Friday, November 17, 2006


Vista goodness

I've been at Microsoft for 37.6% of my life now so I've seen a few products go out through the gates (any pun you think you see is not intended). Many years ago I used to get excited about new products - I remember being the only person in my unit running Windows NT while my colleagues stumbled on 16-bit ignorance. Nowadays I get a bit blasé about it - how can you keep getting excited after a dozen versions of Office?
So I have finally succumbed to the internal marketing and installed Windows Vista on my trusty Dell laptop. Setup went well although I was slightly worried by the "this may take a few hours" information - it was an upgrade (rather than the light-speed installation you could do on a freshly-formatted disk) and watching next-gen progress bars can be fun...
Sadly, although the machine has enough power in the disk and CPU departments, it fails on the most important resource - graphics. If you don't have 128MB of video memory then you're not going to get the sweet stuff that the evangelists demonstrate at the shows. Despite that, it does look fancy - but then every new generation of Windows looks fancier than the last. It's amazing what you can do with coloured pixels on a flat 2D screen and you sometimes wonder "why didn't it look THIS good LAST time when the hardware hasn't changed?" So what will the NEXT version of Windows look like? And why can't it look like that now?
And what has made me go "ooh, pretty!" so far? Of course it's the little things, like the Recycle Bin graphic (which looks like a glass of ice cubes when full), or the ability to see Disk I/O in Task Manager and tell which BASTARD process is making the machine grind (yes, that's you, Search Indexer {{BANG}}). There's basically more of everything - more information, better icons, proper zoom in Paint (1/8 to 8x), Media Centre edition is now built in (to Ultimate edition, anyway), and so on.
I received an email from our IT department requesting that I keep my desktop machine running Windows XP as it was "less than an optimal candidate" for upgrading to Windows Vista. Keeping machines like mine back in the stone age would mean they would have a large enough pool of test clients for security patches and the like (we eat our own dogfood). How I laughed - I want SHINY and I want it NOW, even if the machine will be dragged to its knees (I can always use the laptop...).
So, everybody, start saving up! Not for Vista but for the super graphics card and the gigabytes of RAM that will make your eventual purchase of the new Windows something you will really appreciate. Remember, shiny is good.

No, I cannot spell "shiny" properly. This blog has been a major trial for me...

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