Back to Basics: Looks Aren't Everything

Remembering the important things when bedazzled by Windows

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True story.

Last weekend, I was walking down a busy Chicago street talking with my wife when she interrupted our conversation with a sidelong glance behind us and muttering something about "skirts being short enough?"

Without seeing whom she was referring to, I replied, "What skirts? Where?"

Master of observation, that's me.

My wife patted my arm and told me she loved me, secure in the knowledge that her husband's eye doesn't wander. Or he's oblivious, which could be the next best thing.

This anecdote kept bopping around my head this week, when I've had the opportunity to work on Windows 7 more than I usually do. The life of a technology writer sometimes means you have to work on a variety of platforms, and lately it's been a Windows kind of month.

So, after working with it for a while, I have to say, this is one pretty-looking operating system. It's slick as all-get-out, and it's got all the right bells and whistles to make the user experience smooth and pleasant.

There's only one problem.

It's still Windows.

And that that means is that no matter how much anti-virus software I would put on this platform, and how many security precautions I take, whenever I start visiting the Internet, which is easily 50 percent of where I do my job, the risk factor for getting infected by malware is far more than using Linux.

The lesson here, as always, is that pretty looks aren't everything. It's easy to get distracted by the gadgets, gimmicks and all the shiny, especially as a geek. But is it worth your data? Because, to me, the ability to keep my work and personal data secure is way more important than transparent windows or

And, it's not like Linux doesn't have eye candy and shiny of its own, if that is indeed what floats your boat. GNOME, KDE, and even LXDE offer gorgeous, streamlined interfaces that are getting better with each release.

The point is, there's a lot of pretty interfaces out there. Just don't get too distracted about what's really important to you when choosing your computing tools.

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