Windows Vista doesn’t rock my world

Windows Vista is now finally released, and Microsoft are banging on their marketing drum, blowing their PR horn. I had the chance to try out a release candidate of it and have also seen some of the final version. I have to be honest and say that I haven’t tested it too much, so my view probably isn’t as balanced as it should be (therefore I won’t cover deeper functionality).

But from what I’ve seen, frankly, I’m not impressed.

Some things do look nice in Vista, while others feel totally over the top; some are outright tacky. Maybe an evil comparison, but Vista, overall, give me an impression of a slightly too old woman who has put on a lot of make-up to cover up the flaws. But, sooner or later, they will shine through all the layers of mascara…

A picture of Vista

A lot of features are similar to those that can be found in Mac OS X, but with changed names, as this video points out. In all fairness, it’s impossible to tell what feature was ripped off (sorry, “inspired”) by the other company, but suffice to say, Apple got them released first. When I look at stuff like Instant Search in Vista, I can’t help but think of Spotlight in Mac OS X that has been around forever.

A picture of Instant Search in Vista

Same goes for a lot of other features: what took them so long? Sure, they have a much wider user-base, hardware setups to cater to etc. but still! There are a number of years since we saw them in OS X, so why should we wait for Microsoft to release it way later? Another thing that I find entertaining is the horde of Microsoft fans who start to drool about things like transparency, 3-dimensional window flip etc. I’m convinced that a majority of Windows users haven’t ever seen Mac OS X; otherwise, they wouldn’t be so vocal about it, but instead just be somewhat content and try to comfort themselves that Windows is at least getting better.

For instance, when it comes to productivity, compare Windows Flip 3D to Exposé in Mac OS X, and then you tell me which gives you the best overview; I know which solution I’d put my money on. Sure, Vista’s solution is eye-pleasing at a first glance, but after the initial take, what’s actually useful?

Windows Flip 3D in Vista

A picture of Vista

Exposé in Mac OS X

A picture of Vista

It’s behind, just as the web browser

Writing this, and looking at Vista, I can’t help but make the reflection that Windows Vista is just about as behind its competitors as Internet Explorer is behind all other web browsers. So, at least we have to give Microsoft that; they’re consistent. :-)

As the Microsoft Vista slogan goes:

The “Wow” starts now.

I beg to differ.

 

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Posted in Reviews/tests,Technology |

22 Comments

  • trovster says:

    Just because Spotlight has been around 'forever', this means Microsoft are not allowed to add the feature now, even though it is extremely useful? Same goes for Exposé. OK they've copied from OSX, and of course they're not going to acknowledge that fact, but that's how large companies work…

  • George says:

    I got the Beta last year and thought that the interface design was Apple all over, but not done quite so well.

    As for using it, there are certainly improvements but it was intensely irritating that pretty much when I wanted to anything I was greeted with a pop up asking me for permission.

    I don't use a different OS because I dislike Microsoft, I just think there are better, more intuitive and easy to use options available. Vista hasn't changed my opinion.

  • icaaq says:

    Can I turn of all those flashy things if I install it?

    I just want a OS that works, and not "a flip, turn and morph everything you can imagine OS".

    Cheers.

  • If one is after a flashy desktop the “Wow” about Vista will probably get stuck in the throat when they see Beryl
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD7QraljRfM http://www.beryl-project.org/

    ;-)

  • Kalle says:

    Martin Odhelius: Exactly, or when they see the powers of XGL.

    Regarding the Spotlight and Exposé features, many recently released Linux distributions have similar features- but since Linux is Open Source I believe it is all right for them to get inspired by other systems features, because they aren't making any money from it.

  • The "Wow" factor certainly was five years ago.

    The saddest thing about their Sidebar is the blaspheming similarity with OSX's widgets. Copying the Dashboard is one thing, but come on, think of some new "gadgets".

    The same goes for the Chess game. It's not even a useful thing to have in an OS, but Microsoft copied it all the same.

  • For the average user, there's very little in Vista to make it a compelling upgrade. Hence the relative lack of excitement surrounding its launch.

    I also think XP2007 would be a more honest name, since it's hardly the groundbreaking change in architecture OSX represented over OS9, or what was promised when Vista (then Longhorn) was announced.

    Disappointing, Microsoft should stick to making games consoles :D

  • Johan says:

    How about: asta la vista, vista! (see you later)

  • The only problem at all with feature migration is Microsoft lack of acknowledgement. (There may be problems with patents and things like that, but let's not worry about that. Legality is an entirely different matter from morality.)

    Innovation should only put you ahead for a short period of time. After an innovation is released, it becomes a good idea or a bad idea; good ideas should be emulated, while bad ideas should be avoided. It's best for the consumer if good ideas become ubiquitous. Then, new innovations can occur, and start the process all over again. It's how progress happens.

    It's not like these features require super-geniuses to think of them. Searching an optimized database of files/content/metadata, for example, is pretty much the most obvious thing to do to improve searching. It wasn't feasible before processors increased in speed, and now that they have the ability, the right to use it shouldn't go to the company that released the first OS since it became possible.

    I think that Microsoft should admit that Apple did it first, and be unabashed. I suspect that there my even be a few brilliant innovations in Windows that OS X would love to borrow in the next iteration. Progress runs on.

  • RobertDM says:

    I've seen little or nothing to impress me in vista or to make it worth the money or wait for it's release. It's a bit of IE7 feeling all over again: still not as good as the competition… I have no intention of migration to Vista since I've already decided to switch to Mac at the end of this year and for my present windows machines XP will do just fine…

  • Jon says:

    In the same area I can't help to wonder what HP means in their latest commercials with the slogan "The computer is personal again". Exactly what makes the HP personal? Or what do they mean with "again" for that matter? It's about as unpersonal as any other PC computer running Windows is, and it's never been any way neither. Makes me laugh. :)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Phil,

    Most definitely.

    trovster,

    Absolutely not. Good features shold be implemented. What I question is the time it has taken for them to do it, and the quality of the implementation, in some cases.

    Martin, Kalle,

    Yes, that's nice stuff!

  • Michael says:

    I really don't understand Microsoft at all. They copy ideas then try and pawn it off like they invented it. Vista to me looks 'Tacky' and I switched to Mac a few years back because Windows lack of imigination and usefulness. Vista just confirms my thoughts and I dont regret switching one bit. Mac offers a seemless easy to use interface. All vista has done is pile alot of gadgets and gizmo's into a Tacky interface which has resulted in a operating system were you are bombarded with alot of useless crap to be honest. I cant wait for Mac Leopard.

  • Johan Olsson says:

    As a Windows user between 1992-2004, i've seen and used some five or six different Windows versions. For the last two years I have owned a mac and used OS X. And i must say that OS X is lightyears ahead of Windows.

    While Windows feels like a graphical and technical patchwork of quick-fix solutions, it feels like the people at Apple has actually sat down and tried to make an OS that's good from the start. And one that is practical, and easy to use. Take that window-flipping expose ripoff for example; as Robert points out, it doesn't seem that useful. The reason that I use Expose in OS X is because it speeds up my work (it's a lot faster than alt+tab), not because it looks pretty.

    I don't care if MS rips off OS X completely. All I want is a good OS, as good as or better than OS X. And I doubt that Vista is such an OS (i mean, look at the deal with the shutdown options: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Shut-Down-Alternat… )

    One of Microsoft's company policies is "Eat your own dogfood", i.e. if you develop a product, use it yourself to get your own user experience. Seems the problem with MS is that they only been eating dogfood for the last twenty years.

  • adam says:

    IMO XP was a real improvement when it came out (and at the time better than Linux?) and actually makes using a PC pleasant rather than infuriating (i.e. it crashes much less often than it used to).

    Having said that I doubt Vista can improve that much over XP as it seems to me that XP was the real jump forward. All the whizz bangs are nice but underneath it's still windows. I certainly won't be paying for an upgrade when I can get Linux for free.

    Ironically, the only thing at the moment stopping me from installing Linux on a dual boot is the worry that I will wreck my XP install!

    I guess I should just back it all up and lace up my boots, as they say.

    ;-)

    ads

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Michael, Johan, adam,

    Thanks for your comments!

  • Linni Felkel says:

    Why not just be satisfied with your Apple and shut up about Microsoft??

    Microsoft is more successful than Apple, even baboons know that ;-)))))

    Cheers from Germany!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Linni,

    Microsoft is more successful than Apple

    Absolutely. But do you think that is due to having the better product or just business decision in the past?

  • [...] ver had). It was then followed by XP, which has been around forever, and now Vista is out (my take on Vista). Since about a year ago, my home computer is a MacBoo [...]

  • kimblim says:

    @Harmen & a lot of other Mac users:

    Widgets were NOT – I repeat, NOT – Apple's idea. They have been around for years, first as Konfabulator, now as Yahoo Widgets. That Apple integrated them into the OS first, does not make it their idea. Just like a GUI wasn' t Apple's idea, but Xerox's.

    That Apple and Windows take inspiration from each other (yes, Apple looks at Windows too, example: http://brandonlive.com/2007/02/11/cupertino-start… is not a bad thing, but a great thing for the users! And for the competition, because that means that the OS that does the best job with the task at hand wins. Simple as that.

    I use Windows and don't mind Macs one little bit. It's only those newly converted users who wish to convert me too, that bothers me ;) Why not just be happy with your OS, instead of bashing others? It's not like Windows is being evil to you, when you use OSX, is it?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    kimblim,

    Generally, I agree with you. The most important thing is that everyone's happy. The problem to some, though, I think is that a lot of people can be very loud about their OS without ever having seen any other options.

    So, for me personally, I met Microsoft fanatics almost every day, who haven't seen anything else, but are convinced that Microsoft is best at everything.

    But please, take this post as my personal review of it, and of course it's ok for other people if they don't share my opinions.

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