Our next guest in the ‘Getting to know the Microsoft enthusiasts’ series is James M. Fisher, Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and the man behind Windows Talk. If you want to know more about him as a person and learn more about Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals and what they do when they are not helping people with their IT problems, don’t hesitate to read this interview. You will surely enjoy it.
To firstly introduce you to our readers, help us know about yourself: Who is James M. Fisher?
I am a Medical Radiation Technologist living and working in Atlantic Canada. I picked up on computers about 15 years ago when my wife brought home from her office an old 286 with 1 MB of RAM. It had DOS 5 (I think) and WordPerfect 5 and a monochrome 14” screen. It had a 5.25” floppy drive too. No CD drives then! Now I am using a Dell Inspiron laptop exclusively. I have no desktop PC at the moment.
I have been a Microsoft Windows MVP (Most Valuable Professional) since 2003. I like to read (history mainly), listen to music, watch football, maintain my blog and participate in several online forums, such as the WinVistaClub Forum.
Except receiving the title of Microsoft MVP, which is your biggest achievement so far?
Well, remaining married for over 22 years is a big achievement. The other is reaching the age of 48 with good health.
When did you launch Windows Talk and why?
I launched the old Windows Talk website about the same time as Service Pack 2 for XP was released (c. 2004); I had the amateur makings of a website previous to this, but I felt it was time to ‘go pro’, get a domain name, get a web host and start fresh. There were so many big changes in SP2 that the forums were full of questions. I started to compile a page of SP2 knowledge base articles as well as tips, etc. It was handier than keeping them in my favorites list, plus by putting them on the Internet, it made them more accessible for searches, etc.
In the first three years of “Windows Talk” you were not a very active blogger. What determined you to become much more active starting with 2008?
I am sometimes slow to embrace new technology, like blogging. I thought it was only for people with nothing to say and did not consider it as professional as having a website. My thoughts on that have changed after seeing some of the more respected names in the computing field adopt blogs.
Since then, how did you manage to remain consistent?
It is impossible for me to keep up on every area of the computing world. Don’t even ask me a security-related question; I will just refer you to a knowledgeable security site. I look for things that interest me; I am not IT-trained, and I do very little work directly with computers on a day-to-day basis. I like to use my PC to enhance my life by gaining knowledge on certain subjects, keep up with current computing trends, news, sports, and things like that. If I come across a great site that offers a service (or software) that I think should be given recognition, I will compose a blog post about it; hoping that my readers will find it equally interesting.
Regarding Windows Vista & Windows 7: which are your favorite features?
I like that fact that they are more secure from an end user standpoint than XP was. For instance, not giving full Administrator rights to every user profile by default; if a person needs to access a particular area of their operating system that could cause a problem, they need to be alerted to that fact. Of course, this prevents rogue software from doing the same thing, which is very desirable from a security standpoint.
Windows 7 takes all the feedback about UAC (User Account Control) and makes it a little more customizable so the user does not get prompts for every little thing. I still recommend leaving it at the default level. I do not find it obtrusive at all.
Out of these two operating systems, which you like best and why?
Windows 7, no question about it. From the first beta release, I went ‘Wow!’ It is much faster than Vista, and Microsoft has really listened to all the feedback from disgruntled Vista users and made Windows 7 that much better. I think there will be excellent response to the release, just as there has been to the public betas thus far.
What is the worst Windows Vista tip you have encountered on the Internet?
To turn off UAC (User Account Control)!
What would you recommend to a beginner which is just starting to use Windows Vista?
If they are used to XP, I would say ‘stick with Vista; you will get used to it.’ If this is their first PC, I would say to go to wintuts.com and learn a few tips everyday. Do not be afraid of ruining your PC by trying different things. You will actually enjoy your PC more! There are also many helpful, friendly web-based forums where you can feel free to ask the simplest of questions with no worries of feeling stupid. I recommend joining one, even if you do not have a particular question or problem at the time.
If you could improve one feature in Windows Vista, which would it be?
I liked the file explorer better in XP, with the common tasks on the left. I would like to see the shortcuts to Copy this file, Move this file, etc.
Going back to your website. How do you plan to keep it relevant once Windows 7 is launched?
I will try to keep it relevant by concentrating on posting articles regarding the adopting (upgrading, installing, etc) of Windows 7 on their PC, and how to do things easily with it.
Regarding Windows Vista for Beginners: what do you like most about our site and what would you improve if you were to be the admin for a while?
I like that the site is very comprehensive and focused in its direction at beginners. I cannot see anything that I would improve, aside from changing the name to ‘Seven4beginners!’.