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Catch-22

Coming in October. Don't get caught.


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You might be bewildered (dazzled) by the new 'look and feel' of Windows 'Se7en' but that's most likely because you haven't seen anything better. 'Glass' or whatever they call it today is a cheap, poorly coded rip-off of other people's good ideas - and to make matters worse it's obnoxiously expensive in terms of hardware and up-front costs. A Big Mac might be your ultimate Happy Meal until you try a filet mignon black and white. A bucket of KFC might seem the tastiest thing you've experienced - until you acquaint yourself with caneton a l'orange. Ford might convince you theirs is the ultimate sports car until you test drive a Ferrari. And so forth.

People not running Windows don't need antivirus. AV products are available for non-Windows platforms and some people install them (mostly the free kind) but they don't really need them. That's because non-Windows platforms are secure - they have 'inner barriers'. Think submarines - one compartment can get flooded but the rest won't. Windows is an empty defenceless easily flooded casing ready to sink.

You might think it's hard to use a new platform but even the oldest dogs can learn new tricks, despite the saying to the contrary. Open source platforms are generally better at emulating Windows than Windows itself. Apple's OS X is a bit apart - it's a true object oriented platform. And that can take time - perhaps a month - to get used to. But trust those who've switched: it's worth it. Nobody ever switches back - Microsoft tried to hype a 'Windows switcher' campaign and got found out: their ad agency couldn't find a single Mac OS X user who went to Windows so they made the whole thing up.

The time you save in your workflows on a true object oriented platform is considerable. It's just easier to do things on an object oriented platform.

You might worry that your favourite applications aren't available anywhere else but generally almost everything available on Windows (and hopefully worth having) is today available in one form on all other platforms - and this isn't even taking 'cloud computing' into consideration. More and more work is done on the web anyway. Don't let your darlings hurt you, to paraphrase the famous film director Ingemar Bergman. You'll be OK - count on it.

In fact there's so much more software available on a Unix platform it's not funny. You have something like thirty years of Unix software sitting there and it's there mostly for free too. Software that's been honed, tweaked, and perfected by the open source community over a long time. Think a good wine that gets better with age. There are likely more free titles for Unix than there are commercial titles for Windows. These are titles everyone everywhere is using. So there's a broad user community and a lot of good help available if you need it.

Same Old Boring Same Old

Don't be fooled by the marketing hype. And don't be intimidated by the lockin. Sooner or later you have to switch anyway. Windows and Microsoft are both doomed. Microsoft missed the boat in not accommodating their software and their platform for the Internet age. Put very simply, Windows can't really be connected to anything - least of all the Internet. It's toast as soon as the cable goes in.

Those poor desperate Microsofties are trying every trick in the book and they're wasting so much time and spending obscene amounts of money trying to hold back the hands of the clock. But Windows of any version is always going to be the 'same old boring same old' - the sooner you break with Microsoft the less headache you'll have. Wait another year and the situation gets only worse.

Summary

  1. The actual interface of Windows is rather nonsensical and a cheap rip-off of ideas that come from other companies (where the ideas are implemented more intelligently). If you want 'dazzle' you're definitely on the wrong platform.

  2. You. Don't. Need. Antivirus. Got it? The AV companies will try to scare you into buying but don't do it. There are free alternatives available if you really want something. But you don't really need it. Non-Windows systems are more secure and don't need it.

  3. You can get used to any switch you make. At the very worst you'll need about a month. Some people don't need any time at all.

  4. You won't lack for third party software. You probably have better choices when you're no longer on Windows. And there are great user communities online to help you with whatever you need.

Spend More, Spend Less, Spend Nothing

Switching can either imply spending more, spending less, or spending nothing. Windows isn't cheap anymore - it's by far the most expensive OS going. And there are countless hidden costs which can cripple you. Open source systems are a lot cheaper because they'll run on yesterday's hardware. They're written much better than Windows. Their code is open and subject to peer review. Bugs are ferreted out and fixed in hours. Microsoft may hide their bugs (and their chaotic code) forever.

Apple systems can be more expensive up front because you need new hardware. But all Apple boxes are 'top of the line' - Apple don't sell 'el cheapo'. And Apple boxes generally last a lot longer than your typical Windows PC hardware junk.

Make the Right Choice

What with Google's Chrome OS around the corner (and a few miles down the road) it's simply a bad idea to invest too much in new hardware and an expensive operating system. Microsoft charge more than anyone for what essentially is a cheap rip-off of other people's ideas. And don't forget how much time and effort Microsoft spent degrading audio/video quality the last time - this isn't gone with Windows Se7en: it's still there in all its glory.

Salaried Microsoft representatives will tell you no other companies devote as much time to security as Microsoft - which deliberately misses the point. For they do devote a lot of time to security - they have to because their system is so crappy.

A smart company would do the right thing for users and replace an old insecure system with a new secure one - then they wouldn't have to devote so much time to security. In the world of Microsoft 'security work' equates to 'chasing the bad guys around inside the perimeter like the Keystone Kops in a silent movie'. As William Shakespeare might have observed: 'a lot of sound and fury ultimately signifying nothing'.

Make the right choice. Don't get caught in Catch-22.

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