On the superiority of Windows vista.

One of the ways to divide I meet is break them into the "Stallers and Installers". I meet plenty of people who have installed are running Windows Vista. No OS is perfect, but those who have made the move to Vista seem to be happier there than they were with XP. The others divide into the very few who tried it and didn't like it, a few more who couldn't make it work with a specific app or device. Device support has come a long way in the last year: the present nVidia drivers work well but the initial ones were simply dreadful. With SP1 just around the corner the time is probably here for those who had a bad experience

What does surprises me is number who haven't even bothered to look at it, and the excuses I hear. I've had people whose companies have bought the right to move up to Vista telling me they're not doing it because of the cost (they're looking at the retail cost for one copy on the high street) without realizing they've paid for it. A couple of people at the BETT show last week said Vista wasn't stable, so they wouldn't try it. Monthly service packs cause my laptop to reboot about every other month; it goes into sleep or hibernate a couple of times a day but it's been an age since I initiated a reboot. Outlook and Internet explorer hardly ever close - I have 35 pages open in one instance of IE right now and 28 windows open. This workload would bring XP to it's knees. Unstable indeed !

Share this:

Comments (16)
  1. Anonymous says:

    When I was in my teens, my school Physics class was taken on trip to the Royal Institution, and the star

  2. James ONeill says:

    No. My point was about how seriously BECTAs pontifications should be taken. You can call it sour grapes if you wish, although BECTA might tell you that is culturally insensitive to Viticulturists, or worse to cultures that forbid drinking wine.

    It’s got nothing to do with Racism but with what the Daily Mail would call "Political correctness gone mad".

    BECTA backed a bunch of judges who presumed to know what would ofend Muslims (though I notice they didn’t think the use of pigs would offend the Jewish community) and made comments like "Are all builders pigs ?" – to which the response should be "Are all building inspectors wolves ?"

    I checked Shoo-fly’s web site, all their products run on any version of windows from Windows 98 upwards.

  3. James ONeill says:

    OK. we on the first and last points we can put things to rest. Although on office 2k7 you can deploy with ODF support, or set the default to Office 97 compatible.

    I think I’ve painted myself into a bit of a corner with "Stallers and Installers". Stallers are perfectly capable of moving forward and don’t. Not everyone is in position to do, and some don’t fit in either category. I may also have been unfair on pouncing on you for something I thought you were saying, but weren’t. If you were pointing to BECTA to prove theres a large group who don’t fit in stallers or installers, then we agree and we’ve been at cross purposes. I took it that you were using "BECTA say don’t do vista" as an attack on the product.

    If Oakleigh had a bias, then as change management consultants you’d expect them to say that change was hard and needed the services of a change management consultant. So I’m sceptical of their creditibility and BECTA’s, but the main thrust of the report – that constraints of hardware prevent schools deploying vista, even though it has some desirable features is one I agree with.

  4. James ONeill says:


    "I haven’t used the report or said anywhere that it criticises Vista "

    a little further up  

    you call it "a discussion of the semi-critical BECTA report"  

    Becta got Oakleigh to the deport. Oakleigh are change-management consultants and might be expected to say that any change is hard. BECTA put their name to the report, and stood by the Judging panel who made the comments that you can’t have pigs in education software. That software has picked up other awards and after the judges for this were quoted by the BBC (and the publisher appeared on PM), BECTA put out a release saying the reasons the judges rejected the pigs had nothing to with what they’d said, but was in fact about educational quality.

    So would you accept something just because it came from BECTA any more than you’d accept it just because it came from Microsoft. I’d give it a very critical look.

  5. James ONeill says:

    Interesting I’m told BECTA run Vista themselves.

    You notice that they didn’t write the report (that was a company called Oakleigh consulting their website http://www.oakleigh.co.uk/Homepage is down right now.

    Here’s a stand out quote from the report (for me at least.

    1.8  The Vista operating system has been significantly enhanced – as compared to, for example, Windows XP – with key advantages in the areas of access and security.

    1.9  A comprehensive features analysis was carried out on Vista and the results confirmed that there were no ‘must have’ features.

    So Security isn’t a “must have” – in an environment where users try to trash the system for sport. Later on in the report (4.8) they say  “about 60% of the new functionality was either  ‘should have’ or ‘could have’.”

    They also say (4.13) ‘Much of the current infrastructure could not run Vista even with the Aero graphics engine off (estimate55%)’

    If you have hardware which simply won’t run a new OS, in a business you might put the new OS on new PCs and the leave the old ones alone.

    Schools don’t have a 1:1 mapping of user:machine, kids use computers in different parts of the school. So for consistency’s sake it’s better never to deploy a new OS. And to be fair to schools, the age of hardware they have IS a good reason for not upgrading, not simply foot dragging.  

    It’s interesting that there is not a single argument made against Vista that couldn’t be applied to every OS Microsoft has ever shipped. And with some people saying compatibility is an issue (CW) nowhere do Oakleigh say there is any problem with the zillions of curriculum support applications out there.

  6. James ONeill says:

    CW, I think that’s classic staller talk.

    "Stuff doesn’t work": Notes works on Vista see http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21252343

    "Interface issues" People take to vista like ducks to water, some people we can’t find where stuff is control panel (me included) – just type in the search box.  

    "I don’t want support calls" Your users will be more productive with vista (search, preview, and previous version recovery etc) and generate fewer support calls.

    We’ve found that on a machine with too little memory Vista actually fares better than XP. Especially as you can spend £10 on a USB memory stick and use it as disk cache.

  7. James ONeill says:

    Caroline, it was just a throw away point. BECTA is an organization that thinks schools shouldn’t re-use the 3 little pigs because stories with pigs in are racist. Presumably my son’s nursery shouldn’t be allowed to do “this little piggy” in case there is a Muslim in the group. Does that make them a credible organization or not ?

    You also seem to have ignored the fact that report DOES NOT CRITICISE VISTA AT ALL. It says that schools can not phase an OS in – as a business can – because users don’t use a single computer, and there are real benefits from having one OS over their whole estate. Yet Schools run hardware which business would consider obsolete (My daughters school has pre 2000 PCs), and the cost of scrapping them or bringing them up to a vista-ready spec is – in many cases – prohibitive.  

    CW, it always amusing that the one product we all wish would sink without trace is called Bob. I don’t think we ever said it was for everyone – although we thought some of the ideas would go mainstream.

    You’re one click away from showing the file tree. For users who save in the same one or two places time and again it’s easier to show previously used folders – and quicker than navigating through the tree. For you and I the file tree is better. What you’re saying is users shouldn’t have choice… giving people the option of simplicity is not the same of dumbing down.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the link / not found / again /  oh its there issue? “

    You don’t like glass, well fine, but what about live preview of a Window before you switch to it – rather useful if you’ve got multiple Excel / word or other windows open. That’s part and parcel of glass.

    What about search everywhere ? Or live previews of documents in explorer. Or Previous versions for the day you put a bunch of changes into that budget spreadsheet that turn out to be wrong. Or power-down via group policy so your PCs aren’t all running  24×7 saving you cash and helping the environment. Or DVD burning support in the OS (XP can only burn CDs without 3rd party software) combined with the ability to disable burning or USB sticks if security demands it.

    Having spent 20 months on Vista there hasn’t been a single thing about XP I miss. You won’t be surprised if I reject the idea that by spending tens of millions of dollars in usability testing, to find things which help both new and experienced users we are being “condescending”.  

  8. Mikey@Ivy Hall says:

    Hi James,

    As you know we are using Vista on 2 PC’s here at Ivy hall [via the 30 day trial]

    All our PC’s take abuse from both the ‘Sliver Surfers’ in the afternoon learning how to use Computers or the Internet, and from ‘The Hoodies’ in the evenings trying to download or install stuff.

    The Windows 2000 and XP boxes lock up or crash every now and then under this stress, but we’ve yet a problem Vista. I don’t know if that classes it as Stable, but it certainly makes it Vandal Proof.  ;o]

  9. cw says:

    Then there are those of us who get it on new machines but don’t really think it is ready to be rolled out wholesale. I don’t want a whole bunch of tech calls from our users on quirks Vista has.

    True it may only be Notes and other software is not compatible but it still is a problem.

    The there are the interface issues. We could upgrade memory and train them and then it might be ok but it’s not like we have a lot of time either.

  10. Caroline says:

    And that sounds like classic marketing talk!

    For a look at the pressures and decisions out there in a ‘real world’ environment, I recommend reading the recent BECTA report on implementing Vista and Office 2007 in the education sector.


    It’s probably ‘classic staller talk’ but £160 million sounds like a quite a good reason to me!

  11. Caroline says:

    Your last point about BECTA is regarding racism and cultural issues.  It does mention a ‘CD ROM’ but please excuse my ignorance; where is the relevance to a discussion about installing Vista?      Does the ‘Three cowboy builders’ CD ROM not work on Vista perhaps?  If not, bundling the ‘Daily Mail’ style race story in a discussion of the semi-critical BECTA report on implementing Vista and Office 2007 really looks to me like a classic case of ‘sour grapes’!!

  12. Caroline says:

    If you read Becta’s statement, they say that the ‘three cowboy builders’ product was judged in the round as being ‘not sufficiently convincing on curriculum and innovation grounds to be shortlisted’.  


    Unless you know better than the 70+ judges, I still don’t see the story’s relevance here.  I shouldn’t think the term ‘sour grapes’ will have offended anyone, but perhaps ‘sniping’ would be more appropriate.  

  13. cw says:

    I don’t think you admit to the real problems that it introduces. Stallers didn’t like MS Bob either, but it was still Bob.

    And Vista has some Bobish things, like the drop down path in the save dialogs that shows random crap you went to for other reasons instead of the file tree. That’s really dumbed down and for who? Little old ladies doing their genealogy? Mac converts?

    Or the link / not found / again /  oh its there issue? That happens in Notes, installers, web pages.. all over Vista. It appears as "not authorized" messages in excel 2003 and "not found" messages elsewhere.

    MS used to have really thoughtful UI designers but they really gave it over to the art kids this time.

    As an IT director responsible for the profitability of our company is this what I want to show for my efforts? A bunch of wasted time doing the same things, just with  shadows and glass?

    I like the new tools on new laptops but to convert old PC’s is just not worth it. It’s money and hassle when the old OS is still working just fine.

    If you want me to respect Vista then it needs to be less cute and more business-like and less condescending to the user. MS treats the user like an idiot and then wonders why the user would rather stay with the old OS.

    I’m hoping part of SP1 was some focus group work on the interface and dialogs to fix the worst of it.

    We’ll see…

  14. Caroline says:

    I don’t know what you are reading but haven’t ‘ignored’ anything! I haven’t used the report or said anywhere that it criticises Vista and of course schools would benefit from new hardware and software!  I highlighted the report because it gave what I consider to be a much better real-world example on the reasons and pressures than in your overly simplified ‘stallers and installers’ scenario that started this thread.  Your initial reply made some really quite valid points about the report but then you jumped on the opportunity to make some silly ‘throw away’ sniping point about Becta that aren’t even related to our discussion.  You know Becta didn’t write the report but then you link this news story and accuse them of pontificating? Where is the relevance?  My reading of ‘little builders’ news story is that the product was not shortlisted for an award because it simply wasn’t good enough. I personally think it’s good that race and cultural issues amongst other things are taken into account when judging the awards in education but perhaps you’d like to see the interactive ‘A Clockwork Orange’ on the curriculum in primary schools?  

  15. Caroline says:

    I haven’t used the report or said anywhere that it criticises Vista.  The report covers both Vista and Office and I called it semi-critical because it criticises Office 2007, particularly on interoperability and the limited adoption of the ODF format. We aren’t and weren’t discussing Office in this thread as far as I am aware; I posted the link because of it’s relevance on Vista.  I hope that at least we now have that point straight.  

    I wouldn’t go so far to say that the report was biased because it was written by change-management consultants, I thought it was interesting and informative on the pressures faced on stallers and installers.

    I also listened to the PM program where the publisher stated that the ‘three pigs’ was judged and that cultural issues were amongst the issues: you and the media seem to have pounced on this one item to server your own agenda. Your way of bringing up the completely unrelated topic in our discussion just looks a bit vindictive and I don’t accept something just because it came from Becta just the same as I don’t accept something just because it came from Microsoft.  

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content