I’ve just been trying to migrate to my new laptop which came with MS Vista business. At the same time I’ve bee reading Cooper’s book “The inmates are running the asylum” which talks about interface design in software engineering.

If only Microsoft had listened…..

So I started up the Vista lapop and it sure looked nice – floating windows, 3d wizzy things and lots of cool features. I then decided that I needed to actually get some work done so I plugged it into the wired LAN at work. This is an experience that was always easy under XP – just plug it in and start using it. Not so with Vista – I plugged it in… and nothing. After lots of playing around (and remember that I’m resonably tech savvy), I got file sharing going but still no printing (and it sounds like printing to a shared USB printer in an XP/Vista environment just doesn’t work).

It shouldn’t be like this – computer users (as opposed to IT geeks) don’t want to (or at least shouldn’t have to) know about TCP/IP, DHCP, Drivers etc etc. Computers and networks should be truly plug and play.

It’s where Apple always prided itself on being, a space where user design was an integral part of what they were about.

Microsoft should think about why users are migrating en masse to shared software services that live “in the cloud”, they work better and have less of a requirement that the users be a sysadmin. Meanwhile I’ll continue to struggle – I haven’t got much that is actually core business operations done in th past few days which depresses me somewhat – these plastic boxes should be tools and productivity drivers, not stress inducing behemoths.

Maybe I should have bought an Apple? Would that have been any easier (it’s a decade or so since I had a close working relationship with anything Apple – I’m a little out of the loop).

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • The Zeroconf technology developed by Apple: Bonjour http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/bonjour/ is really great.

    You can get Bonjour for windows as well: http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/bonjourforwindows.html

    Interestingly, Apple have released the source code to Bonjour (mDNSResponder), so perhaps it is just a matter of time before all kinds of devices, PCs, PDAs, and even embedded computers are able to present software services “in the cloud” …

    More generally, I think it’s about time we started expecting more from OS vendors. In a truly competitve marketplace the best product should gain market share… you have to wonder, is the OS marketplace truly competitive?

    The PC customer base being as large as it is, having a choice of basically two products is a sad sad state of affairs.

  • Drop by somewhere that sells macs. Apple a decade ago compared with now is like chalk and cheese.

  • Hi Ben

    yep, gotta run with “get an apple”. I bought a macbook pro about 6 months ago. After my last experience with macs, same as you about 10 years ago, I developed a loathing that has lasted until about… 6 months ago.

    Then, with the unix-based OS X and the intel chips, and bootcamp and parallels… I bit the bullet.

    And… I would never go back to the windows world. For a developer, macs just work. The unix-based OS is perfect for developing, integrated java etc. Just for kicks, I run Visual Studio under parallels, and its fine.

    They really are fantastic machines, battery life is a bit dodgy, I probably get about 2-2.5 hours, but I do max the machine out regularly. Oh, and the software bundle is pretty good. I stumbled my way through producing a playable DVD in about 10 minutes.

    and, price wise, a mac (was) about $300 more than a similarly specd dell. And a whole lot sexier!

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