Category: Windows 98

More innovation from Microsoft…


Amongst Microsoft’s many, many accomplishments, is this lovely little gem:

Rixstep: There is no patch.

There are bugs that Microsoft patch pretty quickly, there are bugs that take a little more testing and take longer, there are bugs that they take ages to patch for some reason.

And now, from your trustworthy business OS supplier comes a first in long history of innovation – a bug that cannot be patched.

At all.

It can’t be fixed.

Why this isn’t more widely reported is beyond me. Microsoft’s solution is to run IE8 in a restricted mode which seems a band-aid solution to me.

Sure, Vista solves this little hiccup, but just about every Windows box that I can see from my happy little Mac studio, is still running XP.

What galls me the most is that this little feature has been present in every version of Windows up until Vista, they’ve only just discovered it as far as I can tell.

A few years from now, will there be another ‘unpatchable’ flaw in Vista, Windows 7, 8, 9 etc that they discover?

Why do people not question them? Why do they just accept this? Why is the news full of Apple releasing another device that everyone fails to understand, because it just happens to do something different, and not full of Microsoft’s unbelievable, amateurish and downright dangerous coding?

No other web browser on the Windows platform is affected. Does that not say something about this company?


Microsoft’s subtle trick…

The Devil

I remember a Christian once saying to me that the best day’s work that the Devil ever did, was to convince everyone that he didn’t exist.

A similar analogy, is that the socialists have convinced everyone that George Orwell’s book ‘1984’ was about fascism, when actually it’s about the dangers of unrestricted socialism (IngSoc, stands for Engligh Socialism).

These thoughts were piqued when I read a newspaper article in the UK’s DailyMail newspaper, outlining the experience the reporter had when they accidentally clicked on a spammer’s email.

The chaos that ensued, highlighted the dangers of clicking on these sorts of emails, and the article well worth a skim:

Courtesy of the UK’s DailyMail newspaper:

I always like to read articles like this because they show the computer experiences of your average Windows user; and I mean the really average Windows user.

The average Windows user makes up the majority of Microsoft customer base, and this article perfectly illustrates the clever trick that Microsoft has played upon them.

The article in question is basically about someone who received an email that asked for all sorts of personal information. This email was a spam email, but the user dumbly accepted it as legitimate, and duly got conned – malware was installed and all sorts of chaos ensued.

Now you can comment on the ineptness of the user, but this article isn’t about their stupidity, it’s about the person that they ultimately blamed.

It’s a big, long article that goes into great detail about what happened to them, but nowhere and I mean nowhere in the article is the word ‘Windows’ or the word ‘Microsoft’ mentioned. Not once.

Ultimately the person who they blamed was – Yahoo. They blamed the email service for failing to filter out the email.

Not themselves for being so inept, not Microsoft for selling them an OS with security holes, but Yahoo. Poor Yahoo.

From the article:

Finally on Monday, three days later, smooth-sounding Jessica from ‘the Yahoo concierge service’ called to help me get back into my account and reassure me that Yahoo took such violations very seriously.
She would not be drawn on who might be responsible at Yahoo for stopping hackers. I wanted to know why Yahoo’s own filter system hadn’t spotted a bogus email sent in their name and taken it out before I opened it.

And here lies the biggest trick that Microsoft has made – they’ve made themselves invisible.

They’ve subtly altered people’s perception of computing so that they are blameless.
They’ve convinced the average Windows user that security holes are a way of life, and it’s not their fault, but it’s the fault of:
  1. You for not constantly being on your guard to make up for the fact that an email link can allow remote software to be installed.
  2. The ‘bad guys’ who send out these emails and take advantage of the security holes in Microsoft software
  3. The email provider for not filtering out the ‘bad guy’s’ emails.
All this is very depressing, but even more depressing are the 30 or so comments to this article from more ‘average Windows users’.
They all comment on the dangers of email, how they had spam before, and how they ultimately accept it as a way of computing life.
To add insult to injury, a drone from Sophos gives 3 golden rules for online safety – not one of them states to give up Microsoft software and choose Linux or Apple.
I’m fully aware that phishing emails are a malware-vehicle that could be used on these platforms as well, but the security hole that this email exploited was for Windows – as most, if not all of them are.

Forward delete is an oxymoron…

Mac Forward Delete

Mac 101: Forward delete on a Mac laptop

Posted using ShareThis

As part of my job, I come across dozens of Windows users every day. They have used Windows all their life and have little or know knowledge of the Mac.

These are, to coin a few phrases, the other 95%, the drones, the job security for hundred’s and thousands of IT Managers up and down the USofA.

Occasionally this ‘majority’ have to sit down and use a Mac for a period of time and it’s here where their ‘muscle memory’ of using the upside-down and back-to-front version of the Mac (i.e. Windows), comes into the realm of the way it was done first, and done correctly – the Mac.

One way in which this surfaces is the forward-delete key. This was first brought to my attention when a bemused PC user, typing a document, said, “where’s the delete key on this keyboard?’

My first reaction was that they couldn’t be blamed for not knowing. There’s nowhere on a mac keyboard that says ‘delete’. It’s the key with the left facing arrow, as a Mac user, I just know this through years of use.

However the PC-user, upon testing this said, “No, that’s the backspace key.”

“No it isn’t”, I remarked, “the backspace key on a Mac is the left arrow key, along with the up, down and right keys”.

Not understanding what ‘backspace’ meant, I then learned about ‘forward-delete’ from this PC-user. It’s always been on a Mac keyboard, but I’ve never used it, because it doesn’t make any sense to me. And neither does ‘backspace’.

To me, the word ‘backspace’ does not mean a destructive action. Backspace means, ‘to move back a space’, i.e. the left arrow key.

‘Delete’ means to delete something you have just done. i.e. You type a word, it is wrong, and you, going backwards using the delete key, delete that word. Where does the term, ‘forward’ make any sense in this?

You don’t place your insertion point at the beginning of the word and then when you press the delete key, expect it to move forward along the word, deleting it.

That’s counter-intuitive isn’t it?

I suppose this all comes down to what you’re used to, but ‘forward-delete’ to me doesn’t make any sense to me as a concept.

However as the ‘majority’ use it, I must be wrong, right?

More Windows problems…



Currently I have a PC in my studio that is connected to a USB printer, and this printer in Windows is being shared to the network.

I also have a couple of Mac’s that access this shared printer, and occasionally use it if the main workhorse A3 laser printer is busy.

This has worked fine on the Mac side, but occasionally, about once a month, the Mac’s connection to the printer doesn’t work.

The standard way to fix this is:

Test the PC to see if it still prints, 100% of the time it doesn’t, so we call in our in-house Windows IT spods to recreate the printer and share it again.

The Mac’s then work normally again, with no reconfiguration at all, they simply pick up the new printer and they’re good to go.

The mantra is, “If the PC prints, then the Mac will print also. Automatically.” This is why I use the Mac, it just works.


However, last week this wasn’t the case. The Mantra didn’t work.

As usual the Mac stopped printing to the shared USB printer. However this time, the PC printed fine.

So I asked the Windows IT spods to recreate the printer anyway. They did, it still didn’t work.

So I recreated the shared printer on the Mac and this is where we got to the bottom of the problem.

When you connect to a shared Windos printer on the Mac, it asks you for the login information for the PC. We knew this info, and we put this info in correctly, however the PC wasn’t accepting it, giving a ‘NT ACCESS DENIED” error, whatever that is.

So we thought the problem was with the Mac, and after half an hour trying different things, I gave up, telling the Mac-user to print to the A3 printer instead in the meantime.

I thought that was that, except next day the Windows PC wouldn’t log in to it’s desktop at all. The same log in info now wasn’t working on the PC either.

The spods came in, took it away, seemingly recreating the user with a new account & login.

Guess what, when I tried recreating the shared PC printer on the Mac – it worked fine.

So the problem was the PC simply deciding that it had had enough with that account and the only solution was to create a new one, which in turn solved our printer problem.

One day, Windows simply decides it’s not going to work anymore and needs massaging back to workability, and a whole career has been created around this concept.

I can see now why WIndows IT people are needed – and why they are scared sh*tless of the Mac.


There’s a very good reason why ‘it just works’…

Huge blue screen
More evidence (if any more were needed) that Windows users are delusional: 
The reason why they constantly spout this, “if only Apple would release Mac OS X for generic PC’s” crap is because they fail to understand the reason why Apple’s Mac’s are fundamentally more reliable than PC’s.
Windows users believe that if the OS maker (Microsoft) could just get the spec requirements right then a proprietary OS on open hardware could be made to be reliable.  
This is why they’ve stuck with Windows for so long, because they really do believe that Microsoft will, sooner or later get it right, if they would just spend more time bug fixing, working with partners etc.
Well, they can’t get it right, history has proved this and it’s finally looking, slowly at least, that some of them are starting to understand this basic concept:
And, in some cases this means maybe paying a little more, but believe me, having had several Mac’s at home, and controlling half a dozen Mac’s at work, with no significant down time in 6 years, it’s worth it.

Windows 98 to XP – 8 years on it’s still the same…

98 to XP

As part of my job I administer the company’s website, and although I enjoy doing it, it’s not one of my strengths.

I do know html & css pretty well, but the changes that the site needs next year, coupled with the fact that you must keep your skills polished, necessitated the need for a refresher course in Dreamweaver.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. About 8 years ago, the company I was working for at that time, paid for me to attend a course in website construction. Back then Dreamweaver either did not exist, or had not solidified its position in the web-site creation market, so the course mainly consisted of running over the more advanced features of hand-coding html.

It was a 10 week course, quite comprehensive, and I earned the qualification using those skills to great effect since. However the one problem that surfaced was the technology used to get that qualification.

The class consisted of about 20-or-so Windows PC’s, running Windows 98. Being a Mac user, this irked me greatly, but I had little say in the matter, so gritted my teeth and soldiered on.

The one thing that I did gain from this experience, other than the qualification, was a deep, deep hatred for Windows.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had daily experience of both Mac and Windows, so I was no Windows-newbie, trying to wrestle with an unfamiliar environment.

The Windows PC’s in that classroom just simply did not work. I mean at all. God knows how anybody gets anything done in Windows. Out of 20 PC’s, you could guarantee that only a half (sometimes a third) of them were working at any one point.

The general scenario was this: You would start working on a html document, saving it as you went, when all of a sudden the PC would crash, or refuse to print, or the keyboard would be unresponsive, or the monitor would flick off.

So, you would tell the instructor, and they would call IT support. About 10 minutes later (whilst you are sat there doing nothing on the course you paid money for) they would turn up. After fiddling around for a further 10 minutes, they would tell you to use another PC (if you could find one that worked).

We were told to constantly back our work up throughout the lesson to a floppy disk – I can see why.

By the end of the course, only third of the PC’s would even switch on, and of those that did, half of those would not log in correctly.

I walked away from that course with total confusion – why do people put up with this? At that time I ran a successful, trouble-free studio with 5-10 Macs running OS8.

Fast forward to the present day, and I have just finished attending another course. This one is to brush up on the Dreamweaver skills that I have learned in the past 8 years or so.

Guess what? Even though this is a completely different college, with completely different PC’s, running Windows XP, it’s still the same.

Out of 25 PC’s only 20 of them worked at the start of the course. A good start, but it all goes downhill from there. It’s a good job that some people dropped out of the course, because slowly but surely, over the 18 week course, PC’s just kept dying.

I’ve only 2 weeks left of the course, and there are only 10 (out of 18) people still on the course. It’s a good thing, because there’s only 10 PC’s left working consistently enough to get work done. This aspect tends to shed some light on market share numbers, doesn’t it?

Things have changed a little though. Instead of saving to a floppy disk, we now save to a central server, so if one of the PC’s stops working we can simply move to the next one and log in and our work is still there. Except on one occasion it wasn’t. Myself and a few others’ work simply disappeared half way through the course. Luckily (for me) I kept a backup on a thumb drive, the others weren’t so lucky.

I know most PC users will say that they have used PC’s for many years and if you know what you’re doing you get no problems, or that where they work, the IT department are knowledgeable enough and everything runs smoothly.

And that is the problem. They excuse the Windows PC for all its shortcomings, because it either a) makes them feel superior in that they know how to keep their PC working, or b) the IT department are shielding them from some of the horrors that Windows can throw up.

You use a computer as a tool to get work done, that once took aeons longer. In my case, it replaced cameras, bromides, film, paste-up boards, scalpels, glue, marker pens, rotring pens, spray mount – and it replaced them successfully. I don’t have to worry about keeping my Mac’s working, they work just as reliably as those old tools I used 20 years ago.

I’m a graphic designer, not an IT trouble-shooter.

PC people are accountants, administrators etc, and they should not be IT trouble-shooters either, but because of Windows they are (or have to employ people who are).

At the end of all this, is the promise of Vista. Microsoft are saying that after all this time, they’ve got it right, honest. I’ve never believed them, and it’s high time you did the same.

When I attend my next website creation refresher course in 5-10 years time, I wonder if I’ll be still using Windows? Y’know, for the first time ever, I’m beginning to doubt it.