Sunday, August 25, 2002

Well that wasn't fun. I just lost all of my last post due to web congestion or something!

Ok, just listened to most of the new Aimee Mann cd. Quite nice. On sale for $10 along with the new Duncan Sheik at Tower on Tuesday. Looking forward to the new Peter Gabriel cd at the end of September. Now if we could get new material from The Blue Nile, David Sylvian, and Joni Mitchell.

Began fiddling with Linux again recently. I had a been on a hiatus for a while. I've been playing with Linux since about '97-98. Things have definitely progressed in the install, gui, and apps. I recently discovered the Knoppix distrib. The cool thing about this one is it is designed to run entirely off CD-ROM without touching your discs. If you type "knoppix noswap" at the prompt it just runs all in memory. Very impressive. One can even save a floppy config file to remember you mail options, printer, etc. I tried it on several machines and it came right up. One nit on one machine I have is the sound config. This pc has a Crystal 42xx sound chip which is auto detected. When I try to play XMMS it starts and then the whole machine locks. I've been seeing this type of behavior under Linux for years. Linux sound support is still not very robust! I used to run BeOS on this box and it worked fine with this sound chip. What's up with Linux? This would be a real roadblock for me to go full time Linux. I don't know why things haven't improved in this area.

I continue to muse about Apple PCs. I have always been skeptical about Jobs and his reality distortion field but the current batch of products are quite compelling. The problem, of course, is having to buy all new apps in addition to the new Mac. I think Apple should try to shave about 2 pounds off the iBook. I've been happy with my under 4 lb. Sony Vaio. Apple needs to get into this space.

Meanwhile, I languish in my aging Windows world. It's amazing how disenchanted I've become since I left MSFT. I just don't find their apps compelling. IE was good in it's day. I still think OE does a lot right. Of course, I never could stomach Outlook and will never use it. Office no longer holds any interest. Visio was interesting when it was independent but now has just been sucked into a black hole.

I am impressed by the first release of Open Office. I especially like the open XML format of the files. The great thing about OO is that you are guaranteed there will always be support for the format since you don't have to worry about a company going bankrupt or becoming arbitrary like MSFT. I think I heard that the next version of MSFT Office will finally go open XML has well for the file format. That was inevitable. My sense in the few statistics I've seen is that each version of Office sells less with each passing version and year. It's simply overpriced and not compelling. Give me a text editor and email. That's all you really need. The student pricing scheme MSFT has been selling is simply a backdoor way of admitting that prices have to come down. I remember asking Orlando Ayala (VP of North America) while I was at MSFT what we were going to do when you could buy a PC for less than the price of Office? His response was that people would recognize the value of MSFT software. I was unimpressed then and still am in his answer.

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