Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New (But Not So Better) Windows

Greetings and salutations! I figured I’d post this now because between Lost Odyssey and Smash Bros. coming out next week, I will be pretty much non-existent to the world. Now I know this is a gaming blog but I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart: Software Piracy.

You know, a little known fact about me is I’ve never pirated any software in my life. I swear! No, really! OK, OK, you caught me! I can’t keep a straight face anymore. Ever since I was a kid I can remember copying games and software. (Remember floppy disks? Boy, I feel old!) Usually, you’re trying to get something you want. But how often does something you got for free, not even worth it?

While deployed in Iraq last year I discovered piracy is abundant in military life. My buddy acquired a copy of Windows Vista and was determined to crack it. Once he figured it out and showed me how I had it running on my laptop. For a while, Vista was so cool. It looked new and fresh. But after a while I realized it doesn’t do anything new that’s too noticeable or that you can’t do with Windows XP. Unless you count “new” features as slowing down my system and requiring frequent reboots, not letting me use my internal speakers and not being compatible with many common hardware and software. Many of its other features can be replicated. You can install software to emulate the new Start Menu, moving desktops and Aero theme. So what’s new AND useful? Probably features that run in the background that you never see. Now I’m pretty shallow when it comes to software. If it does something, I want to see it.

So, I few days ago I wiped my system and reinstalled XP. I had to install over 100 updates (including Service Pack 2). Which, at first, was pretty frustrating but then I realized that’s a good thing. Windows Vista has been out for over a year and there hasn’t been any major updates. Microsoft hasn’t even announced when SP1 will be released. The way I figure it, I could have an operating system that is stable, compatible, familiar, and fairly universal with most of the bugs worked out. Or one with a few new bells and whistles but not too much better than the older one.

Now, I’ll admit my laptop is a few years old. I know Vista runs better on newer systems. But why should I need a better computer just to run an operating system? I used to be a PC gamer but keeping up with system requirements is ridiculous. Looking at the box for Crysis almost made me crap my pants. That’s why game consoles are they way to go. The only requirement is the console itself. But that’s a completely different rant.

So here I am typing this article on my Windows XP enhanced laptop. And yes, this is the legal version that came pre-installed with my system. What do you take me for, a crook? Only Microsoft Office is pirated now! Anyways, I haven’t missed anything that Vista had to offer. All the programs I use are fully compatible with XP. My laptop is running faster. And I just like using my computer better overall now.

Does this mean Windows has reached it peak? I wouldn’t call it perfection yet. But there’s not much more it can do to impress me that I can think of. Especially with the amount of customization utilities available, there’s no need to upgrade. If you got Vista pre-installed with your system, you can always downgrade. If you were thinking of upgrading, use the money for a new video game or two! There just *might* be a video game coming out next week worth buying!