2008 09 17
Windows Service Pack 3

Wow. It changed my file associations so that mp3s would open in Windows Media Player instead of Itunes. That takes some nerve. People use automatic updating services like this to make sure their computers are protected, not so that a bunch of meddling dickwads can arbitrarily mess with the way their computers are set up. This isn’t the end of the world, but it is worth pointing out that Microsoft is communicating a real contempt for people in abusing the updating system this way. Of course if we really respected ourselves we wouldn’t be using Microsoft products in the first place, but still.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2007 01 22
No, fuck you

Posted by in: Microsoft, tech-sci

This piece on Windows Vista is one of the most underwhelming positive reviews I’ve ever read. I’m supposed to pay a hundred dollars for this piece of shit? I think I’ll pass.

Howls of outrage (5)

2006 08 31
MS Vista

I’ve been watching the news about Microsoft’s new operating system, Vista, off and on since (I think) the first word of it a few years ago, back when it was called Longhorn. At first it sounded like it had a lot of bells and whistles, not all of which were obviously desirable. Then, for a long time, most of the news was about the gradual discarding of many of those bells and whistles. The consistent element in the emerging story has always been a bloated operating system, with absolutely gargantuan needs in terms of hardware needed to run it.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that MS is heading for a disaster. Frankly, I’ve been struggling for a while to see any other plausible way of reading the evidence. Read this, for example, and tell me that people, that companies, are actually going to put up with this bullshit. I mean, path dependence counts for an awful lot, but holy kershmoley, will people really be willing to pay so much money to upgrade computer systems for such crappy reasons? The line seems to be that, ok, so you’ll need to buy very fancy hardware to run this operating system, but there may even be a net gain when you take into account increased productivity, fewer support calls, etc. etc. etc. But all of this is an obvious lie, especially when you consider that even a very smooth transition to a new operating system is bound to encounter some real bumps.

Anyway, the official Chris of Explananda line, for all of you keeping track at home, is that Vista will be a disaster for Microsoft. I’d dump that stock now. And, hey, I recently installed Ubuntu on an old hand-me-down laptop that came my way. More on that some other time, if I get a chance.

Howls of outrage (2)

2004 09 12
Windows XP SP2

Posted by in: Microsoft

With much trepidation, I finally installed SP2 on my Windows XP laptop. Everything works just fine. Indeed, my computer might be just fooled by a placebo effect, but things even seem to be running a bit faster than usual.

If you’re running XP, you should probably put this upgrade on your list of things to do. Make sure that you run Ad-aware or Spybot: Search and Destroy before you upgrade, though. Both programs are free, reliable and safe.

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2004 08 17
Microsoft SP2

Posted by in: Microsoft

Dan Gilmor has some sage advice for PC users:

Microsoft is delaying (CNet) the auto-download update procedure for Windows XP Service Pack 2, wisely. This is mainly being done for businesses, but I strongly encourage home users to hold off just a little longer on this as well. Let the other guys find the bugs, which are sure to appear once widespread deployment begins.

SP2 has garnered some very mixed reviews. I’m going to install it, I guess. But I’m not looking forward to it. It’s not a crazy idea to back up all essential docs on a CD before you install it, so that you can retrieve them quickly using another computer if necessary.

Go ahead and laugh at me in the comments section, all you Mac Adicts. I can take it.

Howls of outrage (5)

2004 02 01
[MS and Linux]

I’m seriously thinking of migrating away from Microsoft Products. Reasons:

1. Shitty treatment of OpenOffice, the Word Processing program I now use. If they actually push ahead with this, I’ll be really very upset.
2. MS products are so frickin expensive.
3. We’re close to living in a computing monoculture. That’s not healthy.
4. Linux is improving a great deal, enough that even a schmuck like myself could use it. Perhaps.
5. Not so happy about some of Microsoft’s other policies.
6. Tired of constant security fuckups. Linux has ‘em too, but they deal with them more efficiently.

I’m not a knee-jerk MS hater. XP isn’t a bad system for regular users, except for its high price and tendency to go senile fairly quickly. And one thing I love about it is that it’s got just tons of freeware applications written for it (one nice effect of the fact that we live in something close to a computing monoculture). But the reasons above are weighing on me more and more.

I’ll probably just make my laptop a dual boot, running XP/Linux, and then cautiously move more and more of my life over to Linux. Not sure which flavour of Linux to use, but I’m leaning towards something user friendly like Fedora. I figure this way I’ll be able to get more out of my hardware, and I’ll have something nice as an alternative when MS tries to force the world to adopt Longhorn.

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