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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 26 October 2001

Note: the comments below are the unabridged submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.


From: Sam Johnson
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Windows XP

Well...I did try out Windows XP...but not with my hard
earned cash. I was one of the lucky six who recieved
Windows XP Professional for free.

It is amazing how some people will sleep overnight (one
from 7pm the previous day!) to take advantage of a free
deal (I only waited for an hour).

I have had no problems (as of yet) with Windows XP except
for a minor driver issue with my DSL modem.

From: Jonathan
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: XP

I spent Labour Weekend training up my in-laws on XP, as
they bought a new desktop about a fortnight ago.  Putting
aside the normal reaction "hey, where's Windows Explorer -
how do I this now?" etc, I have a few comments:

1) It's really aimed at the home / SME multi-media buffs I
think - seeing how Joe user might just be wanting to do the
basics, there's a lot of overkill.

2) In an attempt to be "user friendly", many tasks are in
the  form of Wizards etc - which can be a real pain if you
know what you want to do but you're shoehorned into pre-
detemined processes.

3) The desktop in question was using Corel applications -
these crashed so often that "control-alt-delete" was one of
the first lessons I had to give my dismayed students.

But to show some fairness, there are some nifty features.
For example, if you're trying to open odd files (my in-
laws' last computer used Win3.1!) it gives you a link to a
very handy webpage with all the info you need.

I'm sticking to 2000.

From: Andrew Johnson (AJ)
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Windows XP - I actually bought it!

I can't believe this - I actually bought an MS operating
system right off the shelf for the first time ever.

I've been in the IT industry for a number of years, and
have always been wary of immediate upgrades in the past -
but XP is an interesting case.  Slogan: "Yes you can"?
More like: "It finally f##king works!"

I've been running the RC1 version for about a month on a
new partition on a machine at home, trying to break the
damn thing. Day to day, I've been using Win XP for gaming,
email, 'net access, writing, accounts, and spreadsheeting.

Not a blip.  Not a crash.  Not a conflict.  Not a single
failure that could be blamed on the OS.  I have to admit, I
was fairly impressed, and went and got XP Pro off the shelf
yesterday - though at the cost, I have to admit that I'm
damn glad that I'm a part time student and could get the
~$250 academic edition.  An hour and a half later, a brand
new install, all my files and settings transferred from my
old setups, and an automatic dual boot set up so I can go
back to my old Win 98 SE if things get compltely screwed.

I've run XP on two machines now: A celeron 300, 128mb ram,
and an Athlon 1gig, 512mb ram.  XP scaled it's performance
settings accordingly for each machine, and run smoothly on
both.  Particularly impressive.  The new look and task
based menus take some getting used to, but interestingly,
they are very efficient.  This is an OS that isn't just
stable (though: about bloody time), but is actually easy
enough for my mother to do TECHNICAL stuff on it... like
fix performance options, run defrags, etc.  Well, it'd be
more impressive if you knew my mother, I guess.

Why did I feel comfortable buying it off the shelf,
something that I would normally never, ever do?  A few
(1) It's Windows 2000 with a new interface and better
hardware support.  It's been out, therefore, in one form or
another for well over 18 months, and been absolutely
hammered in testing on millions of machines worldwide.  It
(2) Security features have been brought up to date: it can
either self apply patches (hahahhaaa... yeah, right, I'm
not trusting that) or give you full manual control.  Either
way, it's mostly more secure than Windows 98 or 2000 for
home/small business use, especially if you practice safe
(3) As XP, it's been tested to death by millions of users.
The betas, and then two different RC versions, have been
downloaded, distributed, and crushed by millions of users.
It's as bug free as a mainstream OS has ever been.
(4) It's much, much, much easier to use than my Linux
install.  Bugger that for a lark.  Either linux gets an
easy end user interface or it can forget breaking into the
desktop market (and don't anyone start telling me about all
the flavours of linux gui out there... I've tried them,
they all require too much customisation for an end user)

Bad things about WinXP so far:
(1) Hardware requirements.  To make it whizz along nicely,
you need all the ram and harddrive you can get.  A full
install sits over 1.3gig of HD space (I'm still trying to
get my head around that.  I just can't figure out how the
hell they ended up with a monster that large... anyone
making an XPlite out there yet?)  I've got 512mb of RAM in
there... and it still set up a 700mb+ swapfile.  Still,
it's very, very fast.  And gets faster the more you use it,
as it learns memory usage for your tasks and programs and
preoptimises for them.  Now THAT is a cool feature.
(2) Windows Update: On the day XP is released, it needs to
download 19.1mb of updates and fixes to run optimally?  Oh,
for crying out loud... most were superficial, and I'm glad
they rolled out support quickly, but REALLY...
(3) Activation.  No, not Windows XP's activation.  I don't
give a damn about that.  Storm in a damn teacup.  No, I'm
talking about my Office 2000 install.  I've installed it
three times in the past as I've blown away crap MS OS's,
and thus I have to ring microsoft for permission to
activate it again, coz it thinks I'm a pirate.  Dammit,
dammit, dammit.
(4) Not Passport, as such, but the defaultly installed MSN
explorer and messager.  Explorer - bounced that damn thing
off my system almost immediately.  What a piece of crap.
Messager - Very, very hard to get rid of.  Annoying. Bad
search options.  Bad community options.  A poor competitor
to ICQ, or even AOL messager (ugh).  Ditched it.
Passport?  No, I'm not giving you my email address.  Bugger

In summary?  If you've got the money, if you're fed up with
crashes, and you machine can handle it (RAM is cheap,
people...) BUY.  If you've been looking at Win2K - don't
bother.  XP knocks it into a cocked hat, is easier to use,
and has better hardware support.  If you're running any
version of Win98 - buy!  This sucker is excellent for home
users, and will handle just about everything you can throw
at it.

My god - am I actually endorsing an MS product?  This is
the best OS they've ever done.  About bloody time.

From: Stu Pidberk
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Win xp

I dunno what all the hype is about.  its just a different
way of doing the same thing.  using your computer.  Except
i will say that I thrashed it last night on my pc at home.
And you know, i couldnt get the dern thing to crash.  The
closesed i got was a split second blip to the blue death
screen and the program just restavleised itself.
Brilliant.  But then, i tend to give my pc at home a
thrashing anyway, what with mutlitasking anything from
formating drive, using real pro with music, to burning etc.

Stability wise, its briliant.  the only thing, if you can
used to the sicly cream and blue theme then great.  Me, I
set it to display the old conventional windows theme.
Boring old bugger aye.

From: Hamish Strong
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Re: Sorry, No Tie, No Entry

According to a Slashdot posting, Konquerer, Opera and maybe
some other browsers work mostly OK (except for background
colours) if you configure the browser to repotr themselves
as IE.

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