There’s few things more frustrating…

… than being in the middle of a lengthy post about your experiences with Release Candidate 1 of Windows Vista only to be interrupted by what ends up becoming an argument with someone else that ends up ruining the relatively good mood you were in causing you to not feel like finishing the already very lengthy entry you’ve started. This becomes doubly frustrating when you realize that there are already plenty of people out there writing about their impressions of Windows Vista that are likely doing a much better job of it thusly not only making your efforts redundant, but inferiorly so. Of course now you don’t want to just discard the work you’ve done so far, but you also realize that trying to finish it will take another couple of hours that you’re too busy fuming about to actually focus enough to finish the entry properly thus ensuring it’ll be even more inferior to other efforts.

So you decide to just junk it and summarize by writing a much shorter entry that says all that the original entry would’ve said in a much more terse manner. Namely: Man, dat Windows Vista shur is purty!


Click for a bigger pic!

I’ve saved the original entry on the off-chance that I might get back to a point where I feel like working on it despite its obvious inferiority.

23 thoughts on “There’s few things more frustrating…

  1. Do you find the aeroglass or whatever it’s called useful? Seems like a lot of eye candy I don’t need.

    Or is it like a revolution in tabbing?

  2. I hate to say it, but I’m reminded of a Star Trek “Tribble” quote:

    “They’re soft, and they’re furry and they make a pleasant sound.”

    “So would an ermine violin, Doctor, but I see no advantage in having one.

  3. Sepharo asks…

    Do you find the aeroglass or whatever it’s called useful? Seems like a lot of eye candy I don’t need.

    Or is it like a revolution in tabbing?

    Truth be told the impact of Aero Glass is very subtle. According to Microsoft it turns the Windows desktop into a true 3D environment, but you wouldn’t know this just from looking at it. The screen shot I linked to in my entry is one of the few things that makes it obvious when you see it in action. That display with the windows stacked on top of each other at an angle is what you get when you click on the new icon in the Quick Launch bar labeled “Switch between windows.”  It really does make switching between windows pretty intuitive, but if you’re used to alt-tabbing your way through windows that still works too. In fact, when you press alt-tab it displays little screen shots of each of the windows (as well as the desktop itself) with the program’s icon in the lower right corner to make identifying what you’re looking at easy. Similarly when you hold your mouse over the buttons on the task bar at the bottom it’ll pop up little fully animated screen shots of the window’s contents.

    The main benefit to Aero Glass is it allows everything to be scaled smoothly so if you go with a larger font or icon size it still looks good instead of going all blocky like under XP. It also allows for some nifty transition effects when you do things like minimize a window. Minimizing causes the window to shrink down into the task bar button and it fades out as it goes. Again, it’s a subtle effect that you have to actually pay attention to notice. I’ve not noticed any difference in the speed of the interface despite it being a 3D render, but then my hardware is relatively new so that helps.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a revolution similar to tabbing, but I do find it useful and unobtrusive enough not to turn it off. I have to admit that I like it.

  4. Brooks, I’m glad I wasn’t the first to point that out. smile

    Having recently switched to OS X and Macintosh (MacBook and Mac Pro), I can honestly say that Vista truly sucks!

    I currently have the following desktop systems:
    P4, 1.4Ghz, 512MB running XP
    P4, 3.2Ghz, 1GB running XP and Vista
    Mac Pro: 2 Core 2 Duo Xeon (Woodcrest) processors running at 2.66Ghz, 2GB running OS X 10.4.8, Parallels running XP, Vista, and Ubuntu. (I haven’t done the Boot Camp thing yet. I don’t want to actually go out and buy yet another copy of Windows XP just so that I can get a CD that has XP SP2 on it.

    I started looking at Vista when Beta 2 was released to the public. This was back before I made the switch to Mac. It’s the biggest reason I made the switch.

    Both Beta 2 and RC1 work about the same to me. What I find truely amusing is that Vista, which supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to OS X is so far behind OS X. Remember, OS X was release about the same time that Windows XP was released. Apple has since made 4 revisions to OS X, where Microsoft has made only 2 and they were bug fixes/security patches vrs true inovations.

    My biggest question when I first loaded up Vista was: Is there a big enough improvement to the OS to warrent spending $800 or more to update the OS’s in the house? It only took about 10 minutes to decide… NO!

    The best way to describe Vista is that Vista is to XP as ME was to 98. Oh sure, they have reworked a lot of the underlying code for securty and visual candy, but when you actually see what they have done, it just ain’t that much. The best bit is that when you try to do just about anything with the system, it brings up a dialog making sure that it’s you that is doing it and your sure that you want to do it. Changing the resolution of the display for instance. What is really frustrating is that it doesn’t even ask for an admin password when bringing up these “security” dialogs. It just simply asks if it’s OK to proceed. A user being attacked with these dialogs as often as they do, will become lax about answering them correctly and simply OK any and all dialogs that popup after a while. You know, the “cry wolf” syndrome.

    The biggest security improvement I was hoping for was to be able to use Vista as a “standard user” and not need to be an administrator to use the OS. You can get away with a lot in XP without using an administrator account. However, games almost demand admin access. I was never able to truly determine if Vista fixed this at all. If it does, then it’s probably worth the switch to it when Vista is released. (I sure hope they got this right for Microsoft’s sake)

    I have yet to see any benefits to the OS like video game performance improvements. Mind you, the software is still Beta. Although RC1 is supposed to be what the release would look like if no bugs are found. smile Those improvements will probably not be seen until DirectX 10 is released and DX10 video cards are sold.

    All that said, when I made the switch to OS X, I saw what Microsoft was trying to do in Vista already in and working in OS X. True system wide search that worked and works fast. Security that is simple but secure way beyond what XP has ever been able to accomplish. If I want to make a change to the system that requires admin access, I simply enter the account name and password and off it goes. The OS is based on Unix after all. A 3D desktop that is a bit more 3D than Vista. Expose for switching between apps and windows of an application is way beyond the Win-Tab 3D thingy that Vista uses.

    More importantly, I saw that when you have more than one person using the same computer, user A can’t mess up user B’s settings or applications in anyway. This was a big problem with Windows for my parents. If my dad installed a new email client, my mother would wind up getting it as well. Even if he told it to install for just his account. OS X separates user accounts perfectly.

    For those who know me, they know that I have been a Windows person since Win 3.1. (I tried Mac back in the OS 9 days when they were just getting ready to release OS X. OS 9 was crappy and OS X 10.0 was a slightly better crappy that was finally true multitasking. OS X has come a very long way since then.) They know that I used to bad mouth Mac as much as anyone back then. A lot has happened since then. Mostly having to recover my parents computer about once a month due to this virus or that malware program was more than enough for me.

    Sorry for the long comment there, but I felt it had to be said. smile

  5. Les, I count on YOU for my tech info, or at least for the start of it. Now don’t get me wrong, I do my own research all the time, and if something interests me or I hear of something I do go and look, but stuff like this, feedback about it is something I look to you and your readers for.
    So purty please dig out that entry and when you get the time finish it up. Your insights are always to the point and give all points of view (you know you are awesome at saying things like ‘although I find this to suck, someone in this position may like it for this reason)

  6. At the risk of turning this into an OS X vs Vista war I still feel compelled to respond to some of KPG’s comments.

    First I should say that I’ve used OS X a fair amount despite not owning a Mac and this is in part because of several friends who do and working in environments that had them. While my hours working on OS X are nothing compared to what I spend supporting Windows, I think it’s enough to give me a fair idea of what it’s like. That said I think OS X is a nice OS, but not leaps and bounds ahead of Windows as a lot of people seem to think it is.

    I started looking at Vista when Beta 2 was released to the public. This was back before I made the switch to Mac. It’s the biggest reason I made the switch.

    It’s really not fair to compare a beta product to one that has been released. Betas are expected to be incomplete and buggy and that’s why they’re beta.

    Both Beta 2 and RC1 work about the same to me. What I find truely amusing is that Vista, which supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to OS X is so far behind OS X. Remember, OS X was release about the same time that Windows XP was released. Apple has since made 4 revisions to OS X, where Microsoft has made only 2 and they were bug fixes/security patches vrs true inovations.

    The speed at which revisions come out is a questionable reason to consider one OS over another. Vista has taken the longest of all the Windows releases to date and that’s largely due to the amount of stuff they were completely rewriting. I’d rather they took the time to get it right than pump out a lot of releases charging me money every time they do it. Especially if they plan on charging me for the new releases as Apple is often wont to do.

    The best way to describe Vista is that Vista is to XP as ME was to 98. Oh sure, they have reworked a lot of the underlying code for securty and visual candy, but when you actually see what they have done, it just ain’t that much.

    This is the comment that prompted me to reply. Windows Vista is in no way comparable to Windows ME. Windows ME was a horrendous step back compared Windows 98 in terms of performance and stability and the same can not be said about Vista.

    I also have to wonder how much you poked around in the OS as I’ve noticed a whole bunch of new stuff including the ability to apply “Tag” files ala Flickr/De.lic.ious as well as to apply star ratings both of which can be used to search for and order file listings. In fact the search function appears to be a major change compared to XP. There’s some pretty nifty stuff in Vista that has me rethinking how quickly I’ll adopt it.

    The best bit is that when you try to do just about anything with the system, it brings up a dialog making sure that it’s you that is doing it and your sure that you want to do it. Changing the resolution of the display for instance. What is really frustrating is that it doesn’t even ask for an admin password when bringing up these “security” dialogs. It just simply asks if it’s OK to proceed. A user being attacked with these dialogs as often as they do, will become lax about answering them correctly and simply OK any and all dialogs that popup after a while. You know, the “cry wolf” syndrome.

    That’s a potentially valid criticism, though I didn’t find the new popups all that instrusive under RC1. If anything the intent seems to be to try and make the user more aware of stuff that’s happening on their system and I found the instructions they provide to be a lot clearer than past dialogs. That said, this is still a RC release and the frequency of the popups could change by the time it hits the market. The reason no administrator password is asked for is because the first account is an administrator account.

    The rest of your comment I have no big disagreements with so I’ll stop here. My primary point is that it’s really not fair to compare pre-release software to released software. And, as always, it comes down to what you want to do. I’ve said before that if I weren’t a gamer I’d probably not be running Windows at all, but that’s where the games are. When it doesn’t take a year and a half for the same game to be released on the Mac (or I give up gaming all together) I’ll consider making the switch or jumping to Linux.

    Rachel-G, I’m flattered as I didn’t think anyone really paid much attention to my techy entries. I’ll see what I can do about finishing up that entry.

  7. Yeah, I saw those before. I love how the demonstrator blames voice recognition’s failure on the noise in the room. Did it ever occur to him or anyone else anywhere that voice recognition will have to deal with background noise? Not to mention folks who speak a different native language trying to speak English?

    Let’s say we live in a perfect world, after all our president does, and assume that voice recognition works. How is it to be used? Can you imagine an office full of cubes where everyone is “speaking” to their computer? Can you imagine what programming would be like? Some offices can be down right noisy, with everyone in an office trying to use VR and their computers it would be insane.

    I’m going to pull a John C. Dvorak and state that Voice Recognition will never ever work. It’s just too impractical.

  8. KPG? Is that an abbreviation I’m not familiar with, or are you referring to a user other than myself?

    It’s really not fair to compare a beta product to one that has been released. Betas are expected to be incomplete and buggy and that’s why they’re beta.

    Sorry, I guess I didn’t phrase that sentence very well. What I meant was that the lack of improvement from XP to Vista was one of the major reasons for switching.

    Vista has taken the longest of all the Windows releases to date and that’s largely due to the amount of stuff they were completely rewriting. I’d rather they took the time to get it right than pump out a lot of releases charging me money every time they do it. Especially if they plan on charging me for the new releases as Apple is often wont to do.

    It’s a pity that most of the stuff they “rewrote” was left of the cutting room floor instead of in Vista. Those clippings might have made Vista a viable OS (in my humble opinion).

    This is the comment that prompted me to reply. Windows Vista is in no way comparable to Windows ME. Windows ME was a horrendous step back compared Windows 98 in terms of performance and stability and the same can not be said about Vista.

    I guess this is yet to be seen. My experience was one that made me think that I was using an inferior OS with makeup on. I guess the proof will be in the pudding when the general public and hackers really get their hands on it.

    Also, while looking at Vista when writing this comment, I got a wonderful BSOD while attempting to play an MP3 file. Mind you, it’s in Parallels (virtualization software), so maybe I can let that one pass. It’s not like OS X hasn’t “restarted” for me when I didn’t expect it. smile

    I also have to wonder how much you poked around in the OS as I’ve noticed a whole bunch of new stuff including the ability to apply “Tag” files ala Flickr/De.lic.ious as well as to apply star ratings both of which can be used to search for and order file listings. In fact the search function appears to be a major change compared to XP. There’s some pretty nifty stuff in Vista that has me rethinking how quickly I’ll adopt it.

    I poked around enough. Sure all those mentioned features are great for the savoy computer user like ourselves, but my parents could give a monkeys about tags and ratings. Remember, there are quite a few non computer savoy folks out there.

    I consider myself quite savoy when it comes to Windows. Yet it took me quite some time poking around as you put it trying to figure out how to “connect to the internet”. Then, when I finally got connected, it took a little more time to realize that I had to turn off the firewall in order to see the other computers on my LAN. I didn’t have any of these problems getting OS X setup on my LAN.

    Mind you, part of the Vista problem was needing to install drivers for Parallels so that Vista could recognize the virtual network card it had access to. Still, it took me longer than it should have to figure out that this was indeed the reason for my lack of connectivity.

    As I said before, I do have Vista installed on a Dell so I wouldn’t and didn’t see these problems there, but I just think it’s interesting that I can install Ubuntu and XP without any problems, yet have problems with Vista.

    To summarize my reasons for switching to Mac and switching my parents as well:
    * Reinstalling Windows about every other month on my parents machine and twice on my machine. My reinstall was due to Windows Explorer (file manager) acting strange and crashing repeatedly.
    * Viruses and malware that can be installed at the drop of a pin. I have my parents setup with Firefox and they use it all the time. However, I have noticed on several occasions that some software will bring up IE and completely ignore the default browser settings. That can be fatal if the user doesn’t notice that the wrong browser is running.
    * Lack of separation between multiple users on the same machine. XP just won’t install a program for a single user no matter how hard you try. Plus it’s really easy for someone to accidently install a program for all users. This probably wouldn’t be true if the users were allowed to be “limited users” instead of administrators. Vista may in fact fix this. I haven’t been able to fully test this yet.
    * Features of Vista keep falling away weekly it seems. WinFS is a great example of something that would have made Vista shine. Instead it’s all but dead now. The latest to go is the time zone chooser with a graphical representation of the Earth on it. The reason for this is purely political. Yet, Ubuntu still has it and I haven’t heard anyone complaining about that.
    * Having to pay around $1000 to get 4 upgrade versions of Vista Home plus 2 full versions is just not acceptable. OS X has a “family plan” that allows someone to buy 5 licenses for just $200! If I had the same number of Mac’s to upgrade, it would only be $350. In all the talk of Vista’s prices, I haven’t heard anyone mention a “family plan”.

    Over all, come early next year, this household will be spending a fair amount of money buying OS upgrades. $140 for my wife’s computer, she will probably be getting a new Core 2 Duo system and not getting an upgrade, and $200 for the 3 OS X boxes I and my parents have. I’ll leave the rest of my Windows systems at XP or Ubuntu.

    There are more, but those are the highest ones.

  9. The best way to describe Vista is that Vista is to XP as ME was to 98.

    Actually from what I have witnessed, a couple demonstrations, I find this to be true so far.  Sure we have to wait for the full version, but here is my prediction:

    MS still notices some bugs and minor issues, but needs to release Vista before growing excitement wears off, and they figure Windows update will take care of the remaining issues.  So early next Spring Vista arrives.  Some organizations get copies of it to try it out.  They pop it in and see no need to upgrade to it.  Why?

    XP has been running pretty smoothly for over 3 years.  It’s a simple cost analysis.  If you have a product that has been indoctrinated into your employees, which will bitch about getting a new version of IE or word processing, why spend the money to upgrade.  Can you imagine the problems this will create for techno-incompetent employees. 

    I have worked as a tech for 6 years and was there for the 98-2000 migration, and the 2000-XP migration.  Both at different org’s, but both had the same user issue.  How do you do this?  Where can I find this?  Organizations are looking to cut costs where ever they can.  And adding Vista training would be very expensive.

    It’s also important, in my view, to add in the fact that the only improvement companies will see with Vista is improved security, unless I am missing something.  This is important, but if I were a company I would wait to see what MS does after vista.  And save money from the, keeping up with the times OS upgrade.

    I think Vista will be more popular than ME ever was, but on the whole it will not take off.  Instead it will be slowly implemented as companies buy systems with it pre-loaded.  Same can be said for the techie’s family and friends computers.

  10. I’m going to pull a John C. Dvorak and state that Voice Recognition will never ever work.

    So, Dave M., you don’t believe a machine will ever pass the Turing test?  I do, in theory, and a machine that passes the Turing test obviously could have working voice recognition. Of course, we might very well blow ourselves up or poison ourselves before we get that far with AI…

  11. KPG? Is that an abbreviation I’m not familiar with, or are you referring to a user other than myself?

    That would be me, I think, but I don’t recall posting anything in this thread…..

  12. So, Dave M., you don’t believe a machine will ever pass the Turing test?  I do, in theory, and a machine that passes the Turing test obviously could have working voice recognition. Of course, we might very well blow ourselves up or poison ourselves before we get that far with AI…

    I guess not. It certainly has two of the three pieces of that machine working and remarkably human like. I have seen some pretty impressive conversations between human and computer using the keyboard. Also, when Apple introduced Leopard (10.5) they showed off some text to speech technology that makes Vista sound like the text to speech engines of 10 years ago! Truly amazing sounding.

    The problem with voice recognition is a big one. Being able to convert waveforms into text. OCR software has been doing that with graphics for years now. The problem, to use the graphics analogy again, is that the graphical text can be truly any shape and can have a lot of noise behind the text. Quite similar to what CAPTCHA systems are doing now to foil OCR software from reading the text the human is supposed to be able to read.

    The human voice has many different underlying sonic patters. Some people have sine waves, some square waves, some sawtooth waves. Each human is different, like a fingerprint. Now add accents from all over the country or world if you want to include other countries. Then add the way people speak. Run on sentences, words merged together due to the speed of the person speaking. Finally, and background noise. Now it’s possible to eliminate the background noise the way noise canceling headphones do. That would help to eliminate one problem. The others are just going to be near as to impossible to overcome.

    However, I suppose that some time in the future it might happen. Probably not in my lifetime (46 now). All you have to do is look at how slowly the technology has moved in the almost 30 years that it’s been being attempted.

  13. The problem with voice recognition is a big one.

    Indeed, Dave M.  I probably won’t live to see a machine pass the Turing test either.  I saw Shakey at SRI in high school and was blown away, but progress in AI since then has been pretty slow, as you say.

    If Leopard is that much better than 10.4.7, maybe I’ll have to break down and get it.  Sigh.

  14. Zilch, you should check out Apple’s website on Leopard. There are indeed some pretty great looking changes in store. The previous link points to the page on accessibility that shows off Apple’s new text to speach technology. Look at Time Machine too. That’s their new backup software. I can’t wait for that myself. I have been looking since I got these Mac’s and I haven’t found a backup program yet that I would be happy with.

  15. Thanks, Dave.  It does indeed look intriguing.  I might even be able to afford it in Spring, if I sell a few more bows…

  16. Is a 1.83 Ghz Presario Core Duo adequate for speedy Vista experience? The logo on my notebook is “Windows Vista Capable” not the coveted “Windows Vista Premium”

  17. I’d think a Core Duo should be more than adequate so long as you have enough RAM. Vista looks to make 1GB the standard in the years to come and most everything I’ve read about it says it’s a bad idea to try and run it on anything less than 512MB.

    I don’t know if it’ll be “speedy” but I’m running it on an AMD 2.0GHz AMD64 single core with 1GB of RAM and it seems snappy enough.

  18. If 512 is standard, then that means I’ll have to pop for some 2Gbs of Corsairs or Kingstons.

    Waiting isn’t my game, specially when spreadsheets take up half my processing experience.

    Thanks man

  19. I agree with Les. A Core Duo will be more than enough processor for Vista. Ram will be very important with Vista. The more the better.

    Don’t forget to make sure you have a capable 3D video card to be able to see the Aero effects if that is important to you.

    From what I have read, 64MB is good for 1024×768. You will need 128MB or more for higher resolutions.

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