It's Friday again so it's time for another Friday Rant.
This could be a very long post ... but I'll try to restrain myself.
First, some background. When I've been sitting in front of a Vista machine during the six months since its release I've usually been in one of two modes.
- The first mode is where I'm exploring Vista and getting to know the features of the operating system, where things are and how they work.
- The second mode is where I'm actually doing my day-to-day work or play
As time has passed I'm spending less time in "explorer" mode and more time in the second mode where I'm just working. But here's the odd thing that I've noticed, when in "explorer" mode I quite like Vista, but the more I try to leverage Vista as a platform the more irritated, annoyed and frustrated I seem to feel, and sometimes I absolutely despair at how low my productivity has sunk when trying to carry out some tasks.
Sure, if you're blogging, surfing the web, working with emails and looking at digital photos, Windows Vista is mostly quite happy. I've also worked on an edited update of one of my books using mostly Vista and that process went pretty smoothly even though it required the use of a lot of different applications to run and test code, edit Word documents, read PDF files, take screens shots, edit images and package up files for delivery to the publisher.
This is the happy, smiling face of Windows Vista where the operating system is in the background and you just get on with your work. But there’s another face, the angry face, the face where things don’t work and you spend hours (and a ton of cash) trying to figure out why things that should be working, don’t. Drivers, codecs, applications and hardware.
And I’m not even talking about stuff that falls into that grey area where there's no official Vista support, I’m talking about things that have Vista compatible on the box. Want examples, here’s just two – a Hauppauge TV tuner and Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0.2. Both of these products claim Vista compatibility but both have given us a lot of grief. The driver supplied with the Hauppauge tuner just plain wouldn’t work, and Adobe Premiere Elements is unhappy with some file formats (specifically .MOV files) and throws up random BSODs.
Then there’s the random element to Vista. On one of our Vista rigs trying to copy files from a card reader results in the system regurgitating an error message that seems to mean little to Microsoft. I’m not the only one seeing this problem, and so far there’s no solution. It’s a small problem but one that puts a serious kink in your work-flow if you happen to want to offload several gigabytes of data off of a handful of CF cards.
Then finally there’s the overall productivity angle. Sure, Vista looks kinda nice but I’m still not sold on whether “WOW!” translates into extra productivity, even if I ignore all the headaches and hassles. I won’t argue that there are some features in Vista that are cool, but there’s nothing that I couldn’t live without. There’s also a shed load of features that feel squarely aimed at the home user that to be honest I don’t miss when I shift back to an XP system.
Sometimes I miss XP …
Thoughts? And remember, since it's a Friday, you can vent your spleen about anything tech-related that annoys you!