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Hostile ta Vista, Baby 663

Posted by kdawson
from the title-could-have-been-worse dept.
Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton adds his experience to the litany of woes with Microsoft Vista. Unlike most commentators who have a beef with the operating system, Bennett does a bit of surveying to bolster his points. Read his account by clicking on the magic link.


My brand-new-out-of-the-box Windows Vista machine could not access www.facebook.com. A nearby XP machine could, but the Vista machine couldn't. I went back to Circuit City to try out the other Vista demo machines, and they could access other sites but not Facebook, either. And that honeymoon feeling that you get when you buy a new computer and expect it to solve all your problems, was over for me. Having built my latest career on helping people access Facebook where they were blocked from it, by some cosmic joke was Vista now blocking me from getting to Facebook on my own machine?

I know, another article bashing Vista, what could be more banal. (Kids! That word, meaning "trite" or "unoriginal", is pronounced "ba-NAHL". If you say it the wrong way like I did in an interview, it sounds naughty and you sound stupid.) But in my own random survey of 30 Vista users on Amazon's Mechanical Turk service (a handy way to check these things), three quarters (23) said the only reason they were using Vista was that the PC store they went to didn't sell XP machines any more, and about half of all respondents (14) said that they would go back to Windows XP if they could. So I don't want to get a bunch of e-mails with Ron Paul links in the signature saying "Nobody has to use Vista if they don't want to!" (I'm aware that a survey of 30 people is too small to be scientific, but it's enough to get a ballpark figure for about $5 on Mechanical Turk.) Besides, the more people write testimonials to what they found frustrating about Vista, the more likely it is that some future version will keep what is good about the new OS, while providing a less frustrating interface (suggested name: "Vista 98").

It turns out the Facebook issue was not really Microsoft's fault -- www.facebook.com had a broken IPv6 record, and Vista defaults to using IPv6 where XP used IPv4, so that's why the host wasn't working. (In case you run into this with any other Web sites on Vista, I fixed the problem by disabling IPv6 in network settings and rebooting.) But it was one more example of something that used to work pre-Vista and then stopped working, and every case like that adds up to the overall frustration of switching to a new system, regardless of whose fault it is.

I hasten to add that I am not some partisan Microsoft basher. I like XP just fine, never more than when I went back to it after a few days on Vista, and I still think for that matter that Vista would be easier to switch to than Linux. Having been involved for years with free speech activism, I run into a lot of people in the same circles who are strong Linux advocates, apparently because the concept of "freedom of speech" is closely aligned with "making every file search as simple and stress-free as a Hamas hostage negotiation". So every year or two I'll try out the latest version of some Linux distro to see how long it would take to get used to it. In 2005, full of optimism, I cheerfully booted up the latest version of Shrike, then tried to find a directory and discovered I could not right-click on the hard drive root dir and specify the name of a directory I wanted to search for (that only worked for files, not directories). I posted a query to a Linux newsgroup, and a respondent told me that the solution was to open a command prompt and type "man find", which I am aware is a polite way of saying "screw you, newbie", but which I dutifully followed anyway and got an output screen of which the first paragraph was:

find searches the directory tree rooted at each given file name by evaluating the given expression from left to right, according to the rules of precedence (see section OPERATORS), until the outcome is known (the left hand side is false for and operations, true for or), at which point find moves on to the next file name.

and that was all my Linux for that year. Maybe I'm overdue to try it again. (Microsoft gives away their Virtual PC program that makes it easy to try other operating systems; I think it's a ploy to make us appreciate Windows more.) Now, I love the concept of a freely-distributable, freely-modifiable operating system, and I've recommended Linux to people when you need it to do something cool that Windows can't do, like bypassing Windows security by booting a PC from a CD. And it's done a lot of good for organizations like the One Laptop Per Child program, which can keep their costs down by using a free operating system. But to this day I've never heard an answer to one question: Since even Linux advocates admit that it's harder to use, what can you do with Linux that you can't do with Windows, to make it worth switching over to? If I was nervous about Vista because some of the interface had changed and some of my old programs no longer worked, it wasn't helpful to tell me to switch to a system where all of the interface would change and none of my old programs would work.

So, I wanted to like Vista. I knew that eventually everyone would have to upgrade anyway, so, not wanting to be left behind, I wanted to switch to Vista because of the same factor that spammers use to get your attention: "Other guys are improving themselves, why aren't you?" But there were some things I ran into almost immediately:
  • Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer no longer have the "File / Edit / View" menu bars across the top of the window. Was this a big problem under XP? When the menus gave quick, two-click access to most actions that you could take within the application, was there a grassroots movement to have them removed? I did eventually find that you can hit the "Alt" key to bring the menus back, but why put people through that frustration? The most annoying feeling while using a computer is being yanked out of thinking about what you're doing with the computer to having to concentrate on how to use it.

    Perhaps the idea was to steer users towards using the buttons on the toolbar, but there aren't enough buttons to cover all the options located under the menus. If the UI designers wanted to steer users gently towards using the buttons, my suggestion would have been: Whenever the user picks something under a menu that corresponds to something accessible from the toolbar, display a dialog box which says for example, "In the future, you can print faster by clicking the printer button on the toolbar", along with a picture (and a "Do not show this message again" checkbox -- important!).

  • Windows Explorer also did away with the "Up" button that lets you browse from the current directory to the higher-level directory. Again, probably not in response to a groundswell of users demanding for that button to be removed, when it took up about one square centimeter of screen space. Supposedly Windows Explorer makes up for this by displaying the entire path to the current directory in the address bar, so that if the path is "C:\Financial Records\Chris Pirillo\ Pectoral Real Estate\", you can click on "Chris Pirillo" to go one directory higher. The trouble is that I frequently give my directories extremely long and descriptive names like (this is a real example) "Flash-Player-8.5.0.246-beta2.downloaded-2006-03-20-from-labs.macromedia.com" so that I can keep track of where and when I got each piece of downloaded software, in case I ever need to go back to a previous version that the software maker no longer makes available because they're trying to steer me away from it (ironically, "Vista syndrome"). With a directory that has a long name like that, the higher-level directories aren't visible in the address bar, so I had to locate it manually in the left-hand tree view panel. OK, knock off the violins, the point is that I didn't have to do that in XP.
  • I have an older monitor, so I wanted to turn ClearType off. The IE7 help file describes how to do this in IE, but that didn't work for me no matter how many times I tried, and my eyes were aching by the time I found out that in Vista it's a default system-wide setting that overrides IE's setting until you change the system-wide one. I would have suggested putting one line in the IE7 help file: "Note: if your operating system such as Windows Vista is set to use ClearType system-wide, you must disable this as well to disable ClearType in IE."
  • Virtual PC, which worked on all versions of Windows XP, is not supported on Vista Home Premium. I need Virtual PC (for reasons other than Linux-bashing), so this was a deal-breaker.
  • Telnet no longer installed by default. Even though I use a different telnet program for regular use, telnet.exe was handy to test whether a remote machine was reachable on a given port. (For example, in a command prompt, type "telnet www.yahoo.com 80" and when the command prompt screen goes blank, that means the machine www.yahoo.com is accepting responses on port 80, the standard port for Web traffic. Try connecting to port 81 instead, and you get no response on that port. This can be useful when diagnosing problems with Web servers and other programs.) Even though it's not hard to get telnet back, why would they go to the trouble of removing it?
  • The aforementioned Facebook problem. This seemed so startling at the time that I almost stopped everything to write an article just about that, musing on Microsoft having so much power that all PC stores were now exclusively stocking computers running an OS that, at the time anyway, couldn't access Facebook. But then I asked another bunch of users on Mechanical Turk, and all respondents using Vista said they could access Facebook after all. Of course, this wasn't a random sample, since users who bought Vista and couldn't access Facebook, probably would have returned their machines a long time ago, but I'm still not sure what caused it to work on some machines and not others -- all I know is that Facebook was inaccessible until I disabled IPv6.

    I know Facebook is reading these articles, since in November I wrote about how you could circumvent Facebook's system of verifying that users were real high school students, by doing the following: "(1) create a profile of a non-overweight girl and sign up as a member of a high school network, pending confirmation; (2) search for several boys in that network and send them friend requests; and (3) wait for at least one of them to confirm you back". Shortly afterwards, Facebook changed the verification system, so that now, if you're confirming someone who is a pending member of a high school network but no one else has confirmed them yet, Facebook warns you, "Only check this box if you're absolutely sure that you know this person." So, whichever of Mark Zuckerberg's friends is reading my articles: Clever idea, and, keep the IPv6 records working.


That was as far as I got before I stopped trying to get used to Vista and started taking notes for this article (working title: "Vist Vucked"). From the Mechanical Turk users who responded to my survey, the other most common reported problems were: software compatibility, hardware compatibility, difficulty with the UI, and running too slowly. Presumably the first two problems will improve over time, but the UI will always be hard to switch to as long as users can't find functions that were easy locatable in the old interface, and if it runs slower than XP, that will always be a factor no matter how fast your computer is. (However fast it runs Vista, you'd always be able to make it run even faster with XP instead!)

The best things I've heard about Vista have been that (a) it is the most secure Windows ever (which Dave Barry says is like calling asparagus the "most articulate vegetable ever"), and (b) it features better multimedia integration. To which my responses were: (a) the number of incomprehensible warnings that Vista flashes at a user whenever they look at the computer funny, does not make it more secure, because users will condition themselves to just ignore those warnings, and (b) I hate watching TV on my computer anyway.

Since TV/PC integration is a major selling point for Vista, I thought this last issue was worth looking harder at: Do people really want to use their computers to watch TV? My computer monitor is in an office where I sit up close when I'm working; but TV feels more comfortable to watch from several feet away, and in my office I can't even scoot my chair back that far. (And if I lived with family, I doubt they'd want to crowd into my office to watch a movie.) In fact, I like the psychological separation of the TV set in the living room from the distractions of the computer in the office: I go in there when I'm done with everything in here. The only way I'd regularly download and watch movies would be if I had a way to send them wirelessly to my TV, but a wireless PC-to-TV converter and the corresponding receiver together cost about $200.

Seeking more validation of my opinions from strangers, I did another survey of 30 Mechanical Turk users, asking if they would rather drive to a movie rental store or download a movie online for the same price. Almost half (14) said they'd rather drive to the movie store, citing the comfort of watching the movie on their TV as opposed to on the computer. Another fourth of the respondents (8) said they'd download the movie but only if they could send the content to their TV to watch, and only the last fourth (8) said they'd actually watch it on their computer monitor. So the future of convergence between PC and TV will probably be not in all-in-one systems but in devices that link the PC in your study with the TV in your living room, and since there's no household name yet for PC-to-TV linkage, the field is wide open for some lucky company to make a product that becomes synonymous with the concept, the way "TiVo" is easier to say than "Digital Video Recorder". Maybe that will be a boost for systems like Vista. If that happens at about the same time that a Vista successor is released that makes the interface easier to switch to from XP, I'll bet that will be the tipping point that gets people switching voluntarily. (Of course many people will switch by then just because they need a new computer and they couldn't find one with anything but Vista on it.)

Anyway, I was only trying a new Vista machine because the hard drive on my old computer died, but after all the data had been recovered, I just installed a new drive in the old machine and went back to XP, while my Vista machine was returned to its perch, gargoyle-like, on the shelves at Circuit City, waiting to pounce on the next unsuspecting wretch with dreams of self-improvement through newer computer purchases. The only remnant of Vista that I have left is IE7, which was installed by my Windows XP restore disk and can't be removed, and which is incompatible with some sites and programs that I need, so I've been using Firefox more and getting to like it. That's lucky, since I've already offended the loyal software-logo-wearing constituencies of Vista and Linux, and wouldn't want to deal with the Firefox crowd too. As my friend Anne Mitchell says, "Admitting you hate Firefox is almost as bad as admitting to being Republican." (Except that when Firefox screws with a page, the chat logs don't end up on national television. Ba-dump-bump!)
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Hostile ta Vista, Baby

Comments Filter:
  • by kellyb9 (954229) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:47AM (#22350082)
    Frequent Slashdotter hates Vista
    • by 4D6963 (933028) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:50AM (#22350150)

      Frequent Slashdotter hates Vista

      Up next, Frequent Slashdotter finally moves to Ubuntu, feels that this is the Year of Linux on the Desktop.

      • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Erioll (229536) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:11PM (#22350506)

        Up next, Frequent Slashdotter finally moves to Ubuntu, feels that this is the Year of Linux on the Desktop.
        Uh huh. From the article:

        But to this day I've never heard an answer to one question: Since even Linux advocates admit that it's harder to use, what can you do with Linux that you can't do with Windows, to make it worth switching over to? If I was nervous about Vista because some of the interface had changed and some of my old programs no longer worked, it wasn't helpful to tell me to switch to a system where all of the interface would change and none of my old programs would work.
        This is how at LEAST 95% of computer users feel IMO. And going beyond that to the first half of the statement, people keep talking about the console wars in terms of a "killer app" and how that's what the PS3 needs to break through. Whatever, I don't want to get in to that here, but why isn't the same being said about Linux? For the average user, the best Linux can offer is "mostly as good" and often incompatible (and by that I mean, if even something SLIGHTLY doesn't work, people don't want to care how to fix it. Making it "just work" is everything). Yes you can customize, yes you can add all these different things made by people for free, but quite frankly most people don't care! They just want a computer to work "as they expect" and no more. Once ANY expectation is broken, they rebel against it. The only exception is when something is SO good (and often so easy to use as well) that it invalidates the rest. Linux DOES NOT HAVE THIS right now for most users.
        • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@gmai ... om minus painter> on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:49PM (#22351134) Homepage

          For the average user, the best Linux can offer is "mostly as good"

          "Yes, but other than being useful, usable, reliable, extensible, free, and unencumbered, what does Linux have going for it?" - Hamilcar Barca

          No, really, I get it. Linux needs a "killer app" and all that. For me, it's general media munging on the cheap. I can back up DVDs, transcode movies to other formats (like storing some cartoons and such on my Treo to keep kids entertained) and so forth. I can play practically any media format on Earth without having to install little background processes from various companies on my machine (Quicktime, Real, etc.) (Linux also ran most of my Windows games better than Vista did.)

          That's not enough to make a bunch of people switch en masse, I totally agree. But the 'barrier to switching' has dropped enormously just in the last couple of years. There are a lot fewer dealbreakers, Linux is getting good at a lot of these little niche areas too, and more and more of the real action is moving to the web anyway. There won't be a "Year of the Linux Destkop" any more than there was a "Year of the Linux Server" - people will just switch over, a few here, a few there, and eventually it'll be a solid and respected option among many on the desktop, the same way it now is on the server. (Linux is effectively immortal, so it's got all the time in the world to wait.)

          Vista sucking is a nice short-term bonus for Linux, but the long-term trends are what counts here.

          • by morcego (260031) on Friday February 08, 2008 @01:14PM (#22351484)
            I always get amazed by this constant discussion of which one is easier to use. The answer for me is and has always been obvious: whichever you are used to.

            For a long time Windows user, Linux is just as hard as Windows is for a long time Linux/Unix user.

            This has nothing to do with GUI, TUI or whatever. I'm sure most people forgotten, but when "regular/average" users started migrating from DOS to Windows they found it very difficult and confusing.

            Doing something different from what you are used to is ALWAYS more difficult. Get over it.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dunezone (899268)

              Doing something different from what you are used to is ALWAYS more difficult. Get over it.

              Lets say I want to switch over to Linux because its more secure. Now lets also say I work with Photoshop and other professional digital art packages. Now your saying that my switch will be more difficult cause switching is always difficult. To get software that is not officially supported on Linux to work is a "bitch" to do and Photoshop is one of those programs, and don't say use GIMP cause it has a serious handicap of not supporting CMYK.

              The thing is that we can get everything working on Linux you

              • by morcego (260031) on Friday February 08, 2008 @03:16PM (#22353354)
                Your answer is a good one, and an argument I heard often.

                The flaw in your thinking is that you are only trying to find Linux versions of Windows softwares. But you will also have difficult finding Windows versions of many Linux/Unix softwares. Yes, I know about Cygwin and others, but that is just like telling people to use Wine.

                One more point you make is about the time needed to get a Linux workstation up and running. I agree that is true for many of the favorite Linux distributions here on slashdot, but not always true. I have a few clients that use RedHat Enterprise, and the time it takes for them to get a RHEL computer up and running is about the same they take to get a Windows computer up and running.

                You do have a point that for the applications (usually pirated) that Joe Sixpack uses are not always so easy to get on Linux (Corel and Photoshop). But them I have to ask what a person that works with Corel and Photoshop all the time want for a Linux computer. They already picked the software, so their options is not limited by the security, capabilities or easy to use of a given OS. They are limited by the OSs supported by the software itself.

                This all falls a little off the "easy to use" discussion, like comparing apples and oranges. Lets take a comparative scenario. A Windows and a Linux workstation, both running OpenOffice. Which will be easier to use ? For me, Linux. For most people, Windows, because that is what they are used to.
              • by mstahl (701501) <marrrrrk@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday February 08, 2008 @06:22PM (#22355644) Homepage Journal

                ...and don't say use GIMP cause it has a serious handicap of not supporting CMYK.

                THANK YOU for bringing this up, because it's seriously the only thing that keeps me from switching completely over to Linux. I run dual-boot Mac OS X Leopard and Ubuntu Gutsy. Until there's an exact equivalent (not an "almost" equivalent) to Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Fireworks on linux, I can't switch. At all. Not only do I need those to communicate with clients (a lot of slashdotters completely forget that some of us geeks studied design, too), but I'm used to using them, and that's more than just switching OSes. The key combinations in those programs are so deeply ingrained in my very soul that I'm just used to rocking out designs absurdly quickly. Because I'm so used to these programs (NOT because they're inherently better; Photoshop I'm looking at you!), it would be a severe blow to my productivity to have to switch to anything else at this point. Switching from Photoshop to Fireworks for web design mockups (not photo editing) was like a religious experience for me because it genuinely was more efficient and, most importantly, all those little key combinations were the same.

                It pains me to say it, but open source software needs to focus on making software that feels the same as what people are used to. Then, people will be more likely to think the price is right to switch.

              • CYMK? (Score:3, Informative)

                by alizard (107678)
                Krita supports it right out of the box, as does Xara Extreme. No guarantee on whether or not the packages have other features you need, but I like either a lot more than I like GIMP.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by orclevegam (940336)
              Doing something new is always "more difficult" then doing something you already know how to do. The real point here is, is it more difficult to do something new on Windows, or something new on Linux? Often times it's actually easier on Linux, not because it's simple, but because finding something that actually does what you want on Windows can be such an unbelievable nightmare. Yes, with Linux you'll probably have to read some arcane manual and recite a magic incantation you got from some forum somewhere (o
              • by Curtman (556920) on Friday February 08, 2008 @07:35PM (#22356254)
                My favorite part of the "article" was:

                my suggestion would have been: Whenever the user picks something under a menu that corresponds to something accessible from the toolbar, display a dialog box which says for example, "In the future, you can print faster by clicking the printer button on the toolbar", along with a picture (and a "Do not show this message again" checkbox -- important!).

                That's right. The new and improved system wide Clippy.

                Don't give them ideas. Some asshole will read this and go to work at Microsoft on Monday and people are going to talk about actually doing this. Clippy is a smug little bastard, and he should die.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dbialac (320955)
              I disagree. This is going to take everyone by surprise, as a long time Mac user, I actually found Vista to be quite easy to use. Everything in the user interface seemed far more intuitive than in XP. XP is "mechanical" -- you need to be an engineer to understand how it works. The control panel was goal-oriented rather than technology oriented. This fact alone is probably one that many techies have a hard time getting used to. My only real complaint with Vista is that it raises too many permission conf
            • We Fear Change! (Score:3, Interesting)

              by zentigger (203922)
              Doing something different from what you are used to is ALWAYS more difficult. Get over it.

              That's a commonly propagated misconception. For anyone that has a basic understanding of what they are trying to do, good interface design should make things simple, regardless of what you are used to.

              I have worked through various versions of DOS, Windows, Solaris, Linux and other Unices, and Mac OS, as well as various Commodore products in the last 30 some years.

              There is always a learning curve when switching to a ne
          • by marcus (1916) on Friday February 08, 2008 @01:37PM (#22351822) Journal
            > No, really, I get it. Linux needs a "killer app" and all that.

            It'll never happen. That is, Linux will never have a killer app that is not also available on window$.

            Reason: Any killer app produced by the open source crew will be ported to window$ in the blink of an eye after(perhaps even before) said app becomes "killer".

            Any closed source killer app that runs on Linux will be poorly supported(compared to FOSS apps) as all are now and the prime source of revenue will be the window$ version which will always be bugfixed and otherwise updated more often/before the Linux version.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by PopeRatzo (965947) *
              There is something to what Marcus is saying. I believe that the ultimate "killer app" for Linux would be native support for Windows applications. When I can run Cakewalk Sonar and Adobe Premiere in Linux, I'll never buy another Microsoft product.
              • I believe that the ultimate "killer app" for Linux would be native support for Windows applications.

                Ask the OS/2 guys how well that worked out [wikipedia.org]. Nobody developed for OS/2, since they could just write a Windows app and have it work on OS/2. But without native OS/2 apps, there was no real reason to adopt OS/2...

                Linux wins by being easier and cheaper to develop for. Fortunately, there are good cross-platform libraries these days, which make porting a lot simpler. And the spread of such cross-platform apps for the key user needs (e.g. Firefox & Thunderbird) makes switching to Linux much less of a learning experience.

              • by BlindSpot (512363) on Friday February 08, 2008 @03:53PM (#22353848)
                I believe that the ultimate "killer app" for Linux would be native support for Windows applications

                No, this is exactly what Linux doesn't need, at least not if you want it to be successful on the desktop.

                STOP TRYING TO MAKE LINUX BE WINDOWS!!! People already have Windows, they don't need a replacement. That's why they don't switch. The "replacement Windows" idea was already tried: it was called OS/2 Warp for Windows, and we know what happened there. (Never heard of it? Bingo.)

                Look at where Linux's successes are: Servers and mobile devices - places where Linux doesn't try to emulate Windows. Places where developers actually innovated instead of just copying. The robustness, versatility, and stability of a Linux server - that's the killer app for servers. The portability and the ability to do unique interfaces like those on the XO or the Eee - that's the killer app for devices.

                It doesn't just work for Linux. Apple too sees the most success where it has tried to take the lead: the iPod, iPhone, MacBook, etc. In this case it's the simplicity and/or distinct function-meets-form interfaces that provide the edge. If they made the iPod be like every other MP3 player, and the MacBook like every other laptop, Apple might not even exist now.

                Don't try to beat Microsoft at its own game. You can't. The way to beat them is to change the game entirely. I've been saying this for years, but sadly developers still waste tons of time and effort trying to make Linux be Windows. If only they instead put this into making the next big breakthrough in user interface or computer design using Linux as the platform. Something that 15 years for now will make us say "I can't believe we used to use a desktop window interface" in much the same way we now talk about dumb terminals and typewriters. It's gonna happen anyhow, so why not do it on Linux?

                I don't know what this something is yet but I do know nobody's going to find it if all they are looking at is Windows.
                • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday February 08, 2008 @05:33PM (#22355100) Homepage Journal

                  People already have Windows, they don't need a replacement.
                  With the release of Vista, we no longer have Windows.

                  Until the companies that make the applications I use start releasing Linux versions, I can't make Linux my only operating system, no matter how much I would like to.

                  I'm doing my best, as a music and video producer, to use the apps that work in Ubuntu Studio. They are getting better all the time, but they're just not there yet. I've got to get my work done. I've got a development system with Ubuntu Studio and I use it for lots of tasks (especially rendering and management of my clips and samples) and it's effective, but I've got an investment in virtual instruments and effects (audio and video), midi and video gear, and they just won't work there. But every year it gets better and I keep trying.

                  Of course, the best thing that could happen is to have a strong third party create a professional operating system that works on my hardware. I'd use OSX in a second if it ran on my system, but I'm just not seeing enough difference between Apple and Microsoft to justify the huge commitment required for me to give up my Windows apps and preferred hardware for a Mac, and I've got a basic opposition to any OS that requires proprietary hardware.

                  Finally, I'd say that OS/2's failure wasn't because it didn't work or wasn't as good as Windows. But that's an old issue and I hope it doesn't permanently discourage those that would develop a new commercial desktop OS.
          • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday February 08, 2008 @01:49PM (#22352046) Journal
            Um, no.
            useful: In the same way that Esperanto is useful. Yet, almost no one uses that either. Why? Because they would have to learn something new.

            usable: For some people in some circumstances. But, what about those people that never want to see a command line? Or have laptops with broadcom wireless? Or want to use an app not available for whatever distribution they are using? Or a Windows program that won't run under WINE?

            reliable: Yeah, and so is a properly maintained Windows box.

            extensible: Most people don't care about this. The vast majority of people are not going to "extend" their operating system, even the geeks.

            free: Windows came with my computer and it would have cost MORE to get the computer without Windows. That makes Windows effectively free to me. My time is valuable. Linux is not free when I have to sink time into getting and installing it.

            unencumbered: Most people don't care about this. Most people don't even have a clue as to what you are talking about.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Dr. Manhattan (29720)

              Because they would have to learn something new.

              That's much less of a problem these days. Every damn gizmo in the world - cell phones, kiosks, even DVD players - comes with its own menu system and all that. People - particularly the younger crowd - are used to learning new interface variants all the time. And the GUIs for Linux are getting pretty dang polished by now. Speaking of which...

              what about those people that never want to see a command line?

              They don't have to; not any more than most Windows type

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            "Yes, but other than being useful, usable, reliable, extensible, free, and unencumbered, what does Linux have going for it?" - Hamilcar Barca

            Linux is useful: To most users, no more so than a computer with any other operating system installed; and often less so because the programs that they rely on to get their daily work done are not available.
            Linux is usable: Did you read the part of the article where searching for a directory is mentioned? There are a large number of things that could be done to increas

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hatta (162192)
          But to this day I've never heard an answer to one question: Since even Linux advocates admit that it's harder to use, what can you do with Linux that you can't do with Windows, to make it worth switching over to?

          Oh that's easy. Linux comes with stuff like find, xargs, grep, sed, etc. So, for example, if I have a text file like this(which I often do in the course of my work):

          AatII (G_ACGT^C)
          AccI (GT^MK_AC)
          AclI (AA^CG_TT)
          AgeI (A^CCGG_T)
          AscI (GG^CGCG_CC)
          AsiSI (GCG_AT^CGC)
          AvrII (C^CTAG_G)

          I can find all the res

      • by callmetheraven (711291) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:14PM (#22350580)
        After the break...
        Slashdotter discovers after years of XP bashing that he in fact is an avid XP supporter.
    • by fm6 (162816) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:03PM (#22350378) Homepage Journal
      This is why I hate "+1 Funny": people can't resist trolling for it, usually with some lame sarcasm like the above. In this case, you're actually repeating something TFA itself said.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's a well written summary of why, exactly, he dislikes Vista. I like the quote from Dave Barry, something like calling Vista the most secure Windows is like calling asparagus the most articulate vegetable. But he also makes some good points about why Linux is not challenging Vista. So, frequent slashdotter dislikes vista for sound reasons, dislikes linux for equally sound reasons. A bit more unique.

      Anon because I modded in here already . . .
  • Most puzzling (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:48AM (#22350128) Homepage Journal
    >My brand-new-out-of-the-box Windows Vista machine could not access www.facebook.com.

    "Where do you want to go today?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by corsec67 (627446)
      Maybe they are missing the fine print on that slogan:
      "Just because you want something doesn't mean you are going to get it"
  • by ettlz (639203) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:55AM (#22350240) Journal

    My brand-new-out-of-the-box Windows Vista machine could not access www.facebook.com.
  • banal (Score:5, Funny)

    by Freeside1 (1140901) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:56AM (#22350266)
    There is no single correct way to pronounce it. You're just being anal.
    • Canal with a B (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kimos (859729)
      It's French.
      I've never heard this word used in English before, but he's correct that in French it's pronounced like canal with a B.
      • by mdielmann (514750)

        It's French.
        I've never heard this word used in English before, but he's correct that in French it's pronounced like canal with a B.
        There are a lot of French words in the English language, and they usually sound better when they're pronounced correctly. For instance, carafe. Hint: It's a three-syllable word. The first time I heard the Americanized pronunciation, it took me a few seconds to figure out what the waitress was talking about.
    • Re:banal (Score:5, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:17PM (#22350622) Homepage Journal

      According to one source [reference.com]:

      Usage Note: The pronunciation of banal is not settled among educated speakers of American English. Sixty years ago, H.W. Fowler recommended the pronunciation (bn'l, rhyming with panel), but this pronunciation is now regarded as recondite by most Americans: no member of the Usage Panel prefers this pronunciation. In our 2001 survey, (bnl') is preferred by 58 percent of the Usage Panel, (b'nl) by 28 percent, and (b-näl') by 13 percent (this pronunciation is more common in British English). Some Panelists admit to being so vexed by the problem that they tend to avoid the word in conversation. Speakers can perhaps take comfort in knowing that these three pronunciations each have the support of at least some of the Usage Panel and that none of them is incorrect. When several pronunciations of a word are widely used, there is really no right or wrong one.

      There are few things more satisfying than demonstrating that a pedant is wrong.

    • by lancejjj (924211)
      Right on. Mod the parent post up.

      The article's author is presenting a pronunciation opinion as a "fact":

      (Kids! That word, meaning "trite" or "unoriginal", is pronounced "ba-NAHL". If you say it the wrong way like I did in an interview, it sounds naughty and you sound stupid.)

      The fact is that only a mere 46% of a set of experts in American English pronunciation agreed that banal rhymes with "canal". In other words, that set of experts would disagree with his claim.

      From American Heritage:

      "The pronunciation of banal is not settled among educated speakers of American English. Sixty years ago, H.W. Fowler recommended the pronunciation (rhyming with panel), but this pronunciation is now regarded as recondite by most Americans: it is preferred by only 2 percent of the Usage Panel. Other possibilities are (rhyming with anal), preferred by 38 percent of the Panel; (rhyming with canal), preferred by 46 percent; and (the last syllable rhyming with doll), preferred by 14 percent (this last pronunciation is more common in British English)."

      ... and this is from an expert panel on the language.

      Source: http://www.bartleby.com/61/18/B0051800.html [bartleby.com]

      Next thing he'll be telling us is that "Windows Vista" and "Piece of Shit" aren't hom

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by noidentity (188756)

      I know, another article bashing Vista, what could be more banal. (Kids! That word, meaning "trite" or "unoriginal", is pronounced "ba-NAHL". If you say it the wrong way like I did in an interview, it sounds naughty and you sound stupid.)

      There is no single correct way to pronounce it. You're just being anal.

      Another one for the annals of Slashdot language usage.

    • by Pedrito (94783)
      There is no single correct way to pronounce it. You're just being anal.

      You are correct. There are, in fact, 3 accepted pronunciations according to Webster, including the one that rhymes with anal!

      I have to say, the submitter had more stick-with-it-ness than me. I lasted about 2 hours with Vista before I reverted to XP. I still periodically run Vista in a VM when my work requires it (mainly to fix Vista-specific problems in our app, which have been few, but major), but it drives me nuts whenever I have to u
    • Re:banal (Score:4, Funny)

      by WebCowboy (196209) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:36PM (#22350926)
      You're just being anal.

      To clarify, he was being an-AHL.
  • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Friday February 08, 2008 @11:57AM (#22350290) Homepage Journal
    I know there had to be SOMETHING good about Vista.
  • Try using it in a corporate environment. It's a nightmare to get the hardware independent image working right and let's not even get started on home brew apps.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:08PM (#22350474) Homepage
      One of the company's executives wanted us to upgrade to vista. Our solution wa to upgrade him.

      None of the vertical apps worked, he was calling tech support constantly. After leaving him that way for 30 days the next tech meeting we had him in, I said, "vista works perfectly on X's machine, do we still want to look at migrating?"

      He spoke up and said, "NO! Let's test it for a few more months." after the meeting he asked for a second laptop, with XP on it so he can "compare".

      his Vista laptop has not been logged in on for over 45 days now, I wonder why?

  • Nice read (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lpangelrob (714473)
    Probably won't change anyone's minds, but it's nice to read something with enjoyable, halfway unbiased prose. That's better than most articles I read that are linked from Slashdot.

    Let's see if consumers decide that the Apple TV (take 2) is the lucky device to connect the internet and TV.
    • Re:Nice read (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tknd (979052) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:59PM (#22351278)

      Probably won't change anyone's minds, but it's nice to read something with enjoyable, halfway unbiased prose.

      I found the article to be written by someone just out of high school and happened to get A's in his English and writing classes. Half of the article just rambles about facebook. Another good chunk just talks about Virtual PC and the author's lack of knowledge about *nix. And as a reader, I can't be bothered to read commentary about the pronunciation "banal." In fact it is insulting to me because it implies that I cannot pick up and use a dictionary.

      The only pieces of Vista (bashing) you can find in this article are the following:

      • Vista can't access facebook.
      • Vista got rid of file menus.
      • Vista's explorer has no parent directory button.
      • He had a hard time figuring out how to find the system-wide cleartype setting.
      • telnet isn't available by default.
      • He couldn't access facebook.

      The title of the article should literally be renamed to "Vista Can't Access Facebook :( (I'm Unbiased...Really! :)". I'll admit it, I have a facebook account, but I was dragged into it by a good friend of mine and haven't logged in for months. I don't care about your issues with facebook and I even doubt half of facebook care about your issues with facebook because they're probably inactive like me. If people like me don't care, why should people on Slashdot?

      The only reason why Slashdot should like this article is because it puts down Vista. But if you read carefully, you will understand that the guy is actually a Microsoft kid that had a bad experience with one of Microsoft products. What geek doesn't or has never used *nix find? What geek actually prefers Virtual PC to the alternatives? I'm running VirtualBox on Vista with Ubuntu installed on VirtualBox just fine. What geek decides to go to Circuit City when his hard drive dies, buys a Vista PC, and later returns it? Perhaps his motives were to exploit Circuit City's return policy, but I'd rather go computer-less for three days than be bothered with anal Circuit City salesmen...err workers for even for 5 minutes. And real geeks use netcat, not telnet.

      Something is seriously wrong with Slashdot if meaningless drivel like this gets on the front-page and categorized as "surveying". Oh silly me, this is Slashdot. Bash Vista = +5 informative. In truth I could probably write just as good of a bullshit article and call my "surveying" polling of random anonymous internet forums. (And for all you kiddies out there that's bullshit, you know the word that's commonly simplified to BS when you can't swear in school.)

      There are many honest rants about Vista that I can accept. But this is not one of them.

  • by rufusdufus (450462) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:01PM (#22350350)
    This article is ridiculous. Some noob spouting about anecdotal problems he had with a Circuit City computer does not inspire respect. His biggest issue? Facebook doesnt work because facebook's website is broken. But its Vista's fault. Is this some sort of joke?

    Has the slashdot demographic decayed this much?
    • Has the slashdot demographic decayed this much?
      Yes... I have been here long enough to see the rise and fall of the /. mentality.. but it does make for amusing reading during days at work when I am bored.
    • Snobish Much? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:23PM (#22350726) Homepage Journal
      The fact that Facebook has broken IPv6 records is noteworthy all by itself. That sort of problem is going to come up a lot, as more and more users make the move to IPv6.

      And can we skip all the crap about whose fault it is? Yes, Facebook screwed up. But if a leading OS can't access a leading web site, people need to know about it, and don't really care whose fucking fault it is.

      I'm sure a lot of people are tired of hearing about How Vista Sucks. But the issue isn't going to go away. It's getting harder and harder to buy new machines that run XP, and Microsoft wants to make it impossible. This is stuff I want to hear about, especially when the writer covers problems I hadn't heard about before, like this guy did. As it happens, these issues are key for me, because I desperately want to get Vista's improved handwriting engine for my tablet; that makes Vista problems of extreme interest to me.

      If you don't share that interest, well, nobody's forcing you to read TFA.
    • by Endo13 (1000782)
      You've never worked in tech support, have you?
    • > Facebook doesnt work because facebook's website is broken.

      No, sounds like their DNS was broken. But anyway.....

      This guy sounds like a typical above average end user. What is typically referred to as a 'power user' in that he knows the basics and is probably the go to guy for everyone else in his peer group. And all of his complaints about capricious changes in the Vista interface vs XP are valid for bith his group and the induhviduals at the bottom of the user pyramid. Change == bad pretty much sum
    • Dunno... all his whining aside, there is a valid point buried in there: Why can't Vista check it on IPv4 if IPv6 is broke at a given destination? Hell, I see Fedora Core and RHEL do it every time I run a kickstart install on something... it tries IPv6 first, and if it doesn't get the IPv6 love, it drops to IPv4 and tries again (yes, you can force it to IPv4 only, but it's harmless).

      I grok the general push to IPv6 and all, but you'd think they would have at least tried to follow the (what I thought to be)

  • O rly? (Score:5, Funny)

    by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:02PM (#22350358)

    So, I wanted to like Vista.
    Sorry, but no "Frequent Slashdot contributor" wanted to like Vista. I'm calling bullshit on this one.
  • Vista's Security.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mpapet (761907) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:03PM (#22350394) Homepage
    Is more accurately described as an elaborate blame shifting mechanism.

    From Microsoft's perspective it's worth every man-hour that went into it because they can plausibly say, "But Vista is sooo great, it warned you and YOU ignored it. Sucks to be you." Which papers over the geek-fact that UAC is a permeable barrier to root-ish priviledge, so really nothing technically like sudo despite what Microsoft marketing will tell you.
  • by Dr Kool, PhD (173800) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:04PM (#22350400) Homepage Journal
    1) If you press "ALT" the File / Edit / View menus show up in IE and Windows Explorer. It actually works well, hiding the bars when they aren't used gives you more screen space.

    2) Up button is gone, but if you have a side button on your mouse that will take you up one level in Windows Explorer.

    3) Telnet is dead, long live SSH. Like he said, it's easy to install telnet if you need it.

    I run Vista Business x64 and it's far more stable than XP. The biggest improvements for me are the new Windows Update, the new wireless networking connection tool and indexed searching. I have no complaints about speed but I have 2GB of memory. I think those with 1GB or less probably have legitimate complaints.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by illumin8 (148082)

      1) If you press "ALT" the File / Edit / View menus show up in IE and Windows Explorer. It actually works well, hiding the bars when they aren't used gives you more screen space.

      Except someone that switched to Vista or IE7 would have no frickin' clue why the menus are missing. Doesn't MS have some usability testers that actually figure out if this shit makes sense to an actual user? Like, you know, the kind of person that might buy a computer at Circuit City?

      2) Up button is gone, but if you have a side but

  • weakly done (Score:4, Insightful)

    by farkus888 (1103903) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:06PM (#22350428)
    I think this particular vista bashing is very poorly done. I didn't read past "It turns out the Facebook issue was not really Microsoft's fault -- facebook had a broken IPv6 record, and Vista defaults to using IPv6". perhaps a better title would have been "facebook sucks". happy linux user and all those other /. stereotypes, I just think if we are mocking vista we should talk about its weaknesses not blame other mistakes on it. I know if someone posted an article claiming it was firefox's fault it didn't correctly render poorly coded web pages it would be received as blasphemy in this community.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think this particular vista bashing bashing is very poorly done. Not reading TFA is standard for /., but admitting that one has only read the less impressive part of TFA while bashing lacks class.

      Not to mention that no other OS seemed to have problems with Facebook. Vista was the only one that insisted in IPv6, and wouldn't fall back on IPv4. With the current situation, that's dumb. (Nor do I have any sympathy whatsoever with a claim by Microsoft about somebody else not following standards.)

  • Regarding the coment about giving files long names to make it clear where they were downloaded from...

    AmigaOS used to do something similar, anything you downloaded had a "filenote" that contained the full URL. A filenote is a smal text string associated with the file, a file comment.
    I believe OSX Leopard can do something similar, because when you try to run something you downloaded it tells you where you downloaded it from... But i'm not sure how to query this information manually.

    The Amiga implementation w
  • by John Miles (108215) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:08PM (#22350458) Homepage Journal
    ... came from another fellow in the office who shall remain nameless:

    In XP, I always shut off all the indexing crap because it's slow and
    unpredictable. The searches are slower, but at least you know when things
    are slow. So, we do the same thing on (other colleague)'s computer, but it is
    running Vista.

    Now, first thing, in Vista, by default, there is no "Run Program". In
    Vista, if you pop open the start menu and start typing, it "searches" for
    what you typed. You can turn on searching for favorites, programs, and
    finally, search the index, or search the drive. By default, "seach the
    drive" is off, and everything else is on. But when you turn off indexing,
    it flips the option from search the index to search the drive.

    So, now, when you search for something in that window, the drive grinds away
    looking for what you searched for. Now, somewhere along the time, the smart
    people at Microsoft said, why don't we start searching for what they are
    typing, _as they are typing it_, so that by the time they press enter, we
    are closer to the results.

    That means, when (colleague) was trying to run Zoomin to debug a rendering issue, he typed Z..o... and the
    background thread started searching... the entire disc. But now, that's
    just the first two letters, so now (colleague) types the second "o" and it starts
    another background search... of the entire disk. BUT IT LETS THE ORIGINAL
    THREAD continue to run! So, how you have two threads both searching your
    entire drive (contents, mind you, not just file names). But let's continue
    with "min.exe". Yup, you now have 8 different threads all scanning your
    entire fucking drive, and the machine is fucking melting. Thank goodness
    (colleague) has an 8-way box and Zoomin.exe is only 8 searches, or this might have
    been a bad decision on Microsoft's part.

    And now the drive is crying out for mercy, but it's kind of hard to tell,
    because drives are so quiet now-a-days, right? So, all (colleague) notices is that
    the fan in the computer has sped up. So, he presses enter to execute
    Zoomin. BUT EVEN WHEN YOU RUN THE APP AND EXIT THE MENU, they don't shut
    down the threads!! They continue running with absolutely no way to show the
    user the results anyway because the window is closed!

    Now, his rendering code is running like shit, because 99% of the machine is now
    searching for "zo", "zoo", "zoom", "zoomi", "zoomin", "zoomin.", "zoomin.e",
    "zoomin.ex", and finally"zoomin.exe". And with all of the threads
    simulataneously hitting the disc, it takes like 5 minutes for them to exit!

    I suggested that they probably cap the max threads to the number of CPUs in
    the machine... Ooooooh no!! If you just keeping hitting letters, it just
    merrily keeps adding threads. I creamed his machine by typing
    "zoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo".

    Fucking awesome!

    Oh yeah, one other cool thing, if you backspace, it starts a new thread for
    the shorter string. WHICH IS ALREADY BEING SEARCHED FOR ON ANOTHER THREAD!
    So, Zoom launchs five threads.

    Sweet action!


    So where does Microsoft even go to find programmers this stupid? Elbonia? How do you screw up an operating system this badly and still make money with it?
    • by Nebu (566313) <nebuNO@SPAMgta.igs.net> on Friday February 08, 2008 @01:04PM (#22351346) Homepage

      If you just keeping hitting letters, it just merrily keeps adding threads. I creamed his machine by typing "zoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo".
      So where does Microsoft even go to find programmers this stupid? Elbonia? How do you screw up an operating system this badly and still make money with it?
      I just tried to duplicate the above bug (I typed "zooooooooooooooooooooo" into the Start menu search box), and it ran just fine for me. Did you try duplicating the bug yourself? Are you sure your friend wasn't just making stuff up for comedic effect?
  • So every year or two I'll try out the latest version of some Linux distro to see how long it would take to get used to it. In 2005, full of optimism, I cheerfully booted up the latest version of Shrike

    Shrike? Shrike? I've used linux for around 4 years and I have never heard of Shrike, and I play around with all the unkown versions too. If you don't want to like linux, why don't you just try and use a distro that isn't mainstream and won't be nearly as easy/good/fun as something like Fendora or Ubuntu. Oh, w
    • shrike... (Score:3, Informative)

      by number6x (626555)

      'Shrike' is the development name for Red Hat 9 [distrowatch.com]. Scroll down the distrowatch page to see the columns with release names.

      Kind of like calling a Windows release 'Joliet', 'Chicago' or 'Cairo'.

      Why all the cities in Illinois?

    • by bhtooefr (649901)
      Looks like Shrike is the codename for Red Hat 9.

      So, the predecessor of Fedora. (I'll note that I've never heard of Fendora. ;))
  • I always had a rough time with find too. If the author happens to be reading the comments, try:


    find . -type f -name "file_name_here" -print

    It's a complicated command that can do a lot, but that basic example will work for the majority of your simple file searches. From there it might be easier to branch out and fuss with other options (such as -mtime 1 would search for a file modified in the last day) but this should hopefully get you started.

    Peace.
  • His main complaint is really an IPv6 conversion problem. Facebook probably works on Vista from network connections that can't get an IPv6 connection at all, because the client presumably tries IPv4. But he was apparently testing from some connection that could pass IPv6 packets to Facebook, and Vista properly tried to use IPv6. It's a legitimate complaint if this problem isn't properly reported to the user.

    We're going to be seeing more of this. Rollout of IPv6 to consumers only started a few weeks ago.

  • ...that a regular contributor on SLASHDOT would have to be pretty stupid to go and buy a PC with Vista on it?
  • I know, another article bashing Vista, what could be more banal. (Kids! That word, meaning "trite" or "unoriginal", is pronounced "ba-NAHL". If you say it the wrong way like I did in an interview, it sounds naughty and you sound stupid.)

    Where on earth did this come from? Did your ADD suddenly kick in?

    You what makes you sound stupid - it's throwing random sophomoric crap non-sequitirs like this into your harangue (BTW that's pronounced as if it rhymes with "meringue", which is a type of dessert).

    I'm a Mac user, and I like puppies.

  • Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer no longer have the "File / Edit / View" menu bars across the top of the window. Was this a big problem under XP? When the menus gave quick, two-click access to most actions that you could take within the application, was there a grassroots movement to have them removed?

    While I am somewhat critical of how Microsoft elected to implement this feature, I like the fact that they are offering a hide menu bar feature. My opinion is based on how Amiga software was designed, which in all fairness was designed to accommodate a 12-13 inch monitor. The file bar employed auto hiding and most applications supported a full screen mode. In the microsoft world, it's rare to find software that uses full screen mode, something that is mega handy for desktop publishing/word processing no

  • by lenova (919266) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:27PM (#22350780)
    I can't believe this poorly written post was posted to the front page. C'mon, this is a journal entry at best!

    - The writer spends majority of his 'review' on the fact that he couldn't access Facebook, despite the fact that he admits this was an issue with Facebook's website itself, not Vista.

    - And an embedded link to rentmychest.com? C'mon kdawson, did you even read this submission?

    - He gives his directories names like "Flash-Player-8.5.0.246-beta2.downloaded-2006-03-20-from-labs.macromedia.com"? Is this a joke?

    - He complains about telnet.exe not being available, despite the fact that he doesn't use it normally in the first place?

    - Is this a review of Vista, or an ad for Mechanical Turk?
  • by cgreuter (82182) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:34PM (#22350882)
    was extremely satisfying:
    1. Bought a new PC from $BIG_BOX_RETAILER, took it home and plugged it in.
    2. Turned it on.
    3. Clicked the "Okay" button until I got to the screen where I had to read a novel-length license agreement through a 3-by-4 inch scroll window.
    4. Said "bugger this for a lark" in my best fake British accent, inserted my freshly-burned Fedora 8 DVD and power-cycled the machine.
    5. Gleefully formatted the entire disk as ext3 (plus a swap partition, natch) and imagined Vista screaming as I plowed its broken bits under my mighty array of disk heads.

    The whole thing was very satisfying and I can type "find . -type f -exec grep some-string {} \; -print" whenever I want and it'll work.

    (I'm not trying to bash Windows here--I just like Linux better. I bought the computer as a Linux machine and wanted to see what all the fuss was about and if it was worth keeping a small Vista partition around for a bit. Vista showed me it wasn't pretty quickly but I still have the install CD and license sticker in case I change my mind.)

  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:41PM (#22351016) Homepage Journal
    Plus: I do like how Vista added the "no to all", which goes nicely with "yes to all". This cuts down on a lot of same-question asking when doing file operations. Yay for that.

    Minus: They totally botched up the column resizing method on the "details" view of Explorer. In XP, it's very cut & dry. YOu hover your mouse between the bars to resize them. Why is this now such a pain in Vista? I swear you have to go to the right a bit to it. It doesn't seem synced up with the mouse pointer "hot spot" end. It was never something that was broken to begin with, but they decided to "improve it". Even switching back to the classic Windows theme(I always do this to make remote desktop faster) still gives you the problem.

    I do wonder if Vista fixed the annoying "searching for items" problem. You go into explorer, and you might have a few network drives. You quickly see a flash of your whole file tree, then it blanks it out for your convienence while it "searches for items". This might take a while.

    Did they also fix the irritating "my network places"? It's tricky to remove the months-old entries in there(which pile up after a while), since if you directly click on one of the locations that might not be there anymore, it takes a 2 minute wait to say no. Then it's a bit annoying to delete.

    The latest IE took TOO MUCH out of the freakin' gui. Bring back the basic buttons. I don't care if it takes up more real estate. I've gotten too used to the firefox button set.
  • by earlymon (1116185) on Friday February 08, 2008 @12:52PM (#22351192) Homepage Journal
    For example, this one:

    Perhaps the idea was to steer users towards using the buttons on the toolbar, but there aren't enough buttons to cover all the options located under the menus. If the UI designers wanted to steer users gently towards using the buttons, my suggestion would have been: Whenever the user picks something under a menu that corresponds to something accessible from the toolbar, display a dialog box which says for example, "In the future, you can print faster by clicking the printer button on the toolbar", along with a picture (and a "Do not show this message again" checkbox -- important!).

    How to fix:

    1. Read In The Beginning Was The Command Line http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html [cryptonomicon.com]

    2. Realize that you once again traded in the crappy station wagon that broke down the day you drove it off the lot for another crappy station wagon, although newer, that broke down as soon as you drove it off the lot - same make, same dealer.

    3. Come to the realization that as long as you think it's your job to excuse why your station wagon broke down - after all, everyone seems to drives one and everyone seems to give those excuses and suggestions - then you are doomed to keep buying broken down station wagons and you become part of the encouragement to dealer and maker to just keep up what they do - and some day, you'll be part of the mass of station wagon buyers that influenced someone else to follow this behavior.

    4. Once this realization is established, the problem is solved, and it elegantly leaves you two options.

    Option A - Rationalize away what you've just realized, and now your problem is solved: this pretty much includes not having any further questions on the subject and whenever you hear someone else complain about the idiocy of driving a broken down station wagon at new car prices, roll your eyes with the knowing, "he's just a Microsoft basher!" explanation.

    Option B - Vow to never repeat this mistake. This pretty much includes going across the intersection to another corner, and picking up one of the free tanks - yes, I mean as in big, mean Army tank! - and drive it or the other corner and pay about the same as you did or will over your use-time for a sleeker, fun car that breaks down about as often as the Army tank - ie, virtually never. If you have something that can only be done using a broken down station wagon, you'll find your tank has a thing called WINE that will let you drive parts of the little station wagon around inside your tank or you'll find your sleek car lets you play broken down station wagon inside a couple of videogames called Parallels or VMWare.

    Once you have followed this path, you will have magically answered this question, too:

    But to this day I've never heard an answer to one question: Since even Linux advocates admit that it's harder to use, what can you do with Linux that you can't do with Windows, to make it worth switching over to?

    If you solved your problem by going with Option B, you've realized that the question isn't going to be ever answered. Because you just asked, "Why don't I get a simple answer to one question: Ever since I saw that a tank might be harder to drive, why would I want a free tank that never breaks down when I can keep paying for the privilege of driving a crappy station wagon guaranteed to be broken down by design?"

    If you solved your problem by going with Option A, you've realized that broken down station wagon drivers throwing good money after bad are much more clever than free tank drivers or sleek car drivers. (Don't forget to gloat, even if done ever so humbly.)

    Hope it's not to late for the author in question - best luck, compadre.

    PS - I have never recommended the online version of "In The Beginning..." - ever. I always insist people buy the book. It seems to help those preconditioned to buy what they can get for free to actually get

  • Misguided (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Friday February 08, 2008 @01:30PM (#22351732) Journal
    Let's do this one point-by-point:

    1. Who gives a fuck about Facebook's DNS problems? Vista is doing the right thing, here, by doing exactly as the DNS server instructs, with a preference toward IPV6 addresses. Any other behavior (including a preference toward IPV4) would be decried as horrifically broken and against progress.

    2. News flash: Internet Explorer blows chunks. It's just as atrocious, in somewhat different ways, as any previous version of IE. And it behaves just as badly on XP (which tried mighty hard to get the user updated to version 7). This is is therefore not Vista issue. (Ok, ok. It's deliberately hard to install IE 6 on Vista. But Firefox and Opera seem to work Just Fucking Fine on any modern OS as well as his beloved Facebook, so what's the problem?)

    3. News flash: The new Windows Explorer works different from old; lacks "Up" button. Just click on the directory name in the address bar, and you'll go there. For instance, if you're in C:\Windows, the address bar will show "Computer > Local Disc (C:) > Windows". Simply clicking on any portion of this will go up one or more levels in exactly one step. This is different from XP, sure, but it's no worse, and I personally prefer it.

    4. Cleartype. I can't imagine how this dude managed to get lost turning off Cleartype. I just opened IE 7, pressed F1 for help, typed Cleartype into the box, and pressed enter. The very first link goes to a help section detailing what Cleartype is, and how to turn it on and off system-wide. (It's been my experience that Vista's help system is actually capable of being useful, in start contrast to previous versions of Windows.)

    5. News flash: Virtual PC doesn't run on Vista Home. It also doesn't run on home editions of any other Microsoft OS, including XP Home.

    6. Telnet is gone by default. Good. The security folks have been trying to get rid of it for years. Those who need it still have it available, and those who don't know better won't stumble onto it by accident.

    I'll ignore the rest of the inane (i-NEYN) diatribe about Facebook, and the irrelevant OS-independent part about watching videos on TV, and just say this: Geez, man. You sure picked some insignificant things to hate. Vista's got some real issues and you've skillfully noticed absolutely none of them.

  • by seebs (15766) on Friday February 08, 2008 @02:55PM (#22353054) Homepage
    Maybe you should have asked Mechanical Turk about what Linux can do.

    Mostly, of course, the question isn't "can" vs. "can't". It's all about efficiency. It took me at least half an hour to learn to use find, and I found it just as confusing as you did. That first time. Back in 1989 or so.

    Since then, I have performed thousands upon thousands of searches, and I can search twenty gigabytes of disk before the helpful little search puppy is done asking you if you'd like to search for a file. I can perform searches which are simply impossible using the standard Windows search tool, and I can perform them fast. Return on investment? Hundreds to one, easily.

    I think this comes down to the dispute about the respective merits of bumper cars and more conventional gasoline engines. Yes, bumper cars are much easier to use, they're much faster to learn, and they're much safer. And really, there's nothing a gasoline engine car can do that a bumper car can't; I mean, they both go forwards and backwards, and they both turn. So pretty much they're the same thing, right?

    People do not like Unix because it is easy to start with, but because, if you're willing to invest time in learning how to use a computer effectively, you end up being able to get your work done much faster. I don't know why the concept of investing time to learn to do something well seems so odious when it comes to computers, even though we're used to it in every other field of human endeavor. And no, you can't just "make it easier". The way you make it easier is to remove options, and replace fast interfaces with slower ones.

    Bennett, when you write, do you touch-type at all? Do you type words, using an elaborate array of probably a hundred labeled "keys", or do you use a brilliantly simple interface which simply presents you with a pop-up menu of words? Wouldn't it be easier to use a pop-up menu, instead of memorizing literally tens of thousands of words, learning to spell them all, and then training yourself to type?

    Imagine, if you will, that all of us Unix users are people who view computer processes, such as finding files, or manipulating their contents, as being just as important to our work as emitting sequences of English words is to yours. And imagine that we, like you, have been willing to put in serious time -- not ten or twenty minutes, but days or months or years -- to learn to do this faster, more efficiently, and with less wasted effort.

    And you'll note that we're pretty much all using Unix. Maybe I use more NetBSD and OS X, and someone else here mostly uses desktop Linux, but we've all found that, compared to XP or Vista, the Unix systems offer us dramatically better efficiency and power, if we are willing to put in the time to learn to use it.

    Just a thought.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday February 08, 2008 @03:01PM (#22353150)

    Even though it's not hard to get telnet back, why would they go to the trouble of removing it?

    Well, not many people use it. So they trimmed it out, to keep Vista from being all bloated with useless stuff.

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