posts about or somewhat related to ‘Microsoft’

Coincidence?

Coincidence?

Xbox Tech Support Employee Fired For Nazi Discrimination 
A woman working at a Microsoft call center for Xbox technical support was fired after hanging up on a neo-Nazi, Boing Boing reports.
Ex-employee April gives her full account of the events on her Tumblr, saying that the caller, whom she refers to as *Dave, requested that she create the gamertag HeebHunterSS for him. She told him that the gamertag goes against Xbox’s terms of use, and the caller said he was aware, and that he’s changed his tag a few times to more or less the same kind of thing. April says she was shocked, hung up on *Dave, and went home, only to be dismissed the next morning for not being accommodating enough to a customer “even though he was a Nazi.” 
FJP: April’s Tumblr post is worth a read — if not only for her personal recap of her Xbox tech support experience, but also because she reveals the hilarious fact that most prank calls she’s received at Xbox involve someone’s dick getting stuck in disk tray. - Krissy
Image: Screenshot of Xbox’s Tech Support Page

Xbox Tech Support Employee Fired For Nazi Discrimination 

A woman working at a Microsoft call center for Xbox technical support was fired after hanging up on a neo-Nazi, Boing Boing reports.

Ex-employee April gives her full account of the events on her Tumblr, saying that the caller, whom she refers to as *Dave, requested that she create the gamertag HeebHunterSS for him. She told him that the gamertag goes against Xbox’s terms of use, and the caller said he was aware, and that he’s changed his tag a few times to more or less the same kind of thing. April says she was shocked, hung up on *Dave, and went home, only to be dismissed the next morning for not being accommodating enough to a customer “even though he was a Nazi.” 

FJP: April’s Tumblr post is worth a read — if not only for her personal recap of her Xbox tech support experience, but also because she reveals the hilarious fact that most prank calls she’s received at Xbox involve someone’s dick getting stuck in disk tray. - Krissy

Image: Screenshot of Xbox’s Tech Support Page

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
For the last few years NORAD and Google have partnered to track Santa’s flight. This year though, the aerospace agency will use Bing and Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform. Eager Santa watchers will also have dedicated Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps to follow along.
The 62-year history of NORAD’s Santa tracking is interesting. It all started with a typo. Via TechNet:



[The] error ran in a local Colorado Springs newspaper back in 1955 after a local department store printed an advertisement with an incorrect phone number that children could use to “call Santa.” Except that someone goofed. Or someone mistook a three for an eight. Maybe elves broke into the newspaper and changed the number. We’ll never know.
But somehow, the number in the advertisement changed, and instead of reaching the “Santa” on call for the local department store, it rang at the desk of the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the organization that would one day become the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or “NORAD.”
And when the commander on duty, Col. Harry Shoup, first picked up the phone and heard kids asking for Santa, he could have told them they had a wrong number.
But he didn’t.
Instead, the kind-hearted colonel asked his crew to play along and find Santa’s location. Just like that, NORAD was in the Santa-tracking business.



Last year more than 20 million people around the world followed Santa via the NORAD Santa Tracker Web site and another hundred thousand called in to dedicated telephone operators. You can do so this year starting December 24.
Image: Star Wars Christmas by Bart Zimny.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

For the last few years NORAD and Google have partnered to track Santa’s flight. This year though, the aerospace agency will use Bing and Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform. Eager Santa watchers will also have dedicated Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps to follow along.

The 62-year history of NORAD’s Santa tracking is interesting. It all started with a typo. Via TechNet:

[The] error ran in a local Colorado Springs newspaper back in 1955 after a local department store printed an advertisement with an incorrect phone number that children could use to “call Santa.” Except that someone goofed. Or someone mistook a three for an eight. Maybe elves broke into the newspaper and changed the number. We’ll never know.

But somehow, the number in the advertisement changed, and instead of reaching the “Santa” on call for the local department store, it rang at the desk of the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the organization that would one day become the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or “NORAD.”

And when the commander on duty, Col. Harry Shoup, first picked up the phone and heard kids asking for Santa, he could have told them they had a wrong number.

But he didn’t.

Instead, the kind-hearted colonel asked his crew to play along and find Santa’s location. Just like that, NORAD was in the Santa-tracking business.

Last year more than 20 million people around the world followed Santa via the NORAD Santa Tracker Web site and another hundred thousand called in to dedicated telephone operators. You can do so this year starting December 24.

Image: Star Wars Christmas by Bart Zimny.

Microsoft’s Grasp of Language
Words taken directly from the Visual Studio 11 Beta site.
Via Matt Gemmell.
Select to embiggen.

Microsoft’s Grasp of Language

Words taken directly from the Visual Studio 11 Beta site.

Via Matt Gemmell.

Select to embiggen.

Chrome overtakes Internet Explorer as the Web’s most popular browser
Filed under that didn’t take long. Chrome’s first public, stable release was in December 2008. The first version of Internet Explorer, 1995.
In 2002-2003, IE controlled about 95% of the browser market.
More info via The Next Web.
Image via StatCounter.

Chrome overtakes Internet Explorer as the Web’s most popular browser

Filed under that didn’t take long. Chrome’s first public, stable release was in December 2008. The first version of Internet Explorer, 1995.

In 2002-2003, IE controlled about 95% of the browser market.

More info via The Next Web.

Image via StatCounter.

You forgot bloated and annoying. 
If reblogging, add your favorite descriptors.
Via Slate.

You forgot bloated and annoying. 

If reblogging, add your favorite descriptors.

Via Slate.

Miscrosoft’s Peculiar Internet Explorer Campaign

Reading from the Dominos mea culpa pizza commercial playbook, Microsoft has a we don’t suck so much marketing campaign for Internet Explorer 9.

In the amusing spot a man talks to his therapist about how his urge to get people to uninstall the browser is over. Internet Explorer 9 is really that good! They even have a Tumblr to back up the good news, and offer a slack-hearted rationale for giving IE9 a try:

Your current browser is probably great…

So keep using it. But there are probably a few sites that you go to everyday, like Facebook and Pandora. And for just those sites, try using Internet Explorer. By pinning Pandora to the taskbar you can get to Pandora in one click. And when you do, you might find some stuff you like in Internet Explorer.

Inspired.

Time once was that Internet Explorer controlled ninety-plus percent of the browser market. Those times have changed. For the first time since the Jurassic days of the Netscape versus Internet Explorer browser wars, a new browser (Chrome) became the world’s most popular. At least for a day.

Reviews of IE9 are quite good. This should hearten developers who previously cursed Microsoft’s lack of support for emerging standards, and proprietary implementation of common features.

Whether IE9 will get regular people to download and use it is another question. As they say, “Your current browser is probably great.” So why would a few discrete features motivate people to move away from them?

Forbes Blogger Steals $20,000 and 1 Million Pageviews from New York Times by Changing Headline
Now how’s that for a grabber? If it got your attention it just demonstrates how important headlines are in online journalism. Sensationalism, link bait, and a little SEO can be worth tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to your organization.
The New York Times  got into a bit of a dustup over a piece of its investigative reporting that became a runaway hit only after it appeared Kashmir Hill’s Not-So Private Parts blog on Forbes. 
Nick O’Neill writes:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how much is a title worth? If the story that proceeds is any indicator, a title is worth over 6700 words and months of research. It all began Friday when the New York Times published an article “How Companies Learn Your Secrets“. It was an extremely long article which discussed how large companies like WalMart and Target collect data about your individual consumption patterns to figure out how to most efficiently make you happy. It was a great piece but there was one problem: it didn’t have the title it deserved.
The original title was “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” Kashmir Hill, a writer at Forbes, realized this and quickly developed a condensed version of the article with a far more powerful title: “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did“. It cut out the crap and got to the real shocker of the story. As of the writing of this story, the New York Times article has 60 likes and shares on Facebook versus 12,902 which the Forbes article has. The Forbes article also has a mind boggling 680,000 page views, a number that can literally make a writer’s career.

Even those numbers are a bit dated. The Forbes retelling will likely hit 1 million views before Monday morning. And beyond the pageview count, and prestige for the reporters involved, there’s a very real monetary cost associated with sloppy or overly-cautious headline writing. Let’s calculate.
A June 2010 report from Econsultancy pegs the average CPM for all news sites at $7 industry-wide. CPM stands for cost per mille and represents the amount of money publishers receive from display advertisements for each thousand pageviews. According to the report, the New York Times brand was receiving 32.5 million monthly viewers and 719 million pageviews in May of 2010. An average CPM of $7 drags down the likely value of display advertisements on the NYT, the website for the paper of record.
I tried to dig up some display advertising rates for NYT.com and I found a current rate sheet. That said, but I can’t conceive of anything less helpful. (The Times has a bit of attachment to opaque financial disclosures)  Assuming that the current CPM for the New York Times is $20,  the company forfeited $20,000 in potential advertising revenue to Forbes on the basis of a headline. My guess is that the Times has a much higher CPM than $20. Considering what staff journalists earn these days, a single headline cost The New York Times newsroom the equivalent several months of a reporter’s salary.  And the story no doubt  required the investment hundreds of man hours, and thousands of dollars in wages to. Unfortunately, it’s fair game and nothing will stop it from happening again.
The whole episode reminds me of the story from the Steve Jobs autobiography. In the early 1980s Jobs asked Gates and Microsoft to create a version visual interface, BASIC, for Apple’s Macintosh computers. In November of 1983, before Apple was able to ship its Apple IIs with a graphical user interface, Microsoft had already released an early version of Windows for IBM compatible machines, based on the product originally developed for Apple. Jobs was furious at Gates for ripping off the Windows operating system from Apple and summoned him to Cupertino for a brow beating. In a boardroom packed with Apple minions Gates calmly explained to Jobs that both Apple and Microsoft had stolen the idea from Xerox research, which they had been too slow to commercialize themselves. Gates told Jobs, “I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”
The rich neighbor is The New York Times in the news business. Almost every news outlet worth its salt rewrites original New York Times stories and tailors them for a specific audience. Parasitic properties like Gawker and Huffington Post would not exist were it not for the nourishment of a host like the Times. Today both are much larger and more robust organizations that publish plenty of original content.
Unfortunately for The New York Times Company, it is still years away from realizing the dollar value of its editorial influence, and its considerable investment in original reporting. In the meantime, expect the break-ins to continue unabated.
Image:Flickr

Forbes Blogger Steals $20,000 and 1 Million Pageviews from New York Times by Changing Headline

Now how’s that for a grabber? If it got your attention it just demonstrates how important headlines are in online journalism. Sensationalism, link bait, and a little SEO can be worth tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to your organization.

The New York Times  got into a bit of a dustup over a piece of its investigative reporting that became a runaway hit only after it appeared Kashmir Hill’s Not-So Private Parts blog on Forbes. 

Nick O’Neill writes:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but how much is a title worth? If the story that proceeds is any indicator, a title is worth over 6700 words and months of research. It all began Friday when the New York Times published an article “How Companies Learn Your Secrets“. It was an extremely long article which discussed how large companies like WalMart and Target collect data about your individual consumption patterns to figure out how to most efficiently make you happy. It was a great piece but there was one problem: it didn’t have the title it deserved.

The original title was “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” Kashmir Hill, a writer at Forbes, realized this and quickly developed a condensed version of the article with a far more powerful title: “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did“. It cut out the crap and got to the real shocker of the story. As of the writing of this story, the New York Times article has 60 likes and shares on Facebook versus 12,902 which the Forbes article has. The Forbes article also has a mind boggling 680,000 page views, a number that can literally make a writer’s career.

Even those numbers are a bit dated. The Forbes retelling will likely hit 1 million views before Monday morning. And beyond the pageview count, and prestige for the reporters involved, there’s a very real monetary cost associated with sloppy or overly-cautious headline writing. Let’s calculate.

A June 2010 report from Econsultancy pegs the average CPM for all news sites at $7 industry-wide. CPM stands for cost per mille and represents the amount of money publishers receive from display advertisements for each thousand pageviews. According to the report, the New York Times brand was receiving 32.5 million monthly viewers and 719 million pageviews in May of 2010. An average CPM of $7 drags down the likely value of display advertisements on the NYT, the website for the paper of record.

I tried to dig up some display advertising rates for NYT.com and I found a current rate sheet. That said, but I can’t conceive of anything less helpful. (The Times has a bit of attachment to opaque financial disclosures)  Assuming that the current CPM for the New York Times is $20,  the company forfeited $20,000 in potential advertising revenue to Forbes on the basis of a headline. My guess is that the Times has a much higher CPM than $20. Considering what staff journalists earn these days, a single headline cost The New York Times newsroom the equivalent several months of a reporter’s salary.  And the story no doubt  required the investment hundreds of man hours, and thousands of dollars in wages to. Unfortunately, it’s fair game and nothing will stop it from happening again.

The whole episode reminds me of the story from the Steve Jobs autobiography. In the early 1980s Jobs asked Gates and Microsoft to create a version visual interface, BASIC, for Apple’s Macintosh computers. In November of 1983, before Apple was able to ship its Apple IIs with a graphical user interface, Microsoft had already released an early version of Windows for IBM compatible machines, based on the product originally developed for Apple. Jobs was furious at Gates for ripping off the Windows operating system from Apple and summoned him to Cupertino for a brow beating. In a boardroom packed with Apple minions Gates calmly explained to Jobs that both Apple and Microsoft had stolen the idea from Xerox research, which they had been too slow to commercialize themselves. Gates told Jobs, “I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

The rich neighbor is The New York Times in the news business. Almost every news outlet worth its salt rewrites original New York Times stories and tailors them for a specific audience. Parasitic properties like Gawker and Huffington Post would not exist were it not for the nourishment of a host like the Times. Today both are much larger and more robust organizations that publish plenty of original content.

Unfortunately for The New York Times Company, it is still years away from realizing the dollar value of its editorial influence, and its considerable investment in original reporting. In the meantime, expect the break-ins to continue unabated.

Image:Flickr

Apple Revenue by Business Unit Google Revenue by Business Unit Microsoft Revenue by Business Unit

Ed Bott read the 2011 SEC filings for Apple, Google, and Microsoft and put together these handy pie charts to understand what drives each companies business.

Three companies are at the forefront of modern personal computing: Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

After reading through the most recent SEC-mandated financial reports for each company, I was inspired to put together these three pie charts. The data paints a vivid picture of where each company’s revenue comes from.

Microsoft is a software company. Apple’s a hardware company. But what business is Google in?

Riffing on Ed’s charts, MG Siegler pointed out that:

Last quarter, Microsoft brought in $20.89 billion in revenue. Apple brought in $46.33 billion

Put another way: Apple’s iPhone business alone is larger than all of Microsoft’s businesses combined.

And — just as remarkably — if you took away Apple’s iPhone business from the chart, the remaining Apple businesses would still be larger than Microsoft’s total business. And Apple’s earnings would look a lot more evenly distributed then.

(Source: zdnet.com)

We need some angry nerds.

Jonathan Zittrain, Technology Review. The Personal Computer is Dead.

Jonathan Zittrain, whose 2008 book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It explores the transformation of the open Internet to one that’s increasingly closed and controlled, writes that the growth of “App Stores” is putting too much technological and content control in the hands of too few companies.

The companies, Zittrain argues, are gatekeepers that lock us into platforms and the way we access content as they lock other content and technologies out. 

"If I switch from iPhone to Android, I can’t take my apps with me, and vice versa," writes Zittrain. "And as content gets funneled through apps, it may mean I can’t take my content, either—or, if I can, it’s only because there’s yet another gatekeeper like Amazon running an app on more than one platform, aggregating content. The potentially suffocating relationship with Apple or Google or Microsoft is freed only by a new suitor like Amazon, which is structurally positioned to do the same thing."

And doing the same thing is to have an “App Store Framework” of their own where they can lock in or lock out applications and content.

"But the fact that apps must routinely face approval masks how extraordinary the situation is," writes Zittrain. "Tech companies are in the business of approving, one by one, the text, images, and sounds that we are permitted to find and experience on our most common portals to the networked world. Why would we possibly want this to be how the world of ideas works, and why would we think that merely having competing tech companies—each of which is empowered to censor—solves the problem?"

Microsoft to Finally Kill IE6
Designers and developers responsible for maintaining IE6 support can come out from under their desks. Microsoft is about to kill off its notoriously difficult browser with automatic upgrades for Windows users.
As Gizmodo puts it, ” [T]hat’s a good thing—the web needs to get rid of this crap.”:

Right now [IE6] usage is at 8.3 percent, which means that millions of users out there are using obsolete technology. Microsoft has decided to kill it fast: starting next month, they will upgrade Windows users automatically to the latest version of Internet Explorer supported by the computers. This, Microsoft says, will put the usage down to less than 1 percent.

Image: IE6 usage by country as of November 30, 2011, via Net Applications.

Microsoft to Finally Kill IE6

Designers and developers responsible for maintaining IE6 support can come out from under their desks. Microsoft is about to kill off its notoriously difficult browser with automatic upgrades for Windows users.

As Gizmodo puts it, ” [T]hat’s a good thing—the web needs to get rid of this crap.”:

Right now [IE6] usage is at 8.3 percent, which means that millions of users out there are using obsolete technology. Microsoft has decided to kill it fast: starting next month, they will upgrade Windows users automatically to the latest version of Internet Explorer supported by the computers. This, Microsoft says, will put the usage down to less than 1 percent.

Image: IE6 usage by country as of November 30, 2011, via Net Applications.

Semantic Web Gets a Boost →

Via Technology Review:

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have teamed up to encourage Web page operators to make the meaning of their pages understandable to search engines.

The move may finally encourage widespread use of technology that makes online information as comprehensible to computers as it is to humans. If the effort works, the result will be not only better search results, but also a wave of other intelligent apps and services able to understand online information almost as well as we do.

The three big Web companies launched the initiative, known as Schema.org, last week. It defines an interconnected vocabulary of terms that can be added to the HTML markup of a Web page to communicate the meaning of concepts on the page. A location referred to in text could be defined as a courthouse, which Schema.org understands as being a specific type of government building. People and events can also be defined, as can attributes like distance, mass, or duration. This data will allow search engines to better understand how useful a page may be for a given search query—for example, by making it clear that a page is about the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, not five-sided regular shapes.

The article goes on to note that Schema.org standards support microformats microdata* rather than RDFa which is supported and promoted by the international Web standards body W3C.

Still, if it can gain traction, it’s a big step forward for machine understanding of all this content we’re throwing at the Web which, in turn, means a whole new class of applications using such data might be in our near future.

*Hat tip to Aaron Bradley (@aaranged) on Twitter for pointing out that it’s microdata, not microformats, that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are supporting.

scribemedia:


This map is the third in a series by meticulous and very creative designer Ripetungi. Like his smaller Googleand Ebay tube maps he broke the companies down into their different industries and then put overlapping stations where two industries meet. Not surprising considering the astounding diversity of Microsoft, Ripetungi says “It was the most hair pulling exercise I have undertaken, however totally rewarding when it came together.”

—Via Visual News 

scribemedia:

This map is the third in a series by meticulous and very creative designer Ripetungi. Like his smaller Googleand Ebay tube maps he broke the companies down into their different industries and then put overlapping stations where two industries meet. Not surprising considering the astounding diversity of Microsoft, Ripetungi says “It was the most hair pulling exercise I have undertaken, however totally rewarding when it came together.”

—Via Visual News 

That’s adorable! They’ve all ended up being just like Microsoft.

That’s adorable! They’ve all ended up being just like Microsoft.

(Source: horaciogaray)