Windows For Smarties
Julian comments on the recently released Google
Greatest Hits Pack, observing that it is ideal for distributing to friends and family who crave low-maintenance computing. I agree this is a nice package but an even better solution is to get them a Mac.
"Oh great, more Mac nazi fanboi rantings. Where's the eject button of my browser?" you may be thinking. Fair enough, let's not go there. Instead let me tell you of the three different computers I encountered while visiting friends and family in Adelaide over the holiday season. Coincidentally enough these are the same three computers that I performed some impromptu maintenance on, during that trip.
First there was my friend with the zany anti-virus software. I spend about 6 hours cleaning up the mess here, mainly because the virus was a fairly recently-discovered one and hence wasn't adequately detected by the software, and not adequately described by (some of) the online literature. Some of the time was spent fighting Windows XP System Restore. In short, not fun.
Next was my mum's computer. Yes, the one that I tried to get remote connectivity to a while back. Well, that had no virus infections but it did have problems connecting to the internet using anything other than Internet Explorer. Even ping failed. And the remote connections obviously. After a fair bit of poking and prodding I got it working again.
Turns out that the anti-virus software they had installed came with a trial version of a firewall. Which had now expired. I didn't link the two until I came to uninstall the firewall trial, and it helpfully offered to uninstall the (fully licensed) anti-virus program as well. Which I accidentally did.
More time spent finding the license key to reinstall the anti-virus program.
Lastly my friend with the swanky Dell laptop who couldn't get connected to his wireless network. This didn't take hours to resolve, but neither was it trivial. As it turns out, the problem was caused by upgrading to XP service pack 2. The clue was an error message that gave me the number (not even a hyperlink!) of the right KB article to fix the problem. Which turned out to be a single checkbox.
Three Windows boxes, three problems that could not be resolved by novice users. Ok, not exactly a statistically significant sample. But none of these problems would have happened on a Mac, for three really good reasons.
No viruses. None. You don't need a virus checker. There's no spyware.
Standardised hardware. No drivers to install.
W1Nd0Wz Su><Xors! LOL!!!!!!1!!!!
Which is not to say that all is perfect over on the other side of the fence. But lets be honest, it's a shitload better for novices than the nightmare which is Windows. If you have novice users you need to support, take my advice, do yourselves a favour and convince them to get a Mac.
Leave Windows to more experienced users.