Friday, 7 March 2014


"Windows 8 is great - But I'm quitting"
16 Sept 2015 - Microsoft Windows 10 - is good!

Having moaned and groaned a year ago about Windows 8, giving away 2 new W-8 laptops, and hating all the accompanying Balmer forced changes to Office (see below), I can now say that Windows 10 has righted most of the wrongs that I, an Office user since 1987, have suffered at 72 years of age.

While I still cannot easily find vital keys on scrambled Office Menus for several basic routines in Word, Powerpoint and most aggravating, in Excel - routines I have used for 20+ years - I have been using Windows 10 for a few months - and can recommend it as an operating system. As one of our UK TV ads boasts - "It does what it says on the tin"

I still wish that I could update my Office 2007 to a current version but overlaid with my familiar Office 2003 user interface; (vitally, OUTLOOK remains almost unchanged) but, Microsoft has redeemed itself and rebuilt its business customer relationships with the free issue of Windows 10. I am told Windows 10 will one day "sync" my desktop, laptop, tablet, phone etc - but  I haven't the faintest clue how how to do this synchronization. 

Come Home all is Forgiven: My I-Phone is very old and my I-Pad is a stone age version 5, stubbornly refusing any updates or new apps. With Windows 10 and with Office available on cell-phones - I might make the heroic intellectual leap to upgrade to a large screen Windows Phone. 

Or, I might just have another afternoon nap. 

Any Road Up ! - as we say in Lancashire, England dialect, you can install Windows 10 with an easy mind. It won't force you into 200 hours of re-learning everything you once knew. 


8 Apr 2014. Microsoft Wars:  SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises), who are about 12% of the workforce, employ 60% of the world; government and big business employ 40% - but SMEs are hardly ever heard. In America, small businesses can hit back at bullying multinationals by ganging together in Class Actions; in UK law Class Actions are illegal, to deter collective strength and howling mobs - leaving tiny firms alone to sue major world players and risk all the costs and time - and probably bankruptcy. Thus it is that when, after 3 months of trying to adapt, I harangued my local computer-shop for selling us a Windows 8 and Office 2013 laptop, which we found unusable (after 27 years business experience of Microsoft & Office) - the geeks at the shop urged me to sue Microsoft for our time, costs and business disruption. The geeks dislike Windows 8 and Office 2013 as much as we do; but lack the nerve to complain to the Mighty Microsoft.

We are not alone in finding the Windows 8 user-interface (UI) unusable. The WEB is full of complaints. All my local computer shops are trying to sell pre-loaded Windows 8 PCs at half price - and seem to be failing. None of them have Windows 7. Trying to update via MSoft from XP to 7 leads to a rambling, self-defeating path of despair, which Msoft must find most amusing. "MIGRATE FROM XP - WINDOWS DOWNLOAD - SUPPORT STOPS 8th APRIL."

TAKE-THE-PLUNGE Business Expansion
Since 1970, my colleagues and I have advised about 5,000 SMEs and 40 or so major organisations, on Accounts - Business Forecasts - Tax and Finance - Telecommuting - all requiring EXCEL spreadsheets and WORD reports. My desktop PC has 42,000 files in My Documents, most of them confidential to private clients or projects.  I use OUTLOOK email to compose and send many complex professional letters. My dilemma is that Msoft are utterly determined to cut out Windows XP Professional (on my laptop)  and Office 2003 (on my laptop and desktop PCs). Some optimistic SMEs assume that MSoft will not explode the ultimate bomb on 8th April 2014 - but my research assures me that they will. I cannot use Windows 8 & Office 2013. Office 2003 is the last UI before the bewildering "Ribbons" were introduced for Office 2007 etc.

(The Ribbons show every conceivable option in WORD, EXCEL etc - all jumbled up; like an American breakfast menu, the Ribbons offer 100's of choices for each and every minor requirement - leaving the user to find a critical path through the maze; which the programmers should have taken the trouble to define. Its like driving fast to a complex road junction and having to read 500 options in 50 yards before choosing an exit. No responsibility for the programmers, maximum responsibility for the users. In Office 2013 my wife and I took half an hour to write a 50 word letter - after 27 years PC experience).

Windows 8 is aimed at kids who want to play games, watch films, listen to music and mess around on slippery sliding screens. MSoft now admit it was written for touch-screens not for keyboards; are all MSoft business customers retired? What about the 37 million SMEs in China, on XP? In the middle of serious routines, incomprehensible, wandering colored squares blank out the workspace, offering products, a huge clock and endless crappy "options". Users have to guess, on a blank screen, where icons they need are hidden. Microsoft are pressurizing users to back-up files only on The Microsoft Cloud - somewhere in Never-Never Land where the kiddies are playing; making it very difficult to simply save work files to a USB or DVD in  the machine. Convenient for the NSA - useless for business. Windows 8 is entirely unsuitable for business, in my experience.

My Office 2003 Updated programs have for the past year been showing glitches that Microsoft Support no longer fixes. The most obvious are in WORD which I use as my email editor. It has become very slow and will no longer shut down - causing OUTLOOK to hang 20 times a day. MSoft are subtly shaking users loose.

In analyzing my dilemma, I also became aware that Microsoft have opened a backdoor to the NSA and GCHQ spy agencies (bang goes clients' confidentiality) and note that Apple and Google also send all data to the government spies - who make it available to 100,000+ Edward Snowdens.


WINDOWS 8 - OR? After many months of consideration, using my very amateur Information Technology knowledge, I find there are only 3 operating systems for office computers:
WINDOWS - all versions since 1987.
APPLE - all version since about 1987 (twice the price of MSoft)
LINUX - freeware, in about 2 dozen versions of the central kernel, launched by Finnish, Linus Torvald, who was inspired by Polish, Nobel winner, chemist and physicist, Linus Pauling.


(I had great difficulty - ten times - in booting my laptop with LINUX from a DVD. My mistake was failing to see a faint colored underline on the Toshiba start-screen (press F2 or F8 or F12 while switching on with the DVD in the drive) highlighting the hard-drive icon, which should have been under and selecting the DVD icon - then press ENTER.)

OFFICE 2003 ETC - OR? All my 42,000 files originated in Office 1997 or 2003, or earlier (few will now remember PCs running floppy-disks in 1987). I have to be able to read the files and attach them to email. There are 3 main alternatives.
APPLE MAC SUITE - With Microsoft Office for AppleMac converters.
OPEN OFFICE - free software that looks like a clone of Office 2003.


OUTLOOK EMAIL - OR? I have used OUTLOOK since 1987 (and recommended MSoft to dozens of major employers re-telework /telecommuting). Changing from OUTLOOK is my greatest fear, but I have recently tried Google Mail - and it seems to function well,  but lacks many, many of the OUTLOOK features. However, it works (in The wispy damned Cloud) and my tests have sent/received accurately.
If you download free Google G-Mail, it offers to import all addresses from your previous email system (on the same computer) - and does so with minimum fuss.

MY OLD TOSHIBA LAPTOP - GOOGLE G-MAIL (also shared with the NSA)

VIRUS CHECKERS /FIREWALLS? The only reliable firewall I have used in 27 years - and I have tried them all - is Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE); but MSE cannot now be downloaded to XP or XP Prof. MSoft have already slammed that door. My experience is that Microsoft is safe if MSE is working, but dies within a month if not, from the Blue Screen of Death. Safe options are:
LINUX (all the many, exotically named, derivatives of the Linux Kernel)


My wife's PC did lose protection from Microsoft Security Essentials, in September 2013. Within a week it was wrecked by the Blue Screen of Death - so we bought an ASUS PC with Windows 8 and Office 2013. After 3 months of aggravating struggle with  the new software - we gave the new machine away. She bought a S/H AppleMac from Amazon for £300. We added Microsoft Office For Apple, about £70 from Amazon, paid an expert about £150 to transfer emails and files and hand-hold; went through a steep learning curve - and still don't know how to list all the work files - but she loves it. The neat machine does everything required including having a very tidy, intuitive email system - (G-Mail take note).

Come back in a few months and see if my home-made system  has collapsed, plunging me into suicidal despair - and driving me to the Apple Store. In the meantime, prior to the Microsoft Armageddon - it all seems to be functioning - with very steep and exhausting learning curves. Anyone for a Class Action?



6th March 2014 
Hi John

Thanks for your advice on XP etc. My reading of it is that MSoft are definitely pulling the plug on XP (on my old laptop) AND on Office 2003 (the base of all my Office apps on my Windows 7 (7 cannot do a "search") desktop). I took my laptop back to factory settings with XP-Professional and Office 2003. Despite dozens of attempts, it cannot download Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender - they are blocked by MSoft. Last year MSoft pulled support for Pauline's old laptop and within the week it was destroyed by THE BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH (Google it). It is almost impossible to upgrade from XP to Windows 7 - via MSoft Updates and Downloads - and no shops sell Windows 7 - but is available S/H on the web.

On my main PC, WORD (2003) has been playing up for 6 months and MSoft support can't /won't correct it. Every attempt I have made to update officially via MSoft leads to Windows 8 and Office 2013. When Pauline's machine died we bought a new one with 8 and 13 - and used it for 3 or 4 months. Just like many IT managers in large offices report, our productivity dropped 50%+. The user interface is unusable. We tried patches and V2, V3 etc then gave the laptop away - and bought Pauline an Apple (which she now loves). There are 37 million business users in the Far East on XP and Office 2003. 

I cannot operate W8 and Office 13 which are designed by crazy kids for kids - not for business. My dilemma is that XP is definitely going on 8th April and Pauline's experience is that MSoft stop Windows Security Essentials and the machine is rapidly infected and killed. ALL the other famous virus checkers slow down PCs and after 2 years or so - bring them to a halt. I have tried them all in the past 27 years. My Apps in Office 2003 are having new glitches - and support for those stops on 8th April. I suspect Office 2003 will be killed within the year. All later versions have the "Ribbon" user interface which is unusable (for me).

Office 2003  Solution - I have downloaded free Open Office which has the 4 basic apps - WORD, CALC, PPT, etc but not OUTLOOK. Open Office has the 2003 user interface and so far I find it works very well. 

Windows 8 Solution - I have tried about 10 times to download LINUX operating system. Most experts say, on the web, that it is easy - but I have failed to use it to boot up my laptop and drop XP. I'll keep trying. 

I guess that the worry and complexity of making my own hotch potch office programmes for my 12,000 or so  business files and my email is so overwhelming - and is not what I do as a day job - that despite the steep learning curve and costs I'll follow Pauline down the Apple route and wave a sad farewell to Bill and friends at MSoft. I guess the 37 million far-east XP users will do the same. Somebody totally mad or immensely clever has pitched MSoft against its best customers. 

I'll let you know if I can get LINUX (free) working. It has excellent reviews.



4th March 2014 - 


The windows xp saga.

I have taken advice from the shop that built my present desktop machine on using windows xp past the date when MS stop supporting it and the answer is that as long as there is good quality security software there is no problem in continuing to use xp.

Some websites work better or only work on high versions of internet explorer whereas with xp it is not possible to run higher the IE8 but there are many other web browsers, like Firefox or Google Chrome.



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