VISTA – Not Always a Full View

VISTA – Not Always a Full View


My old computer was getting more buggy by the day, and after consulting my favorite poet (whose day job is writing for computer magazines) I was advised to trade in my abacus and Windows 98 software and upgrade to a new computer. I settled on a sleek, silver machine with the HP logo on it running Microsoft’s latest operating system, Vista. For those of you contemplating a similar upgrade, I have only one word of advice for you – wait!


I’m not exactly a computer novice, having progressed from punch cards and FORTRAN to the Apple 2-c and DBASE, from DOS to Windows in all its past flavors. Therefore, I was not exactly surprised to find the task of moving data from my old machine to my new one not to be a simple task. However, I never counted on the amount of frustration I’ve experienced in the past month.


I purposely purchased a unit that has a built in internal/external hard drive, figuring I could use this not only to back up my current data, but also to transfer files from my old to my new computer. Wrong. To begin with, my new transportable hard drive came with a little piece of paper inserted in the box that my vendor never warned me about, stating that the backup software on the disc accompanying the drive did not work with Vista. Hello! They just sold me a Vista equipped machine. They suggested I log on to their website, and download the appropriate new drivers. I did. The website informed me to check back in the future, as there were as yet no available new drivers. I had the same experience with the medical software I daily use and depend on, as well as the synching program with my Palm.


I also discovered that while I could readily access my hotmail account, I couldn’t delete the contents of my spam folder; clicking on the appropriate button produced clicking noises but no results. Ditto for an annoying recurring popup that kept reminding me to adjust the resolution on my monitor (already done) then click on the number 2 to make the message go away. Isn’t the definition of insanity when you keep doing the same things but expect different results? I must have clicked, pushed, entered the number 2 on my keyboard more times then I can count, but you already know what happened – nothing. (Was it my imagination that heard loud laughter emanating from the direction of Redmond?)


Aside from the arguably improved graphic design of Vista, I’m told it offers improved intruder and malware protection (difficult to document at this stage of ownership) as well as a bundled speech recognition program. Now the later is something I can definitely use. I was surprised not to have seen this feature advertised in the promotion. In fact, it’s something that is buried in one of the sub-menus, and you can easily pass it up unless you know it’s there and look for it. It requires for you to turn the feature on, then go through a set up menu and brief tutorial. I was pretty excited, for on first pass, the program performed a lot better than my prior speech recognition program (which did not work with Vista due to lack of available drivers, etc…) The second time I tried using the program, it selected menu options just fine, but refused to take my dictation. Perhaps I wasn’t paying it enough –  I don’t know. After going through the usual incantations, turning the computer off and back on, and all the frustrating dance steps familiar to any Windows user, the results remained the same – nada.


By this time I had invested more energy in this project than many guys invest in a relationship, and I wasn’t ready to give up. I turned to my ace-in-the hole, a friend who’s a Carnegie-Mellon graduate, writes robotics programs for fun, and recently purchased nearly the identical system. I went over to his place, poured out my frustrations, and received a pitying smile in return. “It’s really pretty simple,” he explained. “Let me just show you.” He activated his speech recognition program, ordered to word processor to come on, and sure enough, it did. Then he started dictating, “Mary had a little lamb…” The computer wasn’t interested in Mary or her little lamb, nor in my friend. The cursor just kept blinking. My friend then went through the turn off, turn back on ritual, sprinkled some incense, said a few incantations, and was rewarded….with the blinking cursor. Fortunately, I never touched his machine, so he couldn’t invoke some unintended foul up on my part. Genuinely puzzled, explaining that he just dictated five e-mails that morning without any problems using the same program, he repeated the process several more times.


I must confess, I felt a certain amount of satisfaction. Not only could I cause my own system to malfunction through my physical interaction, but I could produce the same results in another person’s computer just by my very presence in the room. This is some powerful mojo! Perhaps I could extend my power through great distances! Perhaps as you read these words, you soon will find your own machine doing unexpected things. Commands ignored. Mysterious system crashes. Unexplained lock-ups. HA-HA-HA-HA. Tremble before my power! Pray! Pray, and you might yet be forgiven. Or not. The gods have their whims.


This entry was posted in Computers and Internet. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to VISTA – Not Always a Full View

  1. Aafrica says:

    nope! to disappoint you, my computer didn\’t do any weird things. \’cuz i\’m a Mac faithful 🙂

    i heard Vista is built *not* to run any old programs. our IT people are turning all machines back to vendor if they are pre-installed with Vista. they are not ready to deal with it yet. i don\’t have any good advice, but my experience with PC is there is always a break-in period, like a pair of new shoes. i hope you will be rewarded eventually.

  2. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge,  I am waiting at least a year before plunging into Vista.  Though fairly patient with people I tend to get frustrated and irritated quite easily with computer issues.  More then once this old Dell has come this close to ending up in the river!  As ever be well.  Stephen

  3. Edith says:

    In days long gone I was "up to date" with regard to software being used, systems being used… etc… not… any… more.  I don\’t care to be running in place desperately trying to keep up with new innovations, taking classes on the latest whatsit every other month, and STILL considered "behind the times".  I\’ll stick with my happy dappy, provided for me by my family, desk top Dell with Windows XP, and my outdated laptop provided by my brother (after he spent $2K on a new one) which suits me just fine for my uses.  Oh sure, I have visions of software I can afford (uh huh) that is voice activated… allowing me to "talk" my, completed in my mind and just waiting to be written, books into written form so I may submit them for publishing… but they\’re just that… visions… dreams.  I am under no illusions that the "might just happen soon" dream could be reality.

  4. Unknown says:

    Hi Jorge,
    While I certainly have empathy for you regarding your computer glitches, I glad to know I’m not the only one with an evil computer!  My Dell with XP certainly has a mind of its own.  I keep getting these messages that say “the application has too close,” and my work is lost.  Needless to say, I’m so paranoid I save my work every two minutes.  After reading your posting, I think I will wait before going to Vista!  Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your kind words of encouragement for my community service project.  Hopefully, it’ll be launched within the next two weeks.  We had a wonderful time on our trip to Montana, but it’s also good to be back.  Only seven more weeks and the semester will be over!  Take care.  Danele

  5. Holy Schmidt says:

    funny and entertaining the whole way through…but only because I am prolonging my own agony.  Anyways, glad you took a picture of that wonderful Vista for the rest of us. Suffice to say, it\’s better than being there.Oh dear…what does that pesky pop-up say?  Something about entering a voice command…Jorge?:)

  6. Betty says:

    Hi Jorge,
    It does my heart good to know that I\’m not the only one who has computer lapses.  Hope you get it straigtened out soon.
    My three favorite cities in the world are New Orleans, Santiago, Chile and San Francisco.

  7. Gelati Farms says:

    OK…I will admit it.  I started reading this and all of a sudden, all your lovely words started reading like Charlie Brown\’s teacher…"wanh wanh wanh wanh wanh wanh…"  Me and computers have a love/hate relationship…I love to hate them and they hate it that I love them so much…and so act very badly indeed on occasion.  So, when you started computer talk, my mind shut down and I started scanning…only to spray water on my screen at the last few paragraphs.  O lord!  You talk about computers just like I do!  They have a soul and a brain and while their soul can\’t touch mine, their brains are far superior.  And it chaps me that something that I plug in is smarter than me.
    Powerful mojo indeed.  Although, I always suspected that of you…
    p.s.  it has been a while since I was by.  Many blogs ago, you mentioned that your favourite poet was in such a happy place that the poetry was just not flowing.  As much as I hope for perennial happiness for your favourite poet, I can\’t help but hope that I may find a treat in some recent posts…off I go…

  8. dawn says:

    LOL… i didnt know you have a funny bone 🙂
    often, i get fustrated and am not always as patient with stuff that i know but somehow dealing with the computers always keeps me humbled :p

  9. Brian says:

    Punch cards, my goodness that dates you!

  10. Monica says:

    Oh, so you\’re the culprit !! lol  Just kidding. Thanks for the visit …..I just had a look at your previous entry with the pics of SF !! I Looooove that place. Been there only once …2 years ago ..and I want to go back sometime…..
    Have a great Easter weekend, and come back to see me again sometime…:o)

  11. PJ says:

    Oh My Goodness!!! I would have to call in the "geek squad"!!!!!
    Nice to see you that you came by, Jorge. Thank you. It is always a pleasure that brings a smile to my face.
    You and I work most weekends I know, but for most..the weekend is well…the weekend..LOL.
    Until next time.Keep Smiling.

  12. PJ says:

    Thank you I am doubling my comments . Go Figure!!! GGrrrrrrrrrr. 🙂

  13. sweeti's says:

    Wow   thx for ur sweet comment   Yeah Indonesia…
    Im doing projects in sri lanka  I started after tsunami…I have friends  there…..Sri lankans….Friends for life…
    They help me doing the projects….
    U did medical work In Indonesia?????   Im working in a nursing home   with Psych and somatic  and revalidation patients
    Not at the beds  but i see a lot..and i know how important it is to be a helping hand for ppl in need.
    every minut I enjoyed….those 2 weeks  we travelled from Java to Bali to Sulawesi….
    Sulawesi was the most exciting island  (Bali is for beach lovers  )   its beautiful  but not for 2 weeks…haha
    That time we were in Sulawesi we were the only foreigners at that time  we saw so much of the Tana torajas  Original inhabitants
    so beautiful    well  i have to say….i respect  and i love them all
    They live their life  like a dream  They have hard times I know….but what they have  they respect…
    nature and ppl.
    tc and hope to see u around
    my door is open for u….welcome

  14. Bittersweet on-the-hill. says:

    Hello Jorge,
    This sounds like a nightmare!  Maybe that is why I still have all my old computers sitting in the attic. Boy…that\’s a word I haven\’t seen used in a long time!  Who still has attics these days.
    Spring is coming slowly.  Pink tinges on the distant maples and leaf buds on the lilac.  And of course the daffadils are starting to sprout.  Seems like everyone has a better handle on spring than I do.  What I can say is that we had a dusting of snow last night!
    Do have a good Easter my friend and make sure you get an Easter basket.  My best…….Bittersweet

  15. Fenix says:

    Hello Jorge, I hope you are cool. Thanks for your words and Happy Easter to you and yours too

  16. Gelert says:

    Exactly the advice I have followed – wait with a capital W. Let you guys iron out the bugs, then go for it. Always a pleasure to read you Jorge.

  17. c says:

    Thanks for the vote of confidence! unfortunately it looks like I\’m going to get to take another shot at the exam… ah well, thus is life and it\’s certainly been exciting lately in my little corner of the world.

  18. Michelle says:

    Welcome to CLUB vista . :S I recently also purchased a new notebook with vista. Mine is a Dell Inspiron E1405.
    Armando and I have also experienced the same problems! We have 3 printers and only ONE has the vista drivers available which is our HP photo printer. My lexmark all in one printer has no information whatsoever about introducing vista drivers in the future. Our HP laserjet 1018 worked only after over two hours of  tries and retries of restarting pc, installing, uninstalling drivers etc. The HP laserjet will "offer vista drivers in the future" the website promises.
    So, what we ended up putting my desktop PC back on the network with Windows XP and hooking my lexmark all in one printer to it. It is frustrating because I have to wait now for the printer companies to give drivers or buy another printer. I prefer waiting right now. Sheesh, I have three printers, right? I don\’t want four. We use the lexmark printer for scanning and business needs and color printing. I had planned to give my Father my desktop computer but now I have to hold out a while before doing that to see when the printer companies decide to play driver catch-up to the new operating system.
    I feel you. Really do!!! It is frustrating to need and rely on softwares and Op systems to work and have the companies dragging their feet to support the products they made and sold. You know these companies know the PC business and Op systems are always changing and they need to adapt quicker. (It would seem) Or maybe that is their way of making us buy more things from them.

  19. Magenta says:

    Hi Jorge,I stopped  by to visit and enjoyed reading through some of your posts. I had a similar difficult experience with Vista on a new laptop and was fortunate to be able to return it for another with XP installed. There were only three other entry level laptops with XP left in the whole store. People were returning the Vista upgraded versions in droves. -Although, "upgrade" is a debateable word. I am no computer whiz and have read that even very tech competent people are pulling their hair out over Vista.. I  The software doesn\’t run "fully" on home editions; no back-links, hyper texting, printing, copying from the internet.  -You know, everything a computer is supposed to do. I saw on TV last night that APPLE stock has risen dramatically since it\’s release and that is no surprise to me, whatsoever. I have gone back to  printing out hard copies of any documents I want to save permanently, as the move forward towards expensive upgrades of software is relentless. I now realize that whatever kind of storage disc or software I am using will be obsolete in months rather than years. Varoom- varoom; that is the sound of my good old HP printer, printer out file after file.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s