Since a few of my colleagues have thought I’m too pessimistic on Microsoft, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on Vista. This weekend, I had to reinstall the OS, and I was somewhat lamenting that I don’t yet have a copy of Vista to install. I don’t know if I’ll go right out and buy a copy (I’m just too cheap). But here are some things I look forward to:
1) Starting your PC quickly. Turning the PC on and off should be lightning fast. The Vista team agrees, and they’ve been working on it. Jim claims that a PC left on 24×7 will save about $50 per year in electricity. Well, we already discussed that I’m a cheap bastard, so you know I’m excited about that. There is also an interesting technology called ReadyBoost/SuperFetch which claims to more predictably know which applications you need loaded into memory before you need them. It’s hard to know if it works, but it sounds like a good step.
2) Security. As a developer, security tends to get in my way, so I don’t care for it much. But there is no doubt in my mind that Vista’s addition of integrity checking is going to help. The truth is that most hackers comprimise systems by using the same types of tricks over and over. Eventually these exploits become known and tools are created so that ‘script kiddies’ can use them on their own. Vista conquers several of these, and comprimising one area of the system is less likely to give you a ticket to other areas of the system. I particularly like the fact that you can’t run anything which needs elevated privileges into the startup sequence (which hackers previously used to reinstall their malware on every reboot so it would never go away).
Unfortunately, the basic problem of human error (“Wow, someone sent me an email with Free, Live, Hot, Naked Women! Let me run this application!!”), remains unsolved. The elevation prompt keeps the lawyers happy though.
3) Windows Movie Editing. Like most everyone with a PC, I have tried the Pinnacle Movie Maker software that came in various bundle deals over the past 10 years. But, like everyone else, each time I tried I discovered it was horrible and basically didn’t work. I don’t know why video editing has remained elusive on the PC, but it has been broken for so long, I’m still a bit skeptical about Vista. Sheepishly I admit, however, that I’m looking forward to trying this out. Somewhat related, here is an article which says that Vista’s graphics/media upgrades will create $12 in economic growth for every $1 of vista earnings. In other words, because it will be easier to create content, users will do more of it, and that will drive tech growth in other businesses, for peripherals, cameras, etc. I hope he’s right – everyone is a winner!
(BTW – what do you think this gadget does after the countdown reaches zero?)