John Galt wrote:

FACT: WMP 11 has features missng that were in WMP10 and are critical functionality for a media player to have (see above)

FACT: Vista changes the style of the control panel to more like web pages. But when you go to change your screen resolution you get the old crap from Windows XP which is highly confusing. This happens EVERYWHERE in control panel.

I'll give you these.

John Galt wrote:

FACT: Vista has 8+ ways to shut it off. There's been much blogging about it, but it's a disaster and sure to confuse even the most hardened users. I still don't know what the actual shut down really does and I'm used to computers!

FACT: The new layout of my profile and documents and how it has a million different symbolic links is confusing, a mess and imbarrassing. Whoever thought this was an improvement should be shot. They obviously didn't USE IT.

No, these are NOT facts. Don't even try to say they are with no back-up proof. This is one of the problems with blogging in general. It is a huge echo-chamber and is so self-referential. It's like a big feedback loop (feedback as in the electronic meaning).

What people have to realize is that bloggers are a_vocal minority_. Bloggers' opinions are not the be-all-to-end-all of opinions when it comes to feedback for the OS. Bloggers are geeks and engineers for the most part still. And the reason the OS has gotten as unusable as it has in previous versions (unusable to the actual average end-user) is because these same type of people were the ones creating the UI.

John Galt wrote:

And on and on and on.  Maybe you used it and reported bugs. But no one came a long and said "STOP THE MADNESS! Stop letting committies design UI!"

No matter how you slice it, Vista is more confusing, not less, ...

Other than the givens from above, you have to realize that you are not (and most of us are not) the typical end user. I think the mark of how usable our OS is how well my computer illiterate relatives can use the OS, not entirely how well geeks and engineers can use the OS (although it certainly is a part of it). And the two non-computer-oriented relatives I have that have been using Vista are able to get around it better than they were with XP.

Are there spots that still need work? Absolutely! But that's not to say it's an improvement over XP (compared to "utter crap" like you seem to think it is).

John Galt wrote:

If you're actually using your own dog food, then you're either martians are smoking a lot of dope to think that what you produced is good. It's crap, it's a disaster on the scale of Windows ME and everyone has been telling you that for > 2 years of development and you didn't bother to listen.

I'm sorry, but I think this shows your ignorance towards who our actual average end-users are. If it were up to engineers, we would still be living in the Command-Line World. I for one, am glad these people aren't controlling the look of the UI. And comparing Vista to Windows ME DEFINITELY shows your ignorance and lack of perspective.

The comment about >2 years of development is a joke as a large portion of the Vista code base is not any more than 2.5 years old. Contrary to popular belief, Vista was NOT in development for 5+ years. Halfway through, the company decided things were going in the wrong direction and did a "reset" of the OS, essentially starting from scratch again.

HOWEVER, with all this said, I must be a little honest and self-critical. There are definitely places in Vista that I wish we would have focused less on the glamour and eye-candy and more on the usability.

One of the problems (and main hurldes) for us is backwards compatibility. OSX made (what I think is the correct) decision to break backwards compatibility. But you can bet that if we made an outright break on backwards compability, there would be a HELL STORM of anger from all our users. While it is a hurdle, it is also one of our strengths. The problem with this is that there are many things you can't do because it would break existing applications that already exist for the platform.

John Galt wrote:

Everything MS does is more and more complex and harder and harder to use. Meanwhile Apple's stuff just keeps getting easier and easier to use with more and more functionality. I've been a PC guy most of my life (and Commodore 64 before that!) and when forced to use macs in the past, I've hated them with a passion. Now I got to a friend's mac and think "wow this is so easy, I don't have to think about it!" and wonder what it's going to take to port my applications to the Mac...

Kudos where Kudos is due though: Office 2007 is a vast improvement.

You definitely hit the nail on the head here. It's one of the reasons that I'm a total iPod lover and haven't even considered buying a Zune. It's also a reason why, if I had the money, I would run out and buy a PowerBook. Not only is Apple good at design, that are good at winning the hearts and minds. It's heart to find a technology company that has more dedicated and serious fans and evangelists than Apple has. And there's a very good reason for that. Apple has "The Cool Factor," which is something Microsoft is missing. Of course, it's also one of the reasons that I'm a HUGE J Allard fan as he has made great progress through the Media Division and XBox in bringing the cool aspect to the company.

And Office 2007 is a vast improvement. What I can say is that Microsoft is definitely making more and more investments into UX (User Experience) and Office 2007 is the first real public showing of this investment. I sincerely hope that Microsoft starts investing these resources into the base OS itself on top of its applications.