Weak point against Vista
First rule of demonstrative writing – lead off with an undeniable example of the point you’re trying to make.
Case in point – Dan Lyons’ article in NewsWeek on “A Gloomy Vista for Microsoft”, meant to be a piece defining how bad Vista is.
“Last year I was meeting with the CEO of a PC company who offered to give me a demo of his company's gorgeous new top-of- the-line notebook, a machine that cost several thousand dollars and came loaded with Windows Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. He flipped open the laptop, pressed the power button, and … nothing. We waited. And waited. It was excruciating. He tried control-alt-delete. He tried holding down the power button. Finally he removed the battery and snapped it back into place. The machine started up—slowly—while the CEO sat there fuming.”
Um, yeah, OK, that sounds bad and all, but seriously, if you’re pressing the power button on a turned-off machine and nothing’s happening, that’s hardware. And if you blame hardware faults on the operating system, well, that’s just a CEO trying to ignore the fact that his hardware system and its developers aren’t providing a totally balanced view of their work.
So, let’s carry on reading. What else is a problem with Vista?
“It was sluggish. It had trouble going to sleep and waking up. It wouldn't work with some printers and accessories.”
I didn’t see “sluggish”, but then again, I bought a higher spec machine than my three-year-old laptop in order to run Vista, because it’s a significant update to the OS. Many of its major features expect there to be lots of memory and a fast 3D video card.
The “trouble going to sleep and waking up” part I definitely had some experience with – but then, I have those problems in XP, too: over 1MB in my machine, and XP decided it was going to turn my laptop bag into a pizza oven – to judge from the popularity of my blog post on the issue, I’m far from alone in this. Laptop manufacturers really haven’t had the best of luck in XP or Vista persuading individual devices – let alone the whole system – that it’s nighty-night time, or that it’s time to wake up when you punch the “wake-up” key. Recent updates from Lenovo made my life a little easier, but the machine will still sometimes go to sleep never to wake up again. Really irritating when I’m in the middle of working as the bus arrives at its destination and I have to press the sleep button, praying that the machine will make it through the nap. And I can guarantee to hang the system if I press the sleep button and then close the lid.
And, as for printers and accessories, it’s clear that any number of device drivers weren’t actually used for any significant length of time in the Vista environment, or they’d have shown their incompatible designs. My HP printer, for instance, pops up this ugly dialog whenever I print from Internet Explorer:
Now, I don’t know much about drivers, but I suspect that this could be fixed by signing the driver. My other HP printer continually offers up a new version of its drivers on Windows Update, and then the installation refuses to start, because the printer isn’t plugged in to my machine. Well, of course not, it’s a network printer.
As has been pointed out by numerous other writers, XP had this same sort of flack when it released (although I don’t remember it going on for quite this long), and then as now, most of the problems were to do with software and hardware developers who weren’t paying even limited attention to the statements Microsoft put out as to features that were deprecated (i.e. made obsolete, going away, or otherwise disappearing).
Of course, my wife hates Vista, and at some point I’ll be able to point you to her ideas on the topic, because she has some actually valid arguments as to why Vista sucks. And none of those arguments are represented in Dan Lyons’ Newsweek article.