Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fail! : Top Ten Technologies we still don't have

When I was a kid, I used to love to watch The Jetsons. That was a great cartoon! I marveled at all the possibilities the future would hold. Robot maids, video phones, and of course, flying cars!

Over the years, promises of household robots have come and gone (with the exception of the Roomba). Flying cars, while a great concept, are a practical nightmare. Even if we are able to design and build an affordable flying car that is both easy to operate and stable, we would still have to deal with the fact that PEOPLE CAN'T DRIVE IN TWO DIMENSIONS, WHY THE HELL SHOULD WE GIVE THEM A THIRD!!!

Well 30 years later, at least we have video phones and a list of the Top 10 technologies I was sure we'd have by now:

10) Spell Checkers that actually work:
Computers have been around long enough (dictionaries have been around even longer) for us to have figured out a way to ensure that we never misspell a word again! Why is it that contextual spell check still doesn't work?

9)The Paperless Office:
I can not remember how long I have heard that we are going to have a paperless office! It seems like every few years a new technology comes along that is going usher in the era of the paperless office, and yet it never comes. Today, with all the green technology and the emphasis on being earth friendly, people still print out every e-mail they receive and I have no idea why.

Also, why is it that when I purchase something on a credit card, the store has to print a receipt for me to sign and one for me to take with me? Why can't I sign electronically everywhere (some stores have this ability and some don't). Going even further, why can't I have an e-mail address tied to my credit card account that automatically e-mails me a receipt of my purchase?

P.S. All books should be electronic as well! All you sentimental people who say "but I love the smell of books", give me a break! Do you even think about the number of trees that have to be cut down to create paper for books? What about all the copies that never get sold, what a waste of our natural resources!!!! E-books save money and resources, which is why we created the technology in the first place, deal with it!

8)Holograms and Lightsabers, the Star Wars Effect:
Who among us didn't want a lightsaber??Not that I think these are a better idea than flying cars, but they would be useful during the eventual zombie apocalypse! How about the first time you saw the emperor and Darth Vader communicate via hologram, yeah that was over 30 years ago...and still no holograms! When I was a kid, they promised that by the year 2000 we would have all this cool stuff and they lied! We are however getting closer with these new 3-D TVs

7)True On-Demand:

Does anybody besides me remember this Qwest commercial in the late 90's (I think that it was 1999, but I'm not sure) that promised that you would be able to watch any movie any time in any language? I do. I remember when we were promised true on demand TV and movies. Sure, your local cable company has on demand, but it's still only what they want you to see. We have sites like Hulu, that allow us to watch a selection of TV and Movies from several providers, but it still isn't even close to everything! I want to be able to watch every episode of the show Herman's Head(I don't judge you, so you shouldn't judge me, okay), whenever I feel like it, dammit!

6)Speech to Text and Vice Versa:

Before I even get started on this one, let me be sure to mention that Apple has done a great job improving their text to speech software (Are you happy @kaffeinated???). That aside, it still isn't good enough. I will consider a technology "good enough" when my parents can use it after a short tutorial (they are using Ubuntu Linux and I don't get any more tech support calls). Text to speech has been a staple of every vision of the future we have ever seen. One day I will be able to talk to my computer much like they did in Star Trek. I just don't get it, I have speakers and a microphone, why can't my computer and I use voice interaction for most activities. I'm not looking for a great conversationalist, I just want it to read things to me while I get dressed, in a pleasing voice (sorry, the speak and spell voice is horrible).

5)Language translation:

This particular piece of technology would be so useful. This is one of the few to make the list that needs to become reality! There is no limit to the amount of good that this kind of technology could do. This is one of the things that could make tomorrow's Internet great instead of good. Google has done some great work on this front and has plans to incorporate their work into Google Wave. That aside, I am still hopeful that we can have something similar to the TARDIS, that would translate language for you on the fly. No such luck.

Right now, we can barely translate Web pages well enough to read, let alone translating whole audio files. There are a lot of great podcasts and such that are generated in English that would be so useful to people in other countries. Most of them have to rely on someone who is bi-lingual to manually translate the audio files into transcripts. We should be able to generate transcripts of our podcasts into any known language!

4)Super High Speed, In Your Face, Whole World is Connected, Internet:
Sooner or later, someone is going to need to explain this one. There is no reason why, when we have enough satellites to look into my bathroom from outer space, that we can't give everyone high speed Internet access. There are still places in this country (let alone the entire world) where the only option is dial-up. Really? We can spend money bailing out companies with bad business models, but we can't get affordable broadband in Asheville N.C (just picked them at random, there are plenty of cities in worse situations than Asheville I'm sure).

Is the One Laptop Per Child program still going? I'm pretty sure this is just a pipe dream, but why can't we give people in third world countries an opportunity to learn and communicate via the Web? In combination with number 5, this would be outstanding. Imagine what we could accomplish with a truly global community and no communications barrier!

3)Editable UI:

I credit @kaffeinated for this one (check out his site), while not directly shown during all the future glimpses, the editable UI is sort of a given. Imagine if the Terminator received mission priority messages as pop-unders or if Arnold had to switch to folder view to read the message. We should be able to change absolutely everything about the user interface of our computer. While we are getting closer with each new operating system upgrade, the mobile market is moving further and further away from that (that means you, IPhone). While the IPhone has a great UI, there is little you can do to make it your own! I want to be able to change everything. The way it is now, my computer has difficulty remembering where I like my icons with a dual monitor setup, how are we ever going to get to having our own Heads Up Display?

2)Genetic Modification/Nanobots:

The super soldier, bulletproof skin, and x-ray vision, all of this was supposed to be possible by now. Through genetic modification and/or the use of nanotechnology. We were starting to make some real breakthroughs in stem cell research. Unfortunately, the world at large is still silly and hanging onto some weird superstitious beliefs that a man in the clouds will come down and smite us if we mess around with genetic modifications. Sure we'll screw up a few times, maybe make a velociraptor-man that goes on a killing spree, but it would totally be worth it if I could get my cat-tail (or at least not be colorblind anymore).

1)Sim-Stim/Virtual Reality/Smell-A-Vision:

There are so many reasons why this would be awesome and an equal number of reasons why it would be terrible(You think the World of Warcraft addiction is bad now...). We have been promised virtual reality for as far back as I can remember. There have been video games, movies, and books that promised that we would be able to escape everyday reality. We could enter a virtual reality, where we would not only see, but feel, taste, smell, and experience life from another point of view. The closest we get is Second Life and that's worse than actual reality! For a long time I was rooting for the porn industry (they always seem to be way ahead of the curve, don't believe me, check this out, FOX is billing this virtual desktop Echo as a new idea. The porn industry has had virtual desktop strippers available for about 10 years!) to really move the whole VR/Sim-Stim technology ahead. I thought maybe if they combined nanobots and VR technology we could have a total body experience! I guess even the porn industry knows a dead end when they see one.

I wonder if in 20-30 years someone else will write about how pissed they are that we can't "jack in" to our computers like they did in the Matrix?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Web applications Vs. Desktop Applications

I do not normally make a habit of writing about other blogs or stories that I have read, but this is something that I could not ignore. There is turf war going on between traditional programmers and Web programmers, and it's time to put an end to it!

This all started with a highly contested blog entry byMichael Barude, which was quickly followed up by Jeff Atwood. They both had some pretty heated things to say about the other's chosen medium. I'll save you some time and give you the best lines from each:

The reason most people want to program for the web is that they’re not smart enough to do anything else
You hope everything doesn't "move to the web"? Wake the hell up! It's already happened!
In order to put this cat fight to bed, I propose the following:

1) Each side must realize that there is terrible code written every day, both on the Web and on the Desktop.

2) There are groundbreaking and terriffic apps written every day (most of them never get any attention) and they come in Web based applications as well as desktop applications.

3) The majority of programmers are not very good (I include myself in this. If you say that you haven't written bad code, you have either never written code or you are a liar).

4) You can not blame the medium for the work of the artist!

Saying that someone isn't smart or sterotyping users of a particular medium is bad form! No matter who you work for (Michael) or how popular you are(Jeff)! Jimmy Page isn't dumb because he chose to play the Electric guitar in a rock band, instead of being a concert pianist (in fact, most would say he was smarter for his choice). Programming is an art form (no matter what everyone else believes). Just like every form of art, there is going to be a million bad artists for every great one. I think that I agree with Joshuua Nunn :
if you dismiss web apps, you dismiss a lot of clever, well written programs right out of the gate.
I also think that there is still a very bright future for desktop apps as well. As it stands now, there is no Web Office System that even comes close to comparing to Open Office, let alone Microsoft Office. There are always going to be ERP Systems and other Business Development Tools that will need to be installable on the Desktop.

There will always be a need for great code that solves a problem and/or provides a service. The average user doesn't care if it is on the Web or on thier desktop. They just want it to work and be useable.

We, the artists, are the only one's arguing about this!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Feelin' Groovy

For the last six months or so, I have been spending some quality time with Groovy. For those of you who may not already know, Groovy is awesome! Groovy is a programming language that is an extension of the Java Platform. It is a scripting language that is similar to Ruby. Groovy uses a lot of the standard Java syntax and since it compiles down to Java bytecode, it can be used in any Java project and can supplement any Java applications that you may be working on. Groovy has been around, in one form or another, since it was created by James Strachan in August of 2003. Since then it has become part of the java standard (JSR 241).

The JSR describes Groovy’s place in the Java world as:

Currently the Java community does not have a standard JCP-sanctioned agile programming language for writing scripts and applications that interoperate with the entire J2SE platform.

Groovy makes writing scripts and applications for the Java Virtual Machine fast and easy. Groovy includes language features found in Python, Ruby, and Smalltalk, but uses syntax natural to developers that use the Java programming language. Because Groovy is based on J2SE, applications written in Groovy can use the full complement of J2SE APIs, and work seamlessly with other packages and applications written in the Java programming language

Groovy is a dynamically typed language that is not compiled until runtime. It's this reason that many Java developers use Groovy to build prototypes of thier programs. This speeds up development and because Groovy is a part of the JVM, it can easily be translated into Java. You don't even have to translate the Groovy code. You could just utilize it as part of a Java project:

Now there is even a project called Groovy Runner that will let you run any Groovy file on an Apache server the same as you would PHP. This lets you avoid the Java Web server all together!

The downside thus far has been the difficulty rating in Eclipse. I love Eclipse but using the Groovy plug in is buggy at best. However, you can save a lot of time over the life of a project, by using Groovy. Just something as simple as adding two random numbers together takes 50% less work and lies of code:

Java Example:

import java.util.Random;

public class AdditionFlash{

public static void main (String args[]) {

Random rnd = new Random();
int[] numbers = {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9};
int random1 = rnd.nextInt(numbers.length);
int random2 = rnd.nextInt(numbers.length);
int addNums = random1 + random2;

System.out.println(" " + random1);
System.out.println("+ " + random2);
System.out.print(" " + addNums);

}//end main
}//end class

Groovy Example:

import java.util.Random;

def list = [0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]

random = new Random()
random1 = random.nextInt(list.size)
random2 = random.nextInt(list.size)
addNums = random1 + random2

println " " + random1
println "+ " + random2
println "_____"
println " " + addNums

As you can see most of the boilerplate code that is commonplace in Java is unnecessary with Groovy. If you want to save time on your next Java project, perhaps you should give Groovy a try! There are plenty of resources to help you get started with Groovy, such as Groovy Podcasts, Groovy Books, Groovy Zone, and Groovy Overflow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

gNew Sense saves the day and some self promotion

Alright, as many of you may know, I am a self proclaimed Linux Evangelist. I love Linux and I am a big fan of the Open Source Community. I have been a long time user and promoter for Ubuntu. Today, I am going to give some love to a Gnu/Linux distribution that does not get enough credit and that is gNewSense (not just open source, it's Free Software). I downloaded and burnt the ISO file for gNewSense onto a CD last night because I have a thumb drive that failed (OCZ ATV 32Gig) for the second time. I had some data on there that I didn't want to lose (nothing important or personal, just some software I didn't want to download again) and I hadn't backed it up in a few months (you think I would have learned after the first time). I tried to get to the data via Ubuntu and I also tried in Windows. Neither worked.

I decided to give another version of Linux a try, hopefully something supported by the Free Software Foundation (more on them later). This is where I found gNewSense. I decided to load the Live CD and see if it would read my bad thumb drive. As I am sure that you have guessed by now, my thumb drive mounted fine and I copied all of the data off of it. I now have all of my data and learned a valuable lesson about backing up your thumb drive regularly. Thanks to gNewSense I did not have to learn this lesson the hard way.

I enjoyed using gNewSense so much, that I am going to give it a partition on my hard drive later on this week. I will then use it as my sole machine for a while and I will do a full review on it later. For the time being, here is a screen shot:

The fact that I was able to save myself such heartache and annoyance made me think, that I should return the favor. I have decided that I would like to help out the Free Software Foundation. I have recently submitted this blog to Amazon. Amazon has excepted it and they are now selling subscriptions to my blog for the Kindle. I will be donating all proceeds garnered from these subscriptions to the Free Software Foundation.

I have not approached the Free Software Foundation about this as of yet, because I am afraid that they will not be too happy about it. Unfortunately, they have a standing feud with Amazon in reference to Amazon's use of DRM in some E-Books. I will update when I have heard back from them about this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wave: Part Deux

The last few weeks have been very busy for me. I got my invitations to both Google Voice and Google Wave! I have definitely been feeling the Google Love lately. Since I have been given these lovely invites, I figured I would share the goodness with you. Today I am going to cover the Google Wave Developer Sandbox. I will cover Google Voice next week.

In case you may have noticed that the page loaded a little slowly today, it would be because I have embedded a Wave on my blog. Most of you will not be able to make any changes to the wave (unless you are part of the preview). This is to show you how Wave looks and what you can do with it.

As of this post, I have made a few simple bots that can manipulate a wave (same as any bot written in Java, except that they can only utilize the parts of the Wave that Google allows through their API). You can write bots, gadgets, or embed Waves in pages. You can choose to do any of these in either Java or Python. I have heard that developing for Wave in Python is easier, I am not really that comfortable with Python, so I chose Java.

Developing Wave bots and Gadgets is pretty easy in Java if you utilize Eclipse and their Google plug-in. Currently, you can only use bots that are created with the Google App Engine and that have an @appspot.com address. The Eclipse plug-in does most of the heavy lifting and all you have to worry about is the code.

The wave that is embedded on this page is the one that I started after I created a simple Gadget that reads the latest headlines from Slash Dot's RSS feed and displays them at the top of a Wave. This was made easier by using Google's Ajax Feed API and Wizard . Essentially, Google did most of the coding. After that, all I had to do was create the XML file and embed it in a Wave.

The Wave you see on the left has a problem loading all the way and this is due to the poll that was added later. Since it is still a developer only sandbox model, a lot of Wave's features are buggy and/or disabled. This has not made me enjoy the product any less. I have forgone sleep for a few days and spend most of my day thinking about what I can do next and how I am going to do it. I think that Wave is going to be an amazing product when it is released. I am glad to be a part of this development community! The people that are involved are terrific and have been generally nice and helpful (even when they make rick rolled bots and Swedish chef bots)!


The embedded Wave was no longer visable to those people who did not already have an account. So I removed it and I am now adding the below screenshot of the Wave with the Slashdot Gadget. Google has since added my Gadget to thier Samples Gallery Click on the screeenshots below:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Opera Unite

I have used Opera on and off for the last few years and I have recently been using Google Chrome (except on my Blackberry, for which I will always use Opera). I've tried the latest version of Safari, Firefox, and even IE8. Today I learned that I have been missing something. What I have been missing was true innovation! Since the days of Netscape Navigator, no company has done more for browsers than Opera. Some companies have a great development community (Firefox) , some have market share (IE),  some are fast (Chrome), and some are pretty (Safari). They all have one thing in common. They all steal from Opera! Unfortunately, Opera does not get the recognition it deserves. It works correctly with more sites than Firefox and Chrome. It displays sites the way most developers intend (I have tested sites across all browsers and I never have to make changes to accommodate Opera users).

Opera recently released their latest product dubbed Opera Unite (see video below). They have been teasing for over a week that they were about to change the way we use the Web. They were not lying. In effect, what Opera has done is something that we have all been missing! They are making every computer into a Server. You will now be able to share files, music, photos, chat , and host Web sites all from your own computer! Oh, and it's all FREE!

Go check it out for yourself! http://unite.opera.com/  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eclipse Galileo Review

The Eclipse Foundation is about to release their newest version of their IDE, nick-named Galileo. I should say first that I am a fan of Eclipse and that it is my IDE of choice for Java development. I have recently tried NetBeans again for some JavaFX coding and I was unsatisfied with the experience (not because it did not handle the code well, but because I did not like the UI and the code completion is nowhere as good as Eclipse). I decided to give the latest pre-release version of Eclipse a shot to see if it was able to handle JavaFX scripting as well as NetBeans.

To start, I went to their site http://www.eclipse.org/ and right on the front page was a link to the download for their latest version. The download only took a few minutes, I unzipped it and clicked on the executable (I am forced to use Windows at work). As a side note, this is one of the things that I love about Eclipse. You can unzip the IDE to a thumb drive and create your workspace on that thumb drive and be able to use your customized IDE anywhere! Upon opening, the first thing I noticed was that it looks exactly the same as the last version.

The UI is pretty standard fare for Eclipse and this is something else that I enjoyed about it. The fact that I could seamlessly transition to a new version without having to relearn everything is great. I quickly threw together this test program to check to see if it would compile and run correctly (what good is an IDE if it can’t do this):

public class Test{

public static void main(String[] args){

System.out.println("Hello, Galileo");



This of course yielded the expected results of:

Hello, Galileo

So far, so good. The next step would be to try to install some add-ons. Since this is one of the aspects that makes Eclipse such a great product. The amazing number of add-ons and the sheer size of the Eclipse community make it a terrific platform, so I should have no problems right? Wrong!

I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to install some new add-ons. It wasn’t impossible, but it was a bit misleading. I decided to do this from the perspective of a new user, so the first thing I did was go to “Help” on the main taskbar. Unfortunately the help documentation was not updated for the newest version (although I suspect that this will be fixed in the full release version). It asks the user to click on options that are no longer available in Galileo. There used to be an option labeled Software Updates under the Help menu; it has been changed to 2 different menu options

1) Check for Updates

2) Install new software

I clicked on the Install new software and I was at a new menu.

I tried to click on the “Available Software Sites” option that is highlighted and to my surprise I received the following error message:

I restarted Eclipse and decided to go about it in a different way. I went back to
the Help – Install new Software option and this time I entered the direct Web address for the
JavaFX plug-in. I waited for the install to finish, restarted Eclipse and JavaFX was available.

Now I was ready to start building my first JavaFX Project (at least the first one in Galileo). Galileo does make getting a JavaFX project started easier than Ganymede. In fact, for some reason Ganymede would not even recognize that I had the JavaFX SDK installed. In fact, I haven’t changed anything on my system as far as JavaFX is concerned since I last tried to use Eclipse.

I wrote a simple FX script to produce a small window with a picture of Duke (the Java mascot). It worked great and I had no problems getting it done. In fact I was able to write the same program much faster than I was in NetBeans!

I will not be saying goodbye to NetBeans in favor of Eclipse once again. I can not wait for the final release of Galileo. The one Noticeable change for Galileo was a massive increase in overall speed. It loads faster and compiles quicker than previous versions of Eclipse and that is the real reason why you should switch to Galileo!

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's hard to say Goodbye

Recently, a fellow blogger named Steve Yegge has decided to pack it in. I have been reading Yegge's blogs (I say blogs because there are a few here and here are examples) for several years and I can honestly say that I have and will continue to learn alot from him.

Steve has done a great service to those of us who were smart enough to listen to what he had to say and investigate those ideas for ourselves. He helped us to realize that business requirements are in fact bullshit and some very helpful resume tips. You have introduced me to some wonderful reading material as well.

Perhaps the greatest work that Steve has ever done has come most recently when he started his "A Programmers View of the Universe" series. During this time, I believe that Steve has really found his voice. His heart wrenching story about his pet fish and how that relates to computer programming is nothing short of genius! It is hard for me to believe that he could give this up when he is clearly just starting to reach his writing prime.

Steve, Please don't leave us.

We'll Miss You Steve:(

Monday, June 1, 2009

Why I Love/Hate Twitter!

Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog, knows that you can rely on reading several posts a day from me on Twitter (@molex). I love reading Tweets from developers like Jeff Atwood(@codinghorror) , writers like the great William Gibson (@GreatDismal), famous geeks like Felicia Day (@feliciaday) and great radio personalities like Peter Sagal (@petersagal). I enjoy letting strangers into my daily life and talking about even the most mundane details of my life. I love being able to help someone find the answer to an annoying computer problem or where they can find a copy of an obscure book or movie. I like being able to ask the community at large for help on similar things. Hell, The other evening, I had a conversation with William Gibson (@GreatDismal) about a mundane thing like wallets (and why I can not use a money clip). It was awesome and might I add a personal honor as he is not only one of my favorite writers of all time but a personal hero as well. The lack of a wall between yourself and anyone else using the service, means that there is nothing stopping you from being able to tell your favorite musician that you would like them to play in your city (I'm talking to you @jonathancoulton).

While all of this may seem great at fist glance, there is a price to pay. The hate portion of my relationship comes from the fact that Twitter allows for all types of marketing. Now that Twitter is getting more popular, there have been more spam and malware attacks. During the course of any given day, I will be followed by at least 5 different spam bots. See picture below:

All social web sites are pretty much the same when it comes to malware and spam (although Twitter is pretty good at removing these accounts pretty quick). The one thing that can not be controlled is the attack mode that seems to come from some of the marketing companies that are not spam and malware. I'm talking about viable companies that use the service to their advantage in a way that makes the service less fun for the rest of us. Suppose I mention a Ford truck in my tweet (even in a bad way, like "Ford sucks"), within 5 minutes, I will be followed by someone name JoeLovesFords (this is of course hypothetical). If you choose to follow that person, you will be inundated with tweets about Ford, how awesome they are and how you should buy one right away. You quickly realize that this is not a real person but a marketing bot.
This is a trend that is only going to continue. As I was reading in an article today (on CNET), marketing companies are really beginning to take hold of Twitter:

"Twitter dominates the news, but clearly we're only touching the surface of its potential as a marketing vehicle," Participatory Media Network co-founder and chairman Michael Della Penna said in a release. "This is a classic 'glass half full' scenario for Twitter because it's clear that Gen Y has an appetite for social networking, but still hasn't fully embraced micro-blogging. There is a tremendous opportunity now for marketers to develop strategies to get this important group active on Twitter too."

There seems to be a point in every social networks life where it becomes so popular, that no one uses it anymore (that sounds like something Yogi Berra would say). I am afraid that this will eventually happen to Twitter. When the service gets so overloaded with marketing, spam, and real users, it will become almost impossible for people to keep track of everything. It will also kill the greatest part of Twitter. That is the lack of separation between people. It will be next to impossible to talk to one of your hero's if they have to wade through 1,000 spam tweets first. How many people will continue to use the service then?

I would hate to see a service like this be reduced to nothing but a marketing campaign for large corporations, but I fear that it is inevitable!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave Preview

Have you heard? Google is about to take over the world! They are in process of developing a real game changer. Their new product, called Wave, looks to be the real deal. It is an HTML 5.0 Web App that is going to change thew way people see and use Web Browsers. The project is going to be completely Open Sourced (so you know that I am backing it).

Google has really out done themselves on this one. Watch for the Spell checker (which is revolutionary) and the real time language translator (allowing communication with people from all over the world in real time, without learning a new language).

I have already signed up to get Developer access to Wave and hopefully the fine people at Google will grant me this wish (Since I was unable to attend GoogleIO). I can only begin to imagine the possibilities that a platform like this can bring. I am going to dust off my Java skills and get to work on some extensions!

Watch the video below, from GoogleIO 2009:

Developers, let me know what you think. Are you excited? How bad do you want to get your hands on it?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Welcome to breaking Windows. Where we try to do our best to provide alternatives to Windows as an Operating System and where I will wax poetic about all things geeky in nature.

Now with that out of the way, it's time to get down to business:

Windows 7 will be a major flop, as bad or worse than Vista

read this

With some reports claiming as many as 6-7 different versions of the O.$. Micro$oft is hoping to cash in on the average consumers misunderstanding of the various versions. It seems that the starter edition (the lowest version on the totem pole) will only allow a user to open 3 applications simultaneously. This is RIDICULOUS!!! What reason could this possible serve, other than to sell laptops for a lower price that advertise that they use Windows 7. When the consumer gets home and tries to open four applications, they will get a message from Micro$soft telling them they need to upgrade their operating system. I just do not know how this can be legal. This is the greatest scam ever. I'll bet the upgrades won't be cheap either.

Just when I think that Micro$oft is starting to learn their lesson, that charging insane amounts of money for inferior products was starting to take it's toll, they create a mess out of what could have been a usable operating system. Leave it to Micro$oft to ruin a product with terrible marketing! For years their products were terrible (save their Office suite) and they forced their way onto 93% of the worlds computers. They have used every dirty trick in the book (and when they ran out of dirty tricks, they created a new book of even dirtier tricks) to strong arm their way into our lives and onto our machines. It is time that the consumers speak up and take back what is rightfully theirs!

Viva la Open Source!!!