Microsoft, Technology

No Virginia, Vista Won’t Run on Your 8 Year-Old Laptop

I’ve been trying to keep up with the stories about people who are still having problems with Windows Vista.  Some of the problems appear to be people with Vista on their new computers, which is understandable since it’s Microsoft’s first OS upgrade in a long time – understandable but still a pain in the ass, because Microsoft should not have overpromised and underdelivered on Vista.

(as I’ve said before, Vista has been a pretty solid OS for me.  I haven’t baby’d my laptop either – it’s my main computer and I’m usually running a handful of video, audio or web editing software on it and it trucks along.  Not as fast as XP, but Vista is Mike Alstott to XP’s Warrick Dunn.)

Some of the people bitching about Vista haven’t tried Vista yet, but read some of the negative comments about it and added gas to the fire.  Or saw Apple’s innovative ads poking fun at Vista (Steve Jobs’s gratitude for Bill Gates bailing him out and saving Apple a few years back, but I digress) 😉

And some of the complaining seems to come from people who have tried to install Vista on that cutting-edge 1996 computer they just can’t seem to get rid of, for some pack-rat sentimental reason.  Microsoft, instead of subtly nudging people into upgrading their computers so they can run on Vista, decided to shoehorn Windows users into getting Vista – and worse, getting them on computers that won’t run Vista properly.

This has caused quite the PR kerfluffle within the computer world.  This isn’t “the good ole days” when Microsoft released XP.  Nowadays detractors have media outlets to complain to (or with) that were not available with the great XP unveiling – blogs and other social media. (Ha!  I knew I could tie blogging into this somehow!) MS should have been a little more savvy to the segment of their consumer base that isn’t ready to,  or capable of, adopting.  Now Microsoft has opened itself up to some deserved criticism as the end of life date for XP looms closer – Microsoft is really not going to cut off service to millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions, of XP users are they?

Some savvy computer makers (Ok, right now it’s just Dell, but expect other’s to follow quickly) have stated they will continue to install XP Pro on computers after the cut-off deadline, thanks to a loophole that allows them to offer XP Pro to those who purchase a computer with Vista Business or Ultimate. Microsoft should offer the same kind of deal.

Listen up Ballmer, I’m going to tell you how to turn this into a PR, and actual customer, win.

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apple, internet, Microsoft, Sony, Technology

moreLife for PC

(RELATED UPDATE:  I have a review of Sony’s Imagination Studio Suite HERE)

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In an interesting turn of events, the post that has given me the most traffic in recent weeks hasn’t been any of my comments about Mayor Chavez (although I did get a spike in traffic from linking to Eye on Albuquerque) or my posts about the Albuquerque Tribune possibly shutting down.

Nope, my biggest traffic getter for the past month and a half has been my call for Apple to release iLife to the PC platform. As I discussed before, Apple can get a decently large piece of the pie from Adobe and Sony if they were to do this, because there are other geeks like me out in the big wide world who wouldn’t mind trying out iLife.

That said, it doesn’t sound like Apple will be doing this anytime soon. So for those people looking for a PC suite of programs that will work in much of the same way that iLife will, I offer the following groups of programs that play well together and give you some integration (although again,one of iLife’s strengths is its incredibly tight integration and smooth workflow between programs, Sony and Adobe can offer similar workflow, however):

Sony Adobe Free/Open Source
Video Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Premier Elements 4.0 Windows Movie Maker/JahShaka
Music ACID Music Studio and/or Sound Forge Audio Studio Audition or Soundbooth Audacity
Photo PhotoGo or Windows Live Photo Editor Photoshop Elements 6.0 GIMP or Windows Live Photo Editor
Web KompoZer GoLive CS2 (since they have Dreamweaver, they can do something else with this) KompoZer (getting a there here?)

As you see, I also included a column for software that comes with your Windows machine, or that you can get via the Open Source community. These programs, I’ve found, tend to have a little steeper learning curve than some of the Adobe/Sony programs – much less the iLife suite. But it’s like most software programs, once you master them you can do amazing things with them.

I’ve also included a piece of Open Source software in the Web component of the table (at least for Sony and the Open Source columns). KompoZer is a cool software application, built on the Nvu platform – an open source competitor to Dreamweaver or (probably more appropriately) Microsoft Expression Web. iWeb’s strength is still all of the templates that came with it – from what I’ve seen it’s more a matter of different CSS’ for the same WYSIWYG framework templates. A good idea, because people can drag and drop files onto the pages or start typing in the predesignated areas before moving them around.

Adobe should do the same thing with GoLive, add a lot of templates to the software, lower the price or (better yet) bundle the software as part of this package, and make it more accessible to the same market segment that Apple could be gunning for, but hasn’t yet. (More on Dell’s Adobe Elements studio in the next post).

For those of you interested in a PC version of iLife, I hope these help provide you with some of the same enjoyment and utility that I have had working with them – until Apple takes my advice and moves iLife over.

computers, Technology

Microsoft Vista – “It just works…”

I’ve been reading about the various problems that Apple users have been having with their upgrades to their newest $129 service pack… er, stupendous, outstanding, super-duuuuuuuuper OSX upgrade – Leopard, or Siamese, or Tabby, or Puddy Tat, or what-the-hell ever kitty cat name they are giving this release to convince their buyers that they are a fierce cat in the computer jungle… feh.

Computers locking up, people having problems with some of the security features (the Apple Firewall is set up to be in “off” mode when you turn it on. I guess it “just works” at being turned off) – and some Apple fan-ites getting the equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death (something that, oddly enough, I haven’t gotten since I bought the completed version of Vista). I fact, I haven’t seen a BSOD in a loooooooooooong time with Microsoft.

Now I know that some Apple fanboys are going to blast me as some anti-Apple, “don’t get it” type of person. I’m glad to tell them that they are totally wrong. One of the first computers I cut my teeth on was an Apple IIc and I still enjoy puttering around on Macs when I get a chance. I’ve even told my fiancee that my next laptop will be an Apple Macbook Pro – once they get the hardware up to the level that my Inspiron E1505 is already at.

But it is nice to be able to tell Apple fans that, with Vista Home Premier, everything seems to “just work” for me.

Video editing software? Check
Audio and music editing software? Check-a-roonie
Web design software? Oh hell yeah
Photoshop? Yeah baby, yeahhhh
Anti-Virus and Firewall? Piece of cake
Video players? Check – and on a sharper screen than an Apple 15″ Macbook Pro

Not to mention, my digital video camera which works perfectly on Vista when I plug it into the Firewire port. You see, on my mom’s iMac, the video camera would not register at all.

Plug it in? Nothing.

Restart the computer? Nothing.

Pick up the iMac and shake it like a British nanny with a 3-year-old? Nada.

And don’t get me started on Apple’s great contribution to the browser wars – Safari (I’m starting to pick up a theme here… I wonder what it is…). Once it was ported to the PC platform it took… one, two days… for bugs and errors to be found? I was really excited to get to use Safari, too. I like they layout of Safari, it’s so pretty. But gosh darn it, it just… what’s the phrase I’m looking for here… “wouldn’t work” on my PC. And the fanboys went into full-on emo mode – doing the digital equivalent of sniffing and looking at their navels while saying “Gee, I don’t know why those mean, nasty Windows people take such pleasure in telling us there are problems with our browser.”

Maybe – since Macs have the opportunity to run Vista via Boot Camp – fanboys can load up Vista while they try to figure out what’s wrong with OSX: Leopa-Tabby-Puddy Tat.

See ya later, Space Cowboy…