This year was a rocky one for Microsoft, in which it released one of the most controversial versions of Windows in its history, its Windows chief left the company, and its mobile strategy continued to struggle. I covered all that, and also some non-Microsoft topics in my blog this year. Here are my five most popular blog posts of the year. Some you might expect, but there are some ringers that will surprise you.
Readers of my blog seem to be a music-centric bunch, and read this blog entry in droves. I wrote about background theme for Microsoft's first ads for Windows 8, "Only Want You" by the Eagles of Death Metal. As I wrote, the song was about the last thing you would expect from middle-of-the-road Microsoft, because it has "a raunchy, garage-band sound, rather than the classic rock or anthemic rock you expect in a Microsoft commercial. And it's certainly far away from Apple's precious-sounding, sometimes syrupy music for many of its ads."
I wrote this when Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface, announced on a blog that the Surface Pro would cost $899 for a 64 GB version and $999 for the 128 GB version. That doesn't include a Touch Cover or Type Cover, which cost at least $120. So that means the Pro will cost $1019 for the 64 GB version and $1119 for the 128 GB version.
You can buy an iPad for $499 (with 16 GB only; it costs $599 for the 32 GB model, and $699 for the 64 GB model.) So why would you want to pay more than $1,000 for a Surface tablet?
The answer is that you wouldn't.
I think the Google Nexus 7 is a great table. Right size, right price, right operating system. The Kindle Fire HD falls far short. It's primarily an eReader with some tablet features tacked on. But it lacks GPS, apps, and plenty more.
I like the Nexus 7 so much, in fact, that I also wrote a post "Five reasons the Google Nexus beats the iPad" that clocked in as my sixth-most popular blog post.
From the very first time I saw and reviewed an early version of Windows 8, I thought that it was a tablet-oriented operating system tacked onto a Desktop operating system, and was bad for users of traditional PCs. That's what I wrote in my review of its final version.
User interface guru Jakob Nielsen put the new operating system in the hands of users, and saw their struggles with it. His conclusion:
"I just think when it comes to the traditional customer base, the office computer user, they're essentially being thrown under the bus."
This was far and away my most popular blog post. It detailed the failure of the Republican candidate's big-data app for turning out voters. The app and its deployment was a botch-up of monumental proportions, a case study for how not to develop and deploy a major system. Every member of an IT staff should read the post, just to see how not to do things.
One reason the post was so popular was that it was picked up by the right-wing news site, the Drudge Report. Because of that, many of the readers of the post were conservative Republicans. A number of commenters on the post offered an alternative view of reality in which Obama won because the counting of the ballots was outsourced to a company in Spain, and the president somehow managed to bribe the vote-counters. Who knew?