Category Archives: DevOps

What is Microsoft doing?

My opinion of Microsoft had been going up and up over the past 12-18 months.  I’d heard good things about Windows mobile and Windows 8.  The decision to make Windows 10 available to everyone (since walked back) was smart.  Sql Server 2012 seemed like a real database.  And, most surprising of all, I had installed Outlook 2016 on my Mac and preferred it to Thunderbird and made it my email client of choice.

But then I had to test Office 2013 for a client (or more precisely the interaction of Office 2013, Oracle’s DIS, and WCC  I found a 60 day trial on Technet and downloaded it to my work laptop (the rarely-used, lead-lined, Dell PoS).  So far so good.

Actually not so fast – even though this is a 64 bit OS apparently my old version of Office 2007 was a 32 bit version – well, of course it was since Windows barely knew 64 bit existed in 2006.  In that case the 64 bit version of Office 2013 won’t install.  OK, that’s weird, since the OS is 64 bit, but OK – back to download the other version.

Install goes reasonably fine, although why you would distribute a downloadable trial version of a suite as an iso image I have no idea. Oh and Windows 7 no longer has the ability to mount disk images, so you need to wade through the sewer of infected freeware to find a solution that doesn’t require burning a goddam disk.

Then I open up Outlook 2013 and it wants me to log in to my personal microsoft account.  Not going to do that.  But it tells me now that my trial only lasts 4 days not 60 days.  Oh and it has completely destroyed my existing Office 2007 install.

No help or contact possible through Technet.  Online chat is a waste of time as the person has never heard of Technet – tells me to call.  I do and then speak to four different people over the next 90 minutes.  None of them has ever heard of Technet nor do they even attempt to try and solve the issue.  They all seem to be convinced I have tried to steal the software.  One keeps asking me to read the code off the disk that came with the software.

There’s a Twitter account on the Technet page and in the “welcome email”  @MicrosoftTrials.  Posted to that a few times but resounding silence.  No surprise since it’s no longer active.

Uninstall the Office 2013 trial and it nukes my entire Office 2007 install on the way.

Thanks Microsoft and Technet, what a great experience.  Back to the Mac for me.  You are making OpenOffice seem professional – and believe me that’s a hard thing to do.

Monopolists gonna monopolize, I suppose.

Corporate Scar Tissue

A couple of weeks after monktoberfest, there are a number of ideas that have stuck with me (along with the Stillwater Once in a Lifetime and the LoverBeer BeerBera).

The first is the concept of corporate scar tissue that Adrian Cockcroft brought up.  Complex rules, procedures, and processes that we all chafe against when dealing with large organizations have evolved as responses to previous injuries  in the same way that scars record past injuries on a person or animal.  So they are there for a reason, but mostly to record what not to do, and to prevent against recurrence of identical bad situations.

I found it a useful analogy, because all too often these frustrating rules and processes seem to have been designed to inhibit efficiency and progress (and even if they weren’t designed that way, that’s their net effect).  You could say the same thing about the vast majority of laws in any country, too – always drafted to prevent the recurrence of a past issue; almost never looking forward in anticipation.

I’m currently working with a client on an information governance project and using this analogy helped them to see that their rules on retention were almost entirely focussed on addressing bad things that had happened in the past.  Our job is to look forward to try and reduce the future development of more inflexible and painful hypertrophic scars or keloids; instead we should develop robust, flexible, pro-active ways to avoid future injuries (while remembering what caused the old ones).