Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sand-box posting... Read in a blog somewhere: "How do you convince a CTO to throw out a DOS app that's working just fine? I haven't found the trick yet." Why on earth would you want to? --- The answer to all such questions is found in Monty Python sketches: Devious: (reading script) 'The vicar sits'. (The vicar sits.) Vicar: It's about this letter you sent me regarding my insurance claim. Devious: Oh, yeah, yeah - well, you see, it's just that we're not... as yet ... totally satisfied with the grounds of your claim. Vicar: But it says something about filling my mouth in with cement. Devious: Oh well, that's just insurance jargon, you know. Vicar: But my car was hit by a lorry while standing in the garage and you refuse to pay my claim. Devious: (rising and crossing to a filing cabinet) Oh well, Reverend Morrison ... in your policy... in your policy... (he opens the drawer of the filing cabins and takes out a shabby old sports jacket; he feels in the pocket and pulls out a crumpled dog-eared piece of paper then puts the coat back and shuts the ftling cabinet).... here we are. It states quite clearly that no claim you make will be paid. Vicar: Oh dear. Devious: You see, you unfortunately plumped for our 'Neverpay' policy, which, you know, if you never claim is very worthwhile ... but you had to claim, and, well, there it is. Vicar: Oh dear, oh dear. Devious: Still, never mind - could be worse. How's the nude lady? Vicar: Oh, she's fine. (he begins to sob) Devious: Look... Rev... I hate to see a man cry, so shove off out' the office. There's a good chap. --- It's hard to find instances when Microsoft risks its bottom line for the welfare of their customers. Oh they give to charities, donate software to libraries and third world counties to get them hooked too, but the notion that "Hey, we have to support DOS ANYWAY, lets just give it away to our old customers that don't need anything else." That ain't gonna happen until (if) Apple or Linux starts to pose a real threat. What I think is more likely to happen is that Microsoft and Intel will take the whole US tech industry down the tubes with themselves. The "bottom" of the food chain is already gone in case you haven't noticed. We don't actually MAKE anything here any more and with fewer and fewer of even the design decisions being made here it's only a matter of time before someone comes up with that $200 machine that Balmer wishes for. Like so many of the gadgets that you have to go to Tokyo to buy, we'll have to clamor for that new laptop with some unheard of processor in it running something that sort of looks like Windows, or Linux or OS X, but it boots out of ROM and is totally impervious to viruses, has connectivity, word processing, the whole works, and will probably let you install another operating system on it too, but why bother, as long as it will do what you are doing, and boot up so fast, and rarely crash, and if you drop it, you get another one, because all your important stuff is on the net anyway. Let's not quibble about inovation. We all know that Microsoft doesn't do the sort of innovation that billions of dollars pay for. Why? Because it's too risky and even when it pays off it doesn't have the profit margins that software does. I'd like to see MS dump tons of money into fabrication research, hardware design, and the sort of things that IBM Research Division still does (even with a decreasing portion of the pie that they have). Hopefully they will hit enough jackpots to keep us in the game. But the future of American technology is for sure not writing software for the rest of the world. Now run along, I hate to see a fading monopolist cry.

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