…zippo’s versus operating systems…


"Startup Recovery" in Windows 7


Zippo’s, made in Americaland, are world famous. They have been a trusty gadget in many a man’s pocket for decades and have even earned a couple of war medals. But they’re by far not the easiest source of ignition to carry around. They need to be taken care of in a tender way which almost negates their reputation as being able to survive a “couple o’ bumps”.

But when they work, they sure do work!

I should know; I own a few Zippo’s. Most of them are fake, but I have two genuine, classic Zippo’s. Each one is unique, with its own unique quirks and story. One was engraved on my 21st, the other with a Turkish-carpet pattern, bought in Turkey. One has a golden inner-piece.

In very much the same way I prefer Linux to Windows. This is how I came to the conclusion…

Windows 7… it looks good, feels good and most of the time it IS very good, but when things go wrong Microsoft’s “finest” (read Windows 7) counters with a lacklustre, pathetically coordinated and downright boring approach.

I had an issue with a Vista driver for my Logitech webcam. It became a real issue, with four BSOD’s today and my favourite game of all time, (currently available as a free download) C&C Tiberian Sun, crashing irregularly.

I made a cup of tea and turned on my laptop (which is for sale, btw) tonight only to find that I needed to run a Startup Recovery. The screenshot to the left was my only indication of what was currently happening and what went wrong.

If I were still using Linux (Ubuntu specifically, as I have been for almost two years before buying (!?!) win7) I would have been so involved during the process of recovery, I wouldn’t even have minded the time I spent sorting out some driver issues.

Mind you, I have never struggled installing, using or modifying any drivers in Ubuntu. Everything just works! A bit of tweaking here and there always improves some aspect of the operating system, but usually the standard installer identifies and correctly installs everything you’ll probably need.

(I won’t go into the topic of restricted extras and things like Ubuntu Tweak too much, there are all kinds of other blogs covering these things]



...I wish my phone's camera was better...


…which brings me back to Zippo’s…

There are so many things that can go wrong with a Zippo. Think of all the components that go into operating one: There is the fluid that needs to be topped-up every couple of days, the wick (a hassle to replace) that needs to be adjusted every couple of refills and the flint that runs out every once-in-a-while.

Don’t forget about the casing that frequently needs to be cleaned of dust, sand and grime to ensure optimal performance.

And you want your Zippo to be working optimally. If it doesn’t, it becomes a hassle to operate… lighting the thing takes a couple of strikes, the flame seems to no longer be wind resistant and maintenance becomes a pain.

In a similar fashion, both Linux and Windows are fine operating systems when everything is clean and tidy, but what many people don’t realise is that both of them need at least some degree of TLC for them to stay that way.

I would still prefer fixing something in Linux though… something about personally solving problems has always motivated me in becoming a more informed person. Besides, I don’t like staring at the monotonous Startup Recovery screen while I could be listening to Pink Floyd or reading some blogs or something…

As soon as I’ve sold my laptop and bought myself a new one, I would definitely have a Win7/Lucid dual-boot… that way I’ll always have at least one functional, productive OS to work on. I’ll always carry my favourite Zippo (and it’s a fake one!) with me as well…somehow it always lights when I need it…