August 2013


technology04 Aug 2013 04:00 pm

When I was picking up my wife’s iMac computer from the Apple store in Woodfield Mall earlier this week, I noticed the Microsoft had opened a Microsoft store literally one floor below the Apple store.  When you walk to the apple store, you can see the Microsoft store.

Microsoft continues to play catchup to the Apple merchandising model.  The value proposition at the Apple store is quite clear.  They employee “genius” employees at the “genius bar” who appear to know everything about the technology that they are selling.  When I brought my son’s macbook pro into the shop to replace the monitor that got broken, i had them hook up my macbook pro to their diagnostics to check the machine out.  After upgrading to the latest version of MacOS, my macbook pro was getting a bit pokey and I wanted to upgrade the memory.  When I asked about Apple performing the upgrade, they refused.  They only provide like kind repairs to their hardware to ensure that changing the configuration will not introduce any level of incompatibility  that could impact the customer experience.  Thats a very smart move on the part of apple.  The “genius” recommend that I purchase the memory from Newegg, and install it if I wanted to do the upgrade, which I did, since I’m comfortable taking apart computers and understood the risk by doing so.  But, for mom and pop consumer, if they did foray down the path of upgrading their mac computer themselves, they could certainly not hold apple accountable for any type of negative experience associated with the upgrade.

Microsoft has a different issue at their stores.  Outside of the surface, there are all manor of hardware vendors that can provide platforms for the Microsoft operating system, so they will never have the granular level of control that Apple has over their desktops, laptops and servers.

The Microsoft store also has a large section devoted to the Xbox.  I was fascinated how Microsoft completely blew the announcement of the new Xbox that will be coming out by the end of the year.  When I asked my Son if he wanted the new Xbox, he told me no, he did not, because he and his friends did not like the way that Microsoft was setting up the new Xbox, requiring them to connect to the Internet every day, and not being able to buy used games at Gamestop.  You can really consider your product launch a public relations nightmare when a 14 year old and his friends believe that you screwed up your new product launch to the point that Microsoft revised their launch approach for the new Xbox.

Otherwise, the MIcrosoft store is snazzy.  Its a pretty amusing marketing touch to put the new Microsoft stores within spitting distance of the Apple store, which I expect is happening around the country as they build out their new stores.

I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with a Microsoft person at the Microsoft store as of yet, so I can’t comment on the level of expertise that the people working their posses.

family and home and infrastructure04 Aug 2013 08:21 am

This weekend, I got my wife an iMac desktop replacing her aging Windows Vista PC, which was getting long in the tooth and pokey.  This complete our migration from an all PC environment to a complete MAC world.

The process started when I replaced my laptop with a MacBook Pro.  I was typically going through a new PC laptop every 6 months.  I am hard on PC keyboards, since I learned to type on a TRS-80 which had a terrible keyboard bounce problem, so I learned to type by pressing the keys very hard.  So I would get a new Window PC laptop regularly.

Next I got my daughter a MacBook Pro when she graduated from 8th grade.  She was using one of my older PC laptops, but, wasn’t very happy with it, and asked for a Mac, so she got migrated.

My youngest son was not happy with his Windows PC. Even though he had anti-virus software on his PC, he continued to get viruses on his PC, so he asked if he could use my Macbook Air, which became his primary machine.  Even with Microsoft anti-virus installed, during his forays to Club Penguin he still managed to get virus and spyware regularly.  I have not gotten any viruses on my Mac’s as of yet which is a great plus.

My middle son asked for a MacBook Pro about in March before we went on vacation for spring break. Since he was graduating from 8th grade, his MacBook Pro became his graduation present.

So, all we had at the house was my Wife’s Vista PC, which was getting old and locking up.  During the time she was using it, I restored the machine to factory settings a few times because Windows gets pokey when things download and install from the Internet.

Before making the decision to migrate her to a iMac, I installed Windows 8 as a VM on my MacBook Pro using Parallel’s which lets you install VM’s including Windows, Limux, CentOS, etc.  I absolutely hate the Windows 8 interface.  The interface in my option has to be one of the most counter intuitive travesty’s ever created by a major software vendor. Its mind boggling how they could miss the mark so drastically.  I believe that the Windows 8 user interface was designed around their Surface tablet, but, clearly they should have had a refined user interface for PC’s versus the Surface.

I love the interface on my iPad.  Apple, with Steve Jobs as the design nazi really did an amazing job enforcing usability on all of their products.  I will be very interested to see how the interface changes with iOs 7.

So I picked up the iMac earlier in the week, unboxed it, and it literally took a few minutes to get the box configured and up and running including migrating all of my wife’s emails into Microsoft Office for the Mac.  I am still a big fan of Microsoft Office.

Conversely, I work every day with Windows 2008 servers.  While there is the issue of security vulnerabilities on Windows Servers, they still do a fine job every day supporting the IT security applications that I work with on a daily basis.  While I had the option to select the IT security software on Linux servers, running on Active Directory Domain connected servers has worked well for me over the last few years.

When my wife and daughter get back from east coast college visits this evening, she is going to be surprised to see the new ergonomic iMac sitting on her desk ready for her to start using it.

I also have a Sun workstation sitting headless in the Server room in the basement, which I have kept up and running whenever I wanted to geek out in a UNIX environment.  That is less of an issue now that I installed a VM of CentOS Linux on my Mac that I can use for the same purpose.

I think that my sentiments are very similar to others who are moving towards being dissatisfied with the Windows 8 operating system and look for alternatives.