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This article on Windows installation at Firing Squad preaches all the same things I was preaching nearly six years ago in my Windows 9x book.

Where to find the stuff has almost all changed, and msot of the old utilities don’t work anymore, but these are exactly the same concepts I yammered on and on about. Funny, I’ve been told system optimization is a waste of time…Incidentally, this is the second article on optimization that I’ve seen in less than a month. The other one read an awful lot like a Windows XP translation of an article I published in Computer Shopper UK back in 2000, which in turn was a shortened version of one of the chapters in the same book.

So I guess people don’t just throw their 2-gigahertz computers away and buy new ones when they start to seem slow?

It really makes me wonder what would have happened if, after the book received a gushing review in Canada and was perpetually sold out in stores up north, if those 3,000 copies of the book that languished in a warehouse in Tennessee had made their way into those stores.

That’s OK. That was five years ago, nothing can change it, and I really don’t have any desire to be a computer author anymore. I find the only way to really know a lot about computers is to work with them for 40-60 hours a week in a production environment. Labs don’t cut it–you can never underestimate the effect of 1,000+ users hammering on what you built. Never. And if you spend those hours working, that doesn’t leave enough time to write books and release them in a timely fashion.

So rather than write mediocre computer books or send myself to an early grave by working full time in addition to writing for 30-45 hours a week, I’d rather have a life, make a decent living, and not write computer books.

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4 thoughts on “Vindicated?”

  1. No question that the "Farquhar viewpoint" was vindicated. I’ve been a big fan of your O’Reilly book since my Win98 days.

    So what did you think of the Firing Squad article as a whole ? Good advice, or did they miss anything ?

  2. I think they missed a lot. There are so many things you can do to increase performance on a PC that it would be nearly impossible to list them all in a single article.

    I have long since given away my last copy of your book, Dave. They were invaluable to me back in the day, and I still use a lot of the same techniques now.

    Dustin D. Cook, A+

    1. Wow. I just picked up four brand new copies of your book for a total of $10.

      I plan on giving one to a client who can’t afford anything other than Windows 98 on an old PC and one to a local charity that refurbishes a lot of old PCs using Windows 98.

      I’ll figure out what to do with the other two.

      By the way, I bought ’em from Dave over at (they have a retail front in Richardson, TX). Great guy – good stuff.

      Dustin D. Cook, A+

  3. The article was a good overview. Like Dustin said, there’s more you can do, but it’s a short article. What’s good is it tackled a lot of the things that people don’t really think about, like the effects of partitioning and reducing fragmentation, rather than just reacting to it.

    You can’t fit a book’s worth of information into a brief article. But I enjoyed the article and found what it said to be pretty accurate, if that’s what you’re asking.

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