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Why I still run Windows

I’m distinctly unemployable. I’ve been unable to stay in a career for any length of time, usually getting bored and leaving or sticking it out and eventually going mental and killing my co-workers with items of furniture.

Because of this I am regularly looking for work. Adobe Acrobat, being a fairly standard format, was once the format I chose to email out my CV in. I was wrong. While it is a standard format for many users world-wide it seems it’s not a standard format amongst employers. They all want Microsoft Document (.doc). Except the ones that don’t, who want RTF because it’s the standard file format in the century they still live in and is what runs on MS Works their Win 3.1 Pentiums. Occasionally when I’ve got used to sending .doc and .rtf one will spring on me with contempt because they want .pdf, just to be awkward. No, there is no real standard amongst employers, possibly because many of them are morons, but I digress…

I began to send my CV out as .doc. I don’t like doing this because I don’t like MicroSoft Office. I don’t own a copy you see. All my PCs have been self-built. I haven’t owned a copy of Windows since about 95. I’ve neve bought anything else from the company. I can’t afford to, even if I wanted to. Not that I should need to, as the most popular open source equivalent OpenOffice.org is free. I made up a CV in OpenOffice.org. It seemed fine. I emailed it to 40 employers, I got one response. I expect this. However, it was when I loaded it up in a copy of Office on my girlfriends Windows laptop that I discovered that what seems formatted correctly in OpenOffice.org might not necessarily be formatted the same in Microsoft Office. My CV looked like it has been drawn up by a computer illiterate pensioner. Most of the employers I applied to probably run MS Office. So this is what they saw. I certainly wouldn’t hire someone that sent me this bollocks. Obviously they have no idea how to use MS Office, despite claiming otherwise on their CV.

So, because employers want .doc, I need to use .doc if I want a job. Because the competition can’t save a 100% compatable .doc file I need to use MS Office. Steve Balmer is rubbing his nipples right now. I doubt he even cares that I’m using a warezed copy.

I mananged to convince my girlfriend to let me install Ubuntu linux on her laptop. It duel-boots Windows XP for “safety”. There have been many teething problems related to getting her used to Linux. Tapping the track-pad doesn’t work reliably, which is what she’s used to. The Vodaphone supplied Huawei E200 3G modem works on a prayer. The software is buggy and beta and if the carrier drops I seem to need to reset the PC to get it to recognise the modem again.

Last week we rented out some DVD’s for our anniversary. After being reminded that the default Ubuntu install doesn’t play DVD’s and needs restricted dependencies, I then discovered the useful auto-update feature that loaded up Synaptic was rather useless as Synaptic had broken. After installing via apt-get (not something that’s particularlly girlfrien-friendly) I then discovered the default player Totem, is cack. It crashed when I paused the playback and wouldn’t play anything until I reset the machine. Of course as it was our anniversary and we just wanted to watch a bloody film and not spend the night with her getting frustrated watching me buggering about with software. We used Media Player Classic which was installed on Windows. It worked fine.

I’m running mplayer, but all Linux movie players have crap interfaces that aren’t girlfriend-friendly. Totem is useless.

I’m not even going to go into the headache we’ve had with getting the various laptop TV cards we have to work. They don’t work reliably on Linux at all and recording from them seems to be a massive headache. It seems to take so much time that I just don’t have to get any of this software to work. Hardware compatablity databases are useless as many of them require people like me to buy the hardware first and report on it. Great. I can’t afford to do hardware compatability tests free for the linux community. I’ve wasted my meagre earnings on so much unsupported hardware. I’m not a software developer so I can’t write my own drivers, if I was I still doubt I’d have time. Linux is still not an Os for the casual user in my opinion. I wish it was, but there is no way I’d reccomend it for my mum, or my girlfriend to be honest. We boot into Windows most of them time. It saves a lot of hassle. She gets to do what she needs to and I don’t have to spend hours setting anything up. As it’s currently our only PC I use it too the majority of the time. If I want to watch TV or DVDs or even go online… it’s the only real option for us.

This is why I still run Windows.

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