[Nottingham] Vista experiences please

Pete Goodall pete at yellowhouse.org
Fri Feb 2 16:18:49 GMT 2007

Oh yea, forgot to mention a few things.

   1. I installed Vista on a laptop that was, at the time, about 2 1/2
   years old and it ran just fine.  So I think the assertion that Vista will
   not run on systems older than a year old should be taken with a grain of
   2. In order to using feature where you can page through your open
   windows like a rolodex you need a "Windows" key (that key with the Windows
   logo on it), but there is none on many of the IBM Thinkpads.  Though you can
   activate the feature with an icon on the panel, that seemed to minimize the
   utility for me.  I found the feature rather useless, though pretty.  IMO,
   xgl/aiglx + compiz is immeasurably more useful.
   3. I managed to run Vista for about three days before I couldn't take
   it anymore and installed Linux again.  After over five years of working with
   and using Linux on the desktop Windows in any form is just unbearable to me.


- Pete

On 2/2/07, Pete Goodall <pete at yellowhouse.org> wrote:
> Hi all,
> Comments in-line...
> On 2/2/07, Michael Erskine <msemtd at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I think we could go on and on about the perceived (and real!) problems
> > with
> > the newly Microsoft Windows Vista for some time but not really get much
> > out
> > of it except for perhaps the reloading of old grudges and the venting of
> > old
> > frustrations.
> >
> > As Graeme may have pointed out, the FUD slinging is unlikely to do much
> > good
> > so what I'd like to encourage is the honest (non-sarcastic) discussion
> > of the
> > _positive_ _first-hand_ experiences of Vista that our members have, and
> > the
> > honest discussion of what GNU/Linux has/doesn't have to offer in the
> > same
> > area.
> I had the opportunity to run Windows Vista RC1 on my IBM Thinkpad T41p
> back in October.  Unfortunately, I don't have access to the final build.
> The installations was incredibly easy compared to my past experience of
> installing Windows.  Admittedly I was installing it as a single-boot OS, but
> I think that is probably the norm, rather than the exception [1].
> Unfortunately, I cannot remember clearly, but I think my wireless did not
> work out of the box.  I had to add the device myself and I had to know that
> I had an Atheros 5212 chipset.  Boot up was very quick, and I did not
> witness any of the long boot times that others have [2].
> One of the first things I noted was that Windows Vista now comes with an
> e-mail program, simply called Mail, and it does not seem to be Outlook
> Express.  The UI is relatively simplistic, though not necessarily simple to
> use.  It seems like it is intended to be a clone of the Mail program in Mac
> OS X.  Unfortunately, the performance of their mail program was horrible,
> and I was unable to use it for very long to manage my IMAP mail account.
> The filters did not work, and the Junk mail filtering was not very accurate
> at all.
> I had already seen IE 7 before I installed Vista, so it was no surprise to
> me that the new spartan look was just annoying.  Though I think the goal was
> to make the UI more simple, it only served to make it more cryptic.  I could
> figure out where things like your favorites are easily enough, but I
> anticipate that others will have a real difficulty adjusting.  I wonder if
> Microsoft did any usability testing on this at all.  Ironically, IE7 could
> not render some of the Microsoft Web pages, so I had to download Firefox to
> see them.  I checked out the anti-phishing feature, by clicking on a link in
> an e-mail that I knew was a phishing scam and it indeed blocked the site.
> I played around with some of the gadgets, and they are pretty neat.  You
> can choose to either have them always visible or hide them until you mouse
> over that way.  However, the space in which to add gadgets is rather
> limited.  I think if your gadgets reach the bottom of the screen you need to
> scroll to see the gadgets below.  I added an RSS feed gadget and really
> struggled to find out how to change or add new RSS feeds.  The default feed
> is a Microsoft one that I was not particularly interested in.  I can't
> remember how easy it was to get new gadgets. :-/
> The power management was excellent, and I could not make it fail by
> closing and opening the laptop lid rapidly or removing peripherals while it
> was sleeping.  The one complaint I no have is that the power button in the
> Windows menu (detailed below) is actually a sleep (suspend-to-ram) button
> [3], but there is not warning of this.  If you didn't know that the little
> moon light on your laptop meant that you were suspended and not shutdown
> then you could easily leave your laptop in your bag like that for the
> weekend and have it run out of battery.  However, they may have mimicked the
> Mac behavior of hibernating (suspend-to-disk) after so much time in sleep.
> The new Windows menu particularly interesting to me [4].  In my
> experience, menus are confusing to many people, and apparently many people
> complained that the menus in Windows XP took up too much screen real
> estate.  The solution that Microsoft came up with was to have one pane where
> the menus would appear.  The default view has the recently used applications
> and pin board Windows users are used to from the XP menu.  If you click on
> "Programs" everything shifts and now all you see is the programs menu.  If
> you choose a submenu off that, everything shifts again, and all you see is
> that submenu's content.  Seems reasonable, right?  However, how do you get
> back?  In addition, this does nothing to help you find an application if you
> don't know what submenu to look under.  The only problem this solves is that
> it takes up less screen real estate.  I asked a Microsoft product manager
> about this, and his response was that the menu did not do well in usability
> testing, but they went with it anyway.  :-/
> Personally, I haven't used it yet but our IT manager has and he likes some
> > of
> > the features (esp. to do with notification of certain event log events).
> > My
> > immediate thoughts when hearing about these features was "Linux/MacOS
> > has had
> > that, like, forever!" but I resisted voicing this because, well, for
> > one:
> > it's rather childish(!), and two: he's heard me say all that before! My
> > inner
> > Windows "power-user" would ask "how accessible are those features in
> > Linux?", "How can I get them working?", etc.
> That is exactly my thought.  Though the log files are there,  but how easy
> are they for the average user to find.  I don't really have much experience
> with this from Vista.
> Just a thought to get some Vista discussion on a constructive track.
> An excellent idea, and always necessary to avoid the perception that Linux
> users are nothing but whingeing, elitist geeks.  Thanks for bringing us back
> to reality. :-)
> - Pete
> [1]  For an interesting read on Windows Vista vs. Linux and dual booting
> see the article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at http://desktoplinux.com/articles/AT9727687530.html
> [2]  I saw a reference yesterday that first time bootup took roughly 25
> mins, but I cannot find the reference now.
> [3]  There is a really good article I read by Joel Spolsky at Wind River
> Systems on the new Vista shutdown menu at
> http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/11/21.html
> [4]  I hope soon to have a blog entry on why this is particularly
> interesting to me, but it is not yet finished.
> --
> Pete Goodall <pete at yellowhouse.org>

Pete Goodall <pete at yellowhouse.org>
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