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Tuesday, May 07, 2002

A Followup On the New Microsoft Education Licensing Model

I found this on slashdot so I am skeptical but it has that ring of genuine authenticity (all the details are right).  This is terrifying:

Recently my own state (Queensland, AU) implemented a similar thing within the public school system here. Basically a Burgundy Select license pack - "unlimited" licenses for any product within the pack (including education editions of stuff like Visual Basic), and a fixed cost of AU$400.00 per computer per year. Regardless of what kind - mac, Linux box, PC, you name it. Unless it was a server-class machine, where it costs $1200.00 (again, regardless of what it was actually running). Schools can't afford that - what $400 equated to in a school of 600 with 100 computers, was literally the entire IT budget. The school I'm involved with rejected the "offer", only to be told that doing so meant they were no longer licensed to use Windows or any other Microsoft product - even those supplied OEM. That is, "since you broke the contract here, we're nullifying every EULA you've ever seen!"  My school has since switched to 100% non-Microsoft products (Sun, Linux, some macs) and haven't regretted it since. They're able to use older machines as thin-clients of sorts, and with a couple of bright students and a lot of learning, they haven't needed to look back. The Department of Education are not amused, and neither I imagine are Microsoft. Education Queensland have used the carrot ("but this is so much easier to account for than Linux, and here, we'll give you 10% more IT budget than last year...") and the stick (need I say more?) approach, but it so far hasn't worked.

Am I the only one who finds this disturbing at best?

comment [] 7:46:57 PM    

Microsoft: And they Wonder Why People HATE Them??? 

"Yes Virginia, you have to pay for Windows on your iMac" said Bill Gates to his daughter early today.  Yet another example of what a rapacious group of individuals work at Microsoft.  From the Register.

"Microsoft has come up with another novel way to make its software compulsory - an annual subscription licensing system for schools where you have to pay for all of the computers you're using, even if you don't want them to run the Microsoft software you're licensing. This includes Macs, and although the Ts & Cs of the agreement don't make it entirely clear what you're supposed to do with the Windows upgrades you end up buying for these machines, we bet putting them on eBay isn't a recommended option. "

"The precise implementation of the agreement seems to vary depending on what part of the world you're in, but the inclusion of Macs in the headcount, and the insistence that you have to count all PCs rather than just a specific number you want to license, is probably general. In the US "Microsoft Schools Agreement 3.0,"
for example, "100 per cent of all Pentiums, Power Macs, iMacs or better" are specified, whereas the FAQ document for the UK Microsoft School Agreement says "You need to count 100% of all Pentiums, Power Macs and iMacs."

comment [] 7:21:34 PM    

Microsoft seals deal for Danish firm. The U.S. software powerhouse is to pay $1.33 billion for Navision, a developer of back-end software, according to both companies. [CNET]

>> My very cynical side thinks "Hmmm.... Since this is a U.S. company acquiring a Danish company can the DOJ stop it on anti-trust grounds".  If not then expect to see an upswing in European acquisitions by Microsoft.

comment [] 6:13:26 PM    

And You Wonder Why People that are Out of Work Get Frustrated

Here's an email that just came to me a few moments ago.  This is from a job I applied for 2 months ago!  Can anyone out there that works in human resources tell me what's going on?  Why does it take 2 months to tell a job candidate that it might be another 30 days?  I don't get it.  HR?  Hello?  Anyone got a clue?

And here's why this matters: I'll never, ever think favorably of CenterSpan as a vendor.  If this is how they treat people who want to work for them, how will they treat customers?

Perhaps I should be glad to get a response at all.  I don't know.  Getting a response after 2 months just seems silly and makes them look stupid.


Dear Applicant:

Thank you for expressing interest in working with CenterSpan Communications.

If there is a match between your qualifications and our employment needs, we will contact you. If you haven't heard from us within 30 days, we are proceeding with candidates who more closely match our requirements.

Thank you again for your interest in CenterSpan. We appreciate it. Please continue to keep us in mind as you progress in your career.


CenterSpan Communications

-----Original Message-----

From: J. Scott Johnson []

Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 6:56 PM


Subject: Sr. Product Marketing Manager 02-005W



Attached you will find my resume to be considered for the position of Senior Product Marketing Manager for CenterSpan. I am an experienced product marketing manager with a ten year plus track record in managing complex software / Internet products including one enterprise product.

As you will see from my resume, I have a particularly strong product marketing background with an emphasis on bringing new products to market. In my previous position at Mascot Network, an ASP of portal services, I was responsible for all product management and marketing for our product. This included creating the Product Requirements Document (PRD) and Market Requirements Document (MRD), conducting original market research, creating product collateral, writing technical and functional specifications, analyzing competitors and coordination across different functional groups including Engineering, Field Support, Sales and Customer Service. Prior to Mascot Network, I was responsible for enterprise product management for Dataware Technologies where I led our XML based Knowledge Management products from concept through our second release. Among the challenges in this position were managing multiple individual products to form a comprehensive product suite with a single on time ship date. Finally, I have excellent leadership, communication and public speaking skills having spoken at a number of trade shows and industry events as well as a publication record including magazine articles and one book.

I would like the opportunity to learn more about CenterSpan and this position. Attached is my resume for your review. If you feel that my skills would be appropriate, please call or email me at 781-592-0262 or


J. Scott Johnson

* * * * * * * * * * * * Physical

80 Spring Road

Nahant, MA 01908

* * * * * * * * * * * * Telephone / Fax

Mobile: 617 970 4719

Phone: 781 592 0262

* * * * * * * * * * * * Online



comment [] 1:11:15 PM    

Dealing with Platform Bugs Versus Writing Your Own Code

Software development is really, really funny today.  We work with smaller code fragments than ever before (at least for web development) but those fragments do more than you'd expect.  Here were my two coding tasks this morning:

  • Get NetCrucible's XSLT Opml Viewing Working
  • Write a DB cleansing tool for my opml application.  I didn't do a very good job on the initial opml parser so I needed a clean up tool. 

The results were _interesting_.  Here I was trying to just a) display data in the first task and b) write a network aware data cleanser and parser that also updated a database.  Here is the length of each script:

a) display - 31 lines of code w/o the really pretty error page.  Basically this script does the following:

  • Grabs the data
  • Does some basic error handling
  • Sets a mime type
  • Adds an XSLT reference
  • Outputs the data

b) cleanse - 164 lines.  This script does the following:

  • Select only the unique urls from my opml table
    • Loop over the urls
    • Fetch the Instant Outline data
    • Parse the Instant Outline data to extract the head elements like ownerEmail, title, etc
    • Update each database record with the cleansed elements
    • Add new meta elements for status and size so that InstantOutline "meta metrics" are captured
  • Generate output to the screen so I know that it's still processing (the full run handles over 400 Instant Outline urls so this is important).

b) is a lot more complex than a).  b) has to get input from an RDBMS (MySQL), do network IO, parse data, calculate metrics and update the database.

Guess which took longer? 

a) Just displaying the data! - approx 2 hours versus b) 35 minutes

And why you ask?  Fighting with XSLT bugs in Internet Explorer 5.5.  It turns out that Microsoft has mucked up the XML engine at least once and even if you download IE 5.5 then you also have to separately download the XML engine update and then some wacky little registry modification tool.  Something's really, really wrong when dealing with platform bugs takes a lot longer than writing your own code.  I should rant, I should vent, but, you know what, I wasn't even surprised and that's the saddest part of this tale.

comment [] 10:01:35 AM    

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