Only showing posts tagged with "Windows Vista"

Bad Apple

Apple really gets my goat sometimes. I'm not going to turn this into an Apple bashing session, because I honestly like what they make. They make a good operating system that is, in many ways, superior to Windows. Their computers are really nice looking with some nice features, especially now that they are x86 based. Their software, for example iMovie, is very nice.

But it really gets my goat when Apple acts like a spoilt brat. I only follow Apple based activities with a cursory eye, and get major overloading updates from my Mac man friend even now and again. But when I see Apple making ads like their "Mac Guy, PC Guy" ones, that really pisses me off. For an example, go watch this.

I'm going to drop an expletive here, so if you don't like that then skip a couple of words. Fuck you, Apple. Fuck you. Okay, I've got that out now. I find those ads rather offensive. Kind of like if Apple came and spat in my face. They are incredibly derogatory and worse, condescending. They completely disrespect any person who uses a PC over a Mac. In fact, it reminds me of a child who screams at their parents trying to get their attention. I'm sorry, Apple, but face the facts. You own, what?, two percent of the market? Consumers vote with their wallets and you lost 98 to 2.

Their TV ads are nothing less than straight propaganda. For example, their viruses ad. They quite correctly state that PC's have lots of viruses and Macs don't. Okay, known fact. What they fail to tell the average consumer who knows nothing of this type of thing is that the only reason Mac OS X doesn't have viruses is because no one uses it. If anyone used it, say 98% of people (*cough* like Windows *cough*), then it would have viruses.

Plus the whole PC guy, Mac guy stereotype thing. Apparently, all PC guys wear boring business suits, wear glasses, are overweight, and have bad hair. Mac users are the "cool, hip" guys. Again, I find this offensive. I'm sure there are PC users out there that look like that PC guy, but I can guarantee you that there are Mac users like that guy too. I can also guarantee you that I know lots of "cool" people who use PCs. That would be, ahh, most of the population. And really, judging people by their looks is incredibly childish. Remember the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover"?

Another thing that annoys me about the Apple ads it that they openly piss on Microsoft. Okay, Microsoft has screwed up a bit. But standing back, pointing and laughing really is a particularly childish thing to do. And that fact that Microsoft just takes it, not a word said in return. That, that simple act of not getting involved, and of not lowering themselves to Apple's name-calling level instils great respect for Microsoft in me. It draws parallels with the things you were told as a child: "If someone is being nasty, simply ignore them. Don't lower yourself to their level."

All this crap was brought to my attention by Paul Thurrott who wrote a brilliant article article about Apple's new upcoming OS X version versus Vista. I heartily recommend you read it, it really sums up my feelings about Apple. Paul doesn't support Microsoft, per se, but he sure shows that he does not approve of the propaganda that Apple generates daily and their pathetic childish attention seeking.

And the worst part is, people lap it up. People lap it up. Especially Mac fans. Have you noticed that for an Apple fan, Apple can do no wrong? A slight exaggeration would be if Steve Jobs told a Mac fan to run off a cliff, the guy would do it. Anything Apple makes is instantly legendary in the eyes of their fans. An example:
Jobs: "Hey Mac users! We want to completely change the operating system from Mac OS (OS 9) to Unix (OS X). This means none of your applications will work anymore (unless you emulate, which will be discontinued shortly)! We also are not letting you install OS X on older hardware. That's right, you have to buy our expensive upgrades! How do you like that?"
Mac fans: "Yay Steve, I'll buy a new computer just for you. You are so right in doing this!"
They are almost religious in their fanaticism.

Also notice the constant upgrades in Mac OS X. Steveo sees this as a good thing. No Steve, its not. Not when new apps are locked from running on the old OS X versions (eg iLife), forcing you to upgrade Mac OS X for a fee. If that happened in Windows, Microsoft would be shot. Notice Windows' massive backwards compatability? Christ, if Jobs started sending empty cases to users instead of computers, the fans would just go "What an innovation! Look how light it is! And it doesn't need cooling! Suck on that PC users!"

What also annoys me is the claims that Microsoft has been sitting on its butt twidling its thumbs since XP. Okay, so it screwed up Vista big time, but what about all the other stuff. For example, .NET Framework 1, 1.1, 2.0. Visual Studio 2002/3/5. C#. Just because Microsoft stuffed up making its operating system for a couple of years doesn't mean its completely useless and makes nothing good. On the contrary. .NET Framework and C# brings a whole new dimension to easy development of stable systems.

People don't realise how good they've got it with Windows. And how hard it is to make an OS like Windows in comparison to Mac OS X. Windows has massive hardware support. Mac OS X has Mac hardware only. Windows is massively backwards compatible, Mac OS X is not. Windows can run everyone's software and makes software development a breeze. Mac OS X has little software in comparison.
Windows' backwards compatibility is the thing that really limits Windows' development compared to Mac OS. Microsoft doesn't have the luxury of a rabid fan base that won't mind upgrading completely to run applications. Jeez, enough people are bitching that Halo 2 is only for Vista, and that Vista won't run well on crappy hardware. If Microsoft could throw away their current code base and redesign like Apple did with Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X, I think Windows would be freaking awesome.

Some of Apple's claims of "stolen features" also annoy me. Paul Thurrott in his article expressed that especially well. For example, Spotlight, Mac OS X's instant searching utility that they stole off Microsoft. Ok, so they got it to market first, but it was Microsoft's idea originally.

Damn, I guess this did turn into an Apple bashing session. My main point is not that Apple makes bad products, on the contrary, their stuff is excellent. But the fact that they behave like goddamn schoolchildren with their (white)lying and name-calling. I could put up with their selective information advertisements/propaganda where they don't tell the whole story. But the derogatory PC guy vs. Mac guy ads really piss me off. It just shows how insecure they are if they feel the need to drag others down around them. Their vying for attention like a short kid jumping up and down in a crowd of tall kids is nothing short of pathetic.

If you haven't yet read Paul Thurrott's article, go read it now. Its a must-read eye-opener.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

You may think, from the title of this blog, that this would have something to do with Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Well, you'd be wrong. In fact, the cliché title only refers to the fact that this blog is going to cover lots of different topics because I am too lazy to do lots of little blogs. So I will now unload the demented, crazy thoughts that are generated in my brain daily, to procrastinate from studying for Introduction to Business Information Systems.

Windows Vista. There was a time, only a few months back, I would slobber at the very thought of it. This creation of excess spittle has ceased of late.

I was chatting with some of my lecturers, and one of them was telling me about his experience with Vista Beta 2 (which, by the way, you can get legally free from here). What he had to say was disheartening and he wasn't talking about the release date. Apparently, Vista is a resource hog. To a massive extent. Now, I expected that, what with their SuperCache feature that pre-caches stuff so that things will run faster. Naturally, the more stuff cached, the bigger the memory footprint.

However, it isn't just memory that Vista chews through. It is CPU as well. "CPU?" you ask. "What does it need CPU for?" A very good question, James. The flash "Aero" interface, that's what for. Apparently, ALT+TABBING can take up to 30% of your processor. Because the entire interface is a 3D thing, it eats resources like a mulcher eats a tree.

The hardware requirements for the Aero interface are also ridiculous. You need at least 128MB of graphics card RAM to use the fancy effects. "Say what??". That's right. 128 megabytes of graphics RAM. So that piece of crap 64MB Geforce 5200Go I have in my laptop can burn in hell, apparently.

I'm sorry, 128MB? I'm no staunch fan of Apple's OSX, but their OS has equivalent fancy interface effects and they don't need 128MB of graphics RAM.

A ridiculous fact I was told is that OSX is made by 60 developers, and Windows is made by thousands. Why in the devil's name is Vista so bad then? My lecturer said it was because their developers simply don't know how to write a good desktop graphics application. Although I find that a little hard to believe (its not like Microsoft is full of morons) however, the facts stand.

Another thing that continually sucks my mouth dry of spittle like a desert drinks water is Vista's ever retreating release date. In a recent Inquirer article it was said Vista was late because the management at Microsoft sucks. Now, I could have told them that. There is no other excuse for a bunch of very bright programmers to perform so badly. On a massive project like an Operating System I'd imagine that coordination and management would be paramount.

Another astounding fact that I got out of that Inquirer article is that the average Microsoft programmer writes 1000 lines of code a year. Is it just me or does that seem ridiculously low (no seriously, email me if you don't think so).

Another spittle drying fact of Vista is its new approach to security. The OS will prompt you for admin credentials for a lot of things; so many that people bitch about the inundation of dialogs. Now, I am a control freak so I probably wouldn't mind this as much as the average Joe, but apparently it is ridiculous. It also, thankfully, has improved in the transition between Beta 1 and Beta 2, although its still annoying.

So, I was doing some thinking (as I do), and came up with a shocking logical conclusion. If Vista uses 30% of the CPU to do things as simple as ALT+TAB then laptop batteries will smoke and burn in hell. No, seriously. In hell.

The reason batteries last as long as they do in laptops is because most of the time the computer does almost nothing. For example, I normally get around 3 hours out of my battery. However, you can blow this away to 40 minutes (or less) if you try and play games which are processor and GPU intensive. So with Vista continually using a large portion of your CPU to do mundane things, laptop batteries will be going flat as quickly as a tire punctured with a explosion from a block of C4 goes flat. And that's pretty fast. So this must be why Microsoft is pushing for all laptop hard drives to have a large cache of flash memory by mid-2007 (I can't find the Inquirer article that said that, otherwise I'd link it) to save battery life. Because Vista is going to drink it up.

Let's switch topics shall we? Ah, Origami UMPCs. I don't know whether you know about Microsoft's plan to have small computers that are bigger than a PDA but smaller than a laptop that have the functionality of a full laptop. Sounds good in theory, apparently it sucks in reality. Apparently, the problem with UMPCs is that they don't fit into any market area well enough. They are trying to create a new market, but their problems make them completely unattractive to punters.

The main problem with UMPCs is their crappy battery life. You get 2 hours. That's it. That's really useless for any real task that you would want to do on a real computer, since that's what UMPCs are supposed to be like. This is because of a few factors. Firstly, they can't be too heavy, so a small battery is needed to keep the weight down. Secondly, the first generation of UMPCs use power hungry screens that are not suited to power saving but are cheap to make. *Shhhhh* Yes, that's the sound of battery life getting flushed down the toilet.

The second problem is that they are apparently too heavy. Around 850g. The easiest way to use a UMPC is to hold it in one hand and use the touch screen with the other. Well, holding 800g in one hand for any length of time is too much. I was laughed at by my friends who reckon that 850g is not that much and I am a weakling. Yeah, OK, I'm not strong, but I don't think most people could continuously hold just under 1KG up for any long period of time. The solution? Smaller battery. But that would destroy battery life. See the problem?

The technology needed to make UMPCs work simply doesn't exist yet. Once high-power, lightweight and cheap batteries are made then perhaps the UMPC idea would take off. I'd like one.

Another topic change and this time we can look at something slightly more funny: breaking Notepad! Notepad is possibly the simplest program in Windows and you can make it break by doing these things: first open a blank Notepad and type without the quotes "this app can break". Save the file as a text file somewhere. Then close Notepad and reopen the text file by double clicking on it in Explorer. Whoops! Its a bit broken! Apparently, some dodgy implementation of Unicode is to blame for this. Go check it out on the INQ.