Online Edition Bonus Dialogue
Odds and ends
The article by Marc Saltzman in the
February  Connection [“Windows
Vista 101”] about Microsoft’s new Vista OS
release was disappointingly one-sided; it was
almost a sales pitch. There are several serious
considerations before adopting Vista.
First, small-business owners should be the
last to adopt a major new OS [operating sys-tem] release, with all the potential for bugs,
security holes and incompatibilities. Small-business owners depend on their computers
for their businesses to function. Unlike large
businesses, they’re unlikely to have an IT
department to go after problems.
Second, the hardware requirements are
not trivial. Vista may run with 1 GB of memory, but a business might find it takes 2 GB to
do the job adequately. Also, a DVD [drive] is
required. Older machines might not even be
capable of such an upgrade.
Finally, and most seriously, no business
should adopt a new OS without studying the
license agreement. Small-business owners
know not to sign a contract without reading
it, but they tend to forget that the OS license
is just such a contract. The Vista license is not
simple and it is not notably friendly to users.
A colleague of mine was getting ready to
upgrade. After he read the Vista license agreement, he was convinced: He now has a
MacBook Pro for his laptop and a new desk-top server running Ubuntu Linux!
I know that you are based up in
Microsoft country, but I think that you did a
major disservice to Costco Connection readers
with Marc Saltzman’s article [February 2007
issue] recommending that Windows users
upgrade to Vista.
Without getting into the major flaws that
make Windows decidedly less stable and
secure than other operating systems, I will
just enumerate a few of the serious problems
with Vista. Upgrading is a different issue than
buying a new machine with Vista preinstalled, tested against the configuration and
1. Many vendors of hardware components and peripheral devices have not issued
versions of their drivers for Vista.
2. Vista uses many more system resources
than the previous Windows versions. That
means more processes for the operating system, and fewer cycles and less memory available for the user applications.
3. Vista contains Microsoft spyware (as
did Windows XP).
4. Microsoft Vista’s built-in firewall and
antivirus protection are far inferior to those
The Costco Connection MARCH 2007
Vista upgrade versus new hardware is
the decision faced by Windows users.
offered for XP by third parties.
I have long thought of Costco as a con-sumer-oriented company that keeps the best
interests of its customers in mind when
selecting products for its warehouses. To me,
stand-alone Vista upgrades do not appear to
serve the best needs of Costco’s customers.
San Francisco, California
Tips beget more tips
As a tax attorney in practice for nearly 30
years, I have to take exception with your recommendation to store stocks, bonds and
other securities in a safe deposit box with a
listing in the home file [“Tips to avoid ID
theft,” February 2007 issue].
In this day and age, no one should be
holding these investments in certificate form
anymore. They should be held in a brokerage
account through a reputable broker. I stress
this in particular with my elderly clients.
The reasons for this are multifold:
1. Certificated stocks and bonds are difficult to sell.
2. Monthly statements provide a
current value for all items on deposit.
3. Companies merge, split shares
and spin off affiliates constantly.
Brokerage services make sure that
these matters are accounted for.
4. Periodic dividends and interest can be automatically received
5. Companies go bankrupt.
6. Keeping securities in brokerage accounts facilitates estate planning.
7. Many brokerage services allow
clients to keep track of their cost basis in
securities. This is particularly helpful
when families need to make decisions about
what assets to liquidate to provide funds for
EXCLUSIVE TO THE ONLINE EDITION
In your recent article dealing with ID
theft, you mention that items such as advance
directives, living wills and durable power of
attorney for health care should be kept in a
home file or safety deposit box, and copies
left with relatives.
Care providers can only honor the original copy of these documents in an emergency
situation. It does not matter that a relative
presents a copy of the original; by law, we are
only allowed to honor the original document. It is important for them to be located
within arm’s reach in a time of crisis.
Fire departments recommend any documents pertinent to emergency care be
attached to the refrigerator, so that [first
responders] are not compromised in their
ability to follow the patient’s request. That’s
also a good place to put any [prescriptions]
along with point-of-contact [information] if
you live alone
As everybody has cell phones these days,
put in the phone number of your emergency
contact and use the acronym ICE (in case of
emergency). This is getting to be a well-known way for emergency personnel to contact the right person on your behalf, should
the situation ever occur.