I wonder how many more bloggers and journos will fall upon their cliche swords and commit that title of nastiness to their work in the next few weeks?
Today sees the gradual release of Microsoft’s “last best hope” for its DOS-based front-end called Windows. Called Vista, Microsoft are reassuring us that once again it’s the Easiest Windows Ever! [(c) Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP] and the Most Secure Windows Ever! [(c) Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP].
Truly, do we need this? We certainly haven’t needed it during the 2 years that the damned thing has been delayed whilst Microsoft’s very own code-fudgers remove great big chunks of the O/S suddenly deemed N/R.
XP, despite itself, has managed to do a rather fine job of looking after the computing needs of, basically, every household’s PC for the past five years. With a bit of basic computer understanding, some reliable anti-virus and a broadband connection, XP is all any family should need from Microsoft.
But now we’re eagerly awaiting the Big One. And it truly doesn’t come much humungouser than this. In order to run Vista, in all it’s spangly DirectX-fuelled glory you’re going to need a new PC. Not “probably”. Not “ah go on, let’s try it”. If you want it all, you’re going to have to pay.
The bells-and-whistles version of Vista with the vaunted “Aero” interface (an idea stolen from Apple, stolen from Xerox) requires the following National-Grid draining power requirements:
* a 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
* 1 gigabyte of system memory
* a DirectX 9 compatible graphics processor, with a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver, and a minimum of 128 MB of Video RAM
* 40 GB hard drive with 15 GB free space
… and then double it. Yes, double it. There’s no point in having that minimum spec for your computer if you wish to run anything on top of the OS. So, you’ll be needing a nice new Dual Core chip, 2 gigabytes of memory, a big hog of a Vista-only-DirectX10 graphics card (well, why not, you’ll not be able to play any games without on in 12 months time) with at least 256 megabytes of memory on-board and a tasty 80 gigabyte hard drive (I challenge you to find a reasonably priced 40GB one (when compared to the price of the 80.. or 120… or 250GB drives out there)).
So what will it be when the crunch comes and you can’t get updates or software for your XP box? Investigate a Mac or even – god forbid – Linux?
Or why not forget the computers and go outside to enjoy a bit of fresh air*?
*The irony of this statement should not pass you by.