Delaying Windows Server

I’m not sure this announcement is even worthy of a blog post. But here goes: Microsoft is delaying the launch of Windows Server 2008 until early 2008. It’s a quality issue, of course. Microsoft wouldn’t want to release software that wasn’t ready for prime time. All of that I understand.
You’d think, though, that eventually Microsoft would get the estimation thing down. But not yet.
Microsoft Delays Windows Server Until Early 2008 — Windows Server 2008 — InformationWeek

Vista CAPABLE: What does this tell us about software companies?

I know that Windows Vista has been out for a while, and this post isn’t really about Vista. It’s more about what the lawsuit (see link below) over “Vista Capable” and “Vista Ready” stickers really implies. I think–realistically–that most people who read the documentation on what “Vista Capable” meant will know that this sticker meant basically NOTHING. The vendor (and Microsoft) basically said that if you purchased a PC with the configuration of the machine you were looking at, you’d have enough machine to at least run Vista. And, if you read the article, the end user did get Vista to run. She just didn’t get all the various bells and whistles that were available for Vista.
Now realistically, if’ you’d been following the system requirements for Vista, you had a pretty good idea that you needed a machine that was substantially more powerful than your good old XP machine to have a good chance at the more advanced features of Vista. But how does the average consumer know that? That’s what the lawsuit is about. Turns out the Dianne Kelley bought a system that wouldn’t give her all the bells and whistles that she needed to get the most from Vista. And she sued. Outcome? Of course, not yet.
But here’s the lesson: software vendors often bury the real information you need to make an informed decision deep in the fine print. It’s hard to make a good decision with the information you have (at least until you own the product) because it’s almost impossible (unless you’ve been through it before) to evaluate your needs and the software requirements. The general feeling seems to be (I’m not accusing anyone here, let alone trying to single out Microsoft–all software vendors are equally guilty): “Get the end user involved, then they’ll buy what they need to get really good performance out of the system.”
And, having said that, I should also say that there are times when the problem is the end user’s expectation. That is, there are unreasonable demands and expectations from the user. But let me ask you this: who set the user expectations? I’ve been in too many presentations when questions were asked or statements were made that–to be generous–stretched the capabilities of the software. The vendor hedged, or remained silent.
“This software will revolutionize my business! I won’t have to do anything!” says the business person.
Software vendor: silence.
But here’s the truth: what’s reasonable is reasonable. What seems easy to do often isn’t. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Just don’t tell any of the software companies I work with that I said that. I’ll deny it.
Windows Vista Capable Lawsuit Continues

RFID Update

Early on, I had been following the RFID saga at Wal-Mart with some interest. I advised our mid-sized and small clients to take a “wait and see” attitude toward it. Now that things have shaken out a bit, it’s interesting to look for updates on Wal-Mart’s progress on Google.
Bottom line here is that in the past few months, there are many case studies on effective applications of RFID. There are also many case-studies (like Wal-Mart) where goals have been missed and missed again.
If you’re thinking about RFID, make sure you’ve done your homework on ROI (return on investment) for the technology in your specific application. Spend some extra time in proof-of-concept as well.
RFID Gazette: Wal-Mart

Microsoft Works–A product that makes me ask “Why?”

We sold Works for a while, to several customers. I hope that surprises you, because Works was always just a program for folks that really didn’t need a spreadsheet or word processor to say they had one.
The reason DGG got involved with Works was that there was a temporary loophole in which Microsoft Office sold for $500, Works sold for $50, and the upgrade from Works to Office was $200. So for $250 you could have a fully functional version of Office (legal, too), rather than $500.
Microsoft eventually figured it out. Smart folks, those at Microsoft.
Seems Microsoft is still trying to sell Works for about $50. But if you’re like me, you’ll go with’s version of a word processor and spreadsheet. That product is FREE.
One of the eWeek editors was on a rant today when Microsoft announced that they are now going to give Works away for free in some foreign countries. The software will be ad-supported (Ah, more popups!). eWeek wrote:

With all these interesting apps available, my assumption was that Microsoft would take the hint and allow Works to slowly fade away, to be dug up by curious 6-year-olds who wanted to check out what was on Grandpa’s computer or by sociologists studying the phenomenon of dumbed-down software. But I was underestimating Microsoft’s tendency to try to keep its properties in the public consciousness.

If you’d like to read the full version of Barbara Kransoff’s blog entry, it’s here.
Microsoft Works Home