What would you pay for a Microsoft Subscription?

Yesterday, Microsoft officially announced Office for iPad. The app will allow anyone who downloads it to view read-only versions of their documents stored in OneDrive. However, to modify your documents, you must be a paying Office 365 subscriber. Also, I have recently been considering signing up for an Xbox Music Pass. Not only that, but I have an ongoing Xbox Live Gold Member subscription.

This got me thinking. Imagine some sort of “Microsoft Subscription” that enabled access to the works? Xbox Live, Office 365, let’s say 50 or 100GB of bonus OneDrive storage, Xbox Music Pass… everything! What would you pay? If the MSRP of Office 365’s base package is $60 for one year. A year of Xbox Live Gold is $59.99, and Xbox Music, if paid up front, is $99.99. You’re looking at $220 worth of products, if you pay in advance. Paying month by month brings both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Music to $120/year, each. So, what would you pay for a “Microsoft Subscription” to unlock it all? $150? $200? What other products would you want out of your subscription fee? If it were $250 and included a downloadable desktop version of Office to install your PC? A Windows license that always allowed you to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Windows?

More importantly, do you believe something like this will happen in the future? Feel free to comment below.

Is Facebook buying Oculus Rift the death knell?

A friend of mine asked me what I thought of the Facebook $2 billion dollar buyout of Oculus Rift. This is what I wrote.

I thought Facebook was a 4-6 billion dollar company. Right before they went public, they gave a billion to Instagram. Then another 16+ billion to WhatsApp. Now two billion to Oculus. If you had $50, and you gave $40 away, you would be in a pretty weak position. Literally, based on raw numbers, it seems like Oculus could turn around and buy Facebook right now. It doesn’t make ANY sense at all.

  1. This MUST be shaking the confidence in Facebook stockholders. Zuck is still spending money however he sees fit, he has no vague idea how to monetize Facebook effectively and shareholders are only going to see their company having less and less value.
  2. Kickstarter backers should be furious. Even though Kickstarter doesn’t make you part owner of a company, I think that may be about to change. Sites like Kiva.org for Micro lending are going to take the place of sites like Kickstarter – where you either give someone a loan that will be paid back, or you become a shareholder in the company or product. It is insulting to give you money to get you this far, and then you don’t just go out and find a new investor, you let someone else BUY OUT your company. Why did I bother giving you money in the first place?
  3. Facebook COULD “leave it alone” in the beginning. Much like Microsoft has let Skype be their own thing for several years, and only recently started implementing it as their primary messenger platform. Skype still has most of its autonomy, now it just integrates with Microsoft’s platform better than before. Facebook could potentially allow Oculus to continue what they are doing, and then tackle his own ideas later.
  4. I, for one, haven’t been all that excited about Oculus Rift. Don’t care for it. It’s still this large clunky thing you have to strap to your head. It’s cool, but not cool ENOUGH, yet. So I’m not broken hearted over this deal. But given the growing dislike of Facebook among people in the tech community (reluctantly still members because “you have to be”), I can see many more developers than Mojang walking away. Perhaps flocking to Razer’s unofficially-unannounced VR platform.

You're still using Twitter wrong

So many people I talk to “don’t get” Twitter. Even worse, are companies with Twitter accounts who have fewer followers than someone like me, who just Tweets casually. Let me offer you some advice on the best ways to use Twitter.

Twitter is not a bullhorn. Get out of the web 1.0 mentality. You can’t just post status updates and expect people to find you.

Twitter is a conversation. Be a part of it. Engage and participate in trending topics, follow others and engage them in daily discussions.

Follow back. Follow those who follow you. Use the search feature to find others talking about your topics of interest and follow them. Watch the conversations occurring with the people you already follow, and follow the people they interact with.

Twitter can help you find others. Some of the best moments are when you complain about a product, and their support team finds you and offers to help. It’s a sneak attack, it defuses someone who may not have otherwise contacted you, and shows them that you really do want to help. Use that search feature to see if others are talking about you, your products, brands, or even just your topic of interest. The key to this is timeliness. Don’t respond a week later. Twitter is too real time for you to be “just getting around” to that person’s tweet.

Twitter can spread positive perception quickly. Use the “retweet” feature to your advantage. If somebody says something positive about you, retweet them. It shows that person that you are actively listening (reading), and shows others that you recognize your followers.

Twitter is news. When I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t ever look back to RSS feeds. Not only is Twitter the place to go for breaking news events before any cable news networks, but it’s the place to go for trending topics, and even following some of the largest corporations as they continue to use Twitter as a bullhorn to spread their news. Only mega companies can get away with that behavior, but you will notice that even those with millions of followers will find a way to engage their fellow Twitter users.

Hold me to my own standards, follow @NuAngel on Twitter!

Apple products showing increased attacks from hackers

On Friday, Feb 21st, 2014, Apple issued an update for iOS. Apple’s website noted a serious flaw in SSL. On Tuesday the 25th, Apple finally released an update for Mac OSX (10.9.2) to address the flaw. I do not know if other, pre 10.9 Mavericks versions of Mac OSX are getting this update, or if iOS 6 users are receiving patches.

Considering Microsoft has supported Windows XP for over a decade and is only soon about to pull the plug, I find it shocking that Apple would only push these patches on their very latest operating systems, considering the severity of the flaw. Continue reading “Apple products showing increased attacks from hackers”

100,000 and growing

In late January 2012 I re-launched this website. I had this site (NuAngel.net) from 1999 to 2005. I then started another site (WinBreak) from 2006-2011, then repurchased the first domain and combined the two sites in 2012. At that time, I reset all statistics and started counting from scratch.

Fall 1999 – August 2003 I had about 50,000 views. Then I stopped tracking. I started tracking stats again in 2007. 2008 alone saw almost 89,000 views on the site. I have since adjusted the way I keep stats, using a few combined methods. In January of 2012, when I merged WinBreak into NuAngel.net, I reset the counters. Continue reading “100,000 and growing”

Will copycat mentality kill mega tech companies?

Google has your email. Not just GMail users, but major businesses. Google Apps users store the core of their business in Google’s cloud. Even Twitter uses GMail. I got on GMail very early on, back before users could invite each other, before you were given 5, then 20, then 100 invites to bring other people to GMail. I was excited to use it. The interface, the functionality, it was a leap forward from Hotmail, or the webmail app I had been using on my own domain. There was a time when I was excited to see what the search engine giant would do next. But these days, Google, Microsoft, and now Facebook, are all taking the wrong approach to business. Continue reading “Will copycat mentality kill mega tech companies?”

On the state of internet access in the United States

Oligopolies, legal monopolies: the laws that allow cable companies to corner the market and smother you. First off, if you think that companies like Comcast/Xfinity and Time Warner weren’t colluding and price fixing, you’re blind. Second, why do we allow cable companies exclusive rights to specific regional areas? The cable companies lobby the government to allow them to continue this way because of the cost of laying out their network. If they had to lower their prices to compete, they couldn’t afford to update their network. We don’t do that for phone companies, and many would argue that the telephone companies had similar, if not much larger, outlays of cash to create their networks nearly a half-century before the cable companies. Continue reading “On the state of internet access in the United States”

Is Google Evil?

I’m a huge fan of Leo Laporte and TWiT. Lately, Laporte has been catching some heat on his shows for defending Google. In episode 237 of This Week in Google (TWiG), Leo and his panel discussed the growing animosity towards Google. In the most recent episode of TWiT, and reiterated on TWiG, Leo argues that Google is quite forward with their policies. You know that if you use Google products, they are using your information to target ads to you. The more they know about you, the more Google can provide you with a better experience.

Google knows where you are based on the GPS in your Android phone. Google knows what your voice sounds like from the “OK, Google” voice commands delivered via your phone or Glass. Google sifts through your GMail to pull out boarding passes for flights, appointment times so that Google Now can tell you when to leave based on location and traffic patterns, and even what you like to watch based on your YouTube viewing habits. All of this helps the former-search-now-everything giant better know you and deliver a genuinely unique experience when using their ecosystem.

To the end that Google seems to be quite transparent about what they do with your information, I completely agree with Laporte. However, the information isn’t why I feel Google is becoming more “evil” by the day. It is Google’s desire to control everything. Jeff Jarvis just rolled his eyes, but hear me out.

I don’t care if they want to buy Nest and know what the temperature is in my house. I don’t care if they can track me with GPS. I don’t care if they know what my emails say. Do I find it weird that one company wants to be in all of these different businesses? A little. But what concerns me most is Google’s refusal to play nice with other companies. I’m the 3% – I am a Windows Phone user. When Google planned to remove ActiveSync support from GMail was when I cut over to Outlook.com.

Google is slowly dragging you to their platform, as if their services aren’t enough. They are doing this by refusing to offer apps on other platforms. Don’t believe me? Look at the Windows Phone app store. See the picture above? The Google Search app is the ONLY app published by Google, Inc. I know, some of you are already asking “what’s the point of supporting Windows Phone?” But let’s be serious, rather than just ragging on a phone OS with small (but growing) market share. Why wouldn’t Google want their apps to be ubiquitous?

There is no GMail app. The phone can be configured to use IMAP and work quite well, but even Android itself separates the “Mail” app from the GMail app on their own Android platform. They offer a matching app on iOS. Why not offer a premium experience on any platform? Apple forcibly removed Google Maps from iOS, why not bring it to Windows Phone? Google has made the move to kill off support for 3rd party Google Voice apps, leaving those of us with MetroTalk out in the cold, despite not offering a full-featured solution on the Windows Phone platform.

Meanwhile, Microsoft offers a host of apps on Android. From OneDrive, to Office Mobile for Office 365, to Lync, to a full-featured Remote Desktop app, and a stand alone Bing app, for those interested. Even Xbox Music has made an appearance – but can I get Google Play Music for Windows Phone? No.

It isn’t what Google is doing with my data – I’d happily hand over more than they want to know! But I don’t have the option, unless I want to abandon my preferred user experience. There are a few of us crazies who like Windows Phone, and even Windows 8.1, how long is it until only Android and Chromebook users are allowed to access Google’s services? Google spent years making web-apps with the goal of being platform agnostic, but lately they seem to be creating a walled garden, with the sole intention of making outsiders jealous.

In this week’s TWiG, Gina Trapani agreed with Leo that there does seem to be a movement among “normal people” that Google is getting so big it’s scary. Leo thinks it may be a “drum beat” possibly relating to the fear of geek culture, as has been discussed before on his shows. But, in my experience, it’s the geeks leading this charge. Google might not be evil, yet, but their “don’t be evil” mantra can only help but become a whisper. As they dip their fingers in more and more industries, people are going to become increasingly cynical and wonder what their goals are. Their smartest move is to head users off at the pass and explain to the public what some more of their long term goals are for the company at large. It would put a lot of minds, including mine, at ease.

An Archive of NuAngel.net goodies

Just for the sake of hanging on to things, I have archived a few things from the original run of NuAngel.net. I genuinely don’t recall when I first registered my domain, but I believe it may have been as early as 1999, but possibly 2000. Over its initial run, one “web counter” I had used back then estimated my total number of visitors at around 57,000 from whenever I initially put the counter on the website to about 2005. It doesn’t seem like a lot, and it’s true – it really isn’t. But for the time, and for some random teenager from rural Pennsylvania – it was a big deal for me.


NuAngel.net/archive now holds a semi-functional version of the site as it was in 2001. I have also archived a 2000-2001 version of the front page, along with 2003, a 2004 version versions, and the “nearing goodbye” version, from August 2nd, 2005. There is an index from the 9/5/05 “Final Hours” post which I may also put up, some day. One of the updates in the gaming section even mentions Halo, circa 2001!

For a stroll down memory lane, just remember that the website ripped of the design from 3dfxgamers.com, but it was totally an award winning website!

&


Yes, back in 2002 and 2003, I actually proudly flew banners of the Junior Web Awards, the Golden Web Awards, and the Diamond Web Awards. The Diamond Web Awards was actually a voted on award and you had to receive a certain number of votes to “level up” the award. You were otherwise simply considered a participant. I ended up with enough votes to at least achieve “LEVEL 1” recognition. I don’t remember what that required. But I was excited about it at the time!


Or what about when link exchanges were the hot new thing?

Big thanks to Archive.org, Reocities.com, and Geocities.ws for some of the backup data being retrieved and stored.