15 Technology Failures

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nlriehl87

I have to say that like several other commenters I find most of this list is pretty spot on, but I have take issue with two things on the list.

The first issue is that while the market share of Windows Media Center was never that great, it really has caught the hearts and minds of many PC enthusiasts including myself. In fact it could be said that WMC has almost a cult following behind it. So while some may perceive it as a failure, it certainly does not belong on this list with the likes of Windows ME and Duke Nukem Forever.

However I take bigger issue with the inclusion of .NET on this list. I will give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume he knows nothing of modern software development. Yes .NET is big, yes EARLY versions had memory leaks, and yes it runs interpreted byte-code, but it is far from a failure. At worst it is a success which had some growing pains and is not perfect for every situation, but that is why we have compiled and scripting languages too.

MS .NET is the basis for many frequently used development frameworks such as WinForms, WPF, WCF, ASP.NET, and the XNA Game Development Platform just to name a few. It is also the basis of the very popular PowerShell scripting language. PowerShell itself can interface with many common systems like Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory, SQL Server. It makes system administration tasks much easier and is more powerful that cmd batch scripting ever was, which is why system admins love it.

The fact so many businesses ask for people who can program with .NET languages like VB.NET and C# show that it is far from a failure and, to be quite blunt, that the author didn't know enough about the technology to make a decision on its inclusion in this article.

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markpilkington

I think my inclusion of .Net has sparked the most debate in this list (see comments below).

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neo1piv14

Media Center Edition has seen fairly widespread use in my house every since I got a laptop with MCE back in 2006. Even just hooked up to the computer monitor in my college dorm room, using the remote was novel, and useful idea, and even after that remote got destroyed by the dog, I kept using the software. The built in DVR functionality when hooked up to a tuner, and the 10ft interface was great to use.
As far as the video phone goes, I'm sure Skype would love to disagree with you calling it a "flop." Just because the delivery method changed a little, that doesn't mean that the tech isn't still right here.

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wumpus

Howabout "stuff PR agencies suckered churnalists into hypeing"?

1. Video phone: alive and well. About to kill phones for non-mobile connection. May be close to killing audio-only phones in wifi covered areas.

2. Windows Media Center: From the chatter here it does exactly what it says, and reasonably well. Marketing failure from microsofts 100% market share view, maybe?

3. Emailer. I see no technology. I see a landbound blackberry (are these the guys who sued RIM)?

4. Google wave. Google throws even more than microsoft against the wall to see what sticks. In other news, water is wet.

5. Web TV. Definitely one of the scarier parts of the "eternal September". At the time the failure was to even create the thing, not its failure to take off.

6. Win Passport. Yet another techless "technology" (i.e. ask Microsoft for password instead of user). After Gates left, MS had much less ability to force users to give all power to the great MS.

7. MS Spaces: How is a "me to" product a "technology fail": the technology succeeded (at myspace and facebook), the branding failed. Stupid article is stupid.

8. MSNET: MS net was billed as a super-magical-MS-will-pwn-the-internet all things to all people. In reality, it was a JavaVM clone. It seems to work fine (far less dangerous to install than Java), the only real fails are those who insist on forcing Net 1.0 apps down your throat. Blaming technology for not being super-magical-pwnation? Stupid article is stupid.

9. OpenDoc: sounds like a botched attempt at making their own Office. If this is another failure of a "me to" product, then stupid article is still being stupid.

10. Me to product by former leader fails. Stupid article expresses surprise, blames "technology", gotcha.

11. (winME) "user’s faith in the software giant was priceless." Stupid author had "faith in Microsoft"? Source of stupid article becomes obvious.

12. MS Tablet. Ok, I'll bite: Software company makes hardware that completely fails to include the hardware the software demands to be there. That might be a technology fail.

13. PSVita: Yet another me to product. SAIS.

14. Google video: Yet another me to product. SAIS.

15. Duke Nukem: Game designer believes his own hype and tries to make a game to match, replaceing game engine after game engine to buy time? Technology failure all the way.

16. Needs to be included: slide shows. A technology to make your viewers hit ctrl-w.

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markpilkington

Glad you appreciated my article...

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Chewieshmoo

Soon you can add Xbox ONE to this list..........

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MarleneLuis15

If you think Dorothy`s story is surprising,, a month-back my boyfriend earned $6241 working a ninteen hour week from there apartment and the're roomate's sister`s neighbour was doing this for three months and recieved a check for over $6241 part-time on their computer. follow the instructions from this web-site.. Bow6.com

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CaptainFabulous

If you think THAT'S surprising Marlene, I earned $87452 last month clipping toe nails; part time no less! And you can do it too, just head to www.eatshitanddie.com for all the details!

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DoctorX

did you actually play dnf? It was a great game. You just could not be so over sensitive about the humor.

MCE? Failure? Been using it for 4+ years... Works great. If you want to do cable card, it is the only way for now. Just like WHS, Microsoft is the one who decided noone was using it... using they same statistics that everyone i know of disables upon installing windows...

I can record 8 hd streams at one and not miss a beat. MCE failure? not hardly....

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markpilkington

Duke Nukem was a terrible game! All those years spent in development hell for that...

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Electrik

Are we talking about XP MCE or all media center editions? I've used media center since '08 for movies and music, works great.

Skipped Win ME, went straight from '98 which worked well, to XP Pro, Vista SP1 to 7. I've never had any real problems with any MS OS, except for drivers, big deal.

I did pitch a bitch with all the Plus! crap, shelling out an extra $50 for something that should have been included in the OS disk. Clever marketing. Yeah, I bought it.

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hvypetals

How about Dia Katana?? If anything symbolizes everything that can go wrong,.. and does, with video game dev its romero's "Dia Katana"

Duke Nukem may be a runner up to that fiasco,.. if that.

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Ghostryderflyby

Agreed! Daikatana was lauded as the end all to beat all, and oh my was it terrible. Win ME has to be right there with it though. They should have named it BSOD ME. Horrible OS!!! DNF's problem was it was the game that came 14 years too late. In 1997 it would have been a fun sequel to the original, a bit juvenile, but fun. In 2011 after 14 years of hype and the rest of the game media format moving forward, well, not so much.

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Slugbait

I built my first Media Center PC in 2004. When I upgraded the TV to HD, I built a new machine around Win7 MCE...and officially retired the original machine, VCR, turntable, laserdisc and tape deck. Yes, the new one can play Crysis just fine at 1920x1080. I later built a second MCE machine for the living room. There's a third one in the garage for the old SD television. Looking around the web, there are numerous websites dedicated to MCE, and it proved quite successful.

Passport hasn't been called Windows Live ID for a year now. And it's extraordinarily successful: without it, you couldn't log into Hotmail, Messenger, Skydrive, Skype, Windows Phone and dozens of other services.

Windows Live Spaces wasn't MS' answer to Facebook, for the simple reason that Facebook did not exist when Spaces went live. In fact, Facebook didn't go live to teh interwebs until 2 years after Spaces did. In addition, they hit 50 million within months (not years) due to Spaces integration with MSN Messenger v6.2...discoverability via Messenger propelled Spaces membership, primarily due to photos.

Enough people have already commented on .NET, no need to rehash again.

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PCLinuxguy

+1

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gfd

I have to agree that the inclusion of .Net by the author is uninformed at best.

Windows 8: get a life and move on. Even the author didn't want to go there.

Most large, successful companies introduce products that don't stand the test of time. Those companies that don't, are not innovative; and they, along with their products, tend to go away.

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Jeremy Morgan

Clearly the inclusion of .Net shows the author is nowhere near a programmer of any type. My guess is he was looking for as much Anti Microsoft stuff as he could find and Googled someone complaining about .Net, I'm sure he has zero understanding of what .Net even is in the first place.

For one it's not a "technology blunder" if it's introduced, successful and widely adopted. I'm sure the author didn't know he was using .Net when writing this article in Office.In fact, it's a good bet that he uses .Net stuff every day even if he is running a Mac (or an Xbox). .Net is at nearly at Version 5.0, and is widely used, and automatically installed in the operating system since Vista.

The "poor memory management" argument is silly as well. The .Net framework does automatic garbage cleaning and has an extremely high success rate. You can also modify how aggressive the memory management is, and how long it keeps objects in store. These applications run far better than anything written in Java. This compared to Malloc and free are like preferring to assemble furniture using a butter knife as a screwdriver and cursing power drills.

He's right about most of that other stuff.

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Homer2029

Agreed, while .net certainly isn't perfect, it is one of the best if not the best platforms for software development that I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

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hvypetals

Got to agree. I see .NET installed alot. As an infrastructure tech in support of sharepoint and even just as a PC gamer.

The only bad thing about it from my end is that it takes forever to update a newly imaged PC with .NET updates.

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methuselah

I'm no developer but in seeing the guys here @ work doing development in .Net, I agree w/ you that .Net shouldn't have been added to this list. .Net has its issues, but in no way should it be in the same list as horrible failures such as Win ME and Duke Nukem.

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PCLinuxguy

Windows Media Center and Web TV failures? maybe in their initial incarnations but really? How many people are cutting the cord with either a set top box or HTPC etc. If it weren't for the original WMC idea, we'd not be where we are now. Web TV. that seems to fit in with this as well. Google TV, Roku, etc. seems to me the concepts of WMC and Web TV are alive and well and got better than the originals.

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be1734

I love my ps vita, I take it with me to work and play about 5 hours a week or more on it. While that may not seem like allot I also use it for a monitor on the go another 30 hours or so a week.

I should note I'm not a big handheld fan... I've had ds and psp and they collect dust. Vita is perfect with 3g, 32 gig card and that amazing touchscreen! Love it!

I also need to mention Windows media center is quite nice. I used it as my only dvr from 2004-2006. The biggest problem was getting a good tv signal. It looked good but after HD became so mainstream I didn't want to reinvest in new hardware. It was good for its time.

I think this list needs to include more Apple products (Lisa) and what about Nintendo's 'virtual boy'?

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markpilkington

The Apple Lisa! Now there's a contender for the next list if ever there was one...

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LGA1156

Slap windows 8 and Rt on there and take off Windows media center. I use it everyday with a ceton for all my multiroom DVR needs

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big_montana

Over 100 million people are using Windows 8/RT, which is about 99,999,999 more than use Media Center.

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DoctorX

nope...wrong... we just turn off the big brotherware that microsoft uses. and also... 100 mil are NOT using win8/RT. Most of these are still sitting on shelves and warehouses. 30-40 mil... maybe.. but 100 mil is just marketing spin by microsoft...

thanks for playing.

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Sirius

Nothing wrong with Windows 8 or Windows RT.

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LongForBob

I really don't understand including the .NET Framework on this list. Memory management is a convenient straw man for what I suspect is a biased opinion. Exceptional memory management was never a stated goal of the platform. By handling memory management automatically through garbage collection algorithms, developers can instead focus on solving real business problems. The actual goals of the platform have been well realized, making .NET one of the most sought after skills in the tech industry. How else would it have become the "standard framework across all Windows products" as the author states? If we're going to bash development platforms for poor memory management, we should also include Java, which essentially built on the same principle (using the JVM instead of the CLR). I do challenge the author to highlight examples of "delays in launching applications" that are due to using .NET as a platform. People tend to forget how complex software development used to be. Try tracking down a few null pointer bugs buried in thousands of lines of C++ and get back to me on how much of a "failure" .NET is.

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wumpus

Since the story is all about hype and nothing to do with actual technology, I'm guessing the author fell for the hype.

I'm guessing somewhere around 2000 or so, Microsoft announced this all-conquering strategy called "net". The noises that they were making were so broad that they could paint a bullseye on anything that came out of the labs and claim "this is .net".

Anyone claiming .net to be a failure ought to at least claim why it is so much worse than Java. Java seems to have even less features, and is an unbelievably successful malware vector

For what its worth, I fell over laughing when I first heard about Java. I guess it is all a matter of what you think when you here the word "embedded computing". I think of pics and atmels where java is about as welcome windows-sized OSs. Sun was apparently thinking of kiosks and conditions where you were throwing massive amounts of cycles to do what my little atmels could do (and the kiosks could do little more if doing raw bytecode emulation at first).

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iwolbers

I'm with you on this one. Also .NET is not only used for windows applications. It has had success in ASP.NET, used to create windows services, business logic services, web services, and other applications. Especially as everything starts to migrate to the web the cost incurred by starting up any windows form app regardless of platform is no longer a big deal because we do it less and less. This is a trend for both the at home users and the business users.

I do agree that a windows forms application written in .NET will never be as fast as the same application written in C++ because the later is essentially compiled into machine code. However, with current computing power(most machines newer than 5 or 6 years) and with a properly designed application the end user would never notice the difference! Even if there was a difference due to the assemblies being JITed you could use NGEN to deploy and skip that part of the load process.

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dgrmouse

LongForBob said, "Exceptional memory management was never a stated goal of the platform. By handling memory management automatically through garbage collection algorithms, developers can instead focus on solving real business problems. "

This is a weak argument, and it chafes me. End-users couldn't care less what the stated goals of a platform are or how many hoops a developer has to jump through - they want software that is correct, performant, and efficient. There are plenty of folks using mediocre business computers with mediocre .NET software that just doesn't perform admirably. I can absolutely understand how a user could despise and loathe .NET.

LongForBob said, "How else would it have become the "standard framework across all Windows products" as the author states?"

Are you really asking how it could be that a Microsoft-created platform could become a core part of Microsoft's software? Seriously?

LongForBob said, "I do challenge the author to highlight examples of "delays in launching applications" that are due to using .NET as a platform."

Are you joking? I'm not the author, but it's trivial to prove with ANY .Net application. Even with background services constantly tuning assemblies, you just can't get around the overhead of a big VM. Contrast this with the C runtimes, which are simply machine code bits quickly patched into a program at startup.

LongForBob said, "People tend to forget how complex software development used to be. Try tracking down a few null pointer bugs buried in thousands of lines of C++ and get back to me on how much of a "failure" .NET is."

This is, perhaps, the worst argument of the bunch. I've had plenty .NET applications work poorly, and as an end-user it isn't a great relief to see a fatal run-time exception instead of an EACCESS error. A good programmer can write error-free C++, just as a good programmer can write error-free .NET code. If code correctness is the fundamental priority, then any imperative language is arguably the wrong choice.

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wumpus

"good programmer can write error-free C++, just as a good programmer can write error-free .NET code."

I think that after 30 years, Tek might be considered error free. So maybe a Knuth-level programmer can eventually debug a WEB program down to error free.

Way to bury your tell that deep. I read to far wondering if you were trolling or not.

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LongForBob

"End-users couldn't care less what the stated goals of a platform are or how many hoops a developer has to jump through - they want software that is correct, performant, and efficient."

I couldn't agree more. End users want software that works. That more or less proves my point that a platform that removes hurdles for developers is a good thing. Would a user want one feature that runs exceptionally smooth, or 5 features that run just okay? I can also understand how a user with a mediocre machine can can be upset, but I'm going to suggest that the majority of that loathing should be directed at the mediocre machine that can't handle technology trends that have been in the works for the last 10 years.

"Seriously?"
Yes, I'm serious. Microsoft competes in a highly competitive market when it comes to enterprise software. If .NET was broken to the extent that the author suggests, it wouldn't be used.

"Are you joking?"
I never stated that .NET is the best solution for applications that require uber-efficient handling of memory. If the application requires that, I question the architect's decision to use it as a platform, not the platform itself. I would equate it to using a screw driver to hammer in a nail. It's not the right tool for the job. If I had to switch from a screwdriver to a hammer when building a house, surely there would be a delay in completing the build. I wouldn't say that's the screwdriver's fault though. For the large majority of day-to-day business needs, the cost of the overhead of a VM is well worth the speed and quality of implementation that you gain from using the platform. End users don't care what you go through to provide the solution, right? Why should they care about VM overhead?

"I've had plenty .NET applications work poorly."

As have I. I think we can both agree that good solution development is a matter of development methodology rather than technology. I also concede that my comment at the end there makes it sound like I'm proclaiming .NET to be a magic wand that prevents crappy code. Of course it doesn't, but it does a better job of ensuring your crappy code is limited to solving specific business needs.

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TheZomb

Yea, .net is great. I'm really not sure what your talking about with these memory issues. You will use more memory than a comparative C++ program, but you don't have to worry about memory leaks as much, which is especially important in a large program or something that would run on windows server. Its much better than java, which as far as user applications go is very laggy.

It is also much easier to develop with, accessing system functions in windows in c and C++ is a nightmare labrinth of poorly acronymmed functions and data structures. Its hard to find useful documentation. If you want to do something you better hope someone has created an example somewhere, because otherwise your gonna have some fun. .net on the other hand is much more logically structured, has more extensive libraries, and better built UI tools. Documentation is slightly better because it seems that microsoft is pushing people towards more .net development

In Windows .Net is king unless you really really care and are willing to pull nails for performance. elsewhere I like c++

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markpilkington

See what a debate I've started?

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MAIZE1951

Hmm, What happened to Windows 8? It's an epic fail for Microsoft.

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methuselah

After installing a real start menu, Windows 8 is preferred over Win 7.

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be1734

You really cant call windows 8 a failure, its less than a year old and used by millions.... now apple's lisa .... THATS A FAILURE! LOL

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Sirius

Because in comparison Windows 8 works just fine. ME was notorious for crashing due to hardware drivers and not being able to run anything "DOS" based very well if at all. Save your Windows 8 hate for others that share that opinion. The majority of us that use Windows 8 are just fine with it. And it's NOTHING like the pain in the ass ME was.

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Rift2

I'm ranked like 420 in the World in Duke Nukem Shutup it's a awesome game =)

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markstrelecki

Windows Media Center a Failure?

It's the way I consume TV and Netflix to this day.

Even paid extra to get it working on my Win8 ultra-netbook.

All the other stuff, hell yeah.

WMC - I don't think so.

Mark Strelecki

Atlanta, GA USA

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nlncmp

+1

I don't know in what sense you can count Windows Media Center "an embarrassing failure"? SMH

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azuza001

I agree, if you want to point at one of the versions of XP and say "That was a failure" you would go with Windows XP 64 bit version and not Windows XP Media Center. Media Center worked at least, I can't count the number of times I tried to go to XP 64 bit with my old Athlon 64 (cause you know, why have a 64 bit processor and not run 64 bit os?) and had to scrap it and go back to regular old home edition. Programs were not compatible, things crashed all the time, it was horrible!

I agree with the rest of the list. Only way you could get Windows ME to install correctly was to copy the CD to the HD, then go into the folder you copied it to in DOS and run the setup.exe file that way. Every time I tried to install ME from disk it was a bad OS, every time I did it from a clean HD it ran like a kitten. Just one of those things I guess.

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igoka

I have to agree . Using WMC everyday for watching tv , record tv shows , listening music , using xbox360 as extender in bedroom , working great .

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Ashton2091

Windows XP Media Center Edition wasn't exactly a failure per-say...It simply became obsolete (just as xp did) with the introduction of vista and 7 which included media center. With that said, WMC in general has been a success. There are other options out there, but none as fluid as WMC especially using the Media Browser plugin. Even on it's own, WMC is not a failure. If that was the case, we would've heard far less complaints about it costing extra in Windows 8. So basically what I'm saying is...I agree :-)

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The Mac

The problem with XP MCE wasnt the functionality, it worked fine, it was the inability to integrate the new broadcast standards.

It was just outdated very quickly.

It wasnt till the Vista Entertainment Pack got leaked that ATSC and QAM were available for WMC. Once that happened its been a very stable and fluid experience.

Windows 7 improved it even further.

Due to cable labs certification, no other program will ever allow non clear-QAM recording. Open source is great and all, but no one in their right mind is going to allow DRM content on software that any tom dick or harry can change the code.

If you want to record expanded or premium stations, you have one choice. WMC.

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Sirius

But the problem is the article points straight to Windows Media Center. It doesn't say "Windows XP Media Center Edition." So the author is inaccurate at best on this one. And beyond inaccurate in regards to .Net.

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SWds07

There isn't anything wrong with Windows Media Center and the article should have specified "Windows XP Media Center Edition."
.NET is certainly not a failure by any means.

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The Mac

The picture is XP MCE.

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markpilkington

It was indeed talking about XP MCE.

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