Friday, January 16, 2009

A Run on the Bank of Microsoft?

Wow... did I just predict this? Yesterday, in my Problems at Facebook? post I referenced (somewhat jokingly) how I was kinda surprised that in the current economic conditions, the EU hadn't tapped into the Microsoft cash machine using some anti-trust excuse. Lo and behold, a few minutes ago Microsoft issued a press release in response to a 'Statement of Objections' it received from the EU about - you guessed it - European anti-trust law. Obviously, I had no knowledge of this when I posted yesterday - I'm just a foot soldier. The timing is a little spooky though... maybe I should muse of some good things happening. ;)

I wonder if this is the beginning of another run on the Bank of Microsoft by the EU...

Update: More coverage in the Wall Street Journal. This thing is probably going to go on for a while. Sigh!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Win 7's glowing reviews - a case of lowered expectations?

Windows 7 was publicly released as a beta last week, and has been getting some pretty glowing reviews. I haven't yet seen a single negative review - everything I've seen compares Windows 7 much favourably over Vista and in many cases even over XP. ZDNet's review is pretty typical of most reviews I've read. Even traditional Microsoft haters (who shall go un-named) seem to be reacting favorably to Windows 7. Of course there are some brand new features, but I'm more concerned with the stability and snappiness of the OS.

While a lot of the praise is well deserved and a lot of people have worked hard on making Windows 7 what it is, I can't help but wonder how much of it is a result of peoples' lowered expectations from Microsoft with regards to Windows. Vista wasn't nearly as good as it should have been when it released (SP1 seems to have fixed a lot of stability issues, though it is still a resource hog) and the generally negative buzz about Vista has probably reduced expectations to the point where anything that's not sluggish, bloated and resource hungry would've received good feedback.

Anyways, nothing wrong with good reviews... here's hoping that Windows 7 will exceed all expectations when it's publicly released.

Problems at Facebook?

I was thinking about the whole recession thing and how it impacts Microsoft. As I worked through my train of thought, I remembered the huge 899 million Euro fine that the EU slapped Microsoft with in Feb 2008. I remember thinking then that the EU was almost treating Microsoft like an ATM (probably inspired by this post).

I wondered why in this time of recession the EU hasn't yet again tapped its ATM and thought I'd update my Facebook status to say "Viraj wonders why, with this recession n all, the EU hasn't tapped its ATM (Microsoft) again using the same anti-trust excuse...". To my surprise, I got a little popup that said "Validation Error - A validation error occured" and nothing more informative.

Interesting. What exactly is Facebook validating, and did I have some red-herring text in there? I would expect filters for expletives, racial slurs, geo-political issues... but my status message didn't seem to violate any of those. I tried the following variants, which all failed:

"Viraj wonders why, with this recession n all, the EU hasn't tapped its ATM (MSFT) again using the same anti-trust excuse..."

"Viraj wonders why, with this recession n all, the EU hasn't tapped its ATM again using the same anti-trust excuse..."

"Viraj wonders why, with this recession n all, the EU hasn't tapped its ATM again..."

"Viraj wonders why, with this recession n all, the EU"


Ok, so it's certainly not the text of my status message that's causing this. I started poking around, and my 'Home' page seemed OK - I had news items, status updates from friends, etc. However, when I jumped to my own profile, I was suprised to find that all data I had published was blank. No wall posts, no posted items, no recent history. However, my photo albums seemed to fine, as did my profile information.

My guess is there's been some kind of data loss-ish issue at FB (a lot of their data is simply held in caches so maybe a cache and replicas blew away - perhaps Wall posts are not persisted?). Anyways, I'll try to update status again and see if stuff comes back... meanwhile, I'm locked out of changing my Facebook status...

Any guesses about what might be going on?

Update: I can't seem to be able to clear my previous status message either... the status is cleared in the webpage (local javascript clearing it, I would assume) but on refresh I see my old status again...

Update2: And we're back... that didn't last too long. Cool!