Tag Archives: Vista

Commentary on Microsoft and Mac

I’ve been a PC user for 25 years and switched to Mac last year. It is SO much easier to use, HIGHLY reliable, no hangs or reboots, no DLL hell. The Mac just runs and runs and runs, absolutely reliable, no performance problems.

I ran Vista last year and it is AWFUL: terrible performance, compatibility problems, booting took a long time, and it lost all of my data twice. After six months I switched that laptop back to Windows XP. XP is the last MS OS I am buying. We are either going 100% mac, or going to run Mac and Linux systems. Microsoft has been so completely disappointing with continued security problems (despite “the memo” in 2002, things have continued to get worse) that I have completely given up on them.

I have used PCs since 1985, and it’s really disappointing to see the direction that MS has taken. Windows is no longer a usable OS, but a symbol of the bloat and middle age that has occurred in the MS company itself.

I am sold on my Mac and wonder why I waited to long to switch.

If you switch to Mac, you will be amazed at how easy it is to use. You’ll be productive on day one, without all of the attendant problems present with Windows.

Last day to buy XP

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Today is the last day to buy Microsoft Windows XP.

It’s the end of an era.

I’m glad I don’t need a new OS right now, but next time I’m in the market for a computer, it’s going to be running Linux. I used Vista for six months (even wrote an e-book about its security), and it was so intolerable that I switched back to XP.

Microsoft has SO violated the public trust with Vista. I have no confidence that Windows 7 will be any better. In fact, it may be worse. I will be long gone.

Apparently the protests and petitions sent to Microsoft have fallen on deaf ears.  Microsoft is apparently so full of itself that it really believes that Vista is better. After all, look at the numbers: it’s selling like crazy (never mind that dealers have little choice but to gag what is forced down their throats).

One independent computer dealer I know is selling all of his new computers with Linux, and is doing well.  I’m sure that there are many more like him.


Microsoft to stop selling XP on Monday

Microsoft smells the coffee

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Maybe it’s because Microsoft is in Starbucks’ back yard – that or they are listening to the many complaints from corporate users who refuse to “upgrade” to Vista and stick with XP instead.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, is quoted as saying, “If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter,” referring to the onslaught of publicity that is beginning to make Vista look like a repeat of Windows Millenium Edition – the version of Windows that nobody wanted.

Ballmer insists that Vista is outselling XP. But of course – that’s because Microsoft all but prohibits computer manufacturers from bundling XP on computers, NOT because people want it. It would be like Ford Motor Company saying, “virtually all of our cars are selling with air bags.”

Microsoft is painfully aware that it has painted itself into a very tight corner with Vista. It knows that forcing users into Vista will instead force them to Apple and Linux in droves. Apple had a smashing good quarter – is it any wonder? Vista and other overpriced and underperforming software are making OSX and Linux look highly attractive these days. And Microsoft is too arrogant and proud to admit that it has made a mistake with Vista.

I ran Vista on systems, paid full price for Vista Ultimate last year, and I’ve reverted back to XP. I consider it money down the drain. I’m happy that I’m back on XP, which I consider vastly superior to Vista in nearly every category – at least those categories that count, like usability and performance. And for other categories like security, I consider it equal.

Disk encryption vulnerable to attack

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A recently released demonstration from Princeton University shows that most disk encryption systems, including MicrosoftCold RAM Vista Bitlocker, Apple FileVault, Linux dm-crypt, and TrueCrypt, are vulnerable to a simple attack that will result in the attacker being able to read the entire contents of an encrypted hard drive.

Lessons learned:

  • It is still highly important to prevent physical theft of a laptop computer
  • It is preferable to shut down a system as opposed to leaving it in sleep mode


Wired Magazine


Princeton University

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Register

New York Times


Network World

New Windows vulnerability is worm bait

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The first patch for 2008, MS08-001, addresses a vulnerability present in Windows XP and Windows Vista networking software. Specifically, the vulnerability is in code that manages IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) and MLD (Multicast Listener Discovery) protocols.

The vulnerability, if exploited, gives an attacker the ability to execute the code of his or her choice on the system. This is a system-takeover class vulnerability. And because IGMP is enabled by default on Windows XP and Windows Vista, this is a vulnerability that could be exploited with a worm that could spread through the Internet in hours or days and wreak havoc.

More information:

MS08-001 Patch

Protect your PC with a firewall

Network World article

XP or bust

Windows XP

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(More new articles – scroll to the bottom)

We run Windows XP on all of our home and work systems (which is almost 1,000 machines).

After mid-2008, we will have NO CHOICE but to purchase Vista when we want to purchase a Microsoft desktop operating system.

I ran Vista Ultimate for 10 months on a daily-use system and was SO FRUSTRATED with it that I switched back to XP Pro. The system runs much better, and all of our forensics software works properly again (most of the forensic tool vendors we work with are NOT producing Vista versions – I wonder why).

Securing the Vista EnvironmentAfter mid-2008, if I’m in a jam, I’m switching to Linux. That is, unless Microsoft continues selling XP or some other decent OS. Vista? No way.

I’m conflicted even saying this. I have written a Vista book, but I still can’t stand the OS.

This reminds me of the Windows ME debacle almost ten years ago. Windows ME was pathetic, and most people skipped it and waited for the next OS, Windows 2000. Vista is the new “ME” – the Windows version that most corporations are turning their back on.

I’m also thinking of purchasing some OEM copies of XP just in case I need it after mid-2008.

Bad VistaIf the next version of Windows (that is, the version after Vista) is also a bust, I’ll probably walk away from Microsoft’s products for good. Tens of thousands of you already have.

I believe I’m qualified to state this opinion. I’ve been using DOS and Windows daily since 1986. I also have 20 years’ daily-use experience with UNIX, and several years of experience with other operating systems (RSTS/E, KRONOS, VMS, RT-11, MacOS, and TOPS-10).

For more information:




Sign the “Save XP” petition today

Microsoft responds to “Save XP” petition

XP: Going, Going, Gone? Computerworld Magazine

Their passion is Windows XP

Will Vista be the OS that is passed over?

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Will Vista go down in history as the OS that most corporate environments passed over?

Just a few months into Vista’s life cycle and Microsoft is already talking about Windows 7. I cannot help but wonder if Microsoft is talking about Windows 7 about a year earlier than planned, on account of the market’s lukewarm response over Vista.

I’m not an IT manager now, but I have been for many years, in the modern Windows / UNIX era. Were I to contemplate upgrading to Vista now, my thought process would go something like this:

I’m trading an OS (Windows XP) that is known, stable, compatible, predictable, runs on current hardware, and familiar to users…

…for an OS that is new, unknown, stability unproven, incompatible with many things, often requires hardware upgrades, and unfamiliar to users.

So why would I upgrade to Vista? Because I have too many staff and not enough to do? Because I don’t have enough to worry about? Because I have too much slack in my budget and I want to increase my support-per-headcount numbers? Because it’s been too long since the executives hunted me down with torches and pitchforks demanding that I make their systems work better?

And… Vista is memory-hungry, particularly if you use Aero. Forward-thinking companies that are on a three-year PC refresh cycle have one-third to two-thirds of their systems with insufficient memory to run Vista very well, so performance is also an issue. Few corporations are going to do field upgrades of user workstation memory; fewer still will upgrade them to newer systems. IT is too commoditized – especially end user workstations. Vista requires more oomph in user workstations than most companies are willing to provide. By the time companies get their workstations up to the point where they can all take Vista (compatibility and other issues aside), Windows 7 will be out. If I were CIO for a day in any major company, I’d keep my Windows XP and wait. No sense ripping out something that’s not broken, eh Pacha?

I was in a similar dilemma about ten years ago. I ran an IT shop that supported about 500 users. We were Windows desktop, Novell file and print servers. People from headquarters (the parent company with tens of thousands of employees) began to pressure me to change out the Novell environment for Windows NT. My counterargument was simple: Why should I spend thousands of dollars of resources to turn file and print into file and print, especially when users won’t even notice?

So I was able to delay that window dressing change for over two years. Only when Exchange came along was there a viable business case for making the change, and then I did.

Back to the main story. Will Vista join Windows ME on the scrap heap of OSs that companies rejected? Only history will tell. But Microsoft’s coming out early with Windows 7 appears to say, “Vista is yesterday’s news. Look what’s coming next!”

Disclaimer: I am invested in the success of Vista: I have written an e-book on Vista security and have written articles and podcasts on Vista. Here I’m just calling it as I see it.

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