Windows Vista – Second thoughts

As you probably know, Microsoft announced last Friday that the official name for the next version of Windows will be Windows Vista.

At the time, in this previous post, I commented that it wasn’t a bad choice of name. I speculated that Windows Vista might be an “all in one” product that could be installed into many platforms – tablet, media centre, home PC etc. It kinda fits with the XBox 360 name – implying that this product will do a wide range of things.

Well, I have thought about the name Vista for a few days. Mentioned it to a few people. The response is pretty much a universal “what”?

It’s just a lame name Microsoft. It doesn’t inspire, excite, invoke passion. It sounds boring! Politically correct. Designed not to offend. Limp!

XP sounded like a statement. An exclamation! You had an XBox for your games box and a XP for your personal computer!

Vista sounds like the marketing wankers have taken over the building.

It reminds me of the time Sega renamed the Katana into the Dreamcast. Took a damn sexy name and let the marketing vegans change it. And that worked out well for them… Did the Dreamcast even last 12 months?

I doubt that Vista will cause Microsoft to fall into ruin. But I think its a step backwards rather than forward.

Windows Vista – One Windows to rule them all ?

It has been leaked to the internet that the next version of Windows will be officially called Windows Vista.

Known by the codename of Longhorn for several years while in development, it is expected to be announced at 6am Pacfic Time, 22nd July that the release shall be known as Windows Vista.

Robert Scoble mentioned an upcoming announcement on his weblog earlier today – he pointed to an announcement from Microsoft would be made available at this URL. http://scoble.weblogs.com/ http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2005/07/21.html#a10721 http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/jul05/07-22LHMA.mspx

Soon after, AnAndTech, Channel 9 and others spread the word that the name had been leaked.

Replacing the XP title used since 2001, Vista refers to wide ranging. Perhaps a good name referring to its ability to be installed on a wide variety of environments such as the home, office, servers, media centres, tablet PC’s etc.

Since XP spawned many variations such as the Media Centre and Tablet configuration. It has been speculated that they might be eventually rolled into one product that would install what was necessary depending on the system it was being installed on.

The advantages of having an “All In One” installer being balanced by a more complex installation routine, and perhaps some inflexibility of upgrading components of one system or another.

The term Windows Vista does dovetail nicely with the XBox 360 product. Another label that suggests a wide range of applications.

Why iTunes 4.9 ??

Much anticipation was made of it in the podcasting community – people were excited they are going “prime time”. And scared what 35 million new users might do to their servers.

iTunes 4.9 would be the first iTunes to incorperate Podcasting subscriptions.

It was – A Big Deal. Steve told us it was so.

So why 4.9? Why a simply point release? So close to 5.0 you might have thought an improvement this big might warrant a major update in the naming?

Did Apple know that 4.9 was really a “rough and ready” version that would cause the problems it has?

Is there a 5.0 version around the corner to coincide with fifth generation ipods?

Perhaps 5G iPods have some new shiny features that can only be accessed by iTunes 5.0?

Videos??FM Radio??Recorder?

hmmmmmm….

My Podcast Wishlist

The last few months I have discovered Podcasting and have been completely blown away by it. It’s fantastic. I’ll do a page of my favourite podcasts soon. Once we move house in a few weeks I am actually planning on making this website into a podcast.

However. There are some features I would like to see added to a podcasting client if anyone is listening:

1. Go Faster: Make it so I can increase the speed of playback. You adjust to listen just as well. I can do it in Windows Media Player, Quicktime – why can’t I do it in iTunes?

2. Chapters: I love podsafe music, mashups, werid-ass interviews. But sometimes I don’t care eouugh and I just want to skip ahead to the next bit. Let me do a “chapter skip” like I can on a DVD. I couldn’t that hard to press a button on your podcast software to mark a new chapter as you are recording. I’ve heard that in advance itune feeds you can have bookmarks. Haven’t looked at that yet so it might be the same thing.

3. Bit Torrent: Do I have to explain?

4. Links: I know I can get links “on the show notes”. Well doesn’t that defeat the purpose of RSS?? I subscribed to something so I don’t have to visit the site – now I have to visit the site… Even a simple link in iTunes somewhere so I can easilly get to the site without looking it up.

See – I don’t ask for much…

Microsoft to buy Gator?

One of the interesting stories from a couple of weeks ago was Microsoft were going to buy the parent company of Gator – the ad-ware / spyware thats in so many p2p programs.

Well it seemed like the world was going to end. Had Microsoft gone mad? What idiot was behind this idea?

I think it would be fantastic for Microsoft to buy them – and then shut them down!!!

With all the effort Microsoft are putting into security and anti-spyware tools. There has to come a point where you just say “Buy them out and close them down”.

Imagine if Microsoft re-released all the p2p programs without the spyware included? Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Might certainly be in line with a sharing, caring Microsoft that seems to be trying to emerge.

So what happen’s next? Someone else comes up with a plan to make millions by distributing their spyware infected program? Well there is that risk. But its a lot harder today to make a big impact with a new program. A lot of what is out there is established. There are great new services like Skype and Flickr that have made an impact in the last 12 months. But someone launching a new (say) MP3 program today would be up against it.

I don’t think the Gator deal has been completely squashed yet either. No one is confirming, no one is denying.

MS Betting Big – Again

One of the interesting lines I picked up from Microsoft’s announcement that RSS will be integrated into IE7 and Longhorn – they were Betting Big on RSS.

That’s a big statement from Microsoft. They don’t say it often – probably about every 5 years. Previous Big Bets have been The Internet, Security and XBox.

RSS will no doubt be a huge part of the way we deal with computers in the near to long term future.

Since I installed the Desktop Sidebar with its integrated RSS aggregator, it has completely changed they was I surf the web. A common story among anyone else who has explored RSS.

http://www.desktopsidebar.com/

I think RSS will eventually evolve to a point where most people dont know they are using it. And that will be a good thing. Services will just use RSS, and people will just use those services because they are simple and they work. Few “users” will care what is behind it all.

RSS could indeed be The Main Reason why people will upgrade to Longhorn ! Certainly no-one seems to fussed with the announced features so far. Not when most of them can already be added on to XP with a minimum of fuss.

Including my Desktop Sidebar. It’s a brilliant tool and I love it – but its a free add-on for XP and it works today. I don’t need to wait another 18 months for to pay for Longhorn to get it.

An interesting thought: What would have happened if Microsoft were “on time” with Longhorn and were releasing it now? RSS wouldn’t have made it – just as Windows 95 missed out on the internet because it shipped just as it was taking off.

Longhorn would have shipped without native support for probably the most important bit of technology emerging today. Everyone would then be complaining and waiting impatiently for Longhorn Mk II.

Sometimes you win…

Who is this Microsoft?

No one could deny that Microsoft has been taking a pounding from press and users for the last 12 months. Even more so than usual.

They have been beaten up about security, bugs, IE6 being stale, delays in SP2, delivery of SP2, SP2 breaking things, etc etc.

The lead-up to and release of Firefox from Mozilla got a huge amount of press, Apple have been scoring big with OSX Tiger, iTunes, iPods – even one that had no screen that everyone said would be a fizzer. Instead its taken over the market.

Probably apart from Halo 2, Microsoft has been pretty “uncool” for most people. Lornhorn has been plagued by negative stories about features being pulled out, expected delays and a general “why bother”?

A lot of people have called Longhorn “XP SP3” (which initially it was supposed to be). However the funniest term for it I have seen is Windows ME2 :) But lately they seem to be turning a corner. They have been releasing some new software – Acrylic and so on. Even if most people thought the new stuff sucked – at least they were talking about something new.

MSN Search seems to be getting a lot of good feedback. I doubt it will ever overtake google in the foreseable future – but never say never. They have gone from nowhere to industry top 4 since they started.

Of course the big announcement at Gnomedex about IE7 including support for RSS, and Longhorn in general supporting RSS – was a huge positive. Especially as the method for integrating it will be available under Creative Commons license .

http://www.gnomedex.com/ http://www.creativecommons.org/

The Channel 9 forums and Robert Scoble’s Weblog have been a major positive for the company.

http://channel9.msdn.com/default.aspx http://scoble.weblogs.com/

With the upcoming Lornhorn beta testing program about to start, a lot of positive stories have started to be written about it.

A lot of people are writing Microsoft off – I think they have turned a corner.

Why can’t NOD32 play nice with others?

For the last 12 months or more I have been using NOD32 as my anti-virus of choice.

http://www.nod32.com.au/

For years I used Nortons Anti-Virus and thought it was OK. But I think that had a lot to do with the fact I got free Symantec software as part of my old job. When you don’t have to pay for it – you care a little less.

But upon upgrading to the 2004 version – it was such a dog. Live update constantly crashed, the updates were 2-4Mb at a time – what the frack was going on?

So I tried the free AVG from Grisoft. Worked OK but was it didn’t scan emails on Thunderbird, and read a lot of reviews where it performed badly against trojans. Obviously worth every cent you paid for it.

http://www.grisoft.com/

I loaded up NOD32 – brilliant. Takes almost no resources, its fast, updates all day without bugging me except to tell me its done. Brilliant. Can’t recommend it enough.

Except it refuses to play with Google Desktop Search and completely screws up my bit torrent client Azureus.

http://desktop.google.com/?promo=mp-gds-v1-1 http://sourceforge.net/projects/azureus/

Up until this week I have been living in the dark ages with no desktop search on my laptop as I refused to used another AV, and Yahoo didn’t scan my emails in Thunderbird. Pretty pointless having desktop search if I can’t search my emails. I know where my files are – it’s emails I can never find.

Why isn’t there a Global Search in email clients. Thunderbird (and Outlook) always make you search a particular folder. Bloody anoying. Maybe they do – might have to try to find that.

But with the new Yahoo Desktop Search I can now scan emails (can’t do Thunderbird contacts yet…. little steps I guess). And it seems to have no problems with NOD32 !

So if Yahoo can do it – why can’t Google??

http://desktop.yahoo.com/

Apple and Intel

As you might know, a couple of weeks ago Apple announced that it will be moving from its current platform of IBM Power PC chips, to intel.

At first it seemed like a huge rumour that “leaked” a few days before the conference to generate some hype for it. Certainly no one was talking about it before CNet leaked the story, but for the next 3-4 days that’s all everyone talked about.

I was so intrigued about it happening I wandered into my office about 4am (keynote started at 3am local time here) to see if it was true. It was.

Overall I think it will be a great thing for Apple to do. Finally OSX will compete on level playing field with Windows machines. Yes Apple is a hardware company first – they make their money on selling boxes rather than copies of OSX (although the paid upgrade cycle doesn’t seem to hurt them).

But now they can sell the magic of OSX and the whole Apple experience without the burden of having to prove that a 1.5Ghz PPC is the same as a 2.5 Pentium 4.

In a one on one duel between Windows XP and Apple OSX – Windows is in all sorts of trouble.