Rumblings, Ruminations, and Retrospectives

Musings from the mind of the Beast.

By

Dear Uncle Bill…

… I’m going to take the plunge.

Now, I’m sure you haven’t got any idea what I’m talking about, and really, I may not either, since I “took the plunge” three-and-a-half years ago, and life’s been great ever since, nor do I actually have an Uncle Bill.

So what’s up?

The Uncle Bill I refer to is none other than Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, who, among IT circles and in organizations with a lot of Windows machines and servers, has been affectionately – or in a way with a lot more negative connotations – referred to as Uncle Bill for as long as I can remember.

Now, as for the meat of this entry…

I frequent some message boards, as do a lot of us during our daily travels on the interwebs, and invariably there’s people posting about how to do this and that with their computer, talk about a glitch they’ve run into or problem they’re having, or outright bitch and moan because they’ve gotten the latest virus, and because they’re novice users, they end up wiping their machine and starting all over because they have no idea how to get rid of the virus.

In these forums where I feel most comfortable, I offer up support and advice when I can, and in a few places I’ve become at least a little respected for my opinion, but what really grinds my gears (TM Peter Griffin) is how the moment someone posts that they have a problem and it’s found that user is running Windows, the answer that’s given (with all seriousness intended) is “switch to Mac” or “switch to Linux”.

I’m not going to get into the great debate about how Mac and Linux are “bulletproof” and virus-free and all that jazz, because it’s incorrect. Their systems are a little more protected by default, yes, but even the most securely built system is going to be susceptible to attack, viruses, or other calamities if the person behind the keyboard leaves the front door wide open.

In short, an unprotected system is an open invitation for disaster, regardless of which OS is running on the machine.

I’ve always maintained that a system must be properly guarded and maintained, regardless of OS, or else these situations will inevitably arise, no matter how knowledgeable the end user may be.

So, to answer the “switch to <insert your favorite OS here> critics, I’m embarking on a challenge.

Windows 7 is about to be released, and I was fortunate enough to be chosen to host a launch party, complete with a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (thank you Uncle Bill!!) so here’s what I’m going to do.

Keep in mind, I’m not even that much of a hardcore Windows freak as a lot of others, especially after being exposed to Solaris and AIX through my work. I just want to do this for the hell of it.

The challenge?

When I get my copy of Windows 7, I’m going to install it on my primary machine, my laptop, and from then on, I’m going to make that machine a Microsoft-only machine.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?, you ask? Certainly I’ve gone mad!

You heard me. I’m going to run that machine on Microsoft-only software. If I need to do it, I’m going to do it with software Microsoft provides.

With a couple exceptions: a graphics program who-shall-not-be-named for web design, the freeware application Pidgin for multi-provider instant messaging, Apple’s iTunes for my iPod (for iPod management only; I’ll be using Windows Media Player for listening to music), and a piece of freeware I have for converting iTunes files to MP3.

Everything else? Microsoft only.

And in doing it, I’m willing to bet that by properly protecting and maintaining my system, the problems that these other Nancy-boys are having will be non-existent.

Take that, you nay-sayers!