Wait a year on Vista

A while back, I stated in a comment to one my posts that I thought it would be a good idea to wait a year or so after its release before installing a new operating system. This applies to Windows Vista, which, according to Wired News will be available 30 January 2007.

It’s fun to get the most advanced operating system when it first becomes available, but it can be a hassle, too. At least one Wired News reporter thinks similarly:

I would not recommend going out and buying Vista off the shelf or pre-installed on a PC when it becomes available. Users will likely suffer many headaches with missing peripheral drivers and a lack of backward compatibility with legacy software, and those headaches will not make Vista worth its hefty price tag.

If possible, wait a year or more after Vista’s launch to invest in the operating system. At least by then, numerous updates, hardware drivers and service packs will likely have been released.

Security, too, could be a patchy issue (pun fully intended) during the initial weeks and months of Vista’s launch. Better to stand on the sidelines and wait until the time is right to buy the unproven operating system.

Read more about recommended software

Viruses have come of age

If your installation of Windows XP is lacking an antivirus program or firewall, it’ll take about 8 seconds for it to become rabid and foaming with worms, viruses, and spyware. At least, that’s what this BBC article suggests.

But seriously, remember when all you had to worry about was some dork impressing his friends with some virus named after a girl that kneed him in the balls last week? That was a more innocent time.

Today, viruses have come of age. And they’re not even called viruses anymore. The biggest problems today are spyware and adware. The trouble with viruses was that their sole object was to penetrate your computer, then destroy it. That didn’t make anybody rich, though, because good parasites don’t kill their hosts.

The most sinister and pervasive threats have morphed into commercially propelled vehicles for privacy extraction with a view to profit. These days, when I look at a friend’s computer that has slowed and showed signs of derangement from infection, I don’t find a lot of viruses. But I find boatloads of spyware and adware (and that’s a metric boatload, not one of those sissy imperial boatloads).

So be aware of the threat you face now. A new enemy requires new tactics–this means your anti-spyware and adware programs are more important than ever. I previously recommended Spybot and Adaware for the newly important jobs – read my review of both and find out how to get them (they’re free, of course).