Microsoft Windows and Feedback Software
An Update (12/28/03)
Since this article was written in early 2000, computers have changed dramatically. This has affected their use for biofeedback applications. Large increases in processor speed together with the emerging USB bus have removed the speed restrictions posed by Windows. There is generally adequate processing power to support multiple programs as well. However, system crashes are still happening on a regular basis.
Another common problem relates to Windows ability to run several tasks (programs) simultaneously. There is no way to assure that another program will not take over the computer and prevent feedback for a time gap. The only reliable way to prevent the problem is to configure the computer to limit the programs that are allowed to run during a feedback session. This is not as easy as it may seem. Many computers, especially notebooks, save information to the hard disk periodically. The offending background program is loaded into the computer by the manufacturer and is not obvious.
Another and potentially serious issue comes with Windows XP. The online activation and system updates pose a serious security problem. If Microsoft can access the hard drive on your computer to update Windows XP, then they can also access other files as well. Worse yet hackers have probably already found ways to use the same route into the XP computer. This could result in confidential client files being accessed. With the current terrorist hysteria even government agencies may be snooping your records.