Thursday, January 18, 2007

Get Yer Microsoft Vista™ Model-Train Enthusiast Edition Today!

Vista is much prettier than previous versions of Windows. Its icons look better, windows have translucent borders, and items in the taskbar and in folders can display little previews of what they contain. Security is supposedly vastly better; there are some new free, included programs; and fast, universal search is now built in. There are hundreds of other, smaller, improvements and additions throughout the system, including parental controls and even a slicker version of Solitaire.

—Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal

So reads the second paragraph of computer-usability-guru Walter Mossberg’s review of Microsoft’s newest version of Windows in today's Wall Street Journal.

For those of you who can’t wait to get their hands on “a slicker version of Solitaire,” now’s your chance. Only it will not, according to Mossberg, come cheaply:

To get the full benefits of Vista, especially the new look and user interface, which is called Aero, you will need a hefty new computer, or a hefty one that you purchased fairly recently. The vast majority of existing Windows PCs won't be able to use all of Vista's features without major hardware upgrades. They will be able to run only a stripped-down version, and even then may run very slowly.

In fact, in my tests, some elements of Vista could be maddeningly slow even on new, well-configured computers.

Furthermore, seems Microsoft still hasn’t solved the security problems that drive users batty trying to keep track of which version of Norton or McAfee they bought to protect their Microsoft computer and why that version of Norton or McAfee no longer protects this particular computer from whatever security problem they thought it was aimed to stop when they bought the software, which turns out to be six years ago, forcing them to buy yet another version of Norton or McAfee...

According to today's review:

Also, despite Vista's claimed security improvements, you will still have to run, and keep updating, security programs, which can be annoying and burdensome.

Summing up Mossberg’s conclusions—although I heartily recommend reading the real thing, for it is an excellent and eye-opening piece—is this priceless sentence:

Nearly all of the major, visible new features in Vista are already available in Apple's operating system, called Mac OS X, which came out in 2001

There you have it: five years in the making, at a cost of who knows how many billions of dollars, and we have a newer, less secure version of what you can already buy with a Mac.

But the best part of all? In keeping with Microsoft’s past tendencies to flood the market with all kinds of confusing product upgrades and special editions, Vista comes in six—six, count ‘em—versions, including “Home Premium” and “Home Basic.”

My suggestion? Wait for Microsoft to introduce the version that fits your own special needs—the Microsoft Vista ™ Model-Train Enthusiasts’ Edition, for example.

Meanwhile, stick with your Mac.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2007 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


css said...

Trusting Walter Mossberg to provide objective commentary on Microsoft is akin to trusting Dan Rather to be objective about Bush.

Show me one column Mossberg has EVER written on either company that doesn't take this view that everything Apple does is wonderful and Microsoft is 'way behind'. Steve Jobs could crap in a clay pot at Macworld and Mossberg would call it fine art.

Don't get me wrong, I think Microsoft is an over-the-hill company with plenty of issues. And, of course, all the cool kids in school have Macs (and will soon apparently have iPhones-or-whatever-they're-to-be-called).

If you're happy with your Mac, by all means stick with your Mac. I have one and it's a great machine for my family - it's fast and easy to use. But I - for many reasons having to do with compatibility, openness and flexibility - prefer the Windows platform.

Mossberg has no credibility on the subject. He's a completely biased Apple tout - and one of the few things I really dislike about the Journal.

Sam E. Antar said...


“Nearly all of the major, visible new features in Vista are already available in Apple's operating system, called Mac OS X, which came out in 2001.”

"Meanwhile, stick with your Mac."

My Proclamation:

I, Sam E. Antar, former Crazy Eddie CFO, convicted felon, long suffering Microsoft customer, and hypocrite, moved by Jeff Matthews comments call on the United States Attorney in San Francisco and the Securities and Exchange Commission to cease all investigations into any possible allegations of wrongdoing by the great visionary and innovator Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer.

Any possible action by you would eliminate any incentive by Microsoft to compete with a great company like Apple. In addition, Mr. Jobs, possible departure from Apple may result in a harmful impact to the United States economy and have serious repercussions including reduced competition, increased unemployment, and less innovative products in the future.

I hereby rescind every blog post and comment I have made supporting the investigation of back dating at Apple for the sake of the United States economy.

Microsoft requires worthy competition. America deserves great products. If Steve Jobs did something wrong (I am not saying he did) maybe he should be above the law. Maybe it’s just best that we don’t know.

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & convicted felon)

PS: Jeff: Am I making this up?

dkman said...


I have to disagree with you here. I am definitely a lover of all things Mac/iPod. I have several at home and would prefer to use one at work if this was possible. I am also impressed with Jobs and everything he made possible since his return to Apple.

However, no person can be above the law, regardless of their status, genius or potential impact on business/society. Sticking to this principle (in general) is what made this country great.

I bet that, if Jobs ended up serving a couple of months a la Martha (seems highly unlikely at this point), he would be able to dream up even greater products than the iPhone upon his return.

As far as Vista is concerned, I agree with css, Mossberg is definitely not the most credible source. But I also think MSFT should be given credit for bringing their OS and Office platform forward a couple of decades, even though they are still behind Apple.

Sam E. Antar said...


You are absolutely correct that “no person is above the law.” At the end of my comment I wrote:

“Jeff: Am I making this up?”

I have been reading the comments of other bloggers and their readers with amusement. They say that Steve Jobs receives a $1 salary, he did not benefit from the option grants, and he is an innovator, a visionary, and so on.

I wrote the “proclamation” to join the hypocrisy and I labeled myself as a hypocrite.

Good deeds or actions in one area of a person’s life do no negate the possibility of criminality in another area of a person’s life. As a criminal I gave to charity, walked old ladies across the street, and knew how to build a wall of false integrity around myself.

While I am not suggesting that Steve Jobs actually did something criminal it is possible he may have committed a criminal act. If he did commit a criminal act (he surely knows in his mind if he did it or not) he should be held accountable.

His high stature put him under the microscope and if “stupid errors” in judgment were made he should stop crying. Scrutiny comes with the territory.

Personally, I do not think Steve Jobs is a stupid person.

With great respect,

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & convicted felon)

Jeff: This time I am not making this up.

Aaron Koral said...


Kudos for your "tongue-in-cheek" post on the "free pass" Steve Jobs is getting from the mainstream media on Apple's alleged option backdating issue - readers can click on Apple's 10-Q link dated 12-29-2006 and read pages 12-16 to get a good overview of Apple's "problem".

I wonder, however, whether investors in Apple have considered the unlikely possibility (probability?) that Jobs' could be forced out from his CEO post because of the ongoing SEC investigation into Apple's alleged option activities?

Apple investors should be asking themselves what motive(s) would Apple's board of directors have in their preliminary findings of Jobs' option grants?

Without Jobs at the helm, could Apple's "cult-like" stock price go down because of how closely tied Jobs is to the company's "visionary status", along with any sales and gross margin declines for the company’s iPod and iMac laptop products going into the current quarter for FY07?

In order for your readers, Jeff, to get an idea of what I'm getting at, I included a link to an article in The New York Times that should give Apple investors pause.

I could be wrong in my analysis, but, in the spirit of your mantra, I’m not making that up.

Sam E. Antar said...


Steve Jobs knows in his mind if he is guilty or not. Since he possesses such knowledge as a "rational" CEO hypothetically if he is guilty (I am not saying he is guilty) he should be planning for his replacement.

Planning for the possibility he may not continue his position at Apple is the best contingency planning for an effective CEO.

Now, what if he is in fact guilty but does not want to send a wrong signal by such planning? Therefore, Apple may not be prepared for the day Steve Jobs (if he is guilty but cannot beat the rap and again I am not saying he is guilty) goes to jail.

You see how many problems this guy has caused everyone now?

Therefore, maybe I did not make up the first post. We may have to give him a pass.

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & convicted felon)

PS: Jeff, DK, and Aaron: Am I making this up this time?