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21. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 15:17 Beamer
 
jdreyer wrote on Jan 15, 2013, 15:12:
@ Beamer, I read an article recently that tribalism is still THE issue over at MS, and was the primary failure for the Kin failing. The article described infighting among different divisions instead of working together to make a uniform product. The Kin was a couple of years ago, but I can't imagine things have changed that much.

Kin came out in 2010. Ballmer didn't have full control until 2008.

We can argue about who created that culture at Microsoft, but my friends there say Ballmer has spent a huge chunk of his time eradicating it. Mostly successfully. Even if just a necessity to move the company to one platform across all departments.
 
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20. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 15:12 jdreyer
 
@ Beamer, I read an article recently that tribalism is still THE issue over at MS, and was the primary failure for the Kin failing. The article described infighting among different divisions instead of working together to make a uniform product. The Kin was a couple of years ago, but I can't imagine things have changed that much.  
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19. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 15:09 jdreyer
 
Quboid wrote on Jan 15, 2013, 15:01:
It sounds like Ballmer is doing a bad job, in a position where doing a good job is nearly impossible.

Maybe Steve Jobs' reputation for being a horrible bastard behind closed doors was what made Apple tick. This (along with being a visible, charismatic leader) perhaps helped focus everyone on satisfying just him, which in turn generally meant serving the greater goals of the company. Perhaps Ballmer needs to chuck more chairs around.

Jobs, his other flaws aside, was a genius with a singular vision and the charisma/power to make it happen. Ballmer, not so much.
 
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18. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 15:01 jdreyer
 
@ Krizzen: Great explanation. What game are you working on currently?  
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17. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 15:01 Quboid
 
It sounds like Ballmer is doing a bad job, in a position where doing a good job is nearly impossible.

Maybe Steve Jobs' reputation for being a horrible bastard behind closed doors was what made Apple tick. This (along with being a visible, charismatic leader) perhaps helped focus everyone on satisfying just him, which in turn generally meant serving the greater goals of the company. Perhaps Ballmer needs to chuck more chairs around.
 
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- Quboid
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16. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 13:20 Verno
 
I'm not sure what's going wrong with Microsoft. It seems they only ever really copied other people and their product ranges today seem to follow the same pattern - maybe the pace of change is the problem, thank to the Internet (which Gates and Ballmer completely misread) releasing a me-too product a year after Apple/Google/etc just doesn't cut it any more.

They had innovations, their internal culture murdered them though. Look at their mobile/tablet efforts dating back over a decade. Almost all of their early issues were design related, battery tech was secondary as smartphones have proven people will put up with shitty battery life for functionality. They just kind of gave up on it until Apple arrived and set the stage. It's been rumored Ballmer himself has kiboshed a few promising products because he was playing politics with people aspiring to his job.

I think the bigger problem is the sheer size of Microsoft at this point. Former employees have ranted publicly about how stodgy and slow their infrastructure is. Constant meetings and too much middle management are also common complaints. Getting ahead in the company means satisfying managers individually instead of serving greater goals in the company.

This comment was edited on Jan 15, 2013, 13:27.
 
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15. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 13:10 Quboid
 
killer_roach wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 23:20:
Cutter wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 22:06:
OR is going to be like 64 bit gaming, nothing will materialize for it.

And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer, period.

Ballmer's not so much the issue - it's Microsoft's corporate culture that has devolved into tribalism over the past couple of decades. Nothing gets done of any consequence because nobody wants to step on another division's turf. Ballmer's a numbers guy, but he's not a manager of any sense.

Whoever ultimately replaces him will likely start with a bloodletting of most of the mid-upper-level management.

So Ballmer is the issue? He's the boss, if tribalism is stifling the business it is his job to fix that. If he's failing (and Beamer says otherwise) this is because he's a numbers guy rather than in any sense the man manager that's needed to cut through this, then that's Ballmer being the issue.

I'm not sure what's going wrong with Microsoft. It seems they only ever really copied other people and their product ranges today seem to follow the same pattern - maybe the pace of change is the problem, thank to the Internet (which Gates and Ballmer completely misread) releasing a me-too product a year after Apple/Google/etc just doesn't cut it any more.
 
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14. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 09:01 wtf_man
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 22:06:
And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer Julie Larson-Green, period.

Fixed.

(Responsible for the Ribbon Interface and Metro)
 
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13. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 08:51 Verno
 
killer_roach wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 23:20:
Ballmer's not so much the issue - it's Microsoft's corporate culture that has devolved into tribalism over the past couple of decades. Nothing gets done of any consequence because nobody wants to step on another division's turf. Ballmer's a numbers guy, but he's not a manager of any sense.

I disagree, Ballmer promoted that sort of culture, it's pretty apparent in their huge talent drain over the past 5 years and how poorly all divisions have interacted. Ballmer is a results person and didn't care about the process, he's even said as much before. The trouble with that approach is a lack of cohesion and too much competition isn't good internally for morale which shows up in your end products. The fighting also leads to a lack of identity for products and branding confusion. How many mail products did Microsoft have? Windows Live Mail Outlook Express Hotmail Outlook. I'm sure I'm missing a few there.

So many missed opportunities under Ballmer that it can't be ignored too. Microsoft is constantly playing catch up on every front or killing products before they even hit market. Zune, Kin, UMPC, WinCE, Docs.com, Surface, Mediaroom, Courier, ten years of PDA/Phone shit, etc. Windows 8 is the epitomy of Microsoft - a confused and jumbled effort that can't seem to decide what it wants to be.
 
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12. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 08:50 Krizzen
 
NKD wrote on Jan 15, 2013, 03:23:
"64 bit gaming" on the other hand had nothing materialize for it because the phrase "64 bit gaming" is itself a nice nugget of ignorance created by dimwitted gamers and the gaming press when AMD and Intel started releasing the relevant hardware.

I've always felt the same way, but recently I learned the reality of the different "bit" eras of gaming.

WARNING: Massive techno babble below. Skip near the bottom or just ignore and go about your day. Hope this doesn't piss everyone off being so off-topicish.

Indeed, the most relevant example is that a 64-bit CPU can address up to 2^64 bytes, or a little more than 18 exabytes. By a similar metric, a 64-bit register can store a number up to 18 quintillion and do calculations with two such numbers. Contrast this with a 32-bit architecture at a memory limit of ~4.3 gigabytes and numbers as large as ~4.3 billion.

The real issue with this "64-bit gaming" thing is that we technically haven't transitioned out of 32-bit. Sure, everyday CPUs support operations on multiple 128-bit numbers at the same via SSE extensions, but most compilers see this code as nonstandard and the optimizations must be explicitly specified by the programmer AND the game's code must be setup in a special way to take advantage of the extensions. It's not terribly difficult, but a lot of things don't support many CPU extensions out of the box like SSE, 3DNow, AMD-V, specifically libraries used in a game may not support all CPU optimizations, libraries like DirectX, PhysX, OpenGL, OpenAL, fmod, and Scaleform (Flash) (I'm not saying these DON'T support extensions, but I'd wager none of them guarantee extension support for all their features).

[Quick Rant: In my opinion, lack of support for CPU extensions is the LARGEST offender when it comes to games that are just slow and "unoptimized". This is most apparent in ANY game that uses ALMOST ANY scripting language. Classically, the scripting language is parsed at runtime, meaning while the game is running the game engines reads each line of script to figure out what it does, and then translates it to a byte code the CPU can understand. Since the speed of compilation is VERY important (the main feature of a scripting engine), it is usually sloppy and doesn't include fancy SSE extensions to give LITERALLY (I swear, I'm not kidding) 400% boosts to 3D operations, for example; matrix operations, specifically. Examples of games that have poor performance almost all the time: Flash, using ActionScript; Games using Lua scripts; Games with lots of XML; Game GUIs with web browsers (they usually use the web browser renderer for the game's GUI, either Scaleform or WebKit); Javascript games; Java games; C# games.

Anyway, those things don't usually even take advantage of SSE1 which came out around 1999. This is relevant because all the processor extensions have more-or-less pioneered 64-bit desktop CPUs]

Oh yeah, another big thing about still being in "32-bit" is that GPUs operate almost exclusively on 32-bit floats and physically can't use 64-bit values without special software hacks that would most definitely wreck performance. Recently a LOT of new cards have switched to 64-bit, which is good.

So, to put this all in simple terms (and to go a step further):

CPUs have limits imposed by being primarily 32-bit. These limits are how much memory you can have in your system and how big or small numbers can be. Smaller numbers mean less precision. For example, in a space game I'm making I ran into a problem that when you reached the outside of the galaxy, the ship would start to deform and wobble in strange ways. This is because a 32-bit number just doesn't have the precision to represent the positions of all the vertices of the 3D model. A 64-bit number would have no problem whatsoever.

In the end, true 64-bit gaming would consist of video cards with more than 4.3 GB of memory and very likely more detailed and larger game worlds. It will also eliminate things flickering at extreme distance that you sometimes see in games. The final, and largest difference, will be in performance since most graphics cards (except the very latest) still work exclusively on 32-bit numbers.
 
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11. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 08:20 Beamer
 
killer_roach wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 23:20:
Cutter wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 22:06:
OR is going to be like 64 bit gaming, nothing will materialize for it.

And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer, period.

Ballmer's not so much the issue - it's Microsoft's corporate culture that has devolved into tribalism over the past couple of decades. Nothing gets done of any consequence because nobody wants to step on another division's turf. Ballmer's a numbers guy, but he's not a manager of any sense.

Whoever ultimately replaces him will likely start with a bloodletting of most of the mid-upper-level management.

Actually, the thing Ballmer did really, really well is kill that tribalism. Like, it's mostly gone. Not entirely, but why do you think they sent the head of Windows packing? It wasn't Windows 8, for which they had no sales data yet, it was because he was the chief of the tribalism.

Ballmer has done an incredible job changing the corporate culture. But it hasn't resulted in greater earnings, and that rope is growing short.

Cutter, however, has become kind of like that guy that goes into every single THQ thread and goes "burn in hell!" Cutter goes into every Microsoft thread and says something about Ballmer. In fairness, it belongs here, but it's become a weird pattern. Search his history for "Ballmer," it's one of his most mentioned words, but people rarely engage him on it. Eh, we all have our quirk topics...
 
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10. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 07:21 gray
 
It's being done as we speak;

http://www.mtbs3d.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=15570

 
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9. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 07:15 Orphic Resonance
 
seems like they could make the OR in a way that emulates the mouse, with middleware to take care of the rest... so effectively it would work for any FPS style game... is there something that would prevent that?  
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8. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 03:23 NKD
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 22:06:
OR is going to be like 64 bit gaming, nothing will materialize for it.

And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer, period.

It's not really comparable. On one hand you're talking about presentation, gameplay, and visual experience. On the other the nebulous promise of increased performance. Oculus Rift offers a certain gaming experience that is immediately apparent when you put it on and try it. Whether people will like it, or whether it's worth a shit is debatable. But it exists, and is something people can evaluate and take advantage of if they so desire.

"64 bit gaming" on the other hand had nothing materialize for it because the phrase "64 bit gaming" is itself a nice nugget of ignorance created by dimwitted gamers and the gaming press when AMD and Intel started releasing the relevant hardware. The only bit of relevance it ever had to gaming was the ability to address more memory, and taking advantage of that in any meaningful way is difficult without running into other performance barriers.

OR may end up being a flop, hell, it probably will. But it's not a very good comparison. One is an idea being sold to gamers, the other is gamers trying to sell themselves on an idea that was never really meant for them.
 
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7. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 15, 2013, 01:05 Creston
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 22:06:
OR is going to be like 64 bit gaming, nothing will materialize for it.

And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer, period.

I was going to say the same thing. IE6 has NOTHING on MS putting Ballmer in charge, and then leaving the moron there for... what... ten plus years now?

Creston
 
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6. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 14, 2013, 23:20 killer_roach
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 22:06:
OR is going to be like 64 bit gaming, nothing will materialize for it.

And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer, period.

Ballmer's not so much the issue - it's Microsoft's corporate culture that has devolved into tribalism over the past couple of decades. Nothing gets done of any consequence because nobody wants to step on another division's turf. Ballmer's a numbers guy, but he's not a manager of any sense.

Whoever ultimately replaces him will likely start with a bloodletting of most of the mid-upper-level management.
 
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5. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 14, 2013, 22:29 Dades
 
Those Microsoft mistakes point to a serious lack of vision and an inability to read any number of markets, Microsoft needs to get rid of Ballmer.

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4. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 14, 2013, 22:06 Cutter
 
OR is going to be like 64 bit gaming, nothing will materialize for it.

And MS' worst mistake? Steve Ballmer, period.
 
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3. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 14, 2013, 21:50 NegaDeath
 
DangerDog wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 21:22:
Really want an Oculus Rift but I can wait till it's a polished product, lighter, 1080p screens and faster sensors for retail please.

Fortunately that's what they're aiming for with the retail versions.
 
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2. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jan 14, 2013, 21:28 jdreyer
 
DangerDog wrote on Jan 14, 2013, 21:22:
Really want an Oculus Rift but I can wait till it's a polished product, lighter, 1080p screens and faster sensors for retail please.

Yeah, the articles describing it have been pretty good, but it's definitely a try-before-buy piece of equipment.
 
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