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Microsoft to open new retail stores...
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 01:46

Really? I'm shocked.

I won't go for the easy, obvious joke here regarding their excessive "us too!" bent...but rest assured I'm thinking it.

Quote:
A report filed by Reuters said the company had no information on what products the stores would sell, how many it planned to open, or when and where those stores might open.
Well, okay then! Some good, meaty info to go on. Sounds like they've got a solid plan, and things are off to a rousing start. Actually, sounds about right...I figure not much will change with that from now until about the 10-15th store opening.

And Chattanooga, no doubt, will wind up with three...


Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2009-02-13 at 02:00.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-02-13, 08:21

Given that Microsoft is primarily a software company, as opposed to hardware, I have to wonder how they would showcase their products and/or deal with the inevitable question "What computer will run this software?"

Seems to me if they just pointed to the Radio Shack next door, they're doomed for failure with certainty. OTOH, their stocking computers can run as endorsement and create its own of problems.
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Taskiss
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
 
2009-02-13, 09:03

I think it's a great idea.

Microsoft has hardware in folks home that can make a kick ass home entertainment system if they'd just get out the word and put some feet on the ground where it matters - in the customer's back yard (so to speak).

Their XBox going straight to my TV (not really MY TV, but there are a ton of them out there, and I HAVE bought one for my kids - they have it at their apartment now), the multiple systems in every home, just throw in a TV tuner card, a TON of documentation and training, and you'd have the premier home entertainment infrastructure that nobody could touch.

That's IF they could get their head out of their butt. Where's their Time Machine clone? Where's their Apple TV capability on their XBox, streaming media and interacting with all the home PC's? Where's the "WinTunes" app that ties all the media together in one library structure? Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this? oops! sorry, got kinda carried away there...

I hear that some of it's there, sorta, kinda, but sheesh! As a geek, I should be slapped in the face with "how-to's" galore. I should be hiding from all the info they should be throwing at me...

real hackers don't use sigs
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Satchmo
can't read sarcasm.
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
 
2009-02-13, 09:09

As much as this is another case of copying a successful Apple venture , it's probably not a bad move for MS.
Given the PR nightmare they had with Vista, rolling out (the generally positive) Windows 7 in a retail environment will gather a lot of traffic. Hardcore PC users will have something to be proud about for a change.

No doubt it'll be an open concept with a PC Guru and a Guru Bar.

One word of caution however. I don't think MS should tactically position these store in any close proximity to an Apple store. Sure, MS could suggest 'we're better than OSX, so we have nothing to fear'. But let's face it, it's more than just the OS. Apple is cool. It does cools and exudes cool without trying. The last thing they need is a photo of an empty MS store next to a jam packed Apple store.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 09:31

I agree.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2009-02-13, 09:51

The Xbox 360 has full media streaming capability, either via connection through Windows Media Extender (or the Nullriver app for OS X), a connected USB hard drive, music ripped directly to the 360's HD and Netflix unlimited streaming. Of course, it also plays AAA games as well.

Oh yeah, they also offer HD TV shows & movie rentals via the 360 as well (from what I can tell, Netflix streams are "DVD quality" if you have a 3Mbps connection).

MS can showcase their hardware, including their keyboards and mice too as well as that Zune thing. I see the store offering XBox 360 hardware and software, all MS software, and the afore-mentioned keyboards & mice. I'd guess they'd probably sell AAA "Games For Windows" titles and other software too.
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Taskiss
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
 
2009-02-13, 10:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinMacFiend View Post
The Xbox 360 has full media streaming capability, either via connection through Windows Media Extender...
I had heard something about this, but my argument is, I'm in IT and I wouldn't have the beginning of an idea what "media extender" is if you hadn't just mentioned it in this context.

I'm primarily a big-box UNIX system geek, but still, I read /., the Reg, news.com, and get and read ZD spam in my mailbox every day. I should be having to go out of my way to avoid a barrage of information about the way to converge all my media into my family room TV...but nope, I have to look at stuff like MythTV configs, price Hauppage boards, etc, all on my own.

If I bring a device into my house and attach it to my wireless home network, there should be crawlers sucking it dry for content and offering it up to the shrine that is my Sony KDL-52XBR4 and associated hardware in an attractive media browser window I can either access via TV or my iPhone, remember the devices with the media, stream it to where ever I am, etc, etc, etc. When my buddy comes over with his iPhone and has his vacation clips with him, if we want to watch his vacation movie, we should just connect his iPhone to my LAN and then turn the TV on... and there should be the option to watch and/or download his movie, just by virtue of having had his device attached to my LAN.

There should be documentation on how to do this filling my in-box... all driven by the cash that can be gained by unobtrusive ads in shopping channel format that I can use to do all my shopping from... from media content to clicking on the Santa's list my grandchildren created and sent me the link to...wedding whateverthehelltheyare's telling me what my nephew's wedding wishes are... etc., sort of like the Wii channel menu I get when I fire up the game when my kids and their wives come over.

And then, Apple should step in and do it right, with an interface my 85 year old mother could not only use, but use to it's fullest extent.

The capability for all this already exists. It's just not in my living room, and the reason for that is, it's not been commercialized, and that's a shame.

real hackers don't use sigs

Last edited by Taskiss : 2009-02-13 at 10:25.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2009-02-13, 10:26

Well, when my Vista Dell is turned on, and I fire up my 360, a notification pops up in my taskbar that an extender has been added to the network. So it is autodetect at least for devices that work with Windows Media Player.

MS, like many other technologies they own, only license it to work with Windows machines. Maybe someday they'll take a more Windows agnostic approach but I doubt that'll happen anytime soon.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 10:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post
There should be documentation on how to do this filling my in-box... all driven by the cash that can be gained by unobtrusive ads in shopping channel format that I can use to do all my shopping from... from media content to clicking on the Santa's list my grandchildren created and sent me the link to...wedding whateverthehelltheyare's telling me what my nephew's wedding wishes are... etc., sort of like the Wii channel menu I get when I fire up the game when my kids and their wives come over.

And then, Apple should step in and do it right, with an interface my 85 year old mother could not only use, but use to it's fullest extent.
That right there, IMO, pretty much distills it all down to its meaty essence

In general:

- When Microsoft copies (okay, "takes inspiration from") Apple, they tend to do it worse, or in such an unhinged "WTF?!" manner that you sometimes have to question their sanity or intelligence. I know I have on occasion...

- When Apple is "late to the party", or piggybacks onto an already-existing tech, process, product, etc., they tend to do it 10x better than "the old way", and usually wind up setting the standard the rest of the industry kills themselves to match.

The examples for both number in the thousands, I believe.



That's a very true assessment, IMO. It's not "fanboyism" as much as "well, just look around and see for yourself."



At this point, considering the evidence, I simply expect Microsoft to step on their dick at any given moment, trying to out-Apple Apple. I couldn't trust them to come up with a coherent, engaging marketing campaign to save my life. And I can't imagine their take on a "retail presence" being anything but a jumbled, confusing mess of shit not working right (except for maybe the game stuff, which is already entrenched, has a presence and following, etc.).

So, again...

I've said this before, and they're better when they don't do that. But they want to be "hip and cool" too, with quirky ads, dancing hipsters, etc. But it just looks silly because you can't manufacture "vibe" and stuff like that.

Apple doesn't even try, and Microsoft tries entirely too hard. And over and over they miss the mark on that front.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2009-02-13, 11:00

Apple certainly tries. They try very hard. What Apple does is ingenious, they make previously difficult tasks brain dead simple and intuitive. IMHO, this is where Apple shines the brightest.
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Kraetos
Lovable Bastard
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston-ish
 
2009-02-13, 11:36

Sometimes I think that Microsoft's future lies in the Xbox, not Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
At this point, considering the evidence, I simply expect Microsoft to step on their dick at any given moment, trying to out-Apple Apple.
You're absolutely right. These "look at meeeee we're cool and hip just like Apple!" tactics wont go anywhere for Microsoft.

Microsoft has strengths. But they seem to be obsessed with one-upping Apple. If they would simply pull back and play to the markets they're more suited to be in, maybe they'd be faring better.

On the other hand... Apple may be unstoppable. There may be nothing Microsoft can do to stop the slowly tipping scale of power. A few years ago I thought the one piece of consumer electronics that Apple would never try (again) would be video games. I was wrong.

Apple has no business in the cheap computer market, but Google-backed Linux might. If this ever happens... Microsoft will be in quite a bit of trouble.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope

Last edited by Kraetos : 2009-02-13 at 11:51.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 11:40

Of course Apple tries (and what you said is dead-on)!

When I say they don't "try", I'm referring strictly to their presence or overall vibe or "cool factor". They don't seem to make it a working priority, it's just a natural by-product and result. But I don't think they actively try to be "hip" in any given situation (and if they do, it's a bit more low-key and transparent than Microsoft and many others), and seem a bit more okay with just letting the products do the talking.

But yes, they "try" very much in the "ease-of-use/stuff just works" department, don't get me wrong. I wasn't talking about that; they excel there like nobody's business. The fact that I've got a switcher just a little over 48 hours into things who has already figured out, on her own, more about iPhoto and how it all works (than I could probably show her in a reasonable amount of time) speaks volumes...that's from someone who, before Tuesday, wasn't really quite sure to do with all the photos on her camera and computer, beyond the occasional e-mail attachment. Now? Holy crap...she's tagging Faces, entering Places info, making smart albums based on that criteria, removing redeye, straightening/cropping goofy pics, removing blemishes, etc. I was impressed (and it's a really neat testament to how "brain dead simple" they do indeed make this stuff, so yeah)...



Her camera is her friend again.
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Taskiss
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
 
2009-02-13, 11:52

Apple makes it look easy and obvious, and their efforts make one go "Why wasn't it done this way all along"?
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2009-02-13, 12:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post
Apple makes it look easy and obvious, and their efforts make one go "Why wasn't it done this way all along"?
Bingo.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 12:08

I say that all the time, watching these keynotes.

It's amazing how often the most simple, obvious way of doing something is overlooked. It's almost like there's a push in much of the industry to make things a bit more dense and complex, just to keep tech support and IT pros busy. Some companies almost seem to go out of their way to make a particular task or hobby a pain-in-the-butt. Or they put the cart before the horse and focus on a snazzy, "designed" interface or all the trimmings, as opposed to the actual use/function of the product in question. You design a smart, thoughtful and logical piece of software or hardware first...then you work on "dressing it up" and giving it an attractive, eye-catching front-end or packaging. It's wild how many companies seem to take the reverse approach.

Apple excels at doing it the right way, no doubt. And it's my favorite thing about them. They release a new version of iLife, I watch the keynote and 5-10 tutorial videos on their site and next thing you know I'm in the thick of a project, slinging stuff around like I've done it for years. I've never read their manuals, and I've never had to pay $28.95 for a "how to use iMovie" book either.

It's wonderful, and they're very good at making that sort of stuff "for everyone". They've done it dozens of times over the years, with various products. It's what they'll be remembered for more than anything, IMO. Hardware styles and trends come and go, but through it all (even going back to the first iMovie in late 1999...holy crap, has it been that long?!), they've put this sort of thing into the hands of "regular people", but while still providing useful, expected (or even high-end, pro-like) features and capabilities.

Not many companies do it as well. Probably just a handful.

I don't think Microsoft is one of them. I just don't. And that's not gratuitous "Apple fan" bashing. We installed Office 2008 onto my Mom's new Mac mini, and just the installation process for it (compared to iLife '09, Print Shop and Quicken 2007...three completely different, unrelated companies), was a cumbersome, confusing pain. It asked you about 200 questions, stuff popped up to bug you, multiple windows and windows within a window you thought you'd already dismissed, etc. You kinda thought you were in Windows, frankly.



And then, of course, the Office 2008 "Service Pack" update (labeled as "critical" in the automatic updater) hangs upon installation, and gives you no feedback or "how to proceed" info whatsoever. You have to force quit the installer, and then you get a typical Microsoft error message with some WTF?! acronym that nobody outside the company probably understands.

I tried downloading it fresh from their site, and it does the same thing. The blue "barber shop" progress bar goes about 1/8th of an inch (barely into the install) and just sits there. Forever. None of the text around it changes to reflect the status or any sort of "be patient, installation is in progress" confirmation or gives you any sort of time estimate. You just sit there for 15-20 minutes and nothing happens.

And it repeated that on a second machine (there's a three-user install/serial key for Office 2008 student/home edition), so it wasn't a quirk related to my Mom's refurb mini (I thought it might've been at first).

So, in a nutshell: they make it harder than it has to be, but, beyond that, there's a super good chance it won't work in the end, after all the effort and wait. Perfect!

By all means, bring that to the retail stores! The lines at the Guru Pub (don't laugh...you know it's a strong possibility) will be out the door and twice around the mall).

Last edited by psmith2.0 : 2009-02-13 at 12:46.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2009-02-13, 13:17

This is from Gizmodo and exactly what I would picture a Microsoft Store to be like:




I think it's a stupid idea for MS to do this. All of their software is already installed on any computer you find at any retailer.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2009-02-13, 18:35

Quote:
Originally Posted by kieran View Post
I think it's a stupid idea for MS to do this. All of their software is already installed on any computer you find at any retailer.
Then you don't know the breadth and depth of MS software then. I'm not a fanboy of either MS or Apple, but MS has a huge software catalog. If you're lucky, you'll get Windows & Office on a new Windows PC. If you're unlucky, you'll get MS Works instead of Office. While these are the revenue pillars of MS, they alone barely scratch the surface of what they offer. Just go to www.microsoft.com (when did MS' homepage get a facelift?) and hover over "All Products". This will start to give you an idea of the different software sectors (from Office to Visual Studio to MS Dynamics, MS Expression to Encarta, games, etc.) MS is in.
  quote
Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2009-02-13, 18:38

Well, to be fair, I always thought MS was more relevant in workplace rather than at home. I mean, most of programs that are usable usually are some kind of productivity or development applications. Anything like photo album or internet browsers usually can be found somewhere else with better quality (assuming we're talking Windows only here, of course).
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cosus
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2009-02-13, 19:16

Who wants to bet they don't even have the name "Microsoft" out on the billboard? I'm going for the name, "Enter the experience."
  quote
psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 20:59

I'll do you one better. No word/title at all (text).

Instead, a glowing white windows logo.



Laugh if you want, but you know there's a part of you that expects this.



And, in keeping with the theme and overall vibe of running you six miles around the bend to do the simplest task, it won't be just an open, wide and inviting doorway. They'll get cute with some sort of too-clever-for-its-own-good, neon-laden Revolving Door from Hell that will accidentally trap and crush the occasional hapless customer.

"We feel that anyone can just have an open square hole to enter a store; that's been done before, countless times. What we want to do is rethink this most basic of concepts for the 21st century. Therefore, we think walking into our store should be a transformational experience, wherein the protocols leveraged herein pertain to a equatorial endpoint and paradigm, thus magnified in a post-modern influx of available technologies brought to bear on the core demographic while inter-operative processes become melded with an active polyphonic croissant, exemplified by the weaving of interstitial vacuum win-wins and cross-market amalgamations. To that end, we..."







I will be highly entertained by this project, I'm sure.
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thegeriatric
geri to my friends
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Heaven
 
2009-02-13, 21:14

Microsoft to open new retail stores.............

I used to be undecided.....But now I'm not so sure.
No trees were harmed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
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scratt
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2009-02-13, 21:46

Honestly, anyone who thinks this is a good idea is perfectly stupid.

It's the most asinine 'me too' flail by Microsoft.

I give it 12 months before the cracks start to show, and then it's simply a matter of time (probably years) before Microsoft accept it's a failure just like the Zune.

These shops are going to look like the worst possible amalgam of Circuit City and BestBuy IMO.

Props to the first person to get a hacked copy of OS X running on a PeeCee in-store.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2009-02-13, 22:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I'll do you one better. No word/title at all (text).

Instead, a glowing white windows logo.



Laugh if you want, but you know there's a part of you that expects this.

Wait... no Scatesshopped image? Just a bunch of text? You're not going to let some novice pansy wannabe 'shopper like me outdo you on that, are ya'?




The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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scratt
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2009-02-13, 22:32

The people in the shop don't look right.

They should all have bad acne and be wearing shell suits and anoraks.

Oh and there wouldn't be *any* girls *at all*....

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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cosus
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2009-02-13, 22:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Wait... no Scatesshopped image? Just a bunch of text? You're not going to let some novice pansy wannabe 'shopper like me outdo you on that, are ya'?



Wow. You even changed the computer in there. It's like one of those spot the differences pictures.
  quote
psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-13, 22:55

Ha...perfect! Now just add the neon-laced Doors o' Death, and it'll be perfect!

Holy crap, I just now noticed the Zune and Xbox retouches in the window. Brad, you are hitting on all cylinders!



Awesome.
  quote
Eugene
careful with axes
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2009-02-14, 02:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Wait... no Scatesshopped image? Just a bunch of text? You're not going to let some novice pansy wannabe 'shopper like me outdo you on that, are ya'?

http://i41.tinypic.com/2wly8sp.jpg

Need to remove all the customers.

MicrosoftSF was a dismal failure, though I guess all they ever sold were peripherals and software. And the Sony Metreon which housed it is a horrible excuse for a mall. It's just a PlayStation Store, a SonyStyle, movie theater and a food court.

I couldn't help but notice that even with Microsoft's best foot forward, their fake store had big box shelving units and end-caps. TBH I don't really feel the Apple Stores now are quite what they used to be. Sure they have good one-on-one service, but there's no longer a real sense of community in the store. I miss being able to watch keynotes for special events in the back on the big screen...it's ironic that those are almost all gone now. And filtering out high-traffic websites is really, really dumb.
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2009-02-14, 03:22

Better?






Yes, I would appear that I have too much free time…
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Satchmo
can't read sarcasm.
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
 
2009-02-14, 10:24

Good one, Brad.

But you know Microsoft is hurting, when even PC World Magazine pokes fun at them with 10 Ways Microsoft's Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores:

1) Instead of Apple's sheer walls of glass, Microsoft's stores will have brushed steel walls dotted with holes -- reminiscent of Windows security.

2) The store will have six different entrances: Starter, Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. While all six doors will lead into the same store, the Ultimate door requires a fee of $100 for no apparent reason.

3) Instead of a "Genius Bar" (as Apple provides) Microsoft will offer an Excuse Bar. It will be staffed by Microsofties trained in the art of evading questions, directing you to complicated and obscure fixes, and explaining it's a problem with the hardware -- not a software bug.

4) The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

5) Store hours are undetermined. At any given time the store mysteriously shuts down instantaneously for no apparent reason. (No word yet on what happens to customers inside).

6) Stores will be named Microsoft Live Retail Store with PC Services for Digital Lifestyle Enthusiasts.

7) Fashioned after Microsoft's User Account Control (UAC) in Vista, sales personnel will ask you whether you're positive you want to purchase something at least twice.

8) Xbox 360 section of the store will be organized in a ring -- which will inexplicably go red occasionally.

9) DreamWorks will design a scary in-store theme park ride called "blue screen of death."

10) Store emergency exits will be unlocked at all times so people can get in anytime they want even if the front doors are locked.
  quote
psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-02-14, 10:46



Sounds about right.

On a somewhat related (Microsoft) note, I'm having a pain of a time installing this Office 2008 SP update. Looking around the Web, it seems to be a widely known thing, resulting in all sorts of issues upon install (assuming you can even get that far), involving rebuilds, reinstalls, tweaked settings you have to reset, long rebuilds, inexplicable processes and odd "helper" apps launching in a loop, etc. I went to one page where a guy listed (then provided the fix) for no fewer than six things that the SP 1 update might do to your system.



Naturally, this is the only app we've had this sort of trouble with. The others on her system installed in minutes (including any recent updates from that company's website afterwards). No, just Office 2008 is being the lone, head-slapping pain-in-the-ass.

Again, I'm stunned.




Oh, wait...no I'm not. It's always something with these guys; nothing's ever just easy and straightforward, or goes totally as expected. That would be asking too much, I guess.

I can't believe these guys "run the world" (might explain a lot, now that I think about it). I wouldn't trust them to set my alarm clock right, for crying out loud. I absolutely hate dealing with anything from them; I really do. I know I'll dick around and lose at least an hour sometime today trying to get this on her machine. I kinda thought I left all that behind, but if it's going to involve them, I guess they're a cross-platform thorn in my side...
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