Vista underrated

On Thanksgiving the hit of the day (other than our two turkeys) was our photos that were playing on our HD screen — Maryam’s mom watched them for hours. They were coming off of a Vista machine located in my office upstairs. The photos were streaming through my Xbox. Everyone commented that they thought that was mondo cool.

It’s something that you can only do with the Xbox and Vista’s version of Media Center is much better than the one you can buy with XP.

After playing with Vista, I think it’s underrated. I have a new Voodoo box that AMD is loaning me. It sits next to PodTech’s MacPro — both playing on my 30-inch Apple monitor.

Ryan Stewart notices something that I notice too. Outside of the tech world there isn’t the hatred of Microsoft that exists on some blogs. Normal people don’t care that Vista was two years late. They aren’t like Chris Pirillo and won’t notice that some of the UI isn’t consistent.

They’ll just see the photos on their friend’s Xbox and say “I want that.”

Chris Sells might be biased (he works at Microsoft) but he’s right. Vista rocks and is way underrated.

UPDATE: although it does have its problems. Joel Spolsky has been talking about the start menu and shutting down functionality, which prompted  Moishe Lettvin to write about his experiences as a developer on the team that implemented that feature. That matches my experiences too. Microsoft has too many committees. They suck the life out of everything (which is why I made fun of the sound — that’s a metaphor for a lot of what’s wrong at Microsoft lately).

66 thoughts on “Vista underrated

  1. Pingback: Tyner Blain
  2. Robert, I hate to agree with everyone, but you are too easily impressed. I’ve beta’ed Vista, and am a developer on it – and it really is very little to shout about.

    It’s all very well talking about better audio etc – the reality is that most PC’s I’ve tried it on – there wasn’t even a Vista driver available for. i.e There was NO sound – not “better” sound. Admittedly Windows Update subsequently supplied a driver.

    Networking faster? As many have said, this is as yet unproven and for most people the bottle neck is not the networking stack anyway – it’s some bottle neck between them and the system they are trying to reach.

    The hardware requires are ridiculous too. Why is it that on a 3GHz Hyperthreaded 2GB RAM system with a high end NVidia card, it’s MUCH slower than XP – even to the extent that when a window is dragged, there is VISIBLE latency between the mouse cursor moving and the window dragging to catch up with it!

    These are just 3 of my bug bears, I’m sure others have more!

  3. Robert, I hate to agree with everyone, but you are too easily impressed. I’ve beta’ed Vista, and am a developer on it – and it really is very little to shout about.

    It’s all very well talking about better audio etc – the reality is that most PC’s I’ve tried it on – there wasn’t even a Vista driver available for. i.e There was NO sound – not “better” sound. Admittedly Windows Update subsequently supplied a driver.

    Networking faster? As many have said, this is as yet unproven and for most people the bottle neck is not the networking stack anyway – it’s some bottle neck between them and the system they are trying to reach.

    The hardware requires are ridiculous too. Why is it that on a 3GHz Hyperthreaded 2GB RAM system with a high end NVidia card, it’s MUCH slower than XP – even to the extent that when a window is dragged, there is VISIBLE latency between the mouse cursor moving and the window dragging to catch up with it!

    These are just 3 of my bug bears, I’m sure others have more!

  4. “James: no compelling reasons? Let’s see. Networking is way faster (the whole stack was rewritten). Security is way better (far less chance that you’ll get a nasty). Audio is way better quality (the whole audio stack was rewritten). The UI is way better. And there’s tons of other things too.”

    Regarding networking: Let’s see some benchmarks, and if any long-term problems with existing applications exist. A new network stack’s non-trivial, and worth scrutiny.

    Regarding security: It’s far past time to see improvements here, but I’m glad steps are being taken. Unfortunately nobody I’ve talked to likes the security popups, and the periodic failure of the notifications to make themselves visible or appear above other windows results in a frustrating user experience.

    Regarding the audio: Glad to hear (no pun intended) that the quality’s improved, though most of the problems I’ve noticed could be blamed on sound card driver writers cranking up the gain to compensate for weak speakers, or hardware issues. What’s making a lot of gamers (and numerous other users) furious is the fact that the DirectSound3D HAL is now gone, as is any way for the hundreds of applications written to take advantage of Creative Labs’ EAX library. The removal of hardware audio acceleration is frankly really stupid.

    “Nah, you’re right. No compelling reasons. Hell, why don’t we just go back to Windows 3.11. According to you there’s no compelling reasons to be on XP. ”

    I don’t think he was seriously endorsing this path. His beef is with what he perceives to be a lack of features worth making the jump from an operating system whose weaknesses are generally known and identified to something which offers features which he believes are inessential, effectively serving only to increase hardware requirements and being a likely vector for other new problems.

  5. “James: no compelling reasons? Let’s see. Networking is way faster (the whole stack was rewritten). Security is way better (far less chance that you’ll get a nasty). Audio is way better quality (the whole audio stack was rewritten). The UI is way better. And there’s tons of other things too.”

    Regarding networking: Let’s see some benchmarks, and if any long-term problems with existing applications exist. A new network stack’s non-trivial, and worth scrutiny.

    Regarding security: It’s far past time to see improvements here, but I’m glad steps are being taken. Unfortunately nobody I’ve talked to likes the security popups, and the periodic failure of the notifications to make themselves visible or appear above other windows results in a frustrating user experience.

    Regarding the audio: Glad to hear (no pun intended) that the quality’s improved, though most of the problems I’ve noticed could be blamed on sound card driver writers cranking up the gain to compensate for weak speakers, or hardware issues. What’s making a lot of gamers (and numerous other users) furious is the fact that the DirectSound3D HAL is now gone, as is any way for the hundreds of applications written to take advantage of Creative Labs’ EAX library. The removal of hardware audio acceleration is frankly really stupid.

    “Nah, you’re right. No compelling reasons. Hell, why don’t we just go back to Windows 3.11. According to you there’s no compelling reasons to be on XP. ”

    I don’t think he was seriously endorsing this path. His beef is with what he perceives to be a lack of features worth making the jump from an operating system whose weaknesses are generally known and identified to something which offers features which he believes are inessential, effectively serving only to increase hardware requirements and being a likely vector for other new problems.

  6. I’m not a geek and I hate Microsoft as much as I would any bloated, stupid, monopolizing company anywhere. But I dont know how to set up other operating systems and, frankly, will end up with Microsoft stuff by default.

    Please feel free to educate the millions of us “quiet desperation” types, heh heh.

    Neath

  7. I’m not a geek and I hate Microsoft as much as I would any bloated, stupid, monopolizing company anywhere. But I dont know how to set up other operating systems and, frankly, will end up with Microsoft stuff by default.

    Please feel free to educate the millions of us “quiet desperation” types, heh heh.

    Neath

  8. OK, better networking would be a good benefit to corporate users. Security? What, have they finally closed all those ports they thoughlessly left open? Great, its about time, but that is more of a ‘way overdue fix’ then a benefit of a new OS.

    Win 3.11? Thanks but I prefer NTFS and the ability to recognize partitions over 2gb, just to name two improvements since then. But NTFS is looking a little long in the tooth and when will we be free of the tyranny of the DLL?

    The GUI might be better, but since XP was a step backwards, they really had nowhere else to go.

    Is Vista faster, can it run with less power, does it have a new file system (WinFS)? 128mb dedicated video card to run Aero, come on, that’s a joke.

    I expected a lot more from MS for five years of development. Apple puts out updates like this every year or two. They may charge for it, but they don’t call it a new os, they just add another .x and change cats.

    To be fair, MS has more legacy issues to deal with then Apple so it is not fair to compare the two. as they really are two very different animals.

  9. OK, better networking would be a good benefit to corporate users. Security? What, have they finally closed all those ports they thoughlessly left open? Great, its about time, but that is more of a ‘way overdue fix’ then a benefit of a new OS.

    Win 3.11? Thanks but I prefer NTFS and the ability to recognize partitions over 2gb, just to name two improvements since then. But NTFS is looking a little long in the tooth and when will we be free of the tyranny of the DLL?

    The GUI might be better, but since XP was a step backwards, they really had nowhere else to go.

    Is Vista faster, can it run with less power, does it have a new file system (WinFS)? 128mb dedicated video card to run Aero, come on, that’s a joke.

    I expected a lot more from MS for five years of development. Apple puts out updates like this every year or two. They may charge for it, but they don’t call it a new os, they just add another .x and change cats.

    To be fair, MS has more legacy issues to deal with then Apple so it is not fair to compare the two. as they really are two very different animals.

  10. Robert -

    In regards to, “Outside of the tech world there isn’t the hatred of Microsoft that exists on some blogs.”, what about the arts / graphic design comunity? I see hatred like that (or, maybe severe dislike) quite a bit.

  11. Robert -

    In regards to, “Outside of the tech world there isn’t the hatred of Microsoft that exists on some blogs.”, what about the arts / graphic design comunity? I see hatred like that (or, maybe severe dislike) quite a bit.

  12. “Diego: you take that comment out of context. Vista shipped on time after the reset about two years ago (translation: the schedule was changed, and they stuck to that, which greatly impressed me).”

    Ahh, OK, fair enough. But the whole resetting the date is a joke. I can reset the schedule as much as I want and I’ll always deliver on time :)

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