Finally after 5 long years Windows Vista was released to consumers. Many claimed that it was a copycat of Apple’s OS X. Bill Gates recently did an interview with CNN and talked about how parental controls, editing movies (specifically high definition), and working with photos were somethings that had never been done before. I think Bill must have been working so hard on implementing those things into Vista that he missed Apple releasing applications that did those tasks years ago, some as far away as 7 years ago.
Many of the applications included with Windows Vista look similar to OS X applications. The gadgets are basically the same thing as dashboard widgets, Windows Calendar is very similar to iCal, the photo gallery application is just like iPhoto and Windows Movie Maker is just like iMovie and iDVD.
Vista in many ways is quite similar to Apple’s OS X. I do feel it’s a lot better then previous versions of Windows including Windows XP. Towards the tail end of using Windows XP I remember they started to include more security features, most if not all of them are showing up in Windows Vista. Windows Vista looks and feels much more secure for the most of it. Something that puzzled me is how administration works. Usually in Vista you need permission to install an application or to change a system setting. This usually requires clicking ‘Yes’ on a dialog box that pops up and you’re not even asked for an administrators username or password, therefore it’s pretty useless. It seems like you can install it no matter what. I have yet to try to install an application or change a system setting without being logged into an administrative account. Maybe because I am logged in as an administrator it doesn’t require such information, but if I was a normal user it would prompt me for an administrators username and password.
Windows Vista comes with Windows Defender which is Microsoft’s very own anti-spyware tool. I will admit that I am fond of it. The tool is quite basic and it does what its meant to do. You will need to purchase your own 3rd party anti-virus software though. I attempted to install Symantec Anti-Virus version 10.1 and it wouldn’t work, so for the past 2-3 months I’ve been without anti-virus protection. Believe it or not, I’ve no issues though, I just keep my Windows Defender up to date and everything is okay. For the inexperienced computer user, I would recommend purchasing and installing anti-virus software though.
While the version of Internet Explorer is far from being a web browser I would use, it’s had a lot of improvement since the previous version. It has lots of little eye-candy (such as displaying a small image of the web page when using tabs and looking at multiple pages) but it also has some security improvements. If you know how to tweak and play around with the security settings in INternet Explorer is can be a better browser. Unfortunately 99% of IE users just leave everything as default and don’t bother playing around with the applications settings. That’s to be expected, you’re average Joe just wants to surf the web, not mess around with the security zones and permissions of the application! Of course my choice of browser of Mozilla FireFox and I really recommend that to everyone out there who surfs the web. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Networking in Windows Vista seems to have taken a leap in the right direction. They seem to make everything much easier. From setting up a home network, to connecting to VPNs and wireless internet connections to viewing devices on your network. They also support IPv6 (which OS X has done for years). They seem to be trying to make everything so simple to do (much like OS X).
When I install Windows I usually have to spend hours reading message boards, other websites and searching Google to find the drivers for my computer hardware. Windows Vista managed to install all but 1 driver during the initial operating system installation. It missed my audio driver but I easily found that on the audio chip manufacturer’s website. That’s going to make a lot of people happy, not having to search all over the place for drivers. The worst is when it doesn’t install an ethernet or modem driver. Then you can’t even connect to the internet to search!
I’ve had absolutely ZERO issues with Windows Vista so far. I not only use it for a regular workstation PC, but also on my Apple MacBook and for a media center PC. it hasn’t crashed on me, I haven’t obtained any viruses or spyware and all the programs I previously used on Windows XP work fine on Windows Vista.
You may be wondering why I am still using Windows and why I work at an Apple-based place. Well like many people, many computer games are developed for Windows only. I just bought a $50 gaming keyboard and currently it only works on Windows. I also find that games runs smoother and better on my Windows PC over my PowerMac G5. My PowerMac G5 also doesn’t seem to support 5.1 surround sound like my Windows PC. I also like to do most if not all of my school work on Windows Vista because the schools usually do not support alternative operating systems like OS X and Linux (although it’s gotten better lately). Of course most if not all of my teachers use Microsoft Office, so to make things easy I try to use it (only for school work though).
I’ve only been using Windows Vista Ultimate which includes all the features, but at the retail price of $400 it’s important to do some research about the differences between versions and how well it is going to work on your current PC. Of course not all versions of Vista cost $400, you can get the Home Basic for $199. Even that is a little bit high though.
If you’re really a power-user and can take advantage of all the new features in Windows Vista I’d say go for it, upgrade. But if you are more then capable of getting your work done and everything else you do in Windows XP, stick with that. Give some thought into whether or not you need to update yourself to Vista. Macintosh users, I’d just advise sticking with OS X, there’s no reason to get Windows Vista unless you’re a Boot Camp or Parallels user.
At some point Small Dog Electronics will be selling Windows Vista. I am hoping that Windows Vista will help users stay secure and let them accomplish whatever work they’re doing with ease. Better yet, I am also hoping that Windows users will switch to Macintosh and use Windows Vista for the 1 or 2 Windows-only applications they need and OS X for everything else.
Watch Bill Gates on the Daily Show:
Why Bill Gates really left suddenly after the Daily Show:
Originally posted on BinaryEquine.com.