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Jewish World Review
April 17, 2009
/ 23 Nissan 5769
Windows 7, in Dolby Stereo
Of course, the 64-bit version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 7 Beta software, a copy
of which landed on my desk last week, isn't really "Dolby Stereo," for which
usage I apologize to Dolby Laboratories even as I press the analogy. What a 64-bit
version of an operating system is, however, is the full-force version that'll run on
a 64-bit Intel Corp. i7 Core Duo processor, the latest chip from the
I'm revisiting 64-bit operating systems for PCs because of reaction to last week's
salvo at the 64-bit version of Microsoft Vista Ultimate, which I still believe
should die the death, and quickly. Some readers and online comment-writers blasted
your columnist for having put on his "cranky pants" that morning. Others said
they had nothing but bliss with their 64-bit Vista installations. Several said I was
a fool for putting gasp the Beta version of Safari 4 on a
Windows computer to begin with, even if Safari 4 is available for Windows users
Some answers: This column is primarily though not exclusively devoted to
critiquing computer hardware and software, so crankiness helps. But again, it's
2009, kids, not 1989. We're more than a quarter-century into the personal computing
revolution; some might claim we're about 30 years on. Regardless, I believe we, as
users, are at a point where things should simply work, especially if they are made
by companies which have a market capitalization of about $171 billion, as of April
8, said company being Microsoft.
As to the Beta argument, dissenters may have a point, but consider: Safari 4 plays
nicely in the digital sandbox with other versions of Microsoft Windows, and with
Win7 in both 32-bit and 64-bit incarnations. Why not with Vista?
Let me interject a simple manifesto here: If something in technology costs more than
$10, maybe $20 if you want to be generous and/or a spendthrift, it should darned
well work, and work well. If not, it should be fixed, and if not fixable, you should
get your money back and maybe an apology.
Remember, friends, I wasn't reviewing a $300 bargain-basement PC found in your local
big box store. The HP model tested is being touted at $1,500 dollars apiece, and
that's a chunk of change for just about any of us. Nor is Microsoft Windows Vista
Ultimate a low-cost product: I've seen mail order ads for it at $199 a copy, the
price single-user mortals pay, and one presumably reduced in cost for PC
manufacturers. Regardless: at these prices, again, things should work.
Now back to Win7: in the 64-bit realm, it does work, and quite nicely. Safari 4 is
running without a hitch, and so is OpenOffice.org's version 3 office suite. To be
fair, the 64-bit Beta version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 is also running
well and behaving itself.
My other "test" application, the E-Sword Bible reading program
(www.e-sword.net), also performed well. And I believe this supports my thesis:
well-written software, from creators large (Apple), or small (e-Sword's Rick
Meyers), or collective (OpenOffice.org), should work with a well-crafted operating
system. It's not a stretch, therefore, to suggest that Windows 7 is a well-crafted
OS, and that Vista just isn't.
As they might say in Dallas, that's not just my opinion, neither: on April 2, the
Texas state legislature gave provisional approval to a budget rider forbidding state
agencies to upgrade systems to any version of Vista without said legislature's
written approval, a development reported by Eric Lai of Computerworld, a
leading trade newspaper. Mr. Lai also reports that several dozen Texas agencies have
already spent about $6.1 million on Vista upgrades already, so how much of an
imposition this is remains to be seen.
One other reader complaint was that in comparing Vista with, say, Apple Inc.'s Mac
OS X Leopard, I'm unfairly positioning Leopard, designed to work only on hardware
built by Apple, with Windows Vista, which has to support unknown numbers of PC
configurations and makers. Perhaps so, but again, look at your calendar: by 2009,
such issues should, well, be far less of an issue. Besides, Win7 is on the way,
rendering Vista, one hopes, moot.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com