Monday, December 18, 2006

Microsoft Vista - Impressions after Week 1

Even though I tried an early beta, I have tried very hard to keep a more "consumer" eye towards Vista as it reaches release. I installed Vista Ultimate on my wife's computer (after upgrading the memory, of course) so I could perhaps get some reaction from someone who is not knee deep in tech talk. Perhaps I was inspired from Robert's comment about the Twit podcast where Paul Thurrott said Vista was changing the way he uses his computer. (maybe he's changed his opinion) I've read some good (but hey integrating everything you've offered separately can't count as a meaningful upgrade, can it?)

But I've also read Chris's posts from back in May about Vista Mistakes and then more.

Trish was not impressed with the staid looking task bar (first question: "how do I change the color?" Answer: you really can't)
And her overall impression after one week (granted it's early) was: "It's really not that different"

(I know there are LOTS of changes under the hood but that's not something everyone (ie non-techies) will see at first glance - and when you're trying to get people to upgrade, it can be a major point.

Myself - no, I'm not impressed with the new "Explorer" look" - it reminds me of getting onto someone's computer who has an Explorer replacement. Yes, it's cool - but when I have to support multiple machines, it's just plain annoying! (and why would you change the Start button with a stupid logo? Start made sense especially for new users - it's kind of like the new icon menu in Office 2007 - it DOESN'T make it easier - and does it really save real estate?)

But more to the point:
Last week, I tried installing NovaPDF. No biggie there except that Vista CRASHED (or rather the Subspooler and something else) both times I tried. And while I like that I can hover my mouse over a window and it will appear, it was hiding the fact that the installer broke something in the OS. Strike one.

So this morning, I was moving files from my digital camera over onto the machine. I had lots of images but also some movies. So the new Windows Photo gallery comes up - nice, very handy but when I try to take a look at the video, IT crashes. Now, I know maybe I shouldn't be viewing an AVI file in a Photo Gallery but shouldn't the photo gallery say "Stop!"?

Maybe there will be more posts about Vista and end-user impressions (I still love Rick Strahl's great developer look here and here ) in the future - but taking a page from Robert when he said "when I want to find out about something, I look for 'xxxx sucks' in Google"

Vista Sucks - Google Search

I really do want to like Vista. I'm excited by so many aspects of it but I'm also dreading customers using it and asking how to do things. After running it for a week, I can't help but feel disappointed by its lack of real innovation in the interface.

I hope this is a passing disappointment but I'm not sure. When we stopped at the Chicago Apple store in early November, Trish's two immediate comments were "this is so cool" and "when I want a laptop, I want a MacBook". A little different from her review of Vista - not that much different.

2 comments:

Rick Strahl said...

Well, use it for a while and you'll be surprised just how lame XP looks when you go back...

There are many subtle things that I just can't live without anymore I don't think. The programs menu searchability (just type), Explorer bread crumbs, the back button that works almost everywhere, the Task switch views (ok I used TaskMan before but it's nice to have this built in)...

Above all though I actually find that Vista is faster and more stable than XP for me at this point.

Andrew said...

I can definitely appreciate that, Rick, and I hope to see those benefits soon. It's the learning curve that gets me. As opposed to apps (such as Office 2007) where the UI changes actually DID make it easier to do some things.

And the stability and faster item is definitely something to consider. Did you find it faster on a older (or lower RAM) machine as well?