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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Scalzi on Vista

John Scalzi has posted what he calls an Incredibly Detailed Review of Windows Vista, Based on Strenuous Examination of Every Nook and Cranny of Microsoft's Revolutionary New Operating System That Will Change the Way You Look At Computing Forever. I will now risk a massive copyright lawsuit by reprinting it in its entirety. I know it's lengthy, but read it all the way through. The best part is at the end:

Eh. You can wait.

This, to me, is not surprising. It's an operating system, not a major motion picture. There's a novelty to it because it's new, but after a few hours/days/weeks, it will likely just blend into the background and become a normal part of using the computer.

The real genius in Scalzi's review, aside from the riveting writing style and character development, is the fact that he's actually installed and used Windows Vista. Many of his commenters have not, but have not let a little thing like experience with the product get in their way of providing reviews. The result is a litany of knee-jerk Microsoft hating which, to be frank, has become both extremely boring and a real impediment to Googling around for information about how the product is actually performing, now that it's released.

Over the years, I've discovered a seminal fact about computers: used as directed, they work just fine. Start to mess around with their insides, though, and all bets are off. That's why you see so many people complaining about constant OS crashes, while others tell of PC's that have been running for months or years without a single problem. And now that the Mac is starting to venture outside of its cozy, little niche corner, I'm starting to read the same things about OS X that I've been reading about Windows for years. Go figure...

Basically, it comes down to this: the people that experience the most problems are the ones that insist on installing unsupported hacks, manually messing with the Windows Registry or the Unix kernel, partitioning the hard drive in weird and creative ways, or otherwise using the machine in a way that no one who built (or tested) it could have ever imagined.

Once your machine has left the path most traveled, software that expects to find data in certain places can start to misbehave. This is why you read horror stories about people losing their music library when upgrading iTunes or experiencing hard drive crashes when installing Service Packs, while most others have no issue at all. For example, Scalzi upgraded his machine to Vista in just over an hour, while one of his commenters spent "six 'effin hours [that were] mostly nightmarish."

My current PC runs Windows XP, and I've done my level best to minimize the amount of "non-standard" activities I do with it. As such, it's performed admirably for several years now. Like a lot of people, I have been waiting for the Vista release before upgrading to a new machine, and it's precisely for the purpose described above. I want my Vista machine to arrive straight from the factory, where it's been installed and tested exactly the way Microsoft expected it to be. I expect I'll see very little in the way of bugs or performance problems with this approach.

And, of course, I'll be posting a review here at some point. I think I'll follow Scalzi's example, though, and wait until I've used it before I opine...

posted by Brian at 9:08 AM


  • I have much the same opinion on Windows, i.e., there aren't many problems if you don't mess around with it. I'm still happily running Windows 98 on my home machine, with no problems for what I do on that machine (which, granted, is somewhat limited. But still...).

    By Anonymous jason, at 1:05 PM, February 02, 2007  

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