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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:20 am   

First experiences with Vista
 
You knew this was coming...my first official Vista rant! (well, first rant as an actual owner/user of Vista, rather than just a rant about what I was reading second hand).

Chiara's "free" Vista upgrade for her Dell laptop came today. This laptop is only 2 months old. The only tasks she uses it for are email (Outlook), web browsing (Firefox), and some occasional MS Office work. So, except for Firefox, everything else came preinstalled. The only other changes that I had made was to rip out the McAfee suite and replace it with AVG.

In general, Dell has done a pretty good job with this. They supply a "prep" CD that uninstalls all of the Dell-related software that is updated in Vista. Then Vista installs...then Dell reinstalls the new version of their software. It's a long process, but mostly painless. The biggest worry was when it uninstalled the driver for the wireless network card. But Vista seems to have support for it built in, so it was still able to connect to the Internet.

Of course, I forgot to uninstall AVG first, and now it's complaining. So I'll have to reinstall that.

But when Vista first booted, I got several pop up dialogs, including the Control Panel of all things that I don't think a novice computer user would really know what to do with.

OK, a bit painful, but not to bad. Not something I would ever *dare* do to a computer with more complicated software on it, but fine for her simple laptop.

My rant is all about this new "Aero" interface. Correct me if I'm wrong, but all of the computer screens that I have seen have more horizontal space, and less vertical space. Especially with the newer trend towards "widescreen" displays.

Given that fact, why on Earth would Microsoft decide to change dialogs such as the control panel, Windows Explorer, etc to put *more* stuff at the top and bottom of the display??? This is crazy!!

Take Explorer as an example...

1) We have the menu bar *below* the "address" or toolbar, not at the top of the window where every GUI interface since Xerox Parc has put it. Please don't make new users look in a different place for the menu items!

2) The file information is now listed in a large bar along the bottom instead of in the sidebar where it belonged (as in WinXP). That's even less vertical space available for the file listing.

3) Who thought putting a slider in the View menu to select an item from a menu was a good idea? Someone has gone a bit crazy with fancy widgets in my opinion.

4) The caption for the window doesn't even have a title...just a big blank vertical space of "glass" just to look cool. Takes up more space for no reason. Control panel is the same way...Nowhere does it actually say "Control Panel" along the top.

Look more at the Control panel...they have this *huge* panel at the top of the window where it lists the description of the currently selected item. It's like a giant tooltip that updates (slowly) when you move the mouse over a different action. Once again, they are taking up a huge amount of vertical screen real-estate. What was wrong with putting the description in the side panel on the left like it has been for years? And we have more horizontal space available for stuff like that?

Oh yeah...half the icons in the control panel are "Microsoft Offers" with links for Windows Live, Marketplace and other useless stuff. I'll be setting all of this to any kind of "traditional" view that I can find. Talk about dumbing down the interface and putting more crap in our way of getting work done.

Geez, I'm just so mad at Microsoft for making arbitrary changes to the user interface, just to be different. I won't even get into the worthless "cool" factor of the "glass" effect and all of the fancy animations ...just wasting CPU cycles in my opinion and making the UI even more sluggish than it already is. Yes, Chiara's laptop is much slower than it was before the upgrade. And as I said, it's a recent laptop that was pretty fast running Windows XP. Shutdown and startup are also much slower. Part of it might be all of the crap that Dell still has installed. But a lot of it is Vista.

I have yet to see one thing that is an improvement over XP. Maybe I'll find something eventually. Maybe there is something in the low level architecture that is better. But I'm not seeing it yet. So far I'm seeing a pretty bloated mess of random "cool" ideas that were thrown together. I'm sure Microsoft will say that they did years of usability testing. But I'm not buying that.

Because it's a fundamental fact: computer screens have less space horizontally than they do vertically. So it is *never* more usable to put more stuff vertically instead of horizontally. Even Microsoft themselves admitted to this fact (and to the widescreen trend) when they added the new multicolumn view to Outlook in the past couple of years.

I personally think they just keep changing stuff for the sake of changing it so that people will be fooled into thinking they are spending tons of money (and don't even get me started on their new licensing) for something new.

Very very very poor first impression. Probably worse than my first impression of Windows XP (which was pretty bad because of all the hardware incompatibilities that I had at the time). I can't believe I'm going to be forced to support this stuff.

OK, rant over (for now).
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:27 am   
 
OK, sorry, it wasn't the "real" Control panel that I was complaining about...it was something called the "Welcome Center" that looked like the control panel. The control panel still has the actions on the left side where they belong. Although it took me a while to find that "Add and Remove Programs" has been changed to "Program Features" or something like that. Yet another change for no reason.

And I'm having a heck of a time uninstalling AVG. It says it uninstalls, but is still there after rebooting. Probably something to do with the changes to how Admin accounts work. Something I'm going to need to look into more. I'm going to end up spending all night on this, as expected. Sad.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:41 am   
 
It's nice that all your complaints are minor when compared to hardware incompatability.

But I do agree with you. It's the little things that they change for no reason at all that really get up my nose. That "Add or Remove Programs" thing really sounds like an example of that. That name's direct and to the point - it tells you exactly what it's for. What argument they had for changing it to something as vague as "Program Features" I'll never fathom.

And you're spot on about desktops being wider than they are tall. My total desktop space is 4000 pixels wide but only 900-1024 pixels tall. Having all that stuff stacked up is going to be really annoying.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:50 am   
 
Yeah, this "Run as Administrator" (when I *am* the Administrator) and the warning whenever any program seems to run is really going to drive me crazy. I'll probably need to start surfing for sites on how to "fix" Vista to stop doing all of this annoying stuff. Someone is going to make a *lot* of money on the "Vista Annoyances" book.

Still don't have AVG working correctly yet. Seems that some remnant of McAfee is still somewhere on the system (even though there wasn't anything before the Vista upgrade that I was aware of).

Oh yeah, and where on Earth is the "Run..." option! They took that out too!

Edited: Found the Run... command. Right-click on Start menu, select Properties. Click the Customize button. Scroll down and enable the Run option. They are just trying to protect us all from ourselves again.


Last edited by Zugg on Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:57 am   
 
The McAfee SpamKiller removal tool doesn't work. Still tries to start up. Apparently that's what AVG doesn't like. Found a way to revert the Start menu back to "classic" mode so that I could use the Run... command. At least MSCONFIG is still available. I was able to run this and uncheck the startup for McAfee. Now I'll see if I can remove it finally.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:03 am   
 
Nope, AVG still won't install Resident Shield. Still can't uninstall it...still can't install it. Running MSCONFIG to disable AVG at startup to see if that helps.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 am   
 
Well, I really hate this now. After several attempts to stop the AVG service, uninstall, delete, reboot, etc, it still wasn't working. Then I did the same thing one more time, and suddenly it gave me the normal install options instead of the Change/Repair/Uninstall options. Don't know what finally made it work.

This kind of crap used to happen with drivers in Windows 98. Sometimes you'd just have to uninstall and reboot several times for it to take effect. I really wish I knew what was going on and why it didn't work the first several times that I tried it. Something is really a mess here.

And remember, this is on an almost untouched Dell laptop that is only a couple months old. And Dell provided special tools to make the Vista upgrade go more "smoothly". I can't imagine what this must be like on a normal computer with more complicated software installed.

Geez...I was almost ready to just wipe it out and do a fresh Vista install. Unfortunately, the downside of the Dell upgrade is that it's an *upgrade* and I don't think I can install Vista from scratch with it.

Oh well, at least I have virus protection again, which is really the only thing I care about at this point. I'm just going to count myself as really lucky in that I don't have any boss or manager who will force me to use Vista. I can keep using WinXP for my development system for a *long* time. This Vista laptop is only going to be used for very basic testing and stuff. I feel sorry for Chiara who will have to deal with it on a daily basis though.

(Sorry Chiara to be the "boss" who forced Vista upon you)
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:31 am   
 
Hmm...still more problems. Apparently MSCONFIG doesn't actually work quite right anymore. Remember in WinXP that after running MSCONFIG and then rebooting you would get a warning message from MSCONFIG telling you that it had disabled some startup items (and you could then tell it not to warn you again). Well, in Vista this fails. It won't run MSCONFIG again after the reboot because it doesn't have "permission".

I swear, this whole Admin/not-Admin stuff it horrible. How in the world do I tell Vista that I *am* the Admin??!! This is crazy. Why provide a user setting called "Admin" and then complain about not having the privileges. Just because people were abusing it and running as admin all the time? OK, fine, then give me a real admin account I can use. I don't see any other admin account around here.

I also really resent the fact that when I Ctrl-Alt-Del and select the Task Manager, I now have to click on Show Processes for All Users and then click *another* confirmation dialog that I know what I'm doing. I'm not going to bed tonight until I find a way to turn off all of these crazy confirmation dialogs every time I try to do anything!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:42 am   
 
Ah-ha. For anyone else frustrated with all of these silly Admin prompts in Vista, here is a good description of the "feature" and the solution:

http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2006/09/20/windows-vista-secret-4-disabling-uac.aspx

This is just what I needed. Yes, I *know* that Microsoft claims that these prompts will help with security. But they won't. I don't know who they are talking to when then convince themselves of this, but even after just a couple of hours I'm already clicking Yes to almost every prompt that I get. Extra confirmation prompts don't help...when you get too many of them, it's like crying "wolf". Eventually you just ignore them and end up missing an actually important confirmation and then doing something really bad.

I can't believe people actually believe that all of these extra confirmations will actually help improve system security.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:49 am   
 
That's partly true and partly not. For the kind of user who they're trying to protect by adding the dialogs, they'll have done whatever it is that's asking for confirmation by accident and click "no" rather than yes, and not do whatever it was again. Those people will be helped by it.

Unfortunately, the kind of people who get pestered the most by this sort of dialog are the people who use the functions that create them more often. Remember those THESE FILES ARE HIDDEN prompts in XP when you try to access \windows\ or \program files\? So annoying :(

I'm very glad there's a way to turn it off. I have antivirus and don't run strange .exes, and use NoScript and Adblock for Firefox. Surely that's enough security for anyone.

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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:09 am   
 
I know this is kinda off topic, but AVG vs McAfee? I'm going to be getting a new notebook soon (which means most likely vista, since its hard to get a new xp based one), but most of them are coming bundled with McAfee, some with Nortons, haven't seen one with AVG. Why do you pick AVG over those other two?

On the topic of "Are you sure??" - I used to run ZoneAlarm for a time, but you're right, after the first 15 popups that say "oh you _might_ have been subject to a <something> attack" you click the "never tell me again". I think UAC is going to be a lot like that.

Back to the topic of Vista, especially for laptops due to their slow hard drives, it chugs a lot of resources. I'd say for a lappy you'd want 2gigs RAM to reduce the chugging, or investigate using the readyboost "thumb drive" thing. Personally for WinXP on a laptop I wouldn't use less than 1gig RAM, and vista is going to be a lot more hungry.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:47 am   
 
I originally picked AVG Free over anything else because it seems to be the last free (high quality) virus checker that doesn't charge for updates. I *hate* the fact that Norton and McAfee charge for yearly updates. I know they have to run a business, but charging for updates just makes people not keep their anti-virus software up-to-date. They should be able to make plenty of money from corporate accounts to give free updates to personal home users.

Well, that's exactly what AVG does. They have frequent *free* updates. When we had one of the big virus outbreaks over a year ago that trashed Chiara's last computer (because FSecure at that time hadn't done a recent update), I discovered that the site with the best and most information about the virus was the AVG site. The McAfee site didn't mention the virus for weeks, and the main Norton site never mentioned it.

Now, I finally bought the full version of AVG because it's installed on our Zuggsoft work computers, and the free version is only for personal use. But for anyone looking for excellent free anti-virus software for their personal use, I *highly* recommend AVG. There is no longer *any* excuse for not having up-to-date anti-virus software.

But from a technical point of view, I also have felt that the AVG people are more on top of virus outbreaks compared to Norton and McAfee. And I'll never deal with McAfee ever again after seeing the pain that the eLicense people went through with them many years ago when they false-detected eLicense as a virus and then refused to fix it for many weeks. I also respect the technical abilities of FSecure, but just didn't like the fact that they discontinued their free product for home use.

Finally, I really hate how hard it is to remove McAfee and Norton from a computer. This was the first time I had trouble removing AVG, and I still think it was a Vista issue.

I'd agree on the memory issue. Chiara's laptop only has 1GB, which I thought would be plenty (and probably really is for what she uses it for).

Now that I've played with Vista a bit more, I agree that some aspects are "prettier". But I just get really mad thinking about all of the *useful* changes/additions they could have made in the past 5 years instead of spending time making the X close button "glow" when you hover the mouse over it, and all of the time they spent on all of the "glass" hype. After playing with it for several hours, I have yet to see anything that I'd really call a big improvement over XP.

And I've still got a Intel network driver that errors when Windows Update tries to run it, which means Windows Update keeps bugging me that new updates are available even though it can't actually successfully install them. That means we are back to the flaky driver problems which will take months to sort out. So I definitely feel like the upgrade was a step backwards in my opinion (at least for now).

There is no way I'd pay a hundred dollars for this upgrade, and no way I would *ever* pay for the full version just to run it in a virtual VMware box. Nor will I pay for a Vista upgrade on all 4 computers in our house. They all came with legitimate copies of XP when I bought them. I'd maybe, someday in the distant future pay for a single upgrade if I could run it on all 4 computers. But with Microsoft's new licensing, that won't happen, and $400 is waaaayy to much to pay just for an OS that looks prettier and has some potentially improved security that the hackers will just find a new way around anyway.

I'll pay for quality. I'd easily pay money for something high-quality like Firefox (for example). But so far, I'm not seeing the quality in Vista that is worth any of my money. Maybe someday that will change (like it eventually did for XP). But I think it's going to be a long time.
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mr_kent
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:23 am   
 
Some Vista related links that I found interesting...

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5887
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5932
http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html
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Tech
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:32 pm   
 
I have mixed feelings about this one. I'm not ever really sure I should post since I have not even used Vista (so feel free to consider everything else conjecture). I'm no MSFT fan boy either but I can appreciate some of the challenges they face. I do believe the software is too highly priced, but admittedly it does provide a lot. And sadly much of the tangible changes are "under the hood". I'm sure their code could be leaner, but sadly I think that's true for almost anyone except you these days (and we're glad you keep trying!).

They aren't perfect but in some ways they are victims of their own success. On one hand the fan boys and the "progressives" will herald each change as bold new direction that's long overdue. For other's they need to make sure that everything is idiot proof (See Note Below). Trying to find this balance is hard and I'm sure they'll miss. What I think they need to do a better job of is tailoring installation and initial set up based on user experience. Ideally I'd like an install to rate experience (hell I'll even take a quick quiz) to choose novice, intermediate or advance set up. Novice gives you the simplest installation and fewest question with the most protective setup when it's done. Advanced would let me tailor every item I desire (like the Custom setup for Office 2003) and when it's done won't be busy getting in my way trying to protect me. Intermediate should be somewhere in between. Of course if they do this I'm sure they'll be concerns over where these lines are drawn but I think it will go a long way towards making it easy and seamless for beginners without annoying the heck out of power users who often guide and support beginners with their OS choices.

Of course they could do the Apple approach and just decide to do a clean break either in no longer supporting lots of old hardware (to reduce bloat) or give up on a lot of/if not all backwards compatibility to get the chance to code from scratch and get it right. Zugg I'm sure you'll agree it's a lot easier to make a product better, more stable etc if you don't have to worry about backward compatibility. Yes I know that it will never happen, but that's the beauty of conjecture. It can still be considered.

While there is a lot in there, and a lot left out (*cough* WinFS *cough*), in the end I suspect it may end up being similar to initial comparisons and first impression between zMUD and CMUD (allowing for some liberty). At first glance they will seem very similar but when you dig in the CMUD base in fundamentally better and should allow for a greater and better product overall. Of course I think Zugg may have a better overall QA process.


Note: Rant follows. Now I have a personal gripe with making things idiot proof. First of all there is no such thing. I have met remarkably and frustratingly inept people. At times I've even been one of them. It's not a matter of being stupid, but not getting (although stupidity can play a big factor). Coding to the lowest common denominator is not always a good thing. For one it keeps the LCD very low, but two makes it more difficult for those with aptitude at times. At some point you've got to say enough is enough and stop dumbing stuff down. I'm not saying we should all be able to use cryptic *nix commands (sed and vi take some getting used and make me love a UI) but I have a saying, "You probably shouldn't have computer if you can't figure out how to turn it on". I've seen too many bad design and implementation decisions for the sake of "making it simple" to use. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. (copyright Dennis Miller)

Getting back on topic, for the sake of MSFT, it's investors and all the folks who invariably will have to use Vista I hope it does prove to be simpler and better. I'd hate to think after all that time, code and beta-testing that they best they could develop was a piece of crap. But then again when I first went from Win2K to WinXP I wasn't terribly impressed either.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:38 pm   
 
Good post Tech.
Quote:
But then again when I first went from Win2K to WinXP I wasn't terribly impressed either.

Yeah, I made some pretty strong negative comments about WinXP many years ago too. I'm sure someone can probably still find my XP rants around here or in an archive. So, it's definitely possible for Vista to improve too.

Your comparison with zMUD/CMUD is actually a good one, at least for at this moment in time. Over time, more stuff will get added to CMUD so that in a year or so there will be no comparison with zMUD any more. But since the initial work was all in the zMUD compatibility, the fact that zMUD and CMUD are very similar is actually a good thing and is by design.

The problem with the comparison is that I don't expect to see a bunch of new stuff added to Vista any time soon. We will see tons of patches and bug fixes as usual, but I doubt we will see "big new features", like WinFS or anything like that. I think their "new stuff" will come in the form of additions to the .NET framework what will give new applications more functionality. But like with IE 7, it's possible that some of these additions will also work on XP.

It's also fine for Microsoft to *talk* about increased security in Vista, but the proof will come over time. In my opinion, hackers are pretty smart and there are a lot of them. So my guess is that we will still see security issues, viruses, etc even in Vista (and in IE and Outlook/Office as always)

Part of their problem is that XP ended up being so good. It was the first version of the NT architecture that really brought the Win95/98/ME compatibility that was needed, along with the stability. NT was a *huge* departure from 95/98/ME, which improved a lot in 2000, and then improved even more in XP. Vista is not a huge departure. It's merely a continuation of this NT-based OS. Going from XP to Vista feels a lot like going from 2000 to XP. But with XP you had a *lot* more people going from 98/ME to XP. That made XP a huge step for some people, with huge benefits. But with the majority of people happily running in XP now, I'm not sure people will find the incremental improvements in Vista enough to justify.

But I would have loved to see MS focus more on OS issues. We already mentioned the file system that got dropped. I've always wanted to see an OS-level API for things like spellchecking. I hate having so many different spell checkers all with their own custom word lists. Dealing with the language/localization settings and spelling would be a perfect function for the OS to handle, in my opinion. I'll be interested in seeing how much of their UI improvements (transparency, scaling, etc) is available via normal API (DLL) vs what you need to use .NET to get.

I'd like to have seen a lot more support for HTML in common controls. For example, they should have a Label control that allows for basic HTML markup. Right now you have to use 3rd party components for this (or .NET I think might do it). But everyone has their own HTML engine and everyone has their own XML parser. If MSXML components were improved, then maybe everyone wouldn't need to do all of their own XML parsing. CMUD probably has at least 3 XML parsers buried in it. Again, stuff that the OS should be handling so that everyone doesn't need to reinvent the wheel.

As far as the user interface that the normal user sees, I was very disappointed with this aspect of Vista as well. Microsoft really needs to look more closely at the stuff being done by StarDock with their WindowBlinds, ObjectDock, etc products. Actually, Microsoft should probably just acquire those products and put them into Windows. They need to give users more control over their desktop look/feel. Stuff like ObjectDock allows you to use PNG scalable icons, just like Apple does in OSX. In fact, more support of PNG or similar image formats would have been nice too. There are just so many examples of *useful* UI additions/improvements that MS could have put into Vista if they really wanted to focus on UI. Instead of just giving us a new "glass" theme, they should have included a theme editor to allow users to more easily create their own themes (like the StarDock StyleXP product).

The basic problem is that I seem to have the opposite opinion as the people in charge of MS. I'm all about giving users choices. This shows in my products. zMUD/CMUD have *tons* of options. I often joke that there are probably too many ways to do things sometimes. I'm all about lots and lots of flexibility. I cater to power users who want that kind of choice and power. Of course, this hurts novice users, who tend to be overwhelmed by some of the choices and options in zMUD/CMUD.

Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to be catering more and more to the least-common-denominator. They are "dumbing-down" the interface. They want an interface that works on a TV so that everyone will buy a Media Center PC for their living room. They want to hide options and make it hard to change stuff so that novice users don't get confused. That's why they have so many confirmation dialogs, hidden options, etc. It's why they have menus that only show most recently used items (preventing the user from *learning* from the menu system).

It's two completely different philosophies. It's very hard to cater to both novice users and power users. Linux caters exclusively to power users, for example. However, I think Apple is doing a better job and walking this fine line than Microsoft is. (In fact, I really love the new TV commercials from Apple which depicts Joe PC going in for his Vista "surgery" and Mac asking if he can have his peripherals...cracks me up!). I was hoping that Microsoft would learn a bit from Apple with Vista, and I guess that's why I've been disappointed.

Anyway, that's more that I really expected to post. The Windows OS is one of my "hot buttons" because on one hand I hate it when it does stupid stuff and I am forced to use it everyday, and yet on the other hand if it wasn't for Windows, I wouldn't have a business. And I know MS has a very tough job on their hands.
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Tech
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:43 pm   
 
I agree with you
Zugg wrote:
Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to be catering more and more to the least-common-denominator.

I think this really is the crux of it. I'll give 'em the benefit of doubt for some things but I'm sure the coding for Aero Glass and Media Player 11 (which I suspect the did for Vista and in the case of IE7 and WM11 made available for XP). That development time could have been used for WinFS or some other feature. Even the UI features you mentioned matter more to power users, so many folks can't tell the difference. I can't tell you how many tech folks whose monitor refresh rates I have to adjust to be higher, who seemed completely oblivious to the feature or the difference.

I know they have large novice user to power user base say 90% - 10%, so I understand the need to cater to them. But the neglect that the 10% are perhaps more influential and are who the 90% listens too. And it's easier to hide the option when it's there. As I said an install interface like I described earlier would do wonders (and a good opportunity for the OEM market I think).

Let's hope it gets better.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:06 pm   
 
Quote:
They need to give users more control over their desktop look/feel. Stuff like ObjectDock allows you to use PNG scalable icons

My bad. Apparently icons *can* use PNG files now and can be easily scaled by holding down the control key and using the mouse scrollwheel, or something like that. Since Chiara's laptop doesn't have a scroll wheel, I wasn't able to test this.

Her latest annoyance is that when it returns from Sleep mode, she has to click on her user icon, even though she is the only user on the system and even though we have passwords disabled. When she boots, Windows Vista loads directly without any sort of prompt. But for some reason, returning from Sleep mode still requires clicking the user icon. Haven't figured out a way around that one yet, but it's pretty minor.

Overall, I like the new Hybrid sleep setting...it's actually an improvement!
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:19 pm   
 
Doesn't the laptop have scrolling edges? Most recent laptops have something like that. Mine lets you drag your finger along the right and bottom edges of the touchpad, where the scrollbars would be, to scroll.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:00 am   
 
For some reason, the scrolling edges on the touchpad don't work anymore within Vista. Looks like a Dell driver issue. But I don't think those act as mousewheel events, do they?
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:54 am   
 
I haven't tried everything, but all the things I've tried, they've worked with.

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Seb
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:24 pm   
 
I don't know where the option might be on Vista, but on XP, it is "Control Panel (classic view of course!), Power Options, Advanced, and un-tick Prompt for passsword when computer resumes from standby."

There do seem to be nice new features in Vista, like much better searching, and low-priority I/O but I haven't actually seen Vista yet myself (and programs have to be written to use low priority I/O).
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Guinn
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:59 pm   
 
Disclaimer: I'm playing devil's advocate more than having a go at anyone

Zugg, what spec is Chiara's laptop? My 18month old laptop is better than a lot of 2 month old ones, despite it still being a fairly modest spec. 1GB RAM is a good start, but what sort of processor and does it have onboard or discrete GPU?

I have to admit I've never run an upgrade from one OS to another, my normal practice is to have C: purely for OS, D: for programs and documents, E for Games, F for Music etc. That way any OS reinstalls are painless because I can just reformat C: and do a fresh install knowing that everything important is being left alone. Installing apps with a new OS I don't see as a burden really - it's always a good opportunity to get rid of the various crap I've installed that never uninstalled itself correctly.

The file menu not being at the top is irritating I'll concede, but then I always use keyboard shortcuts so it doesn't bother me moving the mouse a few pixels lower.

As far as screen real estate, I've not noticed much of a difference from WinXP (my resolution on my desktop is 1280x1024, and laptop is 1400x1050). You mentioned that file details are now at the bottom instead of the side but in XP one of the first things I'd do was to turn on the status bar so that I could see details at the bottom, and I didn't like that some folders wouldn't show the explorer sidebar (with directory structure) at the left side, so for me this is a benefit to have things always as I made them in XP.

I'd never noticed the view slider but having just looked now it does seem a bit redundant. Again though, I use Alt-V for view, so I'd never even used that slider before now.

Control panel I just set to classic view, same as I do right away with XP. I don't like the categories, but it doesn't seem any better or worse than XP.
As you said, the offers are just the equivalent of the 'Welcome to Windows XP' window. Just untick the 'show at startup' and it'll never come back.

Worthless cool factor of Aero can be turned off. It does struggle on my laptop with a weak Radeon X300, but on my desktop with a decent card then it's fine. Vista automatically turns Aero off running when on batteries which saves batteries.

User Account Control is annoying and I've turned it off, but isn't it the same as Linux when you need to sudo and enter the admin password to run things with elevated privileges? Even with UAC off then things don't run as proper admin, which I like. If there are programs that need it then you can set their properties in the same place that program compatibility was in XP.

Run dialog, just press Win-R, or you can type the program name directly into the 'search' bit on the start menu. One of the reasons I don't want to go back to XP even despite some of my Vista gripes is that I'm so used to hitting start and typing 'CMUD' <enter> rather than going through 'Programs -> CMUD -> CMUD'. I really love being able to type 'excel', 'putty' etc and it'll find the program in the list rather than having to navigate through menus... seems like a nod to people that use the keyboard more than mouse which I like.

To run MSCONFIG just hit start, type 'msconfig' then right-click the app when it's found and 'Run as Administrator' - again, given you'll be using MSCONFIG so little then I don't see it as a problem to make it tough to run things like that when UAC is enabled.

As for the pricing I don't have any sympathy for North Americans, the UK pay a shedload more than you ;)

Overall my only gripe is that it's slower than XP, but feature wise I think it's an improvement.

Will read the rest later. Back to work, heh

Guinn

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:16 pm   
 
Quote:
I don't know where the option might be on Vista, but on XP, it is "Control Panel (classic view of course!), Power Options, Advanced, and un-tick Prompt for passsword when computer resumes from standby."

That doesn't help. It doesn't prompt for a password, but it still shows the splash screen and requires the user to click their portrait icon to get back into windows. In XP it works fine, but Vista seems to have this extra step required to resume from sleep mode.

Guinn: Her laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1405 (I think that's it). It's definitely not a "high end" laptop. I was just saying that it's a new laptop that doesn't have any complex software on it. It's pretty much an out-of-the-box new laptop that is "Vista ready". So I was just noting that Vista was running slower on the same hardware as XP and that it wasn't some old unsupported hardware or anything.

The Dell Vista upgrade package instructions that I followed told me to do an Upgrade of Vista, rather than a fresh install. As I mentioned, I'm not sure if the upgrade disk will allow a fresh install. But I wanted to follow the Dell instructions directly so that if I had any problems I could get support from them. I agree that if I was doing this myself, I'd probably do a fresh install of Vista and reinstall all apps. But that's not what most XP users are going to do...most XP users are going to follow the instructions given by the vendor (Dell in this case).

I realize that most of the new stuff can be turned off. But then what's the point? Yes, I have switched the control panel to "classic" just so I can find stuff easier, but that doesn't change "Program & Features" back to "Add and Remove Software". I'm OK with making changes to improve things that make sense, but it just seemed like some stuff was moved or renamed just to be different and not because it was better.

My main point is that by moving some of these things around and making some of these changes, they are actually making it *harder* for people to use Windows. They are tossing out a lot of existing training and experience. They are breaking existing UI "rules" (like the menu always goes on top) that is universal across multiple systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc) for no good reason.

That fact that stuff doesn't run as proper admin even with UAC off is becoming even more annoying. I can handle using the right-click "Run ad Admin" option. But this doesn't work when you are running the program from another source. For example, I commonly download something via Firefox and then click on the Open link in the Download manager to run the downloaded app. I understand the security issues involved in this. I'm taking the risk to run the downloaded app. But there is no way to "Run as Admin" from this download manager screen. I have to go into the Windows Explorer, find the file I downloaded, right-click and select "Run as Admin".

I can see how they were trying to make this a bit easier, but I really think they should have just gone with the linux model of "su root" to make yourself a real admin. They could have implemented a session timeout to revert back to a normal user after a period of inactivity so that you wouldn't forget that you were in "root" mode. With all of their new UI stuff, they could have made the screen look different while in "root" mode. But I think that would have been better than this prompted and temporary "Run as Admin" that they ended up with. They are just annoying the power users, and the power users are the ones that you want promoting your products.

I did discover that the Search bar in the Start menu works as the old Run... did. I agree that it is nice. Just wasn't obvious (even to me) that "Search" would actually "Run" something also. Seems misnamed to me. I was thinking that "Search" was more like the old Find Files, or the Google desktop search, or something like that.

You are right about the pricing...it's much worse outside the U.S. That just make my argument about their pricing and licensing even more. My point is that if you ask people to pay a lot of money for your software, then you'd better make it worth it. If people just wanted a "prettier" desktop, they could spend their money on StarDock products (WindowBlinds, etc). If I'm going to spent over $400 updating my computers, then I need to see *real* advantages...that's a lot of money!

I've looked through the marketing stuff on the microsoft site and I just don't see anything that is worth that much money. I know they need to run a business and someone pay for all of the development they have done for the last several years. I was just saying that in my opinion, they have seriously missed the mark. And this impacts me as a developer because it's pretty clear to me that people are going to keep using WinXP for a long time and we won't see as much conversion to Vista as we have seen with 98->Vista. I think Vista is going to be more like Windows ME (which also didn't add much value for the money). The only way many people will get Vista is when they get new hardware and have it forced on them (and when the price of Vista is absorbed by the hardware cost).

Given the increased pressure from linux, and especially Mac (with the success of OSX), I was hoping for something better from Microsoft.
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bortaS
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:21 pm   
 
"That doesn't help. It doesn't prompt for a password, but it still shows the splash screen and requires the user to click their portrait icon to get back into windows. In XP it works fine, but Vista seems to have this extra step required to resume from sleep mode."

I finally figured out how to disable this, at least on a desktop. I just turned off the screensaver. My LCD monitor put itself to sleep after a few minutes. I'm not sure how a laptop would react to this though.

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nexela
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:19 pm   
 
Quote:
The Dell Vista upgrade package instructions that I followed told me to do an Upgrade of Vista, rather than a fresh install. As I mentioned, I'm not sure if the upgrade disk will allow a fresh install. But I wanted to follow the Dell instructions directly so that if I had any problems I could get support from them. I agree that if I was doing this myself, I'd probably do a fresh install of Vista and reinstall all apps. But that's not what most XP users are going to do...most XP users are going to follow the instructions given by the vendor (Dell in this case).


From what I have read there is no way to do a clean install with an updgrade disk. you would first have to install XP and then install Vista on top of that. However there is supposedly a few ways around it. Install vista first but don't enter your activation serial or name when prompted and it will install a trial mode of vista then when that is running install your vista upgrade again this time put in your serial/name etc. Of course I have never tried this so your mileage may vary.

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