Last week was pretty busy with work and it looks set to be fairly hectic till the end of the year, which for me ends December 14th due to all the vacation days I have left! In the week directly before Christmas, I’ve planned a short trip to Amsterdam for a couple of days – I last went there when I was 14 (9 years ago) so it will be nice to see it again and hopefully take the camera through its paces.

Recently I was helping to give my uncle some advice about buying a new computer – he showed one particular model he was looking at and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the operating system options:

Windows Vista Downgrade

Yep, that’s right you can “upgrade” to Windows XP from Vista for £50! I think that says it all with regards to how well-received Vista has been. I have Vista on my work laptop but have just about had enough of its sluggishness and unnecessary eye candy – I’ll be downgrading to XP or upgrading to Ubuntu as soon as I have time.

On an unrelated note, an interesting article in the NY Times:

“South Korea boasts of being the most wired nation on earth. In fact, perhaps no other country has so fully embraced the Internet. Ninety percent of homes connect to cheap, high-speed broadband, online gaming is a professional sport, and social life for the young revolves around the “PC bang”, dim Internet parlors that sit on practically every street corner…”

Unsurprisingly many young people in South Korea have developed an acute problem with Internet addiction, with people literally dropping dead from exhaustion, which has led the government to set up an “Internet Rescue Camp” as well as 100’s of counsellors and treatment programs. It’s an interesting reflection on the impact that the technological revolution has had on those on the cutting edge and you can be sure it’ll be the same in the west in less than a decade. Maybe there is something in being an analogue person

David avatar

6 responses

  1. I've tried clean installs of both XP and Vista on my Athlon X2 4200 based pc, and I don't know why but Vista seems to run considerably faster. This isn't just a guesstimate, but the frame rates are much higher in a given game with Vista. The same thing happened on a different motherboard / CPU / RAM combo.
    I know you're involved in a holy war against Vista, but I've found it to be generally ok.
    Also I find it amusing that you chastise it for unnecessary eye candy, while at the same time waxing lyrical about the eye candy in the latest Ubuntu release and Leopard. If you're that offended by it turn it off!

  2. Mark Everitt avatar
    Mark Everitt

    I beta tested and tried out RC1 and RC2, and all were definitely slower than XP for me. Ubuntu of course outstrips both for speed and stability, and I use this on my desktop for the most part. Right now the nice graphical stuff in Ubuntu is pretty much eye candy, but it's early days! Hopefully it'll soon be like (or better?) than Leopard, which I use on my Macbook. Some of the nice graphical stuff dramatically improves my workflow, and the same certainly can't be said for vista.

    When I was testing Vista I couldn't help feeling that they'd missed the point…

    Incidentally I do still have XP as an alternate boot on my PC for games because Vistas performance was horrific! Tom, did you install all the up to date drivers on your XP installs?

  3. I read the other day that 90% of IT professionals (in the support sector) prefer XP over Vista as it simply isn't mature enough yet. Perhaps with the upcoming service pack they'll sort some of it out BUT they can't solve the fundamental problem – Vista is built on top of an OS (Windows Server 2003) which itself was built on top of an even older version (2000) etc. This causes legacy nightmare with millions of lines of bad code – no wonder things go wrong. They really need to take a leaf out of where Apple were with OS 9 – throw it away and start again. That's how Vista (then Longhorn) was supposed to be but Microsoft being the huge unwieldy monster it is couldn't handle it and gave up. Better luck next time Bill – better come up with a solution fast while everyone else is chipping away at your market lead!

  4. Yep I had the latest drivers. It almost felt as though my pc was allergic to XP, as I say, even on clean installs.

    Linux-wise I feel Ubuntu is slightly over-rated as the best Windows replacement, and that it really pays to look around a bit for a distribution to fit you like a glove. I tried several and finally settled on PCLinuxOS 2007. I like that fact that everything is clean and simple and works well. I had problems with wireless in Ubuntu even on a bog standard Intel chipset. PCLOS also has the 3D eye candy used in Ubuntu but I tend not to bother with it.

  5. You could argue that but the clear fact is that while Windows gets heavier and more bloated with every release OS X has gotten faster, more refined, more stable and ultimately more usable with each release. Nothing will ever be 100% perfect but Leopard comes as close as any OS I've seen to it. I guess Apple do have the major advantage of controlling the hardware and thus being able to provide a much higher level of compatibility.

  6. “the fundamental problem – Vista is built on top of an OS (Windows Server 2003) which itself was built on top of an even older version (2000) etc.”

    Let us not forget that Mac OS X was built on stuff developed in the late 80s. Then Mac OS X was released in 1999 (Server version) and 2001. Since 1999 there have been 7 major releases of Mac OS X. I wouldn't call that starting from scratch.

    Looking at it that way you could argue that Windows is actually newer than OS X. In any case I don't think it's the age of the operating system that defines how good or bad it is – much more important is what they've done in that time. I would say a benefit of *nix based systems such as Linux and OS X is that over that long period they have been honed. With Windows it is less a case of honing and more a case of enlarging and complicating.


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