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Microsoft in 2023

I agree entirely with this post by Charlie Stross concerning MS Word. I really wish people writing in the Humanities would not insist on using the bloody thing. The problem is in businesses – they love the thing.

It was remarked to me on Facebook that “It would be nice to see the whole [of Microsoft] go under”. And while I agree with that too, I think that, realistically, it will be the Office suite that keeps Microsoft alive, not Windows.

Here is my claim chowder: In ten years time or so you will run your Office for iOS/Android/Mac OSX/ChromeOS/whatever and connect to the Office Exchange server for document collaboration with business partners. The only copy of Windows they will sell will those that run the Office/Exchange servers, plus maybe the odd “desktop” copy to professional organisations. It’s clear their tablet and phone strategy is pretty dead in the water, and its pretty clear that the “tablet” is the consumer computing platform of the future. While I’d love Office to just die entirely, I don’t think it will happen, but they’ll be reduced a business products vendor and suck the teat of corporate documentation and collaboration systems for a few more decades to come. Even though I Think there’s better alternatives even in that space, in the corporate world they are so invested in basic MS Office skills, and those sorts of systems tend to be fairly glacial, it’ll be the one beachhead they keep even as the whole “BYOD” and portable devices trend (i.e. iOS and Android) attacks them at the desktop (Windows) level.

Comments off

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[link] LatinOWL for iPad

LatinOWL for iPad from inlustre monumentum est » x=x, April 25, 2013 at 04:39PM.

[link] How to retrieve ancient text data from Perseus

How to retrieve ancient text data from Perseus from inlustre monumentum est » x=x, April 10, 2013 at 11:19PM.

[link] Inconsistencies in Perseus and unpredictable URL formation

Inconsistencies in Perseus and unpredictable URL formation from inlustre monumentum est » x=x, April 08, 2013 at 11:40PM.

App developer

Yesterday I couldn’t even spell ‘UIViewController’, nunc unum feci.

[link] A free iOS app for Latinists

A free iOS app for Latinists from inlustre monumentum est » x=x, March 31, 2013 at 10:12AM.

Xcode and its inability to handle simple things like renaming a directory

Why is it so damned hard to rename a directory in Xcode? When you open up Xcode and create a new Project, it creates a virtual directory – a “Group” into which your application source files go. If you look at the project with Finder or through the shell you’ll find a directory of the same name as the Group inside your project directory.

But later, if you rename your Project (emergent design: I’ve refined my ideas so I want to change the names of things), you can also rename the Group too to match. But the directory stays with the original name. You can supposedly rename the directory – but look at that shitty procedure: edit the project file in a text editor and perform a search-and-replace. I’ve tried this about three times on my project and it ends up in some shitty place of hell with linking errors complaining that the file is not in the old directory name. I’ve done a find . -type f -exec grep -H 'oldname' {} ; on the bloody project directory and there’s no reference to the old name left that I can locate. Revert revert revert! Try again. Fail again! Revert again! Rinse and repeat.

Get your goddamned act together Apple. This stuff is a hilarious joke! When you rename the group the fsking IDE ought to rename the corresponding directory or at least give you another option to do this! It’s like some nightmare out of an early-90s Borland C editor scenario. Wait … scratch that, those things usually handled this way better than Xcode does today.

And renaming Test classes should not be that hard either. Developers need to rename things after they’ve created them! Christ on a biscuit. Code organisation 101.

[face palm:[head desk]];

Internet art

My friend Amanda McDonald Crowley writes on her blog about early ‘internet art’ and therein mentions a project I founded many years ago.

Also, this is a semi-description of the installation ‘TELEMAT’ we had at TISEA in 1992 that Amanda mentions.

3:712/634   Scot Art               Woolloomooloo NSW     Sys-Ex BBS

Microsoft’s zombie apocalypse

Go to this URL, and click on the “click here to see how the iPad has changed the world in just three years” link that’s at the bottom of the text (sorry these guys don’t want to let me link directly to the slide stack);

Note slides 4 & 6 particularly. Note that “tablets” are expected to outsell “laptops” this year. See how quickly the “Wintel” model of operating system and hardware is falling off? This is a rapid change in fortunes for the Microsoft behemoth.

In 10 years, maybe less, Microsoft will be a bit player. Few people will use an MS operating system; certainly their sales of new operating systems will be insignificant. Mostly people will buy just business productivity apps off them (Office/Exchange).

Of course, they may improve their Surface experience and perhaps catch up to iOS and Android, but I think at this point, they will still be a bit-player in that market. Why do I think this? Because of their insistence on the Windows 8 “you only need one operating system” mindset. They seem heavily invested in. They may be able to break this decades-long allegiance to the great god Baal^H^H^H^H Windows, yes, possibly. But I don’t think they have realised their lunch is being eaten quite so quickly.

Just for the record, I also think that OSX sales will also be tiny in 10 years time. Only “people like us” (developers) and a small minority of “power users” will buy “computers” that aren’t tablets. There’ll still be servers, of course, but that market’s dominated and will still be dominated by flavours of Linux and VMWare running on IBM/HP style hardware platforms (with a small share to their proprietary OSes for existing high-end customers). Of course, Windows may still play in this space, for people with dot-net services. And it may be that’s how MS saves it’s bacon. But, that stuff just doesn’t have the revenues that Windows-to-consumers has; the alternatives are basically free (thus limiting price) and the volumes are relatively low.

And so, as a *dominant market force*, it’s already living on borrowed time, unless sometime in the next 12 or 18 months it gives up on the “one size fits all” approach and creates a SurfaceOS that really knocks people’s socks off. Do you think that’s in the Microsoft DNA? Not bloody likely. But my bet is that they won’t try, and even if they do, it will still be a horrible frankenstein’s monster (Ballmer’s monster)?

While I think that Android had some time to iterate over their touch phone and tablet interface until they got it right, I don’t think that Microsoft has that luxury. Android tablet makers have been learning as they go along, as has Apple. But they’ve been busy learning these lessons while their market share was relatively tiny. Microsoft has to catch up and overtake them — soon to be the market-leading portable computing platforms — more or less in two or three leaps; they’ve already expended one.

I really ought to make a more hard-core effort to learn Objective-C and the Apple APIs.