Ramblings, meanderings, rants and discoveries.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Vista Rebellion

"Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista is an important update for Windows Vista. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) contains many security, reliability, and feature updates for Windows Vista. A program may experience a loss of functionality after you install Windows Vista SP1. However, most programs will continue to work as expected after you ..."

read more | digg story

It seems that Microsoft hasn't "gotten" it yet. There is a rebellion taking place and they are missing it. You see many users and developers hate Vista. Ok, maybe it is not so much Vista as the way in which Microsoft Corp seems to be railroading us into using it. Except they seem to have backed off that a bit.

I use a lot of utilities, freeware and shareware. I believe in supporting those who make a good tool or a neat gizmo. Vista has been out for over a year. Yet, a lot of both commercial and shareware apps do not support it. Why? Because we have finally had enough of being told what we MUST do.

I hit my first instance of that way back when helped develop proprietary software. We had hired a consulting firm to help us with a 'quick start' on an app we had to port over to Windows 95, The were a Microsoft Solutions provider so guess what they suggested we use? Yep a Microsoft product. It was a database app so they suggested Access. Except... When we attempted to recreate a lot of the queries we had built in Paradox for DOS we got a "query is too complex" Message.

Fine for use we knew how to work around it but for users who needed to create different reports, we needed an easy solution. We mentioned this to the Consultants who said, "They will have to deal with it." My answer was "no, they do not they can buy another company's product and services." For years, it seemed the companies, end users and even developers did not believe this. Finally the last straw seems to have been reached. The high-handed way in which Microsoft decided everything must be Vista started the rebellion. People refused to buy it. Developers refuse to develop for it. Microsoft seems to have relented a little.

Now the service pack. Guess what every one of those companies listed have put forth the effort to build a product that works on Vista or did in some way prior to the service pack. They spent money on developers' salaries, testing, hardware and software. Now they will not work. Zone Labs already has their fix out as does Trend Micro, but at what cost? And what happens when SP2 is realeased?

The companies who are listed above at least put forth the effort to create a package that works with Vista. Now Microsoft in their usual high-handed manner lists them as not working on the fixed O/S and says contact them for more information. It doesn't care if your preferred firewall doesn't work, if your emergency virus removal doesn't work. Why? Because they are Microsoft. Never mind that the consumer of THEIR product probably put out money for the packages.

Like it or not, there is a recession on. That means people do not have that extra money to spend. That means the next O/S upgrade that costs consumers up front and has hidden costs such as this will refuse to buy. Get the message Microsoft - We do not HAVE to there is always *nix and OS 10.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February Blahs

February is a dreary month. So I like to forget it exists and drown myself in geek like activities. This year - so far it has been nothing but one disappointment after another.

Zone Alarm - I used to love this firewall. It was great. Now I question it. I have had no intrusion attempts since installing it. At least according to it. I used to have pages on my 98 machine. I have not chaged internet providers, I have not changed my browsing habits, much. So suddenly going to Vista and the new version made all those SQL Server worms leave my ISP alone? I MIGHT believe it IFF every time it asks for permission for a file to access the internet it did not come back with no info in the knowledgebase about these files. Many have been in the system since XP. I fear Zone Labs may be losing their edge, I hate to see that.

Firefox - Yes it is one of the most popular browsers. Yes I have it and use it. But since it is becoming more and more popular, it is losing it's edge imho. It now takes longer than Opera (with multiple tabs) to load. Its interface looks a lot like Opera. (althought I may have Opera to blame for that, too) But now sites that look best in Firefox no longer look good in Opera. Opera hasn't changed. Sigh. So Firefox has bought into the heavy overheads to make it more user friendly. Also, it seems it is very forgiving of HTML errors to the coder. The reason I have Firefox is a convention I wish to attend this year could only do online registration if we had Firefox. The forms did not even work in the virus breeder known as I.E. Bad show on the part of the developer, but still one wonders why they would not work in ANY other browser? Trying to become Microsoft, guys?

Opera - Yes, it is still my main browser. The reasons? First it is not very popular, that means the hackers have not found security holes in it or do not bother to exploit them. But the developers seem to have a severe case of Firefox envy. Go back to making a fast loading, efficient browser that is W3 compliant. That is all I ask guys.

Gaming companies - EVERYTHING is online, yet nothing seems to be compatable with anything else. And why can't someone make or include a basic translator built into the gaming interface online. I would love to have more friends in Europe, but my French is borderline, My Italian is awful and forget my German. It would be nice to coordinate. More on that here.

ISPs - All seem to assume that we have access to high speed lines. I do not. Well I may, but it seems AT&T themselves are not certain. At&T decided to charge more for dial up than for DSL. You can read about it here. Good thing I use Earthlink.

Panda Security - Another company I loved. Great scanner, online capability. BUT their site still links to a scanner that does not support Vista. Guys, the OS has been out for over a year. Get with it! Trend has been supporting it since May of last year at least. Oh yeah and NONE of em support Opera, but at least most now support Firefox.

And last but certainly not least:

MICROSOFT - First I want to know what is in each update, so I can decide if I need it. The user friendly update check just lists updates, one has to go difgging to find out, How ard would it be to put a little sentence or two. Like, fixes a home networking issue. Security issues in OS fixed. I mean they'll all be in the cume anyway. But at least let me save a little time? Then there is the latest udate to I.E. Ok sometimes I still need it to check a site. So I admit I keep it updated. Well I did until recently. Update failed. It happens. So I check details. I get the usual helpful Microsoft Information - Error details: Code 800719E4. So I hit the site and go looking. DO you know running a search for that error code returned the result that the code was not found ANYWHERE on the site? The get help, link next to the code listed a few obvious options but nothing with information about that code.

What's new. Did I really expect Microsoft to make it easy for me to find how to fix my own machine? I am certain they would rather have me throw it away and buy all new from them again. It Ain't happening. Not even if I have to get an AS400 or an HP 9000 and load their proprietary O/S At least they give users of their operating systems a manul with a list of the error codes.

Maybe next month will be better. I doubt it, but I can hope.