I highly recommend Walt Mossberg’s column today

Seriously. We didn’t even have anything to do with this one. And it’s just amazing. See it here. Every once in a while Walt just punches one out that blows you away. Usually, like this time, the idea is pretty simple. Walt just went out and bought a new Sony laptop running Vista, and describes what it’s like to get the thing running. The simplicity of the concept is what makes it so brilliant. Walt says his new machine forced him to “spend hours as a digital maintenance man wading through annoying and confusing chores.” Here’s what he found:

Two dozen craplets and trial offers.
Four icons for AOL offerings.
Two icons for Microsoft come-ons.
Start menu and program menu loaded with unwanted items.
Napster lodged in bottom of screen.
Four movies from Sony pre-loaded, using up 4GB of space– and to watch them you have to pay Sony.
Security software that’s all messed up and prompted loads of scary warnings, prompts, scans and updates.
21 software updates pending on a machine that was brand new.
Restart time: more than 3 minutes (v. 34 seconds on a Mac).
Cold start time: more than two minutes (v. 29 seconds on a Mac).

Money quote: “The problem is a lack of respect for the consumer. The manufacturers don’t act as if the computer belongs to you. They act as if it is a billboard for restricted trial versions of software and ads for Web sites and services that they can sell to third-party companies who want you to buy these products.”

Amen, Walt. I love this story. (Though it makes me steaming mad to think that somehow despite all this we still have such tiny market share. How can this be?) Walt, I take back all the bad things I’ve said about you in the past. Free MacBook Pro is on the way. No crapware, I promise. Though if you want to pollute the karma and load Microsoft Office on it, well, that’s your decision.