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Vista steps into users' crosshairs

There’s a scene in the classic film South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut that finds an army colonel’s holograph machine cutting out as he discusses strategy with his troops. Long story short, it is Windows 98’s fault. Bill Gates gets shot in the head. 

But now the colonel’s frustrations have returned, nearly a decade later, when faced with Windows Vista. The New York Times’ tech blog last week got into the “Save Windows XP” campaign, which is perpetuated by users who don’t want to be stuck with Vista when XP contracts are phased out. 

I’ve got half a mind to sign up myself. I use Vista on my home computer, and I can’t say I’m thrilled. 

Two things:

1. Startup is slow. More memory, you say? Forget it. I use the thing to surf the Internet, listen to music and watch Netflix On Demand (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is so great it hurts). I don’t need more memory. I need an OS that gets out of the way.

2. What’s with all the notices and pop-ups? I understand this is all for my own good and computer security. But I’m not dim. And I have my own security software. Yes, I can customize this. But not easily. I tried a few times and realized that beating Vista into submission has achieved “project level,” something I need to tackle on a weekend afternoon. 

Here’s a bit from the Times’ blog:  “Mr. [Christopher] Liddell [Microsoft’s CFO] dismissed claims that some customers were reluctant to buy Vista machines. ‘There are no Vista-related issues at all,’ he declared. “

That’s like saying there are no issues with likely steroid user and now possible child-dater Roger Clemens. Yeah, we can’t prove it. But dude isn’t allowed anywhere near my medicine cabinet or teenage cousins.

Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer has said the final date for new XP contracts could be extended if users ask for it. But for now it is standing still at June 30.

C’mon now, that’s way too soon. IT folks have said to me, and I’m sure to Steve Lohr at the Times, that they don’t want Vista. Period.

I’m not saying Vista is worthless. Just don’t try to tell me it’s great. And listen to your customers.

Oh, I’m not getting out of this without at least some South Park computer-humor action. Mac, meet PC.

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