A cautionary Vista story - steep curves ahead

A cautionary Vista story - steep curves ahead

Summary: Chris Shipley, the executive director of and impresario behind the DEMO Conferences is hardly a technology lightweight. Every year, she and her team evaluate hundreds of emerging technology companies and products and cherry pick the best and brightest to appear under the DEMO microscope for their legendary six minutes of scrutiny. So when I read something like this, I know there's trouble in Vista-land...

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TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft
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Chris Shipley, the executive director of and impresario behind the DEMO Conferences is hardly a technology lightweight. Every year, she and her team evaluate hundreds of emerging technology companies and products and cherry pick the best and brightest to appear under the DEMO microscope for their legendary six minutes of scrutiny. So when I read something like this, I know there's trouble in Vista-land:

I'm exhausted! I've been running hard up the Vista/Office 2007 learning curve for the last two weeks, and I'm just plain worn out. Productivity is in the basement. Frustration has reached all-time highs. And all I'm trying to do is write a column, synchronize my e-mail, launch a presentation and review a financial spreadsheet. It's the stuff I've been doing for years.

Uh oh. I felt the same pain often enough while climbing the same curve to be completely sympathetic. Of course, I have a huge head start on Chris and others who are just climbing onto the Vista and Office 2007 train now. But I completely understand her frustration, particularly with some of the seemingly arbitrary, change-for-change's-sake differences in Vista.

The best example, as Chris points out in her lament, is how much harder it is to establish and save a wireless connection in Vista. The process doesn't make sense, requires more steps than in XP, and has a bad case of amnesia even though I have dutifully identified and named my common connections every way I think I'm supposed to. I'm hoping the whole user experience in this aspect of the Vista experience is seriously reworked in Service Pack 1. It's a failed exercise in interaction design IMO.

I appreciate the attention Microsoft engineers paid to security, but I have come to believe that the plan was to make certain connectivity features so difficult to configure that you would choose to avoid connecting through public networks at all. What could be safer?

Heh. Right on. Hang in there Chris. You're not alone.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft

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  • LOL

    and they say learning Linux is hard! ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • learning to configure is hard

      Using a system might not be hard, But configuring apps/system on Linux is still quite hard. Might not be as hard as it was b4 Ubuntu. But it still is on many flavours.
      5ri
      • It can be, but much better

        If you look at a distro like OpenSuse or PCLinuxOS, they have integrated control centers, everything is GUI driven. This is not always true, but is becoming the norm instead of the exception.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • Linux will keep getting better.

      People complain about all the distro's, but the core kernel is the same and KDE is almost identical across all KDE type distro's. I haven't had problems, but the new stuff is fantastic in terms of automatic, one-click downloads and installations (in particular PC-BSD and Freespire). The key word is "Straightforward" with no Security keys, WGA, etc. I am satisfied with Firefox and Open Office. It's the perfect OS for school kids. Did you ever have a computer meltdown the night before a school project was due? That's where Linux shines. Or possibly have problems before your proposal or project was needed at work.
      Joe.Smetona
  • Networking UI needs change

    Yeah! I gree that Setting-up a network (or can i say finding the right window to set-up a network) is hard in Vista, hav to open atleast 2 other windows to do that. On the other hand there are also a few simplified/easy networking features like Media Sharing.
    5ri
  • Some of the same

    In general, I have found Office 2007 and Vista to be lightyears ahead and much better than their predecessors. However, I have encountered a little bit of frustration with some common functions.

    The wireless bit has worked like a charm. I am not having the same problem. I use my laptop at work and at home. I just turn it on and forget about it. It just works. When our DSL goes down at work, which is more often than I'd like, my laptop can "see" the issue via the Network and Sharing Center.

    Probably the hardest thing is what you've put your finger: change for change's sake. I have to force myself to learn the "new" control panel, though I could choose the "classic" mode at any time.

    So, my summary. Easy to use. Don't think about it, just do it. Frustration clouds your ability to see what is generally intuitively obvious.
    007baf
  • Just upgraded to Vista!

    Actually "upgrade" is the wrong word... 2 formats and 3 installs later. Which is to say your typical Windows experience, I'm very happy with Vista so far. Surprised Vista didnt recognize my standard Netgear wireless card, but once the driver was installed it was easy cheesy wireless fun. I feel I got my money's worth! Thanks BitTorrent!
    slowbox
    • Cracked Version?

      Did you get Vista or the driver via BiTTorrent?

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
    • slowbox Just upgraded to Vista!

      2 formats and 3 installs later. did you think the pirated copy of vista might have been the reason.

      or could it have just been that you don't know what you are doing.

      I've installed over 300 copy's of vista for my clients and I've not seen any of the having to format 3 or 4 times or reinstall 3 times.

      you might try a new hard-drive or

      you might try buying a copy I know this might sound Greek to you but when you download pirated software a lot of times it has back-doors and extra code that comes with it.

      and with the crack you had to use to get buy the activation did you ever think it might have hosed your OS.

      and you might think about all the crap you might have or I should say probably did have installed on your computer like say malware trojans that might have helped in your install problems.

      I mean if you want to steal software or what ever thats ok with me what ever floats your boat.

      but when you have problems with said software you should not whine and cry about it.

      the old saying go's you get what you paid for or in your case what you stole.
      SO.CAL Guy
  • Thanks everybody for the great comments

    There [i]is[/i] a lot to like about Vista and it grows on you (spare me the mold jokes *NIX fans please) over time. But the transition is a bit bumpy in many regards. And I do agree that there are a number of things that are a heck of a lot easier in the new OS than in XP. So on balance, I think it's a worthy upgrade and I have no desire to go back to XP (except maybe on my UMPC which is still pretty lame running Vista).

    And, as I've written before, on my MacBook, Vista on Parallels is a welcome enhancement to the core Mac OS experience giving me access to certain applications I simply like better on the "dark side". ;^)

    I thought Chris' post was worth noting because it's a clear sign that deep familiarity with XP and a pretty mature way of working can be thrown off balance in the upgrade to Vista and the new Office, which BTW, I am a huge fan of and prefer to use over every other alternative. The Fluid UI just rocks IMO and now that it has also been integrated into MindManager 7 which is probably most frequently used application these days, it's ribbons, ribbons, everywhere.
    morchant
  • Why would you install it anyway (even cracked?)

    I just got a laptop with VHP and I like it. It's just a Turion TL-50 dual core with 1gb of ram. It seems decently fast and the interface does feel more intuitive though there is a very small learning curve (my young kids didn't skip a beat).

    I don't see that big of a benefit of taking it to an old system though. Perhaps a new build, but I'm going to slap a new motherboard in another computer and I'm reinstalling XP (I cant' wait for the hours of updates to download!!!)
    stano360
  • I FEEL THE PAIN!!! just installed vista basic on a new build and have just

    a few gripes.

    MS lied when they said that if you turn off system resotre it will delete the old restore points when system restore is restarted. it does not. and the files cannot be deleted manually (unless maybe you have a diagnostic disk that can bypass the file security). so the old problem of unnecessary files bloating the HD is still there.

    the disk defragmenter is too dumbed down for me. i like to watch the little blocks move around. gives me the reassurance that i have not wasted my time. not with vista.
    (and as usual when i run a third-party defragmenter i can see what the MS app. failed to do)

    for the exact same hardware, the 3DMark scores were just a tad bit lower in vista than in xp. i don't think 20 points is a big deal. but the fact that it is lower at all makes me think maybe vista is not such a good bargain after all.

    all the system things that need to be done by a conciencious person are buried even futher down in the control panel than they are in xp. the concept of "simple is better" seems to have escaped the vista interface designers. of most obvious note is trying to change the folder options to see the file extension and hidden files. MS obviously doesn't want anyone going near that so they can make it look clean while really filling the HD with useless junk. that's the only reason i can think of for moving it.

    requiring digitally signed drivers is really bad. none of the cd-burner software that i am familiar with and would like to use will install. roxio 8.2 tried to install but got trashed by vista and i ended up having to wipe the drive and start over because the cd drive was no longer accessible in vista. nero 7 essentials tells me right up front that the OS is not supported.

    overall looks and operation is very clean and useful.

    but be prepared to re-invest in new software that has been re-written to accomodate vista's quirks.

    not gonna live in a Microsoft world any more.

    yo.

    :)

    .
    wessonjoe
    • You nailed it on this point

      [i]all the system things that need to be done by a conciencious person are buried even futher down in the control panel than they are in xp. the concept of "simple is better" seems to have escaped the vista interface designers. of most obvious note is trying to change the folder options to see the file extension and hidden files. MS obviously doesn't want anyone going near that so they can make it look clean while really filling the HD with useless junk. that's the only reason i can think of for moving it.[/i]

      I hate this aspect of Vista with a passion! They've made it so difficult to get at information in AppData directory and the cost of turning on hidden files is a grimly ugly display in explorer/desktop windows and OSF dialogs. Definitely a step backwards in this respect.
      morchant
  • My concern is...

    All of you here are techies, so i'm not worried about any of you. I work for a small testing lab with about 50-60 users ( not including the 10-12 instruments which are also connected to PCs running legacy software) most of whom require non-stop hand holding. I absolutely dread implementingVista & Office 2007 to these Users. It will be an absolute nightmare!! They are very resistant to change. We will not be implementing Vista until we are forced to!! SO i'm glad everybody here likes it & i think it's pretty good once i got used to it, but it takes a while. But that is not what concerns me, it my Users that I have to support & the legacy apps I have to make work with it.
    rpratt@...
    • I don't think anyone here will disagree with your concern

      The migration for the average knowledge worker who's become accustomed to working in XP and who is not a techie is steep. Same for consumers. They don't perceive the "improvements" as anything other than an obstacle and resent Microsoft (or you as the responsible party) "forcing" them to learn new habits.

      It's a classic case of fixing stuff that ain't broke for many (most?) of these people. I watch my dad fumble on his new VHP laptop and often go into my mom's office to use her XP machine instead.

      I watch my son, who's a techie and gamer regularly roll his eyes in dismay when he's using one of my Vista machines (his is till on XP which he's completely content with). He usually asks me what the Softies were thinking when he hits a UI disconnect.

      All this will flatten out over time. I remember a less exaggerated but similar reaction to XP when it was first introduced. And a very similar reaction from the Mac community when OS X was first released. Change is hard ? especially when you are dealing with people who have no inherent fondness for "playing" with technology.
      morchant