Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Bad Boy Ballmer

I just finished reading "Bad Boy Ballmer" by Frederic Alan Maxwell. The book was partly entertaining on one hand, on the other hand it didn't provide too much of new information to the well-informed reader. And: the usual Microsoft-bashing, dispensable to say the least. I wonder when unreflected Microsoft-bashing will finally go out of fashion.

Steve Ballmer protects his private life more than Bill Gates (Gates was and still is successfully promoted as the company's harmless chief nerd to the broader public by Microsoft's PR, while within the industry his business tactics are known to be merciless).

"Bad Boy Ballmer" also contains several hilarious bloopers on technology terms, I will just mention two of them:

"By 2002 one could buy a Dell computer with 20 gigabytes - 20 billion bytes - of memory for less than eight hundred dollars. Given that IBM's 1981 Personal Computer had between zero and fortyeight thousand bytes of memory, a single, low-end 2002 Dell computer contains more than the memory of all the two hundred thousand IBM PCs sold in their first year combined."

Huh? The author seems to be confusing memory on a IBM PC as of 1981 with hard disk space on a Dell 2002 PC here. The first IBM PCs came with 16kB or 64kB, expandable to 256kB. 4GB is the current addressing limit on Win32 flat memory (although it can be extended up to 64GB using technologies like Physical Address Extension (PAE) on high-end Windows server versions). Dell's standard PCs of 2002 typically were equipped with 128MB or 256MB of memory.

"Andreesen and Clark jointly established Netscape, its powerful search engine an outgrowth of Mosaic to the point that the University of Illinois threatened to sue."

Mosaic, Netscape a search engine? You can't be serious.

Did no one tech-savvy proof-read this? Hmmm... the book WAS ENTERTAINING after all. ;-)