Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vista: What I like and Suggestions for Windows 7

I have been pretty hard on Windows Vista and deservedly so. But I have been using for almost an year now and recently I updated to Windows Vista SP1 RC and it has solved some of the annoying issues. So I figured, it's only fair that I point out things that I like about Vista. Yes, it's true - there are things in Vista that are "better", "intuitive" and actually "work". Here they are:
  1. I just love the Windows Mobility Center. It's a cute little applet that shows all the relevant information you need for your laptop in one place. It's a god send for laptop users like me.
  2. Performance Monitoring and Error reporting has been improved a lot. Windows Experience Index is a neat idea that can be used to quickly measure a computer's performance. Resource Monitor is a Task Manager on steroids. If you are a developer who measures your application performance, this is a feature you'd adore.
  3. Networking has gone through a major rehaul. It now "remembers" your network locations and your preferences for that location. Most of the time switching between networks dont require a restart, even though it may require a "repair" (and yes, the repair always works!). It automagically finds all the computers in your network irrespective of whether they are in a workgroup or a domain!
  4. You could mute the volume for individually for each application! You can mute the sounds coming off of Yahoo Messenger, while listening to your music. You can set individual volume levels for each application as well.
  5. Windows Update does a good job finding not just Windows Updates, but updates for Office and other important device drivers (that have gone through MS certification process).
  6. That Windows Media Center UI is drop dead gorgeous. Much better than anything out there (yes, that includes Apple TV).
Ok, now on to my suggestions for Windows 7, or whatever its code name is Blackcomb? Vienna?:
  1. Overhaul the Bluetooth stack and its integration with the rest of the OS. It just is very flaky and feels like it was just added on at the last moment. It should be like WiFi and how well that's to use in Vista. And please, make the A2DP support better. It's horrible and doesn't pair with the headphones most of the time.
  2. Make "Windows Update" the one-stop-shop for any and all updates to a computer. That includes OS, device drivers, Microsoft Software, updates to any and all third-party software installed in the computer. Microsoft can pull this off by demanding each software vendor setup their own repository for providing updates and when you first install the software registers that repository with Windows Update as another repository to search for updates when looking for new updates.
  3. Come up with a database-based file system. Any and all information should be available at "constant" seek time. All transactions with the "file system db" could be backed up and each item in the database can have infinite "fields".
  4. Make Windows boot up time to zero - or near zero. I know its difficult but believe me - that's the biggest crib people have with Windows.
  5. Kill Windows Mobile OS and Windows CE. One Windows to rule them all. If the mobile phone processors are as powerful as they claim, they can run the full fledged Windows with stripped down apps. That way any and all input methods (touch, pen and tablet) would be supported across all Windows. And seriously, just sell one Windows - no Basic, no Home Premium, no Utimate. One Windows - simply Windows 7 - which includes everything.
  6. Rein in whitebox PC vendors and peripherals manufacturers to get their act together by making it incredibly difficult to install "unsigned" and "untested" drivers. I know it would mean a lot more testing and certification requests to MS but believe me - its worth it.
  7. Stop copying whatever Apple's MacOS X does. Believe me, not everything Apple does is great. I know Apple ends up copying stuff from Windows but this has gotta stop and MS will be the first one to stop it.
  8. Last but not the least, license Google's Desktop Search and make it part of Windows 7. Built-in windows vista search while much better than XP is light years behind Google's Desktop Search.


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  2. Windows 95 was a success because it integrated and simplified the user experience.

    Windowx XP was a success because it unified Windows.

    Windows Vista undid a lot of that. Too much user interface clutter, too many annoying instead of helpful features, too much incompatibility, and too many versions. The result is a OS tainted by the odor of failure. MS had better get a simpler replacement out quick.