Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Experience With Windows Vista

I've been using Windows Vista for about 2 months now. Not to mention my prelaunch involvement in beta testing Websites to work with Vista and IE7. This is one of the sites I built for Microsoft Partners and Windows Vista. Here are my first impressions of Microsoft's new OS. On first look/first impression, I thought, “Wow, it looks like Mac OS X.” It appears that Microsoft has “borrowed” some style ideas from the Mac OS platform. But this is something that will be pretty obvious to anyone who looks at it. So let’s get into other things.

First off, installation: The installation for Windows Vista is now completely GUI based, which is a pretty nice feature if fear command lines. But the thing that impressed me about the installation wasn’t the GUI, it was the speed. It only took about half as long to install as XP does. This is nice for someone like me who tends to wipe and reinstall pretty often.

Next, Drivers: I installed this on my Laptop, and right out of the box Vista had drivers for everything except my flash card reader and the scroll bars on my touchpad. I was able to get these drivers from Dell however so everything is working fine. When I reinstalled XP Media Center, I had to download and install drivers for almost everything, so again, with my past history of reinstalling, this is a plus as it takes much less time to get drivers installed.

Software: Most software that I use, if it has compatibility issues with vista, they have released a fix, or a new version, with the exception of Microsoft’s software. The program I had the absolute hardest time getting to work was Office 2007. This is not old software, it was only released a little while ago. In order to get it to run properly, I had to install Office 2003, then upgrade. How lame is that. Visual Studio 2003 and 2005 both say that they have compatibility issues each time you try to run them, and SQL Server 2005 just barely released SP2 which is supposed to make it Vista Compatible. I find it interesting that the people who had the longest time to make their software compatible with the new OS are taking the longest time to do so.

Other: The new look is nice, it eats up way too much memory, but it is nice. The navigation and search capabilities are awesome, as well as its power saving features for Laptops. The only problem is you have to have a pretty beefy laptop just to run it. Luckily I do. The gadgets are kinda cool. Their basically the hmtl/javascript based gadget/widgets that you can get from yahoo, google, stardock, or mac, but still nice. My favorite feature so far has been the hibernate, which they tried to do in XP but it just sucked. Now with my laptop, it’s all I use. Makes it real nice to be able to start working exactly where you left off.

The next thing I want to talk about is the UAC (User Account Control). Mac made a pretty funny commercial about this new "feature". Now the Mac parody of this, is not too far off. One of the first things I did upon discovering this annoyance was completely disable it. But that's not enough. After you disable the UAC, you get a pop up down in the lower right corner every time you start the computer and other times just because that tells you that it has been disabled and click here to enable it. Now, to disable UAC is a pain in the butt, but to enable it, all you have to do is click the link. So, if you don't want to be annoyed by that popup all the time, you actually have to go in and disable the pop up as well. Who thought this thing up? All it did for me was make me nice and angry and waste my time.

Well, I could go into detail about many other things, but this is the base. Basically I believe that if Microsoft can work out the bugs between Vista and its own software, and at least tone down the UAC, they’ll definitely have a decent OS.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

About time

Well, I've actually decided to point my domain name to my blog. I think that it's about time.

Today I came to the realization that if you want to win anything in a contest at my company, your entry had better have something to do with the company. Example: we had a contest for love song lyrics for Valentines Day. Here are the official instructions.

Enter the (Company Name) Love Song Lyrics Contest.

It's easy to enter. Just submit your original love song lyrics to Danielle no later than Friday, Febuary 9 at 4:pm.

Then below, they wrote out some lyrics to a song by Air Supply as an example. So I thought to myself, "Hey, I'd like a prize." So I composed some lyrics. Not my best work, but pretty decent I thought. So they chose 3 winners, and all 3 were lyrics written to the tune of existing songs and all about the company. While they were clever, I thought the contest was more than another "fun" way to poke fun at the company. But that's how it's been with every contest that they've had here since I started working here almost a year ago. So you'd think I'd have learned by now that that's just the way it's going to be and maybe if I really want to win, I'll conform, but probably not.