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Doug's Mailbag: Sunbelt Suggestions, XP SP2 Thoughts

One reader gives some thoughts on how Sunbelt can improve their software:

There's nothing to not like about Sunbelt and its Vipre suite. I'm about to re-up and expand my subscriptions.

Well, in the interests of full disclosure, I did e-mail some Sunbelt managers this "complaint" message:

Years ago, I kinda liked the dangerous, exciting adventures I had with Symantec/Norton and Panda. One of them would catch an evil critter when the other missed. Scans gave me cool announcements of catastrophes barely averted. I had to remember to update and, if I didn't, I got to obsess whether my tardiness had barely averted a disk-crushing disaster. Very Indiana Jones!

By comparison, Vipre is boresome. It gives me no emergencies. Not even close calls. No pirated browsers. No adware to fuss about. I never get cool, cryptic messages like, "This scan detected and eradicated the system-frying, zero-day malware, smurf_butt87."  

Nothing! Where's the fun?

For your PR benefit, let me suggest:

  • As scans run, display mock battles on the screen where Vipres eat canny, wiggly, fast-moving viruses.
  • Display messages like: "Today, 4,892,643 Windows users were infected with KarmaGeddon99. You weren't."
  • Each time Vipre stops malware on its way in, play an audio-visual "SNAP!" like a mosquito-zapper incinerating its prey.
  • Give users a slick, on-screen TurboButton. It doesn't have to do anything. But pressing it will give us some feeling of participation.

 You get the idea, right? Enough of this quiet, behind-the-scenes efficiency! Jazz it up!

I'm still awaiting those product improvements.


It looks like the end of Windows XP SP2 is bringing conflicting opinions. Here are a couple:

 I remember when Windows 95 was being phased out and any upgrades to MSN sites (notably the old MSN gaming zone) were rushed through with no support for Windows 95. I cannot tell you how many people I had approach me because they suddenly lost the ability to log into the gaming zone.

On a similar note, we see hardware and firmware like floppy drives being omitted on new computer builds simply because the manufacturers decide that CD/DVD drives have replaced any need for floppy disks. I still regularly use floppy disks (yes, even the antique eight-inch disks) on special systems that are old enough not to have the latest technology available. Getting a simple floppy disk is rapidly becoming an impossibility -- am I supposed to tell my customer that the millions of pounds they invested only a few years ago is now worthless junk ?

About time...and good riddance! Much ado about nothing.

Anyone still using XPSP2 deserves whatever they get. If enough users clump together and put their money where their mouth is, they can pay Microsoft for additional patches. If not... it's their problem, not ours.

We moved from XPSP2 to SP3 as soon as it came out. We moved to Vista starting in February 2007. A lot of that hardware is now running Windows 7.

If people don't like it, let them buy a Mac or a Linux box. Microsoft has no duty whatsoever to continue support of such an antique OS. It is not like they suddenly descended out of nowhere with the "end-of-life" thing. It's been posted on my wall for years (a listing of the "End of Support" and "End of Extended Support" for every piece of software we use).

Stuck with XP? Well, remove admin rights from all users and hire lots of IT Security staff to watch and fix things...hmmm, might be cheaper to upgrade, eh?

All this whining is disgusting! What's wrong with SP3? What's wrong with Vista that a four- or five-year-old machine can't handle? (Oh? You bought the cheapest possible hardware? Oops.)

Would I buy a machine, netbook or otherwise, without Windows 7? No. Nor would any staff/friends who sought my opinion.

It's dying. Deal with it.

XP -- RIP (August 2001 - April 2014).

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected] Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on July 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM


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