The Almost World of Microsoft

This blogger had previously been a staunch defender of all things Microsoft, in terms of home computing, from their Operating System (OS) to their generally very useful Office software.

However, with every new evolution from early Windows (I started home computing with Windows 3.0), it seems as though Microsoft (MS) has only been providing us with Almost Computing. And, more recently (specifically 2012), it has gotten worse.

Prior to diving into the heart of the subject, I shall state that I am not a programmer, just someone who very much enjoys working and playing on a computer, and that my favorite MS OS has been Windows XP. Very little downtime. Minimal, if any, problems with the system. Yes, the screen froze once in a while, but not that often (at least for me). I will also place a disclaimer, here, that I am not a gamer but that I do understand the need for an OS platform that gamers can utilize to the utmost and that does require certain operating capabilities, thus enhancements.

As an aside, in terms of MS Office, the best, in my opinion, was Office 2003. I was forced to finally upgrade to Office 2010 this year due to certain other software applications that do not work with anything less than Office 2007.

With each upgrade since Windows XP and Office 2003 the Almost keeps getting Less Almost from what had been a good, workable, not perfect but cheaper-than-Apple way to compute at home.

The decision to write this post boils down to, the not Almost but quite annoying and extremely frustrating, life with MS OS in the year 2012.

Never before 2012 have I experienced so many continuous issues of the same exact things with MS OS.

When MS botched the upgrade from XP to Vista, they were quick (relatively speaking) in coming up with a fix, Windows 7. While Win7 was a better OS than Vista in the beginning, things really started happening in 2012. Not good things.

At first, I thought it was me or something I had accidentally done with settings or whatever. Then, during casual conversations with others, I discovered I was not alone. The Almost was Almost Always happening each and every time we were on our computers. It is Almost laughable. Almost.

The biggest annoyances:

Website Not Responding. This one occurs more often than I care to remember (or try and count), but only started happening, with ferocity, in 2012. The website will just not respond. I get the notice and the little blue spinning circle appears. Sometimes it clears itself up in a matter of seconds. Sometimes. The webpage flashes or jumps, for lack of a better description, coming back to life, and then I can go on. However, a majority of the time I need to start the Task Manager and close out the Internet Explorer (IE) program and start over.

I wonder how many minutes (which become hours) I have wasted on this feature. Again, this did not occur until 2012. As an added point, this hangup happens when using both IE8 and IE9.

Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working
It didn’t stop. I closed the program!

IE Has Stopped Working. I close a browser window or a tab and a few seconds later, up pops a small window informing me that “Internet Explorer Has Stopped Working,” and then tells me “Windows is checking for a solution to the problem.” What on earth? What problem? I closed the window. It didn’t just suddenly quit on me, I closed it. Simple as that. Unfortunately, if I don’t then close that annoying little window it will continue until who knows when trying to find a solution to the “problem” (of me simply closing the window).

This never occurred until this year, 2012, and has been getting increasingly worse as the months drag on. I have not been on my computer one time without this happening for many weeks now. This troublesome “feature” works when using both IE8 and IE9.

[Random thought. Perhaps the Mayans prediction was not the end of the world in 2012, but the end of something in the Microsoft Family.]

Updates. The other thing that has been happening during 2012 are the voluminous simultaneous updates.

It used to be that MS updates would occur every so often and one would simply download and install them, usually just one or two at a time, sometimes a couple more. But 2012 started seeing anywhere from 15-20 “critical” updates arrive all at once. Boom! Some of them have been quite large. And, what are you going to do, you pretty much have to update for fear something else will go wrong in this Microsoft Almost World of Computing.

Following a “successful” large-volume update session, during 2012, it seems that the world of the internet was not quite synched with all things Microsoft. To be honest, unfortunately, no real-life examples come immediately to mind (I should have noted them for reference when they occurred), but I do remember several times during the year that, after updating, I was once again annoyed with my online experiences.

Will Microsoft ever really get it right?

To me, they pretty much had it with XP. But that changed, drastically for the worse, with Vista. Win7 held promise, but has become, during 2012, something detrimental to home computing with even more issues than what I experienced with Vista during its short Almost life.

My dilemma is this: Does Windows 8 save MS as an OS and should I now upgrade my home Personal Computer (PC), office PC and laptop to Win8, or do I switch to Apple Mac? (Note: I am aware there are other OS options for a  PC that exist – like Linux – but Apple Mac products seem, from what I have read and from what people I know have told me, the best.)

The Apple solution, which my nephew strongly endorses, is ultimately more expensive, in many ways – from the hardware itself to all new, in some cases, software that did not come with both PC/Mac versions on a disc (or two).

I cannot recall a time of my nephew complaining about anything at all regarding his Apple products, and he has them all: iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro.

I am no longer the Microsoft Advocate I used to be. I feel that I am an Almost Kinda Guy – I can Almost compute when I want, unless IE stops working suddenly or a window that I closed supposedly closed unexpectedly. It is Almost driving me completely batty.

Realistically, I am a very (not Almost) frustrated individual wishing that MS could have become more than an Almost Computing company that dominates the market with its Almost products.

Over for Now.

Main Street One

NBA Lockout Ultimatum – Who Is To Blame ?

There does not appear to be any specific “who” when trying to decide where the blame lies in the NBA Lockout. Fingers point in all directions.

The union representing all NBA players certainly did well during the previous lockout (1998-1999), garnering an unprecedented 57% of all BRI (Basketball Related Income) being directed to the player’s pockets.

Under the time period of the “57% players – 43% owners” split the popularity of basketball grew, as did gross BRI – up over 4% in a year, to a total of $3.8 billion during the 2010-2011 season.

Unfortunately, some small market owners are claiming they have sustained losses that cannot be endured.

The result? Certain hard-line owners, including player-turned-owner Michael Jordan (Charlotte Bobcats), want to change everything and demand that players receive a maximum 47% of BRI.

That the loss-generating owners could even think that is fair simply means they should, minimally, have their heads examined.

Another owner, super mega-billionaire Paul Allen (Microsoft, Portland Trail Blazers), spent money extravagently trying to buy himself a title in the NBA. The net result: no title and a financial loss, on paper anyway. He feels players, not he or his management team, are to blame.

Allen wants owners, like himself, who own teams that are in the red, to be given a larger share of the pie.

Perhaps there is some logic in that. Players do make awfully good money for playing a game that they love. And super-stars earn even more with their endorsements, which, in the end, adds to the price tag of that product or service they hawk.

However, the owner logic probably does not exist.

How do owners of successful businesses (afterall, they are all billionaires) lose money in the NBA? More than likely it is due, pure and simply, to their huge ego.

For most, owning a pro sports franchise is primarily a sideline, not a mainline activity. And they simply do not manage their teams as they do their businesses. Otherwise, they would not allow themselves to be “luxury taxed.” They would not let an agent lock them in to an unrealistic over-the-top contract for a player who really does not deserve it.

And then there is NBA Commissioner David Stern. At a press conference Stern claimed there was a deal on the table. A couple of sentences later he states that if the deal is not accepted by close of business Wednesday the next offer will be even worse. That is not good-faith negotiation. That is intimidation. That is dictatorship.

So what does all of this mean in terms of negotiating a settlement that both the owners and the players feel is fair? Unfortunately, no one knows.

There is no crystal ball that will inform one and all that “this is the magic number, this is the way mid-level exceptions should be handled, etc, etc.”

In the end it comes down to common sense and, possibly, that the opinions and desires of owners who spend lavishly should be discounted, if not tossed out in their entirely. They only hinder the process.

And, when an agreement is finally reached, owners will still be billionaires and players will still be millionaires.

Meanwhile, the sports fans, who ultimately put every single dollar into the pockets of both sides by subscribing to NBA TV, attending games, purchasing team and player gear, even buying a hot dog while rooting their team on, can only sit on the sidelines, frustrated as the drama continues.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

YouCut – Wouldn’t That Be Nice

Here is a unique concept.

While Rep Cantor’s idea may not be practical, may not be realistic, it is this taxpayer’s opinion that perhaps his campaign will open the eyes of people (especially those on Capitol Hill) who are blindly following our dramatic deficit spending spree–all in the name of saving the US economy.

So, even though Cantor’s idea may not fly, it is another way for people to see for themselves where all of our money (and debt) is going, what it is “buying” for us as a nation.

And, based on recent polls Main Street USA is not buying it. Citizens are unhappy with incumbents now residing in Congress.

There are those in Washington DC continuing to try and create a great divide between Main Street USA and Wall Street.

Attempting to, basically, destroy capitalism.

To those people it would seem fair to ask what other system allows individuals from all walks of life to be able to accumulate wealth in so many different ways.

How many people who purchased stock in Wal*Mart or Microsoft early on became wealthy simple because they allowed their money to work for them?

How many people earned seven or more figures from creating and selling something as simple as a “Pet Rock”? (For those too young to remember this, it was a common ordinary rock that was boxed and sold for about ten dollars, claiming it to be the easiest pet to care for.)

While critics scoff at the idea of YouCut, elected representatives may want to look deep within their hearts and their minds at the direction our country is going under their service.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

On The Lighter Side – Abbott and Costello with High Tech

I received this as an email forward probably 7 or 8 years ago. No idea who sent it out originally, but thank you, whoever you are!

Many people have probably seen it. For those who haven’t enjoy.

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this.

For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on…for those who don’t, you are too young anyway, but it is still very funny.

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, “Who’s on first?” might have turned out something like this:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don’t know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue “W”.
COSTELLO: I’m going to click your blue “w” if you don’t start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: If it’s a long movie, I also want to watch reels 2, 3 and 4. Can I watch them?
ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great! With what?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: OK, I’m at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
ABBOTT: You click the blue “1”.
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?
ABBOTT: The blue “1”.
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue w?
ABBOTT: The blue “1” is Real One and the blue “W” is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there are three words in “office for windows”!
ABBOTT: No, just one. But it’s the most popular Word in the world.
ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren’t many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there.
COSTELLO: And that word is real one?
ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn’t even part of Office.
COSTELLO: STOP! Don’t start that again. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on “START”…….

Over For Now.

Main Street One