James O'Neill's Blog

June 6, 2006

Time to start a Vista cool wall

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 10:02 pm

On “Top Gear” – the BBC’s motoring show. They have a cool wall where they classify cars as “sub-Zero”, “Cool”, “Uncool” or “Seriously uncool”. My car rates as uncool, but being bothered by Top Gear would put me in the seriously uncool category.

I posted recently about looking at benefits rather than Total cost of ownership and picked a out some features that I thought were cool. Of course one should also look at the disbenefits – not so much bugs as things that aren’t well done either in the concept or the execution. Since giving me to the link to Geek News Central story about Windows media player and Podcasting support (or the lack thereof), Robert Scoble has suggested people post bug reports to his blog (brave man). Since I keep using the word “Cool” at the moment – rather uncool for a man of my advanced years, I thought I should list the cool and uncool, so here is my starter list for the vista cool wall. Additions to the this list can be posted here, but Bugs to Scoble please.

  • Sub-zero
    the new look.
    Obvious:  but I need to jump up and down and scream “It’s not just eye candy”. Use Vista for a couple of days and then go back to XP to find that somehow Vista’s look translates into smoother working. I don’t know if ClearType has been tweaked or if the new fonts work better with it, but on my high-res laptop screen Vista is easier to read. OK “Glass” might be eye candy, but it’s still very cool.   
  • Sub-zero. Search Everywhere, and using properties not just text searching. Search folders – which applications don’t need to understand.
  • Sub-zero – “Reading pane” preview in the shell. Copy from messages, documents and spreadsheets, show video and PowerPoint presentations in situ.
  • Uncool – Any application which doesn’t support the reading pane or search Adobe PDF being the obvious case.
  • Cool.
    Network Printers dialog goes straight to checking AD if you specify network printer
  • Cool DVD burning support.
    Actually the lack of this in XP was pretty uncool.
  • Cool
    Generally – actually it would rate as Subzero, but for two uncool features: lack drag and drop support to the address and search bars, and lack of “search for highlighted” easy to add before final release (I hope) it’s odd that I can search my web history in IE but not Windows search.
  • Sub-zero RSS Support understanding it in IE, the common feed list for other applications – especially Outlook 2007, the background transfer service – although shouldn’t that be part of the sync center ?
  • Uncool The sync center Good sync seems to be a very elusive goal. This isn’t finished yet, but it seems too complicated – especially the interaction with Media Player. I should be able to say:if you see a network, look for this path and sync these files. If you see the internet copy these files / fetch these RSS feeds. If you see my camera copy files to my PC (replacing the IMG part of the name and keeping the serial number)if you see my Media player (including Windows Mobile device or iPOD) copy this music to it. If you see my Windows Mobile device (or 3rd party phone) copy my contacts to it. It should be Cool that Mobile device support is in the base OS, but its not working out that way.
  • Seriously uncool The new Windows media player is unaware of the feed list bringing in all those lovely Pod casts. Easy to fix.
  • Uncool.
    XML paper specification. Yes, XML’s useful, yes an alternative to PDF is good. But can we greet another file format with anything else but a yawn? Sorry, XPS is in the good but dull camp. If we really are going to get in a fight with Adobe let’s put a “Print to PDF” driver in the operating system (and let’s have a PDF import in word)
  • User Access control. Cool or Uncool ? Cool that you get protected from your self and various bits of Malware, or Good but dull (uncool) can security be cool ? or Uncool that you get asked to confirm what you’re doing quite so much – some of it needs streamlining.
  • Proof that security can be Cool, fast user switching for domain members. I never fully understood why this wasn’t in XP. At home my wife an I share a PC and rely on fast user switching, all the stuff we leave open is just there. But to share a PC at work, users have to shut their programs down and log off. Uncool. Not any more.
  • Cool. New bits in the command prompt Try pressing the TAB key in a command window – it works through files and folders. Command line Tasklist, TaskKill and Shutdown. [Updated after comments] Seriously
    Uncool you can’t drag and drop a file into the command prompt any more. Easy to fix before final release (I hope) [Update I’ve been told it will]
  • Sub-zero the new photo gallery which has some simple image editing, a good slide show and use of search. I wish they would embed the tag and caption as EXIF data so it stays with the file and is there when someone looks at old images in 20 or 40 or 100 years. The principle of “don’t change the original file” is usually good, but this is an exception.

I’ll add to this list – but comments are on. Feel free to add your own.

Update. Thanks to John for pointing out that PDF documents can a document preview which shows in the preview pane. However you can’t read a PDF in the pane, and there is no search support. Verdict, STILL UNCOOL. I’ve got to give some credit to Adobe for putting up a dialog box explaining how to download an update (since vista’s permissions block this). Sadly their Start Menu Icon is set up so it doesn’t offer run as administrator.

Update 2 Thanks to Maarten for pointing out that actually those bits aren’t new to vista.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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