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Windows Vista’s market share is growing. After seeing 8.1, I know why

I installed Windows Vista last week. I need a legal copy of a supported version of Windows to use to VPN in to work and run the corporate Citrix client. Vista fit the bill. It’s better than 8.1, and it’s supported until April 2017. I always hated Vista, but 8 and 8.1 made me realize it could have been a lot worse, and on recent hardware Vista does OK. It still prompts you for admin rights too much and too slowly and makes you work too hard to click yes, but at least you can find stuff.Read More »Windows Vista’s market share is growing. After seeing 8.1, I know why

Vuescan: A review from a non-photographer’s perspective

Vuescan is a third-party scanning tool for most versions of Windows, OS X, and Linux. It supports hundreds of scanners, including those abandoned by manufacturers. It’s probably better than what came with your scanner. The pro edition probably costs as much as your scanner too, but comes with lifetime free updates, so you know you’ll be able to use your scanner for as long as it continues to operate, rather than rolling the dice on manufacturer-provided drivers working with your next upgrade. And you can run it on up to four computers at a time, which is nice.

Full disclosure: I bought this software myself. I was not provided a copy for review, nor am I receiving anything in exchange for writing this review. Now that’s out of the way, and you don’t to have to guess about my motives.Read More »Vuescan: A review from a non-photographer’s perspective

Microsoft was wrong whether it patched XP this time or let it burn

Years ago I heard a joke that reminds me of the situation Microsoft found itself in last week with its latest IE vulnerability:

If a man is alone in a forest, and there’s no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?

I was as shocked as anyone when Microsoft released just one last Internet Explorer patch for Windows XP on May 1. I can argue either side of the issue, but I don’t think I can argue either side convincingly enough to get a simple 50.1% majority of people to agree with me, because I’m not sure I can argue either side of the issue convincingly enough that Iwould agree with myself.

I think it’s important that 26% of all web traffic is still coming from Windows XP today, nearly three weeks after it went end of life. That likely played into the decision. Microsoft was in a no-win situation here, and they had to decide whether they wanted to lose 1-0 or 24-1. So I don’t think it matters all that much, but here are the pros and cons of each side, as I see them.Read More »Microsoft was wrong whether it patched XP this time or let it burn

Getting a proper Start button back even when Microsoft doesn’t want to give one

Are you putting off switching to Windows 8.1 because you don’t want to relearn everything from scratch that you’ve known since 1995? I saw Windows 8.1 on Thanksgiving, and you have to do some asinine downward swipe with the mouse to bring up Control Panel. Yeah, that’s easier.

But even though Microsoft insists on shooting itself in the foot with a nuclear missile, Classic Shell fixes what Microsoft refuses to fix. Want Windows 8 to act like Windows 7? No problem. Want it to look like XP? Yeah, you can even do that.

So I highly recommend it. Yes, Windows 8.1 with Classic Start. Here’s why.Read More »Getting a proper Start button back even when Microsoft doesn’t want to give one

Bombshell: Ballmer steps down from Microsoft

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Steve Ballmer is retiring. It’s time. If anything, I agree with the people who say he would have been better off retiring years ago. But I really didn’t expect it. In spite of the immense pressure to step aside, at least in public he never gave any indication of having any intention of doing so.

To a degree it’s understandable. He’s more than set for life, but he’s 57 years old. He’s only worked two years anyplace else–at Proctor & Gamble–since graduating from college. It would seem he could work 10 more years pretty easily. The company is his life.

And I have to believe that if it weren’t for Ballmer, Microsoft could have just as easily flubbed up the IBM deal for PC DOS 1.0–the deal that put Microsoft on the map–as Digital Research did. Ballmer, after all, was the one who told Bill Gates to buy a suit. Early photographs of Microsoft employees that look like a bunch of hippies and transients that have become popular memes date back to before Ballmer joined the company and brought a bit of his alma mater, Harvard Business School, with him.Read More »Bombshell: Ballmer steps down from Microsoft

Windows NT turns 20

The first version of Windows NT, version 3.1 (to coincide with the then-current 16-bit version of Windows) was released 20 years ago today. It was an insanely ambitious effort for Microsoft that took a while to pay off, though it eventually did in spades. Windows NT was what killed off Novell and OS/2 and turned the proprietary operating system market into a duopoly. Although a user running it wouldn’t see much difference between Windows NT and regular Windows except that it didn’t crash nearly as much, it was the first version of Windows that qualifies as a modern operating system, with pre-emptive multitasking and protected memory.

Read More »Windows NT turns 20