THE END OF THE ROAD FOR WINDOWS AND ME

Summary: Windows 10 will build in standards-based two-factor authentication to every device, effectively neutering most phishing attacks and password database breaches. The company also announced new features aimed at securing corporate machines from malware attacks and data leaks.

screenshot-www.zdnet.com 2014-10-23 12-39-55

The summary of Ed Bott’s column on the upcoming Windows 10 appalled me. Sickened me. Frightened me. The rest of the article confirmed my worst fears. I’m walking the final piece of road with Microsoft. The end of the road for me and Windows.

IN WITH THE NEW

The handwriting has been on my wall for a while.

Since April, my primary computer has been my Dell XPS 15 laptop. It has a fast motherboard, 8 GB RAM, 750 GB at 7500 HD, a backlit keyboard, high def monitor, a DVD that plays Blu-Ray, and a 9-cell battery. It weighs like a cannonball.

I use a lap desk with two fans to cool it. I treat it well, keep it clean. It’s never been dropped.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Glad you asked. The graphics card is inadequate. It’s a card with both sound and graphics on it, so I can’t listen to anything while I work in Photoshop. And even so, it locks. It used to recover and knowing the source of the problem, (insufficient video RAM), I rebooted frequently. Mostly, it was okay. Lately, it has stopped recovering. It goes down, stays down. Hard crashes and blue screens of death.

Last week, it gave me a black screen — fatal error — which told me it did not recognize its power source. It was plugged into an AC outlet, so I suspect the battery is starting to go.

For months now, it has refused to install Microsoft updates, except antivirus. I figured I didn’t really need the updates, but I’d have to be stupid to not see the warnings. My faithful laptop is getting tired. Some day soon, it’s going to quit.

SO WHAT DID YOU ORDER? TELL ALL, PLEASE!

Possibly for the first time, I got enough computer to do what I need to do. It’s a gaming laptop, Alienware 14. It has 16 gigs of RAM, a dedicated 2 gig video card. DVD reader/writer. High definition graphics. Heavier than I’d like at 6 pounds, but nothing lighter had all the features I want.

Alienware14-laptops

It looks like my new computer will be my last Windows machine. It’s the most powerful Alienware computer I could configure — based on Windows 7. It had better last a long time because I’ve tried using Windows 8 on Microsoft’s tablets (1 running RT and the other running Windows 8.1). I’ve also put in some time using my friend’s Windows 8.1 desktop.

I hated it. From Mr. Bott’s description, the worst of the problems of Windows 8 will become “the features” of Windows 10 or whatever they decide to call it. This is not a new approach in the high-tech world, mind you. It’s a classic, the “smoke and mirrors” approach.

“OH NO, that isn’t a bug … IT’S A FEATURE!”

You heard me right. It isn’t that Microsoft has made it impossible to run non-Microsoft products on that computer you bought. They are protecting you from the big, bad, world. Nor are they are providing you with a viable alternative to the way you used to work. They are requiring you play in their ballpark. A tiny world that has limited tools and applications to do whatever it is you do. If you want to do other things and they don’t have what you need? Gee … I guess that’s too bad. Microsoft figures it can set the rules. They own you. All you zombies will march in step and pay them money for the privilege.

Not this zombie. And not a whole lot of my fellow zombies. Mind you I am no great fan of Mac, either. I have a heavy investment in windows-based software, which is how come I have put up with all this crap so far … but there is a line over which you cannot push me. You cannot tell me I have to live in your universe to the exclusion of all others “for my own safety.” If my mother couldn’t do it, Microsoft definitely cannot.

No matter what you believe, it’s MY world. MY computer. MY money. MY investment, work, effort, and creativity. You will not force me to do it your way. This is not happening. Thanks for warning me, though. I’ll start saving now for the huge investment I will have to make in the future to change to a different system. And shame on all you tech authors for trying to sell this as a good thing. For not saying that the obvious end result of this shill game is the end of freedom of choice for anyone who buys into Microsoft’s new operating systems.

And so, Mr. Bott, you who wrote this article for ZDnet — Whatever happened to your journalistic ethics? Did they pay you to dump them or merely make it clear you have to tow the party line or else? I can’t believe you actually believe the drivel you’re writing. When I started in the high-tech biz as a writer, we limited the shilling for sponsored products to the “new products” columns and didn’t feature the lies. We were encouraged to use judgment and commonsense when writing lead articles because we still thought our subscribers were the people to whom we answered.

I’m embarrassed to be a member of the same profession. Ashamed. You should be too.


In conjunction with today’s Daily Prompt – Ready, Set, Done – free writing exercise. I think this may have taken more than 10 minutes (but not much more) and it is I have to say.



Categories: Computers, Daily Prompt, News, Operating System, Reviews, Software, Technology, Windows

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

31 replies

  1. We’ll have to see when it comes out, but I read the article and it sounds like the sort of thing we’ll love at work with all the additional security. The bit at the end about not running “untrusted code” seems to be for the enterprise version (=current Ultimate version?), which we won’t get anyway because it will be too expensive (only the directors run Ultimate here, the rest of us have free/cheap third party encryption software). It looks like it has to be configured to run in that mode anyway so I don’t suppose it will have much impact on the home user.

    Time will tell! Remember how they were going to completely lock down Xbox One until people complained? After the Windows 8 debacle this is Microsoft’s last chance to get it right, I reckon.

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    • The thing is, even on Windows 8 and 8.1, most applications not made by MS won’t run on it. Chrome won’t run. You must use IE. Which I don’t like. This IS Microsoft’s last shot at getting it right, but I hear well-founded rumors that this is also going to be their last installed operating system. After this, it’s going to be a “rental agreement.” I can’t afford to contract for all my software. I don’t have the income to support it. Many people don’t. It’s a crappy idea.

      Moreover, despite all logic and reason, Microsoft is trying to do what Apple spent years undoing — making everything proprietary so your choice of applications is highly circumscribed. It is a stupid, bad idea and hasn’t gotten better with time. Maybe they will come to their senses, but I’ve seen no evidence that would suggest they are going in a sensible direction.

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  2. I know you use Photoshop for Windows Marilyn. Are you aware that Adobe has a cross platform exchange policy for customers who bought Photoshop? That’s how I got my free copy of Photoshop 6.0 for Mac. It didn’t cost me a penny. The same was true for all three of my Plug-in software companies. They all gave me Mac versions of their software for free.

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    • Yes, but they are no longer issuing Photoshop on DVD. You can only subscribe.

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      • I have the DVD set for version 6 for Mac.

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        • Yes, but I’ll bet you didn’t get it recently. Not in the past 6 months. They really don’t want to distribute “hard copies” anymore. I had trouble getting this one, nearly a year ago. I had to practically pry it out of their hands. I hate this “rent your software” trend. It totally sucks for those of us on fixed incomes.

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          • I’ve had it since they sent it to me for free as part of that platform change policy I mentioned. I bought the version 6 windows version before I deserted my windows computer for a new iMac in 2010.

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            • Lucky you. I was barely able to get them to sell it to me and they announced discontinuing the DVD version of the software quite a while ago. You got lucky, my friend … I bought Photoshop CS6 about a year ago as an update to 5.5 which I already owned. They were already hawking their “service.” They’ve dropped the price since then … but not low enough for me.

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  3. Yeah, I bought a new Windows laptop a little bit ago and got the same thing. Can’t load anything onto it that’s not Windows, and then, two days after I bought it, they did an upgrade and I got the BSOD. I took that POS back and bought a Chromebook. Can’t load much onto it either but it was way cheaper and I can use google docs. I don’t really use it for much else than surfing and word processing. I have this desktop for everything else.

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    • If I didn’t do so much graphics work, that’s what I would do. But I need the graphics. I’m hoping my new computer (which I don’t have yet) will last a LONG time and I won’t have to deal with the rest of the issues for some years to come. Maybe by the time that rolls around, they will no long BE issues. I can dream.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel your pain Marilyn. It’s all a conspiracy to bilk millions of computer owners out of more money. Just last week I updated my iMac to the new Yosemite operating system. Little did I know that free upgrade would cost me so much money. Older versions of Plug-in software aren’t compatible with Yosemite. I am 3 versions behind on that upgrade war so I had to bite the bullet and order the next version slated for an October 31, 2014 release. There are no free lunches out there. I’ve noticed my iMac, a vintage 2010 model, running noticeably slower now with Yosemite is in charge. It’s a game I can not afford to play much longer.

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  5. I am not a Mac fan, but I do hope that when my current laptop (Windows 7) needs to be replaced, I’ll be able to get another Windows 7 machine. If not, I may have to switch over to the Mac. I wonder, have any of your readers tried the Chrome OS?

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    • Chrome is functional, but simple. You aren’t going to run heavy graphics on it, at least not in its current incarnation. This doesn’t mean future development might not give it some legs to stand on. It is already more solid than it used to be, but it’s still toyish compared to LINUX, UNIX, Mac or Windows. If you get a Chromebook, you are limited to whatever apps Chrome (Google) produces. Probably will do okay for light computing, but if you have to build presentations or do any serious graphics work, it isn’t ready for that. The Chromebooks remind me of the Kindle Fires. Tied to the Google universe the way Kindles are tied to Amazon. Good for traveling when you don’t think you will need a “real” computer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So for the time being, it’s Windows or Mac. *sigh*

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        • Linux is in there, but you have to actually know something to use it. I was advised while I was on the road by a friend to buy the biggest, baddest Windows 7 machine I could get because I was going to be very glad I did. If I didn’t do as much graphics, I could get by with something less powerful and less expensive.

          You can also still buy Windows 7 on Amazon and Ebay for less than $100 and reload a machine where the hardware is fine, but the software is no longer working as it should. The crucible for me is Photoshop. It simply won’t run as I need it to without enough RAM, high-end video card, and video RAM. I didn’t have a lot of choices.

          Harkening back to an earlier conversation, if you buy state-of-the-art computers, they don’t become instantly obsolete. Treat them well, back them up and you will still be state-of-the-art several years down the road. Most newer stuff is NOT better, not even as good as stuff I’ve already got. They haven’t made significant advances in processor speed for years. They make bigger hard drives, but not faster or better. You can always add more hard drive space with external drives.

          I depend on my computers. The stuff I do requires them to perform. A computer that grinds to a halt in a couple of years is a toy, not a tool. But maybe you don’t need anything so heavy duty. Most people don’t.

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          • You’re right. I don’t need anything as heavy duty as you apparently do. I do a lot of writing (for my blog, for work) and I do PowerPoints and Visio flow charts and Excel, and a few other apps, but I’m not a gamer and I while I do some graphics work, I don’t do it extensively.

            My problem is that the laptop I use exclusively is a company-issued one. It’s a good laptop, but I’m pretty sure that when I actually decide to retire, which will likely be in a year or two at the most, they’ll want their machine back. And that will mean I’ll need to go out and get a new one. And that’s what I’m most worried about. I may not have a Windows 7 machine available, and from what you’ve mentioned about Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, I might just have to switch to a Mac. Ugh.

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            • Medium level laptops are really cheap now. You can get a very good one for less (sometimes a LOT less) than $500 — running Windows 7. I don’t know about other companies, but Dell still has a reasonable choice. But they are either pretty ordinary — probably as much as you really need — or over-the-top gaming machines. I’m not a gamer, but using Photoshop requires the same kind of kick. So I’m stuck with very high end. You aren’t. You might want to get your own machine while you can. A decent one will last years.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Thought “Chrome” was a browser.., is it also an OS..?

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  6. I’m right with you on this. After my horrible experience with Windows 8 (and even the “better” version 8.1) I have to say going out and buying a Mac is becoming an appetizing thought in my mind. I’ve been a Windows guy my whole life. I think it’s time to try something new. I don’t see what Windows 10 can do that will make it any better than the rest.

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    • What’s so horrible is that they are actually planning to make it WORSE and they think they will force us to use it, even though 8 and 8.1 have been soundly rejected pretty much universally. I have some time since I’m getting that beastly Alienware laptop. It should give me some years before I have to seriously consider another system. I’ve can’t remember being this angry with a software company before. But like you, I have a big investment in Windows and I didn’t want to go somewhere else. Maybe it’s a plot by Apple? A mole working from inside Microsoft? It’s the only rational explanation.

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  7. Agreed. Your new computer sounds awesome though! The new Windows is really bad. It reminds me of how 3D movies are now in every theater, even though the majority of people I know hate them and would much rather watch it in 2D. We know 3D televisions aren’t selling, but they keep pushing them.

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    • I am so frustrated and angry about this. I am counting on my new machine lasting a long time so by the time it really needs to be replaced, there’s something on the market I like. With Windows doing its dance of death, I suspect someone else will jump in to fill the gap. Google, Amazon, and Android, not to mention Mac and Unix are all out there. I’m sure they will gladly fill the void. I’ve bought myself not only a computer, but time.

      I will need the time to wrap my head around having to learn yet another system. I’m getting too old for this shit. You know, I started out using DEC via a Mac, then to UNIX, then to Windows and all its permutations. Now I’m doping out Android since someone gave me an Android tablet. It’s got a ways to go before it’s a solid enough platform for my purposes, but it has potential. We’ll see how it develops.

      It is infuriating that MS thinks they have some god-given right to enforce their vision on users. I think they will learn, as others have, that it doesn’t work that way. Not as long as we have some choice left to us.

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      • It seems to matter little as to which platform or OS you choose to run. Somewhere along the line these manufacturers will be changing things and in the process making the features, or software, you like “OBSOLETE.” And worse, not back compatible or convertible to the new system. Damn Them! Damn them all…

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        • It’s just a way to get more $$$ from us. The new “updated, improved” versions of software are rarely any better than what they replace. Just more expensive. Lately, many of the updates seem to be downgrades. I hope the new computer (won’t have it for another week or two) will go the long distance. I just used up my computer buying allowance for the next bunch of years.

          I’m having a hard time with this. It’s not just which computer to use or software compatibility. I also have have tens of thousands of documents — all the stuff I’ve written in Windows-compatible ONLY applications. It’s not simple to “just change to a different system.” There is nothing simple about it. It’s a huge amount of money, work, and aggravation. I really don’t want to do it if there is any way on earth I can avoid it.

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  8. I too am fed up with Windows. mr. Swiss bought a smaller MacBook Pro and I have been using it now and again. I have discovered quite a lot and am happy. Tomorrow the local computer place has 10% reduction on everything and I will buy a 15″ MacBook Pro 2,5 GHz, the best Apple have in that range. I love the bluetooth mouse. I am not such a computer expert. I did a web assistant course and had a couple of web sites, but no longer – too much work. I am not a computer wizard, I just want to be able to do my thing. Windows is not going my way and after what you have written I am definitely sure I will be parting from them (although my Asus computer is still OK (Windows 7). I am writing now on the Mac – I make a point of using it during the evening when I need a computer.

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    • My new computer, running Windows 7, is likely going to be my last Windows machine unless they do a full 180 degree turnaround — highly unlikely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to put themselves out of business over the next decade. I’ve seen it before — DEC and Wang were both giants. Wang suicided out pretty fast, just a few years and gone. DEC took about 15 years to complete their own demise. You’d think companies so huge couldn’t self-destruct, but they can and do. In this case, Microsoft deserves it. My frustration with them is matched only by my anger.

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  9. Oh gawd. This is the stuff of sci-fi horror stories… I don’t mean that in a disparaging way to YOUR post, I mean that as a look into our very real, very disturbing futures being owned by corporations in so many ways. The now defunct TV show “Continuum” explored this.

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    • Except the real horror for me and probably YOU is that this will affect us directly — even if we aren’t using Windows. When one huge corporation does something like this, there is always a domino effect. I wish this WERE fiction. That it is real, is terrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

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