Thursday, November 29, 2007

The 13 main problems with Vista

MediaVidea: The 13 main problems with Vista

In this age of mobile handsets, burgeoning online content, gaming consoles, iPods, it comes as no surprise that Microsoft will spend $ 500 million to market Vista.

It is currently running ads for Hotmail in India promising 1 Gb of space! Very much in the tradition of England on the eve of 19th Century and U.S. around 2000, an entity about to begin a painful and slow fall from the top, Microsoft can do as it pleases with its hoard of cash. You didn’t see Google doing that when it launched Gmail.

In words of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft will spend all money telling people that ‘buying Vista is a potentially life-changing event’.

Buying Vista is indeed life changing.
When you buy Vista, you are giving up your power over the software and hardware, you paid big bucks.

The problems with Vista will come out to the fore when it gets in hands of large number of buyers. The mainstream media has so far focused on the Bill gates personality cult rather than the negative things with Vista, other than Walter Mossberg’s ‘I am not impressed’ review.

The difference between Online and mainstream media is an old one: MSM often writes puff pieces around technology issues while there is a wealth of information online which needs to be read by actual users and the general populace.

The main problems with Vista so far:

Problems Part 1

1. Costlier than the $100 Laptop and Gaming consoles: Vista Home Premium is $239, $159 upgrade; Vista Ultimate costs $399, $259 upgrade.

2. No instant plug and play: upgrading and setting up Vista will take much of your time.

3. Expensive for normal use: Vista is probably not for you if you use the PC for normal jobs like surfing and typing. Use Mozillla Firefox for same and better functionalities than Explorer 7. Microsoft may however try to convince you otherwise showing how cool Vista looks. If you are into looks, get a skin for your desktop.

4. Too expensive for Gaming: If you are into Gaming, for the price of a Vista, get a Gaming Console.

5. No big Vista application announcements: IBM, Intuit, large software vendors and even Microsoft’s own Dynamics ERP division have so far been quiet about their software for Vista.

6. Online software providers such as do not plan to modify their offerings to suit the new Explorer

Now, we come to the actual problem with Vista.
After the lukewarm response to DRM initiatives by big companies, I am positive users will not like Vista’s draconian features that threaten to take the power away from them. Vista is actually worse than DRM.

To users, Microsoft says that it wants to protect them from computer viruses. To content owners (especially big media corporations), Microsoft says it will protect copyright. Actually, Microsoft ends up on the Big Media’s side, virtually controlling how users use and control their machines.

Problems Part 2

Highlights from the Vista user agreement, which comes into force once you choose accept and install the software.

7. This agreement only gives users only a few rights to use the software. All other rights belong to Microsoft.

8. If you do not like Vista's limitations, Microsoft says in the agreement that "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software."

9. Microsoft has the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software (which you paid for) and CAN DELETE certain programs without your knowledge.

10. Microsoft can revalidate the software anytime or it may require you to reactivate it if you make changes to ‘your’ computer components.

11. Microsoft has set significant limits on users’ ability to copy or transfer the software. It prohibits anything more than a single backup copy and has set strict limits on transferring the software to different devices or users.

12. Only Windows Defender, the much-hyped anti-virus program –will determine what constitutes unwanted software. That means Microsoft can install Spyware and Adware with impunity.

13. Vista Content protection only helps Big Media: A computer scientist in New Zealand found that Vista intentionally degrades the picture quality of premium content when played on most computer monitors. Microsoft wants you to see that content on TV or bigger, pricier displays.

Options for existing PC (not using MAC OS, Linux) users

- Continue using Win XP
- For gaming, you are better off with the consoles
- Use online office application from Google which are getting better by the day, including better integration with other online apps, in a seamless experience.
- OpenOffice is getting better by the day.
- Home Entertainment: Steve Ballmer says Vista as the center and the launching point for the next generation of connected entertainment in the home. Translation: Expensive Home Servers, premium content, all controlled by Vista’s draconian features.

The world’s needs an open source home entertainment server along the lines of Openoffice, if that is our entertainment future.

End notes
Despite having come up with a Big Brother type of software, Microsoft is sitting pretty. Microsoft knows that for Vista, it at least has the lucrative (&captive) OEM and Corporate market (which still has to show faith in online office applications).

Apple users may take heart with this article that extrapolates Apple’s current growth rate and finds that Apple may overtake Microsoft in the year 2011.

I took this from another blog (link found above). I think this stuff is almost scary. Especially the part in the Terms of Use where it says "Microsoft has the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software (which you paid for) and CAN DELETE certain programs without your knowledge." That makes me seethe. This entire software copyright deal makes me so mad. They waste so much money trying to prevent copying (which happens anyway; if there is a way to crack it, someone will find it, and there's always a way) that that ends up being all the software is; just a chunk of $300 code that enhances nothing. What does the consumer get out of it? Distrust, privacy invasion, and endless frustration. Why can't they all just go the open source route? As anyone whose read this blog knows, I've switched one of my computers over to Linux (Xubuntu to be more specific). I think it's wonderful. It will take me a while to get used to, but the array of completely free software available won me over completely. But, to answer my own question, I know exactly why Microshaft and other such companies won't go open source. They need money. Silly me for asking such a silly question.

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