Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Windows 7 drops tomorrow

Yes, I used this same photo when Vista shipped in 2006. What can I tell you? It captures everything I want to say about the Borg. And the resemblance to Ballmer is so striking it scares me.

Moshe has set up a command center in a suite at the Marriott Marquis (we get a discount) and is already getting G2 back from our operatives embedded in the Microsoft event team in New York. A huge namaste to these brave folks who have endured the horror of walking among the Borgtards and pretending to be one of them. Thanks to these folks, we’re able to gruber some information for you in advance about what the Borg will announce tomorrow:

They’ve already pre-sold 20 million units of Windows 7, in advance of the launch.

Best Buy and HP are going to announce a Win7 promo package: a desktop PC and monitor, a laptop, a netbook and a router — for $1,199. Yes, that’s exactly what our least-expensive iMac costs, all by itself.

Dvorak joins the Win7 basher brigade

Man, you know things are bad when even this fuckhead turns on you. Dvorak says Win7 is just a “Vista martini.” But you’ll never guess what’s really got him soiling his Depends.

It’s that the Borg flacks don’t call and fawn all over him anymore. Wah! I’m not making this up. Dvorak says the key to Win7’s success has nothing to do with the software itself and rather has to do with how it is perceived:

Such perception is a function of Microsoft’s marketing machine and PR, both of which are either AWOL or non-existent, seeming to have gone into a slumber the day Bill Gates left the company. I haven’t received a single personal note from a Microsoft PR person for roughly four years. … Somewhere along the line, Microsoft apparently decided that it only wants to deal with those amenable suckers who will give it a pass on everything — or perhaps the company has just given up any hopes of getting favorable press.

Oh dear. Where to begin? Do we even dare to wonder if Dvorak has received phone calls and personal emails, and simply doesn’t remember them? And does it not bother him at all that he’s basically saying the way to get a good review (from him anyway) is to fly him someplace nice, stuff him with booze and shrimp cocktail, and tell him how smart and funny he is?

Okay. Maybe the Borg really hasn’t contacted Dvorak directly in four years. In that case maybe someone should tell this senile imbecile that this is not because the Borg flacks don’t care about the media anymore — it’s because they don’t care about him. And, if this is the case, they’re not ignoring him because he’s such a rough-and-tumble truth-teller, but because he’s become totally fucking irrelevant.

See, children, there was a time, not so very long ago, when being a columnist at PC Mag meant you had some influence. If you had such a job, you were, in the world of tech, a big swinging dick. Dvorak, in his day, swung his dick the way a drunken lumberjack swings an axe. There were not many of us in the business who didn’t get slapped in the face with that dick on a few occasions.

The sad thing is that Dvorak, in his foggy, drug-addled brain, still thinks it’s 1990, and that he’s the king of the world. Oh. My. God.

Dvorak, trust me on this. Brian Lam and the boys at Gizmodo get plenty of tender loving care from the Borg’s PR minions. Same for the Engadget guys. And Wired, and the Register, and TechCrunch, and AllThingsD. Everybody who matters gets loads of personal contact. Sadly, that list no longer includes you. I know you’re on Leo Laporte’s podcast, and you have some kind of Internet TV show, and you go on there and reminisce about the time at Comdex when Ken Olsen and Rod Canion got prank-called by Philippe Kahn, and Jim Manzi had to step in and stop the fight, and when he ducked Mitch Kapor got socked in the nose! Or that time Jim Seymour had a tray of appetizers delivered to his hot tub at the Alexis Park, and Bob Metcalfe was like, Dude, you need to cut back on the snacks! Hoo boy!

Friends, this whole thing is just so sad.

That said, the old hemorrhoid does manage to get in a few good shots.

On Windows 7:

For all of the fanfare surrounding the new OS, Win 7 is really just a Vista martini. The operating system may have two olives instead of one this time out, but it’s still made with the same cheap Microsoft vodka.

On the Borg itself:

I’ve long asserted that Steve Jobs was right about Microsoft years ago when he accused the company of collectively having no taste. But now I’m not so sure. There are flashes of brilliance and good taste all over the company, but Microsoft is just lazy, careless, and not at all detail-oriented anymore.

Gee Dvorak — someone was just saying the same thing about you the other day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apple sees growth with Windows 7 launch

Apple thinks they can use the OS launch to their advantage, says CNET.  “Users are really growing tired of Windows and the headaches it brings,” said Apple VP Brian Croll.  Of course they are.  More here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yay! We are closing in on 10 percent market share!

In the United States, according to IDC. And it’s not just because the Borg has sucked so bad lately. Money quote:

The natural assumption, of course, is that Apple’s gain has been the result of a PC market that has been in a lull as it awaits the release of Microsoft’s Windows 7 later this month. But Loren Loverde of IDC tells CNET that Windows 7 isn’t expected to be a big driver of fourth-quarter growth.

You can check out the CNET article here. Tim Cook (photo) is already celebrating.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finally, a Win7 basher

It’s our old friend, Jim Louderback, who writes: “The more I play with Windows 7, the more I see the Vista debacle unfolding all over again. The commonly accepted wisdom is that Windows 7 is oh-so-much-better than Vista. Well, based on my own extensive testing, it’s not. Not at all.”

Jim, who used to be editor of PC Magazine, now runs Revision3, a Web video company. He penned this poison apple for his former overlords:

Over the past two months, I’ve been testing the Win7 release candidate not on brand new hardware, nor on the free systems Microsoft has been providing to its favored reviewers. Instead, I’ve suffered through trying to upgrade a wide variety of systems that are a lot more like what you’re probably running – 1-3 year old notebooks and desktops. And what I’ve found is sharply different from the overweening bootlicking being spewed by most reviewers.

I don’t fault them – well, not too much. They’ve been running Windows 7 in a best-case environment, and I’ve been running it in the worst. They have access to a near-limitless supply of new computers, new notebooks and new peripherals from vendors eager to ride the expected coattails of Microsoft’s triumphant release. I’ve been relegated to testing Windows 7 on the old systems that you and I are still running.

They love it. I’m not so sure. I’ve installed windows 7 on 8 different machines – a mix of notebooks and desktops – and I’ve downgraded all but two of them. Why? Because despite the hype, it worked more slowly, crashed more often, and just flat out didn’t work right.

So I’m here to tell you that Windows 7 is definitely a step forward – but not for many existing computers. You may not want to hear this, but Vista Service Pack 2 – the current upgraded version – is actually better, in many cases, than Windows 7.

I just forwarded this to Ballmer, with an e-card that said, So happy for you, sweetie.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fanboys punish Goatberg for his disloyalty

Philip Elmer-DeWitt spanks Walt and does a fisking on Walt’s positive review of Win7, pulling out all the bad stuff that Walt snuck in there to create a post titled, “What’s Wrong with Windows 7.” But the real kick in the teeth is a discovery that Walt’s been reusing code.

Meanwhile, one of Elmer-DeWitt’s readers, Jon T. of Cardiff, Wales, dug up a remarkable similarity between Walt’s review of Vista and his review of Win7:

On Vista: “After months of testing Vista on multiple computers, new and old, I believe it is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has produced.”

On Win7: “After using pre-release versions of Windows 7 for nine months, and intensively testing the final version for the past month on many different machines, I believe it is the best version of Windows Microsoft (MSFT) has produced.”

See what happens when you cross us, Walt? Trust me, there’s more to come.

Art work by Jake. Much love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Goatberg: The back story

We tried to stop him, but he just wouldn’t listen. Fair enough. It’s a free country. But guess who’s no longer getting the first Tablet that goes out the door for review?

Earlier today I reported the disturbing news that Walt Mossberg has gone off the reservation and started saying nice things about Windows 7 — including the fact that, in some ways, he thinks Win7 is better than Snow Leopard. Frankly we’re still stunned that he’s done this, but here’s how it went down around here this week.

We started thinking that something might be wrong when we got to the end of the day Monday and Katie still hadn’t received Walt’s column for review. He sends it every Monday, without fail, no matter what it’s about. So this was weird. Katie comes in and she’s like, I don’t know, but my spider sense is tingling on this one. I hope he’s not thinking about going rogue on us.

Tuesday she calls him and he’s gives her some stuff about being sick the day before and how he’s just getting to the column now, and she asks him what he’s writing about and there’s this weird silence on the other end and then he says, Well, I’m thinking about writing about Windows 7. Katie says that’s great, and if he needs any zinger lines she’d be happy to send some over, and also we’re happy to put a couple of our OS engineers on the line with him to point out some of the technical shortcomings that we’ve found as we’ve been pounding the shit out of Win7 in our labs. Walt’s like, No, I think I’m all set, I’ll be okay, thanks anyway, talk to you soon. And Katie’s like, Wait a minute — you aren’t going to say something nice, are you?

Well, it turns out he was. Katie’s like, Walt, you’re really going to do this? Have you thought about it? Do you know what it means if you do this? If you go rogue on us? Walt says he has thought about it, a great deal, in fact, and so much that he hasn’t been able to sleep very well lately. But he’s a journalist and he has to tell the truth and he has a duty to his readers.

Katie’s like, Duty? Duty? Are you fucking shitting me, Walt? You have a fucking duty? You know what? I’ll have a duty to come to your funeral after you get some strange bacterial infection and die. Do you hear me? Do you?

So that call did not end well. Anyway, a bit later we had someone else reach out to Walt and try a different approach. We asked if we’d at least be able to look at the review since it was going to be about us, in a way, and Walt said okay, we could look at it, and he sent it over. Jesus. The guy had gone nuts. I mean this was a puff piece like you wouldn’t believe.

We called Pogue and asked him if he could help. He looked at Walt’s review and he was like, Man oh man, what’s going on with him, is this male menopause or something? So he said he’d call Walt and try to talk him down off the ledge, and he did call Walt, but Walt said he couldn’t be talked out of doing it.

That’s when I got involved. I called him myself. I’m like, Walt, so look, this new Windows 7 is pretty nice, is it? He goes, Steve, it really is. They’ve done a nice job. What can I tell you? What can I do? My hands are tied here.

I told him I understood completely, and that if the Borg truly had done something good then I would be happy for them too, because it’s a good thing for the world if everyone does better work, and I’d like to think that maybe we had something to do with this by putting pressure on Microsoft to keep up, and blah blah blah. Meanwhile, all along, I’m throwing in some NLP keywords and putting him under. Thing about Walt is, he’s very susceptible to hypnosis.

Once I had him under I said, Look, here’s the thing. You should redo the review in such a way that it says nice things about the Borg, and you keep them happy, but you also make sure to appease us. For example, make sure you bring up Vista, and couch the praise for Win7 in the context of, Well, at least it’s better than that total piece of shit Vista. Okay? And then, okay, if you have to compare it to Snow Leopard, go ahead and say that it’s better in some small ways than Snow Leopard, but just make sure you preface that by saying that you still think Snow Leopard is better overall. Okay?

He said he’d try to do that, and I said he didn’t have to bother, we’d rewrite the copy he sent us and send it back to him. He said okay, that was fine by him. We went over it again last night just to make sure it wasn’t going to be too positive, and then Walt and I had another friendly chat and I assured him there are no hard feelings.

Best part is, I’m pretty sure he believed me.

Art by Jake. Much love.

Et tu, Goatberg?

Thus spake the Goat:

“In recent years, I, like many other reviewers, have argued that Apple’s Mac OS X operating system is much better than Windows. That’s no longer true. … Windows 7 beats the Mac OS in some areas, such as better previews and navigation right from the taskbar, easier organization of open windows on the desktop and touch-screen capabilities. So Apple will have to scramble now that the gift of a flawed Vista has been replaced with a reliable, elegant version of Windows.”

More on this later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Some hack at the Guardian got hammered and wrote a drunken screed about Windows

Gist is, he hates Windows, and it makes his life miserable, but he hates Apple fanboys even more. Or something like that. “I don’t care if you’re right,” he says. “I just want you to die.”

Despite the Mac hatred, this piece has been rocketing all around Apple today, and everyone is loving it, partly because the guy supposedly is defending Windows but he ends up doing a better job of bashing Windows than we ever could, but mostly because it seems pretty obvious that the guy got hammered and just wrote whatever came into his head, and for some reason his editors printed it. I mean it’s pretty amazing stuff. Like this:

I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway: it’s there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. OK, OK: I know other operating systems are available. But their advocates seem even creepier, snootier and more insistent than Mac owners. The harder they try to convince me, the more I’m repelled. To them, I’m a sheep. And they’re right. I’m a helpless, stupid, lazy sheep. I’m also a masochist. And that’s why I continue to use Windows – horrible Windows – even though I hate every second of it. It’s grim, it’s slow, everything’s badly designed and nothing really works properly: using Windows is like living in a communist bloc nation circa 1981. And I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I’m an abject bloody idiot and I hate myself, and this is what I deserve: to be sentenced to Windows for life.

And this about the horrible Windows 7 party video:

It’s so terrible, it induces an entirely new emotion: a blend of vertigo, disgust, anger and embarrassment which I like to call “shitasmia”. It not only creates this emotion: it defines it. It’s the most shitasmic cultural artefact in history.

Shitasmic? Now that is a keeper. Honestly, Nigel, just want you to know, we’re all running around using that word today, here at the Mothership. Much love.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Honestly, Ballmer, what the frig are you people thinking?

I know you guys are relieved that Vista is almost officially dead. But throwing a party for Windows 7? Really? That’s like having a party to celebrate the fact that your hemorrhoid surgery was a success. I mean, yes, you’re glad the painful roid is gone. You look forward to being able to sit down without wincing. But you don’t necessarily invite all your friends over to talk about it.

Better yet, for some reason the Borg thought a Florence Henderson granny-mom type person would be the ideal spokesperson for Windows 7. Perhaps they are targeting an elderly demographic?

I’d also like to point out that it’s great to see the Borg back in form, making the world’s worst advertisements. They were kind of on a roll for a while there, with those laptop hunter ads. But this stuff? This is pure Microsoft marketing. It’s so bad that it’s almost good. The even more scary thing is I know Ballmer and his circle of sycophants are up there telling themselves that yes, this Win7 party idea is stupid, and yes, this video is awful, but hey, “at least people are talking about Windows 7, right?”

Yes. You are right.

Anyway, someone made a version of the lame-ass party video and beeped out some parts to make it even stupider than it was before. So enjoy. And if anyone finds video of actual Windows 7 parties, please, I’m begging you, send us links.