Tag Archives: Windows

Happy Birthday Windows 95

I Love Working on a Macintosh.

Does that sound weird? After all these years? To me it doesn’t. But to people who have never worked on Macs—or for some reason that I cannot fathom—have worked on Macs but just not liked it, let’s face it, it sounds weird. Because even in this enlightened new millennium, most computer users use Windows, and sure, they eventually get work done, but honestly, how many Windows users love working on Windows?? Seriously? Even the geekiest of Windows Weenies, the hottest Windows programmers, the most talented of Windows technicians, how many “love” working with Windows? I’d wager, very few. Very, very few. And Mac users? When they switch, when they get their first Mac, what do they say? You’ve probably heard it too: “I love my Mac!”

This is not just hearsay or advertising. I’ve been in this business so long. For years people would tell me their sob stories about their Windows computers, their malware, viruses, their crashes, and slow downs, and on and on. As a consultant I refused work on Windows. There was plenty of work; Windows is a job-creation-machine. But to me, it was always the same nightmare, helping with the same stupid problems. It was no challenge; it was an affront to my creativity. It was “stone knives and bear skins”. Friends, relatives, and potential clients whose business I refused all got the same answer: “Why don’t you get a Mac?”

The price difference was often the reason, and that has diminished over the years, but even deeper, the answer, in the old pri-mac-evil days was pretty basic: “If I get a Mac, who will help me when I have a problem?”

And this was true. With Windows, you could have your brother, father, sister, friend, colleague at work, TOTAL STRANGER, or homeless person on the corner help. The power of ubiquitous monopoly meant that nearly everyone knew someone who could help them reboot their their Pee Cee, format the hard drive, and re-install Windows. (Which was the standard process to fix 95% of the issues with Windows – which, by the way, is why it was called “Windows 95”).

Telling people, “If you get a Mac you won’t have all those problems,” was not enough. Apple support in those days was notoriously hit-or-miss. Apple had a 90 day warranty! (I kid you not! Ninety days!!) There was no Apple Store. There were no “Geniuses”. And Apple had yet to launch a convincing and brilliant Mac vs. PC advertising campaign.

So Microsoft helped. By releasing Windows 95. Ten years after the original Mac, Microsoft embraced the interface so completely, copied the Mac OS so totally, that in the end they won over more users to Apple. “Windows 95” legitamized the Macintosh just as Apple was suffering the “Time of Darkness.”

And here again we have to acknowledge a strategic vision that moved Apple. Maybe it was Steve Jobs—he always gets the credit, for all I know it was Phil Schiller—or someone else at Apple, but they built a comprehensive strategy to address all those objections, one at a time, piece by piece.

Over time, it started happening, they all started to get Macs. For awhile I helped some of my clients move their stuff, but Apple had the tools, and the Apple Store, and the Geniuses available, and soon there wasn’t much work there, and that was okay. It was satisfying to have all these people tell me, “I finally got a Mac! You were so right! It works great!” These days, Macs have become so mainstream, so accepted, so successful, that I don’t even hear that anymore.

Being a Mac user isn’t special or unique. It’s just a good choice. You’d hardly congratulate someone for buying a Mac any more than you would congratulate someone for buying a decent car. And…most people nowadays even understand and accept the emotional attachment that people have for their Macs.

And on this important anniversary, I just want to say, thanks Microsoft. Happy Birthday Windows 95. I love working on a Mac!

Dealing with Bad GUI: Conversation View in Outlook 2013

In Outlook 2013 for Windows, in your Inbox > View by Conversation mail list, conversations are indicated by the little triangle, sometimes referred to as a “twisty”. The target area where you must click to display the conversation is about 10 pixels to the right of the "twisty" triangle. If you don’t know this, you have probably tried clicking ON the twisty—as you would expect from your experience on other programs and platforms. But that doesn’t work in MicrosoftLand. Keep trying, once in awhile you might get it to open, suggesting that the target is a single dot somewhere inside the twisty, but please, stop wasting your time!

Tip: Only click within the range suggested by the red box (below), starting about 10 pixels to the right of the twisty, and vertically in the row of the message. (Clicking on the triangle doesn’t work!)

Evernote helps you remember everything and get organized effortlessly. Download Evernote.

Apple Flashback 2005: Virtual PC – The best way to run Windows!!

Virtual PC —The safest, most stable way to run Microsoft Windows.”

“May the TAO give you all it’s blessings if you have never had to deal with Mac/PC compatibility issues. Many of us (especially if we work in BIG DUMB CORPORATIONS) need to PROVE our Macs can DO ANYTHING and FIT IN ANYWHERE no matter what absurd obstacles the Dark Riders put in our paths. One tool for doing this is Virtual PC, which actually puts a Windows (or Linux if you prefer) PC on your Macintosh in Emulation. That is, it is a software Program (from a company called Connectix), that runs just like an Intel PC, in a Window on your Mac. Can’t get your accountant to use M.Y.O.B.? He insists on QuickBooks under Windows?? If you must, you can get Virtual PC and run Quickbooks on your Mac. Current versions of Virtual PC are Applescriptable to the keystroke level, so you can actually automate Windows programs that are too dumb to do it themselves. (I know, I know, I’m pretty snippy on this topic. I’m trying to lighten up, but that’s me. Get over it.)”

From the Geek Speak Review, Unpredictable Mac circa 2005

* If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look here. – TW

Surprise! Your Yoga has some holes in it.

Researcher Discovers Superfish Spyware Installed on Lenovo PCs – NYTimes.com

Surprise! Your “Yoga”, has some holes in it. Designed to be as attractive and useful as any Apple device (and marketed unconvincingly as a replacement for your MacBook Air), the Yoga unfortunately came (past tense, according to Lenovo) with Superfish Spyware pre-installed. “Adware” and “Bloatware” – collectively known as “crapware” – are de rigueur for Windows purchasers, but Superfish takes this to a new level with an unsigned certificate providing easy access to your data for anyone who knows how to use it.

I met an insider years ago (p.s. – Pre-Snowden), who told me he was convinced Lenovo had code embedded in the computer ROM that allowed Chinese authorities full access to the device. He gave up on trying to expose this security “flaw” after everyone, including the FBI, told him he was paranoid. So, who’s paranoid now?

Tip: Savvy computer buyers shop for those “special” Windows computers without crapware. Or buy Macs.


Microsoft Flashback 2001: “What’s in a Name?”

“Internet Explorer 3”

Microsoft used to play version number leap-frog with other software vendors. Why? Because everybody knows: the HIGHER VERSION NUMBER is BETTER SOFTWARE.

Nevermind that “Microsoft Word” went from Version 2 to version 6, it was BETTER than “WordPerfect 5”!

Which is why without ever releasing a Mac web browser before, Microsoft introduced “Internet Explorer” as VERSION 3. Because it was BETTER than Netscape’s current version at the time, you guessed it, “Navigator 2”.

As for their OS’s, Microsoft laughed at IBM’s “OS/2”, which was released after “Windows 3.1”, and then they jumped all the way to “Windows 95”. THEN their marketing department had a few too many martinis at lunch and got SO FULL OF THEMSELVES that they decided they were THOUSANDS of times better than anyone else. The result? “Windows 2000”.

From Unpredictable #12, March 20, 2001

Windows 10? Whither Nine?

What’s in a name?  Windows 10

Ironically and coincidentally—TechWite wrote only yesterday about “What’s in a name?” in relation to our favorite OS,  “TEN”, currently known as “Mavericks” and soon to be called, “Yosemite”.

Hey, Microsoft just announced they’re opening a “Microsoft Store” in Manhattan, about two blocks from—you guessed it—the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. So now, instead of walking by the empty Microsoft Store with the bored Windows Geniuses at the Bridgewater Commons Mall, you can walk past the empty Microsoft Store with the bored Windows Geniuses on Fifth Avenue. This is just part of Microsoft’s long history of imitation. And they’ve done pretty well with it.

Today the TechWite Twitter feed is inundated, maybe obliterated, with short blather about Microsoft’s BIG preview and announcement of the next version of Windows, known as “10”. Does this sound weirdly familiar?

Microsoft decided to restore the “Start” menu, and “Search”, from the Start menu. They’ve decided that desktop users might prefer an interface that lets them use their keyboard and mice, as they have for the last twenty-five or thirty years, and still get to see those “Live Tiles” so loved by the Twix-snapping Microsoft  Surface (tablet) crowd. And, they’ve even added some nifty features like using multiple Desktops. (I know, Mac people, we’ve had that for years. Just cool it, and let me finish.)

Most of the snarky tweets clogging Twitter are about the version number. You know the current version of Windows is 8, and you know that your Windows computer is at 7, because, seriously, has anyone other than real Windows geeks and BDC Microserfs upgraded to Windows 8?? (The answer I’m looking for here, is “No.”)

Which brings us back to, “Where”, you might ask, “Did ‘NINE’ go?” Hence the blizzard of tweets from the confused twittersphere.

Guys, let’s do a quick review. Everybody knows that a “higher” version number is better than a “lower” version number. Right? So clearly, Microsoft is saying that Windows Ten is going to be WAY better than Windows 8. WAY. What’s the problem people? So they skipped Nine? This is not a big deal!!

Next time: Why you should expect the next iOS release to be number…

Why your colleagues…

Ever wonder why some IT colleagues still look askance at you using a Macintosh in the Windows dominated office, but don’t seem to have much trouble with you pulling out an iPad? Why is that? Because the Macintosh is a full-bodied complete operating system and environment that competes directly with (or to be honest, devastates) the brain-dead Windows that BDC IT has invested in for the last 30 years.

And the iPad? I think there are two reasons. First, they don’t yet see the iPad as a real, complete tool to get things done. (They’ll change that opinion over time…) But mainly, because for the iPad, there is no competition. Heck, most of the IT guys have their own iPads, and LOVE them.