Particle Debris and Bogus Vista Sales (Week of Aug 4)

This week, I'm going to go backwards in time (without the aid of a Time Machine) to look at some of the secondary stories that caught my attention.

My favorite, however, was from July 28, a story at APC about how every time Hewlett Packard sells a PC with Windows XP, Microsoft has figured out how to log it as a Vista sale.

You read that right.

According to Hewlett Packard executives, since June 30th, HP hasn't been able to sell a PC with an XP license. But what they can do is ship it with a Vista business license and XP pre-loaded. So even though HP gives the customer what they want, XP, Microsoft gets to log it as a Vista sale.

That agreement lasts until January 2009, but HP wants to extend it. "Looking into the crystal ball, I don't think businesses will see much value in upgrading to Vista until late next year, and even so, Microsoft will probably have come out with something else by then," said Rob Kingston, Group Manager of Commercial Product Marketing for HP.

Hmm. Slam dunk.

I guess we'll be taking all future Microsoft sales numbers for Vista with a microgram of salt.

On Thursday, I saw a neat article at TV Newsday about all the problems broadcasters are having with the audio feeds associated with HDTV. Apparently, some technicians, pressed for time, aren't reading the manuals and aren't aware of the in-place broadcast standards that keep audio levels from booming and busting. Lip sync problems are also a sign the engineers don't have the time to do their homework.

On Tuesday, I read about IBM's ever more aggressive work with Linux as a way to undermine Microsoft. The latest effort is the "Microsoft-free PC" effort. That's an initiative with Red Hat, Novell and Ubuntu to assist customers with displacing Microsoft technologies.

IBM brackets Microsoft on the low end with open source solutions, Linux and small business solutions and on the high end with Linux, AIX, servers, storage, services, and even high performance computing. While we sometimes think about Apple vs. Microsoft, it's really Apple, IBM, Google, Red Hat and Yahoo against Microsoft.

Also on Tuesday, there was a fun but dismaying article about the payroll system in California that runs on Cobol. What happens when the governor says to the state employees: "We don't have an approved budget. Use the payroll system to cut your pay to minimum wage!"

The answer: "But sir, it's 30 years old and written in Cobol.
No one knows how to do that!"

On Monday, Ryan Faas, who continues to amaze, wrote an extensive article: "Macs in the Enterprise: Top Ten Assumptions, Myths, and Misconceptions." Mr. Faas has worked as both a PC and Mac sysadmin and has written some of the deepest and technical articles ever on Apple products in the enterprise.

Every Mac IT manager or user who wants to see a wider use of Macs in their organization needs to read this. After that, read Jason Packer's take on the article. Mr. Packer adds some additional, valuable insight.

With the Mac taking off in the enterprise, there are new insights to be aware of, and enthusiasts are able to use ever more persuasive arguments against the IT managers who have historically taken an easy but perilous Windows road with blinders on.

You have your homework assignment.