Friday, September 28, 2007

computers: a Vista of pain

I'm sure Microsoft Windows Vista is OK if you have no other equipment, or if everything else you have is less than three years old. Getting Vista to work on my mixed network and with my existing software has been awful:
  • gratuitous DHCP incompatibility with older routers
  • switch to Link-Layer Topology Discovery broke Network Neighborhood
  • Windows XP can't see printer attached to Vista.
  • stupid incompatibility with NTLM v1 authentication broke file sharing with NAS and XP
  • older USB drivers won't install
  • HP scanner incompatible (a $40 third-party driver is available)
  • Office 2000 mail merge broken
  • Windows Address Book change breaks Outlook 2000
There are hacks and registry settings and workarounds for most of this, but it was a miserable four day slog and I seriously considered demanding a downgrade from Lenovo. However, Microsoft will drop XP eventually so you suffer the upgrade incompatibility pain now or suffer it later.

Other software and hardware vendors go along with the gratuitous incompatibilities Vista introduces, because it's their big chance to sell new hardware and software. Gratuitous obsolescence hurts consumers but companies love it.

Compared with XP, Vista is slow to boot and slow to go in/out of standby. The Thinkpad has 2GB of memory and a fast drive and doesn't seem to have a lot of crapware on it, so I blame the O.S.

So far the only nice thing about Vista is its additional metadata fields. A view of a folder full of images can track the date taken and camera details and has tags and star ratings, so you don't need an image manager like Canon's ZoomBrowser. The Aero "show windows" feature is way less functional than Mac OS X's Expose.

I should have upgraded to a Linux distro.

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