What Folks Really Think About Vista

An assortment of our senior editors got hyped on caffeine and donuts, then talked to the camera about what they really think about Windows Vista. I haven't had a BS session with any of these editors about Vista, so I was floored by what they said in the Editors Roundtable videos that I've got for you this week. I expected lots more excitement; what I heard was entirely different. I think you'll be surprised, too.

OTOH, I wasn't terribly surprised by what Tips & Tweaks readers have been saying about Vista. All told, I've gotten about 100 e-mails, and this week I give you a taste of what I've been hearing.

Vista: PCW Editors Speak Out

In the first video, "The Vista Experience," four senior editors discuss their first six months with Vista and whether they recommend the upgrade.

In "Vista for the Do-It-Yourself Type," our editors address the problems that early adapters might have, especially those you might face if you're building your own PC.

In "Can Microsoft Improve Vista?" our editors spend almost 15 minutes hashing out what Microsoft can do to make Vista more appealing. They start off with what they like--thumbnails, navigation, media center, and search features, for example--but then take off the gloves and talk about their least favorite things about Vista, including the mystery blackouts and security hassles.

Dig This: My copy editor, Kim, met a San Francisco bohemian while hanging out with her daughter down near Fisherman's Wharf. (Kim's young, missed the 60s, and is still impressionable.) If you're into Allen Ginsberg and that whole Beat Generation thing, you'll like this little documentary about the fabulous Yellow Man of North Beach.

Vista Feedback (Did I Get E-Mail!)

As long as it's not directed at me, I love it when readers go on a rant--and boy have they. Dozens of Vista-related e-mails have come crashing into my inbox. Here's a sample...

Upgrade Woes

This reader got a new PC and received an Express Upgrade coupon.

<blockquote>Many folks thought they would receive their DVD within a few days of the official retail release. The smarter ones expected it would take upwards of a month to get the upgrades all shipped--and we weren't so smart. Microsoft's chosen fulfillment provider has had this in a screwed-up mess since the get go.</blockquote>

<blockquote>Even after you successfully register, you have to mail in specific paperwork--just like a rebate program. My submission was in early March--a full five weeks after the official retail release.</blockquote>

<blockquote>By the way, the upgrade is not free. The cost of the upgrade is zero, but nearly $13 is attached for shipping and handling.</blockquote>

--Jim J., Laurium, Michigan

Second Thoughts

<blockquote>I am sorry I ever bought a new laptop with Vista. My Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0 does not work; to have the same functionality, I have to repurchase Acrobat 8.0 Pro for $449. (I can't even buy the upgrade because Vista will not allow me to install my Acrobat 7.0 Pro.)</blockquote>

<blockquote>Mr. Gates did not do anyone any favors because that is only the tip of the iceberg. My Lexmark X74-75 doesn't have upgraded drivers. Then there's Jasc Paint Shop telling me I need to buy Corel's version XI in order to use the product with Vista.</blockquote>

<blockquote>If you ever have the chance to bump into Mr. Gates, tell him thanks. I am 61 years old and finally beginning to understand why kids hack their software products. They all deserve it and Vista is the case in point."</blockquote>

--Joe S., Jersey City, New Jersey

Even the Pros Are Annoyed

<blockquote>As a professional IT consultant and owner of a firm serving many clients, I share your views of Vista being (for all intents and purposes) an intermediary step to the next OS revolution.</blockquote>

<blockquote>We have halted any clients from installing Vista, and many are having trouble finding PCs without it (searching for laptops or desktops with Win XP Pro installed is a full-time job). We blogged about it on our Web site and are waiting for the two-year itch for the next OS upgrade."</blockquote>

--Thomas P., Huntington Beach, California

<blockquote>I've documented some of my experiences trying to build a PC that I can sell to clients who want Vista. Some really basic, but key add-ons, such as Real audio/video and QuickTime, aren't Vista-ready yet, In several instances I was unable to get the Java runtime to work (upon going to a site with Java content IE7 would simply close).</blockquote>

<blockquote>Pity the poor public who is pushed out of the nest and forced to fly with Vista."</blockquote>

--Tim W., Dallas

Give Vista a Chance

Lest you think that everyone hates Vista, here's a fan letter:

<blockquote>Really Steve, I think it's time to [...] give Vista a chance. What really bugs me about guys like you (notice I didn't say 'you'; I said 'guys like you'), is that they forget Microsoft has opened up the use and availability of computers to millions and millions of people around the world.</blockquote>

<blockquote>Apart from their own riches in doing the above they have made multiple millionaire status for thousands of others. So if you going to say yeah, but someone else could have done it, well why haven't they? And if free Linux is such a big deal with its open-source code how come it's still languishing out there and not winning over hearts and minds everywhere?</blockquote>

<blockquote>Of course Vista is experiencing a few problems, but so what? What new venture in any field doesn't have teething problems?</blockquote>

--Greg D., Brisbane, Australia

Dig This: My two dogs (Zippy in HR and Popcorn, my marketing gal) got a kick out of this video. The funniest is the kid in the highchair.

Wait, I Have More

And if these comments aren't enough, you should see what's being tossed around on our forums. Here are links to the forum topics:

Steve Bass writes PC World's monthly "Hassle-Free PC" column and is the author of PC Annoyances, 2nd Edition: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer, available from O'Reilly. He also writes PC World's daily Tips & Tweaks blog. Sign up to have Steve's newsletter e-mailed to you each week. Comments or questions? Send Steve e-mail.
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