Vista....What's new?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by sitarro, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. sitarro
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    sitarro Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Let the viruses begin....



    http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/living/16555680.htm

    Vista's pretty, but it's a shameless Mac OS X imitator
    JULIO OJEDA-ZAPATA
    Take your time buying a new computer
    Enticing options cross PC-Mac divide
    Getting the most out of Windows Vista
    Eleven reasons to give Vista a chance
    Vista complicates computer purchasing
    Some PCs, gizmos with Vista on the way
    I praise Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system, and I also curse it.

    Vista certainly is pretty. PC users long used to the dowdy Windows XP will do a double take at Vista's translucent images and groovy 3D effects. Vista also is crammed with powerful, useful new features, like lightning-fast file searching, photo organizing and movie-DVD burning.

    But after waiting five years — as in half a decade — for this thing, I think I should get something revolutionary, a PC operating system so astonishing it makes the competition look laughably primitive. The almighty Microsoft made this, right? So Vista — being released to consumers Tuesday — has to be jaw-droppingly superior, right?

    Well, it's not. Vista hardly rocked my world during weeks of testing. It's a fine Windows upgrade, but it's also a shameless rip-off (and not quite the equal) of another major operating system, Apple Computer's Mac OS X.

    That begs the question: Why not just use OS X?

    Those upgrading from XP likely will have to get a new computer anyway because Vista doesn't work properly on most older PCs. (See my recent column, "Take your time buying that new computer," for details on this.) So, instead of purchasing a Windows PC, they could — and typically should — get an Apple Macintosh computer running OS X.

    Apple is about to release an OS X upgrade, nicknamed "Leopard," that will make Vista look archaic in some ways. But Vista does retain the upper hand in certain respects. Here's how the operating systems compare in essential categories:

    Appearance. Vista looks amazing. Its windows cast subtle shadows and sport translucent borders, for instance.

    But OS X has had eye candy like this for years. Oh, Microsoft throws in a few enhancements. Users can adjust the border translucency, for instance. But Vista is still only an OS X clone — and a slightly inferior-looking one, at that.

    Finding stuff. With so many documents, pictures, video clips, e-mails and the like on today's computers, search is an essential feature. Thank goodness Vista is vastly superior to its XP predecessor in this way. Click the Start button and type your search queries into the window that appears just above. Presto! Your results appear in seconds.

    Hmm, does this sound familiar, OS X users? That's right, the Spotlight search engine does the same thing.

    Vista helps you keep track of stuff in other ways. If you start getting confused by all the windows that are open on the desktop, click Windows-Tab. Ta-da! Windows tilt slightly and group themselves together in an easy-to-skim Flip 3-D arrangement. That's handy but hardly new. The ExposÈ feature in OS X does pretty much the same thing.

    You also can create intelligent Search Folders that automatically fill with data based on criteria you set. Cool, just like the Smart Folders in OS X.

    More secure. Windows XP is notorious for its gaping security holes, which Microsoft has scrambled to plug in Vista. Whether it has succeeded remains to be seen — hordes of cybervillains will do their darnedest to compromise this version of the market-dominant Windows, as well.

    Vista's safeguards do seem impressive, though. You can't install anything on a Vista PC without clicking through confirmation windows, for instance. Seem reasonable? Sure it does — OS X has boasted this feature for years.

    Wid(gad)gets. So-called "widgets" or "gadgets" are everywhere. The miniapplications show weather forecasts, track packages and much, much more. And everyone from the Yahoo and Google search engines and the Opera browser maker to the TypePad and WordPress blogging services offer their own variations.

    So do Windows Vista and OS X. Microsoft's gadgets could be called rip-offs of Apple's widgets. But, to be fair, OS X widgets are rip-offs of Konfabulator, a pioneering widget technology now part of Yahoo and dubbed Yahoo Widgets.

    A boob tube. By now, you'd surely assume that I'd recommend avoiding Windows PCs like the plague. Far from it. Budget permitting, I'd own both a Mac and a Vista PC — the latter largely because of its "Media Center" capabilities.

    These allow PCs with integrated TV tuners to work as TiVo-like digital-video recorders once connected to cable-TV feeds. I've used a Dell desktop PC with Vista for weeks to record "Heroes," "Jericho," "Smallville" and "Battlestar Galactica," and I'm thrilled at how well this works. While Media Center isn't new (XP versions have been available for years), it has been improved and polished in Vista.

    Nothing on the Mac quite compares. You can't get Macs with integrated TV tuners, and TiVo-style features are available only via add-on hardware and software that are inferior to Vista's elegant, built-in Media Center features.

    But beware: Microsoft's close ties with entertainment companies are painfully evident in some ways. You won't be allowed to burn certain Media Center recordings (such as PBS' "Prime Suspect") onto blank DVD discs, for instance.

    Bonusware. Microsoft has bundled an assortment of useful programs with Vista, which means you won't have as urgent a need to invest in additional software.

    Windows Photo Gallery has nice tagging and rating features, for instance. Windows DVD Maker (a companion to the old, scarcely improved Windows Movie Maker) is handy for burning family videos onto blank discs that are playable in any home DVD player.

    But these programs are no match for what is available on any new Mac. Every Apple machine has iLife, a suite of interlocking programs for editing video, burning DVDs, organizing photos, composing music and even creating slick Web sites. These make Vista's offerings look insanely inadequate. New PCs do often include extra programs from third parties for enhanced capabilities, but a software hodgepodge doesn't have iLife's tight integration.

    Vista also bundles in Windows Calendar, Mail and Contacts, which are rough equivalents of iCal, Apple Mail and Address Book on Macs.

    What's next? Apple this spring will release OS X version 10.5 with advanced features that will leapfrog the just-released Vista.

    While the new Windows has rudimentary data-backup capabilities, for instance, Leopard will include something called Time Machine that will transparently replicate data on a backup drive and allow for point-and-click retrieval of existing files (and even old versions of those files).

    It's also important to note that Apple has offered OS X upgrades at roughly yearly intervals during the half-decade that Microsoft has labored on Vista. Apple is an innovation engine; Microsoft, not so much.

    Bottom line. Get a Mac with OS X unless your home-computer needs are Windows-specific, or if the fine Media Center is a must for you. You likely won't regret a Vista-PC purchase, but I'm betting you'll enjoy a Mac much more.

    Julio Ojeda-Zapata covers consumer technology. Reach him at jojeda@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5467. Get more personal tech at yourtechweblog.com and twincities.com.
     
  2. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Microsoft's been a ripoff machine ever since its creation. It has never done anything original. Its advantage has always been the power of monopoly. This doesn't surprise me one bit. Microsoft has been ripping off MacOS since Windows 1.0, and has always been more than a few steps behind.
     
  3. Greg Bernhardt
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    Greg Bernhardt www.physics*****s.com

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    While I can't disagree with you, Apple has done it's share of ripping too. The MacOS is a rip from the early Xerox PARC projects. Apple copied Fast User Switching from XP, Widgets were around before Mac did them (BeOS), they copied FireFox Live Bookmarks and Safari RSS is not new. Everyone copies. Steve Jobs is just arrogant enough to pretend he doesn't and somehow a lot of people actually buy into it.
     
  4. sitarro
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    sitarro Gold Member Supporting Member

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    I have watched all of Jobs Keynote addresses and I have never heard him claim that they don't aquire ideas from places other than their own labs. He does make fun of Microsoft's blatant copies that offer less and nothing innovative(if you are going to take an idea, at least improve on it, don't make it worse). Apple refines anything they get and makes it something to get excited about getting to use.

    Your last sentence is implying that like Limbaugh, Jobs is nothing but a pied piper to a bunch of brain dead zombies(don't bother to deny it Greggy, don't attempt to insult my intelligence again), you , like so many small minded liberals are wrong. We love Limbaugh because he has an international voice and says what we have been thinking for years. Jobs introduces us to products that are a pure joy to use and his company puts out better products when he is leading them, it's that simple.

    The sophmoric premise that there are millions of idiots following and doing what one guy is telling them doesn't work with Limbaugh or Jobs fans.....we leave that to Algore and Air America fans.

    The facts are that I have used 8 MACs over the years and have known others that use Apple computers and none have had any problems with their machines other than a hard drive dying....no blue screens, no viruses.....period. Goes a long way towards loving a company that produces a product that is not only innovative and beautiful but also works.... everytime I turn it on.
     
  5. Greg Bernhardt
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    Greg Bernhardt www.physics*****s.com

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    This is exactly the smugish and elitist attitude that I hate about the mac culture. You assume I'm a gates lover and try to win me over with typical rhetoric just because I wanted to comment on Hobbit's inferred suggestion that Apple doesn't rip.
     
  6. Roopull
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    Roopull Member

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    Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is with Mac OSX or XP or Vista... any of it.

    Anyone who keeps their computer somewhat organized won't need a zippy search tool. Is that really supposed to be a selling point?

    Zippy graphics? I have mine set to the Windows 98 style with no animation. It uses less of the processor, afterall. Zippy graphics cost you in performance... no matter if you're on a Mac or PC.



    Why pay big bucks for any of Microsoft's or Mac's silly little programs when there are generally better free versions out there?

    I've been online since 1993 & have been running various versions of Windows... ever since 98sp2 came out, they've all been perfectly reliable. I haven't found myself using much of the newer features Microsoft has because I don't need them... I imagine the same would be the case with a Mac.

    FWIW, my POS puter can act as a TIVO, burn DVDs, edit movies & music, browse the internet, run any number of office suite type programs, open & edit just about any file I can find etc etc etc... and the only Microsoft branded software I have on my puter is ActiveSync for my phone & XP. Active Sync came with the phone & XP came with the puter years & years ago.

    You don't need the Media Center edition for the media center functionality. Any TV Tuner card will come with its own software... for anything else, there's Nero & that usually comes bundled free with whatever hardware you buy...



    As for which is better... dollar for dollar, a PC. Macs are nifty & all, but for the money, you can get a much better equipped PC. AND, if you ever want to upgrade, you can. That, in and of itself, makes a PC a pretty good choice. The only original part on my PC is the processor. Instead of having to buy a whole new system, as components became outdated, I just replaced them.

    Now, my buddy's two thousand dollar Mac??? It didn't come with a DVD burner. I got mine for $40. To put a DVD burner on his MAC, he has to buy another Mac.

    Apple needs to fix that, imo.



    In the end, however, the whole debate of Mac vs PC will become rather pointless... Already, most computing is done online. Once you start using Firefox or Opera, all of this begins to seem a little silly. Already, developers are making their software compatible with Linux & other OSs. It also has the blessings of IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Novell. You can even buy systems at a big discount if you opt for Linux over Microsoft.

    EDIT: Is this your 2nd or 3rd thread about Vista?
     
  7. Greg Bernhardt
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    Greg Bernhardt www.physics*****s.com

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    90% of computer advancements is due to the gaming industry. One of the huge perks of Vista is DirectX10. If no one played computer games you bet we'd still be using something like Win98 with some 32mb graphics card and 286mb memory. So indeed, if you're not a gamer, a cheap $500 system would be fine for many years. That said as long as you keep up with patches and antivirus...
     
  8. Roopull
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    Roopull Member

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    Funny you mention that, Greg. Other than the DVD burner & Hard Drive, all the other enhancements to my system was for games. Now that I rarely ever play games, I don't see the need to update the system for a long long time. It'll edit the home videos... that alone requires a decent machine. Since mine can handle it, why ever upgrade?

    If anything, I'll get a new processor... mine wasn't very fast to begin with.:confused:


    Still, it's going to be a while before I need to upgrade.


    EDIT: Won't new games come with DirectX10? Will you need to upgrade for it to work?
     
  9. sitarro
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    sitarro Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Are you going to pretend that the final comment about Jobs and his "followers" wasn't meant as a snobbish, elitist remark.....the "somehow" inclusion said it all.
     
  10. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I didn't mean to imply that nobody else copies. Imitation of popular ideas drives the market. Microsoft, however, bastardizes blatant ripoffs, making them less stable, less functional, bulkier, and more expensive, all while calling it 'innovation' and only successfully selling them by cornering the market. It would be like GM making a Toyota FJ ripoff that was uglier, had less horsepower, worse fuel efficiency, less legroom, yet was a larger car. However, only GM cars can be used on interstate highways.
     
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