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Vista Taking It On The Chin. Does it Deserve It?



Warnerc2Microsoft’s Vista operating system is taking quite a few (but not unexepected) hits from some interesting corners lately. A few worth noting: Chris Pirillo is breaking up with Vista and “upgrading” back to XP and the US Department of Transportation has decided not to upgrade to Vista because there is no compelling business reason to do so at the moment.

In my opinion if there is a failing here that deserves break-ups, that failure is much bigger than just Microsoft’s. (Pirillo’s video alludes to that as does his original article.) Call me silly, but when Microsoft delayed the launch of Vista, I assumed (ok-I’m silly) that at launch we’d see an industry better prepared for a new OS rollout. Well that didn’t happen. Yes, we’ve got lists with numbers of software and hardware that are Vista Certified. Big deal. We’ve got a lot that is still not ready for Vista over a month after the delayed launch. And that’s where the real silliness is if you ask me. The driver madness is maddening.

I still maintain that what we see being hyped today in terms of Vista ready computers, software, and peripherals will be on the dust heap within a year or shortly thereafter. And in the battle of devoting resources, I’m sure a number of companies are allocating more to future products than they are to catching up with their existing ones. Meanwhile users are caught in the middle. So, I can’t disagree with a business concern that takes a wait and see attitude at this point for that very reason. Heck, our small little not-for-profit business that lives and works off of many second hand hardware donations doesn’t even have Vista on its radar, and in fact is reseraching Google’s latest office offerings, but that’s another story.

I’m caught in the middle. Vista is working just fine on my Tablet PC (Lenovo Thinkpad X60) where I do most of my work. And because a good portion of my work is of a very personal nature I’m content there. The Asus R2H is another story due to driver issues, and the timing there has forced me to look at that device as more of an experiment than a productive solution. My XP based desktop, which I used less and less after becoming a Tablet PC convert, is getting more work than it has in awhile because I don’t have printer driver issues and network issues like I do with Vista. I like Vista and would like to see it on all my systems, but hey, I’ve got to get some work done at some point.

Here’s what’s not working for me:Two of the printers (Konica Minolta and HP) I use in my office have driver issues that prevent them working with either the X60 and the R2H over the network or a direct connection. I have bizarre and random networking issues going between my machines with Vista and the rest of the office on XP. Apple is dragging its feet and hasn’t gotten its act together with iTunes and Vista yet, and while this may sound like a personal entertainment choice, we use iTunes and iPods at the office for sharing music we are working on for productions, so that’s a no go at the moment. The software and drivers we use with our Minolta color copier that the entire office is networked with are non-existant at the moment and of course the reps say the same old same old-they are coming. And as I’ve mentioned, Asus is still behind on releasing drivers for the R2H. They have released a Bios update for Vista, so that issue may be recitifed soon.

Vista works, but some of what you need in order to accomplish work doesn’t and that’s not only a problem, but symptomatic of the dog eat dog world of the today’s tech industry that seems more and more to be controlled by the wrong side of the brain in the marketing equation. At some point we’ll start to see releases that are more than “capable” and more than “ready.” Until then, the wait for this driver and that software update will continue. The difficulties and bad press will as well. My prediction? Watch for things to begin to shift around back to school time. A second prediction? If it doesn’t, then we’ll see some real howling.

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