Sunday, March 08, 2009

Even My Mom Rejected Vista

When I moved across the pond 5 years ago, I gave my (then 3-year-old) personal computer to my mom. Since then it's pretty much ceased to function properly: it's running Windows 2000 Professional, has never had a virus scanner installed, one of the two 10k RPM Ultra-160 SCSI drives (yes, it was one of my Database Development workstations) is dead, and generically it's full of death. It needs to die. I finally convinced my mom that she should move to a Mac. After all, as near as I can tell, my mom uses her computer for:

  • Pictures of Grandchildren. Viewing them, printing them, saving them, forwarding them.
  • Pictures of Zoo Animals. Ditto above.
  • Surfing the Web. I'm not quite sure what she does, but it's clearly not going to Snopes, as the final major use is
  • Forwarding Chain Emails.

In the run-up to the new Mac Minis finally appearing, when I started to get tired of Steve rejecting all non-laptop customers, I asked her, "if they don't come out with a new Mac Mini, I'm afraid I might have to recommend that you just get a cheap Dell, as your current computer simply isn't going to last." Her response? "No. If I get a new PC I'll have to get Vista."

Yes, the Vista bashing is old hat in the tech community, but this is my 65-year-old mother (who doesn't have the foggiest idea what in the world I actually do in technology at this point, except that I've managed to convince her that no matter how much I worked on technology for structuring CDOs, the current financial meltdown is most certainly not my fault). She has no idea anything about UAC, or driver woes, or file copies never terminating, or any of that. All she knows is "Vista Sucks, Avoid It Like The Plague."

What makes the Microsoft position more tenable is that they've made it abundantly clear that they know that it's a PR disaster (do I actually think it's a terrible operating system? I wouldn't know from first-hand experience to be honest, as I've never run it. I doubt it, to be honest. I think it's probably better than XP in a number of areas, but it's different, without sufficient obvious advantages). They've EOLed XP, even though they know their customers want it. Heck, they'll charge corporate customers extra to install the old OS that they want and that works just fine for them. How insane is that?

Can you imagine any firm other than Microsoft saying "We know that nobody wants this product; moreover, we have no legal or regulatory reason forcing us to sell the new productin favor of the old product that people actually do want; however, we have never admitted an error ever, and so we will not admit that Vista was an error." I mean, this is the company that probably still has people who thought Microsoft Bob was a good idea! Their solution here, in addition to charging you extra for a downgrade, is to run ads essentially telling you "Vista isn't as bad as you think it is." That's not the point. By that point it had the stench of failure to it to the point that My Mom thinks she would rather buy an ancient, overpriced Mac Mini to avoid it.

The move to Windows 7 is a good one: fix what's wrong, break with the past, do it fast. It might be the next version of Windows I'm forced professionally to use.

Because when even my mom says an operating system sucks, you know it has teh suck.

And my mom is the proud owner of her new Mac Mini, which the nice gents at the local Apple Store even populated with her Mozilla 1.5 email and addresses (yes, I said it was ancient).

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