Lucky Seven

While I am clearly a geek, I am also something of a techno-luddite. I am reluctant to run out and buy the latest-and-greatest gadget that the magazines are hawking. Windows XP did not find a place on any of my machines until 2008; I was perfectly happy with the much under-rated Windows 2000. Actually they are very similar, as evidenced by their version numbers – Windows 2000 is Version 5.0, XP is 5.1. Turn off the “dancing Baloney” in XP and it looks and feels like Windows 2000. Apparently I am in good company – Steve Gibson had a similar reluctance to upgrade from 2000 to XP that he has only recently overcome.

When it comes to hardware, I am also retrograde – I still use a Palm Tungsten T3, which does everything I need. To upgrade to a later model I would have to give up the voice recorder, the collapsible form-factor and hardware compatibility with chargers, cradles and keyboards. I would rather buy another T3.

My iPod is a Gen5.5, even though the Gen 6, was out at the time. Even though the newer version was slimmer and had a better battery, There were a couple of things I preferred about the earlier version. Oh, and it was $60 cheaper…

There are several reasons for this; I prefer to use tried-and-tested solutions, and the bleeding edge is an expensive place to be. Oh, and eBay is a wonderful way to cash in on someone else’s mistakes…

This does not mean that I am averse to the latest technology – just that I don’t always trust it. Throughout 2006 I was playing with a beta-test version of Microsoft’s “next big thing”, Windows Vista, on what was then the fastest machine in the house (“Apollo”, a 2.4GHz Athlon). The verdict: Horribly slow; I uninstalled it before Vista hit the streets.

This suspicion was confirmed when I bought a laptop for my wife. It had Vista factory-installed on it. I played with it for an hour or so, then I blew Vista away and installed XP. Now it flies.

So when Microsoft announced that they were working on the next version of Windows – currently named Windows 7 – I was prepared to be underwhelmed. However, the reviews seemed to be good. So I grabbed a copy of the Beta test version (which expired in August) and installed it on two different machines (the machine that I had tested Vista on two years ago, and “Zeus”, the new “speed king” that I recently purchased).

Installation was surprisingly quick, and boot times were impressive. The new OS has the same look and feel as Vista, but is far snappier. MS have put some work into this, and it shows – the bloated feel of Vista is gone, and Windows pop and move with the same alacrity that I was used to with XP.

Verdict: Me likey. I’ll stick with XP for now, go to 7 when it comes out, and just say “Hasta La Vista” to Vista.

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