“Easier. Safer. More Entertaining. The Wow starts now,” Microsoft bosts on its Web site, launching its new operating system Vista for PCs complete with five editions for different uses, built in spyware tools, sidebar, a brand new look, and voice recognition technology. This new “Wow” may be gracing PCs at Mills within the year, welcome or not.
As an example of some of the features, Vista’s basic home edition includes a search bar for both your computer and the internet, Internet Explorer 7 with tabbed browsing, Windows sidebar and gadgets that bring you instant information like weather and news, and Windows Photo Gallery which, according to the Web site, makes it “easier to download photos from your digital camera and then organize, edit, view, and share them.”
These are just some of the features Vista is boosting including self-healing technology that can, according to the Web site, “identify problems and fix them” in order to make Windows run without the current added aggravation. Posters advertising Vista happily announce these new features and the release, but the uproar is lacking in comparison to previous operating systems such as ’95.
Vista’s fresh new look attempts to rival computer competitor Apple Inc. in efforts that are futile. CNET, a popular tech website offering help forums and downloads, called Vista “clunky and not very intuitive” compared to Mac’s operating system OS X, currently running on the 423 Macs on Mills’ campus.
The new Mac-like looks of Vista have angered some Mac users. Mac360, a site offering a plethora of Mac reviews and commentary, called Bill Gates’ Vista release “a show about Mac OS X technology with a Windows logo pasted on top.”
Apple Inc. is prepared and aware.”Just as Vista tries to get closer, Mac OS X Leopard is right around the corner,” Apple.com states.
According to TG Daily, a techie site also giving reviews, Vista’s problems competing with the look and feel of a Mac are the least of it’s worries. TG reported that Vista breaks 90% of games out on the market today, a definite setback against Mac computers who can not only run their own operating system Tiger, but also Windows XP and even it’s competitor, Vista.
With all the bickering back and forth, where will Mills fall in this operating system war?
Bruce McCreary, Director of Computing services attended a release of Vista in Mascone Center in San Francisco with others in the Computing Services department to check out the new changes in Vista.
“None of us were very impressed. There wasn’t anything flashy to show,” McCreary said.
Mills does however have a license to Microsoft so they will eventually be installing Vista on Mills’ 588 PCs.
“Generally we wait for the service pack. It’ll be a good 6 months before we deploy Vista campus-wide,” McCreary said.
So why isn’t Mills currently checking their stocks and weather with Vista’s new “gadgets”? It’s unwise for an institution to be on the “bleeding edge” of consumer technology, Tony Hale, Acting Co-Director of Central Systems and Administrative Computing, said. “As Microsoft demonstrates again and again, there will be bugs,” Hale said.
Office 2007, which comes with Vista, will probably be deployed before Vista itself because, according to McCreary, it is better put together than current versions of Office.
Although the fanfare for Vista isn’t large on the positive side, Mills still has a need to be updated when it comes to technology in order to better serve students and faculty.
“What if students next year or the year after came in and were used to Vista? We want to make sure that we have the types of systems the community are used to working on,” McCreary said.
New students may be down with Vista but will current students be upgrading?
Senior Raye Gomez says she hopes to soon get it because of it’s more user friendly features and the “ooo, aah” factor it has on her. Although she doesn’t have the money to upgrade her hardware to match Vista’s requirements, Gomez says,”I look forward to owning it one day and I would advise users to install all updates and patches that are available after they upgrade.”
Senior Corrie Klarner said she likes Windows XP and won’t be upgrading any time soon. “Then again, I would wait a year or so before upgrading any OS from Windows to wait for most of the bugs to be worked out,” Klarner said.
While Vista’s success with students at Mills may rely on game developers’ ability to release Vista compatable versions of their games, Apple Inc. prepares to soon launch OS X Leopard, what Apple.com calls “The world’s most advanced operating system” set for release this spring.