Pirate Bay Data Going Up to That Server in the Sky

We literally love anything that's literal, so we couldn't let this little story pass by this week without some sort of comment. That nasty little torrent site, The Pirate Bay, has a brilliant idea for avoiding the intrusive copyright laws of planet Earth.

Put the servers in the sky, somewhere up there where Norman Greenbaum says he has reservations. That's actually what The Pirate Bay folks (apparently, "The" is part of the name) say they're going to do. They seem to be entirely serious when they say that they're going to locate servers in unmanned drone aircraft that will hover above Sweden. That way, their ostensibly illegal stuff will escape the jurisdiction of everybody but a few birds. Yes, this is literal cloud computing. More

Posted by Lee Pender on March 22, 2012 at 11:56 AM6 comments

Microsoft Might Be Unable To Break Into Apple's iTunes Prison

Is it just coincidence that Microsoft's begrudging acceptance of open source, as slow, uneven and controversial as it has been, has coincided with the company's fall from its perch atop the technology mountain? Maybe, but there's no doubt that Apple, the company that has unseated Microsoft, has won its place as the world's most valuable company by also being the world's least flexible and most proprietary.

It has long been the case that a user who wants something from Apple has to get almost everything else from the company, too. Apple is about as open as a Border's bookstore. Once inside the company's gilded cage, it's hard to escape. That's fine most of the time because Apple's stuff famously just works. But there are a few exceptions, and one of them is iTunes. Great as it might be on the Mac, iTunes is an unstable and clunky resource gobbler on the PC. Still, once a user buys into iTunes -- and most have by now -- it's not usually worth the time and effort to get away from it and move to something else, even if the software does tend to crash like Duke in this year's NCAA basketball tournament. More

Posted by Lee Pender on March 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM3 comments

Ozzie Says We're in the Post-PC ... Wait, What's His Company Called Again?

Multiple press outlets are reporting this week that former Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie says that "of course," we're in the post-PC era. But who cares? There's a much more important component to this story.

Ray Ozzie's new company is called Cocomo. Either we've already made fun of this here, or we forgot to make fun of it, or we forgot about the name altogether. But let's be very clear: The name Cocomo deserves ridicule. After all, nothing says forward-looking technology like a name that brings images (backwards, perhaps appropriately, in the case of this video) of an old song sung by an even older band.

Besides, Kokomo, the tune, always reminds your editor of a friend's very Bostonian mother, who used to sing, "Aruber, Jamaicer, ooh I want to take ya to Bermuder, Bahamer ..." So, thanks for that, Ray. But, really? Cocomo? Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand ... and world-class enterprise software! Pina colada-flavored Skittles for everybody! (Software developers just love their Skittles, in case you'd forgotten.)

Posted by Lee Pender on March 08, 2012 at 11:56 AM1 comments

Windows Phone Market Share Is Sinking, with No Help on the Way

Frustration, from what we remember, is the experience of trying to reach a goal and then realizing that, no matter what you do, there is no way to reach it. It's also what a lot of people at Microsoft -- and Microsoft partners -- must be feeling right now with regard to Windows Phone.

No matter what Microsoft does, this anvil just keeps plunging deeper into an ocean of market share, falling further and further behind Google and Apple. Microsoft tried -- although not nearly for long enough, we'd say -- to compete straight-up with Android and iOS, but nothing has worked thus far. More

Posted by Lee Pender on March 08, 2012 at 11:56 AM16 comments

Microsoft's Un-American Windows Phone Strategy

You can't begin to imagine how flattered your editor felt when he saw MWC news popping up all over the Web earlier this week. Texas Christian University, your editor's alma mater, might be leaving the humble Mountain West Conference for the greener prairies of the Big 12 in the fall, but TCU does leave the MWC with four football championships in seven years in the conference. And now the worldwide press wants to write about this? That's flattering.

Of course, it wasn't really flattering because MWC in this case stands for Mobile World Congress, a name that we at RCPU find very confusing and borderline insulting. Couldn't it be the Mobile World Expo or something? Is it really a congress? We hate when real-world abbreviations copy the well-known names of college football conferences. (We're looking at you, Securities and Exchange Commission.) More

Posted by Lee Pender on March 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM6 comments

The Early, Early Reviews of Windows 8 Are ... Bad

We hope you're all wearing your yellow and blue for the arrival of Leap Day William today! If it weren't for the legendary character that emerges every four years from the Mariana Trench to trade candy for children's tears, Microsoft's release of a Windows 8 consumer preview would have been the biggest news in the world today.

Alas, Microsoft chose Feb. 29 to give average folks a look at its forthcoming, and fairly revolutionary, operating system. However, as Leap Day William teaches us, Leap Day is the day when we can do things we wouldn't normally do. It's kind of the day when things we do don't actually count. (Really, if you don't watch "30 Rock," you should have stopped reading a long time ago. But we'll get away from the TV references now.) More

Posted by Lee Pender on February 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM15 comments

With Windows 8 Logo, Microsoft Has Its Cross To Bear

Short weeks are the worst for news. Short weeks in February are the worst of the worst. For some reason, schools in parts of the country such as the one your editor lives in (New England) give kids a week off of school in February, after Presidents Day. A week of school vacation means that there's even less going on than there normally would be in a short week, or in February, or both.

So far this week, we've read news about what might be Microsoft Office for iPad (not uninteresting, but we're holding out for the webOS version, thanks), and Microsoft extending consumer support for Windows 7 and Vista, as if anybody actually uses Vista and needs it to be supported. More

Posted by Lee Pender on February 22, 2012 at 11:56 AM3 comments

What (We Think) a Microsoft Store Looks Like

Well, here's a shock. Apparently Microsoft's retail stores are somewhat less than compelling, at least according to one blogger who actually went to one (which, we're thinking, puts him in rare company indeed). Now would be a good time to note that your editor has never been to a Microsoft store. So, this entry isn't about any sort of first-hand experience. It's about what we at RCPU imagine the Microsoft store to be.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: Microsoft partners don't need to worry about Microsoft stores. Most of you know that by now, so we won't dwell on it here. But unless Microsoft is somehow selling SharePoint or SQL implementations from a spot at the mall (or unless they're actually trying to peddle retail software), partners don't need to do anything but sit back and observe Microsoft's foray into direct retail -- or do what everybody else will probably do and ignore it. More

Posted by Lee Pender on February 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM3 comments

This Tablet Thing Is Really Catching On

There was a time when some Luddite editor called the iPad an "iPhone on steroids" (and didn't mean that in a nice way) and ridiculed it, wondering aloud in pixels why anybody would want this device and a smartphone and a laptop.

There was a time. That time is no more. No, your editor hasn't bought an iPad. Everybody else has, though. Recently, we found out that Apple is now the world's No. 1 PC vendor and is starting to crush it not only with consumers but also in the enterprise. More

Posted by Lee Pender on February 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM2 comments

Is Google Evil? Yes and No

There are certain pieces of trivia that get bandied around so much that they become punch lines. At some point, they're not trivial items anymore; they're quite well known, and talking about them as if they're little-known facts makes the often-pompous speaker sound really stupid to anybody with halfway savvy ears.

A personal favorite of your editor's is the tidbit from the Super Bowl a few years back about how Jerome Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers was actually from Detroit and got to play (and win) his last game in his hometown. This one got tossed around so much in the sports press at the time that it has become standard comedy fodder at just about every sports-related gathering your editor attends. More

Posted by Lee Pender on January 26, 2012 at 11:56 AM4 comments

Microsoft Doesn't Need Tom Brady After All

By his high standards -- maybe even by the average quarterback's mediocre standards -- Tom Brady had a bad game Sunday. But the Patriots are still going to the Super Bowl.

OK, so there was a missed field goal that half the Redmond Media Group staff could have made. There was a controversial non-touchdown non-catch. There were some things that broke New England's way. But let's put all that aside right now and consider this, briefly: The Patriots won with defense and the running game, essentially. Hall of Fame quarterback Brady was more or less just another cog in the machine. More

Posted by Lee Pender on January 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM9 comments

Is It Morning Again at Microsoft?

We at RCPU have been trying not to notice election season, but given that it seems to have been upon us since approximately March 2008, we do see signs of it here and there. Now that we're actually in the pig trough of a presidential-election year, we like to think back on some of the great campaign pitches of the past, back when times were simpler and TV was awesome. Of them, one stands out above all others.

It's morning again in America. Good heavens. Ronald Reagan's 1984 TV advertisement took every sappy Maxwell House coffee, long-distance calling (remember that?) and Pepperidge Farm cookie commercial of the day and rolled them all into a big, sweet sticky bun of Americana. If he'd been alive, even Norman Rockwell would have blushed a little bit at this one. Maybe. More

Posted by Lee Pender on January 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM6 comments