Friday, January 23, 2009

File this under "faint praise"

I've done my best to stay far, far away from Vista. My work machines still use XP, and I'm fine with that (as opposed to Vista). I've loved the Mojave ads with people saying "hey this doesn't really suck" and then being told that it's Vista. (Oh dear, the Mojave experiment site linked above is bloated and takes forever to load. What's new?) If your ad campaign is "hey look this great product we have actually isn't as bad as you think" something has gone wrong.

Well, today Pogue reviews Windows 7. It's not a new Windows OS, it's basically Vista with some of the inexorably horrid parts stripped. Pretty much the whole article is made up of grafs saying things like "You know that really awful feature of Vista? Well for $150—or a free beta if you download today or tomorrow—you can get rid of it!"

Such as:

Trouble is […] the much-despised, Orwellian-named User Account Control […] was way too suspicious, demanding your name and password even when it was just little old you making innocent changes (like setting your computer’s clock). In Windows 7, you can tone U.A.C. down — eliminating the warnings, for example, when you, the human, are the one making changes.

Oh, yay, a security feature that is probably mostly theater (it works great until someone hacks your password, too) is dumbed down.

Even in the test version, you can feel that a lot of things are faster: starting up (40 seconds on my three test machines), shutting down, reconnecting to wireless networks, copying files and inserting flash drives, for example. It’s no Windows XP

Tremendous. Three years on and it's still slower than its predecessor.

As Microsoft puts it: “If it works in Windows Vista, it will work with Windows 7.” That’s not great, but what else can Microsoft do?

Still not backwards compatible.

And these are the best things he can say about them. The article's title, "Hate Vista? You might like Microsoft's sequel" seems a bit too laudatory.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Part 22: HUNG

Follow this timeline, if you will:

Thursday, 5:20: Start-->shut down-->yes, I want to shut down. The computer begins to shut down. Sometimes, it will hang at this point and tell me that another program has not closer properly and two dialogues later it will begin the shutdown process.

Thursday, 5:21: Seeing no issues (although the computer, as usual, is taking forever to shut down) I turn off the screen and go home.

Thursday, 5:22ish: Apparently, it decides not to shut down.

Friday, 9:02: I go to turn on the computer to find that it hasn't shut down. I can't get it out of the cycle, so I say "OK" to the dialogue and let it begin the process.

Friday, 9:03: I go off to the mail room and lunch room.

Friday, 9:05: I return, and find the computer with a soothing, empty blue screen, which would be great, except that there's nothing productive I can do with a soothing, blue screen.

Friday, 9:06: I try moving the mouse (it moves). I try Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Nothing. I try it again. Nothing.

Friday 9:07: I crawl under my desk and unplug the machine.

Friday, 9:08: I plug it back in and push the power button. It starts.

Friday, 9:09: I log in and begin my day.

Now, you'd think that an energy efficiency organisation would employ an operating system which would shut down (and not draw power all night) and that it would be worth my time in increased productivity not to spend ten minutes making my computer work. Ha.