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The Windows 7 Whitewash

October 11, 2009

Maybe you’re not old enough to remember “whitewashing”.  That’s where you take a bucket of cheap, thin, white paint and basically slop it on the fence, barn, house, or whatever to make it look pretty good.  For a little while at least.

Computer people come in mostly two forms (yes, I know there are other much smaller groups) PC people, and Mac people.  PC people are brain washed into believing their machines are the only way to go, the only ones that work with what they need to do, and are the best thing since sliced bread.  The Mac people on the other hand are a cult and know for fact that they are more efficient, don’t need repairs, and don’t ever never crash. (Yes I know that was bad grammar).

Today, lets have a review of a review. Windows 7 is due out shortly (depending on when you read this it may be out now, or could even be old and replaced by now).  Reviewers are going nuts over it claiming it’s the second coming of PC operating systems.  It will save the world from Vista, and they usually try to compare it to the Mac system.  But if you really READ the reviews you can see that the reviewers brainwashed right along with the rest of the sheep.  Lets have a look at a recent review from the Wall Street Journal.  The opening slug line “Microsoft’s New Operating System Is Good Enough to Erase Bad Memory of Vista” written by Walter S. Mossberg.

Mr. Mossberg writes “After using pre-release versions of Windows 7 for nine months, and intensively testing the final version for the past month on many different machines, I believe it is the best version of Windows Microsoft has produced. It’s a boost to productivity and a pleasure to use. Despite a few drawbacks, I can heartily recommend Windows 7 to mainstream consumers.”  He goes on to say  “Windows 7 is packed with features and tweaks that make using your computer an easier and more satisfying experience.”  A few drawbacks, eh?  Lets continue reading.

He goes on to say how he used the new system on 11 different computers, different brands, different types, etc.  He reported the system to operate “snappily”.  OK, snappy is good. Then he went on to say “I did encounter some drawbacks and problems. On a couple of these machines, glacial start-up and reboot times reminded me of Vista. And, on a couple of others, after upgrading, key features like the display or touchpad didn’t work properly. Also, Windows 7 still requires add-on security software that has to be frequently updated.”  OK, so it’s snappy, but some of it’s much touted features don’t work on some machines.  And of course like any Windows system, security is already an issue, it’s not built in, so you better sign up for a good security and virus system and get it going before you even so much as dare to connect to the internet.

OK, so a few glitches.  I guess we’d expect that in any new system.  But thankfully this new Windows 7 will at least have all the basic stuff we need in it, right? Um, no. “Microsoft has stripped Windows 7 of familiar built-in applications, such as email, photo organizing, address book, calendar and video-editing programs”. So after you get this fancy new system and you want to set up your email, import 10 virtual shoe boxes of your favorite photos, load up all your contacts, maybe edit some video footage for Youtube, you discover NONE of this is included with the system. The good news is you can download these features for free.  Wow, that’s handy.

The reviewer states that it is no longer true that the Mac OS is “much better than Windows”, then goes on to report “I still give the Mac OS a slight edge because it has a much easier and cheaper upgrade path; more built-in software programs; and far less vulnerability to viruses and other malicious software, which are overwhelmingly built to run on Windows.”  If that’s a slight edge I’d hate to see what the definition of a big edge is.

Networking, you ask?  Windows 7  “still isn’t quite as natural at networking as I find the Mac to be, but it’s better than Vista.  A new feature called HomeGroups is supposed to let you share files more easily among Windows 7 PCs on your home network. In my tests, it worked, but not consistently, and it required typing in long, arcane passwords.” I’m confused. Why is Windows 7 so great again? Because it works AT ALL compared to Vista? Alright, maybe the new system is at least fast.  After running Windows 7 on  several different computers the report is “The Mac still started and restarted faster than most of the Windows 7 PCs.” He did state that ONE Windows 7 PC actually BEAT a Mac in start up!

Maybe the good news is in the simple installation, eh?  Reviews state that upgrading from Vista takes about 45 minutes and isn’t too painful.  The problem of course, is that most PC users gave up on Vista and are still running XP.  Just how smooth is that upgrade from XP to the new Windows 7?  The answer is right in the review. XP users will  “have to wipe out their hard disks after backing up their files elsewhere, then install Windows 7, then restore their personal files, then re-install all their programs from the original CDs or downloaded installer files. Then, they have to install all the patches and upgrades to those programs from over the years. Microsoft includes an Easy Transfer wizard to help with this, but it moves only personal files, not programs. This painful XP upgrade process is one of the worst things about Windows 7 and will likely drive many XP owners to either stick with what they’ve got or wait and buy a new one.

The conclusion in the review is that  “Windows 7 is a very good, versatile operating system that should help Microsoft bury the memory of Vista and make PC users happy.”

Let me make it completely clear that I am not picking on Mr. Mossberg’s review specifically as I have read dozens and dozens of reports on the new Windows 7 system all of which claim it’s the savior PC users have been yearning for, headlining with statements like “It’s a Revelation” then go on to say how great it is then listing how it’s impossible to install, saying it’s almost as good as a Mac now, listing the things that don’t really work, and comparing it’s new features to the Mac with sentences that end with “just like the Mac has for several years”.

The brainwashing is complete, Mr. Gates.

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