Friday, March 09, 2007

When Microsoft first announced the Longhorn operating system was to be created more than six years ago, I thought it a fabulous idea. I had recently switched from Win 98 to XP and the constant, seeming endless updates were driving me crazy. And the promises of a more secure, safer OS were my idea of a company that cared about the average home user. After all, Bill had gotten his start here in Albuquerque. He was hometown folks to me.
After a year, MS announced that it was "coming along" beautifully. I accepted that. It is not, I am sure, easy to write all the volumes of coding and instruction sheets in a program so vast and complicated. (There is no way I would ever know how to write a two line code and get it to work. I do not pretend to be a mathemetician. I rely on the geniuses among us to do that.)Pretty soon SP1 showed up for my OS. I failed to depended on Fred Langa to let me know when it would bug free enough to down load. Bad mistake. It wound up with me having to get a nerd to reload XP. The same guy who put it on my computer originally. He made me write down all the steps, this time. Complete with SP1. Another year or so and MS announced Longhorn was coming along swimmingly. About the same time SP2 came along.
I waited this time, and sure enough the Langalist said it was okay to download, just follow their instructions. It worked great. Took forever, as I remember vaguely. So what? My system was working well. Then came an announcement that Longhorn was dead and it would be referred to as Vista. I never did find out why the name changed. Just between us, I couldn't have cared less if they had called it the "Left Handed Assortment." Just "giterdone." Sometime later, MS downloaded (without my permission) their "Genuine Advantage" tool. Who cared? Probably just another goody from them. I should have cared, I guess. About a month later while looking for updates for XP I had a screen pop up that said something to the effect that I was using an illegal copy of it. Mentally snarling, I got on the phone to my nerd. "Don't worry about that," he said, "It's just a Microsoft screw up. I'll be over next week and fix it. No problem." Cool, I thought.
Next week came and went. I finally remembered to call him when a second visit to the Microsoft update site gave me the same message. The phone rang, a female voice said something about the number I called was no longer in service. Crap, I thought. Now I'll have to get dressed and go over to the shop. So I did. Looking in the window I saw there was nothing on the counters and benches where all the computers, monitors, etc., etc., had been. No sign telling me where or when they had moved. So I called the realty company who managed the strip mall. A very nice gentleman there told me they had moved without notice (still owing a sizable amount of rent) and he had absolutely no idea where they had gone.
I was without the ability to update my program, my computer and personal information was at risk (I love surfing) and I had to do something. Wild Thing (she still has Win 98, legally, on her Dell) and I talked it over. The next day I went to a long time, recognized, legitimate store and bought a legit copy of XP SP2. It works beautifully. So does IE 7. The nerd put my computer together right, just saved a few bucks (yes, I paid for it) by downloading an illegal copy onto the computer he put together for me. Obviously, I'm not the only one he did this for (to?) judging by the haste with which they moved out of town.
BTW, Genuine Advantage has no trouble with this $300 package. But Vista? Well, I was still all hot and bothered to get a copy, so I started researching it on the web. Langalist suggested waiting. I did. Then I read the first review published (in Cnet) of a number of articles that have been saying the same things: It's overpriced. I'd have to buy another gig of memory and a fancier graphics board. And hope my mother board can use them. The editor also stated that for all the advantages for the home user, Microsoft could have put these goodies on XP with an update.
The big fancy edition, designed for business use, the one with all the eye candy, costs about $400. Considering that Wild Thing needs a new computer (Vista ready, no doubt) and the two packages will run $800, and we live on a fixed income, XP will do both of us for as long as we can protect ourselves with it.


TomCat said...

Hi Catmoves. You've been gone for a while. Good to see you back. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind upgrading a computer to Vista, unless the computer is almost brand new. My four year old computer is doing fine with XP SP2. I will decide to upgrade the computer before MS ends support for SP2, and it will come with Vista installed.

auntiegrav said...

After visiting a couple of years ago, I vowed to switch to something else, even if I was going to have to go back to using my Amigas. After a couple of iterations, I am now quite happy using Suse Linux, regardless of it's sellout to Novell. We have yet to find out what agreements between Redmond and Novell will pan out, but I have a slight belief that, in the end, technology will decide its own fate. Bloatware can only prosper in a bloated economy. Once we lose the cash to support all the fonts and frills (and required hardware), Microsoft will have to go back to its Albequirky roots and streamline its way to the operating system we should have had to start with; Clean, clear, and quick.
My message to Bill Gates: "What is your Descent Plan?"

Catmoves said...

Thank you tomcat. the bruises are gone and I can move the fingers with no pain now.
I think we who have learned to use XP with some facility need to write Microsoft and tell them we don't want to be screwed with any longer. See auntiegrav's comment below (or above, or wherever.)

Catmoves said...

auntigrav your comments are not only pointed but gave me a laugh, too.
I (blush) haven't tried any Linux yet, 'cause i'm a bit of a chicken. Having to learn to code stuff is scary to me. But I do have a disc that will let me try Linux and that I don't have to down load.
Someday, he said, his voice quavering. I will try it out.

Galt-In-Da-Box said...

Microsoft rule of thumb:
NEVER buy the latest OS.
Wait until it's been out atleast three years, or they've announced a release date for a new OS, then buy the most complete version of the old one you can get (generally, PC builders can sell you a copy for less).
I'm very intrigued about Linux, I just wish I knew more about it, what the best release is, and what voluntary organizations exist to help me rehabilitate afterward.

Catmoves said...

galt, I practice that now. And, unless some of the newsletters I subscribe to tell me the patches are ok, I wait until I hear if anyone is having problems with them before I apply. I no longer chase through the pages amd pages of M$ for their "explanations".
I understand how complicated their programs are, but to make their instructions and "help" pages so complicated seems to me they are simply shpwing off their skills at fixing issues. I've had lots of other programs that tell me to "click here" to download, "You do not need to remove the old program". That's another reason I hate Flashplayer and other such programs.
Re Linux, I have the same hesitation. Each version seems to be the "best" and "easiest" according to their blurbs. Oh, well....