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September 2007

Another beautifully-written, thought-provoking column from Joel Spolsky. So good, I'll forgive the gratuitous crack at economists:

The developers who put a lot of effort into optimizing things and making them tight and fast will wake up to discover that effort was, more or less, wasted, or, at the very least, you could say that it “conferred no long term competitive advantage,” if you’re the kind of person who talks like an economist.

No, Joel, it's management consultants who talk like that.

One underappreciated benefit of the Net: finding out that there are other people asking the same questions as you are. "Why do bars, restaurants, clothing stores and shoe stores play such loud music?"

Not much in the way of convincing answers, but just knowing other people are noticing is pleasing.

Here's another one: "Why is there never anything good on TV? More specifically, why is there not a movie channel that shows 3, 4, and 5 star movies 24-7? I have HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc. etc. and most of the time all of the movies are shiite."

Last post on Microsoft Vista for a while. It sure seems like it will be one of the Big Mistakes that MBAs study for years.

Peter Huber at Forbes pronounces Vista and Word 2007 "Blunder 2007":

Why Microsoft decided not to include a "Word Classic" option in its new release is utterly mystifying. This is the sort of mistake huge companies make when they get complacent, as General Motors (nyse: GM - news - people ) or Sears did in the 1970s. Evidently Microsoft now aspires to settle in as the Sears of operating systems and the Buick of the office desktop.

The Wall Street Journal's Business Technology blog:

Microsoft started selling Vista, the latest version of its Windows operating system, to businesses last November. And despite the fact that over 90% of businesses run Windows, only 7% of large companies plan to switch to Vista this year, according to this Journal article. The article touches on all the reasons that companies are delaying the switch: Some of the security software isn’t ready; problems with special software called “drivers” that run printers and other devices; the fact that most companies run software that may not work with the new operating system.

This blog thinks it all suggests one thing: Companies don’t need Vista yet. In the past, Microsoft was replacing a version of Windows with known flaws or introducing a new version with a lot more capabilities. But XP, the version of Windows that was released in 2002, works great – or at least good enough for businesses.

CNET News:

While Microsoft is still pushing Vista hard, the company is quietly allowing PC makers to offer a "downgrade" option to buyers that get machines with the new operating system but want to switch to Windows XP. 

Satire, hitting a raw nerve: "Microsoft Reveals Windows Vista SP1 Will Install XP".

J. Skinner asks economists, "Are You Sure You're Saving Enough for Retirement?"

A gentleman who was a TA when I was a first-year grad student at UCLA, now John French Professor of Economics at Dartmouth, Jonathan Skinner, asks, "Are You Sure You're Saving Enough For Retirement?" He is addressing the question to many of the Door's readers:

Many observers believe current aging baby boomers are woefully unprepared for retirement. Others raise the prospect that Americans are saving too much for retirement. This paper attempts to reconcile these contrasting views using a simple life cycle model and a more sophisticated retirement program, with special reference to retirement prospects for economists. I find most households with post-graduate degrees fall short of the wealth needed to smooth spending through retirement.