Remembering Kathy Ivens

Kathy Ivens, longtime contributing editor for Windows IT Pro, passed away January 16, 2012, at age 70. Readers will likely remember Kathy most for her Reader Challenge column, which she wrote for 13 years. We appreciate Kathy’s longstanding dedication to making complex topics accessible and for challenging IT pros to solve common but perplexing problems. You can read Kathy’s obituary here. Access Kathy’s author page at Windows IT Pro. She began writing Reader Challenge in 1998 and continued into 2011.

 

Long Live Windows XP

As a follow-on comment to Jeff James’ editorial, “Long Live Windows XP” (InstantDoc ID 141341), our reasons for hanging on to XP include all of those that Jeff mentioned in the article and more: It works well and does the job, it isn’t bloated, it doesn’t force hardware refreshes, we’re able to defer relicensing/upgrade fees, the user experience is stable, and there’s no need for retraining. Also, some business-critical application packages won’t run in the new environments. All these reasons add up to dollars saved or at least mitigated. The only reason we’ve deployed any Windows 7 platform is that you can’t purchase new hardware that will run XP (lack of backward-compatible drivers). Enter terminal services/desktop virtualization—any app, any device.

I work for a heavy manufacturer of durable goods in the northeast United States—something that has become more and more difficult to come by for many years. We get many visitors to our facility. Often, the first question visitors ask is, "What do you make, exactly?" The glib but most important answer is "Money—continuously for more than 75 years." In my line of business, that’s achieved by maintaining continuous process improvements and controlling discretionary expenses. One piece of that is not following the Pied Piper of Redmond in lockstep. Your analysis and future predictions are spot on.

—Dennis Blevins

 

Windows 8 Top Features

As a computer developer, I think the top10 features Michael Otey lists in his article, “Top 10 New Features in Windows 8” (InstantDoc ID 141257), should be removed. Instead of adding new features, maybe Microsoft should repair the old bugs of Windows 7 that Windows 8 will inherit, like waiting (10 to 15 seconds) before the list of network computers appears on the screen. Perhaps the most annoying bug is the displacement of the icons on the desktop almost every time you start the computer.

As an expert working in this field since the 1980s, I have never seen Microsoft come up with a half-decent version of Windows—except maybe Windows 2000. I wish people would stop idolizing Microsoft, because all the company did in over 30 years of existence is make extremely mediocre pieces of software beginning with Windows DOS.

—Gaetan Lamarre

 

Lync Mobile Clients

I liked B. K. Winstead’s blog about mobile clients for Lync, “Lync Mobile Clients from Microsoft Debut” (InstantDoc ID 141642). We’ve been using Lync 2010 for about a year now and have loved it for our school. We have a remote teacher teaching a math class to our campus. This situation isn’t too unusual, except that our students are low-vision and blind. The Lync client was the only product that was accessible for our students. Microsoft published a case study about Lync and blind students at www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2011/dec11/12-08Lync.mspx.

We also have a group of outreach staff on the road five days a week. They instruct their students in their home school districts across the state of Washington so that students don’t need to come to our Vancouver, Washington, campus. Now that the mobile clients are here, we’ll be able to communicate with them more easily and will be able to make them feel part of our Vancouver campus.

—Ed Lukowski