RM learns not to put his trust in Microsoft:
I thought you might be interested to hear my little incident with Microsoft’s new SP2 for Windows XP…
SP2 seemed to be working fine for the last 2 days since I installed it on my home computer running Windows XP Professional . Then came Friday the 13th. I started up my computer after getting home from being out, and Windows froze on startup, apparently while loading the latest edition of Zone Alarm. (Remember now. I am an IT Technician. I keep a lean, mean computer free of viruses, spyware, and the like.) This was the first time that Windows XP has ever frozen on my home computer to the point where I had to shut down with the power button.
Upon restart, the new Windows Firewall came up with a warning telling me that Messenger was trying to access the Internet and asked if I wanted to give it permission. Thinking this was odd, considering that I had the Messenger service disabled and had opted to turn the Windows Firewall off since I am running Zone Alarm, I went ahead and clicked yes. Once everything loaded, I checked the Services under Administrative Tools in the Control Panel too see Messenger’s status, thinking that Microsoft must have turned these services back on. Lo and behold! Messenger was disabled. I then checked on the status of the Windows Firewall, and it said that it was turned off!! #$*@^(#!!!!!
Microsoft said that they spent $1 billion on SP2!!! What the hell is this? Some big prank that they are playing on the public and the business communities? Is this sheer incompetence, or has Microsoft totally lied to the public and “upgraded” XP into some Big Brother tool that runs processes despite the fact that the user completely disables them as services? If things continue in this direction, I can expect to be a Linux expert in about 4 years.
Never trust anyone who always insist that they know what’s best for you. The main impetus for my switch to Linux was an early version of Microsoft Messenger, which kept popping up messages giving me the option to (a) upgrade now, or (b) upgrade later. There was no option for (c) shut the hell up and leave me alone. I saw the writing on the wall, and now I barely use any Microsoft product at all. I’m forced to run a dual-boot system just to run our new software – yes, of course we’ll be porting it to Linux in the future – and to sync my Alphasmart Dana, but that’s about it.
You can always count on Microsoft to screw things up. Always. Big Chilly and I once made over a million dollars precisely because we knew that. We were developing a program for a very large technology company, but as small and insignificant fish, we were the last and least-important backup for a diamond-hard delivery date on a major project. It was the sort where if you miss by an hour, you’re out. All of our competitors were banking on Microsoft’s release of a certain toolkit, but when Big Chilly and I discussed whether we should trust their cross-my-heart-thrice promised delivery date or make use of an older, less flashy but still-usable DOS toolkit, this was the entirety of our high level technical discussion:
BC: “The Windows stuff is much better, but waiting for them would make the timeline so tight it worries me. I’m thinking it’s safer to go with DOS. What do you think?”
Vox: “When has Microsoft ever not been full of shit on their dates?”
BC: “Never… okay, it’s definitely DOS.
Six months later, Microsoft still hadn’t delivered, all of our competitors missed and we got the big check. Know who to trust, and more importantly, know who not to trust. I have a largely unused partition of XP Pro sitting on my new MTech machine – review to come shortly – and I never considered upgrading to SP2 for a second. I mean, it literally never even crossed my mind. Live free or else! Ride the tank. Be the Penguin.