Talking Microsoft’s Home Server on banks of the Rhein

Had a wonderful day in Basel yesterday. Went and visited my mom’s birthplace (she was born and lived in a house near the Swiss border in Weil am Rhein — her parents ran a restaurant on the first floor, they lived on second). Found it ironic that it’s now a strip club in half of it, and a Chinese Restaurant in the other.

Martin Spedding (he works at Microsoft helping out the local pharma companies, which are very large) gave us a wonderful tour. Starting at the Museum Tinguely. Full of fascinating art pieces built from junk. Highly recommended. After that we walked down the Rhein.

Aside: Google just switched to German on me. Why does it assume I speak German just because my packets are coming from Germany? Grrrrrr. Ich spreche kein Deutsch! It should know that I’ve been hitting it from this computer for months from the United States and that that is my home base. I can’t even read Google now, so I have no idea how to change the default back to English. I just did a search on “Rhein” and it took me to the German Wikipedia, too. Double Grrrrrr.

Along the way he was raving about his new Microsoft Home Server.

The problem with the Home Server is going to be marketing. Already mentions of it have totally died off. Geeks already know how to setup their own servers, so don’t think another server is needed. People like my aunt are barely computer literate, so have no idea that a server exists or what it’d be useful for (and, since the geeks don’t exactly get thrilled about the idea, they sure aren’t going to take the time to explain it to her).

It’s too bad, too, because if they could just spend a bit of time listening to Martin they’d see there’s a really great reason to get a Home Server. First, it’s a headless server. Just bring the box home, plug it into your router, and control it from other PCs or Macs in your house. Second, it’s a great way to store music, photos, videos, and works with Xbox 360′s Media Extender technology. That’s another thing that’s hard to explain to people. It’s one of the coolest things about Xbox 360: that it can play music, photos, videos stored on a PC or Home Server kept somewhere else in your house.

Martin explained the Home Server is very good at backing up your stuff and gets faster and faster at that over time due to incremental backup technology built for Windows Server 2003. He also raved about its remote-access features so he could get to his home stash of photos and such, even when he travels to Microsoft in the states.

Anyway, getting a pitch while walking along the Rhein was a lot of fun. I hope to interview Charlie Kindel (he runs the Home Server group) when I visit Seattle later this month right before the Northern Voice conference.

Oh, another aside? If you search Google for “Microsoft Home Server” you don’t find any Microsoft Web site in the result set. Same if you search on Live.com. Even the official Microsoft Home Server blog doesn’t show up. It’s even harder to get marketing success when your own blog and home page don’t show up on your own search engine!

Anyway, tonight we’ll be be at Martinsbräu in Freiburg at 6 p.m. See you there! Everyone is invited. Oh, and my cell phone works just fine, albeit is very expensive to answer. +1 (425) 205-1921.

117 thoughts on “Talking Microsoft’s Home Server on banks of the Rhein

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  4. @55 Marxist Peter says “if I cannot control every aspect of my software, to include being able to view the source, then it’s evil.”

    Did you compile your web browser too? How about the compiler itself, to cleanse the evilness out of that one too? There’s firmware in your computer and you don’t have the source code… I fear for your safety with so much evilness in your home. Face it Peter, you’re just plain weird.

  5. @55 Marxist Peter says “if I cannot control every aspect of my software, to include being able to view the source, then it’s evil.”

    Did you compile your web browser too? How about the compiler itself, to cleanse the evilness out of that one too? There’s firmware in your computer and you don’t have the source code… I fear for your safety with so much evilness in your home. Face it Peter, you’re just plain weird.

  6. “Aside: Google just switched to German on me. Why does it assume I speak German just because my packets are coming from Germany? Grrrrrr. Ich spreche kein Deutsch! It should know that I’ve been hitting it from this computer for months from the United States and that that is my home base. I can’t even read Google now, so I have no idea how to change the default back to English. I just did a search on “Rhein” and it took me to the German Wikipedia, too. Double Grrrrrr”

    The Belgian version of the Google web site is always displayed in Dutch: it seems to me that these guys do not know that in Belgium, you have three offical languages: Dutch, French and German.

  7. “Aside: Google just switched to German on me. Why does it assume I speak German just because my packets are coming from Germany? Grrrrrr. Ich spreche kein Deutsch! It should know that I’ve been hitting it from this computer for months from the United States and that that is my home base. I can’t even read Google now, so I have no idea how to change the default back to English. I just did a search on “Rhein” and it took me to the German Wikipedia, too. Double Grrrrrr”

    The Belgian version of the Google web site is always displayed in Dutch: it seems to me that these guys do not know that in Belgium, you have three offical languages: Dutch, French and German.

  8. Well, well.

    John, your qualifications aside, you support some evil software ideals. I agree that protecting medical records is paramount. I also think that healthcare should be free. My taxes go to nothing but supporting Iraq and maybe a fixing a few potholes in my local streets.

    You said DRM is neither good or evil. I disagree with that line of thinking in the context of consumer software because if I cannot control every aspect of my software, to include being able to view the source, then it’s evil. For that reason alone, even in Linux, I will not download binary blobs. I get the source and compile it. I also learn something in the process.

    I never stated that all the overly-rich empire builders should give their money back. I stated that software should be free, as in freedom. Share DOES mean infinite copies, as that is one of the preconditions for free software.

    Stallmanite? No. I agree with him, but I don’t spend a lot of time reading his missives. I’ve agreed with his point of view before I even knew who he was.

    It’s about freedom and control. I like both. The fact that Windows uses DRM to control updating is evil. Most Windows software outside of the US is not genuine Windows. I’m OK with that. These people are prime candidates for becoming Linux users. Fact of the matter is, there is not a whole lot that Windows and the Mac can do that Linux cannot. Sure, I may have a less than perfect GUI, but at least my money stays in my wallet where it belongs.

    You say hardware is proprietary. Unfortunately, yes, but my BIOS is free software. You can download free software BIOSs now, freeing your computer almost entirely of badly-licensed software.

    Same goes for the iPod and soon the Zune. Get a freeware firmware changeout and do what you will.

    Cal me radical all you want, but I don’t answer to any company. I answer to the GPL, which suits me just fine, since I can share, copy ad nauseum, change, edit, you name it. The GPL is viral for several good reasons, which while you may not agree with them, they are sound ideals.

    Again, I may have offered some bad analogies, but my computing environment is free. Yours is not. This may not bother you, but it sure as hell bothers me on several levels.

    That’s why free software exists. For people who are tired of everything being proprietary and released under draconian licenses. The entire idea of intellectual property is bunk. No such thing. Copyrights, yes. Patents, yes. IP, no way.

    Embrace and extend is terribly evil. Software should be free. Full stop.

    Go and actually read the GPL. It’s more American than any other license out there. It embraces the founding father’s ideals more than you will know. Take another, closer look before you know it.

  9. Well, well.

    John, your qualifications aside, you support some evil software ideals. I agree that protecting medical records is paramount. I also think that healthcare should be free. My taxes go to nothing but supporting Iraq and maybe a fixing a few potholes in my local streets.

    You said DRM is neither good or evil. I disagree with that line of thinking in the context of consumer software because if I cannot control every aspect of my software, to include being able to view the source, then it’s evil. For that reason alone, even in Linux, I will not download binary blobs. I get the source and compile it. I also learn something in the process.

    I never stated that all the overly-rich empire builders should give their money back. I stated that software should be free, as in freedom. Share DOES mean infinite copies, as that is one of the preconditions for free software.

    Stallmanite? No. I agree with him, but I don’t spend a lot of time reading his missives. I’ve agreed with his point of view before I even knew who he was.

    It’s about freedom and control. I like both. The fact that Windows uses DRM to control updating is evil. Most Windows software outside of the US is not genuine Windows. I’m OK with that. These people are prime candidates for becoming Linux users. Fact of the matter is, there is not a whole lot that Windows and the Mac can do that Linux cannot. Sure, I may have a less than perfect GUI, but at least my money stays in my wallet where it belongs.

    You say hardware is proprietary. Unfortunately, yes, but my BIOS is free software. You can download free software BIOSs now, freeing your computer almost entirely of badly-licensed software.

    Same goes for the iPod and soon the Zune. Get a freeware firmware changeout and do what you will.

    Cal me radical all you want, but I don’t answer to any company. I answer to the GPL, which suits me just fine, since I can share, copy ad nauseum, change, edit, you name it. The GPL is viral for several good reasons, which while you may not agree with them, they are sound ideals.

    Again, I may have offered some bad analogies, but my computing environment is free. Yours is not. This may not bother you, but it sure as hell bothers me on several levels.

    That’s why free software exists. For people who are tired of everything being proprietary and released under draconian licenses. The entire idea of intellectual property is bunk. No such thing. Copyrights, yes. Patents, yes. IP, no way.

    Embrace and extend is terribly evil. Software should be free. Full stop.

    Go and actually read the GPL. It’s more American than any other license out there. It embraces the founding father’s ideals more than you will know. Take another, closer look before you know it.

  10. Spot Quiz: what’s the difference between (among?) these three products: Windows Home Server, HP MediaSmart Server, and HP MediaVault? Which should I buy?

    How confident are you (as interested and well-informed observers) in your answer? Here’s my answer, offered with only 30% confidence that I know what I’m talking about (Please correct me if I’m wrong):

    Windows Home Server is software, but you can’t buy it directly and you can’t order it by name.

    HP MediaSmart Server is hardware that runs Windows Home Server (which is bundled with it). You’ll be able to buy it and order it by name.

    HP MediaVault is a product that provides a subset of the functionality of MediaSmart Server. It runs software developed by HP on Linux.

    So, the first HW vendor to sign up for Home Media Server sells it alongside a similarly named competing product.

    What’s does MediaSmart do that MediaVault doesn’t? (The HW is different as well as the SW).

    As this thread testifies, a good chunk of the people who understand what these products do and recognize their benefits would rather roll their own.

    Is any of this MarketingSmart?

  11. Spot Quiz: what’s the difference between (among?) these three products: Windows Home Server, HP MediaSmart Server, and HP MediaVault? Which should I buy?

    How confident are you (as interested and well-informed observers) in your answer? Here’s my answer, offered with only 30% confidence that I know what I’m talking about (Please correct me if I’m wrong):

    Windows Home Server is software, but you can’t buy it directly and you can’t order it by name.

    HP MediaSmart Server is hardware that runs Windows Home Server (which is bundled with it). You’ll be able to buy it and order it by name.

    HP MediaVault is a product that provides a subset of the functionality of MediaSmart Server. It runs software developed by HP on Linux.

    So, the first HW vendor to sign up for Home Media Server sells it alongside a similarly named competing product.

    What’s does MediaSmart do that MediaVault doesn’t? (The HW is different as well as the SW).

    As this thread testifies, a good chunk of the people who understand what these products do and recognize their benefits would rather roll their own.

    Is any of this MarketingSmart?

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