Letters to Redmond
XP Is Still King
Readers share their thoughts on why XP hasn't gone gently into that good night. Plus, what can journalism do to save itself?
XP Is Still King
In Mary Jo Foley's column on Windows XP ["XP: The OS that Won't Die," June 2009] Foley asks if XP is good enough for me. It is. For most people XP is perfectly adequate -- and it will be for quite a long time. I plan to skip Windows Vista, and I won't go anywhere near Windows 7 until it's proven to be stable and not as bloated as Vista. That might take a while.
As usual, Microsoft is trying to make tons of money off Vista and Windows 7, without thinking about whether people will actually want the bloated operating systems it comes out with. All most people want is a stable OS that runs well on their existing hardware.
If Microsoft had just left the user interface untouched, XP would have been retired in favor of Vista a long time ago. But no -- Microsoft had to go and move the steering wheel from the front seat to the back seat, just because it felt it could. The company effectively said, "The consumer won't care, they'll get over it and buy our new product -- just because we're Microsoft." Such arrogance.
The elephant in the room when it comes to XP versus Vista and Windows 7 is compatibility with software. Vendors haven't developed for Vista and have no experience with it.
I work at a hospital with 500 PCs and more than 120 clinical and financial applications that are still not tested, certified or working on Vista. We're stuck with XP for quite some time. The deployment tools for Vista are impressive, but the lean tech staff we have can't test and build for each of these apps. And because we run Citrix everywhere, what difference does the OS desktop or thin client make?
I don't see the point of moving to Vista or Windows 7. They'll just befuddle the users who don't know what the Windows+L key does.
ERP Gone Wrong
Despite the positive experiences documented in Lee Pender's article "Don't Be Afraid of Hosted ERP" [July 2009], all the enterprise resource planning [ERP] implementations I've seen have gone wrong. In each case, the vendor promised ERP would save the world -- or at least the business -- and the company execs bought it. In most of these scenarios, the company didn't have an existing process. Instead it had multiple methods that were learned over time, and the execs believed that somehow the ERP solution would magically solve this. Scope and feature creep set in as the company tried to do a basic ERP plan. The project grew more complex; took longer and longer; and got larger and larger.
Not surprisingly, each project I witnessed was shelved after cost and time overruns. But, instead of finding an alternate solution, the companies simply replaced the people in charge of each ERP implementation -- and the cycle began again.
Received by e-mail
More Blows to Journalism
I disagree with Doug Barney, who wrote in his Rubble column ["Journalism's Last Legs," August 2009] that "the Internet and our cult of celebrity" are killing journalism. What's killing traditional media is advertising.
The media views itself as nothing more than a vehicle for advertising. Any time media outlets face a crunch, they cut features that attract readers in the first place rather than hike advertising rates. Many papers are little more than Saturday Shoppers -- except Saturday Shoppers are free. Advertising has mutated from an occasionally useful service to a manic quest for ever-diminishing returns.
The other element in the toxic mix is viewing media sources as investments. Instead of running a local paper and making enough to cover expenses and provide a reasonable return, more and more papers are owned by outfits like Gannett. Investors like these insist on a high profit regardless of local needs, and the result is more ads, less quality reporting, tinier comics and so on. You know the drill.
Green Bay, Wis.
Why don't we start with the fact that the mass media has given up on real reporting? Give me something worth buying, and I'll buy it. Unfortunately, not many news sources are reliably publishing useful information anymore. Good, thoughtful, well-researched and balanced articles seem to be the exception these days. If they went back to being the rule, I'd go back to buying the paper.
Received by e-mail
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