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Windows 7 = Vista Final

I like Jason Hiner’s prediction @ TechRepublik: Microsoft will leapfrog Vista, release Windows 7 early, and change its OS business:

And that’s why Microsoft will ultimately try to quell the embarrassing Windows Vista debacle by making a bold move with Windows 7 to win back customer loyalty and generate positive spin for its most important product.

What will happen next?

My prognosis is that Microsoft will use smoke and mirrors to conjure up an early release of Windows 7, the next edition of the world’s most widely-used operating system. Then they will quietly and unofficially allow IT departments to migrate straight from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Yes, we’re almost there. Except that it doesn’t take care of customers (including yours truly) royally sc***ed by Vista. I wasn’t kidding when I said:

Windows 7, whenever it comes, should be released as “Vista Final”, free to all Vista victims along with Microsoft’s letter of apology.

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Failed SP1 Update: Vista Still Sucks

Pardon my French.. it’s not exactly my style, especially not in the title, but enough is enough. I’ve long given up detailing Vista’s countless failures, but somehow, unconsciously I still hoped things would get better after installing SP1.

Not that I could get it – I was one of the “few” who had an offending Intel graphics chip in my HP PC, so I could not get it for a while. Then today it showed up on Windows Update, so off I went to a spare laptop (XP) since I knew the update would take about an hour or so.

Checking it an hour later:

Service Pack did not install. Reverting Changes. Do not turn off your computer.

WTF? So now it’s gonna spend another hour, a total cost of two hours to get back to where I was in the first place? And they wonder (?) why everyone says Vista Sucks.

P.S. Windows 7, whenever it comes, should be released as “Vista Final”, free to all Vista victims along with Microsoft’s letter of apology.

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The Vista Copy Story: Perception *IS* Reality

Windows Vista’s file copy performance is actually faster than that of XP – tells us Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror. He cites Mark Russinovich’s extensive analysis of Vista’s file copy algorithm, and comes to the conclusion that “perceived performance is more important than actual performance.”

…perception is reality: if users see file copying as slower, it is slower. Despite all the algorithmic improvements, in spite of the superior file copy benchmark results, Vista’s file copy performance is worse than Windows XP.

I can’t dispute the quoted analysis, am simply not competent enough, but here’s a key part:

…for copies involving a large group of files between 256KB and tens of MB in size, the perceived performance of the copy can be significantly worse than on Windows XP.

So the problem is with large number of files. My question: how large? Is two considered large? As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Yes, I know, this is “delete”, not copy, but it’s a file operation nevertheless, and I suspect the same problem. Perception *is* indeed reality… and I suspect we have more than just perception here.thumbs_down

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Sales Pitch: We Remove Vista

Via Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog.

Update (2/1): It’s on Engadget now.

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Proof that Vista is Slooooow

No comment.smile_angry

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Microsoft in Your Car

Watch the video here in case the embedded player does not work.

(hat tip: TechCrunch)

Related: If You Crash, Crash BIG

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Intuit’s Update Fiasco: There is a Better Way

Intuit appears to have entered a new market, that of permanent file deletion. Whether you want it or notsmile_angry:

“Mac users who installed an update to their QuickBooks software over the weekend were met with a nasty surprise: missing data.

The update caused several Mac users to lose data from their Desktop folders, infuriating many who were hoping to close their books this week for 2007, only to lose valuable purchase orders and spreadsheets” – reports News.com.

Intuit’s recommendation:

“For those of you who have been affected, we are testing out options for recovering the deleted files. Our recommendation for now is to turn off your computer and do not use it further. If you continue using your computer or reboot, you may over-write the area on the disk where the deleted data is stored, preventing any recovery efforts from being effective.”

Hm…considering the type/size of businesses typically using QuickBooks, not touching their computer in the middle of the year-end rush may not be a viable option.smile_sad. Intuit is clearly throwing in support resources, customers can register and will be called back to individually assess their situation. For many, the damage may very well be more than losing a few hours:

(This is where I wanted to quote an Intuit forum message claiming lost file, lost business damage – I saw the post 15 minutes ago, now it’s gone. Could it have been deleted?)

We’re living in the age of crappy software. QuickBooks is not alone, this incident is just more dramatic than the typical update failures. Even when updates don’t fail, they are becoming a nuisance. Last week I just pinged someone on Skype, when my Internet connection dropped again – a “standard” Vista feature, to be remedied by a reboot. So there I was, waiting to resume the chat session when the machine decided to implement 9 updates. This being a ‘screamer’ PC the update only took 7 minutes before shut-off, and a few more to configure on re-start; by the time I could come back online, my chat partner was gone. The two XP laptops in the house are a lot slower, so I just left them alone to complete their 11 updates… experience tells me sometimes these take half an hour or more.clock Who has time for this? Between the applications we actually use and all the crapware needed just to keep our computers running (virus scan, firewall, anti-spy, desktop search, backup, synchronization …etc), it’s just getting way too much to deal with.

By now my regular readers probably know where I am heading: there is a better, safer, easier way. Proponents of Cloud computing (On-demand, SaaS) typically point out portability, collaboration as key benefits, but there’s another huge benefit: ease of mind. The web applications I often use (Gmail, the Zoho Productivity Suite, CRM..etc) get updated just as frequently (actually, more) than their desktop counterparts, but I don’t have to worry about these updates: the service provider takes care of them. The whole process is not transparent to me, the user. I dumped the responsibility on the service provider: they work for me. smile_wink

Are you ready to have peace of mind?

Update: I could not have made this up: just as I was about to post this, I checked TechMeme for updates to the Intuit story, only to see this headline: Microsoft security update cripples IE .

I rest my case.

Related posts: support.quickbooks.intuit.com, CNET News.com, The Apple Core, CrunchGear, MacUser, Macsimum News, Ubergizmo, Apple Gazette, O’Grady’s PowerPage, Zero Day , Donna’s SecurityFlash, AccMan Pro.

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If You Crash, Crash BIG

Probably the largest software crash in the World, live from Times Square. Credit: Andy Flynn (via Michael Krigsman)

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Windows XP Twice as Fast as Vista?

Ouch. This hurts. Devil Mountain Software, the outfit that had previously declared Vista SP1 a Performance Dud came to the conclusion that Windows XP SP3 Yields Performance Gains – about 10% compared to XP SP2. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the very same tests show the outgoing operating system, XP twice as fast as Vista, the “flagship” OS. No wonder Forrester Research says Vista’s biggest problem is XP. smile_omg

Of course most users won’t notice it. Why? Because very few upgrade their existing computers from XP to Vista. We don’t buy operating systems, we buy computers: try to get one without Vista. (Fact: most of Microsoft’s Vista Revenue comes from the OEM channel.)

The Vista-based new screamer clearly runs a lot faster than the 3-year-old laptop running XP, but in reality it’s running at half-speed – the other half eaten by the Operating System. Which proves my earlier argument abut this being a pointless arms race: buying faster and faster machines only so they can maintain themselves and barely let us use basic applications.

Unless those applications are in the cloud. smile_wink

Related posts: PC World, Hardware 2.0 and TECH.BLORGE.com

Update (12/14): Coding Sanity has found a solution.

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Angry Mom Spanking Ballmer Over Useless Vista

Well, it’s not the Microsoft CEO’s mother – it’s analyst Yvonne Genovese who interviewed Ballmer at the Gartner Symposium.

“My daughter comes in one day and says, ‘Hey Mom, my friend has Vista, and it has these neat little things called gadgets — I need those.’”

Said Ballmer: “I love your daughter.”

“You’re not going to like her mom in about two minutes,” said Genovese, while the crowd laughed.

She went on to explain that she installed Vista for her daughter — and two days later went right back to using the XP operating system.

That must have been one entertaining session. Read the full story at Computerworld. But first, here’s another quote from Ballmer, clearly on the defensive:

“There is always a tension between the value that end users see — and frankly, that software developers see — and the value that we can deliver to IT.”

Yesss. The key word is IT. As in “expert only”. Perhaps it’s time Microsoft recognize that they failed to serve two “masters”, and in catering strictly for IT, delivering a super-secure (?) system they created a monster quite unusable by individual consumers.

I’ve been ranting about Vista enough here, let me just add another gem to prove my point.

It’s probably fair to assume that a lot of Vista (home) users will have at least one older, XP machine around – and if they do, they want these to see these connected on a Home Network. This should be a piece of cake… or not.

  1. Your Vista PC won’t see the XP ones on the network at all.
  2. There’s no documentation whatsoever, but after Googling around you can figure out that you need to patch the XP machines (!) for them to be seen by the Vista. (Incidentally, the patch requires WGA, which fails on one of my perfectly legit computers, but that’s another story)
  3. When Vista still can’t see the networked machines, back Googling again.
  4. After some research you’ll discover a well-hidden statement that it may take up to 15 minutes for a Vista PC to see a networked pre-Vista one. Fifteen minutes!!!! in 2007!!!!

This is just one example of the many idiocies crippling Vista. Nothing major, just stupid little things that don’t work and there is no easily accessible info about.

Vista is for the corporate world with IT departments, period. I can hardly think of better promotion for Apple then releasing Vista to the consumer market. Oh, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s one from Princeton University (by way of Espen Antonsen)

Update: It’s not just kids anymore ;-)

Update: Ballmer speaks; Can Microsoft be everything to everyone? at Between the Lines. More on the Computerworld Blogs