i-think Twenty-Two

Now with more coherency.

Vista's point of maturity

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There’s been a lot of bad press about Windows Vista. Some of it warranted, but a lot of it seems to be just jumping on the Anti-Vista bandwagon. Let’s face it, there is a large (or perhaps just vocal) community out there that automatically dislikes anything coming out of Microsoft. Within this community it is “cool”.

I admit that I’ve been drawn to Linux in the past and I believe Linux does indeed have its place, but in the current form (and all the directions I’ve seen) I would never recommend it for general use by the community (both technical and non-technical) and would absolutely recommend against it in an enterprise environment (unless of course there were some very specific needs that Linux met better).

Working with the .NET Framework over the past 12 months I have been amazed by its richness and power. I love .NET’s generics implementation, a feature whose need becomes evident very quickly. But most importantly I have been impressed with the tools. Visual Studio 2008, IntelliSense and the MSDN library help bring joy to the activity of development. Perhaps even more importantly, they provide the opportunity to expand knowledge rapidly.

Best of all is that Microsoft is not standing still. They are rapidly advancing the .NET framework and working on new exciting developer and testing tools that will be part of Visual Studio 2010.

Microsoft has recognised its mistakes with Internet Explorer and has done incredible work with Internet Explorer 8. Bringing standards compliance to the Internet’s most dominant web browser is no mean feat and to achieve it with minimal disruption will be an outstanding achievement. I am confident that Microsoft will be able to do this and we will see more innovation in the web browser industry.

Two weeks ago I bought an Xbox 360 of my very own and have been absolutely thrilled with the console, the games and the recent improvements to the Xbox dashboard (including the ability for me to finally run my Xbox at my monitor’s native 1680 x 1050 resolution). The Xbox 360 controller is a huge improvement on the original and far friendlier on the hands than its Playstation counterpart.

Microsoft’s mice are among the most comfortable that I’ve used. Sure, they’ve had a few that don’t quite meet the mark, but I’ve been generally impressed with Microsoft’s mice for over ten years.

Then there is Microsoft Office. The 2007 release was a risky endeavour with the new ribbon UI. An interface that I feel has worked to improve most regular operations. Still, I accept that such a massive shift can be frightening for users, although not having to trawl through menu screens may provide some compensation. The ribbon UI was the most prominent new feature of Office 2007 which unfortunately overshadowed some of the great improvements to the templates which finally made it easy to create great looking documents.

And finally back to Windows Vista. Drivers were always going to be an issue, but by now this has been addressed and those manufacturer’s that haven’t updated their drivers are probably not worth dealing with (ignoring legacy hardware). User Account Control (UAC) is arguably not as big a problem as is suggested. Sure, IT professional’s are constantly tinkering with the innards of Windows, but an extra warning when I install software is perfectly acceptable. Indeed once a computer has been set up, these prompts are rare to non-existant unless you find yourself downloading software often (which is arguably a high level action anyway).

All up I’m quite happy with Windows Vista and have realised that sometime in the past six months I have shifted from being hesitant to recommend it to being confident in making the recommendation. I’m not suggesting that everyone should rush out an upgrade (most people that should probably have), but if you are buying a new computer, go with Windows Vista.

And while we’re on the subject, make sure your new system is ready for Windows 7. I can’t wait.