ALL OBAMA, ALL THE TIME

Apologies for the lack of posts the past few days; it’s been a bit crazy at work and I’ve been occupied with a few other tasks. In the spirit of renewal that is 2009, I’ve been working out now five days a week and significantly changed my diet. I’m thinner now than I’ve been since Queen’s.

I know I’ve said on this blog before about losing weight – it only gets harder as you get older to stick with it and to make it happen in its entirety. That being said, it’s kind of important for this to work this time. There’s too much at stake for it not to.

Anyway, enough about me. In the post-Inauguration glow, it’s quite honestly All Obama, All The Time now on every MSM outlet everywhere. Even Anderson Cooper seems to have fallen in love with Obama and his family. Some noteworthy stories today:
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* It’s pretty cool that President Obama is a tech-savvy President, for he really made excellent use of his web site and social networking tools during his election run. Now he gets to keep his BlackBerry, which is likely armed to the teeth with encryption and security features us ordinary folks will never, ever get our hands on.
* The Inauguration featured the highest level of online video consumption ever. Looks like it may be time for Akamai to increase capacity, no?
* Obama’s using the Web to pledge openness and accountability in government. He’s posting legislation online for feedback from the public and the White House’s URL has been given a snazzy new look. So, um, wouldn’t suppose the Prime Minister here might consider this? Oh wait, that’s *never* going to happen.

MICROSOFT: It’s not easy these days going onto news sites and seeing non-stop bad news about the economy (although the non-stop negativity isn’t reversing the situation either, IMO). Still, when Microsoft – the lone voice of the PC-Is-Rad Mantra – is cutting 5,000 jobs because of the economic woes in the U.S., all you can do is just shake your head and do some deep breathing. I’m not sure what else will change this trend, save for Obama’s economic stimulus package (which will take at least six months to work its way into the system to encourage credit flowing again).

WHY YOU SHOULD STICK WITH XP

As most tech people know, there’s a lot of reasons why going with Windows Vista is an exceedingly bad idea for anyone looking to upgrade their PC. There’s not much to like about Vista, unless you’re a complete and total Windows fetishist (and even some of them haven’t exactly turned into Vista converts).

So here’s a list of reasons why you should buck what Windows wants you to do and insist on XP before product support is officially terminated by Microsoft in less than 40 days.

XP is faster, more efficient and runs better than Vista.

For anyone who has used Vista or installed it on their computer, you already know it’s like trying to drive a Panzer tank with a Pontiac engine: there’s nowhere near enough power to support it to run at peak performance. XP, while not as sexy as Vista in terms of the features it offers, is better scaled to suit most computer users’ needs. Fact is, people are not going to dump their computers for Vista.

It costs less to stick with XP than to embrace the overpriced and overhyped Vista.

Why is Microsoft charging exorbitant prices for Vista at all levels of service (personal, professional, whatever) when you can get XP for a fraction of the price?

Service Pack 3 for XP essentially gives you the best qualities of Vista without all the crap that comes with Vista.

While there’s nothing dramatic about SP3 in terms of what it does to XP’s set-up, the changes include Network Access Protection, Product-Key-less install options, Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module and, uh, “Black Hole” router detection algorithims. This isn’t particularly interesting to the average user, but really, they’re good to have on the XP code.

Vista has too many features nobody uses.

I don’t need to go into detail about Vista’s features – the Aero application alone is cool to look at, but it’s not exactly essential – but if you really want usefulness, go for Office 2007 – it is a major step-up from previous editions of Office.

Microsoft has finally woken up and smelled the proverbial coffee – they’re moving faster on OS upgrades with Windows 7 expected in 2010.

Even though this is Microsoft we’re talking about and product delays are practically daily rituals, it seems like Microsoft has finally realized they can’t take years and years and years to develop an operating system in lieu of Apple’s near-yearly system updates, the rise of open source operating systems like Mandrake and the shift to “in-the-cloud” computing. It’s just better business sense to move faster now.

MICROSOFT IS GUNNING FOR EVERYONE NOW, APPARENTLY

News has come down that Microsoft, the spurned, would-be former buyer of Yahoo!, may just yet be making a pitch to buy my old employer, AOL.

Very interesting new development in the search engine/portal buy-up wars. One of the sidebars of this little business psychodrama is that Google owns five per cent of AOL. Google’s not going to go quietly into the night over this potential move of Microsoft’s, and really, what’s stopping Google from buying AOL outright themselves? This might just be the push Google needs to snatch AOL away from Microsoft.

One thing’s for sure: heads will roll soon at Microsoft if there’s no successful bid by the company to enter the ad-dominated portal/search market more effectively than the company has done in the past.