Monday, January 29, 2007

Mac Users Respond To Vista

I have heard several Mac users talking very kindly about our new OS.  This is encouraging as these are a bunch that are pre-inclined to view Vista in a negative light.  Impressing them is a hard task.  It appears that, at least in some cases, we have done that.  Here's a sampling:

  • Many of the commentators on TWiT had good things to say.

  • Andy Ihnatko writes in MacUser about several features he thinks Microsoft got better than Apple.  It's a quite entertaining read too.

  • The Apple Blog also lists 9 features they want Apple to borrow from Microsoft.  This one is more about XP than Vista though.

There are a few themes here.  They seem to be:

  • Voice recognition that works well.

  • Aero Glass including the 3D wind-tab view, the live previews, and the bouncy windows.

  • Media Center in every (premium) build

  • Working search.

  • Sidebar

Of course, there are also a lot of contrarian reviews too.

 While I'm on the subject, here are some of my top reasons to upgrade:

  • User Access Controls & better security.  You can be a non-admin and still get your work done.

  • Search.  Find everything on your system.  Quickly.

  • Better audio UI.  Change volume for each application.  No more annoying midi sounds or competing myspace pages.

  • Aero Glass.  Pretty.

  • 64-bits.  Because I'm a geek.

  • DVD burning in Media Center.  Now a way to archive the shows.

  • Sidebar gadgets.  On a widescreen monitor, set it to always on top.  Very cool.


  1. I am a big MS fan, but I have to say that Mac surpasses Vista in its sleekness and the overall experience. There is something missing in Windows that Mac has and I just don't know what it is. I am not bashing Vista, but just sharing an opinion.

  2. My one gripe with the sidebar has to be that, unlike appbars, it doesn't tell the desktop that it's occupying space.  So "always on top", when you maximize other windows, means that sidebar is now obscuring part of the window -- the left or right part -- that you arguably need.  This reduces its usability, IMHO.

  3. Steve,
    The one thing I'm impressed with is Microsoft's dev tools, development environment and overall development strategy.  I'm not really all that interested in Vista, althought it's got cool stuff, but the end user is really going to see the benefits once the developers get time to do what they do, and that is leverage the tools Microsoft is giving them.  I don't really view this release as much about cool user features (and this is why everyone is like, big woop, no shiny objects for me to drool over), its more about the foundation which Microsoft has laid down which will allow developers to provide the end users with some kick ass solutions/products.  I just thought of this now... and it's like Ballmer said... Developers, Developers, Developers...!

  4. @kfarmer, if you go to sidebar properties and say "sidebar is always on top" it will take up screen real estate.  In the default mode, you are correct and windows slide under it.  That's not too useful in my opinion.  Especially because on the right-hand it covers the min/max/close buttons.  However, if you set it right, it will take the real estate.  This works out quite well on a widescreen monitor.
    @Eric, there is some cool chrome in this release but the dev platform has also taken a big step forward.  You have the CLR built in.  You have DX10.  You have a much improved audio API.  You have WPF.  The list could go on.

  5. Hmm.. I'll have to try that again. Possible I mis-clicked.
    One thing I *would* like to see someone make is a WPF component that creates a deskband.  Being able to XAML my way to deskband goodness would be useful for creating dock-and-hide consoles (and perhaps be a better version of a sidebar, at least for me).