Well That Didn’t Last Long

Yesterday I said I was going to make April “Microsoft Month” for my computers.  After installing IE7b2, a bunch of Live.com stuff, migrating my bookmarks from Firefox to IE7, and then trying to use IE7 as my primary browser, I’ve given up after 24 hours.  It occurred to me that this wasn’t going to work out the third time I had to restart my computer because something goofy was going on. 

I was determined to use Live.com and IE7 for feadreading – after watching Live.com choke on importing my OPML file (it didn’t seem to be able to handle 707 feeds that were formatted into folders), I downloaded the Live.com toolbar to install Onfolio (plus – I needed it to synchronize my bookmarks – er – I mean favorites – since IE requires the entire toolbar to do this on multiple machines.)  By this point, I had icons and buttons all over the place in IE7 and was constantly having to drop down menus for things that were one button in Firefox.  I chalked this up to my inexperience with IE7 and kept driving.

Onfolio handled my OPML file fine, but was excruciating slow refreshing all my feeds.  I managed to crash it trying to mark all feeds as read (it turns out there’s an easy way, but I hadn’t figured it out yet and had to reboot again when I hung IE7 and then had spurious issues with Outlook after shutting it down in the Task Manager.)

I woke up this morning ready to try again.  I was getting my mind around the idea that maybe I’d only run all Microsoft on my machine at home and I’d leave my laptop and work machine as is so I didn’t totally destroy their configs.  When I started getting a “The Operation Failed” message when I tried to “Send Page by E-mail” from IE7, I started realizing that basic things simply weren’t working anymore (of course, this is beta software – I know.)  I installed my del.icio.us buttons – they didn’t work (I got an IE “Internet Explorer cannot download …eURIComponent … Unspecified error” – clearly the buttons that worked with IE 6 don’t work with IE 7.

I tried a few more things with my morning routine and finally decided that I was going to modify my experiment.  Rather than view the browser as a part of the Microsoft / Yahoo / Google diet, I’m going to limit myself to web-based apps.  I’m going back to Firefox, but will continue to try to wean myself off of my.yahoo, Google’s search, and the other Yahoo / Google things I use.

  • Dave Jilk

    You might be interested in my non-scientific *NO* Microsoft experiment, where I attempted to do both business and technical work on Linux (Fedora Core 3 with Gnome).

    The biggest issue was giving up Outlook Inbox / Calendar / Contacts. I probably could have done these things with Evolution, but I just couldn’t take the risk on being able to sync up with my phone and it’s just too central to my efficiency.

    I definitely could have used OpenOffice and still do occasionally, but I find that Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are simply dramatically superior products and I was more effective with them.

    I found that peripheral devices (USB / wireless networking, webcams, soundcards, etc.) are challenging to get working with Linux. Some I succeeded, some not. In all cases it is time consuming.

    I found networking to be much easier and better under Linux. Windows is too controlling for my taste. My home network is mainly NFS with Samba shares and my Windows box is just a client.

    On Linux, I set up Apache, a Wiki, perl scripts, etc. with basically no trouble. And it’s all free. I can’t begin to think how painful that would have been under IIS.

    Obviously Linux is a dramatically better programming and technical environment. That’s mostly what I’m doing on it now, although I also use Firefox on the Linux side. The fact that so many tools are available for so many little things is incredibly important for development. And the non-commercial tools for Windows are terrible.

    I don’t do any of your web 2.0 stuff so I didn’t care about that.

    Conclusion: I’m not getting rid of Microsoft, but I don’t think it’s the best platform for a SOHO network environment – it’s just a client.

  • I recently also tried switching from MSOffice to OpenOffice 2.0. My take after having written several reports in and presentations in OpenOffice is that it is fine for basic features, but its advanced features like tables in Write and animations in Impress just aren’t polished enought to use with clients. My problem with tables is that they handle pagebreaks really badly, often leaving tons of space on a page… in one example these pagebreaks bloated a report from 9 pages to 17 pages. In Impress the problem with animations is that some of the images I was using were displayed upsidedown in slide show mode. Yet, the biggest problem is that the software doesn’t import/export MSOffice documents to a high enough standard yet. All in OpenOffice 2.0 is very close, I’d say 95% as good as MSOffice, but its that 5% formatting errors that mean I can’t use it for client facing documents.

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