I’ve nursed a simmering distrust of Microsoft for many years, ever since hearing about the rank hubris and contempt that they displayed toward the Federal government’s antitrust lawsuit not so many years ago. I had dinner one night with a tech-head who was closely involved with the case, and the stories he told about the way Microsoft destroyed evidence, stonewalled, played games, and in general made a mockery of the whole proceedings still sticks in my craw, even though, sadly, most of the details are fading into the fog of my aging memory.
But I use their products. And for the last three weeks, I have REALLY been asking myself why. On the surface, its because I tell myself they’re the only game in town. Yeah, I could use Linux, and I know a few tech-heads that do. Yeah, I could have bought a Mac, and I know some other creative-type people who did, and they all swear by them.
So, why then, did I buy a new PC a few weeks ago with a copy of Windows Vista? Why? Why? Why? Perhaps you’re wondering why I have a bruise on my forehead.
Let me clarify. I BUILT a new PC a few weeks ago. I got a big box full of parts in the mail, threw it all together, loaded Vista, and expected it to work. Stupid, stupid man. This PC was gonna be top-o-the-line. 4G of RAM, a big honkin’ hard drive, the newest Intel Core 2 Duo processor, DVDRW, a fat, hairy video card to play games at the highest video quality, a case that lights up like an LA street-racer. It even comes with a Tachometer, oil pressure gage, you name it. Man, I was salivating for weeks leading up to this.
I remember thinking, “Windows Vista. How bad can it be?” Stupid, stupid man.
For a good chunk of the last few weeks, I’ve wanted to hunt down Bill Gates and kick him square in the nuts. “Bill! What were you THINKING!”
The First Problem: Wireless LAN adapter
The first one I bought was not compatible with Vista. Downloaded all the latest drivers. Spent hours on the phone with tech support. No go. This LAN card would not run under Vista, under any circumstances.
The Second Problem: Wireless LAN adapter
Wait, didn’t I just say that? Well, I bought another brand, one that the guys at the computer store swore would work with Vista. I’ll not repeat myself, but suffice to say that I ended up buying a THIRD Wireless LAN adapter, which, finally, ultimately, did, work.
The Third Problem: Sound Blaster X-Fi is NOT compatible with Vista
Yes, the snazzy new sound card I bought to blast the sound of machine gun fire and explosions at concert volume does not work with Vista either. By this time, you can imagine my surprise. I had to go to the internet to find the most recent drivers that Creative has out there to patch this crap OS together just to make it work at all. Half of the functionality of this high-end sound card is not available in Vista.
The Fourth Problem: Software is NOT compatible with Vista.
I would have had more luck buying a Mac and trying to install PC software, than trying to install the Windows software I had into Vista. In almost every case, none of the software would run properly under Windows Vista. It ran perfectly fine under XP. To be fair, Vista is really good about supplying all the ‘work-arounds’ necessary to get your XP software to work with Vista. In most cases. But I’m still trying to get Battlefield 2142 to work. It worked for the first five hours after I bought it, and now it won’t. I blame Vista.
But the new Microsoft Office 2007 works PERFECTLY. Go figure.
So why did all these problems happen with all this non-compatibility? Because Microsoft doesn’t tell ANYONE by what arcane and incomprehensible machine code their stuff works. Not even the companies that depend upon them for their livelihood. Not the wireless LAN card companies, or the sound card companies, or the video card companies, or the motherboard companies, or the software manufacturers.
So, now, in my little corner of the world, my shiny new computer feels much like an unusable hunk of crap. And if I didn’t have to BUY a copy of Windows XP (note my resistance to giving Microsoft another red cent), I would, like The Flash, zip out, get a copy of XP, install it, and be blissfully happy because all my stuff would WORK.
So why did I allow myself to become a test bed for Microsoft’s monopolistic quest for world domination. I’m really asking myself the same question. Am I stupid? Why didn’t I wait a year for it to either:
A) Become viable, like happened with XP, or
B) Disappear like the P.O.S. debacle that was Windows 2000.
I think because I wanted it to be cool. I wanted to have something new and edgy, a little dangerous. And guess what. Now I feel like a idiot. I took a chance, and got screwed, just like EVERYBODY else who bought Vista. Even the big-dog PC manufacturers, HP and Dell, have backed away from Vista and gone back to selling Windows XP. That should tell you something right there.
At least I’m not alone in my pain, but that kind of consolation is kind of like saying, “Hey, you’re not the only guy who got raped in prison!”
Thanks, Bill. Better stay away from me for a while. I have a boot that’s itching to connect with your nut sack.