Machvergil Comic number 043

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Dear Windows Vista

On this the day I re-format in an effort to install Windows 7, I just wanted to let you (and the development team that made you) know that you were a wonderful operating system.

All the hype against you was way overstated.  I did not take the Vista plunge for almost a year after it came out so I avoided most of the “bad days” but once I did get you, I did not encounter any of the problems reported by the tech pundits and Apple’s TV ads. Sure, I had to buy a new wireless dongle because Netgear was lazy and never updated the drivers for Vista on my old one, and sure World of Warcraft didn’t work right at first because nVidia didn’t write good GeForce 8550 drivers at the time either.

Adobe also managed to find some way to make Dreamweaver 8 run like crap on you because it had custom UI elements that clashed with Aero.  Something they could of fixed with a patch, but they never did, just like how they never released a patch to fix DW8’s famous “I forgot all your FTP info after you update to IE7” bug for Vista.

That aside though you were wonderful to use.  The new start menu was great.  The new account-folders were well done, although I would have loved it if My Pictures didn’t forget how to sort by date modified.  At least you let me customize that back in.

As much as people griped about UAC, I actually liked the secure feeling it gave me when it asked before doing anything system critical.  I remember the first time I browsed to a site in search of fanart to some game or another and wound up seconds later having UAC warn me that the Javascript on the page was trying to write to a part of my hard drive it shouldn’t be.  That felt great.

Of course, many windows-based software developers, game developers specifically, don’t seem to understand that if everything has to run in administrator mode all the time then it kind of defeats the purpose of such security measures.  As a result, in order to play games like Mythic’s Warhammer Online and use Ventrillo at the same time, I ended up having to turn UAC off.  Yeah I don’t miss the permission messages too much, but I still felt safer with them on.

Most of all though I loved all the ways you were better than Windows XP.  You were more stable: I’ve seen fewer blue screens of death since I’ve installed you than any windows system I’ve installed before. Not only that but you recovered from application failure better than ever before.  Back in older versions of windows when a game crashed due to a graphics bug, my screen would freeze and I’d be lucky if I could get out of it even though the OS didn’t hang.  With Vista, a Control+Alt+Delete would actually reset my graphics card to bring up the full-screen dialog and when I hit task manager, I had the chance to close the game and not lose my entire Windows Session. The first time that happened and I was greeted by the task-bar message that my video card had recovered from a critical error, I was pleased.

You were better organized, although I still don’t understand why WoW:WotLK insisted in being installed in the c:/users/public/games/WorldofWarcraft folder when nothing else did.  And you came with a downloads folder out of the box which was great.

You ran faster, although some of that might be my 3.0GHz Core2Duo and 4 GBs of Ram talking.  Not that XP takes advantage of those as well as you do, if I read things right.

Last and definitely not least you were prettier.  Aero is a cool look and it was the first time since MacOSX came out that I was not envious of Apple users’ nicer and sleeker looking UI.  Sure there are still some things that MacOSX does that are a little prettier than you Vista, but for every one of those you earn points back with me for being more colorful, and letting me pick those colors if I want!

All these things explain why when I go to work every week and have to continue to web develop on a Windows XP machine, I feel like I’m working with antiquated software.  At least I work at the place where the IT guys are lenient enough to let me install the XP royal blue theme, because man I can’t stand the default XP theme anymore.  Still even Royal’s chrome elements like the title bar eat up way to much screen-real estate.

I still don’t know what was going on last night, with you crashing when I tried to access my recycle bin until I emptied it, and my burning software acting up.  At least once I emptied the recycle bin that stopped and your own built in DVD-RW writer backed up what I needed to back up. Maybe you knew what I was going to do today and got upset.

So Vista, it’s with that I want you know I do not regret buying you.  I in fact look forward to seeing you again someday, maybe when I reformat my older machine and try and put you on it.  I’m not 100% that’s a great idea since that machine only has a 1GB of ram, but at least it has a 64 bit processor so it will run Home Premium 64. Either way, don’t listen to what those mean tech pundits or Apple say to you, you were not the new Windows ME, you simply were a late bloomer, who became amazing once you did.

With that I bid you adieu.

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