Thursday, August 29, 2013

Virtualization on the cheap with VirtualBox

Recently, I've been working on virtualization projects and one of them just didn't rise to the level of a VMWare rollout.  Even ESXi was a bit much for the deployment so instead we went with virtualbox which was much cheaper (free) and easier to administer.

Follow along with the following videos as I show you how I "kick it old school" with DOS and Windows for Workgroups in the latest VirtualBox platform.  Why such an old OS? Hey, anyone can load up Ubuntu or XP but a 20 year old OS takes some real effort and forces you to get up to your elbows in the virtualization platform.


Monday, August 26, 2013

JTT 5 Ballmer on the way out but is it really all his fault?

The latest episode of Just Talkin' Tech features a conversation about the impending departure of Steve Ballmer from Microsoft and how the company needs to change to survive.  I argue that Ballmer can't be held entirely responsible for Microsoft's missteps and include Microsoft's board of directors including Chairman Bill Gates partially responsible.

My friend lays the blame squarely on Ballmer alone suggesting that the board essentially deferred to his will.
By the way the video features Windows Vista, one of Microsoft's biggest failures under his tenure.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Ballmer's on the way what

Amidst the cheers on the trading room floor that sent Microsoft shares 9% higher on Friday, the tech world seems to have gotten its wish.  Steve Ballmer will leave Microsoft's CEO chair within the next 12 months.

As one of the tech world's longest sitting  CEO's and target for all things evil about Microsoft it's easy to misread today's news. 

Yes, he's leaving and yes he's been the guiding hand of Microsoft through 3 major versions of windows, two game consoles and a cloud strategy.  But Microsoft CEO's don't operate in a vacuum  anymore and the company's reigns are firmly held in check by a board of which Bill Gates is still the chairman.

There have been calls for a younger, more hip CEO who will drive Microsoft's new devices and services strategy and put Microsoft on par with the Facebook's of the world. 

The problem is, nobody relies on Facebook to run their business applications.  Social networks are a just a tool in a larger business strategy.  One that Microsoft has admittedly been slow to adopt just like its haphazard cloud strategy that was late to the game and confusing to its market.

Ballmer's evangelism for Microsoft often bordered on the fanatical even in the face of opposition from the market but he never acted alone.  The departure of a number of Microsoft execs and the recent reorganization of the company's business units didn't happen without the board's blessing.

Microsoft may not be the lean, hip company it was back in the days of Gate's tenure but it really can't be.  Most business runs at least in part on Microsoft products.   That the company has been able to  maintain itself as the standard by which all others (including open source) are judged is no accident.

If Ballmer can be blamed for anything it's an ever changing mixed message and desperate bid to monetize anything even remotely connected with Microsoft.  In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter who sits in the CEO chair. 

Microsoft now is what IBM was in the 1980's.  Decent products but not very sexy. 

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, he suggested a possible solution for Microsoft's stodgy, un-hip image.

Be like Toyota...

Toyota's Scion brand is specifically targeted at young hipsters with a lineup of products no Camry owner would be caught dead in.  That's smart.  The brand has successfully preserved the parent company's traditional market share while attracting a younger demographic they wouldn't have otherwise.

That's the direction Microsoft needs to move in.  Let's face it, You aren't going to sell many Cadillac's to the twenty something demographic.  Microsoft needs to separate itself from the consumer markets by placing its consumer strategy in an abstraction.   

Only then can Microsoft concentrate on its core business  customers while successfully engaging consumer markets.  You can't have the same message for both but if you separate the businesses you can have your cake and eat it too.