When I was a kid I remember going on a weekend camp with the Boy Scouts. It was great, well apart from one minor issue, the guy in charge wanted us to wash our dish’s after we had cooked. This was an anathema to us kids. Scouts are always prepared. and the group of kids that I was ‘tenting’ with agreed with me, camping was ok, dish washing was what your mother did. So we hid all of the dirty pans up a tree, and all of the dirty plates at the bottom of the creek.

Pretty much, this is what Microsoft are doing with Windows, they never have time to fix anything, they just barrel on to the next meal. Ten years ago they released Win 98, a cheap and cheerful Operating System. It did not have a whole bunch of features, it just did what it was supposed to do, run programs. Riding on the crest of a success, Microsoft managed to almost ruin their achievements with the release of ME. Millennium Edition, was right up there with having a root canal with no Novocaine!

XP arrived in 2001, and it was not welcomed with open arms, the hardware demands essentially obsoleted most home computers. Using the ‘Big Hammer’ approach, our good friends persuaded a very skeptical industry that XP was the way to go. So all of the junk PC’s found at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc, came with XP preloaded.

2007 saw the launch of Vista, another hype deal. And another round of needing new hardware. In fact Vista is analogous with ME. Another stupid upgrade that does nothing for the user. To ‘assist’ the user our friends have changed the flagship Office product, instead of the easy to use ‘drop down’ menu’s we have the ribbon. I have yet to meet anyone that likes the ribbon.. The ribbon is a pointless and frustrating feature. At least one company is offering a (for fee) add on that brings the menus back. Now that is what I call retro computing!

The ‘Windows Watchers’ are already speculating about the next release, this is known in the trade as ‘Windows 7’. Personally I think Microsoft should put some effort into fixing what they already have, rather than creating the ‘next big disaster’.

The corporations have shunned Vista, and as a result, so have the individuals, well, everyone except people that got it bundled with a new PC from the low lives of the supply chain (Staples, Wal-mart, Office Despot, etc).

Also of interest is the ‘class action’ law suit against Microsoft. Many PC’s were sold with a ‘Vista Compatible’ sticker, but the reality was somewhat different. It is not just customers that are miffed, it is hardware manufacturers.

I got so fed up with the MS nonsense that I changed to Linspire, my wife though, battles on with XP. And I can not remember the last time she said anything nice about it. Generally our conversations go “my computer sucks, it is so slow”, of course I love my wife Jan, and offer her the Linspire solution. She always says no.

Win-Suckers represent about 95% of all desktop computers. How much longer can Bills Elf’s control the market? New products are not the answer, but fixing existing products would go a long way!

Simon Barrett


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