One of the things I encounter a lot at my job, and indeed, online, is a bit of a dislike for anything that isn't Windows XP. Many of the Freshman here at NAU who own computers that came with Windows Vista seem to have a fairly big aversion to it. I'm here to openly admit that not only does my main mobile computer run Windows Vista, but I really like Windows Vista.
Ouch. "like" and "Windows Vista" in the same sentence? Many, include some at the ACHD, will ask if it's true, and I'm here to say that basically, yes, it is possible.
Before anybody had the opportunity to try it for themselves, one of the biggest things people attacked was the hardware requirements Microsoft has put forth for Vista. I've included a handy little table showing Microsoft's minimum and recommended specs for XP and Vista.
|Release Date||October 2001||January 2007|
|Minimum HDD||1.5GB||20GB, 15 free|
|Recommended HDD||"more"||40GB, 15 free|
The main observation I've got is that both sets of requirements are very modest. Most people fault Vista for running somewhat poorly on an 800MHz Pentium III computer, when they themselves would never have considered running Windows XP on a computer with a Pentium 233MHz processor.
I'll also admit that we at the ACHD did actually run Vista on an 800MHz PIII, with 512mb of memory and a 20 gig hard disc. Such a machine would've been just fine for Windows XP, having exceeded the requirements by so far. But it ran, and aside from the complete lack of a video driver, it even booted some apps, and would probably have been a pretty useful computer.
The current ACHD Vista Box is a 3.2GHz PIV with 1 gig of ram and an 80 gigabyte HDD. It's actually a really fast machine, as far as Vista is concerned. It launches the Office 2007 apps really quickly, and while they're open, it's all very usable. I would go as far as to say that it's a nicer system to use sometimes than my ThinkPad. (Although I think that's just because so few people actually do anything on the ACHD Vista Box, and I'm running around on a daily basis thrashing about on this ThinkPad.)
Of course, what's an OS without good apps? Vista has a bunch of them built in, and almost better than the built-in apps, are some of the interesting things I've found on Microsoft's website for Vista. (Although, some of them may not be Vista-specific.
One of the tools I've been using in Vista has been Windows Calendar. I've been using it to keep track of what I post to my blog, and when I post it. When I was on the once-weekly schedule, I used it to plan what was coming up, and I kept track of what drafts I'd already written, and what drafts I needed to write.
I've gathered the icons to some of the cool things Vista includes. Yes, Windows Media Player is nothing new, but it's better than Ruckus player. Yes, Mac OS X has long included a Calendar, a contact manager, a photo app and of course, Mail.app, but it's worth noting that these things are now part of Vista, and their combined functionality is nearly as good as that of Outlook.
Although, most of the reason for including a screenshot of a bunch of icons is just to demonstrate just how good Microsoft has been getting lately about value. Microsoft has even been working in the past few years on getting development tools to people for free, thus the "Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition." I didn't feel like downloading or using any of the other development tools. I've also been using Microsoft's free blog management tool, Windows Live Writer. It's been working well for me since December, although I've got to admit I'm unhappy with Blogger's inability to let articles be posted in the future.
Another thing I've noticed about Windows Vista is that it just brings a whole new level of refinement to the Windows platform. A great example of this is the new "My Computer" interface. It's overall just about the same as the old one, but I think the appearance of it is better. At the bottom of the window it shows basic information about your computer, including its name, the processor and how much memory it's got. On each local hard disc there's a capacity graph that lets you see at a glance the approximate status of your storage capacity, and a numeric output with details on exactly how much hard disc space you've got available. Such a thing, especially the color-coded graph, isn't available from the Mac OS X Desktop.
There are a lot of things about Windows Vista that I really like, and I use and enjoy on a regular basis. But quite honestly, I'm rather much too lazy to run around gather all of those screenshots. Maybe as I notice other things I've been using in Vista I'll gather more screenshots and post them.