Tag: microsoft software

Worldwide Telescope launches half-baked!

Microsoft launched their much-hyped WorldWide Telescope this morning.

The application has a lot of promise as an educational tool, in that it can make astronomy fun and engaging.

First off, there is no Mac version. Boo! For this reason alone, I should have just walked away. But I didn’t because it promised so much and I quite enjoy astronomy.

I checked out the system requirements (bearing in mind how optimistic Microsoft are on these typically – did you ever try to run XP on 64mb RAM? Ha!).

On the System Requirements page it told me I needed a 2.2GHz Mac to run WorldWide Telescope if I wanted to do so on XP or Vista (recommended) via Bootcamp (no mention of Parallels or VMWare. Given that my Mac is 2.16 GHz, and hasn’t BootCamp setup (I use Parallels), I gave up on that option.

Worldwide Telescope system requirements

I then went about installing it on my Vaio. The installation went ok (although I wasn’t made aware until half-way through that I’d have to install Direct X).

When I launched it on the Viao though, the first obvious problem was that you can’t choose Ireland as an option to set as your location. What a crock! Seriously. The country options go Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy. WTF? People in countries like Yemen, Uzbekistan, Lomé, Togo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, North Korea and Myanmar, for instance have no problem setting their location. But no Ireland option. What did we do to annoy Microsoft Research?

The second issue was even more annoying though. The application wouldn’t run on the Vaio. It crashed the display driver.
WorldWide Telescope Error

This is, unfortunately, typical Microsoft software behaviour. Launch bloated, Windows only, error-prone software with the minimum of QA or testing. Let the unsuspecting public be your free testing department and hopefully get the software right by the third revision.

It is no wonder so many people are afraid of computers when the software released by the world’s largest manufacturer is so prone to crash.

Get off your high horse Ed!

There was a big bruhaha on the intertubes over the weekend when Apple ran its software update on Windows and offered the Safari 3.1 browser download as the default selected option.

Now I am not for a second condoning this kind of behaviour. I believe opt-in is the only way to do optional updates, especially when you are adding applications to a users machine.

However, I had to laugh when I saw Ed Bott get all up on his high horse about this. Ed is a Microsoft guy so it was all the more hilarious that he try to grab the moral highground here. In his post he said:

I think Apple is dead wrong in the way it’s gone about using its iPod monopoly to expand its share in another market. Ironically, an excellent model for how this update program should work already exists. It’s called Windows Update, and it embodies all the principles that Apple should follow… The right way to do it involves these four principles

* Opt-in is the only way. The update process should be completely opt-in. The option to deliver software should never be preselected for the user.
* Offer full disclosure. The software company has a responsibility to fully disclose what its software does, and the customer should make the opt-in decision only after being given complete details about how the update process works.
* Offer updates only. Updates should be just that. They should apply only to software that the customer has already chosen to install.
* Don’t mix updates. Updates that are not critical should be delivered through a separate mechanism.

They are good principles, I have no argument with them however Ed offers these principles up as if Microsoft lived by them! Ed, you are dreaming. Microsoft are just as guilty of breaching these principles as Apple. I don’t use Microsoft software much but the last time I tried to update Windows Live Writer my default search engine was changed to Live Search, and I had to opt out or I would have had Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live OneCare installed on my laptop.

Pot kettle black Ed.