Microsoft, you're on notice

So Stuart Bruce has swallowed the Microsoft pill then, eh? Well, if anything, I am the Yang to his Ying. I’m finding myself less and less drawn to Microsoft products – and more drawn to web-based and standards-based alternatives, which make the underlying operating system and its software much less important.

I too own a T-Mobile MDA Pro, but even after a year, I can’t decide if I like it or not. It’s great as a mini-laptop, but ridiculous as a phone. The Windows Mobile operating system needs a regular reboot, maybe daily. Microsoft is consciously removing functionality from its otherwise impressive Active Sync software. I feel tied to Outlook (2002) whether I want it or not – and to be honest, I don’t. The twisting screen has never felt entirely robust, and the stylus no longer stays in its hole. In all likelihood, when my current contract is up, I’ll probably look for something new. Maybe a newer, better device running Windows Mobile; maybe something else.

I’m sticking with Firefox, not specifically because it’s a better browser – but because of its extensions. I can set Firefox up to work exactly how I want it, with a more than ample supply of free plugins. The Web Developer toolbar is almost reason enough in itself. (Oh, and I’m using the Deepest Sender extension to write this.)

Gmail is my primary, secondary and tertiary email service of choice. The ‘no folders’ approach is nothing short of revolutionary, but you don’t realise that until you’ve used it for a while. POP access is free, disk space is outrageously generous, and ’email from your domain’ is free too. That’s before you get on to the clever things you can do with your addresses, etc etc etc. No contest.

And yes, I’m sticking happily with OpenOffice. It does everything I need it to do. Why pay more?

My next IT hardware purchase is likely to be a MiniMac, some time after Christmas. I was expecting to shell out for a Vista-based system, but frankly, there’s nothing in it to inspire me. Apple’s copybook has been blotted lately, with issues in iTunes v7, laptops shutting down at random, and so on. But the synchronicity of a Mac running the new Leopard version of OS X, plus an iPod, plus the rumoured iPhone, all using (predominantly) web-based applications, is more than appealing.

18 thoughts on “Microsoft, you're on notice”

  1. Er, greetings to all Mac zealots visiting my humble blog from Can I point out that I haven’t actually bought the Mac yet… 😉

  2. “Zealotry does not survive in isolation – there has to be an underlying truth before zealotry can push an idea forward and sustain it. Without that truth it suffocates in its own stale breath”
    Who said this? Well…. er, it was me actually – I just made it up. It’s late and I’ve drunk too much coffee.
    So, yeah, there are Mac zealots, just like there are Maglite zealots or Grado headphone zealots. If there was no truth behind the zealotry, the Mac would have died a long time ago. That’s not to say it’s all truth, but there’s enough to sustain Apple.
    Don’t assume that reading macsurfer equates with being a zealot though. There are some Mac users who are quiet, thoughtful and not prone to defensive outbursts. Stop laughing. You just don’t notice them because they are quiet, thoughtful and not prone to defensive outbursts. We are probably on the increase too, as it seems to be Microsoft’s turn to be on the defensive. For now.
    So, whatever your decision, MiniMac or not, I’m happy that you’ll have thought it through and made the best decision for your particular circumstances. As it should be.

  3. Hi Simon, my first job (1980) exposed me to a word processing system called the CPT … after leaving the U.S. Army I was hired in finance to type correspondence on an NBI (dumb terminal) system … then I hooked up with an “old school” professional typographer/graphic designer from 1985 to present — starting with the VT600 then moving through many generations of Macintosh, while keeping an ever present secondary Dell or HP PC at my right hand to better co-exist with the other 30,000+ coworkers at my company. Long story short; I’ve known Windows & MacOS inside and out for roughly two decades. But, when allowed to vote with my wallet, I’ve chosen Macs (specifically, a gen’-A bondi-blue iMac followed by 5 eMacs) for my family’s personal use. Full disclosure …. no stock in Apple, Microsoft, Dell … in fact, no stock at all 🙂 I’m just saying, welcome aboard mate !

  4. To own a Mac is to be painted a zealot by the apologists … There are fanatics in both camps but you don’t have to be either of the above … It’s great that you feel you have choice these days – perhaps five years ago, Apple would not have been an option for most people.
    If you do stick a toe in, keep an open mind – take the time to learn the OS and what it can offer you.
    re. Gmail
    I agree that it is pretty much the gold standard for email at the moment. I think it makes other web-based email seem positively archaic.

  5. Hey Simon, just wanted to send a quick note to let you know I think you’ve done a marvelous job with your blog! The design is very clean and well thought out – as well I’ve been enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work!

  6. hi – i’m a quite, thoughtful mac user who is prone to to violent outbursts. I’m just posting a quick note to say you’re wrong, get a mac and die yuppie scum.
    Speaking about no virus’s on the mac…i’ve just written one, and it’s insanely great. This new worm will spread via the internet and on a certain day all infected mac computers users will no longer be able to write the word or derivatives of the word ‘love’ on thier computer without a ‘g’ placed in front.
    Therefore if you write your mom or squeeze ‘i love you’ – it will come out ‘i glove you’. Or you write ‘i really love Vista or X’ it will instead come out ‘ i really glove Vista or X’….or ‘ he is a great lover…’ instead it will be ‘ he is a great glover’.

  7. hey dude, yours was the first i read, why’d you choose wordpress? is it a software thing?
    sorry in advance if this question seems obtuse, but i’m kinda new round here

  8. Er, I never expected this to be one of’s pages of the day. Greetings to the hundreds of new visitors…
    Quick answer re the choice of WordPress: because, quite simply, it’s the best. All the functionality you could ever want, as long as you’re prepared to sacrifice the 100% design flexibility. (And anyway, who really needs 100% design flexibility?) The ability to have non-chronological ‘pages’ is an excellent addition, as are the countless out-of-the-box RSS feeds. I keep finding new reasons to love it… and it could become the heart of a business I may be starting. Don’t tell anyone.

  9. How did the word ‘zealot’ enter this discussion? Just because a linked to your blog? Macsurfer doesn’t even offer any commentary on the sites they link to. It’s not like you were linked and criticised on macdailynews. I hope you will soon join the Mac ranks so you can experience what it’s like to surf the web only to be called a ‘zealot’ and a ‘fanatic’ several times a day for no other reason than that you click on Mac-related links.
    Anyway I love the way you’ve designed your blog — very simple and clear-eyed approach. Nice. Good luck.

  10. Well I might as well put my 1 penny worth in seeing as you made the front page 🙂
    I have always been a fan of Microsoft operating systems. I have tried Linux on and off, and had a slight scratch at trying Mac Os, but I have always gone back to MS because it does what I need it to do. I also find myself being drawn to newer MS products like Windows Live Writer. Some things I think they do really well. However I am not ever going to be suckered in to buy their more expensive products. I will take the freebies and a main OS, but there is no way I would fork out want they want for Office when there are other cheaper solutions about, and like you say Open Office is free.

  11. Blimey Simon, I go away for the weekend and you send a surge of traffic my way. I have to say that I’m amazed that I have “swallowed the Microsoft pill”, but it happened by degree without me realising it. I just gravitated towards my favourite programs and suddenly realised that Microsoft had taken over.
    However, I share your thoughts about the MDA Pro – can’t decide if I love it or hate it. I’d love it if it was a bit faster and didn’t need resetting so often (although at least you don’t lose data).
    I was a Firefox user (and still am for some stuff) but in terms of sheer usability IE7 beats it by a long margin. Extensions might be great for us geeks, but for the vast majority of people it’s just too damned hard to switch for very little benefit. For most users the two main benefits of Firefox were tabs and feeds. IE7 does both better – a lot better.

  12. I do like IE7 but I resent the fact I cannot customise the toolbars as much as I want. I don’t want to just delete buttons, I want to move them around. Refresh and Home in my opinion are in the wrong place and it bugs me.

Comments are closed.