Monday, September 21, 2009

Cutting Edge? More like, "Crash and Burn Edge"

This post has little to do with gardening. But it has everything to do with getting you more "yard time" and less time dealing with vexing indoor computer issues. In particular, the time consuming hassles of updating the heart of your computer, the operating system. Be it a PC or a Mac, it is not uncommon for early adapters to operating system upgrades to go through computer hell: updating printer drivers, getting older programs to work properly, searching for missing files, making sense of new folders, labeled in gibberish.

This rant comes from the folks at Magic Mouse, makers of a fine, easy to use layout program, Discus. Originally Discus was intended as a CD labeling program. Now, it is much more. It simplifies photo and text manipulation to the point that those of us who are clumsy at programs such as Photoshop Elements can easily create photo laden documents with a few clicks and drags of the mouse. I use it frequently for designing my garden handouts, such as this (Hey, I never said I had any artistic design talent. I just want to do the basics!).

The folks at Magic Mouse recently sent out an e-mail to their customers talking about a flurry of tech support inquiries they had received in recent weeks about compatibility with Macintosh OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard); Windows users calling about Quicktime issues if they install I-Tunes 9; and, (compatibility) information about the upcoming Windows 7 system. 

But what they also included is great advice that applies to all computer owners, especially those who are quick to purchase the latest operating systems, WAIT:

"We are old hands at computers, going back to the punch card era, and can state with authority that if you value your time and would like to avoid unnecessary  frustration in your life, we recommend that you NOT UPGRADE TO ANY NEW OPERATING  SYSTEM UNTIL SIX MONTHS HAVE PASSED.  

The trusting people who recently purchased Apple's Snow Leopard and immediately installed it were greeted with hundreds of terrible bugs.  It was reckless of Apple not to test their system more
thoroughly before releasing it to millions of paying customers.

When you immediately upgrade to a major new operating system version you are basically volunteering to be an unpaid tester for the supplier.  Unlike bran muffins, fresh operating system versions are not better;  they are more like wine, which benefits from age.  

Operating systems are among the most complex projects  ever attempted with hundreds if not thousands of man-years of work inside, and every major system shipping today went out the door with tens of thousands of known defects.  

Both Apple and Microsoft have a bug tracking system and the
managers at Apple and Microsoft know full well that their products are riddled with defects but market forces dictate that they ship on a fixed calendar schedule regardless of the consequences to the customer. If they waited until the product was flawless it would never ship at all.

Approximately 35% of the laptops containing Vista were downgraded to XP.  And this is after an entire year of Vista on the street.

There are two places you can be in the computer world - the bleeding edge and the trailing edge, and we recommend to all our customers to buy proven hardware technologies that are least two years old and try to stay behind in operating systems until you start to hit problems because you are too far behind.  

When  you stay behind a bit you enjoy low prices, complete reliability, and lots of technical help."

Now, back to the garden...and its own bugs.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the advice. I was about to buy the Windows 7 for my desktop, but I'll hold off. My Windows XP is an excellent operating system and I'm glad I didn't bite on Vista!