When The Windows Blows: A Post-Apocalyptic Commentary On Vista – Part 2Written by The Average Windows Nerd on October 10, 2008 · Filed under Review, Tech
You live in a Petri Dish and you suck.
Microsoft have always treated their customers like lab rats. If the NHS were run by Microsoft, we wouldn’t be looking to NICE to test drugs. Microsoft would release every drug on to the market and then release minor drugs later on to help combat the initial drug’s side effects.
In my opinion, it’s one of Microsoft’s biggest flaws and well… They just don’t seem to learn do they?
The Public BETA of Vista was quite a noble proposition. The idea that anyone could download it, test it and provide feedback is a great idea. It makes for a great promotional tool and promises a vast and diverse test bed, leading to a theoretically more stable product and a ready-made consumer base of BETA testers waiting to get their hands on the finished product. The problem was that the BETA2 version of Vista which most people downloaded was a total dog.
I’d been fortunate enough to play around with earlier builds of Vista and of course, they were slow and not much worked.
Unfortunately, for many people at least, this was also the case with BETA2. It wasn’t all Microsoft’s fault of course. There was always going to be some nugget out there who downloaded it to his 1.8Ghz Celeron with 256mb of RAM expecting it to be usable, but I loaded it on some quite beefy systems and it was still horrible.
I think most people took a negative experience away from the Public BETA and I also think that like Windows 95, it was full of good ideas that didn’t actually work in real life. It was stoked with de-bugging code, had patchy device support and really needed 2 GB of RAM. Of course, it still needs at least 2 GB of RAM, but having that much already in your machine is lot more common now than it was back then. While Windows users were puzzling over graphics drivers and trying to find cheap RAM on eBay, Apple were promoting their latest version of OSX (“lemur” or “Stoat” or something) of which you could buy in a “deluxe version” that came wrapped in a computer which it worked with. Genius eh?
Big Mac or Fries?
When Vista finally shipped, it came in 5 main editions (Not counting the “n” or “starter” editions) which comprised of Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. These editions are all made possible because of the componentised construction of Vista which again, is a good idea. What isn’t such a good idea is the way these components are portioned out between the different versions. If you want Media Centre and comprehensive backup, you have only one option. If you want BitLocker and EFS, again, unless you’re a volume licence holder, you have just the one same option, which is Vista Ultimate. Apparently Microsoft were planning even more versions, but thankfully they never saw the light of day. Wasn’t it so much simpler with XP?
All the Vista ads flaunted the Aero interface, but many machines which went on sale came with Vista Basic which doesn’t include Aero. To further complicate matters, Microsoft had been trying to maintain hardware sales during the build-up to Vista with the “Vista Capable” logo on new PCs with XP installed. It only transpired later that “Vista Capable” meant the machine only had to be capable of running Vista Basic, not the flashy Premium version everyone wanted. What a mess.
In the final part, I’ll look at who is, who should be, and who will be using Vista and finally, for all its failures and false starts, why I would never go back to XP. Oh, and I’ll also be tearing Apple a new one. Wish me luck!
Review by ‘The Average Windows Nerd’