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Video Update: Microsoft Lost Me

Video Update Jobs vs. Ballmer


From time to time I still come back to work on this clunky old Dell / Windows 7 desktop. The sad thing is that it is only two years old. It can't read my catalog of Type 1 fonts; I converted them to .otf, but I still have to reinstall them every time I want to use one, and I have no idea why. The fonts that are installed look crappy, and I don't know how to fix them. I had to buy a new printer and a new scanner when I "upgraded" from my Windows XP system that I had for 5 years. That was a far superior system to this one. This one, the disk drive is always running - doing something. Making noise. I have to shut it down to avoid hearing it.

I still prefer my 5 year old Macbook pro to this machine. It is much faster. This thing is so slow, and it is only two years old. And Windows 8? Forget it? I don't think I'll ever buy another Microsoft machine again.

// End rant.

I won't be so vain as to tag this a "DP Original." It isn't worthy. While you're at it vote it down (unless you agree). I should have written a post on how much I still love my beat up old Macbook pro - the one with the broken speakers.

Over and out.

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As usual...

This conversation eventually leads to the "would you buy a car without an engine?" argument.

Or maybe a better analogy would be "you can have your choice of cars, but they all come with the same (crappy) engine that is a compromise in order to meet all car manufacturers' needs."

Reminds me of my old Peugeot.

(No, not the '71 504 model with big fat tires and four wheel independent suspension and disc brakes all around and loads of rally/fog lights and ski racks and white with a blue racing stripe paint job and healthy two litre four banger and free flowing exhaust and four on the tree and skinny little chrome bumpers. THAT car was TOUGH.)

After that old goat finally bit the dust, I fell for a '79 604 with an overhead cam aluminum V6 designed by a committee of Peugeot, Volvo and Saab. Apparently it was a V8 until one of the higher ups in the bureaucratic tangle demanded that two cylinders be lopped off in the interests of economy (balance factor be damned!). Probably some UN plan or some shit.

What a piece of crap that engine was. Then John DeLorean buys up the remaining stock of them to put in his "sports" car. He must have been on drugs.

Hey Michael

You sure that thing's not a "Dell Lorean"? hehe

Windows to Linux

I recently became a Linux server admin, Windows admin prior. Do I think the Linux OS is better....I think so. But I'm not going to rag on Windows, saying that its horrible.
I use Windows XP and Fedora 17 desktops at home. For those of you that are broke, find a cheap piece of hardware from Craigslist or a friend and download Fedora or Ubuntu (both free). I know with Fedora you can boot a PC from a usb stick on any pc that allows usb boot. And there's MS Office compatible applications.....all free.

Dude... you bought a Dell...

Its hardly Microsoft's fault that...

  1. You (probably) bought hardware that's the bare minimum windows 7 allows you to run with.
  2. Dell took the liberty of adding all sorts of special Dell crapware with your OS before they gave it to you.

With respect to your font issue... 1. I don't see why anyone would ever really care about fonts AT ALL; unless you're a graphic artist or something who the heck cares? But since you 'need' it, allow me to google it for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNEfcRcriwU

Your printer/scanner manufacturer didn't provide new drivers for a new operating system 5 years after you bought your printer?
You're going to complain about that?! REALLY?!
XP came out in 2001. Here's some homework:
Go buy a mac printer that was manufactured to work with whatever the mac OS version was kicking around in 2001, try and use it with a modern mac. When you're done being upset about how you can't print. Sit down and think about how silly you were.

Microsoft sucking has nothing to do with "why the printer doesn't work" the printer doesn't work because the driver fairy doesn't exist!

People, in this case your printer manufacturer, don't support old hardware/software configurations indefinitely. That's a fact of life.

PS. I wrote all this from my macbook pro.
Its very good at opening ssh terminals, doing simple text editing, and accessing the internet like a boss.
It probably cost 10 to 15 times more than a chrome book that could do all the same things...
I would never in a million years buy a mac.


"PS. I wrote all this from my macbook pro... I would never in a million years buy a mac."

Did you mean to say you would never buy a Dell?

While it is true that I would never buy a dell...

I said what I meant. I have a mac book pro that was provided to me by my employer.
Its nice, but it was a ripoff.

If your only concern in a

If your only concern in a computer is the cost, then any old piece of junk will do. If you expect 5+ years of solid use and performance, get a Mac.

I know right?

Typo or schizo? hehe

Seriously though, there are tons of Mac (and many other brands of printers, even from the '90s) that will still work on modern Macs.

You're missing the point.

Seriously though.
Tons != all.
The drivers aren't written by microsoft, they're written by the printer maker.
If you want to blame someone for the printer not working, blame them.

Macs can't even play videogames and they're more expensive

A computer for me is for surfing the web, sending emails, playing the occasional game, writing word documents... Macs can't even get through my list of activities, and they're more expensive.

Given that, why would I buy one?

Because it has fancy fonts? Because its product line is hyper-focused on being user-friendly (something I don't even like)? Because it's the trendiest technology brand?

That would be like saying, "I want a car that has a high top speed and corners fast." Someone replies, "Buy a ____! It has a fancy gear shifter knob and a spiffy paint job... Oh, but it doesn't turn left by the way... but the alternative has a stock shifter and basic paint job, so it's obviously worse."
What do you think I'm gonna do?

Given the description of your

Given the description of your activities, sounds like you might be an ideal iPad customer. Tons of games and productivity tools, small, light, portable, works with a Bluetooth keyboard if you have a lot to write. You're practically there. Throw out the PC, as hundreds of millions of people are doing (check recent news of Dell going private versus Apple selling more iOS devices than ever in their company history). Dude, you need an Apple.

No thanks

Ipads are expensive for what you get, I would never use the touch screen feature, I prefer a desktop to a laptop, I prefer Windows to OS X (yes, even the new ones), and I prefer to support Microsoft over Apple - they have more ethical business practices.

I also don't own a Dell as it's not a reliable product. I realize a lot of people are buying Apple. A friend of mine has the new iphone. It lacks customization. He doesn't mind that because he's a fanboy, but for me it's make or break. I can make my droid have the same interface as the iphone if I want, but I can also make it way better and more customized (so I of course did.)

The real problem with the Microsoft vs Apple debate though is that it's not really a Microsoft vs Apple debate. It's an everything vs Apple debate. Apple is a whole product, Windows is just an OS. I personally do not think the Apple OS is superior to Windows (definitely not to Linux) and it's certainly not a reason to purchase expensive Apple hardware just to get the OS.

The only apple product I've ever owned (was a gift, though a good one) was an iPod Nano. Though, to be honest my droid phone also plays music (albeit with less storage, but with pandora/internet) makes calls, surfs the internet, and more, and cost the same as the Nano did... Apple is too expensive. Seems to me they spend a lot on their 'classy design.' Everything they make is very sleek, I'll give them that. I just don't care about sleekness on a computing product.

Also... dinky little app store games is not what I was talking about. lol

Your choice of course, but

Your choice of course, but having used both Android and iOS, I prefer iOS by a country mile. Plus I've experienced the quality of Apple's products compared to the competition. A few dollars difference where it counts (even a few hundred dollars difference) is worth it to me.

Build your own.

Just build your own desktop. It's easy, cheaper, and it will turn out much better. I built my computer back in Feb 09, upgraded nothing (save for putting Win7 on it), and it still works like a charm (AMD Athlon X2 7750 2.7ghz @ 3.03ghz, 4GB RAM, ATi Radeon HD 4550 graphics card).

Windows 8

is awful. Only appeals to the iPad, iPhone, touch screen users, of which I am not. Bothers me that the assumption was made that the general public employs the previously mentioned devices. Again, not all of us do. Add to that the fact that the Windows 8 touch screen software only works if you have a computer that utilizes a touch screen. So you must put up with touch screen graphics while using a mouse if you are a poorer consumer (like me) and cannot afford a computer with touch screen. Not user friendly, IMHO.

Just bought a new computer for my non-touch-screen-using daughter (a must, not a necessity for college) making sure it had Windows 7. Good price too...maybe because of the archaic Windows 7 software (snarky smile).

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

If you for whatever reason find yourself with Win8 and can't use

something else, you CAN get back to a classic desktop. I remember doing it in the beta version. I don't recall the trick of how to get there though.

Sorry, but as an iPhone and

Sorry, but as an iPhone and iPad user I guarantee you that Windows 8 has absolutely no appeal for me. It's unattractive, annoying to look at and derivative.

bigmikedude's picture



Just face it. OSX is by far

Just face it. OSX is by far better than any OS that has ever been created. I program only with Windows (because I only know visual basic and little bit of C+) and have never been able to program on a MAc but I know that OSX is by far a better system than Windows.

C+ is just as easy, or even easier, to work with on a Mac.

I learned C on CentOS Linux though. I always detested trying to accomplish the same things in Windows. (my university teaches programming on Linux systems)

I personally have no love for VB though. After having to deal with 20 year old software still maintained in it, I have come to detest it quite thoroughly.

Regardless of our other post

Regardless of our other post argument, (I have already agreed to disagree) I will speak to you civilly on this one. I started with VB programming when AOL was pretty much the only internet for the average user. I got into it because I wanted to make those cool proggies everyone had. And I made a few good ones. I would not say I am great programmer per se. I made some good VB programs by looking things up and doing trial and error like crazy. I didn't study computers in school. This was all done on my own time (lots of time). I made a very good OCX control for making 2d games in VB with DirectX. It had pretty much everything you could ask for in a 2D... I guess game engine, if you could call it that. I also did some Java and C++, more java though. But those languages are really out of my realm. VB is very easy to use if you understand the basic concepts of programming and know a little bit about sub-classing. C++ has always been out of my reach, mostly because I never had time to learn it properly. That's why VB was more my speed. I could look up the directX functions and make them easier to use in my OCX with just my fair amount of knowledge in VB programming and function calling, creating, and implementing classes. So, I never was what I would call a great programmer. I made what I think is a very good 2D game OCX, and used it to make some decent games but I am no where near any kind of level of such a lower level language. VB was easy because it was very much natural language based and it was easy to look up solutions to problems I had.
That being said, I started to make a 3d OCX engine and I began to get frustrated. I haven't worked on it since a year before law school... and that was 4 years ago, and I was already using an older directx version at that time... so I am way behind in any of that these days, and in no way do I have the time to play catch up.

Thanks for that perspective. I admit, I never tried to program

with it myself. By the time I had been exposed to it enough in use to want to learn it to "fix" the poorly written software I was using, I had already learned C++ and Java and had determined VB probably wasn't worth my effort.

It could very well be that VB is very good for some things. And it could simply be that the software I'm dealing with was just poorly designed and VB has nothing to do with it. (that is becoming more apparent as I find more problems) Perhaps VB lends itself to such practices, but more likely any language can be used to program junk if the coder has poor discipline.

The particular software I'm dealing with is maybe even out of scope of VB's capabilities or suitability. (It's a retail Point of Sale System with accounting functions) My biggest gripe I think with the design is that "features" were added, like a custom print dialog, that simply aren't necessary. The standard dialog does the job. (and is used in other parts of the program) This lack of consistency and having this special code in some places which doesn't always work right, is starting to be quite a pain.

It's really a bummer because I can't run this software under Wine because of these special VB features. I've tried to install VB in Wine first, to no avail. So I'm stuck with a VM for the time being.

The larger problem also is that the entire system is not database driven. Which to me, for a POS system is just mind boggling. The history of this app is that it was originally written for DOS (which I'd LOVE to have copy of to see if it was any more sane) and then ported to Windows back in the late 80s early 90s. My guess is the programmers didn't yet know all the special classes and calls for GUI environments in those days, and so when VB came out, they jumped on it and I think have been just hodge-podging it ever since. The software needs a total re-write from the ground up.

That is in fact, my current project. I'm not even bothering to re-write their implementation though, I'm just going to create what our company needs from scratch, with their example to keep me in check with definitely how not to do something.


I myself am no ninja of code. I'm still wet behind the ears but try to advance as best I can. I still haven't finished my degree and plan to go back this fall if funds permit.

I got my start at about 10 on a RadioShack TRS-80 CoCoII with 16K of RAM. I didn't even have a cassette recorder to save my work until I was 12 or so. (yes, that was 2 years of spending hours typing in programs and then having to lose them when I turned off the power - and no, I didn't have a printer to save them to hardcopy either - yet)

I ran a lemonade stand those two summers and saved up for a CoCoIII, a cassette recorder, a dot-matrix printer, and later a 5.25" Floppy drive. I never made it to the harddrive stage, so I was still pretty limited but I did dabble with an OS called OS-9 by Microware that was multi-tasking and even had a GUI. (before Windows) I continued Basic programming into early highschool and did all my school work on that machine.

I never did get the hang of assembly, though I always wanted to and will get the chance as it is a required course in a semester or two.

For some reason, I moved on to Windows machines and never did get back to coding until about 6 years ago when I started teaching myself how to do web design. That's when I decided to go back to school and learn real programming.

If you are interested in C++ it really isn't that bad or difficult if you have the right books to guide you. My text was a bit dry, but I found a much better one at the bookstore: Sams Teach Yourself C++ in One Hour a Day. (ISBN-13: 978-0-672-32941-8, $45 US)

It's a 29 day course with one hour of study each. (roughly) When you are finished, you should have experienced two semesters of C++ programming. (at my university that is)

"...aaannnd survey says, windows 8 is terrible"

I've been dual booting versions of Linux for years with windows. I find myself using Linux about 80% of the time now. Windows 7 is good, but windows 8 is absolutely horrible.

The problem with Linux is,

The problem with Linux is, it's not for users. I know Ubuntu and others want to change that, but still... Linux is not for users. Windows 8 isn't for anyone but Windows 7 is fantastic for users.

I somewhat agree, but

I somewhat agree, but Canonical has realized this and is doing a good job right now making Ubuntu even more user friendly. They're riding a new big wave of industry support right now. In time it could be great.

I've given Windows 8 a good try, but it's not for me. I've stopped defending it.

That's not true at all.

I've converted 6 family members to Linux from Windows. One from Windows 7 even. None of them are computer savvy in the least. They are what you would call "average users." Though I am their "resident tech support" they can call on, I have had far fewer calls from them than when they ran Windows systems. (which is why I switched them over) And at that, those calls were about learning the new system, not a problem with it.

Most of any learning curve is simply an issue of lack of confidence not to blow something up by clicking somewhere. It has little to do with how the system is laid out or designed or operates.

The most "noob" and fearful of computer users I've likely known I've converted to Ubuntu 12.04 and she loves it.

And I've yet in several years, had to do any surgery of any kind to any of those systems.
(by comparison, I had to completely reinstall each of their previous systems at least once, some multiple times)

And my Dad, who was and still is using Win7 (in vBox because he insists on Photoshop) has had nothing but headache after headache with Win7 not being able to print or scan, yet Ubuntu has NO problem doing so.

Is Ubuntu perfect every time on all hardware? No.

Neither is Windows, though they quietly claim it to be, or expect you to think it is.

I guess. I don't disagree

I guess. I don't disagree with you. We're thinking of switching our XP clients to Ubuntu that logs into remote desktops. That way, it's more than a thin client for when remote desktops are down or whatever.

But what about Quickbooks, Dynamics CRM/GP, Word, Excel, Outlook... all the other day to day 'get your job done' apps wouldn't work. OpenOffice does not substitute for M$ Office, for instance.

I see you still need a vm for your dad. Don't you think that's more typical than not?

My dad's a pain in the ass with his PC too, btw. lol. He keeps reformatting it and then asking me to install Eset again. I'm like, why do you keep doing this?! You can reformat your computer but you don't know how to install antivirus?!

Yes, the need for VMs or dual booting is likely typical for a

large number of people, but that is changing.

And in my case, it's because he first learned Photoshop and doesn't like that GIMP has things in different places or tools are named differently. He's ornery like that. Effectively, I've never been unable to copy whatever he wants to do in Photoshop by using GIMP. He just likes to be difficult I guess.

The biggest part of that has to do with M$ specific software. (Of course, Mac doesn't suffer this problem as much)

OpenOffice may not be a "drop in" replacement for MS Office, but I have found LibreOffice mostly up to the task. Sure, there will always be someone with some special feature they need that isn't there. I would say after 15+ years of using MS Office, and two of OOo and now 3 of LO, I don't miss MS Office at ALL. I haven't noticed anything I cannot do. (save a few excel formulas built in, which I could easily build myself with a longer formula, and are coincidentally now just added in the recent LO version 4 out yesterday)

I've also had LESS compatibility issues with MS formats since switching to LO than I did using MS Office!! To be sure, I don't use very complex documents. I'm sure other's mileage will vary.


There are some alternatives out there. It depends exactly on what you want to do. You can't also expect an alternative to be a pixel perfect or even feature perfect copy. HomeBank, KMyMoney, and Grisbi are the most popular that I am aware of for personal use. GnuCash suits both personal and business use. There are other more modern though lesser known apps as well. SQLLedger, MyBooks, and PostBooks (which has an embedded CRM package). There is also Xiwa.

Dynamics CRM - you could try SugarCRM, though I've used neither, only heard about them. Sugar is used by some very large corporations, so there is bound to be support behind development. But I'm sure you could find something, though as mentioned, not a drop in replacement. And I would never expect to find such for any particular software especially something so specific. Mind you, you won't likely be running Outlook or Excel either in a Linux environment, so integration wouldn't be an issue there, and if that is the only benefit to Dynamics, it is lost when changing OSes. Check this list out for a few gems that might fit the bill: http://alternativeto.net/software/microsoft-dynamics/

If you're using QB and a CRM, you might want to look into OpenERP.

You can, get most Windows based apps to work with Wine though (QB being an exception) but CodeWeaver's CrossOver runs MS Office just fine if you don't mind spending a little money. For not having to pay for the OS, it's not a bad trade off.

The thing is, I'm dealing

The thing is, I'm dealing with over 100 business clients. I mean, we've only scratched the surface... Dentrix/Dolphin for dentists, Portico for banks, Amicus for lawyers, GoldMine for financial services.... the list goes on.

There's just so many things which would have to be redone for any given company. I can see linux for a home user who only surfs.... but even a gamer is stuck with Windows at home.

Then you have the workforce issue. If Company A hires someone from their industry, that person would have to start over.

I know GIMP is free but there's a LOT to be said about the research that goes into Photoshop's user interface... not to mention the design industry runs on Photoshop.

This has been an on again/off again discussion at work for a while now.

That puts a much different perspective on the scope of what you

are dealing with.

Yes, there is a lot of specific software for Windows right now for special uses.

MS planned it this way. This is why they strong armed their way onto consumer PCs with the OEMs back in the 90s. They knew they would wind up as the de facto platform to write software on.

This is changing though, and not so slowly any more.

To be sure, we are still a long ways away from universal ability to change over.

However, the same can be said of any change from any system where this condition exists.

There are thousands of systems running UNIX with specialized software. Changing to Windows is out of the question for these folks. (not that it would be the brightest move either)

Now that Valve has ported Steam (hello Linux Gaming) you should see this process start to accelerate. The less that is holding back the average consumer, especially gamers and hackers from ditching Windows, the more likely you'll see Linux make it's way onto office desktops. (which is already happening in many areas anyway)

We're at a stage right now, where MOST of the daily generic software you need in an office is available native to Linux.

Whatever is specialty is either run through Wine, CrossOver, or in a VM/RemoteDesktop situation. To the end user, the implementation can even be entirely seamless in most cases. Combine this with SAS implementations and there is less and less reason to feel "stuck" on a Windows platform.

Then, Stage 2, once your average office desktop is converted to Linux, and you've been operating in hybrid environs for some time, efforts will be made to port all of those specialty applications to Linux natively, or new ones will spring up to compete.

This is already happening in some apps right now.

We're witnessing the growth of Stage 1 and the move into Stage 2.

And on top of all of that, in my own experience in Stage 1, Windows in a VM runs better than bare metal. I've never seen the performance drop I expected by hearing other's experience with it. Also, by isolating most WAN activity to the Host, and LAN activity to the VM, I don't have virus issues on any of the VM images. From a cost/time savings standpoint, at the least, I'd switch every desktop over to Linux and run a VM for specialty software.

Certainly, everyone's mileage varies. But I've yet to encounter a need to remain with Windows bare metal, or forgo a move to Linux.

Best of luck to you.