The death toll from the South Asian earthquake, last I checked, was expected to be around 80,000. There's still great difficulty in reaching the victims and survivors because of the remote locations and limited number of helicopters. There is a campaign to collect tents and other supplies to help shelter the survivors because another wave of victims is expected as soon as winter sets in (and it's fast approaching now).
Guatemala too is experiencing tragedy. Hurricane Stan has left many homeless and destroyed crops and farmland. Landslides continue to wreak havoc and hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food and shelter.
In Southern Africa serious drought has left millions in need of food aid. The crisis in conjunction with the AIDS epidemic is putting millions at risk. Malawi is harshly affected by this with some 5 million in danger of starvation while queue for hours and even days for food.
Several neighbourhoods in Paris have been scenes of violence for many nights now. Youth from predominantly North African immigrant families having been protesting poor treatment, unemployment and inequality with large nightly gatherings that have turned into violent clashes with police. President Jacques Chirac has declared a state of emergency in those areas and ordered a curfew. Many people have been arrested and several cars were set ablaze during the skirmishes.
I was speaking with a friend today about the escalating Microsoft Google rivalry. Microsoft has just launched its newest development platform and database with the usual claims about superior performance and reliability, etc, etc. I've also seen some of the features for the new Vista operating system which is due out next year. Some of the features garnering the most excitement are things that have been available in other systems and software for years. The biggest improvements to IE7 for example are tabbed browsing and RSS feeds. Another thing was conflict resolution for multiple checkout in version control for Visual Studio team system. Vista has an option to tab through open windows with a little thumbnail of what's actually in the window showing (including showing movies being played, etc.) All of these features were available years ago in stuff like Mozilla, CVS and Enlightenment... little late in the game, but thanks for playing.
Anyway, this is all part of Microsoft's reactive strategy to catch up and combat anything and everything it sees as a potential threat. Topmost among those threats is Google, a company which has shown real innovation. What I was saying to my friend is that what makes a lot of things successful is not being all things to all people, but doing a select few things and doing them very well. Google didn't become a verb
by being a music player, web browser, code editor and search engine. It's just a really good search engine. I likw my iPod not because I can make phone calls from it, but because I can hold a ton of songs on it and it's dead easy to use.
Anyway, that's my little rant, good for ol' MS for catching up on things.
I haven't posted in a long time... been far too busy for most of October.