Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Archive for December 14th, 2006

Has Microsoft lost its way?

Posted by metaphorical on 14 December 2006

David Pogue of the NY Times seems to think so. Both in print today and in a video, he says that Vista “broadly, boldly [and] blatantly” borrows from Mac OS X. “You get the feeling that Microsoft’s managers put Mac OS X on an easel and told the programmers, ‘Copy that’.”

And a couple of days ago, there was this story in Computerworld:

Windows development chief: “I would buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft”

December 11, 2006 (Computerworld) — Longtime Windows development chief James Allchin wrote in a January 2004 e-mail to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and company co-founder Bill Gates that the software vendor had “lost sight” of customers’ needs and said he would buy a Mac if he wasn’t working for Microsoft.

In my view, we lost our way,” Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft’s platform and services division, wrote in an e-mail dated Jan. 7, 2004. The e-mail was presented as evidence late last week in the Iowa antitrust trial, Comes v. Microsoft Corp.

“I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems our customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that does not translate into great products.”


The case, filed in February 2000, charges that Microsoft used its monopoly position to overcharge Iowans for its software. Held in the Polk County District Court in Des Moines, it is one of two remaining antitrust cases — the state of Mississippi’s case is the other — brought by the U.S. government and multiple states against Microsoft starting in the late 1990s.

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No more Ohios?

Posted by metaphorical on 14 December 2006

If you’re wondering whether a Democratic Congress might finally get rid of paperless electronic voting machines that don’t leave anything to recount, remember that the guy who’s been sponsoring e-voting reform for three years now, Rush Holt (D-NJ), is now a member of the majority party.

But there’s more. John Conyers, one of the few members of Congress to stand up and challenge the Ohio 2004 presidential vote is now the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In January 2005, an investigation he chaired as the ranking member of minority party issued a report that went nowhere.

We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousand of votes and voters in Ohio, raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone federal requirements and constitutional standards.

… we find that there were massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. In many cases these irregularities were caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.

The full report is here. Perhaps with the full weight of the committee, something might have actually happened.

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