Posted at 10:30 AM on October 30, 2008
by Jeff Horwich
Granted, it was out of frustration with something going on in XP that I paradoxically sprung for the $130 to upgrade. What a racket. (Rhapsody's DRM stuff spontaneously stopped working -- I blame an overnight Windows update. And if you're a heavy Rhapsody user, you know that losing it can absolutely bring your entire world to a halt. Let me tell you, Napster just doesn't measure up.)
Oh, and I should also mention that the Vista upgrade didn't fix the Rhapsody issue (though I finally got it fixed last night, after five days. It's like my life has resumed.)
Oh, and my old Lexmark printer no longer works with Vista. Bummer.
But I'm pleased to support that Vista Service Pack 1 is hardly the beast that Apple, conventional wisdom, and seemingly every electronics store employee makes it out to be. Sure, you need to confirm every file action four times. Perhaps that's the price of safety.
But I'm finding lots of other stuff to like -- small things that make a lot of difference:
* The glassy, fluid "Aero" look is nifty. If you're going to have your computer running on a big TV in your livingroom, as I do, the upgrade in the look is a notable improvement. Makes me feel like I'm living the 21st Century life.
* Similarly, Media Center is better looking and more fun to navigate. Showing me tiles of my recorded TV shows? Very nice touch.
* It has a high-DPI setting! This was a great surprise. I'm outputting to 720p, and running Vista with the higher DPI keeps me from squinting at the screen. This makes the PC much more reasonable as a livingroom proposition. (Rhapsody, you need to keep up on this score -- let me enlarge your fonts for crying out loud!)
* Along the same lines: "Extra Large Thumbnail" setting for viewing photos and other items in folders. This is awesome.
* Better organization of the Control Panel.
It's the little things that are winning me over. Microsoft finally designed an operating system that really has a livingroom user in mind (Apple doesn't seem to consider a user like me any kind of priority at all, so I'm grateful someone's paying attention.) I'm still annoyed that no one is fixing the major issue whereby DRM on DVDs prevents most of them from being played over monitors with HD resolution (i.e. the people who would *most* want to watch DVDs on their computer -- those using TVs as monitors -- cannot do so). But that's not Microsoft's fault.
I'm still discovering new functions. I'm sure I'll find new annoyances. But so far, I'm a surprisingly pleased Vista convert.
I recently went back to a PC with Vista from using a Mac for years (due to the cost mostly), and while I do think Apple is way better, Vista definitely isn't the complete and utter disaster people make it out to be.
I installed a Linux varainat, Ubuntu, earlier this year & will never go back to paying for an operating system. That $130 saved will go for beer. Or maybe diapers.
Yeah it was given a lot of undeserved crap, and still does - I use it and love it. If you have a relatively new computer, not one built in the Reagan era, you should be fine.
And Windows Server 2008 is superb, too.
Of course, I've never had to pay for a copy thanks to my MSDN copies, but with the price drop it's still not bad.
I tried ubuntu too. I spent a day trying to connect to the internet through the UI. I gave up. They recommend using the console and it did work within 60 s of typing on the console. But it's the damn console!
One more thing I dug: The upgrade install process. I knew going in that my printer wouldn't work -- the Vista install told me that before it even began. And the upgrade preserved all of my files and applications, even as it moved them to their new "Vista" file structure. I really had not expected it to be so easy.