Monday, November 12, 2007

The obligatory Vista review..

OK,OK, so this site is called CPUBBQ, and I have yet to "barbeque" a CPU, or even review one. But to be honest, "SoftwareBBQ" makes no sense and/or sounds too geeky, so here we are.

Anyway the dead horse I am flogging today is called "Microsoft VISTA".

Installation was easy. Having tried every version of Windows ever, and many versions of other software, I have to say that this all went pretty smooth.

Having some kind of underlying requirement for my desktop to look as awesome as possible (I blame my childhood), I went straight for Aero, but how do I turn it on? I could see it was sort of on, since when I used "Alt TAB", I got the (not)3D effect of the windows being presented in trimetric elevation and looking a bit cool, also some of the window headings, which were sort of transparent, but that was about it. I looked around a bit more, then ALOT more and found out I was already using Aero and THATS IT!, like what???

All these people that have been talking about "Aero eye candy", like it was Jessica Alba, mixed with a ferrari, and talking like the chick out of Max Headroom, and that was it???, It was more like a mix of FoxNews, A book on flower arangement, and one of those clothing labels that say "Don't remove this label".

In six years we have come from XP to this?, and all those stupid Hardware requirements. Where is the 3D desktop? (I mean actual 3D - you know - DEPTH!) not just lame rotating jpgs et al.

The Inane messages;
We all know and loved the crazy old message we used to get from windows, such as "The thesaurus is not in the thesaurus" and "That font is not available, do you want to use it anyway?". There was a smug satisfaction in the fact that the messages were a bit crosseyed, and windows was'nt really sure what was going on, but was sort of muddling through, like the old guy at the petrol station, not quite sure how the cash register works.

Welcome to the bad new days;

I know that someone invloved with "Clippy" was involved with this. I can't prove it, I don't need to. Evil stupidity like this never happens in the same place twice by chance.

It seems like they have been moved from MS office to the operating system, and rather than sitting on their laurels with that all time low (Clippy), got a Kanga hammer and started digging.

Why is it bad? firstly unlike the crazy messages we used to get with Windows, this one is completely intentional, and thereby berift of anything but the most dark ironic humour.

Secondly; having shown people how to use computers for over 20 years, I know, that you never tell them that anything they can type (or click) will "damage" the computer. Yes they may delete data, but they are far more likely to do so if they are terrified of the machine.

I was trying to think just how a mouse could "... potentially damage your computer...", and realised that the only way you could "damage a computer" with a mouse, would be to open up the case and smash the innards with the mouse repeatedly,
holding it by the cord for extra effect, and maybe in slow motion with the soundtrack to 2001 a Space Odyssey playing in the background. like the scene with the Ape and the bones.....

The fact that the testers were aware that the operating system could cause this kind of cro-magnon regression on the users, shows at least that they have tested it, and were aware, at least sub-consciously, of what it could cause a person to do. Although the message would probably be more accurate if it said at the bottom "Messages like this may potentially cause you to smash your computer to bits!", but maybe thats where the legal department got involved.

I won't bore you with the further examples of this, but they are repeated to a point worth mentioning, that if you had'nt already been going to "...potentially smash your machine to bits..", you were now "..potentially going to throw it out the window..".

More of the same - only different.
Imagine if you got a new car that was exactly like your old car (but slower), the paint looked a bit nicer and all the controls looked the same, but did different things. So the gearstick was now the brake, the clutch was now the accelerator. The changes made no real ergonomic sense, they were made more becasue the designers had run out of ideas rather than had any good ones.

I think what everyone seems to have lost sight of, is that an operating system is a means to an end, and the ideal one should be invisible. Getting an Operating system for its own sake has always seemed a bit stupid, and getting one that gets in the way of everything else is a multi level exercise in counter productivity.
Microsoft have a long way to go to fix this mess...