Monday, July 24, 2006

And so it ends...

It is with great sadness that I write the next sentence. My parents computer will have to run Windows. I am going to try and find a windows 2000 cd and install that. They will be overrun with spyware, and I will routinely be tasked to clean it out. I will be yelled at for it being slow, for microsoft products crashing, and other such annoyances. In a few years time, when the hardware is still good for what they need the computer for, they will be forced to upgrade to a newer windows and buy new hardware. ALL THEY DO IS WEB BASED EMAIL AND WORD PROCESSING! They don't need a GPU, they don't need multiple cores/processors.

My parents will need to buy new versions of office, so they continue to send documents to other people. Their old files will no longer load in these new products, so they will lose their old files. And they will pay for this service. They will be forced to have extremely buggy software that will have bugs that microsoft knows about, but will not fix. But no, they can't fix the bugs themselves.

People have been wondering why other operating systems haven't caught on. The reason is VERY simple. The people have applications that have not been ported to the alternate operating systems that they NEED. For example, my Mom's work needs to have internet explorer, with activeX and java. The microsoft version of all of that. It is a web based application that does not follow any standards, except only running on internet explorer. It actually codes for internet explorer specific things. It is the SOLE reason that I have to install windows on their computer. I would install windows XP, but it would cost more for the operating system and office than the hardware that it runs on.

Blah. I HATE fixing other people's computers. And my parents computer the most. I do not have many problems on my own windows box, but that is because I watch it like a hawk. I don't run random things. I don't get stupid emails from my friends with virus infected attachments (thats my mom's friends). I use a browser that removes alot of problems (firefox).

Firefox is not perfect. But it most definately fits what I want the most. When it has a flaw, it gets fixed. I don't have to wait for business's to tell microsoft it is ok. With windows, they don't let you upgrade stuff, if you do, you have to tell them. Switching a harddrive? yeah right, then some of your programs can not be updated, or other weird problems arrise.

Drivers is another big issue. I have had NO problems with Ubuntu in this regard. The printer, scanner, and camera all worked out of the box. The video card, and other components within the case all worked out of the box. It had applications, out of the box. Now, with windows. I gota find drivers, for the camera. For the printer. For the scanner. I have to uninstall the stupid extra programs that those drivers install. I have to do that in a way that they do not stop the driver from working. I have to stop my mom from installing anything without asking me. So i can uncheck the "install spyware" box. Sony would develop a rootkit again. who knows?

I have my windows box because I need it for work. I am trying to ween myself off of it. I "need" it for games, but I would give them up. Wine supposely works for the majors ones, and that would be good enough for me.

And it was so great. Linux. and my parents using it. and everything worked. My dad liked it alot. It runs his old windows 3.11 programs perfectly (games). I converted his old files. It works for all of his internet needs.

FUCK gamls. They run their site from a linux box. Why can't I access their site from a linux box? Good enough for them, not for me?

*end non-coherant rant*

P.S. please tell me of any spelling errors, I was not writing this on my home computer with the firefox spellcheck plugin...


Nic said...

Stop whining. I've been using Windows for longer than you've owned a computer and never had serious problems with it. You say that you have problems with drivers on Windows but not on Ubuntu? Very unlikely, although I noticed you're installing Windows 2000 on there and you expect it to compete against software that is up-to-date? In fact, I'm quite certain Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows 2000 at this point, but despite that, it worked fine when I used it. What the hell is wrong with everyone that they attack a company because it's successful? As much as you seem to advocate successful economic practices, it's ridiculous how much you attack a company for excelling at it. Besides, what issues could possibly be worth this whiney little rant? Spyware? Please, there are plenty of free anti-spyware devices out there:

there's a list. Oh, but if you were using an actual contemporary version of Windows, you'd have an anti-spyware program, courtesy of Microsoft.

Viruses? As Georgia Tech students we get a free virus scanner that's worked great on my mother's computer so far.

hey, another interesting fact! New versions of Office are quite backwards compatible with older versions, I guess it's just too difficult to pick the "Load as Office 99, Office 00, etc" button, hrm?

My mother has a setup that sounds similar to your parents. It's called automation of spyware and anti-virus software. Hell you can adiminster it remotely nowadays.

And what's so great about Firefox, besides tabbed-browsing? I still have problems with certain things not opening in Firefox that open in IE. And I've never had random malicious scripts run in IE and I've been to hell and back on the internet.

So I'm pretty sure this post is mostly you whining about something that really isn't an issue at all. If you're not careful you'll turn into our parents just whining about nothing for attention.

Josh Ferguson said...

First of all you shouldn't attack the author by telling him he's wining. You also shouldn't appeal to some kind of expertise by saying you've used a computer with windows longer than he has. That doesn't have any bearing on his experiences, only on yours.

Your experiences however are anecdotal at best since Windows security up to this point is a flaw so serious that it was the first and foremost priority in the newest version of Windows due out in early 2007. There are more udpates in the windows security category on Windows Update than any other category, another sign that it has had its fair share of security problems over the past 5 years. The security flaws in windows are documented by Microsoft themselves in their Knowledge Base articles.

Office does indeed work with older files, most likely an oversight by the author?

Firefox has numerous benefits to IE one of which is security since vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer can lead to more serious exploits due to IE's direct integration with the file system and other important parts of the system. Firefox also has tabs, themes, extensions and better options for controlling personal information. Personalization and information control is important to many users.

Including the reasons listed above someone might choose to dislike windows because they disagree with some of Microsoft's business policies. Some people dislike the forced "Authentic Windows" program that has recently come out. Others dislike Microsoft's stance on DRM and 'Trusted Computing', and some disapprove of the software bundling policies that Microsoft implements. These things aren't illegal but they still have an effect on consumer choices.

If you are a consumer some or all of these things may matter. The fact that they don't matter to you is not proof that they don't matter to someone. I think most of his statements are valid.

sstc said...

Ok, not responding to everything right now, but deal with it...

You haven't been using windows longer than me, unless you were using windows when windows was windows 2.0. I started on windows 3.0, and upgraded a 486DX2 to have windows 3.11. When did you start, for the record? My family still has files that they need to access from windows 3.11. Even word files from that long ago have some problems with loading.

You are correct in saying that I was whining. That was the point, it was a rant. It was complaining.

No problems with any drivers, all things worked. I don't know why you think this is unlikely.

Windows 2k? Thats only because I have a bootleg copy of it, and don't want to/can't pay for a shiney new copy of windows XP. Windows XP also uses more memory, so the overall system cost/lack of responsiveness is higher.

We should not have to deal with spyware. I do not like a company that forces me to run a spyware program, an antivirus, and a firewall for normal operation. Antivirus programs and spyware programs contribute to harddrive failures. I have programs on my windows box, that I do not know what they do. As far as I can tell, microsoft's spyware sends out some sort of network traffic approximately every 10 seconds. Why would they need to do that? what is that mysterious burst? I don't know, and it is difficult to find out.

Ok, so it is sustainable for my parents to use Gatech antivirus? What happens when I graduate? Their last computer lasted since 98. It still has windows 98. It works fine. That hardware could run another operating system and do everything that they want to do. But no. They have to buy new hardware. They have to upgrade.

Like I said, where is the "load word 5.0 files"? Where is the load files from cerca 1992? The farthest back they go is word 95. (this is in my Word 2002 running in windows XP) The answer isn't "well, they should upgrade" WHY should they? Why should they buy a new computer everytime windows is release? Then have to get a new office suite? Then convert all of their files. Then repeat? We have been lucky that Vista has not been released on time. Have you looked at the minimum requirements for a vista computer?!

Thanks for bringing up DRM, which is such a horrible idea that I would need another post to talk about it.

So uh, Nic, you planning on paying for all of these forced upgrades for my parents? I am at least trying to do something about it beyond submission. Also, they love it when the computer is slower than need be due to anti-spayware/anti-virus. Way to use the hardware to its potential.

To all "windows works fine" people out there. Why are there too many companies to list that remove ailments on your computer? You are invited to fix my parents computer when shit happens. You can explain to them about their lost data. You can buy them upgrades to their computer, OS, and office suite.

Nic said...

Fine, most of my experience is based on anecdotal evidence, but I've interacted with Windows intimately over the years and this experience is obviously what I base my impressions and beliefs on.

As far as me using Windows, yes I actually used Windows since 1992 when I was 8. It was 3.0 but 3.1 came out that same year and we later upgraded to it when we went from a 386 to a 486. But most things I did, which was primarily Doom 2 and Wolfenstein, and later Duke Nukem 3D, were in MS/DOS. I was familiar with Windows and learned the quirks behind it; a couple of friends and I would use the ini exploit to get around administrative programs on 3.1 in middle school, for example.

Anyway, fine, this is andecdotal. But in a nod to the irriation of windows, I have dealt with the earlier virtual memory issues that plagued 3.1 and later 95. I reviled 95 when it first came out. It seemed like a buggy piece of shit, because that's exactly what it was. What the fuck was a start button useful for? And why does it seem to crash everytime I turn it on? And why in the name of everything holy does it not have my goddamn modem or printer drivers.

Security was hardly an issue at this point because not enough people even knew how to connect computers to others, much less exploit their vulnerabilities.

I used Windows 95 because I had to. I put off getting it for as long as I could because I thought DOS was still fine, except the internet came about and shattered that.

The best part of using Windows 95 was that I used Netscape Navigator and Wordperfect with it. I didn't even know Microsoft had equivalent products at this point, because everyone used those two. I still used them when I got Windows 98, and Win98 I thought was honestly a pretty solid product. I used that up until the point that XP came out, because it worked great.

Oh, and as for WinME, I used that too. There was nothing good about it. It crashed, for absolutely no reason what so ever, practically everytime I used it. I have a deep-seated hatred for WinME.

Anyway, this is still anecdotal. Fine.

As for the security flaws in Windows, those are exposed because Windows itself is used in the vast majority of applications. You're actually suggesting that Microsoft is saying to its programmers:"Hey, do everything half-assed with lots of holes in it, we can patch it all later!" Even if we accept that, Microsoft has a massive support base that is constantly working on updating these security flaws. The fact that they have a knowledge base that documents it seems to be rather encouraging, because they're devoting time and resources to fixing it. And do you know why the open source 3rd party OS's even know to look at these types of problems with their own software? Because Microsoft was there before them and set the example and felt out the market.

Even through this, I have never had any form of malicious virus or script run on my computer since I've used Windows 95 that was not immediately caught by 3rd party programs. How would one even know if such a script was run on their computer if there was an actual human behind it? Windows or not.

You say that if you don't use Microsoft you won't have to deal with Spyware? I'm not sure if I follow your logic with that one. Everyone deals with Spyware, like I said before, Windows is the prominent OS, so it's obviously going to have more malicious code written for it. Despite that, there is still Spyware that is going to affect any machine. Plus that random 10 second burst? That's all you kiddo, cause that's not on the two machines I've looked at. It's more than likely you're running a process and not realizing it.

As for running anti-virus, I redirect you to above, you're going to have to do this anyway, I don't care what OS you use. Yes there are more viruses out there for Windows, but it doesn't matter. That just gives you a marginally better chance at getting infected. Whether or not you're enrolled at Tech or get it free or if it slows down your computer markedly. That just sounds like the price you're willing to pay to not have to deal with it.

Your Office worries are problems with not updating from 1992, although I'm pretty certain there isn't a Word 5.0 for Windows, but there was one for Mac and DOS. You can easily save those in a common format and update them individually. I don't see how this is Microsoft's fault. If it wasn't for MS, you'd have them all in Wordperfect, or the very basic DOS texteditor, or notepad, cause the 3rd party text editors weren't prevalent at all, if they even existed.

As for Firefox, let's take a look at some basic structure. It was a project operated and developed by the Mozilla Corporation and "hundreds" of volunteers. Touted as completely open-source and free, it integrated technologies that no other browser had ever bundled together before; such as, "an integrated pop-up blocker, tabbed browsing, live bookmarks, support for open standards, and an extension mechanism for adding functionality." Sounds nifty.

Mozilla did it right when they made Firefox. They talked to a large number of people and received input from several people about what they would want to see in a web browser. Microsoft developers had lost touch at some point, although there should be some thing along the line to clue them in on what people wanted. But, IE was released in 2001, and a fundamental change to the engine really wasn't possible. The only thing that MS can be blamed for is dropping the ball in releasing a new version of IE. Version 7 is going to be reconfigured to fix many of the problems in version 6, such as shell integration, which you pointed out makes it dangerous. Plus things such as tabs, themes and personalization (although IE has obviously always supported Windows themes) will be added.

Despite this, IE is not the wreck people make it out to be, and replacing it with Firefox is remarkedly easy. And yes, I've coded with IE before and know the kind of shit Microsoft does to it. The Microsoft Java VM was very intimate to me all the way back to version 4.

As for Firefox's flaws and IE's flaws getting fixed, it looks more like the IE team is trying to get the new version out as opposed to worrying about fixing the old version. Even Firefox has unpatched flaws, albeit a smaller amount of them. If you're truly worried about security flaws, Opera is the browser for you, because it has the least amount of flaws and none remain unpatched.

Anyway, this is just competition and preference between Firefox and IE that is really a moot point.

As for your parent's having to upgrade, this is not Microsoft's fault . We've all had to upgrade through the ages. Technological improvements happen, thank God. Windows 98 still works great as far as I know. I had to use it at my job a little over a year ago. This is you redirecting your annoyances on Microsoft because apparently they're good at what they do. None of your grievances seem to really have any relevance except personal preference. God knows I wouldn't want to use something as terrible as Redhat instead of Windows. Plus, Linux-based OSs seem to be more difficult to deal with because they're all open-source and get upgraded spottily, although I will admit that I've never had to deal with installing these 3rd party OS's, just used them.

And yes, I do still run into problems with Firefox not showing something and IE showing it, as well as Firefox even showing something that IE wouldn't show. Essentially you need both browsers, still. It's something to do with their adherence to certain protocols and standards.

mike faria said...

save what's important. format. download a pirated copy of office 2003. buy/download xp sp2. get them set up with automatic updates. download firefox, and tell them to use this for their browsing. only use IE for their "work sites." download ad-aware. done.

p.s. if their computer is too slow to run xp, tell them to buy a $200-$300 desktop and it will come with XP preinstalled. if they don't want to spend that much, they can deal with win2k and all the spyware, lol.