, and Microsoft: Do Not Pass Go! Do Not Collect $200! §

Finishing Touches

Just a few more things on the site. As mentioned yesterday, I decided on the overall theme for the thing, but I got a litle crazy with CSS last night, and redid every page. Hopefully you won’t notice much of a difference, but none of the pages use table layouts anymore, everything is rendered in the Style Sheet. The reason I am mentioning this, however, is for usability purposes. I don’t have a Windows machine, and the nearest one is on campus, being that it’s a Saturday, I’d rather not have to walk to school to look at Windows. I have tested the site in every major browser (IE, Mozilla, FireFox, Netscape, and Safari) on my Mac, but I’m not sure how it renders in Windows browsers. One note, the site sort of sucks in IE. But then, why should Microsoft support web standards in the world’s most popular web browser?

Anyway, this could just be the Mac version (since it hasn’t been updated in years), but if you’re using IE in Windows and something is amiss, let me know. Hopefully I can fix this in the future, I am taking a JavaScript class next semester, and I know there is a way to script the site and have a different version for IE users (such as a table based design). In the meantime, I’m not too worried, and CSS is easier to manage in the long run.

Microsoft: Do NOT Pass GO! Do NOT Collect $200!

I ran into this earlier today, and I just had to put it on here. I was reading one of my favorite Mac community websites and came across something quite interesting. As you may, or may not, have heard, the EU recently fined Microsoft something like 497 Million Euros, for antitrust violations. One of the pieces of evidence presented was an internal e-mail from 1997 to Mr. Gates, who authored it? Aaron Contorer, Microsoft’s C++ General manager back in ‘97. What did it say? Well according to the article at ATaT, which was based on a C|net Article, in the e-mail Aaron asserts the following:

"…end users stuck with Windows, despite the operating system’s shortcomings, based on the high costs of abandoning heavy investments already made…"

Okay, this we already know. Someone spends a couple grand on a computer with Windows, they’re not going to turn tail and spend another $2,000 for a Mac just because they unintentionally downloaded a virus that recorded their keystrokes for a couple of days, sent the information back to its creator, then proceeded to turn the Windows Registry into something resembling ground beef. (Granted this is a slight exaggeration, SLIGHT.) And let’s face it, most users of Windows don’t recognize that they can get Linux or another alternative, for a smaller price than a Windows upgrade, sometimes even free. So for most, the difference is between a PC and a Mac. So anyway, that’s not all, Aaron has more to tell Satan’s nephew (Mr. Gates), this time about why developers continue to develop software for Windows:

"…the Windows API [(Application Program Interface)] is so broad, so deep and so functional that most ISVs [(independent software vendors)] would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system, instead. It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high total cost of ownership, our lack of a sexy vision, at times, and many other difficulties. Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms but it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move… In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago."

Wow. Again, all of this is not exactly news to me, or most of you, but there is something funny about hearing this admission from a top Microsoft exec. Granted this was 7 years ago, and granted they have made some improvements since, but really doesn’t it make sense that this is still Gates’ operating mantra? And consider that Windows had been around for about 11 years at that point, and the market leader for at least 4 of those. You would think that after that amount of time, the mantra might have changed, and the "mistakes… buggy drivers… high total cost of ownership… lack of sexy vision… and many other difficulties," would have been discovered and addressed sooner. Times are changing, of course, but even after the swarms of viruses targeted at Windows users, the vast amount of spyware and adware, the trojans, the worms, the simple hacks allowing crackers easy access to the bowels of your system through open "back doors" inside of the dominating web browser on the market… a 7 year old e-mail message still goes a long way in showing how Microsoft thinks about its customers…

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