Windows 7 Continues the Disappointment

Windows 7 Continues the disappointment started by Windows Vista. Based on current in store testing of Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista, there’s not much difference. Sure its a bit snappier, but still requires a workhorse computer to be half as good as an old pc running Windows XP. (“This is the worst Internet I’ve ever used” quipped a user of the Windows 7 pc in our web cafe) If the final release is no better than the current “release candidate” we believe Microsoft will continue to see a wholesale loss of clients to (Linux) Linux Mint and Apple.

Carpel tunnel sufferers and litigation lawyers unite! To perform simple tasks like moving an icon or other file from the desktop of Vista and Seven has increased the number of clicks and mouse movements 100% or more. Further reflection suggests that Windows 7 is named for the number of times one must click to perform simple daily functions on the computer, as some may require up to seven (kidding, but could be more) clicks.

Taking programming classes and ergonomics in the mid 90’s, basic ergonomics for programming tasks included the simple concept of reducing the number of keystrokes, mouse clicks, and mouse movements to reduce repetitive stress injuries. Microsoft has obviously banned that book on their campuses and ignored the growing problem of these injuries in the work place. 

Not only does Vista and Seven increase the likelihood of repetitive stress injuries, but wastes valuable time that would otherwise be productive gains for employers. The entire point of having computers in business is to increase productivity, not to increase wasted time and medical costs. If on XP I can move an icon with two motions or clicks, but it takes five on Vista and Seven, then that more that doubles the wasted effort and time.

Worse still is the “security” of Microsoft is laughable. With XP, technicians can, with proper skills, resources, and training completely clean off viruses and other malware without having to reload a computer. Not so, with Vista and Seven. Microsoft locks the technicians out effectively from the (remote) registry and many locations that the viruses and hackers have no problem infecting or getting into.

Since Vista was introduced, Apple has seen a growth from 6% market share to over 14% as people are tired of the forced upgrades and constant problems with viruses. Now I do recommend anyone considering a Mac to actually sit down with one (without a salesman or an evangelic Mac user) and work on it for fifteen to thirty minutes first. I describe the Mac as being left brained as the logic is not so much logical as “artsy fartsy”. Its a different mindset and if you’ve never used one, you\’ll either fall in love at first sight or feel like someone if forcing you to eat something you don’t like. You’ll also find limited local hardware support if you do buy as there are few shops with access to parts and service from Apple.

So for now that leaves most of us with Microsoft, of which you can still get XP on new systems from local stores like Panther Computers (and yes Cyber-spooker these are legal copies of XP) or go forward at sore arms length with Vista and soon Seven or you can choose to go the way many businesses are, with Linux – specifically Linux Mint.

Moving from Windows XP to Vista or Seven already has a learning curve that will take some getting used to. As stated, you will likely have a reduction in productivity just from the constant interference of being asked multiple times if you are sure you want to do something and to continue once you say yes. Also every time that your system gets hung up from hard drive corruption or viruses, you will have to reload Vista/Seven loosing all programs till they are reloaded as well. This time may be better spent learning Ubuntu.


 

Ubuntu is presently the most popular and most supported free Linux operating system. It is free, the upgrades are free, and 90% or better of software for Linux is free and or open source. (Open source means you could see the programming language – if then else – that makes up the OS and the programs and if desired could tailor them to your own needs) Going with Ubuntu can reduce a computers cost between $75 and $150 each.


 

It comes with Firefox for Internet browsing, Open Office office suite, email programs, DVD players, Music Players, games, supports new hardware better than Vista or Seven and did I mention its free? I have several business clients that only need email, Internet, and office productivity software for their employees and are moving away from Microsoft to Ubuntu. Ubuntu will run on 256mb ram, 40gb HD, and on older Pentium III machines, albeit slower.


 

Break out an old computer from storage, download an Ubuntu Live CD ISO file, burn it to a CD, then boot from that CD and try before you….well you don\’t have to buy it – its free…decide to break out the Windows and let the free fresh air of Ubuntu into your old computer, then when you need a new computer, you wont want anything other than Ubuntu on it.


 

Ok, when is Linux, or Ubuntu not appropriate? Well I\’m a consultant, not a salesman, so there are some times that you will need or have to put up with Windows. First if you have software that will only run on Windows and has no viable replacement on Linux. Two examples are Quickbooks (they still refuse to budge) and many popular games like World of Warcraft and of course Microsoft\’s Halo.


 

Next if you have banks or websites that will only work with Internet Explorer then you have no choice but to either go to that sites or banks competitor that supports Firefox and other Linux based browsers or be stuck with Windows. I like the going to the competitor idea to show institutions that we want a choice, but rooting up your financial base can be a diabolical and dangerous process, so you can also write letters and send repeat emails to the institution to get them to budge. Squeaky wheel as it where.


 

Unfortunately Microsoft didn\’t shred the Vista code and pick back up with XP to continue its growth and enhancement with Seven. Seven is usually a lucky number, but not so for computer users, and I predict not so for Microsoft. I see a continued decline in their installed base as other options including a forthcoming Linux OS from Google will continue to find those of us just tired of the same old Microsoft. They should take IBM\’s lead. Open source Windows and make their profit from services – training, certifications, and implementations. In fact, it wouldn\’t surprise me to see IBM buy out Microsoft in some future transaction as we ponder MicroWho?

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