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Two Tales of Windows 7 Abandon

Windows 7 Ultimate

In the interests of transparency and fair disclosure, I must make two of three confessions. Several people have asked, via comment, e-mail or tweet, whether or not my wife and daughter stuck with Windows 7. There’s appropriateness to responding the day Microsoft released the operating system to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

On June 8, I asked: “Can my Mac-loving wife say, ‘I’m a PC?’” I swapped out her MacBook for a Sony VGN-AR825E, running Windows 7 Release Candidate. The Mac laptop went to her brother so that he could video call with my father-in-law. I chose the Sony laptop for financial reasons. I was unemployed—still am, if you’re hiring smart-ass journalists—and the Windows laptop cost less and offered more than the cheapest Mac laptop I could afford: The $999 white MacBook.

In June, I wrote about the switch: “If not for my confidence in Windows 7, I wouldn’t have even suggested that my wife give up her Mac.” Generally, I like Windows 7, which is Microsoft’s zippiest and most productivity-boosting operating system released in years. I haven’t had this much fun using Windows since 1995.

But my confidence was misplaced. My wife simply couldn’t adjust to Windows 7. So the answer to the question is no. She couldn’t say “I’m a PC.” She wanted her Mac back, and fortunately she wasn’t too fussy about it. I got a used, circa 2007 15-inch MacBook Pro in remarkably good condition for $600: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of memory, 160GB hard drive and 256MB graphics memory—more than what my really needs. Let’s just say a friend cut me an unbelievable deal.

She returned to the Mac about a week ago, and I’ve already sold the AR825E laptop to another friend. He wants the large laptop for his dad, who is ailing and headed to a rehabilitation facility. I restored the laptop to Windows Vista Home Premium last night, updating applications and firmware, too. The notebook ships east tomorrow.

Sony VAIO VGN-AR825E

Sony VAIO VGN-AR825E

But the story doesn’t end there. How could it? There is “two” in the title of this post. In May, just days after my layoff as editor of Apple Watch and Microsoft Watch, I switched my daughter from the aluminum MacBook to Sony VAIO VGN-SR290JTJ. She had used a loaner MacBook that Apple asked for back. With money a consideration, the Sony was comparable to the MacBook—and in some ways offered better hardware—for about $500 less. My daughter quickly adapted to Windows 7, and she cooed over the VAIO’s pink color.

My 15 year-old daughter is a YouTube vlogger, who goes by “Morripopp.” In the month following her Windows 7 switch, the quality of her videos dramatically dropped. The VAIO camera captured video in Windows Media Video or MPEG (not MPEG2 or 4), and there were conversion problems, among others. My daughter also stopped editing the videos. Like me, she couldn’t find a good Windows alternative to Apple’s iMovie. There’s a reason why on June 18 I asked: “Why is there no iLife-equivalent for Windows.”

Unlike my wife, Morripopp had no gripes about using Windows 7. My Mrs. balked at the user interface, and pined for Mac OS, which she described as “easier.” My daughter happily used Windows 7, with the video application being the only problem. But it proved to be problem too much. The VAIO had to go.

A friend of mine had taken my old aluminum MacBook, when I switched to the Sony VAIO VGN-Z590 a few months earlier. To my surprise, he really hadn’t used the Mac laptop and gladly swapped for the pink VAIO and some other gear. The MacBook is the same configuration as the one Morripopp had used earlier.

She made the switch on July 14. Two weeks later, I asked my daughter if she missed her Windows laptop. “Not at all,” she said. So much for my confidence in Windows 7.

I believe in what Windows 7 promises, despite my women’s abandon and even though I remain convinced this is the last major release of the operating system. The computing market is going mobile. The transition is inevitable.

I wish Microsoft well with Windows 7, which I’m downloading now from MSDN. Slo-o-o-o-ly. I started the download nearly six hours ago. Progress: 35 percent. My testing starts whenever the download finishes. By morning, perhaps?

8 Comments

  1. Video and photo editing is to consumer computing what Office is to business computing. I’m a big fan of Windows Live Photo Gallery, and am rooting for the new MovieMaker (jury is still out).

    Also: you said, “I must make two of three confessions.” So… what’s the third one? (And if you’re not going to tell us, why even bring it up! ;) )

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  2. In the future if you are looking for a good video editing product, be sure to download and try the Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition trial. The current version is 9 but with fall approaching rapidly, I would imagine an new release is coming.

    I can’t offer much advice on the camera. We use hand held HD units.

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  3. Hi,

    that is a shame to hear. I am not sure what Apple put in the water but it does seem that Apple users are extremely loyal to the brand. It might not be as powerful as windows are often as easy to use and they might pay a premium for things that can done elsewhere but they keep coming back for more. I tried to go the other way and use just a Mac for a while and really missed Windows and part of it was that things that seemed intuitive and easy on the pc suddenly seemed to much more difficult. The problem often is like the iPhone Apple very deliberately target a small subset of users and if you fall in to that category then it is made for you but if like me you want to have a freedom and choice of both hardware and software then the Apple guilded cage can feel very claustophic.

    Have fun and welcome back Joe

    Martin

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  4. I remember both of those articles. At the time I figured your wife would do OK with Windows 7, but I felt sorry for your daughter. Her desire to produce video definitely puts her in the Mac camp.

    This fall will see the next major operating system release by both Microsoft and Apple. I don’t remember major releases from both companies at virtually the same time. All the hype will be forgotten as the public at large weighs in. What will people be saying a year from now?

    I’m amazed at the vocal, XP Forever crowd. Microsoft can’t be happy with all these people who are content to run XP for the foreseeable future. Perhaps we are seeing a plateau in desktop operating systems. We have a fairly complete solution. Our computers are reasonably fast. The next big thing will be on the Internet. And the only thing you need is your browser.

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  5. Joe,

    Did you/your daughter try Windows Live Movie Maker? It is available now in shipping form and among other very easy to use features, it has a direct to Youtube publishing capability.

    There is also a clear “import from device” feature, which makes it extremely easy to import video, pictures and other media from connected devices – even connected and network scanners, or attached and or network drives and shares, or separate media cards (you get the idea).

    Save Movie options include HD 1080P, HD 720P, wide screen 480P, standard definition, portable devices, and email.

    In addition to native YouTube publishing support, there is a good and growing selection of plug-ins – for Facebook, SmugMug, Pixelpipe, etc…

    The new Live Movie Maker is very easy to use and may be found among other Live Essentials applications at http://get.live.com

    It might have been a great alternative to iMovie and or other simple video editing applications.

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  6. Hi, Keith. That’s exactly the software I used, and I have a Sony HD camera. For the Webcam, we ran into conversion issues. Actually, I had some problems with the HD camera, too. It shoots in AVCHD. File sizes would either be too large or too small after conversion, using Vegas Studio. By comparison, I encountered no problems importing into iMovie and uploading to YouTube.

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  7. Something In the water?

    Reminds me of a software flyer included with the first PowerMac purchased at a PC based typesetting/graphics firm I worked for around 1996-97. One of the featured programs on the flyer was a subliminal message screen saver.

    Since then I’ve always ribbed die-hard MAC users that a subliminal message system is built into the OS, flashing phrases along the line of: “I love my MAC”, etc.

    Sometimes I’ve even considered that the jest might have merit, when I’ve look at the hardware prices between MAC’s and similarly spec’d. PC’s over the years since. Let alone how much less you spend building your own PC to those spec’s.

    Any programmers out there with time to inspect the OS for that hidden program routine? :-)

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  8. Yes, I’ve tried Windows Live Movie Maker, which is much, much better than the beta. The software is surprisingly useful, although it’s no iMovie. Yet. That said, Movie Maker imported and processed the AVCHD content from my Sony camcorder better than any other Windows software I’ve used. Microsoft has done excellent work here, and I’m surprised to be saying that. I haven’t uploaded to YouTube yet. Sometime soon I will formally review Windows Live Movie Maker.

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