You have to hand it to Microsoft. Not only has the beta of Windows 98 come out and the end product had the same release date for at least a couple of months, but Wild Bill is now getting away with charging for pre-release versions.
Half of me is outraged and the other half says, hmm, corporate idea - wish I had thought of it.
And it is thanks to this wondrous innovation that I now have a glut of directories, subdirectories and unwanted icons on my hard disk, in spite of reinstating Windows 95.
I came, I saw, I liked it not, I uninstalled - only it doesn't quite restore your old setup in the way you might expect as an English speaker who reads the word 'restore' written somewhere.
I now have stray folders all over the place in the temporary internet files bit, and some of these suddenly contain system files I can't erase.
There's no point grumbling, I installed beta on my main machine.
My fault, fair enough. I've been here before. And why did I uninstall? I took it off because (FX: Waits for build-up) it didn't seem to do an awful lot that Windows 95 didn't already offer me. Yes, there are pre-set internet channels for anyone who can't be bothered to type in a URL.
By all means, having an internet launcher on the toolbar is a nice touch, but I ask myself whether I had noticed any undue difficulty in getting netted before and a resoundingly negative answer comes back every time.
Eventually, I started asking myself what this does that the last one didn't, and why do I need the extra bits?
It came off pretty quickly after that, but it did set me wondering why there are so many upgrades about the place. Only this week you will be reading about IBM and Digital's 1000MHz chips. Now, someone, somewhere is going to be able to explain just why we need these super-fast babies and how they will make our businesses fly. Nobody, repeat nobody, is going to be allowed to point out how corporations have been running perfectly fine without them since corporations started. But the fact that most of US Plc is quite happy with Windows 3.1 and have largely ignored Office 97 should give us a good clue to the inner thinking of the corporate world.
If you don't believe me - go ahead, look through your sales list. How many of your customers needed - no, really needed - the upgrades you have sold them over the past year?
Contrast that figure with the amount of times you have taken someone with a system in perfect working order, and managed to persuade them to buy something else. Now think of the hassle of upgrading, the downtime, and the utter misery when you are the first to discover a new bug in whatever you are inflicting on the hapless punter.
And why? Because we keep getting pressurised into fixing things that are basically working, that's why.
The only people with the clout to ignore it are the blindly ignorant or the blindly corporate, who must have the latest version.
In fact, I have often been tempted to write this editorial on my trusty Underwood typewriter but I'd only need an electronic copy so that I can do a search and replace and flog it on again when Windows 2001 or whatever comes out. And I don't have OCR software. It wouldn't be the same piece, though - hey, it will be upgraded.
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