Death to Microsoft LifeCam

… and Logitech Orbit MPs as well.

One reason I convinced myself that it would be good to move to the Mac is that I’ve been really tired of trying to solve Windows problems. I figured that there would still be problems, but at least they would be new problems. I was coming off a Vista disaster, where we attempted to install Vista on ten production machines, (because the University’s license with Microsoft specified that they can’t use XP) and Vista never worked. Hey what’s a hundred or more hours down the tubes for the sake of Microsoft?

Like childbirth, one forgets the pain with time, and I have merrily installed application after application on the Macbook and the iMac. This almost inevitably is a two-step process which takes at most two minutes:
1. Download file
2. Drag file to the Applications folder.

On the other hand, installations for Windows usually involve an opaque installer program which may or may not have an option to install things that you don’t want. Then there is the Windows registry… a nightmare. To make a long story short:

I had a Logitech Orbit AF camera installed on one box, and I removed it to substitute an older Orbit MP. The MP didn’t work, even after attempting to reinstall the drivers three times. I don’t know if if it is a USB issue…or what. So, I had a Microsoft LifeCam VX6000 lying around, and I figured I could use that. Hey its from Microsoft, right? This installer got into some kind of infinite loop, pegging the processor to 100% and basically hanging. Twice. Finally after five reboots, and a lengthy process where I just ignored the machine for awhile (fifteen minutes or more), it finally did install, and the camera does in fact work with my application. Elapsed time almost an hour.

A similar thing has happened multiple times with Hewlett Packard ink jet printers, and even my LaserJet 2420. The hardware is crap. How is it that a $500 LaserJet 2420 overheats after 30 minutes and stops printing when my Laser 2000 is still going after something like ten years? (I gave it to a non-profit.) HP has hundreds of printer models, each requiring separate support and drivers, many of which don’t work well. (Even the Indian tech support people have said that HP driver installer programs are useless).

Both HP and Microsoft have lost control, desperate to foist any half-assed product on to the market in an attempt to maintain their market share. And each of these sorry products can represent tens of hours of lost time and frustration. Grrrr!


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