New Computer + 2 months

Well, 2 months and then some. After buying the new computer, I was all gung ho to be a Vista-guy. I’m no fanboy, but I do like Windows (yeah yeah). It’s familiar, it’s easy to use, and I have tons of software from work that conveniently ports to my home machine.

So, what’s Vista like after a couple months? Frustrating. Congratulations Microsoft, you made the following sentence pass my lips: “If I could sell these machines and come up with the cash, I’d buy a Mac.” Vista is essentially the answer to “how do we prevent idiots from installing crapware on their computers and then blaming us?”. It assumes that you are a) computer illiterate, b) in possession of a video card powerful enough to render scenes from Lord of The Rings from source and c) willing to put up with incredible amounts of confirmation dialog boxes.

Now, I am not a sysadmin by any stretch. I cannot (yet) pwn your box, forge email headers, or (apparently) get Ubuntu running in a virtual machine (dammit). However, I can build my own machines, hack a registry here and there, and configure damn near anything given the right documentation. So, what was the first thing that I did to “customize” my Vista install? That’s right, I nulled the fucking UAC “feature”. Yes, I am actually trying to defrag my hard drive; that should not require confirmation. Yes, I am trying to adjust the font size on my monitor; why the hell is that an admin-level change?

UAC is, for anyone who remotely uses a computer either incredibly frustrating or downright insipid. So, the major feature for security on Vista? For me, gone.

Next comes networking. Aside from the claim of easy setup, it’s anything but. No one, and I mean no one, can read or write from any shared folder on my machine. As the current powerhouse in the, uhm, house, my machine is the goto box for encoding video. Unfortunately, everything has to be fetched from the machine as I’m unable to get the config to allow anyone to see the damn box, much less write to it. I suppose that’s a security feature.

Aside from that, DirectX 10 sucks the big one. J– bought me Bioshock for my birthday. After cranking down every video setting in the game (for a brand new computer with a GeForce 8600 GT, Windows score of 5.9 of 6), the game still had issues in certain areas. Then, after some digging, it turns out that the game performs better on DirectX9 and DirectX10. ‘scuse me, but what the hell?

And, the last complaint, iTunes. This likely has blame to spread around to both Apple and Microsoft, but someone needs to step up and fix this issue. I like videos on my iPod. That means I have add and annotate quite a few files in iTunes. Under XP, this was simple: add video, right-click on it, set properties. In Vista, it goes like this: add video, wait, right-click on it, wait a very long time, enter properties, wait even longer still, repeat. To change the title on one sit-com length video takes (without exageration) at least 90 seconds. For a DVD of episodes, this means it takes 8-10 minutes to change the episode titles. It’s enough to stop organizing them.

That said, at least iTunes is stable on Vista, which is a vast improvement over my XP box.

So, I’m not impressed with Vista. For $10 billion in development, I expected way more. If upgrading to XP wasn’t such a pain in the ass, this machine would be an XP box. Thank god Virtual PC still works (although unsupported). At least I can have a dev environment.

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