Microsoft Vista: "Largely Unexciting" and Very Confusing
My five-year-old HP laptop rebooted itself for no reason the other day, which worries me. I replaced the disk drive last year. The internal sound card has failed and the batteries are shot. I need to replace the laptop, but the problem is, with what? Should I get a Microsoft operating system, an Apple operating system, or a Linux operating system?
I've just written about Apple and their new iPhone ("Is the iPhone Actually eVil?"). I have to admit that despite Apple's closed hardware, I am drawn to their machines because they (a) actually work and (b) have some real hacker capabilities built into their "OS X" operating system.
But Microsoft was coming out with Vista, and I figured I'd wait until it actually shipped before I started to shop for computers. I'm glad I did; not because I want Vista, but because Vista pushes computer makers to create even more powerful machines.
As I've written many times before, Microsoft actively retards most innovation. Walt Mossberg over at the Wall Street Journal published a review today, and he makes it quite clear that Vista for the most part just imitates what Apple had six years ago — only their imitations aren't nearly as good. And Vista runs slowly from time to time, even on high-end hardware. (I should mention that from a computer-scientist standpoint, Vista apparently stripped out just about every improvement they'd originally announced for Vista that would make the operating system more secure and more robust. Vista demands significant hardware and runs slowly but provides no significant benefit other than new "eye candy.")
So Vista is "largely unexciting," as the title of Mossberg's article states, but what I found even more interesting was how confusing Microsoft made Vista:
Vista comes in six versions, two of which are primarily aimed at consumers.
Mossberg then goes on to give details on some of those versions, and warns you that even if you purchase the high-end versions, Vista might suddenly decide to run in a stripped-down basic mode. And Mossberg doesn't mention that Vista's "digital rights management" software monitors how you use the computer, and might suddenly decide to revoke your privileges to your own computer.
So, another backwards-looking operating system from Microsoft, which will earn them a ton of money regardless... but I still don't know if they'll be getting my money or not. A less-expensive Microsoft-compatible laptop? A more expensive Apple laptop? Or should I go for a moderately expensive laptop that runs Linux?
Topics: · apple · microsoft
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