Let Me Count the Ways

I’m not a fan of Windows Vista at all. The chief reason is because it’s a resource hog: even on a brand new machine with a fast processor and a gig of RAM, it just kind of pokes along, even without enabling the fancy Aero graphics. And that’s before running an app on it. User Account Control is such a nuisance that most people turn it off, thus voiding all of its protections in the first place.

I’m apparently not the only one, as Vista sales are in decline. More and more people I talk to are considering their first Mac, as am I. Our superintendent was impressed with Garage Band and other tools on the Mac, so I’ll probably have a Mac to play with by Spring and our school will quite possibly have some Macs next year. Dell has to offer XP and Linux machines or face losing sales to Apple. I’ve even sent people to Tiger’s refurbished machines so they can stick with XP at (what is for them) an affordable price.

Now there are two more reasons to hate Windows:

First, they pushed out a new version of Desktop Search that’s bringing machines to their knees. At least half the machines in my district are out of date and have the bare minimum to run Windows, much less Office and all the online stuff the students throw at them. I don’t care what their excuses are, my update servers are set to only install critical updates and security patches on my network without my having to say so, and IMHO this qualifies as neither. Plus, nobody was running Desktop Search, and suddenly it’s on everybody’s taskbar. The number of trouble calls I’ve gotten from people asking “what is this stupid thing?” is bad enough, and the fact that it slows their machine to a crawl is even worse. Inexcusable.

Second, and more important, is there’s a new botnet out there called the Storm Worm that essentially fools your antivirus into thinking there are no viruses on the system. I was wondering if this would be a cross platform problem, but no, it’s not (at least not yet). It essentially infects Windows’ “brain” and delivers its own messages, so you think your antivirus program tells you everything is a-okay. Meanwhile, the botnet has its way with your system. No system is completely secure, but to be subject to such a major security flaw is likewise inexcusable.

I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with our lab upgrade at work next summer. I’ll probably be stuck with Vista, and to be frank, that scares the hell out of me.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

No comments

  1. Mark Cummuta says:

    Mike,

    Great site! I’ve been looking into Storm, and have not yet found anything that says there’s a fix for it yet. Have you see anything?

    Mark Cummuta

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for the comment, Mark!

    This was actually the first I’d seen of Storm. I don’t know much about it, including any defense against it, but obviously it’s not good. I talk to many Illinois school techs, and so far we’re just making sure to monitor our networks for unusual behavior and make sure our firewalls are up to date and doing their thing.