Friday, November 12, 2010
- Being Driven Away From Microsoft
Last year my wife spent 7 weeks in Florida helping my father in law recuperate from surgery. In the meantime my daughter and I were home alone – but the situation was drastically improved with frequent use of Skype video calling. With the combination of a wireless network and my daughter’s laptop, my wife was able to tuck my daughter in at night, (more or less) and spend time with us during the day. She said that it felt like being ‘Richard Nixon’s Head’ from Futurama, but it was much better than nothing at all.
Anyway, when my daughter’s laptop gave up the ghost in the middle of that trip, there was no question of shopping around or planning ahead, I just ran out and bought another one as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it came with Windows 7.
Thanks to that mistake we’ve had a chance to try Windows 7 extensively. And we’ve decided that if this is the direction that Microsoft is going, then they’ll be going there without us. It’s not that it’s slow, or that it crashes a lot, or that you can’t install anything like was the case with Windows Vista. But it’s so counter intuitive that it takes much longer to do anything you want to. Like all Microsoft products, it tries to do everything for you and in the process, prevents you from doing pretty much anything.
At the very least, it takes that Microsoft “The customer is an imbecile so we had better do everything for them!’ philosophy to a ridiculous extreme. We spent hours trying to get it to do trivial things like recognize a file as video instead a zip file, or to find a shared network printer, and we’ll never get that time back. So we’ve more or less decided that we’re done with Windows 7, and if it’s our only option, then we’re done with Microsoft as well.
Now we’re shopping for a new laptop for my wife, and we’re having a bear of time finding anything that will be delivered new without Windows 7. We have Vista as an option, but that’s like deciding to go with a serving of diphtheria instead of the broken leg. If we can’t find one that can spare us either liability, then we’re considering going with (brace yourself) a Mac.
Personally I’m a Unix guy, which as you probably know is the libertarian of computer operating systems. It gives you all the freedom in the world including the freedom to do irreparable damage to your software, hardware, data, and network. I’ve stayed away from Macs because I’ve done so much work on computers, that’s always meant PC’s on the desktop, and Unix behind the scenes. But I’m told by friends who have them that it isn’t just a chick’s computer anymore.
It’s certainly not my first choice, but I won’t use Windows 7, and it seems a bit much to ask my wife to learn how to use Unix. Besides, as the CFO of my little company she needs to use a lot of shrink wrapped applications that don’t usually have Linux capable versions. (It’s all tax and compliance stuff – small apps from small companies that write to a niche small business audience).
Anyway, I’d appreciate any suggestions from the more techno savvy readers. If you’d rather keep it private, an email address can be found on my profile if you don’t already have it.