It is just barely the first week of November and already I am annoyed with the Let's Make Christmas Come Earlier and Earlier Movement. Look, I understand that in this global marketplace with overstuffed container ports that if a store wants to have any inventory for Christmas, it needed to arrive in the Port of L.A. back in July. And I understand that the whole point of a Big Box retail store is that the store is a big box and you don't need a stockroom any more.
BUT YOU DON'T NEED TO PUT THE DECORATIONS UP YET!
Allendale TrueValue Hardware -- I'm looking at you. Putting up decorated fake Christmas trees in the entryway so you have to trip over them. Look, we're just getting around to have some flakeages yesterday, some reported graupel in Grand Rapids this morning, and something almost resembling snow streaking by my windshield this morning. But it's still too early for Christmas displays in West Michigan.
Couldn't The TV Writers' Strike Take Out The Commercials, Too?
A week ago I finally hit my first real Christmas ad on TV, complete with BLOODY CHRISTMAS MUSIC. Thank you, Dell. I won't be buying any of your products this Christmas season. And lest you think that's a worthless idle threat, do realize that I am seriously considering buying a Windows XP box before January 2008 when you won't be able to buy XP on a new computer. (see note below)
Last night we had a Target Christmas ad followed by a Dell Christmas ad. All Christmas, All The Time. Can't we just have a cable channel do that and then we can deprogram that channel number from the remote control?
The Microsoft Windows Vista Death Watch Begins
Last month there were editorials in both PC Magazine and PC World which basically amounted to saying Vista sucks, Microsoft isn't doing enough to fix it, the industry has confidence in Windows XP -- and just make Vista go away.
So the other day when new issues of both magazines came out, I started flipping through them. Good ol' John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine pronounced the Vista Death Watch, and I can't say he doesn't have the right idea. Even if you realize that much of what was promised by Windows Vista was cut from the final released form, and forgetting the nightmare of having two many box versions of overpriced Vista to choose from, if you were to just consider that Vista is a revision to XP with (sometimes) a fancy pants Aero interface that some of us don't want or care about, then the abysmal drivers situation alone is enough to tank Vista. A second editorial commented on using both a Mac and a Vista machine -- until the writer needs to get some WORK DONE and then he uses an XP machine. This is sad when this far into the Vista release people are still making the distinction between machines which are useful or not.
If Microsoft wants to make things more better by chopping off support for legacy hardware and software, they can do it. Just don't call it Windows. Windows, for all its flaws and bugs and features, has been about compatibility. I still have DOS programs I use everyday in Windows XP Pro/NT4/98SE/95. I use them because I don't have replacements for them.
Do I need to remind Redmond that it's my computer? That I need to do my work on it? I don't need to do Microsoft internal memo format, I don't need to make Word into a publishing program, I don't need to index my hard drive for instant retrieval of obscure search terms, I don't need Microsoft to "safeguard" all my personal information and I certainly don't need to install another giant KICK ME sign on the door to my firewall and invite every scabby, scammy hackbarfer from around the world to steal from me or screw me.
I think Dvorak's right -- end Vista, get two teams going to produce "the next OS" and XP Service Pack 3. And let's stop this nonsense now.
Finally, When I Want To Be Good and Crabby...
I can talk about gasoline prices. Well, we pretty much broke through the $80/barrel and $90/barrel barriers with nary a ripple on the U.S. gasoline front. Gas prices have creeped up again, but not at all in lockstep with crude prices. That may change when we break the mythical $100/barrel barrier, but then again -- no one seems to care.