Apple has started the rumored campaign against Vista in its' stores. All Apple employees are seen with T-Shirts labelled "Go beyond Vista: It's time to get a Mac". They also have little cut-outs all around the store. In addition apple seems to have sent out emails to all iPod owners on PC with a similar slogan. Retail Vista sales have been lackluster in comparison to XP sales. Steve Balmer put the blames on pirates, but analysts say that Vista still isn't ready yet, and they are still waiting on drivers from all vendors.
Looks like the Longhorn / Vista curse is going to continue on Microsoft until the next version of Windows hits the stores. I feel so sad for Microsoft . They tried to fly too high in one shot instead of flying in increments. A lesson well learnt I assume.
Source: Microsoft Watch
I installed Windows Vista Ultimate edition about a week back (hence no posts for about a week ). I got a licensed copy of the Business Edition, however, Vista comes on a DVD that has all editions on it, which lets you install any version that you want and evaluate it for 30 days. Note however that if you install a version higher than the one that you have the CD key for, you will have to reinstall the entire OS after 30 days. If you installed a lower version and entered the CD key from a higher version Vista will automatically upgrade to the higher version. To get the option for different versions, don't enter the CD Key, just click next and you will get a list of all different versions. Installation went smooth without any hiccups although I would say it is nowhere near to the 20 minute installation that Microsoft has been touting. It took a good 45 minutes to install (note: I installed this on a 4 year old machine which could be the reason why it took that long).
My first impressions of the OS is very good. It is much more performant on my old machine than I imagined. The new Aero look and feel is really nice and subtle. Microsoft has surely looked at what Apple has done over the years and brought that to the Windows world. I would however be cautious in calling it a rip off as it is not exactly the same as a Mac. They have copied the idea of adding subtle animations to certain tasks, like fade-in fade-out effects. Mac still has the edge right now which I think will fade-out when the next version of Windows ships somewhere in 2009.
Overall I think the OS is rock solid and want to make it my default OS. There are a few quirks that I want you to know before you run and get yourself Vista. Vista does not recognize my SoundBlaster Live 24 bit sound card. Neither Microsoft nor Creative has the drivers for it. The impression I get is neither companies plan to write the drivers for it. So I am sort off left out in the cold. Also Vista did not recognize my Logitech ClickSmart 510 webcam. Both devices are around 3 to 4 years old and probably will not be supported, hence my best suggestion for anyone wanting Vista is to wait until your next PC, otherwise be ready to replace the devices that don't work on Vista.
Final word: There is no way for me to go back to XP especially since I am sick of looking at the same desktop for 5 long years. However, I have to wait for a couple of months till I assemble a new PC. By then Windows Home Server will have shipped and I can convert my existing PC to a Home Server and enjoy Vista on the new one. The really cool thing about Home Server is that I can install SQL Server 2005 and transfer my website / media files to it and not bog down my new PC.
BTW I got onto the Home Server beta program (not a big deal any one can get on it by applying). I plan to install it and check it out to see what's new.
Check out what Microsoft had originally planned for Vista (then code named Longhorn). I prefer the original plan to what it is now. A point to note is that Microsoft's Designers make Macromedia Director movies of what the OS needs to look and feel like. This does look like one of those movies.
Obviously there is a clear mis-match between what designers wanted and what developers ended up doing. Hmmm.... I have heard this somewhere. That's right! Microsoft has come out with .NET 3.0 which takes care of this problem. They have used the web-based (CSS + HTML) model to windows programming (actually it's much more than that) with XAML. I wonder if .NET 3.0 is a direct result of the internal frustrations between designers and developers within Microsoft. If that's true, what it tells us is that the next version of Windows (to be released in the next 2 to 4 years) will look and feel much more like the designers want it to, not like what the developers end up coding. Now that's awesome.
If you are a good photographer chances are that you can be famous in this age of blogging and flickr. Hamad Darwish is an amateur photographer who has toyed with cameras for only about two years now. He shares a lot of his work with others on flickr and learns a lot in return. So how did he become famous? Microsoft paid him to take some good pictures and used a couple of his pictures as background for Vista. You can read the entire interview he gave to Long Zheng here.
Obviously you now have to wait for the next version of Windows to get a request which means you have around 2 years to learn, do some good photography and make yourself noticable . With all the money that Microsoft has it still chose to go with amatuer photographers for Vista backgrounds
I took a break from blogging for a couple of days after two weeks of continuous bloggging. I have started work on Part 2 of C# 3.0 features but it's moving at a really slow pace. I am not finding the time to research and get my concepts clear before blogging about it.
Anyways, back to Windows Vista. Vista is finally out and I hear that some stores saw people line up oustide for about an hour to get their hands on Vista. Not something that I expected. As for me I am already looking forward to what's next. The Windows team has already started work on the next version and based on history, the team started talking about Longhorn on Jan 2002. XP was out on October 25 2001. So it will be another 3 to 4 months before we start hearing about Vienna. I am looking forward to that release as I wasn't super thrilled about Vista given the endless delays and lack of super rich features. It definitely is a must have over XP, but I think as I saw the endless delays and feature cuts, I lost my excitement for Vista.
Windows Vista ships in less than a week from now. So are your ready? I am not going to be ready until I see some really good applications launched for Vista that makes it a must have.
By the way, students are getting Windows Vista Business Edition from the University of Houston Clear Lake for $10. You need to be enrolled for the semester and you need to show your ID to get a copy. One copy per student. That is a real sweet deal, $10 for something that retails for $300.
Check out the cool Messenger (still in the works) that Yahoo has been building for the past few months for Windows Vista. These guys have done a really good job on the UI. Wonder what Microsoft is doing to it's messenger for Windows Vista. BTW the messenger has been developed using Windows Presentation Foundation that is part of .NET 3.0. So we now have 2 cool showcase applications for Vista. Yahoo Messenger and The NewYork Times Reader. I am sure we will see many more on Vista launch date (01/30/2007).
I think AERO just sucks and that is the only eye candy feature of Vista. First AERO implements something called a glass effect where windows now have glass title bar, status bar and borders. What that means is that the window is translucent, in that you can kinda see the what's behind the window. The biggest problem with this is, that if you have too many windows open (which is not uncommon for must users), it starts getting really ugly. The second problem is that when you maximize the window you loose the glass effect and your window borders, title bar and status bar turn black which really really looks bad.
All in all I think Vista has a ton of features which make it a better OS. I think developers are simply going to love it for it includes a lot of technologies on top of the .NET framework to make development easy, but when people walk into BestBuy to buy a new PC they not going to find those hidden jewels, the first impression they are going to make is based on what they see. Even if they like what they see, I think they will not like it once they start using it. Those are my feelings, it may so happen that I am totally wrong and Vista will sell like crazy, but this is surely one piece of software where I am not with Microsoft.
The dates on Longhorn has consistently been slipping for the past one / one and a half years. In fact it has slipped so much that Microsoft has stopped giving any definite dates on the release.
Paul Thurrott has however managed to get hold of some internal schedules at Microsoft that suggest that the Beta 1 for Longhorn is scheduled for Feburary 16, 2005 and the final release is scheduled for May 22, 2006.
If these dates are at all credible it looks like we will finally get to lay our hands on Longhorn much earlier than anticipated.