The Beginnings of Apple Computer
The nice thing about their path is that they're not afraid to cut off backwards compatibility. That's pretty much the biggest flaw with Windows. A lot of the security issues in Vista today are there because drivers used those holes to work. People still use hardware that uses those broken drivers, and the companies who released the products stopped supporting them years ago.
If you had said that about Windows XP I would agree with you, but Windows Vista has a different driver model that is focused around providing security and stability. It clearly broke the "old" driver model to which you are referring.
IT Job Without a Degree?
When you're first starting out, it's very important to have that degree to get your foot in the door. Without having the degree it can be difficult. But the ironic thing is that technology changes fast enough that the degree very quickly becomes irrelevant. This is especially true when it comes to system administration. Even those "schools" (ITT, DeVry, etc) that offer general IT/Sysadmin "degrees" have a very difficult time keeping up with industry trends. After about 5 years of working in IT, nobody will care about your B.S. degree (or Associates). Now if you're working on a Masters, Ph.D., or MBA, that's a different story.
But if you can break into the market without a degree and get those first few years of experience you absolutely can work yourself up to a good IT job. Remember, after 5 years in the workforce your experience will be comparable to everyone else's and their degrees will be outdated. Just don't expect to come in as a sysadmin from day one. You'll probably have to start at the helpdesk/PC tech level, then work your way up to a junior admin, and so on. I don't have a degree but after several years of hard work and continued learning I'm just shy of a six-figure income in a city where the median individual income is about $32k.
Bad Signs For Blu-ray
I just bought a 46" LCD TV the other day, my first HDTV. It will do 1080p resolution, though I've never seen a 1080p signal. All of my HD cable channels are either 720p or 1080i. They look amazing compared to standard definition TV. I don't think that I can tell the difference between 720p and 1080i when viewing from 8 feet away, let alone 1080p.
When I was buying the TV I wanted to get another DVD player so that the old DVD player could move upstairs to my bedroom with the old CRT television. The salespeople steer me to the Blue-Ray players (obviously). I look at the $399 price tag and laugh. He says "Well, we have this less expensive model over here" and points to a $379 player. I laugh even harder. I honestly haven't looked at the different Blu-Ray players to see what's what, but I find it odd that all of them are exactly $399. There's no price differentiation except for the "store brand" model. I ended up quickly picking up an upconverting DVD player for $70 instead.
Why? Well, it's $330 cheaper for starters. Secondly, upconverted content looks really good. It may not be the same quality as Blu-Ray, but the difference wasn't that discernible from the in-store displays, and watching upconverted DVD content on my TV looks as good as most of the HD cable content that I watch. Then of course there's the movie prices, they're twice what DVD's cost for only a minor improvement in quality. It's odd, but after 2 years of being out Blu-Ray still feels very "bleeding edge" at the moment. Especially after HD-DVD folded I expected Blu-Ray adoption to increase, and I hoped (perhaps against reason) that the increase the production quantity would bring prices down. I was wrong there.
One other thing that really bothers me is that the $399 price seems "fixed" or artificial. You can buy a PS3 for $399, and it includes a Blu-Ray player. Or you can buy a Blu-Ray player for $399. Doesn't it seem like the stand-alone player should be cheaper than the PS3? It's almost like Sony wants to keep the prices higher so that people opt for the PS3 instead, but I'm not really a gamer. I'm not really much of a fan of Sony either, to be honest. All of their DRM infected CDs and other nonsense that they go through to try to force monopolistic, proprietary standards on people really rubs me the wrong way.