Monday, September 27, 2010


I recently heard about a continental friend's  experiences with Windows Vista. Though we know already that Vista was not the unalloyed success that it was meant to be, I find it interesting to know, it was not just a problem in the Anglophone computer world. 

I knew so many people who would not touch Vista, despite the advertising blitz. They were going to stay with the tried and mostly trusted, Windows XP. A few people did buy new computers and had Vista forced on them as the pre-loaded operating system. A small number of computer users bought into Vista as the 'must have' latest all-singing-all-dancing operating system. They soon discovered their error. 

After some public outcry, one company made a selling point of offering its most expensive computers with 'your choice of operating system' that is, either Vista or XP. But, you had to spend lots of money to get the choice.

Eventually, the advertising and selling hype was silenced; Microsoft just had to go back to basics. The Corporation promised to continue to support the stable and generally approved of Windows XP operating system. (Microsoft had already made clear continuing to support the XP platform, was not what they had intended to do). 

So far, it seems that Windows 7 is what Vista never was, serviceable. It does seem to be stable and it has certainly, been better received than Vista ever was. The aggravation caused by the development and marketing of Vista is rarely heard now.

Vista will, I trust, be consigned to the trash along with Windows ME, which was another poor operating system foisted upon the world of computer users.


adamantixx said...

i'm still on XP so have no thoughts on the newer platforms except to wonder why they spend millions of dollars developing, testing, marketing them before finding out that they're not really very good, after all.

flightplot said...

I've always used, and been happy with, XP. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Some of the reasons, Ax, for throwing out half-baked software developments are; saving face after a deluge of mystifying and superlative hyperbole that the developers have put out; they expect Jo Public to put much of it right, as in the past, (people got wise to that one) and to generate sales in an I.T. stagnating market place.

"Windows 7", a qualified MS service agent said, "was what Vista should have been. Vista was crap". However, when taking on new computing platforms, you have to bear in mind that your peripherals may not be supported by it, nor might any of it be backwards compatible. See what I mean about generating sales all round.

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F.

XP is a generally solid and reliable platform, as is 2000 it's professional cousin. You'll be fine while any vulnerabilities are supported. MS' stated intention is to cut support for XP, as it did for Windows 98, it's previous very stable platform. Like you, I would not be in a hurry to change things.

adamantixx said...

i take your point, "let the public find all the flaws in the new systems then make them buy loads of new stuff they didn't need before just to fix them"

ZACL said...

Hi Ax, spot on. There are likely to be problems with some dearly beloved software that may not behave on the new platform. I did know of one lad who returned his new Vista pre-loaded laptop - paid for from his savings - because his games would only half function or malfunction on the new platform.

keiko amano said...


I don't use games, and I haven't researched or compared MS operating systems professionally. I haven't used Windows 7. But, I've been using Vista for about three years, and so far, I'm happiest.

I question what serviceable means and what better received means.
Ashok mentioned that he's been using ME still although he has some typing problem. That means ME is pretty good considering the duration he probably used. Also, my guts feeling tells me Vista is good because I haven't had any problem for about three years.
I had a personal disaster twice with XP and spent a lot of money in Japan.

I think this subject calls me to write a short story. Thank you.

keiko amano said...


I'm sorry I mispelled your name.

ZACL said...

Fascinating...I had ME and disliked it. I have never used my computer for games. My computer programmes were always crashing or misbehaving, which they had not done with Windows '98, which was the previous solid and trusted operating system, no longer supported by Microsoft. I was totally relieved when XP arrived and everything behaved itself again.

The other issues relating to both ME and Vista were major security weaknesses that were being exploited. That said, security updates are always required, they shower down like confetti.

Richard Baron said...

I bought a new computer with Windows 7 last November, then in March took the plunge and switched to Ubuntu Linux, taking over the whole disk rather than keeping Windows in a partition (I did have the Windows restore DVDs!). I have never looked back. The only thing I found a bit fiddly was to get it to recognize a wide screen, rather than stretching everything horizontally, but a bit of guesswork (I am no computer buff) got that fixed. For how long can Windows, in any form, continue to dominate the market?

ZACL said...

Hello Richard,

I have almost immersed myself into Applemac, which I believe, is a Unix based system. I just have to plug in the peripherals and see if they work. I know little, if anything about Unix, Ubuntu I have heard of but never used. I felt it was time to try to switch to something different. It is a leap of faith. I don't have any Windows partitions either. All or nothing.

A student I know who is devoutly Applemac, is frustrated to have to consider partitioning the hard disk to take on some some professional specialist work software that may have to be purchased. The march of Windows has been ubiquitous.

Richard Baron said...

Yes, Mac is Unix-based, hence the saying that Mac is Linux for rich people.

I have thought about Macs, but am put off by the fact that the same company produces the hardware and software, so that there is no pressure to produce robust, low-price hardware to go with what is, by all accounts, a pretty good operating system.

Software that will only run under Windows is a pain. But I have not found myself stuck yet. There is usually some alternative or work-around. And I have found that OpenOffice, the free alternative to MS Office, works much better under Linux than under Windows. Finally, you get a choice of desktop environments under Linux: Gnome or KDE. The former offers a nice plain layout, the latter has more bells and whistles.

Oh dear, geekishness is creeping up on me. I must go out and look at some pre-computer age art at the Royal Academy.

ZACL said...

Interesting reply Richard. I shall give it some thought. I have looked at Open Office, while I found its presentation is familiar, it seemed a bit too raw to operate, for what I felt comfortable with. I am still thinking about playing with it, a sort of challenge, when I have cleared the decks a bit.

I have seen the current exhibition at the Royal Academy. A Tintoretto left me puzzling. Asking about it, produced no enlightenment from staff. There are some terrific pieces of art work on display.

One Gauguin was borrowed for the current exhibition of his work displayed elsewhere.

I also managed to tack myself onto a tour of the fine rooms which was part way through. It's well worth doing the whole tour if you can latch on to one.

Richard Baron said...

Was the Tintoretto "Hercules expelling the Faun from Omphale's Bed"? It may have been Hercules' way of showing who was boss, following his period as Omphale's servant.

Gauguin's Black Pigs spent a couple of days in the Tate Modern at the opening of their exhibition, will spend this month in the RA and will then go back across the river. I don't know whether it was accident or design that they were lent to both exhibitions at the same time.

ZACL said...

Heaven's no! Hercules -v - Omphale was clear enough and an interesting and jokey piece of work.

The picture that puzzled me was well into the religious art work rooms, where there were at least two 'Lamentations'. It was meant to be a scene of an informal meal, though the staging of the scene did, for me, evoke some likenesses to the Last Supper. Whichever way I looked, turned or distanced myself, I could not see the cat (to the lower left of the picture) as being in the flow of the shadow. It looked to me as if there may have been an attempt at change. I couldn't make it any less puzzling when I was close to the picture. Something was not, to my eye, artistically in keeping with the picture at that lower level and therefore the picture, as a whole.

This bit of art work gave me something to cogitate upon.

I wasn't particularly concerned at not seeing the Gauguin, I have had opportunities to see his work.

Richard Baron said...

I went back to have a look at the painting: Tintoretto, The Supper at Emmaus, catalogue number 59, plate on page 90, notes on pages 240-241 (where the cat is described as “beautifully observed and hopeful”).

I see what you mean. You are right, the light and shadow are not quite what one would expect in nature.

The cat is divided into three zones by the two horizontal lines between rows of tiles that lie behind it:

A: the top half of the head

B: the bottom half of the head and the top half of the body

C: the bottom half of the body

The tile behind zone A is partly in shadow where it is behind the cat, but out of shadow at its right hand side. It is also darker in itself than the tile behind zone B.

Some or all of zone A of the cat and some of zone B of the cat ought to be in the shadow (I am writing this at my desk, not in the gallery, so I may not have got all of the details right). But in fact zone A is darkened not by having a shadow on top of it, but by the fact that the tile behind it shows through. The zone A – zone B horizontal boundary is visible through the cat, and part of the cat just below that boundary has the shade of the lighter zone B tile. The boundary between the zone B and zone C tiles is also visible through the cat.

So it looks as though the tiles were painted first, then the shadow, then the cat without enough paint to make it opaque, and the shadow was not added on top of the cat.

But the cat is still cute!

ZACL said...

You have been very detailed. I didn't take notes but I did peer and peer from every which way. It would be good if there was an expert to explain the anomaly you and I have both seen. It would even more interesting if the relative amateur (me) could concur with whatever explanation was forthcoming.

You're right about the cat being cute. I was drawn into its eyes and was interested in its shape, more like the Egyptian cat, rather than what we see today here in the UK.