More thoughts on Vista

Darren likened Vista to XP as a Ford Falcon to a Plymouth Fury. Sorry Dazza, but that’s just marketing spiel kind-of crap 😉  That might make sense if you were comparing windows 3.1 to Vista, but not XP.
If you were comparing cars, you’d ask questions like , is the new car faster, more economical, more comfortable, have better security, etc.  so let’s look at those shall we…
(1) Faster… well no, not really.  It can be in certain areas, such as boot up time if you use new hardware (flash storage).  It is probably designed to work better with new hardware, so we should expect some improvements, but overall, your max speed will be limited by the programs and network you use. So for the most part, you won’t see major improvements in speed.
(2) more economical.  Probably not.  You need to consider all running costs, insurance, repairs, down time etc.  and even things such as spare part availability as these can result in extended periods of “down” time.  Because Vista is new, the drivers are new, there’s a whole generation of testing yet to be done.  So if anything there is likely to be significant ramp up costs.
(3) more comfortable.  Well the “ergonomics” of Vista certainly are different.  It reminds me of Nissan XTrail with it’s console in the middle of the dash.:
Sure looks cool, but not really practical IMO.  Some will buy it for that “new” look though.
Of course, that’s an opinion that will vary from person to person.  and in the case when the whole family is driving at once, having the dash in the centre may make sense  😉
Or in real terms, consider Mitch’s post about the start menu.  Mitch says he likes the ergonomics of it. Myself on the other hand, really dislike the new start menu. I find it looks nice but is functionally poor because I already meticulously order and cleanup my start menu. So if anything the new start menu takes longer for me to navigate, requiring more back and forth.  One thing to note, Mitch compared it to win2000, not XP.  That’s a biting issue I find with vista: if I turn off the new start menu navigation, I’m not offered the XP look and feel, instead I have to downgrade to the win2000 look and feel.  So for me, Vista would feel very much like a downgrade.  Personally, I think they could have solved Mitch’s concerns and mine much better.
See my other blog entry for more discussion on other creature comfort features I also find lacking.
(4) better security. Well that’s yet to be seen.  I am hopeful that Vista will indeed deliver this, even though Symantec says otherwise.  The run as minimal privileges concept is good, plus the work they have put into making that work is also good.  This is probably the area that is the most compelling to upgrade, for everyone, corporate and home users.  BUT, it is also new work, so some caution is advisable.  Consider airbags, when they first came out there were problems with the detonators being too powerful in minor crashes, resulting in injury especially to children and the elderly.  Now airbags are refined, and I loath to drive a car without airbags fitted.  The question you have to ask is how long will you drive your current car before you switch to the safer car.  I think given the costs, the other issues, it may well be some will wait till they crash their current car (which may be too late for some) or wait just a while, say a year or two to see how well the new car performs in road and crash tests.
(5) Other niceties..  Your view on these will depend on how appealing some features are to you.  You may find the new search compelling, yet you can have similar search today in XP. For me the search feature is a poor trade-off against good explorer navigation, at least in the current builds.
WPF, WCF, WF, will all be available on XP, so nothing compelling there.  IE7, also available for XP.
There’s probably some compelling bits around movie making or media edition bits, but I don’t have a media edition PC, so I haven’t seen that.   For most corporate customers they too will never see that 😉
All in all, I will probably move to Vista “one day” but based on the current bits, I definitely would not be in any rush, as it doesn’t run faster on my existing hardware, and it is actually harder to use IMO.  Hopefully they’ll eventually hear the feedback on that, and make the move from XP to vista a smoother one, one where it’s about gains, such as gains in security, without having to trade the way we work today and be forced to live with the “centre console” or worse, downgrade the experience to windows 2000 dash 😉

1 Comment so far

  1.   Nick K on August 16th, 2006          

    Personally, I see no reason to upgrade to Vista whatsoever. The interface is no “better”, from running 5472 I find myself more frustrated with things that were uncomplicated now being made complicated – but maybe that’s unfamiliarity.

    Saying that, my time’s expensive, so I don’t want to learn new things to do old jobs. For my clients, I’m not going to recommend Vista until 2010 at the earliest – the very earliest. What troubles me is that Microsoft poured thousands of excellent developers into something people don’t actually, really want. Would it not have been more useful, instead of fancy pictures, to have improved Windows XP with SP3 and 4 to fix the security issues it has?