Look, I have this philosophy about computers – I refer to it as the Waring Blender Rule. I have a blender. I use it to make delicious smoothies, frozen cocktails, etc. I do not want to read magazines about how to use my blender or why it is a better blender than a Hamilton Beach or any such drivel. I do not want to join a user group or anything like that. I want to put in my strawberries, limeade and ice, punch a button, and get a frosty Margarita.
Same thing goes for my computer. Don’t talk to me about Macs vs. PC’s, or what operating system to use, or any of that crap. I want to put in my words, punctuation, and format, push the button, and print out my WIP. Done. No figuring it out, no philosophical debates.
My computer is a tool, not a lifestyle. My husband, love him though I do, is a bit of a computer geek, and he doesn’t get this. I don’t care how it works. I just want it to do what I tell it to, when I tell it to do it, and give me the outcome I asked for. Is that too much to ask?
Well, yeah, apparently it is. As I discussed last week, I had to go computer shopping. I read a few reviews and articles online, did what I could to prepare for it.
I noticed that most of the new netbooks were running a new Microsoft program called Windows 7 Starter (hereinafter W7Starter). Well, no biggie, I thought. I use Windows XP on my old netbook, and the whole idea of changing is to make it better, right? Since all of the new netbooks in my price range are running W7Starter, it must be ok, right?
Oh, how naïve I was. Windows 7 may be ok – I haven’t tried the Home or Professional version. But I am here to tell you, if you are looking at a netbook, run as far and as fast as you can from W7Starter,
To begin with, I tried to put my DDs’ picture on the desktop wallpaper. Not a major thing. But – no, you can’t personalize the desktop on W7Starter. Huh? Ok, I recognize that having my babies’ pictures on the desktop isn’t vital. I can still write on it, no?
Well, not so well. I tried downloading several programs that I use for my writing and was unsuccessful. I had gotten a free 6 month pass to the support staff at the store where I bought it, so I called the 800 number. “Sorry, you can’t download programs on W7Starter. However, for a low cost of $80, you can upgrade to W7HomePremium . . .”
Ok, bozos. I did not buy a brand new computer so that I could pay $80 more to get it to do what my old computer already did. I subsequently found out that the Geek People were wrong – in fact, you can download programs to W7Starter, although it is cumbersome and more work than I care to do. Kind of ticks me off that they gave me patently false information.
But the W7Starter interface is clumsy and annoying. All the things that I could do in Windows 2007 or XP were far more difficult than before. I could not see that the changes made any improvements – no “oh, that’s cool” moments, but lots of times I got frustrated with the things that were clunkier.
And everytime I contacted someone for help, I got the same answer: “For a low cost of $80, you can upgrade to W7HomePremium . . .” As far as I can tell, W7Starter is a bait-and-switch – buy your little low-end machine, but if you want to be able to do anything with it, you’ll have to pop for 33% more of the purchase price in upgrades.
Mr. Gates, darling, you have more money than God. You don’t need to be such a blood sucker. Give the people who purchase basic computers a good, basic operating system.
As I said, I am not interested in the whole philosophical debate about computers. But after dealing with W7Starter, I have a real bad taste in my mouth for Microsoft that I never did before.
(Which reminds me of a joke: Bill Gates’ wife on the wedding night: “Oh, that’s why you named it Microsoft!”)