Weekend tech reading: Looking ahead at Microsoft's future

By on July 14, 2013, 11:15 AM
microsoft, ballmer

One Microsoft: will Ballmer's big reset mean better products or more broken promises? Microsoft has always been a giant castle with many fortresses. Internal battles and power struggles have led individual divisions to focus on their own success to the detriment of collaboration. Over the years, it's resulted in a number of false starts, delayed products, and departures of key employees. CEO Steve Ballmer, it seems, has finally reached his breaking point. Microsoft announced some major management and structural changes on Thursday. In an email to employees, Ballmer outlined the far-reaching measures under the slogan "One Microsoft." The Verge

An intro to all things ARM Processors designed by the folks at ARM have been around for ages, but they've mostly inhabited computing devices you probably didn't particularly like: sluggish GPS units, slow-as-molasses in-flight entertainment systems, digital picture frames, and the like. For a time, these devices were relatively cheap and becoming more common thanks to the magic of Moore's Law, but they didn't have much else to recommend them. Then, of course, the iPhone happened, and everything changed seemingly overnight. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, the arc of consumer computing has been radically altered. The Tech Report

Nations buying as hackers sell flaws in computer code On the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, two Italian hackers have been searching for bugs -- not the island's many beetle varieties, but secret flaws in computer code that governments pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn about and exploit. The hackers, Luigi Auriemma, 32, and Donato Ferrante, 28, sell technical details of such vulnerabilities to countries that want to break into the computer systems of foreign adversaries. The two will not reveal the clients of their company, ReVuln, but big buyers of services like theirs include the National Security Agency... The NY Times

Escaped from the Asylum! Five years ago, long before he would write his feature film about a two-headed shark, H. Perry Horton was an MFA graduate with a failed literary magazine under his belt and a job sorting film titles at a rare surviving video store in Portland, Oregon, that offers up big-budget Hollywood films alongside obscure cult favorites. As he shelved, Horton started eyeing some similarities in a slew of brand-new releases. These movies had never hit theaters. They arrived with no big-studio marketing push, but they didn't come from any indie cult pedigree, either. They all had pulpy titles. They gave top billing to forgotten actors and aging sex symbols. Pacific Standard

Hyper mode: videogame the movie Are games worth watching instead of playing? Maddy Myers looks at the rise of cinematic narratives in games. Have you seen the movie The Last of Us? You can watch it in full on YouTube; it's about two hours long. Comments describe it as "one of the best movies I've ever seen" and say the work "has more heart and talent than 99.9% of the shit Hollywood puts out." That's because Hollywood didn't put out The Last of Us at all -- a videogame studio did. Several users have edited together The Last of Us cutscenes and gameplay footage to make it resemble a film instead of a game... Paste

Raspberry Picrowave: Using a Raspberry Pi to cook a raspberry pie Just last night, I found myself staring dumbfounded at my microwave, wondering what all of those damned buttons do. We've all been there. Do those straight lines represent plates? Are those wavy lines a strip of bacon, or something else entirely? What's the difference between one ice cube and two? (And why are there ice cubes on my microwave?) Is that chicken icon for cooking chicken, or just meat in general? My microwave has more than 30 buttons, and yet once I (eventually) found the "immediately start cooking for one minute" button, it's the only one I use. ExtremeTech

Baer's Odyssey: Meet the serial inventor who built the world's first game console Even if you're a devoted fan of video games, there's a decent chance you're not familiar with the name Ralph H. Baer. This should be considered gamer high treason considering Baer's importance in creating the concept of home video games and the vast, varied entertainment ecosystem now built upon them. Despite being the one to push the dominoes toward an industry that currently makes billions of dollars annually, the bulk of the gaming community has largely forgotten about him. Ars Technica

Duck Duck Go: illusion of privacy There have been severalarticles in the press recently about users flocking to DuckDuckGo in the wake of the recent NSA snooping revelations. If you are in this category this post is meant for you. If you use DuckDuckGo solely for the myriad of other benefits, such as reducing advertiser tracking, filter boxing, etc. move along nothing to see here. DuckDuckGo will provide you at least that level of "privacy". Ether Rag

Why mobile web apps are slow I've had an unusual number of interesting conversations spin out of my previous article documenting that mobile web apps are slow. This has sparked some discussion, both online and IRL. But sadly, the discussion has not been as… fact-based as I would like. So what I'm going to do in this post is try to bring some actual evidence to bear on the problem, instead of just doing the shouting match thing. You'll see benchmarks, you'll hear from experts, you'll even read honest-to-God journal papers on point. Sealed Abstract

Building a better Dell: more R&D, less PCs Private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners may soon be wagering $1.4 billion on a bet that many analysts think is sheer folly: To restore computing icon Dell to its former luster. Silver Lake executives and founder Michael Dell have been discussing turnaround plans for months, according to people close to the group. One person familiar with the investor group's thinking said they are "taking Michael's strategy, and cubing it." So what exactly is that strategy? The Wall Street Journal

San Francisco to L.A. in 30 mins With Proposed New Transportation System Commuting is a way of life for most Bay Area residents. Many people are accustomed to an hour commute each way without traffic. Some people even commute to Southern California several times a month, spending several hours each way either in the car or fighting through airports. What if there was an alternative to flights and car rides? If it was up to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and a Colorado company, an answer could come sooner than we think. Yahoo News

Sikorsky Prize claimed: Human-powered helicopter flies for one minute The $250,000 Sikorsky Prize for human-powered flight has finally been won. A Canadian team, AeroVelo, built a helicopter that was pedaled to an indoor altitude of a little over 3 meters and remained aloft for 65 seconds. While it is an incredible sight to see a human suspended in mid-air by the power of sheer ingenuity and grunt, hopefully this feat will draw to a close this fantastic, but unfortunately dead-end avenue of human-powered flight. ExtremeTech

Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter -- AHS Sikorsky Prize Flight

'Camp Grounded,' 'Digital Detox,' and the age of techno-anxiety On a weekend in the middle of June, a few hundred people gathered together at an event called Camp Grounded in northern California for a celebration of leaving technology behind. Organized by the group Digital Detox, the $350 experience appears to have been fun. And exceptionally well attended by national media. First, Chris Colin filed a dispatch for The New Yorker. Then, NPR and The New York Times got into the mix. The Atlantic

Desert Bus: the very worst video game ever created Morgan van Humbeck completed his shift in front of the television and passed out. Ten minutes later, his cell phone woke him. "Morgan, this is Teller," said a small voice on the other end of the line. "Fuck off," replied Morgan in disbelief. He hung up the phone and went back to sleep. The drive from Tucson, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, takes approximately eight hours when travelling in a vehicle whose top speed is forty-five miles per hour. The New Yorker




User Comments: 4

Got something to say? Post a comment
tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Ballmer did a better job as VP then as CEO. Can't change the OS into more of Smart OS over night people are still use to Windows 7 way. Windows 8 - Store app and it's applets that don't work after you update and make improvements on the OS, causes them to stop loading. Even they download AppFix still doesn't fix the issue. Applet tiles will animate and show what they're suppose to do but won't load and run in full screen. Hopefully Windows 8.1 addresses that issue as well.

So much of a rush to get out Surface tablets and Windows 8 OS to run them on, Balmer didn't think inside box and more out of it because you have more and more who want to go back the Windows 7. Those that stick it out with Windows 8 issues just have to play it by ear with it until the fix comes to help them.

RH00D RH00D said:

Balmer did a better job as VP then as CEO. Can't change the OS into more of Smart OS over night people are still use to Windows 7 way. Windows 8 - Store app and it's applets that don't work after you update and make improvements on the OS, causes them to stop loading. Even they download AppFix still doesn't fix the issue. Applet tiles will animate and show what they're suppose to do but won't load and run in full screen. Hopefully Windows 8.1 addresses that issue as well.

So much of a rush to get out Surface tablets and Windows 8 OS to run them on, Balmer didn't think inside box and more out of it because you have more and more who want to go back the Windows 7. Those that stick it out with Windows 8 issues just have to play it by ear with it until the fix comes to help them.

I haven't had any of the problems you speak of...

I'm not saying they don't exist, but obviously they aren't so widespread as to warrant abandoning the OS on the basis of those problems.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

No, not saying to abandon the OS, but there are many with Windows RT issues and Windows 8 and Pro too. Not going to effect all but a lot are having issues. Microsoft knows there are problems but in all you can only buy a new system with Windows 8 on there right now unless you had private company build Windows 7 box for you instead. I run 7 and 8 here.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But yet abandoning Windows 95 through 7 style computing was warranted, all because of touch capabilities which were (and still to this day) not widespread either. I'm all for a balance between both, moving forward without abandoning either one.

I'm not blind, I can see touch capabilities is the future. But I'm not ready for a touch oriented OS and may not be ready for several more years (dependent on pricing of touch capable monitors). Even when I am ready for a touch oriented OS, I will not be buying into the Fisher Price design strategy.

I can not speculate on Microsoft's future. I can however speculate on my future with Microsoft, if they don't consider both desktop and tablet users as non-preschool consumers.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.