SHCC WYSIWYG Article from April 2014

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the April 2014 WYSIWYG newsletter.

The End of Win XP and Leap Years

by Don VanSyckel

Well doomsday is almost upon us. No, the world is not coming to an end. It's almost the date when Microsoft is scheduled to stop support of Windows XP. Well actually Microsoft is not stopping support of Windows XP; they're just stopping you and for me from getting the updates. A number of companies, no one knows how many, are individually paying Microsoft for Windows XP support. So the work is being done but only released privately to these companies.

I'm not against progress. So what do I think would be progress? Well, if Microsoft produced an Operating System (OS) that was really better, both people and companies would want to migrate to it. As it is Microsoft has not been able to do this, so their only alternative was to force the move from Windows XP to the next version by coercion. Well actually the next version, Vista, was no good. The computer community rebelled strong against it. So when Windows 7 was found to be acceptable Microsoft went for it and put the plan into action to force people to upgrade instead of luring them with a great product.

Microsoft has had 12+ years to come up with the next version to follow Windows XP. 12 years. Do you remember Windows 98? Then there was Windows ME, another failure, and then Windows XP in less than fours years after Windows 98. There was no forcing an upgrade to Windows XP. People saw the benefits and wanted to move to Windows XP.

While I won't go into Windows 7 specifics I will state that I believe a better approach could be done. If Windows 7 out of the box looked a lot like Windows XP people wouldn't be as opposed to moving to Windows 7. I'm not saying this would make people want to upgrade just that they wouldn't be as opposed. Then have pop ups or some other mechanism offer to enable new features from time to time. This way you could jump on a new computer and be productive and gradually turn on new features until the PC was fully Windows 7 like with little to no resemblance to Windows XP. Instead the way it's done today is to slap you with all the new strange features and methods. Then try to find the method to turn off stuff you don't want or need.

At work windows XP is being replaced with Windows 7 because of the Windows XP end of life. My group happens to be very busy this month and then the OS upgrade was dumped on us on top of everything else. So after spending well over half a day working with the IT guy deploying the OS my laptop is finally deemed, by the IT guy, to be done. I now have a laptop that does no more than before and with which I am very awkward at using, at least for a while.

Least you think this article is all doom and gloom, how about those 40 and 50 degree days? Spring is right around the corner. I'm not sure if Spring starts on the 21st this year or one of the days next to it. Spring and all solar events happen on the actual natural year. Our leap year calendar adds one day every four years for an average of 365.25 days per our calendar year. What most people don't know is that this correction is a little more than is needed. An actual year is a little less than 365.25 days. A further correction is made by have years divisible by 100 to not be leap years but those divisible by 400 are leap years. So in 400 years by the 4 rule there would be 100 leap days. By the 100 rule 4 leap days would be skipped. Then by the 400 rule one leap day would be added back. This gives +100 - 4 + 1 or 97 leap days every 400 years for an average year length of 365.2425 days per year. The slow drift and then day skip causes the date to drift between the 20th, 21st, and 22dd. The above system is about one day off every 8,000 years. The length of an actual seasonal year is believed to vary over time so it doesn't make sense to attempt to be any more accurate than we already have it. And that's the rest of the story!

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