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Blaming Vista for Old Problems

Written by Gordon Fecyk, 1/27/2009

Installing a new system can expose bad design in surrounding systems that was long ignored for years.

We need this forced upgrading to expose and fix bad design in these other systems. And not just for Vista, either.

MY CLIENT DEPLOYED A FANCY NEW SYSTEM for customer service. This system is supposed to supply us with facilities our previous system didn't, mostly for compliance with State regulations, but also to fix other long standing problems. This is a complicated, user-hostile system, requiring much care and feeding, and of course training for staff.

No, I'm not talking about Windows Vista. Bear with me.

The bad design doesn't come from this system itself, but from all of the other systems that feed it data. We uncovered some ugly practices in this company, and the maintainers of those other systems were not amused. Everyone blamed the new system because, well, it was the new unfamiliar system.

Now that we're fixing these other systems, along with fixing the staff, the new system is working. The end result is an improved infrastructure with greater accuracy and faster performance. It's not perfect, but we're getting there.

DOES THIS STORY SOUND FAMILIAR? It should if you've ever had to deploy Windows Vista. Cripes, it should sound familiar if you've deployed Windows XP in a Windows 95 environment.

Where was the outrage against XP when that impending doom was coming? Try Googling "windows xp service pack 2 breaks" some time. The outrage in 2004 echoes the outrage in 2007, when Vista first came out. Even the outrage in 1998 echoes 2007; do you remember when you had to give up your favourite scanner, printer or game when Windows 98 came out?

In each of these bursts of outrage, everyone blamed Microsoft. When we moved from 16-bit Windows 3.1 to 32-bit Windows 95, old things broke and everyone blamed Microsoft. When we moved from unstable Windows 98 to stable Windows XP, old things broke and everyone blamed Microsoft. And when we are trying to move from unsecure-by-default Windows XP to secure-by-default Vista, old things are breaking and we're blaming -- guess who? It doesn't matter that you can't get a list of Vista viruses anywhere, everyone blames Microsoft.

And for those of you who are holding out on Vista waiting for Windows 7, I have very, very bad news. Windows 7 isn't going to be less irritatingsecure than Vista; if anything, it will be more so.

THE MOST HATED THINGS IN VISTA will remain in Windows 7, including Desktop Search, the new Start Menu, and of course User Account Control. And to add to this hate, Microsoft is taking away the Classic Windows 95 Desktop.

Yet we need this forced upgrading! We need to uncover decades of bad design and bad practices and fix them. Rather than blame Microsoft, blame the other guys for not keeping up. Take responsibility for your own computing practices, and get updated. Even installing XP Service Pack 3 and Internet Explorer 7, and using that non-admin user account is one step closer to embracing Vista and Windows 7. You'll enjoy safer computing and, like your Mom and Dad told you, you'll thank Microsoft for it some day.

Because this is 2009, we have Vista and it's here to stay. Updating sucks. Grab a Clue, and embrace it.

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