Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Archive >  December 2008 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

Taking a Step Backward
Walter Salm, Editor
Several months ago my desktop computer stopped working. It wasn't a hard drive crash; it was a blown power supply. The tower was stone-cold dead, and naturally it came right in the middle of deadline week. Murphy's Law was holding true to form. As luck would have it, the computer still had a month to go on its extended warranty.

I called Circuit City's warranty line and the people there were very helpful. They said that they would send a repair tech out to my location, so we set a date that allowed me enough time to get the hard drive copied onto DVDs. This was necessary because as the techie told me, there might also be a problem with the hard disk. Even though the machine was under warranty, I had to pay $99 to have the DVDs made at a Circuit City store, and they were not able to make a complete set; some kind of problem or other with their copying circuitry. Murphy's Law again.

In any event, I now had most of my stuff copied from the hard drive, and what I didn't have on the DVDs I had on my external HDD which I backed up to every so often. It didn't affect any of my U.S. Tech files, because those were all safe and sound on my 8GB USB dongle.

On the appointed day, tech service called to tell me they couldn't make it and could we reschedule? I said no, because we were getting out of town. Chalk this up to my roaming RV life style and two trade shows in Chicagoland. We discussed it for a bit and they informed me that I could reschedule when we got to Arizona, even though it would be well past our warranty expiration date. Okay. I could live with that. I still had three working notebook computers, so I was well covered.

While I was at the Circuit City store getting my HDD copied, I checked out new internal HDDs and an upgrade for the internal CD burner, wanting to make it into a DVD burner — in effect updating the old computer. Someone asked me why go to all this bother; why not just buy a new tower, since they're so cheap these days? The answer is one word: Vista. I didn't want it and any new computer would be a Vista machine. There is some very important legacy software that I use all the time that will not run on Vista. And I'm definitely not crazy about the program.

Microsoft's Vista has to be absolutely the worst travesty ever foisted on an unsuspecting computer-using public. There has been such a hue and cry against it that Microsoft is engaged in an unbelievable advertising campaign to change the program's name, and then somehow convince people to love it. It's unbelievable because I just plain don't believe what the ads are saying.

No, I can't love Vista, even though I have one computer that was made for it — a Sony notebook that cost me an extra $250 to convert to XP. I will eventually convert it back to Vista simply because too much of its hardware doesn't work with XP, but this will have to wait until I exhume and rehabilitate both my desktop system and an aged, ailing HP notebook that mercifully runs on XP.

Dell is still making one notebook model and three desktop computers that use XP and can are equipped to be upgraded to Vista at anytime that the purchaser is ready. And Acer is making a low-end 2-pound notebook with hard drive and XP which is about $369 at Wal-Mart. So there's still a foot in the door for XP in spite of Microsoft. I can't help but wonder just how this will all play out. It seems to me that these companies wouldn't be making XP machines if there weren't a market for them. Stay tuned. I still have to rehabilitate two XP machines of my own.  

 1) Taking A Step Backward

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