Nov 18 2005
Its not often you find a book that makes you laugh, cry and rethink your life all at the same time. It is even more rare to have this kind of epiphany with a book from the computer section. But this irreverent, well researched guide to why and how to hate the Redmond Giant hits the spot on so many levels.
The book delivers background on the history of Microsoft, Apple and Linux (including the Open Source movement) that may not be free of bias, but is sure fun to read. The bulk of the book, however, is dedicated to pointing out the many, many flaws (the book is 260+ pages) in Microsoft software. There are things you would have never thought about that Bove covers here, like forgotten details lurking in your Word document. From safety concerns to possibly the worlds longest living bug – the book walks you through the evil truth embedded in every aspect of Windows, Office and Media Player.
Now, as Mac users we know all about Microsoft treachery. We’ve been M$ haters longer than Linux users. The author is also a Mac user, so you’ll find his perspective familiar and surprisingly lucid. While you will already be familiar with some of the more notorious flaws of Microsoft (like the blogger fired for posting pictures of Microsoft’s new G5′s) there are stories and technical details that will be new to you (Like Apple’s font conspiracy with Microsoft).
As a Mac user, you’ll already be half way through the second goal of the book: to get you away from Microsoft applications. Macs have a chapter to themselves as the preferred alternative to Windows. But then there are explorations of other alternatives to Microsoft applications that have invaded the Mac. This thrust of the book is to educate you on the alternatives and help you help others.
The book is fun. for most if us, it will be less therapeutic as it might be to a Windows user, but the subject matter is nonetheless interesting. There are some shortcomings to the book, mostly tied to its dated-ness. Screenshots of and information on Open Office, for example, were still from version 1x. Also, new online alternatives to Microsoft such as Writely (which I am using right now instead of Word to write this review) and ThinkFree’s Online Office aren’t covered. I understand there are deadlines, but I’d hope to see these covered in a new edition.
Overall, the book is entertaining and potentially very useful. Some of the material you will already be familiar with, but some of it will not. Regardless, it will all ring true to Mac users.