Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not in my View

A combination of a heavy workload and a dash of ‘flu have kept me from keeping my beady eye upon world events for the past few days. However, I spotted, rather in the manner that an old hunter feels that a tiger is creeping up behind him by the hot breath on the back of his neck, that Microsoft had unveiled its new Vista system to a breathless world. Well, some of it’s breathless, I suppose, but not me.

A feeling of dread and apprehension always strikes me when I hear that William Gates is making another raid on our piggy bank and is about to recruit the world’s largest Research and Development team, i.e. his customers, to turn the inevitable pig’s ear into a technological silk purse.

My worst fears were confirmed when I got an E-Mail from my internet provider, Orange, blithely informing me that, if I was considering going in for this latest and greatest development in computer technology, most my bits and pieces weren’t going to work and that I would need to ‘re-configure’ them. They would assist. I would only have to spend a week or two downloading the new drivers etc.

I’m sure many will be delighted with Vista. Apparently you can do almost everything with it other than laundry and that may be an add-in option for all I know. And if you want to play games, download movies and music plus all those other weird ideas, jolly good luck to you.

But for those of us who use a computer as a business tool, it is a total waste of money. Like those handy ‘all-in-one’ contrivances that do a great many things but none of them particularly well. It’s a dog playing the piano – he doesn’t play very well but you’re just amazed he does it at all.

Out of interest I went through all the junk that came with my Windows XP Professional (!) version and found that I made use of, at best, some 5% of the bundled odds and sods that cluttered it up. It consumes more disc space that you would believe for no return whatsoever. Vista, I guarantee, will take up more.

Microsoft are a wonderful marketing operation and, for those who don’t care but just want the ‘all-in-one’ handy tool for their computer needs, it is the easy option- if your hardware can take the strain, and no doubt computer manufacturers are rubbing their hands at the thought of the sales of new equipment just to handle Vista.

If the operating system is better than XP, well and good, but that’s all I want. But there’s no simple version available.

Some years ago I experimented with Linux, in those days a quirky and challenging operating system. Once I had it configured, it ran brilliantly but there were a limited number of programmes available. But that was then and this is now.

‘Now’ means I have Linux running in parallel with my Windows XP from which I have been able to dump all the useless stuff – just retaining the operating system for the few programmes that require it.

Everything else runs under Linux, faster and more securely, and there are more than enough programmes available to suit any business user.

That’s why the horizons opened up by Vista have no charm for me.

Sorry, Bill.


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