Vista, the view is not that bad…

Much ink (both real and virtual) has been wasted decrying the faults of Microsoft’s Vista OS.  While I don’t run it on my main box, I do run it on my game/media center box,  Back early last year when Vista was released, the graphics drivers sucked and gave the OS a bad name.  Since then, much has changed…for everyone but the pundits that is.

The Linux community (of which I am a part) is the worst offenders.  Most of them have never used Vista…they are ignorant and each time they open their mouths it proves their stupidity.  The Apple folks are just as bad.  Most of them base their views on Windows 98.

MS is a hulking behemoth of a company, it is fun to rip on them.  However, most people are using Vista without problems, so to tell them that Vista is a mess just does not jibe with reality.  You might get away with telling a blind person that black is white, but as soon as you try it with a sighted person you are seen as the ignoramus that you are.

I don’t like MS and I don’t like Vista.  I don’t like WGA and I don’t like vendor lock-in–that does not a sucky OS make.

So for the Linux zealots who are decrying Vista as a flop, who are seeing it as a boondoggle, kindly educate yourself before making the rest of us look as ignorant as you.

Sure I would like more compatibility with my older games.  But Media Center is far and away best of class…it is the one that all others seek to emulate.

I would like to see MS dry up and blow away as much as anyone, but telling lies that fly in the face of reality will not hasten that.


Funny Vista Error Message

I’ve been using Windows Vista since the release of beta 2.  Even now, months later I am still finding unexplored areas of the new operating system.  While poking around in the vastly updated Event Viewer, I found an event error that led me to wonder at my “upgrade”..

Evidently, ntoskrnl.exe is impacting the performance of Windows…possibly causing a decrease in performance…hmmm…  While MS does not have a solution, the only one that I can come up with involves inserting a CD and rebooting.

To give Redmond a small break, this is Vista Ultimate 64-bit running in VMWare Workstation 6 beta.

Will Vista be finished?

Only 12 more days until Vista is unleashed on the public. Will it be finished? If the average user experience is comparable to mine, MS is in deep doo doo. No amount of excuses and/or blame is going to be sufficient to keep MS out of hot water.

You know the spinning beach ball in the Mac? Well MS has implemented a similar feature. About half the time that I click on Computer or Documents or any explorer applet, the computer just stops–nothing happens. Click it again…nothing, click it again….nothing…. Huh? Click on control panel, let’s go see what error messages are being generated….BAM! Windows all pop open, every desperate click is turned into an open window. No rhyme, no reason…totally annoying.

Also, do you know anyone who does not use DIVX? I don’t. Still there is no DIVX codec for playback on Vista. If you install the old one, every time you navigate to a directory with a DIVX avi in it, the computer hangs. The “com surrogate” crashes repeatedly, you spend the next minutes trying to get a head of the error warnings.

All of the pretty eye candy in the world will not hide the fact that this is the buggiest Windows release since Win 95.

I just ordered a computer without an OS. Can I trust it to make Vista my primary OS? No way! The first thing I will do when the box arrives is put XP on it. XP for games and virtualization, Vista is too buggy for either. Next I will put Vista on a partition, I have hopes that I can at the least use it as a workstation (Dreamweaver, photoshop, Office…). Then finally I will put 64-bit Opensuse on it…my true workstation.

Sadly, I have been forced into the role of MS Apologist. But I don’t mind making excuses for beta software…hell, it is beta. But this is the final release of a $400 OS! Twelve days from now, the gloves come off and the excuses for this sad train wreck of an OS comes to an end. Come on MS, get it together. 5 years in the making….and this is the best you can do?

When Vista goes on sale in 12 days, I will do a clean install….I expect it to work…$400 is a lot of money! But I have no hope to match my expectations.

Too sad….

Windows Vista on an Averatec C3500

This post is meant to save you the trouble of attempting to install Vista on an averatec convertible tablet pc.  It won’t work.  You can muck with it, install the XP drivers, click through all the errors, prevent startup applications, hack the registry…and almost make it work.  After a day of struggling I had everything working with the exception of screen rotation.

If you want to give it a try, get an external usb mouse ready before you start.  I did both an upgrade and a new install with similar results…I think I had more stuff working with the clean install.

Off the bat, no digitizer, scroll pad, or wireless–use MS update to get sound and video working, then install the other mentioned hardware using updated versions for XP from the averatec support page.  The software utilities from averatec don’t work, so not extra button support, no screen rotation.

Obviously Aero does not work with the crappy sis graphics, but it is peppy enough to use…if you can get past the no screen rotation thing.

If Averatec or MS make updates….and this suddenly works…let me know.

10 Things I Love About Vista (RC2)

The caveat being that MS may flub these before the final release.

  1. The application by application volume control, very nice.
  2. Removing Windows Update from its IE integration, about time!
  3. Calender/Contacts, much needed.
  4. Windows Explorer, I like the different views, I like the favorite links (stolen from OS X), I like the breadcrumbs, mostly pleasant.
  5. Included applications are nice; IE, WMP, Mail, Photo Gallery—very nice competitive applications, no longer second rate.
  6. Performance. Even the RC2 performs as fast as XP on the same hardware.
  7. Backward application compatibility. I am glad that I don’t need to replace Photoshop 7 or Dreamweaver 8.
  8. Standard type home folders, just like every other multi user computer on the planet.
  9. The way that MS managed to improve the user experience without breaking with tradition—no mean feat.
  10. Start button/menu no longer looks like it was meant to work on a computer designed by a clown.

10 Things I hate about Vista (RC2)

The caveat being that Vista has not been released, these things may be fixed in the final version.

  1. Aero. The default theme in Vista is garish. While not as clown looking as XP, the default colors and transparencies are uninspired eye candy. I converted to windows standard theme after a couple of days…I like it.
  2. The shutdown/restart commands are hard to get to. MS has opted to make sleep easy to get at and the rest a PITA.
  3. The crippled home versions. Just like in XP, the home versions are going to be lacking features that will drive me crazy. Will I have to reboot in safe mode to change permissions?
  4. Media Center is over complicated, it lost the simple elegance that MCE 2005 had.
  5. Baked in DRM! Protected User Mode Audio, Protected Video Path, Rights Management Services, etc…
  6. Windows Genuine Advantage—caused me nothing but grief on XP—with legal OS! Unacceptable to change the rules as we play the game.
  7. Windows Sidebar. This implementation is even worse than Apple’s.
  8. Windows Indexing crashes about every 10 minutes, search is over rated and under developed.
  9. The MTV Urge service, why the heck can I not disable this? What is the registry hack to get rid of this?
  10. Vista is essentially adware. Ads for MS services are spread throughout. MS is definitely following Apple’s lead in the distribution of adware/crippleware.

Honorable Mentions:

No support for syncing Win Mobile 5 devices to do anything useful.

How do I get back the ftp integration in Windows Explorer?

Why do all the aps and services start with “Windows”? Are they concerned that I might forget which OS I am using?

User Account Controls.

Double Click/Single Click and when to use them.

Vista RC2

Been using RC2 as my primary desktop for a couple of days…must say that I am impressed…it mostly works as expected.  But it is fugly.  The UI needs work before release.  The non-Aero theme is nice, it is much less clownish than XP.  But Aero?  Crap.  Open media player and play a song, the song info is all fuzzy and ugly.  Open multiple windows, to tell which one is active look for what is supposed to be a shadow–but in reality is just blurry edges.  I am certain that MS has the ability to do better than this.

So it is my belief that MS MUST have some UI appeal up their sleave.  Some refresh that they are keeping hidden until release…..or is it just wishful thinking?

Come on Microsoft, get it together.  I am getting a little tired of making up excuses for your software.