In Other Words, Windows 7 Is Just Windows

Iolo also says its tests indicated that Windows 7’s startup times, like Vista’s, degrade over time. After several “commonly-used” applications have been installed on a new Windows 7 box, for instance, its boot time — again, as measured by the company — slows to two minutes, 34 seconds, an increase of 64%.

No surprise. All anyone talks about is Windows 7’s new coat of paint, but underneath it’s the same thing as before.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.

The Best Review of Windows That Mossberg Has Produced.

UPDATE: Kudos to reader Jon T. of Cardiff, Wales, for digging up this quote from Mossberg’s review of Vista:

“After months of testing Vista on multiple computers, new and old, I believe it is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has produced.” — Wall Street Journal, Jan. 18, 2007

“After using pre-release versions of Windows 7 for nine months, and intensively testing the final version for the past month on many different machines, I believe it is the best version of Windows Microsoft has produced.” — Wall Street Journal, Oct. 8, 2009

An interesting addendum to CNN’s article on what’s wrong with Windows 7. The entire article is worth reading.

Much has been made of Mossberg’s review — including some over-exuberant article headlines — yet he still believes Mac OS X has the edge. The thrust of his review is that Windows 7 is an improvement over Vista. Big deal, we already expected that.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.

Paul Thurrott: Microsoft Ads Are Goodness and Light, Apple Ads Are Evil

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Paul Thurrott will never get over Apple’s great Get a Mac ad campaign. His latest article takes a shot at them while pretending Microsoft somehow got their own ads right.

About a year ago, Microsoft finally began fighting back against the snarky Apple “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads…

That would be the highly praised, very successful, brilliantly executed, well-written and multiple award-winning ads. Carry on.

with a series of its own advertisements which highlighted the diversity of the PC market.

Simply dubbed “I’m a PC,” the advertising campaign is still a huge hit, and virtually everyone who sees these ads is taken by how nice they are.

They were never a “hit”. They were mostly ridiculed for missing the fact that the characters in Apple’s ads are a personified “Mac” and “PC”, not actual people labeling themselves one or the other. Poor Microsoft. It’s hard to fight back against that which you don’t understand.

Unlike Apple’s sarcastic, borderline libelous advertising

“Borderline libelous” being exactly the same as “not libelous”. It’s the use of weasel words by Thurrott to appear to call Apple out for doing something they’re not doing.

Now with Windows 7 rising like a phoenix over the horizon…

A rare moment of honestly by Thurrott. He admits Vista burned Microsoft to ashes.

Microsoft is back with a new set of ads, this time based around its next OS. As with its previous ads, the Windows 7 ads are a welcome shot of positive vibes.

He points to the two new ads with 4-year-old Kylie (she’s probably 5 by now). If you haven’t seen them, look here and here.

They’re cute, funny, and relevant.

Cute? Definitely. Kylie is adorable. Funny? Only in that Microsoft thinks we should take OS advice from a kindergartner. Relevant? To what? Certainly not an OS comparison.

The Kylie ads ultimately use pull quotes from various reviews to sell Windows 7. You know, just like movie ads use selective pull quotes from movie reviewers. Problem is, when you actually see the flick you find out it stinks.

And they once again make Apple, and its own ads, look silly by comparison.

Hardly. Microsoft did two things wrong. First, using a child to sell technology is stupid. I’ve written before about Microsoft resorting to using children — who can’t possibly know any better — to hawk their wares. Now they’re at it again, apparently because without Kylie they’ve got nothing. But they’re not selling Kylie, they’re selling Windows 7, which Kylie doesn’t know from the Fisher Price OS.

And for all Thurrott’s claims of “snarky” and “borderline libelous”, where’s his rant about how no kindergartner in existence is searching the Internet for Windows 7 reviews and making slideshows out of pull quotes from those reviews?

Apple uses intelligent writing, wit, and sarcasm, delivered by adults, while focusing on the differences between the two platforms. Microsoft uses bunnies, flowers, unicorns, and a child to spew quotes containing words she can’t pronounce, much less understand. Maybe Microsoft thinks the use of a child’s ignorance is just what they need, but I know how I prefer my technology sold.

Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard: InfoWorld And Others Out For a Troll.

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It was a fine day, so InfoWorld’s Randall C. Kennedy decided to take a nice stroll through the tech neighborhood. I’d say the resulting piece is destined for the link bait Hall of Fame, but I know it’s just the beginning. The launch of new Operating Systems by Microsoft and Apple is too good an event to pass up.

I think analysis of each OS is great, and that an inflammatory headline (“Is Snow Leopard just a cheap Windows 7 knockoff?“) in and of itself does not make for a bad article. However, when you read the thing, and see the outlandish and silly claims made, you know its true purpose. No matter the headline, I’d like thought and reasoning to back it up. The IW piece lacks that.

InfoWorld’s Reasons For The Headline

“Yippee,! Apple finally goes 64-bit — BFD! As a Windows user, I’ve been livin’ la vida 64-bit for more than three years. Vista was the first mainstream desktop OS to deliver a viable 64-bit experience”

Oh please. You mean Microsoft should be rewarded for being unable to bring 64-bit in any manner other than a separate OS? One that requires you to purchase a new license, blow away your existing setup, and start over? This is why there’s a small percentage of people running 64-bit Windows. Microsoft’s 64-bit strategy is so overwhelmingly hostile and user unfriendly that no one bothers.

As for Apple’s implementation not being “fully” 64-bit, spare me. I have an icon in 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate for a 32-bit Internet Explorer, and I run it because some sites don’t play with the 64-bit version. So what’s all this nonsense about a “full” 64-bit system?

That Apple’s 64-bit strategy is vastly superior to Microsoft’s is obvious to anyone who bothers to think it through. The idea that separate OSs make more sense for this is ludicrous.

“This one’s [Exposé in the Dock] a joke, right? Am I to understand that Apple is just getting around to adding this? Microsoft has been offering this type of functionality (aka thumbnail preview)”

Nice of Kennedy to ask if this is a joke, because his argument certainly is. Exposé has been around for years, including the ability to see all of one app’s open windows. Snow Leopard simply adds yet another way to invoke it, in addition to the configurable keyboard, mouse, and gesture options already available. Options that Windows 7 lacks.

Mac OS X also includes Spaces, a higher-level method of organizing windows. In short, Mac OS X Leopard, all by itself, blows Windows 7 away in this regard. Snow Leopard simply increases Apple’s lead.

“So while I’m glad to see Apple finally getting on the ball with its PDF handling (I hear the updated viewer lets you basically do away with the piggish Adobe Reader for most common tasks), I’m still utterly stunned by the fact that this is even an issue.”

Kennedy is bent out of shape about Apple’s Preview enhancements for PDFs. But Preview allowed most Mac users to “do away” with Acrobat the day it was first delivered, that ability is not new to Snow Leopard.

In any case, Leopard allowed for previews of multiple pages in a PDF file (via Quick Look), and enhances that capability in Snow Leopard. Further, it allows for “smart” text selection that I’m looking forward to. Finally, it will be sped up considerably. Given that it already blows past Acrobat, the new speed will truly leave Adobe behind.

“Can you believe the Apple folks used to charge for this thing [QuickTime Pro]? I guess they saw the writing on the wall, what with Microsoft releasing yet another excellent iteration of its free Movie Maker application.”

Comparing QuickTime Pro to Windows Live Movie Maker is nothing more than proof of either ignorance or link baiting. The real comparison (and it’s no contest) is between Movie Maker and iMovie. The latter blows the former away. It’s not even close.

InfoWorld’s Conclusion

“I’ve often referred to Windows 7 as “Vista R2,” an incremental follow-up release that was mostly about righting the wrongs of its predecessor.”

So have lots of people, which is why Microsoft began their campaign to say the same thing about Snow Leopard. Isn’t it odd they can’t think of a decent reason for Windows 7 except that “It’s better than Vista” (how could it be worse?) and “Apple does it, too” (wrong).

“Viewed in these terms, Mac OS X Snow Leopard is more like a service pack: a collection of bug fixes and minor functional enhancements that, quite frankly, should have been in the original release. As such, Snow Leopard is nothing to get all excited about; it’s not worth even the modest “upgrade” price Apple is asking.”

The “service pack” line is right out of Redmond’s talking points memo. I guess since many people think that’s what Windows 7 is, Microsoft put all their big brains together and came up with the “I know you are, but what am I” defense. Brilliant.

My Conclusion

Microsoft displays a certain disdain for what Apple accomplished with Snow Leopard. Their supporters have whined about it for months, and the heat is really on now. As if Microsoft wouldn’t love to refine Windows under the hood. As if Windows doesn’t need refinement under the hood! Get rid of the antiquated registry, get a handle on DLL issues we’ve had for years, remove the bloat, add better security, and don’t require separate versions for 32- and 64-bit. But they can’t. They don’t have the vision, they don’t have the priority, and they don’t have the desire to make things better for their user base.

Finally, though Kennedy’s article is link bait, and doesn’t deserve one, here’s a link. Expect more like this as the Microsoft FUD machine rolls onward. In fact, Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows has a “Quick Take” on Snow Leopard that’s almost as bad as Kennedy’s. And then there’s Ed Bott’s cherry-picked data that uses the “service pack” meme from the Microsoft playbook. All these articles posted on the same day (8/25); these folks are well-schooled.

Can Mary Jo Foley and the rest of Microsoft’s tech press friends be far behind? More of this is undoubtedly on the way; brace yourselves for some pretty foul stuff.

Forget The Snow: Windows 7 Is Behind Mac OS X Leopard

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I don’t know why Microsoft is worried about Snow Leopard. They want to dismiss it as a “service pack” or some such nonsense, but they’re worried about the wrong OS in my opinion.

Microsoft should be worried about Leopard. Yep, plain ol’ Leopard, without the snow. In my eyes Windows 7 is still behind that OS, so Snow Leopard will just be gravy on top of Apple’s lead.

Sure, Windows 7 is an improved OS. Perhaps, as Steve Ballmer says, it’s even Vista done right. But what does that mean? While no one thought Vista would be the failure it is, neither did anyone think it would be particularly special. So if they’ve finally done it “right” that only makes it the XP successor we should have had five years ago. Even with the whiz-bang features added, it’s lack of polish is evident.

Here’s a sample of what I miss from Leopard when I’m working on Windows 7:

  • One-click access to my most common folders (i.e., can’t add folders directly to the taskbar);
  • No folder springload capability;
  • No QuickLook;
  • No stacks with a graphical or hierarchical view of folders;
  • No easy way to keep the screen uncluttered via virtual desktops (instead I must minimize windows to get things out of the way);
  • The taskbar scrolls (ugh!) when it runs out of space, instead of elegantly resizing to fit;
  • No easy way to see all windows at once.
  • I can see the whole desktop, but it’s only for viewing, whereas on the Mac it’s “live”;
  • I can Command-Tab to switch apps, but on the Mac that’s “live” as well.

So even with Aero Peek and the new taskbar, Windows 7 is not very “smart”. Why not let you pin folders? Why not show all my windows? To me these are obvious details that Microsoft just didn’t think of, or can’t implement on the aging Windows code base. Meanwhile, it’s the attention to detail Apple’s famous for. I use these things without thinking about them, and miss them on a system from 2009 that sometimes seems to have been designed a decade earlier.

Windows 7 adds nice enhancements over Vista, but not the Mac. For me it’s nowhere near the Mac even just in terms of keeping your apps, folders, files, desktop and windows under control; too many clicks are still required.

Windows 7 runs fine, has been stable, no viruses (yet), and I can’t imagine anyone using the new taskbar for more than 60 seconds and not thinking it’s miles ahead of the old one. Still, it’s only a start and there’s a long way to go. Snow Leopard isn’t even needed for this round.

Is There More Behind Dell’s Discontinuation of 12-inch Netbooks?

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So Dell is retiring the Mini 12 netbook. According to them it’s because 10-inch netbooks are the “sweet spot” for consumers. I find this odd because Dell has built its entire existence on providing so many choices it’s sometimes difficult to get out of the configuration maze once you get in.

Dell has 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 inch laptops. They have laptops geared for businesses, and for consumers. They have the Alienware models. Heck, they’ve even got an aphrodisiac laptop! In short, they’ve got choices out the wazoo. Surely somewhere in that mess of configuration options are other “sweet spots”, yet with netbooks they’re stopping at 10 inches.

TechCrunch isn’t convinced by Dell’s reasoning, and makes a case that Intel has a lot to do with it:

Intel doesn’t like 12-inch netbooks because they are deep into dual core territory, where Intel has much healthier profit margins… Intel has put pressure on OEMs to build netbooks that have 10 inch or smaller screens.

I don’t doubt this — and I’m not the only one — but I believe Microsoft may have something to do with it as well. Windows 7 is almost here, and the “netbook” version (Starter Edition), is not available for netbooks with screens over 10 inches. In an article I wrote for GigaOM Pro (subscription required), I said that “[s]ome have called the strategy price-fixing. While that may be debated, at the very least it’s “hardware fixing.””

Without Starter, a 12 inch netbook requires at least Home Premium, and the associated price hike that takes it out of typical netbook territory. This is doubly true if Intel charges by screen size as TechCrunch states. These two corporations have made it all but impossible to build a 12-inch netbook for appreciably less than, say, a 13 inch cheap laptop.

If a 13-inch laptop is only a little more then why wouldn’t you prefer it? Because it’s not a netbook. It’s bigger, bulkier, much heavier, runs hotter and has much less battery life. If you just wanted a netbook a bit bigger than 10-inches, with a keyboard less cramped, a 12-inch could be perfect. Perhaps too perfect in Intel’s and Microsoft’s eyes.

Hey Microsoft, I Fixed Your Windows 7 Upgrade Chart

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Microsoft created an upgrade chart for Window 7. Bottom line is it says if you want to upgrade to Windows 7 you should buy a new PC. Oh sure, you can “upgrade” without buying new hardware, but you’ll be in pain and probably traumatized for life. Who needs that?

So, with the understanding that new hardware is the best way to go, I’ve taken the liberty of simplifying the chart considerably:

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Now you only have to worry about which one of the many different OS editions you’re coming from, not which one of the many different OS editions you’re going to. The destination OS has just a single, “ultimate” edition. It’s as simple as that.

No need to thank me, Microsoft, just trying to help out.

Windows 7 Starter Edition: No Desktop Picture For You

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The Supersite for Windows has some nice screenshots of Windows 7 Starter Edition (i.e., the edition for netbooks).

Starter edition is crippled over the other editions in several ways, such as fewer provided games, fewer utilities, no Aero interface, etc. But the crippled feature I find most interesting is that you cannot change the desktop background; you can’t customize the desktop.

It must be really sad for Microsoft to have so little faith in the upgrade from Starter — Home Premium — that they have to make you stare at a generic desktop picture in order to help spur you to upgrade. Apparently, they don’t think Home Premium’s features are enough enticement on their own. I mean, what other purpose could there be for such a stupid desktop restriction on Starter other than Microsoft fearing that if you could customize the desktop, you wouldn’t really “miss” anything else, and therefore have little desire to upgrade?

Windows 7’s various editions make less and less sense as each day goes by. When Mac OS X Leopard gets here, I think I’ll just get the “Ultimate” version. Oh, that’s right, that’s all they sell. It’s yet again a good time to be a Mac user.