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Wednesday 31 December 2008

Cannot-stop-laughing !!!

Happy new Year, Zune owners !!!

Friday 5 December 2008

Selon Tristan, Windows est trop cher..

Et selon moi, Microsoft se fout de la gueule de ses clients européens à un point que même Apple est écrasé en la matière :

  • Microsoft Web Expression 2, sur le Microsoft Store USA : $299,95
  • Microsoft Web Expression 2, chez Amazon.com : $199,99
  • Microsoft Web Expression 2, sur le Microsoft Store France : 419 EUROS !!!, soit au taux du jour $530 !!!
Voila, voila. J'crois qu'c'est clair. Cela l'est tellement que je l'ai twitté et que les copains chez Microsoft Corp n'en reviennent pas.

Sunday 23 November 2008

Webslices at StumbleUpon

That's strange... The Webslices-enabled page at StumbleUpon, http://www.stumbleupon.com/ie8/ie8_feed.php, changed for the last time two weeks ago and no updates since that day.

Friday 7 November 2008

A more disruptive Microsoft

A few weeks ago, I said on this blog that Microsoft should/could be more disruptive in the browser's world. During the W3C Technical Plenary Meeting in the south of France a couple of weeks ago, I said what I had in mind : dropping the implementation of a proprietary rendering engine and moving to an open-source engine like Gecko or WebKit. It was greeted with smiles. You know, the kind of smiles that mean "tssss, yet another glazmanism...". Not everyone smiled though.

Steve Ballmer was recently in Sydney, Australia and a student asked him a "cheeky" question:

"Why is IE still relevant and why is it worth spending money on rendering engines when there are open source ones available that can respond to changes in Web standards faster?"

Steve Ballmer's answer:

"Open source is interesting, Apple has embraced Webkit and we may look at that, but we will continue to build extensions for IE 8."

Guess who's smiling now ?...

Saturday 25 October 2008

Counter-productive icon policy in IE8

Webslices... Internet Explorer introduced Webslices and I found it cool enough to implement it as an extension to Firefox. I really thought Microsoft was interested in making this idea become mainstream but apparently, that's not the case...

Microsoft just changed the icon for WebSlices. Read here the policy about reusing their icon... Lame. I bet a manager and the Legal Department did not get it. Microsoft is driving the game here, they invented the thing. Microsoft users (hear web authors) are NOT going to invest time and energy in this technology if "alternate" browsers cannot see/use it. And it does make sense to have a single visual identity for this feature so USERS (or CUSTOMERS) recognize it easily.

But hey, that's now forbidden by the WebSlices icon policy, and it contradicts what the IE team told me a while ago about the original round blue icon.

Well done again, Microsoft. Will you ever learn?

Monday 20 October 2008

Black Screen of Death

Seen yesterday evening just in front of the Film Festival Palace in Cannes (photo by Chris Wilson):


Saturday 11 October 2008

Leadshadow 2.0

It's not Silverlight, it's LeadShadow. Microsoft will announce Silverlight 2.0 on monday (although technically it's already announced since it's in the press...) and yep, that's correct, you got it : no-bo-dy ca-res. At all. Yet another big strategic error on Microsoft side. Microsoft should have worked on HTML5, SVG, CSS Transforms and Animations and other cool and open stuff instead. The only way to efficiently fight a proprietary format like Flash is using interoperable and open standards, not yet another technical jail for web authors. A few years ago I told Dean Hachamowitch, a very smart guy who is the general manager of the Internet Explorer team, the following "you have a mexican army* but that's not what you need, you need commandos". That's still true and Silverlight is the live proof of that fact. Let me say Microsoft is not disruptive enough, and I am not kidding at all.

*very old french expression meaning an army with a lot of generals, lots of useless organization but no real soldiers and strategy

Thursday 4 September 2008

IE8 Webslices

After careful study of IE8's behaviour, I have discovered the Webslices "specification" available here is... well... underspecified. Reminds me of the gooood ol'times of the first browser war. Let me give you two simple examples :

  1. the "spec" says multiple entry-title elements are allowed. Great. But what's the intended browser behaviour if more than one entry-title is specified ? It appears that the browser is supposed to make a whitespace-separated string with all these entry-titles, but that's said nowhere.
  2. far more important, the "spec" lacks information about how the contents of a webslice's popup is created in the case of an in-page webslice (ie not a feed). The spec says:
    • remove everything inside the body element BUT the descendants of the element carrying class hslice that carry themselves class entry-content (and of course the subtree they're the root of)
    • remove all atributes on body
    • preserve stylesheet links and style elements in the head of the document

    But it appears this is not enough... IE8 extracts the CSS styles applied to the hslice element and apply them to the webslice popup's body element... Two possibilities : a) it serializes all computed values that differ from the initial value. b) it climbs up the cascade to find all style rules - including inline - applying to the hslice element and tweak them to make them apply to body.

Item number 2 is not a neglectable issue since it makes IE8's behaviour hard to understand to web authors. From a product point of view, I just don't understand Microsoft here, but you could say it's not the first time, eh ? When you introduce such a new feature in a browser, that's to trigger massive market adoption. Underspecifying the feature to the point web site authors cannot predict the final rendering of their data seems to me, sorry to say, crazy.

I have the gut feeling that what does IE8 here is wrong because it does not help the web author. I have mailed Microsoft about it and got a reply from them. I urged them to reconsider their implementation and implement the current "spec", without copying hslice styles to the webslice's body, in next IE8 beta. Stay tuned.

Tuesday 2 September 2008


Wow !

Friday 29 August 2008


I read carefully the last posts about IE8 new features on the IE blog. And the least I can say is that IE8 copies everything from Firefox... But warning, it smells like Firefox, but it's not Firefox. IE's extensibility is still zilch compared to Mozilla's, its security is still low compared to Mozilla's. Its speed is... well, read last Firefox 3.1 JavaScript announcements... Even on the innovative features, Microsoft is behind Mozilla : they invented the Activities and Webslices metaphors but almost nobody uses them ; in the same domain, Mozilla Labs' Ubiquity became in just one day the #1 keyword on twitter ! On CSS, WebKit is making giant progress on innovative stuff while Mozilla moves at the speed of light on already standardized features. Same thing for HTML 5 and other specs-to-be.

I guess BenB has an excellent summary about IE8:

<mconnor> is there anything IE8 didn't add?
<BenB> mconnor: about:mozilla ?

Monday 28 July 2008

Microsoft News

In case you missed it, a version of Windows will die next 1st of november... Nah, it's not XP ; eheh, no, it's not Vista :-) It's Windows 3.11 !!! W311 was released back in 1993 and stopped being available to the general public in 2001. But embedders could still buy it, and I know myself a few corporate apps that are based on W311 since 1994, work beautifully and the owners have no plan to upgrade the OS and the app above it because the cost would be prohibitive for an uncertain result.

photo by NeilT, used under CC license

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Cauchemar cafféïné


Friday 30 May 2008

Microsoft India


Tuesday 6 May 2008

Thank you so much Microsoft

According to the IE blog, if you run XP and IE8beta1 and want to install XP SP3, you'd better revert to IE7 before and reinstall IE8b1 afterwards, but wait the same article says if you run XP and IE7 you'd better revert to IE6 before and reinstally IE7 afterwards... Very nice...

Sunday 6 April 2008


No wonder why Firefox has thousands of incredible extensions available and IE significantly less...

Friday 4 April 2008


Je voudrais revenir deux secondes sur le dernier billet de l'ami au tutu rose... Je crois surtout que Vista est un produit raté parce que des gens comme moi, énormes utilisateurs de bécanes, ont pesté pendant des années contres les successives versions de Windows avant d'arriver un jour à dire "non, vraiment, il y a eu d'énormes progrès avec Windows XP, le système ne plante presque plus jamais, c'est plus stable et plus rapide". Certes, Windows reste Windows. C'est-à-dire un OS dont l'interface utilisateur n'a pas de consistance, est parfois franchement pénible, dont les bugs sont corrigés lentement voire pas du tout, j'en passe et des meilleures. Mais l'adoption par l'industrie de XP, même pour les jeux, a bien montré que Microsoft avait fait un TRES grand pas avec XP.

Donc entendre des gens comme moi, toujours à l'affût du mieux et du plus moderne, dire "berk, je reviens à XP", c'est un échec monumental en terme de marque. Je ne parle même pas de la réplique entendue de la bouche d'un gamin de quatorze ans récemment : "je ne comprends pas, ma machine est une vraie bombe, avec un processeur rapide, plein de mémoire et une carte graphique qui arrache. Sous XP, ça déchire. Sous Vista, ça rame et ma carte graphique merde une fois sur deux"... Tout est dit je crois. En terme de stratégie technologie, les retards et erreurs de Vista ont fortement mis à mal la structure interne de Microsoft. Des projets entiers ont été mis en hibernation pour que les équipes techniques viennent aider Vista à sortir de l'impasse. Des montagnes de pognon ont été nécessaires pour sortir finalement ce que le monde entier considère comme un échec patent.

N'oublions jamais que Microsoft, c'est aussi la boîte qui un matin a décidé de radicalement changer l'interface d'Office et d'Internet Explorer, au point que les utilisateurs étaient perdus. Au point que des tutoriaux de réinstallation de l'ancienne UI sont disponibles tellement les usagers de Word perdaient du temps à trouver leur chemin dans l'application. Au point que la barre de menus perdue dans IE7 est de retour dans IE8.

Vista est un produit raté essentiellement parce que le pire ennemi de Microsoft, c'est Microsoft.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Webslice, the microsoft specs

As usual, Microsoft is very, if not extremely, weak on the specifications describing new features. So far, webslices are described by the following three documents:

I tried to find what's supposed to happen when more than one entry-title is specified. Are the entry-title text nodes all aggregated ? Nuts, nothing, nada, niente, que dalle.

All documents specify the expiration time in the RSS webslice feed as the endtime element in the http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/rss/monitoring/2007 namespace. Fine. Want to find more doc on that namespace ? Forget it. First, there is nothing behind that URL, well done Microsoft. Second no search engine is able to tell me more about it.

But that's not the worst. The worst is the following : I'm sure this changed over time. I'm almost sure the element was originally called expiration when the feature was submitted to eBay...

<?xml version="1.0"?><rss version="2.0" xmlns:mon="http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/rss/monitoring/2007" >

And of course, even if eBay webslices don't follow the current spec, IE8 deals with them correctly... Pfff.

Webslices on eBay

Apparently, it's not that easy to add webslices to eBay :-)

Update: that's why some testers of my extensions experienced white popups when they clicked on a toolbar entry. Not my fault, blame eBay, the server does not even answer an error code.

Wednesday 5 March 2008

IE8 beta

I am currently downloading it. The links went live just a few minutes ago.

Update: the Developer Tools are still very young and unpolished ; but having finally a JS debugger and a HTML+CSS inspector in IE is cool. Other than that, IE8 does not do a better job on my selectors test than IE7 did. I still HATE having the addressbar above the menubar. The "Emulate IE7" button seems to me a terrible danger to average users. They will NEVER understand what it means and why it's there. I'll test IE8 in greater details later and I'll post the results here on my blog.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Microsoft, EU, CNBC

As you probably already know, Microsoft was fined again by the EU for a record 1.3 billion US$. I just watched a report about it on CNBC. It was amazing. The subtitle on the screen was "The cost of doing business in Europe" !!! Hey, that's the problem : it's not the cost of doing normal business, it's the cost of playing anti-game ! Congrats CNBC...

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