Bow Before Your Electronic Master!

| January 30, 2007 | Reply

Isn’t this reassuring?

Windows Vista is “dramatically more secure than any other operating system released”, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has told BBC News.

Mr Gates said the security features in the new operating system were reason enough to upgrade from Windows XP.

Microsoft launched Vista in London, with more than 100m computers predicted to be using it within 12 months.

I know it’s Bill Gates talking, but the only thing I hear is the second little pig saying “Come on in guys! This one is made of sticks!”.

And as a note, there’s a pretty good reason that 100 million computers will be using Microsoft Vista: they don’t really have any other choice.

What’s that? Linux you say? Sure, Linux is great for everyone except the average computer user. But if you’re all into command lines and things like “grep” and “ls” and “chmod”, you’re golden. Somehow I don’t see the average soccer mom plowing her way through this list just to find that operating system that’s right for her.

What about Macs (no, not emacs, which gets us right back to the whole Linux furball)? Well, Macs are darned fine computer. I own a Mac laptop and, aside from an unfortunate and rare design flaw, it works spiffily. It does what I want, when I want it to, for as long as I want it to. And the commercials are cute. You can’t underestimate the power of cute commercials. There are a couple problems, though.

First, Macs are not cheap and not quite so easy to get. The average computer user is a whole lot more likely to pick up some PC off the shelf at WalMart or Best Buy for 700-800 dollars than they are to drop 1100 dollars or more on a system that, to them, looks pretty much like the PC one. Further, even if they were so inclined to do so, they’d have to either hie themselves to the nearest Apple store (the nearest one to me that sells or services computers is about 45 minutes away from me – more if there’s commuter traffic) or spend some time at the Apple web site ordering their machine.

Second comes the software. As in, it doesn’t come quite like you’d expect does it? Yes, you can get Microsoft Office which pretty much gives you the program that most average folks use aside from their e-mail programs. There’s no doubt that the graphic software made by Adobe and Macromedia are superior on a Mac. Of course iTunes is everywhere and, since it’s a Mac program, it runs better on a Mac. But games? You’re going to have to search pretty hard to find a retail outlet that sells Mac games. I know. I’ve looked. I can’t say that there’s a store in my area where I can walk in and find a single game made for the Mac. Yes, there’s always the online option again, but that still doesn’t put Mac in front of people’s faces. Not like Microsoft.

And perhaps that’s just the way that Apple wants it. They’re selling iPods like crack rock and that’s doing them really well. But when it comes to computers, Bill Gates rules the roost and no one else is even near his perch. That’s why he can crow about Vista as if a really secure operating system was something noteworthy when, really, security is one of the two things an operating system ought to provide.

Category: The Good Old US of A

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