Microsoft's Strange Sense of Humor
Microsoft wanted to talk to me about its Windows Home Server division—and I wanted to hear what they said because I was impressed last summer at the company's commitment to making its Home Server software as simple as pie.
But the first thing Todd Headrick wanted to show me was a children's book called Mommy, Why is There A Server in the House? by "Tim O'Connor, Ph.D."
Good one, MS!
Actually, Microsoft is very serious about the home server concept and is about to introduce Powerpack 1, which will add a bunch of fervently requested features. "Who requested them?" I asked.
Headrick said, "Users—and some of the most fervent beta-testers were MS employees, who are pretty computer literate, but our motto in the server division is no acronyms, no mysteries—so we pushed back hard on the features that would make home servers harder to use. That dynamic—then pushing, us pushing back—has helped us figure out which features really improve the experience."
(This sounded a lot like open-source software to us, where users generate much needed improvements through forum participation and, sure enough, MS has a Home Server Forum.)
Like what? "Access from anywhere to your home server and a customer experience improvement program that really offers some spectacular benefits—like trusted SSL certification that keeps your data secure."
Microsoft now has over 15 Home Server vendors, from small companies like Tranquil to giants like HP.
We believe in credit where credit is due and Microsoft's Home Server initiative is a great idea that just keeps getting better every time we check in on it.