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 Post subject: Windows Vista 32bit: Taking the plunge! (PART 1)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:48 pm 
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With the arrival of a 'new' PC, I finally decided to take the plunge and move to Vista as my main development OS. Here are some of my first impressions:

Logitech and HP suck!

Logitech is a company that makes great hardware but is tremendously let down by their software and customer support.

I've already had problems with Logitech software before, when their extremely popular web cam control panel applet corrupted the stack of anything that dared to enumerate the contents of the Windows Control Panel (except Windows Explorer, of course). That crashed Winstep Xtreme whenever it tried to display the contents of the Windows Control Panel in WorkShelf or NextSTART.

No amount of phone calls, emails, etc, got any reaction - much less a fix - out of Logitech. I spent countless hours debugging the issue until I finally came up with a successful work-around, but not before I was forced to buy a Logitech web cam. Love the cam, hate the software!

With Vista, both HP and Logitech are guilty of screwing their loyal customers out of Vista drivers. Some people paid a fortune on specialized hardware such as scanners, wireless multimedia keyboards and mice only to see Logitech and HP, barely 3 years later, tell them their hardware is no longer supported in Windows Vista (in other words, they could - but won't - bother making Vista drivers for hardware that came out more than 3 years ago). This is simply outrageous, because their intention is plain to see: they want you to toss your good working hardware into the trash and buy their newer, with Vista compatible drivers, hardware.

In my case, this means a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse plus a flatbed HP Scanjet 4470c scanner, all of which were purchased less than 3 years ago, are in perfect working order, and will probably remain so for a few more years.

Well, I, as I suspect most people, don't like being pissed on in such an obvious manner - I think this move will end up making Logitech and HP lose quite a bit of customers, since people affected by this will now feel that these two companies cannot be trusted, at least not for peripherals.

Microsoft Windows Activation sucks!

As a shareware developer, I've learn a long time ago that you do NOT want to fight software piracy by pissing off your loyal customers with restrictive anti-piracy measures. This will always end up biting you in your royal posterior.

Microsoft seems to be learning this lesson now (dah!), as I've heard that WGA will work differently when Vista SP1 comes out. The way it works now is: you part with your hard earned cash to purchase Vista and then have 30 days to activate the product, be it through the Internet or manually through a phone call to Microsoft HQ. If you do NOT activate Windows, the OS will fall into reduced functionality mode. In this mode, all you have access to is a web browser. Nothing else works.

Now, I've always knew the potential for trouble of this measure (read about what happened to some legit Vista users when Microsoft?s WGA/SPP servers had an outage), but I never expected it to actually bite me in the rear. Well, it did, which is why I am telling you this story.

You see, when I was building the new machine at the computer shop of a friend of mine I had to remove the CMOS battery from the motherboard. I completely forgot that this would also clear the Real Time Clock, resetting it back to somewhere in the year 2000.

I then installed Vista, which, mid-way through the installation, asked me for the current time and date, which is when I noticed my mistake. I corrected both, finished installing Vista, turned the PC box off and took it home with me to finish installing missing drivers, software, etc...

I noticed that Vista had not installed drivers for the built-in 3COM 3C940 Gigabit Ethernet controller, which was actually expected since I had read about this before. This meant no LAN access for that machine, and therefore no Internet access, until I downloaded and installed the proper drivers (actually Windows Update will provide the correct drivers, but first you must install a generic 3COM driver so you can access Windows Update in the first place, as 3COM does not provide specific Vista drivers for the 3C940 controller).

Ah, but imagine my surprise when I turn on the box at home for the first time and Vista tells me the activation period has expired (no doubt because of that mess with the RTC during installation). Now it won't let me do ANYTHING except open a useless (no LAN access yet, remember?) IE window . To get LAN access in order to activate Vista through the Internet I first had to install the generic 3COM drivers - except Vista wasn't letting me do that now!

By then I was really pissed off, because I was pressed for time and wanted to setup LAN access before I had to leave. No can do: the only solution was a phone call to Microsoft. Phone activation was an automated process (thank God for that one at least, because this was during a weekend), but a really, really, lengthy one. Every step involved listening to painfully detailed - and did I say lengthy? - explanation on how to proceed.

Needless to say, by the time I was finished it was time to leave, with no spare time to setup the LAN, etc... It was NOT a good experience, and I had paid for the damn thing!

Now imagine I did not have access to a phone there. Imagine I did not have money on my cell phone account at the time (here in Portugal you usually pay in advance instead of getting an invoice at the end of the month). Imagine I had an old phone with no touch dialling. Imagine WWIII had started and there was no Microsoft to call anymore (Hmm, I guess in that case activating Vista would be the least of my worries, hehe).

Funny how an OS that owes its popularity to software piracy (and no, of course I am NOT condoning software piracy, just the measures Microsoft is taking against it!) is now inconveniencing legit customers to fight the very people that made it the globaly dominant OS in the first place! And its not like Microsoft was going poor before implementing WGA either... :wink:


Jorge Coelho
Winstep Xtreme - Xtreme Power! - Winstep Software Technologies

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