Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Times, They Are A'Changin'

I used to read PC Magazine (PCMag) regularly, even after I started using a Mac (in 1996) as my primary computer. If I recall correctly, I started with PCMag Vol. 1 No. 3 (and I've kept my Vol. 1 No. 1 issue of PC World magazine). PCMag was one of my main sources of information about personal computing, along with Byte, Macworld, and MacUser. This was all well before the web was invented — no Slashdot, no Ars Technica, no Digg, no Gizmodo, no Engadget. PCMag occasionally ran articles about Macs, just so their readers would know about that other computer. The overall tone of the articles tended to be dismissive. My, my, how times have changed. Now, MacOS X 10.5 Leopard is a PCMag Editor's Choice. Edward Mendelson writes:
Leopard again raises the question of whether to switch from Windows to a Mac. I've found Vista to be a major disappointment that tends to look worse the more I use it. I still use Windows XP for getting serious work done in long, complicated documents. But OS X is easier to manage and maintain and I vastly prefer OS X to Windows for Web-browsing, mail, and especially for any task that involves graphics, music, or video. Leopard performs all such tasks even better than previous versions did—and Leopard is the only OS on the planet that works effortlessly and intuitively in today's world of networked computers and peripherals. Leopard is far from perfect, but it's better than any alternative, and it's getting harder and harder to find good reasons to use anything else.
So, just in case it isn't crystal clear — a Mac is, or should be, the No. 1 choice of anyone who's buying a new personal computer for multimedia use. And nowadays, that's almost everyone whose budget allows for more than a bare-bones $199 Linux desktop PC or an Asus Eee.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Vista SP1: Don't Hold Your Breath

A lot of people I've spoken with who've tried Windows Vista did so only because it came preinstalled on their new PCs. It's not as though they were eager to "upgrade" from Windows XP. In fact, the opposite was often true: many wanted to go back to Windows XP after experiencing Vista. In case you were wondering whether the upcoming release of the first service pack for Vista would reduce its suckage, wonder no more. Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal has been testing Vista SP1, and he observed:
In briefing me on SP1, Microsoft made a big point of saying that great progress had been made in the past year in making Vista work properly with add-on devices, such as printers. I tried my 2003-vintage Hewlett-Packard printer, which hadn’t worked properly with the original Vista. It still didn’t work well with SP1.
In other words: Vista SP1 still sucks.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Horror of Vista

Phil Greenspun relates a horrific tale of software gone awry, which underlines how perfectly awful the Vista out-of-box experience can be for some unfortunate souls. It's not unlike having the transmission fall out just after you drive your brand new car off the lot. Yes, apparently it can be that bad.

No wonder people are sticking with Windows XP, or switching to Macs. Those who switch to Macs, like entrepreneur Mark Cuban, often become fanboys. In some cases, whole families switch to Macs — permanently. A priceless quote:
Adapting to life on a Mac was effortless, and delivered a much easier, better and more intuitive computing experience for everything I needed and wanted to do than any of the Windows-based PCs that littered the previous two decades.
Nowadays, I often wonder why anyone would even consider buying a Windows PC.