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.
(As I type, IE 7 in Vista just bugged me about using the freaking clipboard to pasted text!!! Yet another stupidity! Learn the difference between a real keyboard event and a programatic keyboard event MS!!! The two are different, one denotes permission, the other does not. Only ask in the second case, not the first!!! Stupid security = useless security! (more proof))
I'm not just talking about bloggers. I have sat 10 people down infront of Vista and asked them to shut off the computer. They were of varying computer savy from a 62 year old woman that uses computers lightly to play solitaire and look up her lottery numbers, to a computer programmer.
Of the 10, 5 of them gave up and pushed the off button (which fortunately does what it's supposed to!) and were shocked when it just didn't shut off and go away, but instead shut down correctly. 3 of them found the click out menu after wondering what the heck the other button did for a while because it's not clear and they couldn't read the tooltip and then looked at all of the options and actually asked me if Shutdown would actually shut the computer off! 2 found it (the programmers) and shut it down correctly... after saying "f-ing MS and their stupid UI" (direct quote)
Hence, this isn't just bloggers, this is everyone that sees this mess. Windows Explorer is another perfect example of people in MS not getting it and making it more complex not less. Changing screen resolution is not a ton of steps that aren't obvious instead of 1 like it used to be. And on and on and on.
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.
See above. Point made. Since I deal with probably 100 computer users every day and have been preparing technical support people at our company to deal with Vista on the desktop I know what I'm talking about, I've done the tests, and I've done them carefully. Since MS doesn't help people with problems with Windows worth crap (i.e. India tech support anyone?), we end up being their technical support for their OS too... Which means that care of MS we have to hire more technical support people for this mess in Vista. This is even with people that are good with computers that already have Vista by various means bitching at us about things that have nothing to do with us (our software even has UAC support in the installer) and we end up fixing them.
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).
You're making the typical mistake that most people make when judging the past. Compare Windows XP to Windows 2000 and Windows ME. Do not compare it to Vista when you're making a comparison about how they improved (or not) the state of society and those that use it. It is what comes before that matters.
Windows XP changed computing. It made everything accessible from Autorun that was intelligent, to Cleartype on laptops, to finally a 32bit OS that truely was essentially bulletproof to crashing (security is another matter). It revolutionized computing in the PC world and for 5 years made the MAC irrelivent.
Enter Vista. Other than a little eye candy and a lot of stuff not complete, there is no reason why the end user would ever need Vista. It doesn't allow you to print pictures any easier, burn DVDS/CDs any easier, run applications any easier (that start menu is more confusing not less in an attempt to tame the 50 million folder in your start menu syndrome that MS created in the first place), it doesn't boot up any better, it isn't faster (it's significantly slower and uses 5 times more memory by default even without superfectch).
Hence in the day to day world, where Windows XP changed the home computing environment for the better in huge ways and even had a few improvements for Business users although that was a much tougher sell over Windows 2000, Vista does none of these things. The only thing that can be said for it is Media Center... and guess what? The XP version is damn near as good, and some like the old interface better than the new.
That's the comparison that needs to be made. What is the effect on the average user before and after? The answer is clear! XP changed the world, Vista does nothing except allow you to see through the title bars of your applications and thus make it harder for the average 40 year old to see their applications than ever before!
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.
That's ironic since my day job is a UI designer and I am hearlded for the consistant, easy to use interfaces that I design for both Windows applications and web sites. While I leave it for a graphic deigner to make pretty, I make them usable. I stand by my record any day on the subject and have 10+ years of experience under my belt making things make sense and be intuitive for users.
So ignorant? No. How about you? What's your day job? I bet you don't come close to my experience level on these matters. (Just a guess, I may be just as wrong as you are)
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.
Yes, and from Beta 1 on, everyone was bitching. Which was approximately 2 years ago. And others like myself were bitching before then because we could see the writting on the wall even before the reset.
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.
At least you recognize that eye-candy (which there isn't much of in Vista BTW) != 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.
This is what .NET was supposed to be. Your chance to break free of Win32. You didn't bother, you kept the same crap that was there and made (bad) wrappers around it. Yes, Win32 is broken and you have to do stupid security things for it. .NET needn't be that same way, but you broke it too.
Even in WPF you still demonstrate that you don't understand the core issue of security. That is, intentional versus automatic. As per my example above, you still can't differentiate between a mouse click made by the user and one raised in code. You can't differentiate between a keypress made by a user on a real keyboard and one raised in code.
This simple concept that should have been in .NET 1.0 STILL isn't there. WPF is just another layer on top of Win32, it isn't direct and thus has all of the issues that Win32 always had.
You've had opertunity after opertunity to maintain a backwards (and less secure by definition) Win32 layer just like you had a POSIX and OS/2 compatibility layer in NT and move forward with a NEW API that can be more secure, from the ground up, by passing all of the legacy stuff and going directly to the kernal that could have treated these applications as first class citizens with different security rules than those of Win32 applications.
You continually do not. You continually hack crap on top of crap and build a house of cards in the name of backwards compatibilty.
Even .NET itself is a perfect example. There is no need for .NET 1.1 to be compatible with .NET 1.0 or 2.0 with 1.1 or 1.0! NONE AT ALL. That's why we have SxS compilation and allow all of the .NET frameworks to be on the machine at the same time. YOu worked your asses off for this specifically for this promise. Then you go and do the assinine and handcuff .NET 2.0 with crap from .NET 1.0 and Win32 before that! (and putting MSHTML wrapper in the .NET 2.0 framework which is the most bug ridden pile of crap code MS has inside the .NET framework??? Whoever made that decision instead of writting a managed HTML editor or making the RTF editor output/handle HTML should be shot.)
There is no reason why my application needs 3.0 to be backwards compatible with 2.0 because my application installs .NET 2.0 automatically. Even if 3.0 is installed, it will install 2.0 because that's what it requires and it knows it. This was the beauty of .NET and you guys f*cked it up and continue to f*ck it up. Use your own technology and free yourselves from backwards compatibilty.
There simply is no excuse.
If Steve Jobs would ever realize that all he has to do is port the full .NET framework over to Mac and make it part of the OS natively he would take huge market share because there would be no reason to use a Windows machine anymore as business port their applications to .NET from VB 6. Better UI AND it runs anywhere! The last reason other than price to use a PC would be gone, all because you guys keep missing the point even though you have the technology already built! (and the really funny part is that every version of .NET has had serious bugs in it that broke the compatibility between versions anyhow found out after the fact so lots and lots of .NET 1.1 apps don't work on 2.0 because of them (text encoding anyone?!?)
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.
Yes, the XBox people have a clue. Look at the interface in the XBox, clean and simple. It's getting over the top in the LIVE stuff but it's still lightyears ahead of Windows. Mac has the cool factor because it looks good and is simple (try turning off a mac, it's trivial even if you pull the cord out!)
I won't use an IPOD because I will not have my music locked in to any one source. Period. Anyone that tries to force this on me won't get my business. I use WMP because it comes iwth the computer, has until recently done what I needed it to do, and doesn't force me to use WMP for my music because I can uncheck that DRM check box and rip music to my heart's content in whatever format I want to. Mac loses here because Mac thinks that people will forgive them for telling them how to live their lives. And while people are for the most part allowing it, it's only because everyone else just copied this evil scheme. If someone would give them an alternative that was easy, simple and worked they would jump at it.
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.
I suspect that if you look at the office development team, 99% of all of the UI decisions come from 1 or 2 people, maybe 5 tops. (and even that would be too many)
The Windows team? Your own people have admitted that there are at least 100 people involved in any UI decision and any change requires at least that many if not more people to sign off and at least 5 meetings and at least 1 month before the change actually gets to the trunk build.
As I said. Get a UI/UX Czar and put him in control. Give him absolute authority over the UI, have him have a small team that designs the entire thing and pushes down for implimentation. Never allow anyone else to make UI decisions and make sure that the Czar gets to be the final word on the issue and doesn't have to answer to anyone on the subject. An intelligent Czar would naturally field suggestions and most importantly listen to your users, not the programmers, but at the end of the day it's their decision, no one elses.
This is the success of Steve Jobs and Apple and this is the failure of Microsoft. Until someone at Microsoft steps up and is willing to risk their job on these decisions and take the responsibilty of success or complete failure and work from that position MS will become another IBM and ultimately become irrelivent. (not to Linux, which is irrelivent on the desktop for this same reason, but worse because the engineers are the ones making the decisions)
The problem is that MS has a bunch of cowards running the show and no one to step up. Bill Gates is gone and no one took is place. You guys need someone with balls to come in and take responsibility and succeed or fail on their own merits and their own responsibility.
Listen to Rand. Statistical averages result in crap. Not average, crap. Individual achievement can lead to crap, mediocrity, and most important greatness. And yes, there is great risk in the individual, but if you want to produce more than crap, you have to risk the individual because the committee, the group, the average, the staticial norm assures you the worst possible outcomes every time. Vista is a perfect example, as is WMP 11 as per the original point to this post.