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Every now and then we come across something that just begs for a comment.  Although I usually try to just sit on my hands until the urge passes to post something I may be sorry for later, there are times that I just have to post.  These are my opinions and nothing more, although comments from our readers are always welcome and will be posted in response.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The old cliché proves itself again.

Microsoft and Dell joined (RED) and will contribute $50-80 for specific (PRODUCT) RED computers running Windows Vista Ultimate (PRODUCT) RED. 

Rather than appreciate the fact that there are women and children in Africa who will be helped by these contributions, there are sites and forums that are trying to minimize the effort in order to gain hits. 

Unfortunately, anti-Microsoft sentiment is often the headline and many times the headline and the facts don't match, or the facts are buried in the article that unless someone carefully reads the entire thing, they'll come away feeling the way the writer wants them to feel.  After all, if it's in print, it must be true.

A perfect example of this is the recent Engadget article.  The article mentioned that the additional software covered the additional cost, but started the article with a photo showing two products side by side with a $300 price difference - intimating that the $80 donation was being absorbed by a $300 price increase and the companies were making a larger profit off the special bundle.  The comments in the forum proved that many did not read the article, but took the headline and the photo at face value.

Personally, I'd like to congratulate both Microsoft and Dell (and every other company) who makes contributions that better the world.  If we all looked at the good things that are happening just a bit more, I think the world could be a friendlier place for everyone.


Why Does Microsoft Continue to Use the Same Name with Different Meanings?

Once more Microsoft is confusing consumers and possibly hurting Tablet PC sales by doing so.  Let me try to explain. 

Windows Vista Basic operating system is probably the first thing that anyone thinks of when they see the Windows Vista Basic sticker on a computer.  I noticed several new notebooks or Tablets with the sticker and was told that it was a requirement of Microsoft to use these stickers.  It made no sense when none of the computers were running Windows Vista Basic.  I decided to investigate and talked with several people at Microsoft to find out the underlying reason.

Anyone who's familiar with the different Windows Vista SKUs knows that Windows Vista Basic doesn't run Tablet PC bits. It requires Windows Vista Home Premium or above.

Now, in its infinite wisdom, Microsoft has many new Tablet PCs and other notebooks wearing a Windows Vista Basic tag.  No, this doesn't mean that the operating system is Basic.  It means that the computer may be lacking a piece of hardware that will adequately run some feature of Windows Vista, often Aero.  Why not call it something like 'Standard' or another word that doesn't lessen what it really is?

I don't know what the specific requirements for the hardware to earn the Windows Vista tag, but the Basic tag is selling many products short.  For example, I've been using the Fujitsu U810 in order to review it.  Aero wasn't enabled out of the box, but I turned it on immediately to see if there was a decrease in performance.  If there was, it wasn't something I noticed, although benchmarks may.  I don't really care about benchmarks, only how a computer runs for the way in which I normally use it. 

If you're looking at a new notebook or Tablet, don't let the Windows Vista Basic tag make you walk away.  If it meets your needs, do some simple investigation first to see what version of Windows Vista operating system it's running.

Why anyone would think it's a good idea to stick a tag on hardware that makes it seem as though it won't run the operating system it's made for is certainly, at the least, confusing.  Right hand, meet left hand.

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Last Updated: December 23, 2008

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