Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Interesting Incoming Comments

Some really interesting comments coming in as of late.

Next week I'm going to take a moment to read-read them all and call-out some of the ones I find interesting (460+ to read through at the moment, so that's gonna take a while...). Due to the WashTech union / level pay-range story and its subsequent coverage (hey, even including a CNN story: Microsoft's labor troubles), folks have discovered or rediscovered the Mini-Microsoft conversation and have added plenty of comments. Some added their comments to the older entries, meaning that most people won't see them... unless you've created a CoComment feed for every posting. I'll try to pull those out in a post next week.

In the meantime, some homework: why is Vista better than XP?

If your non-techie friend or financial advisor or Mom asked you that question, what are you going say?

I only ask because recently I was watching a video of a speaker at Microsoft. During the Q&A, he asked that question of a lady Microsoftie in the audience. Not only could you tell her brain was momentarily frozen (uhhhhhh), you could feel that the entire crowd hit a panicked brain freeze. The lady then came up with an almost apologetic answer saying the Vista is more stable, safer, and faster than XP.

Ooo, ouch. Not great talking points. And no one kicked in anything better.

I do think Vista is great, but even I can't come up with a 30-second knock-it-out-of-the-park reason as to why anyone would part with their hard-earned money to upgrade to it. Which I feel bad about and I'm going to work on it. I figure everyone at Microsoft needs to have an honest answer as to why our two cash cows are worth upgrading to.

Why is Vista better than XP?

Why will Office 2007 make my work-life better?

Update: okay, comments turned on. And, looking at the most recent comments, I feel like I finally have to start drafting that Dev vs. Test vs. PM post, if only to give one place for it all to be...

124 comments:

armadillo said...

Yay for Dev vs. Test vs. PM post!

Anonymous said...

I hope Who 'da Punk's got a fire extinguisher handy. ¬_¬

Say, how about a post about the constituency of Mini-Microsoft instead? In any movement against the established order, you have the reformers who are genuinely fighting for the greater good, and also a group of malcontents and losers happy to fight against the establishment regardless of who it is, with the latter greatly outnumbering the former and serving to discredit the movement as a whole. One sees this in, for example, the WTO protests and the OSS movement in the large, and it's visible here as well. How can we chase off the people who would be, to put it politely, "good attrition" and get about the business of improving Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

This is a discussion to foster debate and by no means an enactment of policy-violation.

Nice disclaimer Mini! lol! Actually, if any company secrets are let out, it's a policy violation. There are some idiots who put out email aliases when referring to certain GMs and VPs and refer to "WTT" and other secret processes. I think you need to better moderate those types of discussions because:
(a) Not only do they NOT result in any actionable items in trying to change the process
(b) They alse expose MS to our competitors who can see what kinds of quality gates we have in place

This will result in a further dip in our share price.

Perhaps you could ask everyone to keep complaints about coding and testing processes at a "high level" instead of giving out the details.

Anonymous said...

"How can we chase off the people who would be, to put it politely, "good attrition" and get about the business of improving Microsoft?"

You have to look at all input, else you tend to end up with viewpoints which are politically-correct 'groupthink'. I believe MSFT's biggest problem is, in fact, its own 'groupthink'. There is another world out there. :-)

Anonymous said...

..."WTT" and other secret processes...

My goodness yes! WHATEVER we do, DON'T let the ourside world know about WTT (whoops, said it again).

WTT's gonna KILL our competitors. They'll all die laughing.

Drei said...

There are some idiots who put out email aliases when referring to certain GMs and VPs and refer to "WTT" and other secret processes.

I wholeheartedly agree it's bad form to spew out aliases or names. But you got me with the WTT bit. (First of all, by mentioning it casually you are less likely to attract attention than you are when you put it next to "secret".)

I'm not sure, but I might be one of the "idiots" that mentioned it. Would you care to tell me what's so secret (and more importantly, what is so damaging) about it? I only saw its initials being mentioned - that is hardly disclosure of a product that's quite old.

And if you ask me, we should give WTT to everyone who asks for it, especially to our competitors. Here's hoping it would cause them as much grief as it caused us.

(a) Not only do they NOT result in any actionable items in trying to change the process

Well, for once, if you do work in that team, it might be a incentive for looking more seriously at bug reports. A bug in PS (gasp! another internal secret leaked!!) does not convey a user's frustration as clearly as an anonymous comment does.


(b) They alse expose MS to our competitors who can see what kinds of quality gates we have in place

And what, exactly, will our competitors do about our quality gates? They'll poison their operators, or seduce the engineers, or just plain old fashion blow up the facilities that house the ummm.. code quality reference ruler?

This will result in a further dip in our share price.

Far more damaging internal docs have been leaked (the very reason of this blog post, for instance) and I don't think anyone cared. Why would anyone care about some random letters burried in a comment?

(Seriously, if you want some juicy WTT gossip, bugs and warts, let's arrange an incognito meet.)

Anonymous said...

...and for those curious about the very secret "WTT" - a version of it will be available as Driver Test Manager, or DTM, in the forthcoming WDK - some info at http://blogs.msdn.com/craigrow/archive/2005/07/05/435808.aspx.

No its not my blog, and I have nothing to say about WTT, or DTM. But I'm sure that some of our hw partners, who will use it, or already have been using it in the logo programs, could comment.

Anonymous said...

> Why is Vista better than XP?

Actually, I think it is worse. I've installed beta, I hate it. Surprisingly how MS can make system looking so uncomfortable. Can't imagine using it. I'll have to, because I'm a professional developer, but I will not upgrade as far as I can.

Obviously noticeable PM work. Move all settings around, so I can't find them in their usual place. It was good and simple Display setting window. What was wrong with it? Was it a security hole? Click on desktop, select properties, and do whatever you want. No. It would be too simple for MS PMs to leave as is. Everything must be done through the one known place. And the place is the IE. So we have IE-style windows (surely IE7, with blury Clear Type, which makes me mad on my BGR LCD, and which can not be turned off easily), where we can walk trough some maze of links, finally coming to the very same dialog box, but with just one tab inside.

I never could imagine I can hate UI. This is it. I do not know how MS manages to touch my soul, I can't explain this, but MS created such a UI, I feel just insulted to see. I have a hypotesis: maybe it is an effect of ClearType's unstudied influence.

Anonymous said...

To all the devs that whine about MS's current state of affairs, take a good long look at this blog: http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/Marion?catname=%2FiWork

It's about Sun's iWork program (i.e. work from home privileges) - look at the date of the post, it hasn't even been a year yet!

We've had RAS at MS for as long as I can remember. Appreciate what you have - there are hellholes like Sun where WFH privileges have only JUST been rolled out - what a hoot!

So, to every Dev that whines on here, I ask you, would you rather be at IBM, HP, Dell, or Sun?

Ant said...

> Why is Vista better than XP?

I think Vista is great! especially for home users - not that I want to evangelise Vista - but hey the truth is out there - or rather deep inside in Vista.

Here's why I think Vista is great for the home - The enhancements that are being made in the core fundamentals of the O.S like

UI - Home user's are gonna get GREAT (or WoW) looking apps - 'cause Devs are gonna be using Avalon to create them

Security - User Account Control (UAC) is great- we all know Run As existed for a long time now, but its used scanty number of times - but UAC is more than that - and is great for the home user in encouraging them not to run as Admin by default, making them less vulnerable to security threats from the Internet.

Backup - System Restore helps you take and restore backups!

Sync Center - Fact of Life - we have many gadgets - even the least techie of the household has a MP3 Player.

more reasons include - Parental Controls and Windows Media Center :)

Think about it theres a lot more...

Anonymous said...

I've seen first hand 2 opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of people's impression of the Vista UI. These ends seem to correlate with the user type - hardcore devs/techies hate it, whereas normal users love it. Which of these audiences is bigger in the marketplace?

The techies seem to be frustrated because they can't whiz through their old methods to change system settings. Kind of like the same sort of feedback I saw in W95 days - I knew a lot of devs who hated and despised the UI. These were people who were much more at home with a command line session on some (now defunct) Unix variant. Once they got the hang of the new UI they got over it. It's a familiarisation thing.

In terms of "what are the reasons to use Vista" - check out the 30 demos in 30 minutes sessions that BrianV was doing for the field at MGB & TechReady.

For me? Well the ability to stream a powerpoint session over WiFi to other machines, plus using a USB memory stick as RAM (can't remember what the official feature names are called) are worth the upgrade by themselves. And WIM is going to be a real winner for corporate deployments.

Anonymous said...

I do think Vista is great, but even I can't come up with a 30-second knock-it-out-of-the-park reason as to why anyone would part with their hard-earned money to upgrade to it.

Are you out of your mind? UPGRADE? Seriously, think about your customers... You really think that average american household can perform an upgrade? I am a software professional, have worked on operating systems for 20 years. I personally wrote very large portions of windows.

For my family's PC's, for my friend's PCs, for business owner's PCs, I would NEVER recomend an upgrade.

Windows is a dangerous and brittle environment. A windows PC starts out somewhat pristine, but after months of use becomes riddled with plug-ins, bits and pieces of less than robust spyware, bareley functional digital camera add ons, etc.

Install aim, a few games, upgrade a printer, buy a camera, buy some random music player, etc. After you do all this, accept the various upgrades in random order, apply a few ms updates, and pretty soon your machine is toast. The best thing to do is throw the computer away and start all over again. Jeeze, my daughter went off to college with a brand new thinkpad, anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall protected campus net, campus controlled environment. Relatively safe. She called a month ago to say, "Dad, Everyt time I close the internet I get some stupid popup that it crashed and should I send something to microsoft." Yeah, I looked at the number of IE plug ins and there were about 7 AIM related plug ins and toolbars, a few others I didn't know anyhting about, etc. No viruses, just legitimate stuff that rides along for free. We turned them all off and now "the internet works" on her computer. Sure Vista might be better in this area, but seriously, you would recomend that the UPGRADE? I think your campaign would be more successful if you had an Invest in the future campaign. Something where you encourage people to buy a new computer thats equipped with Vista.

I don't care what anti-virus or anti-spyware programs you are using. Its not just the bad stuff that infects your windows machines. The good stuff, the stuff that comes with your printers, cameras, games, etc. is just as dangerous to the health of your PC.

The PC I am using at home to type this up on? A 2 year old thinkpad t40 with fully up to date XP. Browser is Firefox. Why? Can't run IE. No matter how hard I try, I can seem to get all the junk out of IE and every time it runs it splats shorcuts all over the desktop, pukes on the registry, etc. IE is banned from our system, I deleted as much as I could. I am afraid of this computer. It is a ticking time bomb. I will throw it away when my MacBook Pro arrives.

Anonymous said...

I am a software professional, have worked on operating systems for 20 years. I personally wrote very large portions of windows.

The PC I am using at home to type this up on? A 2 year old thinkpad t40 with fully up to date XP. Browser is Firefox. Why? Can't run IE. No matter how hard I try, I can seem to get all the junk out of IE and every time it runs it splats shorcuts all over the desktop, pukes on the registry, etc. IE is banned from our system, I deleted as much as I could. I am afraid of this computer. It is a ticking time bomb. I will throw it away when my MacBook Pro arrives.

And you can't get IE to work correctly on a Laptop with modern hardware? Maybe back when you wrote Windows upgrades were a dangerous choice to make, but I've had no problems with an upgrade to XP in most instances. If you take the time to make sure the previous PC is free of spyware, adware, viruses (things you don't seem to have the skills to remove) you will find that in most cases an upgrade will go as planned. Don't Microsoft say make a backup before you go ahead and do it?

Please don't blame your inability to keep your machines in working order as a fault of Microsoft Windows.

Anonymous said...

Why is Vista better than XP?

I don't know. Vista doesn't exist yet. It's still a beta program.

When it comes out, perhaps someone can give an intelligent answer.

The point of your post, though, is valid. No one can give a reason as to why Vista WILL be better. We hear things like, "It'll be more secure" (the same was said of XP). "It'll look better" (ditto). "It will make it easier to perform everyday tasks" (ditto).

Every version of Windows (and I've been using it since version ONE) was supposed to be a quantum leap from what came before it. Sorry, but Vista looks to be shaping up as the equivalent of Windows Me...a minor "improvement" that probably won't be an improvement at all.

Anonymous said...

I work in the BMO (for those developers that don't know what it is, it's the marketing organization) and I've noticed that there is a lot of arrogance on here on the part of the developers and testers. It's as if us marketing folks are second class citizens.

Ask yourselves this - if it wasnt for us interfacing with customers and asking them what they really want, do you think you would be even getting the chance to code?

Every person (including contractors) provides some value to MS - the derogatory comments I see here towards anyone that's not a developer or tester is not indicative of mutual respect.

Anonymous said...

"The point of your post, though, is valid. No one can give a reason as to why Vista WILL be better."

The whole is bigger than the sum. If Vista achieves basic things like security and efficiency better than XP then that itself is a good enough reason to buy Vista. Think about how much more productive you become by an upgrade.

Do not underestimate the beauty factor either. Most people are more cheerful in windowed offices than inside corridor offices. The feeling makes them more productive and satisfied. Overall it improves the work environment. I look at windows on my computer more than windows on my office walls. I think if the windows on my computer looks more beautiful than it overall going to increase my work environment and too at a mere cost of couple of hundred bucks and if I upgrade the whole computer than even the best of breed is couple of thousand bucks. I felt so when I moved from CRT to LCD monitor recently.

What we have to do is to make Vista a fashion statement. Make sure that there are some OEM's who create sleek desktops and even sleeker laptops with Vista. Buy the real estate on the outside of the computer's chasis to put the Vista logo. I won't mine even this is copied from Apple but done only better.

Anonymous said...

Regarding dev vs. test vs. pm vs. marketing vs. janitors vs. execs... Just repost Lou's post here.

I agree completely. I would also flee a team that's engaging in internal sniping instead of fixing the problem.

Anonymous said...

I won't mine even this is copied from Apple but done only better.

And that, right there, is the big problem with Microsoft's industrial design- "We want to look cool, so we'll let R&D South take the lead".

Apple owns a market in mp3 players that they were a latecomer to BECAUSE they understand industrial design and were willing to blaze trails. Do you think the iPod would have taken off if it was a Rio clone?

Anonymous said...

Ask yourselves this - if it wasnt for us interfacing with customers and asking them what they really want, do you think you would be even getting the chance to code?

So, I might ask... if you are spending so much quality time with us, the customer, why is it that we, the customer, end up with something that doesn't even remotely address what we, the customer, really want?

Yes, it is me again, the CRM 3.0 victim, ex Microsoft GM that can only shake his head at the continual finger pointing that replaces what once was a magnificant engineering machine.

BMO (or CMO as it once was before about 19 reorgs) addresses customer needs? From my five years at Microsoft dealing with CMO (bmo whatever) I have never had to deal with a more disconnected, arrogant misguided set of know-it-alls than the 'marketing' people. Everything is abstract, 30,000' view feel-good generic messaging that addresses the masses but does nothing for the employee actually having to make this stuff work.

Just once, mr or ms BMO I am important too, go install Exchange, SQL, Wn2k3 server, AD and DS and try to make it work. Then add one of those 'really really great' business apps like CRM 3.0 that has to interact with all of these pieces AND MAKE THAT WORK. Once you have actually done this, go and shake the PM organizations that spec this crap and tell them that they are ruining the company with their inability to ship something that actually works like the customer wants it to work.

Then, and only then, can you come back here and tell me that you are important too and your job is really really important.

Now all join hands and repeat after me:
No, it is your fault!
No, it is your fault!
No, it is your fault!
No, it is your fault!
No, it is your fault!
No, it is your fault!
No, it is your fault!
...

Cheopys said...

Still laughing at the suggestion that WTT is some piece of leading edge work that gives Microsoft a competitive advantage. I remember late one evening when one of the people developing it got completely swamped trying to set it up on a box. Like we didn't have enough problems already with randomly failing autosmoke runs blocking checkins and local TGT bearing no resemblance...my group was one of the last to adopt WTT and it was one of the reasons I decided to resign. Because I knew it was going to throw random errors and the only help I would get would be some frosty reminders from bottom-line bottom-feeders about the "expectations" for developers to maintain their own test boxes.

Maybe WTT is the greatest harness ever written; maybe quality gates really are something other than another random and unmotivated initiative, but I saw the same screwy reasoning in the test coverage QG that I see in the statistics of the ranking system.

Vista? My advice is run screaming. I didn't like the kiddy-candy XP shell with its soft-edged fonts and rounded windows, and I absolutely hate the Vista shell, hate everything about it. I hate the random and unmotivated shuffling around of customization applets, I hate LUA with a livid red-eyed passion, and I hate the "look and feel."

Take those folder icons. In the previous shells the folders face upward; in the Vista shell they face to the right. If you take a real manila folder and place it in this position all the papers fall out and land scattered on the floor. So every time I see that new folder I think of having to bend over and gather up scattered papers. Whose idea was that?

Maybe it came from the same half-educated and over-promoted fool who thinks that you have to test the C runtimes to get proper code coverage, or who thinks that you need to give a low score to one of four members of a team to implement ratings.

Agreed also with the comments on IE. For my money IE became useless with SP2. I too had to ban it from several machines and even without unrequested toolbars and intrusionware it's broken for OWA. Many sites that use cookies just don't work right anymore no matter how I fiddle with the settings. This is a Mozilla house now, and since Moz runs on Linux as well the shortcuts are the same.

As for this blog I see very little of the complaining for complaining's sake. Comments here tend to be insightful and constructive and considering how frustrating the environment has become at Microsoft I find the griping here to be remarkably restrained

TheKhalif said...

I think the whole problem is that MS shouldn't be trying to sell Vista on how much "better" it is than XP. Vista is not a TV set or MP3 player it's an OS. There should be MORE talk about how the BASIC versions will allow a seamless upgrade from XP WITHOUT needing a new video card or USB/Flash RAM or Hybrid HD.

Or maybe a selling point is that Vista will enable SMB or large corporate entities to upgrade to the mid-range version with their current P4s or A64s and keep their networks secure without everyone needing to know how WCF or WGF work.


OR perhaps the best selling point will be for the hardcore DIYers who will already have the fastest, most expensive machines and can get more speed out of it.

Aero is NOT a selling point because who really needs a 3D desktop or 128x128 icons. I can see very well. WinFS would have been THE selling point all along the line, though an ACTUAL upgrade to IE after 10 years may help.
There are too many components to filter out what is "better" than XP.
Though I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think the new Vista UI will deffinitely make the 'average' user upgrade. You can't believe how much a new/different UI can influence the 'average' user. I remember when I found out in my freshman intro-to-CS class how to change the color of emacs and showed it to my buddies and almost managed to make 90% of the students play around with the colors for the rest of the 2 hour lab. A new look on something you really need to use on a daily basis is very refreshing to 'average' folks.

Obviously, as has been pointed out, the hardcore techie folks will find their reasons to complain, but Microsoft can't care less about this microscopic minority.

Cheopys said...

I think your comment about customizing the interface it completely inane, considering that virtually every XP installation I have ever seen has the default wallpaper and colors that it had out of the box. I will only respond to this:

Obviously, as has been pointed out, the hardcore techie folks will find their reasons to complain, but Microsoft can't care less about this microscopic minority.

I think the microscopic minority that MS doesn't care about is the group that wants to work efficently. Early versions of Windows came with printed manuals and had distinguished Keyboard Help and Mouse Help on the Help menus, with a clear recommendation that the mouse was an entry-level interface, training-wheels for using keyboard shortcuts.

Since a majority of users would run away in terror at the implication that they needed to read a book all this was dropped in favor of the soothing "just click" and the books vanished, as did the expectation of actually learning to use your computer.

Now the push is toward "discoverability" of UI features since nobody is ever going to read anything, and the help system is useless anyway.

But hey .. they sell more copies that way.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the license change? New mother board is not an upgrade anymore! And if you change mother board, you should buy OS again! So assume user want to upgrade to Vista. He bought a box, installed on his computer, and finally found that it works too slow (according to MS tradition). So he is trying to upgrade, but he will find again that it is cheaper and easier to replace. The next surprize will be that the OS box will not work with the new computer and he must buy another box. Cool marketing idea, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Here is a great article from ExtremeTech on Vista.

Why Windows Vista Won't Suck:
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1931913,00.asp

It's a great read!

Anonymous said...

Cheopys wrote:

In the previous shells the folders face upward; in the Vista shell they face to the right. If you take a real manila folder and place it in this position all the papers fall out and land scattered on the floor. So every time I see that new folder I think of having to bend over and gather up scattered papers. Whose idea was that?

Just as my stomach was beginning turn into a knot thinking that I share an @microsoft.com alias with this low-life, I re-read his post and saw this...

my group was one of the last to adopt WTT and it was one of the reasons I decided to resign.

.. and I screamed Thank You Jesus . This is good attrition and we need more of this, by will or by force.

TheKhalif said...

One other reason for people to upgrade I forgot to mention is that X64 support is VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT. Most MP3 players won't load. Many game launchers don't work, etc.

That maybe the only reason I upgrade. I really don't want to reinstall 10GB worth of SDKs and IDEs to get full support for what I had on XP SP2. Though it's probably not the best idea to tell people "hey, don't worry, we support more stuff for your beautiful $400-$1000 X64 X2/9xx processor," at least progress is being made.

Anonymous said...

Here is a great article from ExtremeTech on Vista.

Why Windows Vista Won't Suck:
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1931913,00.asp

It's a great read!


Thanks for this link. This should put an end to the half-assed uneducated guesses from ignoramuses on this blog post. Before you make any comment on XP vs Vista, go read this article and get some balanced information.

If all you hear is the opinion of demented people like Cheopys complaining about which side an icon is facing, you will be seriously short-changing yourself.

Anonymous said...

The article mentions a much more stabler kernel. Who's idea do you think this was? Who do you think put us through all the "quality gates from hell"?

It was Amitabh Srivastava! Had it not been for his genius, we would NEVER Have achieved such a stable kernel. I know a lot of devs complain about him and blame him as the reason why Vista is shipping so late but give the man his credit - after Vista ships, no longer will Linux be able to make the "stable kernel" argument.

Anonymous said...

virtually every XP installation I have ever seen has the default wallpaper and colors that it had out of the box

Sounds like you haven't seen too many XP installs outside of friends & family. In the corporate world, pretty much all desktops have either a plain wallpaper, a plain one with the helpdesk number scribbled on, or their corporate logo. Whilst I've only seen a few dozen "distinct" standard desktop builds in the past 6-7 years, their sum total probably accounts for well over 450k desktops. I can think of at least another 200k desktops whose corporate IT people deployed using the "classic desktop", i.e. XP as an OS with a w2k UI.

And that's just in one country...

Anonymous said...

Cheopys, you're probably a wonderful dev, but you're not the target audience for Vista if you're complaining about how folders face in the shell, and you live and die by keyboard shortcuts and think mice are "training wheels", and I'm going to guess you haven't done a lot of work in human factors.

Normal human beings don't WANT to memorize 58 keyboard shortcuts to optimize their efficiency. Most normal human beings start having problems with things like 10 digit phone numbers (see The Magical Number Seven: http://www.well.com/~smalin/miller.html ). That's why the WIMP (Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointing Device) interface kicked DOS's ass.

If people were truly interested in doing something REALLY creative with human factors to improve usability beyond WIMP and GUI, you wouldn't have to look too far, though...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archy

Anonymous said...

>> It was Amitabh Srivastava! Had it not been for his genius,
>> we would NEVER Have achieved such a stable kernel.

I just HEAR Indian accent in this one.

Anonymous said...

And you can't get IE to work correctly on a Laptop with modern hardware?

No I can not. Well, actually, I take it back. Yes, IE is working "correctly" if I use geek engineer semantics. It is running all of the viruses, malware, etc, oh wait, let me correct myself... It is running all of the "Add-ons" it is being told to run. Funny thing about IE is that it seems to have two masters... Me, who tells it not to run random crap, and components of random crap that tell it to ignore me and re-register on each load.

So I guess I was wrong. IE is running perfectly. I choose not to use it because I am not fond of my desktop, start menu, etc splattered with random ads and short cuts each time I run it.

If you take the time to make sure the previous PC is free of spyware, adware, viruses (things you don't seem to have the skills to remove) you will find that in most cases an upgrade will go as planned.

No, I don't have the skill to remove this stuff. Neither do you. I was running the Microsoft AntiSpyware tool and it could not keep that pc clean. Every time I ran it it would find and remove the same things over and over again. Eventually the PC would be perfectly clean (according to this pos tool). Then, if you ran IE, you would have to clean up the machine all over again. I booted in safe mode many times, found and pulled out every hint of this crap from the registry, classids, filesystem, etc. Everything I could find, things that Microsoft tools even failed to find but I guess I am too stupid? Maybe I am the only one in the entire world that has this problem, and since I can afford it, I am the only one that should get Vista as an OEM install on a new machine. Everyone else out there, as you say, probably will have no problem at all with an upgrade?

So, who do you think has the skills to keep a windows machine up and running and healthy?

Do you think my mom, daughter, dentist, banker, waitrees, bar tender, banker, stock broker, real estate agent, construction foreman, etc. have the skills? Look inside your own organization.

Remind me again how the PCs within microsoft remain clean and functional? Clearly you don't have a help desk or professional organization bailing out your ceo, your hr staff, your pm's, etc.? Everyone must be smart enought to keep their own pcs clean, healthy, and running as designed. An upgrade should not be a problem at all.

Curious... How are you planning to do the upgrade at Microsoft? Or how is boeing going to do it, or GM, or Merril? On THE DAY Vista goes on sale, is every end user going to get a brand new CD placed on their desk chair with a sticky note that says, Go for it, the rest of the world is? Isn't this what you are proposing that your friends, the mass owners of unmanaged PCs do? Tell them to line up at midnight, pour some money into the pockets of Mother Microsoft and then put the CD in and it WILL just work!

Curious what you think of my daughters problem? Clean PC. But she gets a popup everytime she "closes the internet". She hit the send error report to microsoft several times. How come Microsoft never sent her back a note telling her that the problem is in one of the AIM IE add ons? Do you think a 19 year old college student should immeadiately start poking around the registry of her computer deleting keys, files, etc. at the first hint that something is wrong? She didn't have spyware, viruses, malware. She just had aol, a tool she uses to talk to her friends. Should she have known to associate that "the internet isn't working right" with tools->manage ad-ons... and then start disabling things she didn't understand? or disable everything?

Please don't blame your inability to keep your machines in working order as a fault of Microsoft Windows.

Not at all. I view this as a huge opportunity for others. Without you, we would not have a market for anti-virus software, malware removal tools, corporate help desks, consumer help desks?

Shoot, the way I see it, Microsoft has created an entire industry dedicated to helping keep the computers of stupid people like me up and running.

Am I profiting from this? You bet. Check out Make It Work. As an investor, I really hope the world listens to you and attempts a mass upgrade to Vista. Sure, it will make microsoft a ton of money, and the fat cats in upper management will profit imensely, but so will I! Make it Work will make a fortune bailing people out!

I honestly think that the best way for people to experience Vista for the first time is to have them experience it on a properly configured, properly equipped brand new PC. This is how you will get happy customers.

Anonymous said...

I just HEAR Indian accent in this one.

And the angry white man speaketh!!

Anonymous said...

>> And the angry white man speaketh!!

I'm sure that if instead of Amitabh we had some nondescript non-Indian (black, white, Chinese/Japanese/Korean, man/woman - doesn't matter), that fellow up in the thread would not have called him a "genius".

It's not a bad thing to praise your countryman. But calling him "genius" on this basis and implying that without him Vista would not exist is crazy talk.

Cheopys said...

Cheopys, you're probably a wonderful dev, but you're not the target audience for Vista if you're complaining about how folders face in the shell, and you live and die by keyboard shortcuts and think mice are "training wheels", and I'm going to guess you haven't done a lot of work in human factors.

Normal human beings don't WANT to memorize 58 keyboard shortcuts to optimize their efficiency. Most normal human beings start having problems with things like 10 digit phone numbers (see The Magical Number Seven: http://www.well.com/~smalin/miller.html ). That's why the WIMP (Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointing Device) interface kicked DOS's ass.


I make no pretense of being a typical user. Typical users didn't start using Windows until the mid-90s while I started in 1986 with 2.11 and at a time when I had to pay $500 (in addition to the $500 MS C compiler) for a separately-bundled "Windows SDK" on five 720K floppies.

Keyboard shortcuts don't require me or anyone else to sign up for night school and I'm not conscious of any act of "memorization" to use them. I just don't like taking my hands off the keyboard while I work, and I honestly don't see how anyone can get anything done justclicking on a tiny icon instead of hitting F10 to step to the next line in a debugger. To each "their" own, I guess.

I remember when Windows was aimed at people who were willing to invest a little time in learning to use their PCs, and since that locked out the majority of the possible audience, well, shareholder value and market forces rear their ugly heads and the product races for the LCD. It's not worth the effort to argue against the prevailing business mantra, but I think it's the wrong move.

As for the reaction to my observation about the folders, I'm stunned at the vehemence...was that the PM who thought up this brilliant change? Am I the only one who's ever seen a manila folder? Turn them in that direction and everything falls out. The rotation seems like some sort of bad joke to me.

Anonymous said...

Why will Vista be better than XP?

Because people will buy it and it will make my stocks inch a little bit to the right direction.

Anonymous said...

There are two problems with XP as I see it:

1) The interface is a giant pile of cruft. Instead of some unifying philosophy, you can tell that a million features have been added to it over time in whatever way seemed convenient at the time. The entrypoint to feature XYZ might be in the control panel, or the Start menu, or the system tray, or the "Advanced" button of some old wizard dialog, or you might have to right-click on nothing in particular to access it.

Little information balloons are always popping up in my system tray. I'm not 100% certain where to click to get them to go away, I have no idea how to get them back, and I get nervous reading them because they might disappear at any second. My MSN Messenger windows flash at me even after I click on them to read the recent messages. MSN does a little animation every time I get a spam Hotmail. I can never be sure if the program I want is going to be in the Start menu when I click on it, and my Programs folder isn't sorted in any way that I can understand. When I plug my digital camera in, I can never predict quite what'll happen--will the dialog pop up this time? Which programs will it list today? I have a thousand "services" running, none of which I asked for, and any of which can start crunching away when I'm trying to just sit and read a web page.

The whole experience is disorienting and distracting and it feels like the whole OS could come unglued at any minute. I would never actually pay money for it.

2) There's no coherent model for adding and removing software. That's why Windows computers run like crap after a couple years. Any program can save its files anywhere, crap up the registry in any way it wants, run worthless auxiliary software at startup, stick icons anywhere, register itself as an IE add-in, or an Outlook add-in, or an Explorer add-in, ad nauseum. And if you decide you don't want this piece-of-crap software, good luck. It's probably not listed in Add/Remove Programs. If it is, the uninstaller probably only removes half its files, and that's only after vague, mysterious warnings about shared DLLs.

If Vista addresses either of these two problems, then I'll be happy, but so far I haven't seen or heard anything to make me think it will.

Anonymous said...

For the Enterprise space, Microsoft need a good elevator pitch. The case is very compeling for home users, but what about the ROI for businesses?

My thoughts on upgrading? Vista was re-written to be inherently more secure, more productive, and more reliable.

Security
- Encrypt your entire drive, so your safe if your company laptop is stolen
- Major changes in IE7 to protect users from exploits and spoofing
- Least privlidge so users can actual work without being an administrator

Productivity
- Search everywhere to easily find information
- better wireless management to reduce help desk calls
- Enterprise deployment is WAY better and easier for IT to manage images

Performance / Reliablity
- Apps faster with prefetch
- Boot up faster with new Sleep mode
- Built in diagnostics with improved backup
- compatible with XP hardware (don't need to upgrade just for glass effects)

Anonymous said...

It's not a bad thing to praise your countryman. But calling him "genius" on this basis and implying that without him Vista would not exist is crazy talk.

Why don't you go to http://research.microsoft.com/users/amitabhs/ and see what he has accomplished relative to these other VPs?

- the OM binary code optimization system
- SCOOPS (Scheme Object Oriented Programming System) -> this was instrumental in the fight against Java
- He also did his undergrad at IIT - which is the MIT of the east - I'm sure my fellow Indian countrymen will agree

If Kai-Fu Lee was still with us, I would praise him too - however, thanks to "angry white men" like yourself, he left us for Google.

Seriously, this whining I see here is just fantastic. People would give their right arm to get into American and their legs to get into Microsoft. I know I'm gettin underpaid since I'm on an H-1B but such is life - I'm still better off than if I was back home and for that I am thankful. You Americans who have been coddled all your lives (most of you, not all) need to wake up and smell the Starbucks that you shell money for everyday.

Anonymous said...

- the OM binary code optimization system

The page says this was an Alpha thing. You'd think you'd be able to list some things he's done for Microsoft.

- SCOOPS (Scheme Object Oriented Programming System) -> this was instrumental in the fight against Java

Never heard of it. If you Google SCOOPS you don't get anything. Even if you Google "SCOOPS Java" you get something about kitchen utensils.

- He also did his undergrad at IIT - which is the MIT of the east - I'm sure my fellow Indian countrymen will agree

Great. Look at the PressPass page of executives. Most of them went to top-flight institutions.

Anonymous said...

I am a dev and I would like to talk abt many issues this thread talks abt:
1) Why is Vista better?
a) It is better because of many changes down in the plumbing of the kernel -- heap mgmt., Security in the kernel, better Power Mgmt. especially hibernation, docking , and the best part which I have heard from a lot of external people is the performance of the network STACK(no I dont work for the network team), Grpahichs system redesign to reduce glitch by giving the foreground app. more quantum etc.


Why it sucks?
Memory hogging
You need twice the memory to get the same performance as XP. It just looks like MSft. should have a truck with the memory vendors for a new OS from MSft. always boosts their sales :).
LUA -- I am just sick of the popups for every fu**** action.
"Run" not a default part of the Start Menu (I know u can turn it back on buit why the fu** turn off a cool feature).

Now some other things I Can't keep shut abt.

a) WHY are devs have so much of EGO and superiority complex and treat everyone like PM's, marketing etc as shit?
MSFT suffers from this culture where devs dont beleive(yes I am a dev too) in checking their egos at the doors very important to be a good learner and nobody knows everything. Till this fuc***** superiroty complex is not checkied this will continue to happen.

b) "leaking info about WTT"
Times have changed and with an Open source OS like threatining MSft. why all this secrecy? I think we should start to be more open and learn the ways of the times othwerwise we will bite the dust like the Roman empire.

c)Quality gates -- I have mixed feelings abt this.
I totally hate that and I beleive that Amitabh is responsible for me spending 25-50% of time in a day on this process instead of doing cool stuff.
But it has its good sides it is instilling descipline and for a big org. like windoes descipline is needed ( I still hate it :))

Anonymous said...

Flame? Someone earlier mentioned a fire extinguisher. Yes you do need one. Put out the fires and get to work building products.
Vista and Office 12 both great new products. Luckily we have been able to test one and if you know where to look we can get feedback from others on the progress of the other. and will do the appropriate "new installations" when released then further tested in the real world on our systems before we go live.
Live? Isn't that a current new thing? We applied for testing were accepted (thank you Team!). From what I have seen so far, it does what I already do with a 3rd party, but we will probably switch since we can see the benefits of the future.
One slight problem, I can actutally see the disconnect in pre-release products.
One doesn't completely work with the other in options provided. Understand about everyone wanting to stretch out functionalities but this is a freakin out of the box no brainer.
Sell a product and provide an accompanying service. We do this everyday using your products as a

Customer

Anonymous said...

Why will Vista be better than XP?

The new in-box games, and games explorer.

Anonymous said...

>> IIT - which is the MIT of the east

ROTFL.

Anonymous said...

Just for the sake of argument, would any of you be willing to stake your career on Vista security?

Would any of you log on as a local user, set up a source depot enlistment and sync up everything that you can access, and then log on as administrator and use IE to surf every porn site, warez site, and hacker site that google can find?

Does that make you just a little nervous?

Then, would any of you stick that same machine on an un-firewalled internet connection and post your IP address on slashdot?

No? Okay, go back to work, stop the presses, you aren't done yet! YOUR CUSTOMERS are exposed to risks like this every day and anti-virus or anti-spyware tools just don't cut it.


At some point, you need to get serious about security and hold a press conference to publically FIRE the Developer, Tester, PM, Leads, Managers, and PUM of any component that ships with a security bug that is found by an external group. Start it with Vista. If anyone signs off on a component and says that it is ready to ship, they will be FIRED WITH A VENGANCE if that component is found to have a security bug.

As a side effect, that will also make Microsoft smaller.

Anonymous said...

"- He also did his undergrad at IIT - which is the MIT of the east - I'm sure my fellow Indian countrymen will agree

Great. Look at the PressPass page of executives. Most of them went to top-flight institutions."

And all of us are working for a guy who didn't finish college :-).

Cheopys said...

Anonymous wrote:

At some point, you need to get serious about security and hold a press conference to publically FIRE the Developer, Tester, PM, Leads, Managers, and PUM of any component that ships with a security bug that is found by an external group. Start it with Vista. If anyone signs off on a component and says that it is ready to ship, they will be FIRED WITH A VENGANCE if that component is found to have a security bug.

As a side effect, that will also make Microsoft smaller.


Yes and it would be about as effective as the Nazis destroying a village in retaliation for a single sniper death. And show about as much finesse.

I don't think MS takes security very seriously, not when the threat modeling process is a perfunctory review that exists only to check a little box on a list. I have a better idea:

(1) get serious about teaching devs security. Don't just issue MS press books, buy the best texts anyone can find and schedule time for devs to read them. Schedule times for discussion of security issues.

(2) Ever dev lead-of-leads should have a point man on security, one who evangelizes issues old and emerging and who is in on some or all code reviews.

(3) can the melodrama about the issue. Nobody should be able to derail a meeting by simply mentioning the topic; security is now part of the job. It's still software development, not an arm of the Department of Homeland Security

MS is Kremlinesque enough already without threatening mass firings of mostly hard-working and innocent people.

Anonymous said...

"Great. Look at the PressPass page of executives. Most of them went to top-flight institutions."

And all of us are working for a guy who didn't finish college"

Gimme a break. When did college education guarantee anything? Anyone still hanging on to that useless piece of paper like some sort of entitlement is a pathetic go-nowhere twit. Some of the brightest and most passionate people I've known at MSFT are those that never graduated from a university. Education is a state of mind, and passion and intellect doesn't need a degree.

Anonymous said...

Some time ago I've got a "5 years in MSFT" gift. Do you know what it is? A desktop clock. Nice clock with a disk, so you can find out what time is it in different countries. Cool, isn't it?

The problem is that this clock is so silverish and fancy, so it is extremely hard to see the time. Arrows are almost invisible on the world map.

If I leave MS some other day, it will remind me Microsoft on every look at it, because it reflects exactly the culture and products. The main functionality works badly, amnost does not work at all, but there are additional features (which nobody uses) and fancy UI.

When I look at Vista, I see my clock. It has a lot of everything I never use. It still does not have the main thing -- transparency. Ideal OS is something invisible. It is something what allow other applications to run. Not just itself. And it still not able to give an answer to the question, asked by millions of people every day: what the hell are you doing now?

Anonymous said...

It was Amitabh Srivastava! Had it not been for his genius, we would NEVER Have achieved such a stable kernel.

Hey Ami, it would be much better for us if you would try to figure out how to undo your quality gates bureaucracy instead of spending your time posting here, thanks.

Anonymous said...

What level to pm's start at? 58? 62?

Anonymous said...

Windows is clearly better than XP for the hardware vendor and retail simply because the required platform costs more. "Sure, you can buy a laptop for $400, but you want to run Vista, don't you? Here's our $800 model"

Anonymous said...

regarding levels

Dev, Test, PM typically all start at 59 out of college.

Subsequent growth usually is dev>test>pm, microsoft hr may be lame enough to equate test/dev/pm, but within the product group usually things work out such that devs get more promotions/bonuses et al, followed by test.

One reason to stay in the pm org is that if you are reasonably good its much easier to rise through pm ranks than dev, as most people there are lame compared to you. For all the shouting about politics and favoritizm, in the end competency is what matters, and since is hard to find a competent pm they tend to get rewarded.

Anonymous said...

"I figure everyone at Microsoft needs to have an honest answer as to why our two cash cows are worth upgrading to."

Color me stupid Mini but isn't that something the product group should have done before they got started and called it the design specification? Seriously, this seems like more MS ass backwards process. Instead of researching the needs up front and ensuring that the chosen feature set would best address the highest value business problems, it seems like it's "let's see how much stuff we think is cool we can cram into the product (now that we blew three years going down the wrong path), and after that, we'll figure out what we've got and then how to market it". Maybe this is the reason that new products require $500M marketing campaigns and are still largely undeployed even 3-5 years later?

Anonymous said...

"Here's why I think Vista is great for the home - The enhancements that are being made in the core fundamentals of the O.S like..."

Folks, are you even TRYING to compete against the best OS's out there or have you given up on that completely and are focused instead on simply offering something better than your last effort? The list provided in the above comment is a joke relative to even TODAY's OSX or Linux. Is this really the best you could do in FIVE years? If so, it doesn't bode well for MS's future.

Anonymous said...

There's no coherent model for adding and removing software.

It really depends on what software you are adding/removing. For instance, if you are a Java developer and you want to install Eclipse, you install in the following manner:

1. Unzip Eclipse zip file.

That's it--one step. I've never really understood the windows installation procedures in which any installed software becomes completely unkillable for all eternity. I really don't. The real reason might be very simple--it leads to inevitable system instability and performance destruction. And those things lead to "needing" the newest OS.

Anonymous said...

You may want to check out this post on Channel9:

Security VS Usability in Vista / ie7

http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=172120#172120

*I'll be upgrading...but NOT liking it :(

Jamie (Googlepark guy ;))

Anonymous said...

>>This is the 2nd time cost of housing has come up in relation to Microsoft compensation. I don't see why you people feel entitled to homeownership. Do you think everybody in NYC or SF gets paid half a mil so they can afford houses there?

Speaking of which, you should pity your NYC or SF based blue badge colleagues. They get a 15% cost of labor adjustment (public knowledge) but their cost of living (excluding -housing-) is at least 20% more (state taxes, higher fuel costs, higher grocery costs.)

And then there's housing on top of that. So while you Redmonders all buy and build the world's best MCE based home theatre systems, with rocking theatre style seats, your SF and NYC peers are fighting it out to rent slummy condos. Driving from Redmond to Sammamish may take 30 minutes on a bad day, driving from SVC to the Bay Area's "Sammamish" takes 1.25 hours on a weekend day.

Anonymous said...

Dev/Test/PM all start at the same level?

that's suprising

Anonymous said...

A couple of things I just have to comment on.

"Please don't blame your inability to keep your machines in working order as a fault of Microsoft Windows." - anonymous

Get. A. Freaking. Clue. Since you can't seem to even buy one, I'll give you one for free: We are your customers. You need us; we don't need you. If your piece of junk causes more problems than it solves, we don't need it.

The guy who posted about his trouble keeping his machine clean and working was a technically savvy guy. If he has trouble keeping his machine clean, then yes, it is the fault of Microsoft Windows! Wake us up when you have something usable; we'll avoid you until then.

Next topic: anonymous called Cheopys a lowlife because Cheopys complained about the folders being turned sideways. Hey, anonymous: Go learn what "metaphor" means in user interface design. Go learn why it's important. Go learn why consistency of the metaphor is important. Shut up until you do.

The common thread between these two posts: arrogance. Watching people arrogantly dismiss other people's valid concerns with no reasons, but lots of sarcasm and name-calling, just infuriates me. Quite frankly, if you think that sideways folders are the cat's meow, you don't have a lot to feel arrogant about. And if the impossible-for-even-the-technically-sophisticated-end-user-to-keep-healthy current state of affairs of Windows is the best you can do, you don't have very much to feel arrogant about - certainly not your ability to ship software that meets the end user's needs.

Great. Now I've crawled into the mud with these two loudmouths. But I felt that they were shreading people who had valid points, and that the shredders didn't have any valid thoughts to back up their shredding.

I'll try to grow up by my next post...

MSS

Anonymous said...

Why is Vista better than XP?

Because of Chess Titans! I got absolutely addicted to this game. Upgraded my expiring Vista installation several times just to play it. Finally had to shred my ASI CD, because work had stalled.

Forget about WinFS - more games with 3D objects and brain teases will be the killer app!

:)

Anonymous said...

Mini, if you absolutely MUST do a dev vs. test vs. pm post

Before poking the hornet's nest, please:

1. At least suggest some rules of engagement. One discipline telling another it sucks due to XYZ is frequently akin to the pistons in an engine telling the oil filter it sucks because "everyone knows that the pistons do all the work".

If there is a problem with a particular discipline, part of the problem is almost always missing, misguided or self-serving leadership, rather than its practitioners.

For an example of this, consider the the Test Leadership Team selling Bill and Co on the Offshoring of Manual Testing/WTT/Seamless-Automation-Everywhere/Magical Testing Elves That Work All Night For Nothing. Is it working? Was it good leadership?

2. Overall, devs already do get paid more than testers. Pay scales are the same, its the volumes of people in each level that differs between the two disciplines, and the rate of promotion. If you're involved in cross-discipline stack ranking, this difference is obvious, and quite stark. There are very, very few L63+ ICs in test - not so in dev. This is why the discipline titles (senior SDET, SDE 1, 2, 3, whatever) have not been rolled out - imagine the hue and cry when the disparity is plain for all to see. It's also a reason why people "jump ship" - not necessarily because they don't like test - but because there just aren't the same number of opportunities to progress - as an IC, at least.

3. Why not have a discussion about what these disciplines should do - about what a career in dev or test or pm should look like; how these disciplines should interact, and how they should be led.

'"You suck!", "No YOU suck!"' is a waste of electricity.

Asbestos suit on.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment above about Sun's work-at-home "iWork" program being only a year old:

Actually, looking at the articles & blogs off that link, it looks a lot better than what we have at MS! Sure, we've had RAS for years, and it works pretty well, but the difference is that Sun seems to be attempting to develop a culture that says working from home is okay. The articles even complain that some Sun managers still want people to come in every day.

All the time I've been at Microsoft, I've never seen a team take work-at-home seriously. Oh, they're perfectly happy with you working from home in addition to 8 hours in the office. But telecommuting as an alternative to office presence? You'd think that the company that invented NetMeeting could deal with that, but managers seem extremely hostile to anything that reduces office presence. Indeed, on one team I was on, those of us who mentored interns, after seeing a couple not be hired, had to reluctantly tell them, "You need to be here 10 hours a day, even if you don't have a damn thing to do. No matter what your output is, if our managers don't see your butt in the chair late in the evening whenever they walk by, you'll suffer for it in your performance reviews. Yes, it's stupid. No, we don't understand it or agree with it either. But if you want to get hired, it's what you have to do on this team."

The fact that it's easier to measure presence than performance is the main blocker to telework in corporate America everywhere, not just at Microsoft.

Quince al'Pillan said...

Ant said...

UI - Home user's are gonna get GREAT (or WoW) looking apps - 'cause Devs are gonna be using Avalon to create them

Yes, the interface will look nice...to those who can run it. If you're getting a new computer (the majority of people who will get Vista) your computer will be able to run it. For Ma and Pa User, they won't notice the difference in load time of Solitare, IE7, and Outlook Express.

+1 for style.

However, to me, the interface takes up too many resources that I can use for Photoshop, Visual Studio, Dreamweaver, et. al instead. Powerusers and people with low end machines won't be able to get the full functionality out of this. Although, correct me if I'm wrong, I doubt developers will be rewriting their old programs explicitly for Avalon.

-1 For being a resource hog.

Net effect, 0.


Security - User Account Control (UAC) is great- we all know Run As existed for a long time now, but its [rarely used] - but UAC is more than that - and is great for the home user in encouraging them not to run as Admin by default, making them less vulnerable to security threats from the Internet.


This sounds like a good idea in theory. Provided there aren't loopholes in this that allow malware to install around this, this sounds like a good idea. If this feature allows IT to just delete an account when the old one gets owned (it WILL get owned eventually, even if Ma and Pa user have to type in the admin password - look at the Mac "worm.")

+1 for asking for admin privileges

Backup - System Restore helps you take and restore backups!

Also used to backup viruses so that the antivirus can't delete it because the folder is owned by System. This takes hard drive room (an issue due to 8GB games and several GB of digital media) and 2. the automatic backup doesn't always work unless you give it lots of HD space to work with.

Not to say that this isn't a nice feature when it works correctly.

+0 Already in XP. No advantage.

Sync Center - Fact of Life - we have many gadgets - even the least techie of the household has a MP3 Player.

Oh, look! Windows Briefcase is back! Wait, doesn't XP already have this as offline files? And by MP3 player do you mean MP3 player that only plays WMA DRM files? Also already in WMPlayer 10.

+0 Already in XP. No Advantage.

more reasons include - Parental Controls and Windows Media Center :)

Not a parent (yet), so won't use this feature immediately, but the technology depends on manufacturers to add parental control files to their games. Old games won't have this, and some manufacturers won't put forth the effort. Others questionable content won't have ratings. Add to this really smart kids that will get around it (and they WILL) and you have a feature that looks good on paper, but I won't believe it until I see it in release form.

+0 for questionability

Oh, and Windows Media Center == bloat. I won't use Windows Media Player now because of it.

Think about it theres a lot more...

Please tell us. I really am looking for the killer feature that makes me want to upgrade.

For those keeping score at home, that's +1 for asking for admin privileges.


Anonymous said:

Security
- Encrypt your entire drive, so your safe if your company laptop is stolen


Encrypting your hard drive makes it slower.

-1 for gamers and people who do hard work (CAD, Video, etc).

+1 for management so they can protect their emails.

People are stupid though, so expect their password to be blank or something equally as stupid as writing their password down on a post-it taped to the underside.

Also find out what happens with Jim in Sales when he forgets his password that contains all his quotes for the month so IT can't just reformat his encrypted laptop!

Net effect, +0 because it won't likely be used.

- Major changes in IE7 to protect users from exploits and spoofing

Nice to see features included in IE7 that should have been there from the beginning. Just how is spoofing going to help when Paypal really does send out an email telling you your account has been hacked? This has just as many issues as blocking spam. You'll get some good that are blocked, and some that should be blocked aren't. I imagine that it'll be just as good as the junk message filter in Outlook - that is, not useful.

Also, how's ACID compliance coming along, eh?

+0 because exploits should have been fixed before now.


Productivity
- Search everywhere to easily find information


I hate this feature of Vista. I can already find my information, thank you. I'm not the disorganized slob you think I am. I already have folders for my music and pictures and my programs are exactly where I want them. If I need to find something, the search already in Xp works just fine.

This might, however, help Ma and Pa find pictures of the grand kids, though they'll never use the power features of this because they won't use categories any more than they use folders now.

Net effect, +0 for not being used as intended.

- better wireless management to reduce help desk calls
- Enterprise deployment is WAY better and easier for IT to manage images


Care to provide links for these? I don't understand how wireless management (802.11? Cell phones? Call forwarding to pagers?) will help reduce help desk calls.

Also, does the Enterprise deployment tool come default with Vista? No bells and whistles needed other than default installed programs? No server version required?


Performance / Reliablity
- Apps faster with prefetch


Some apps are faster with prefetch. Provided that the prefetch is smart enough to figure out what the apps need ahead of time, instead of slowing things down when it guesses wrong. See pipelines in CPUs, AMD vs. Intel.

+0 because there aren't any viable benchmarks.

- Boot up faster with new Sleep mode

Can be useful, especially in laptops, provided that it doesn't cause programs that are very careful with memory managing to flip out as it does now.

+1 because I'll take your word that it works as intended.

...but...

-1 because it should work in XP now.

Net +0 because I should not have to pay for mistakes.

- Built in diagnostics with improved backup

More diagnostics are always good things when troubleshooting!

+1 because we need more diagnostics that mean something.


- compatible with XP hardware (don't need to upgrade just for glass effects)


Which, if it is compatible with XP hardware, that means we don't have the glass effects turned on. What's the benefit here again?

+0 because we already have XP hardware that looks like XP. Or, more likely, XP hardware that looks like W2k.

Net total +1 for more diagnostics when things go wrong.

That's a grand total of +2 for diagnostics and asking for admin privileges. Please comment on anything I misunderstood or got wrong.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Windows was aimed at people who were willing to invest a little time in learning to use their PCs, and since that locked out the majority of the possible audience, well, shareholder value and market forces rear their ugly heads and the product races for the LCD. It's not worth the effort to argue against the prevailing business mantra, but I think it's the wrong move.

With all due respect, that's SERIOUS fuddy-duddyism. Back in those days, Microsoft didn't do much serious human factors research application to their stuff ("Hey, our customers will learn to love it"), which is why Apple seriously kicked ass in usability until they got fat and lazy, and Microsoft realized normal human beings don't think like the typical developer Microsoft sells to does. (Seriously- for you, pointer math is "duh, obvious". For 99% of humanity...totally lost. This is why Unix is so user-hostile, IMO- the base audience was geeks who don't mind non-intuitive bullshit as part of their daily life.)

The difference is that in a progressive disclosure scheme to user interface, what's easy and basic is readily apparent to the user without needing a bunch of cueing and training, but expert users can dive in and do what THEY want to do as well. If Vista's flunking that, well, that's their fault, but really- there's no reason why good design can't cater to the n00bs AND the experts.

Cheopys said...

With all due respect, that's SERIOUS fuddy-duddyism. Back in those days, Microsoft didn't do much serious human factors research application to their stuff ("Hey, our customers will learn to love it"), which is why Apple seriously kicked ass in usability until they got fat and lazy, and Microsoft realized normal human beings don't think like the typical developer Microsoft sells to does. (Seriously- for you, pointer math is "duh, obvious". For 99% of humanity...totally lost. This is why Unix is so user-hostile, IMO- the base audience was geeks who don't mind non-intuitive bullshit as part of their daily life.)

Oh, I know that the suggestion of selling fewer copies to a more agile audience is going to be met with blank looks in these days of "shareholder value" imperatives, but that's the attitude I prefer.

Funny you should mention Unix because after I got past the repellant immaturity of the "windoze" and "micro$haft" nonsense that forms the visible rind of the Linux world I found the RTFM 'tude underneath, and I like it. I wish there was more of it in the Windows world.

I've been in on sessions where all the topic was how to make a Vista feature "discoverable" .. hey, how about a book instead of a tooltip, a popup, another desktop icon ...

Yeah, I know, that's nuts.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you go to http://research.microsoft.com/users/amitabhs/ and see what he has accomplished relative to these other VPs?

That page has a mistake - it says that he's a Technical Fellow, but he's not (anymore?). Anyway, I wouldn't trust that page.

TheKhalif said...

A question for Mini. I've noticed that the amount of comments listed at the bottom of the original post has been VERY INCORRECT of late. I use the amount of comments to determine if anything new has been posted but that isn't working now. Two days ago it was 33 comments and today it says 68 comments but there are still only 33 - yes I counted. Any ideas why this is happening?

Anonymous said...

Working on Vista hasn't given me any "I can't wait to run this at home" feeling. The eye-candy really doesn't do anything for me and it wants a much more equipped machine in terms of processor and RAM than I want to give to a desktop box.

OTOH I upgraded a home machine to a GB of RAM for 2003 Server, but I expect that for a server

Anonymous said...

Quince:

Regarding enterprise deployment, I saw a demo of ximage that was cool. I'd like to see more. Supposedly you can manage a bunch of different desktop images with one file (all the images share the base OS within the file). I found some info at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/expert/ximage.mspx

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know that the suggestion of selling fewer copies to a more agile audience is going to be met with blank looks in these days of "shareholder value" imperatives, but that's the attitude I prefer.

Uh, what's wrong with making well-designed software everyone can use, but enthusiasts can customize and delve into?

I can buy cars because I want to drive one to work, and can buy software to do certain useful things (balance my checkbook or send email)- maybe I don't WANT to modify my engine or recompile my kernel to add certain features, maybe I do. Well-designed software that displays some understanding of human factors is not inimically opposed to being able to have expert-level use capabilities in it- in fact it's complementary if you have done it correctly, because expert modes are discoverable and teachable as you gain mastery.

I'm not particularly fond of an idea that software should be reserved for some rarified priesthood, any more than books should have been- it's intellectual snobbery and pretty counterproductive, because if YOU don't want to chase after the mass market, someone else will.

Anonymous said...

My group is full of H1B workers(which groups isn't) and there are quite a few among them who are have been complaining about the pay the H1B folks been receiving..upon socializing, I did realize that they are probably getting paid anywhere between 20-25% lower for the level they are in and some of the guys have been talking about getting these numbers out to the labor dept alleging discrimination.

After the levels/salaries got published in the Seattle times, there is a group organizing themselves collecting salary info and levels..rumor is probably getting confirmed - looks like the H1-B scale is a vastly different one..

Maybe this group will see an increase their pay and probably Americans will get back their jobs if the H1B's are as "expensive" as us Americans.

"Red Neck Brotha"

Anonymous said...

Better or worse, it does not matter for Microsoft. Microsoft can do just nothing. Do not develop anything at all. Most of money is coming from new computers, so whatever OS is installed, MS will have it's part.

About Avalon -- it is a library. It was going to work on XP, so it is not an argument for Vista. It MS decide do not allow to work on XP, by the way, noone will write soft for it for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Sure, we've had RAS for years, and it works pretty well

You are kidding, right? That has to be the largest steaming pile put out by building 40 in a long time.

Anonymous said...

"Two days ago it was 33 comments and today it says 68 comments but there are still only 33 - yes I counted. Any ideas why this is happening?"

Reload TheKhalif reload.

Who da'Punk said...

I've noticed that the amount of comments listed at the bottom of the original post has been VERY INCORRECT of late.

Beats me - does [Shift]+Reload change things for the better? It's all just Google / Blogger software here, no fancy 3rd party commenting, so what you see is what Blogger's got.

Though I imagine, with over 6,000 comments, this blog might be pushing some limits.

Mini.

Anonymous said...

another question:

does having extra degrees (like a M.S.) boost your starting level or just bump you up in the range for the level?

Anonymous said...

Who gives a flying one about the ACID test? It does zip-nada-zilch for real users. IE has enough real work to do, don't need useless crap in there too.

Extra degrees. Never mattered to me or anyone I was on a loop with. If you can think, write code, and solve problems, you'll get offered whatever we think it takes to land you. If you can't and think another two years of school will teach you, well good luck with that.

H1-Bs. I have several in my org. There's no difference between their pay and their American peers with equal experience. Most of them are fresh out of college, cause by the time they have four or five years experience, they have green cards and ain't on H1-Bs no more. Dats y most H1-Bs are at the bottom of the pay scale boys n grrls. Not because we treat m like indentured servants.

I think the curve stinks and I hate giving 3.0s to people who did good work. But I make it as fair as I can, and I don't care where you're from or how you got here.

Your mileage may vary, but thats the way it is in my group.

Anonymous said...

"If you can think, write code, and solve problems, you'll get offered whatever we think it takes to land you"

Of course google will offer this person more money, stock options, and opportunies than you can match. "whatever we think it takes" is obviously constrained by HR policy.

Anonymous said...

While we're on the subject of salaries,

how do intern salaries correspond to full-time offers? higher i hope, by a significant percentage.

also, will they offer you less because you were a former intern, figuring it takes less dough "to get you on board" than someone else?

Anonymous said...

also, will they offer you less because you were a former intern, figuring it takes less dough "to get you on board" than someone else?

If anything, they'd offer you MORE since you have been through the system and have performed well. You're tried, tested, and true MS material and thus they would pay you more. However, if you were competing against an intern who went to IBM, THAT might be a totally different matter!

Anonymous said...

It's all just Google / Blogger software here, no fancy 3rd party commenting, so what you see is what Blogger's got.

Ha Ha Ha.... Google Rocks!!

Maybe those googleplex folks should stop reading Minimsft and go back to work and fix the numerous Blogger bugs

Anonymous said...

Somasegar is on form
http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/archive/2006/03/20/554724.aspx

It hurts me that I actually agree with the juvenile comments.

Quince al'Pillan said...

Who gives a flying one about the ACID test? It does zip-nada-zilch for real users. IE has enough real work to do, don't need useless crap in there too.

You really have no clue what the ACID test is, do you?

Web designers who want their pages to work correctly in IE are the people who care.

Ma and Pa could care less except their bank site no longer works in IE anymore because their bank is following W3 standards.

The ACID test is a test of compliance to the W3 CSS standards (the governing body that determines just what CSS does). If you fail the ACID test, that means your browser isn't W3 standard compliant. Passing the ACID test isn't something easy, as only 2 browsers in release versions have compliance. (More have it in development).

This means that web designers have to work around bugs in IE CSS rendering (using hacks most likely) that are mostly undocumented. Web designers right now are serving bad CSS (or malformed) to IE just to get it to render like it is supposed to.

This is like the old days of having one page for Netscape, and one for IE, only now IE is the one that is rendering things wrong. The only reason IE is getting away with it is because of the popularity.

Anonymous said...

Just received the exit survey questionnaire today. Unlike the MS Poll, most questions are worded negatively. See for yourself. If you still work for Microsoft, how many of the 56 questions apply to you? Let's hear the count.

1. I did not have a good deal at Microsoft
2. I did not like the kind of work I was doing.
3. I did not have clear goals.
4. I did not have challenging work.
5. I was not involved in decisions that affected my work.
6. I did not have access to the resources I needed to get the job done.
7. I did not have the authority to carry out the responsibilities assigned to me.
8. The number of reorganizations negatively impacted my ability to do my job well.
9. Most days, I was not excited to come to work to do my job.
10. I wanted a better benefits package.
11. I wanted better total compensation, including pay, bonus and stock.
12. When I did an excellent job, my accomplishments were not recognized.
13. I was not satisfied with the performance review process.
14. The way decisions were made in my work group did not enable me to perform effectively.
15. I had too much work to allow me to focus on doing my best work.
16. There was not transparency in the decisions/processes which impact employees (performance reviews, professional and career development, etc.)
17. There was a lack of cooperation within my work group.
18. There was a lack of coordination between my work group and other groups with related goals.
19. The people in my work group did not act with integrity.
20. My manager did not hold him/herself accountable for getting results.
21. My manager did not provide the appropriate level of involvement for me to effectively accomplish my work.
22. I did not have confidence in the effectiveness of my immediate manager.
23. The senior leaders in my management chain made decisions which impacted my decision to leave.
24. I did not see opportunities for my development.
25. I did not significantly enhance my skills.
26. It was too difficult to transfer between groups.
27. My manager did not make good use of my skills and abilities.
28. My manager did not show a sincere interest in my career.
29. Overall, I did not feel my career goals could be met at Microsoft.
30. There was too much bureaucracy (e.g., too may rules and approvals required to get things done).
31. There were unrealistic expectations preventing me from advancement.
32. I was not supported in my efforts to satisfy my/Microsoft’s customers.
33. I thought I had to work too many hours to meet my objectives.
34. Microsoft did not have an environment (i.e. interpersonal climate) where I could do my best work.
35. The work environment was based on who you knew instead of what you knew/demonstrated.
36. The work environment was too reactive to events (e.g., the work environment did not promote proactive planning).
37. The strategy of my organization was not stable enough to allow for long-term planning.
38. Microsoft was too Redmond-focused, and not concerned enough with a global perspective.
39. The work environment was not accepting of different cultural perspectives.
40. My manager did not demonstrate that he or she valued diversity (in age, work style, communication style, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, etc.), when making decisions that impacted my work group.
41. I felt I needed a break from the pace and pressures at work.
42. I was not supported in my attempts to have more flexible work arrangements.
43. My manager did not support my efforts to balance my work and personal life.
44. I was not satisfied with the balance between my work life and my personal life.
45. I did not have the flexibility to do the things I wanted to with my life while working at Microsoft.
46. I wanted to stay home with my kids or family.
47. The actions of the executive leadership were not consistent with the Company Values.
48. In general, the actions of other employees at Microsoft were not consistent with the Company Values.
49. The way I performed my work was not consistent with the Company Values.
50. I wanted to try something new.
51. I wanted to accommodate the career of my spouse or significant other (by moving, etc.)
52. There were other external factors outside of Microsoft which contributed to my decision to leave Microsoft.
53. The people I worked with were too arrogant.
54. I did not have confidence in the leadership of my division.
55. I did not believe Microsoft was heading in the right direction as a company.
56. The senior leaders in my management chain did not act consistent with the company mission, but rather in the interests of their division.

Quince al'Pillan said...

Regarding enterprise deployment, I saw a demo of ximage that was cool. I'd like to see more. Supposedly you can manage a bunch of different desktop images with one file (all the images share the base OS within the file). I found some info at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/expert/ximage.mspx

Screw system restore. Give me ximage. Next allow ximage to work with multiple OS settings (registry entries namely!) and a boot disk I can use to load an image over the network and I no longer need Norton Ghost.

Now I just need to pray that it will work flawlessly so that I can create an image of my OS after install so if something goes wrong I can just do ximage /apply and have everything Just Work.

That page also mentioned that the file was bootable. If by bootable they mean ala Knoppix, I'll have a few more options to do a system repair (and get a chance to see how Vista will perform on my other computers).

+1 If it is as good as it sounds,

+2 If they give it to Vista home so I can just tell dad to type ximage /apply when his computer has lots of cruft buildup

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is increasingly coming more into news these days. Mostly for good reasons except for one (EU case). This is a good sign for near future. At this point we have only one thing to do. Rejuvenate Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Quince, you're the one that doesn't know what ACID is. It is NOT a CSS compliance test. For the love of Zog, it uses TABLE tags to position stuff.

It aint even a good scenario test case for web content. Lotta web sites need to render cute smiley faces these days.

Anonymous said...

questionnarrie
They know everything! Almost everything is true.

h1b and greencards
Actually, there is a payment around lower level boundary. And all greencards are in far future these days. I'm waiting more then 5 years already. People do not feel comfortable to move without greecard, so they can be underpayed.

Quince al'Pillan said...

Quince, you're the one that doesn't know what ACID is. It is NOT a CSS compliance test. For the love of Zog, it uses TABLE tags to position stuff.

It aint even a good scenario test case for web content. Lotta web sites need to render cute smiley faces these days.


Actually, it uses DIV tags. See here for the ACID2 guide.

And the cute smiley face uses lots of different CSS commands that other people do use. No, they won't likely use them all, but some of them are broken (because the face doesn't work properly). Just because you don't use the commands in a smily face, does not mean you won't use it somewhere else.

If you're truly interested in improving IE, you'll probably want to read that guide.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a payment around lower level boundary. And all greencards are in far future these days. I'm waiting more then 5 years already. People do not feel comfortable to move without greecard, so they can be underpayed.

There is a max of 6 yrs on H-1B as far as renewability is concerned. You only have 1 yr left so I would urge you to get on it soon. As an alternative, maybe you can transfer to MS India and then come back on the L-2 internal transfer visa?

Anonymous said...

LOL. Love the marketing guys justifying their existence. Here's how marketing guys figure out what the customer wants:

1) They define a set of "personas." These are broad generalizations of users.

2) They then sit around and imagine what these personas want in their operating system or software package. Then they send their latte-fuled delusions to the PM, Dev and Test teams to make happen. Any pushback from the folks who actually do the work is brushed off, since after all we’re not “interfacing with customers.” Never mind that neither is marketing, they’re just imagining that they are.

For Vista there are two personas:

1- Abby - "The mom" Abby reads email, surfs the net and likes to send electronic greeting cards. Toby (her son) helped her print labels for their annual Christmas letter. Of course they used Publisher for that.

2- Toby - "the typical teenager" Use the computer for games, IM and other stuff. Oh, and on the weekends he does not use the computer in the evening, he goes to movies and the arcade. That’s right. The arcade. Don’t laugh.

Now for Media Center they add two more:

3- "David" he's a "media enthusiast" He downloads MP3s. That's right folks; the "media enthusiast" as defined by MSFT is a dude who downloads MP3s. That's it.

4- "Nicolas" a "tech connoisseur". What does this guy do? He buys cool gadgets online. And airline tickets.

So you true media freaks out there now know why Windows and Media Center in particular has such a tough time with things like OGG, MKV, DVR-MS->WMV conversion and Vobsubs: the marketing guys who are "interfacing with the users" don't know what the users are doing because the marketing guys sit around and IMAGINE what the users want then pass that off as "research."

There you go. Those are the four user types used for Windows that define all feature decisions.

Anonymous said...

For Vista there are two personas:

1- Abby
2- Toby

Now for Media Center they add two more:

3- "David"
4- "Nicolas"
[snip] the marketing guys who are "interfacing with the users" don't know what the users are doing because the marketing guys sit around and IMAGINE what the users want then pass that off as "research."

There you go. Those are the four user types used for Windows that define all feature decisions.


IIRC, these personae existed even for Symphony (MCE minus 2). And last time I checked, the PMs were bringing in these personae for usability studies, free for all (dev, test, PM) to attend.

You may be right, but I don't think placing the ills of MCE at the feet of the marketing team for their harmless "persona" initiative is entirely fair. I've worked with a few people from the MCE team and I can't say I was impressed. No doubt, they have good talent, too, but percentage-wise, they're vastly outnumbered.

Drei

The Nog said...

Beneath the millions of dollars and advertising and the excited MSDN blog posts, people will passively adopt Vista as they buy new computers. The masses are not going to line up in stores to buy Windows Vista. Most will use it because it will be what's there when they start up their PCs. They care little about it, in fact, except when it doesn't work. You can talk about Avalon, or a stabler kernel, or folder icon orientation, but none of my co-workers or customers care about any of it or even notice. It still takes too many dialogs to set up networking in Windows XP, and wireless is still too unreliable and user-hostile. The Start menu is an abomination, and grows more cluttered with each release. I'm always called to people's desks to show them where the apps are. Two of my co-workers never understand why the Internet Explorer shortcut at the top of the menu keeps changing to MSN Explorer seemingly by itself, and I have to keep changing it back for them. There are just too many of these little things, because the interface has not been streamlined. Not since Windows 95. Windows is a bunch of little interface subsystems and settings and configurations that can change on a dime. There's no strict control over the interface, because Microsoft wants to create a "platform" for every little thing, even system tray icons. Which is why there are eleven of these ugly tray icons running by default on the new machines we get. There are so many, XP just hides them anyway.

No matter how many people at Microsoft claim that Vista is the biggest upgrade since the transition from DOS to Windows, or from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, few will notice or care. Especially since we all heard the very same thing about Windows XP, which gave consumers the NT line, which was supposed to bring us stability and protection, as was Trusted Computing.

What I'm trying to say is, consumers don't care about what people say about how good or bad Vista is, because Microsoft already has the monopoly position on the desktop, which means whatever new PC people will buy will decide whatever new version of Windows they end up using. It will be a passive transition like everything else. There's no growth in the Windows market; everyone already uses Windows. Linux and Apple are hungry and have something to fight for, so it's big news when they get big adoptions, and you're not going to see that with Vista.

To consumers, this will be Ye-Another-Windows-That's-More-Secure-And-More-Fun-And-More-Friendly-And-The-Biggest-Transition-Since-Windows-95-According-To-Paul-Thurrott. Until six months pass and people start cracking Vista open like they did with XP. And with the rush that is Vista, I worry about all these 1.0 APIs and their reduced testing. Feature complete just recently came, and Vista is only seven months away. I foresee lots of pain.

Anonymous said...

"Vista is more stable, safer, and faster than XP."

But Microsoft has been telling us for years that XP is incredibly stable, incredibly safe, and incredibly fast.

I have noticed a pattern. When Microsoft comes out with the new version of a software program, critics point out how is is crash-prone and buggy, full of security holes, and a memory-hog that slows the computer down. Microsoft replies by saying they are all wrong and the new sofware program is absolutely perfect.

And so it goes, until Microsoft gets ready to come up with the next version. The problem is that if the present version is so perfect, as it has been saying, then why would anyone want to upgrade to the new one? So Microsoft makes a 180 degree change in its evaluation of the present version. It tells us that it has all sorts of flaws that the new one will fix.

And so it goes, cycle after cycle. Can you understand why people are so cynical about what Microsoft has to say about it products? How about if Microsoft was just honest, or is that too much to ask?

Anonymous said...

My group is full of H1B workers(which groups isn't) and there are quite a few among them who are have been complaining about the pay the H1B folks been receiving..upon socializing, I did realize that they are probably getting paid anywhere between 20-25% lower for the level they are in and some of the guys have been talking about getting these numbers out to the labor dept alleging discrimination.

Tell them to go to Windows Servicability or Windows Networking - as long as they're Indian, they'll be on the fast track to earn 20-25% more than everyone else in those groups.

Anonymous said...

Q: Why is Vista better than XP?

A: It's a trick question! XP is better than Vista because you can actually run XP. Vista has been pushed back (again!) to 2007. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this point. How much does Allchin make?

Anonymous said...

How much does Allchin make?

More than he deserves.

Hiring Krusty the Clown for entertainment and paying him Allchin's salary be a better use of money than keeping Allchin around.

Anonymous said...


Somasegar is on form
http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/archive/2006/03/20/554724.aspx

It hurts me that I actually agree with the juvenile comments.


I do think Somasegar is particularly incompetent, but, in all fairness, it is very hard for upper management to talk about specifics too often without alienating core "long tail" customer groups or being accused of having pet projects and "visibility" prejudices.

However, in that situation it's often better not to talk at all. Given the verbal diarrhea that is in that blog post, I think this is one of this cases...

Anonymous said...

TheNog sayeth: What I'm trying to say is, consumers don't care about what people say about how good or bad Vista is, because Microsoft already has the monopoly position on the desktop, which means whatever new PC people will buy will decide whatever new version of Windows they end up using. It will be a passive transition like everything else.

I don't envision hordes fighting over a few Vista boxes in the wee hours of the morning either, but let me give you a counter example of why Vista is better: less bug checks. In the XP time frame, about 80% of the bugchecks reported to MS were in video drivers. The new driver model precludes that. I'm not saying there won't be any, but there'll be fewer and that's one thing that will improve the customers' lives.

The fact that your IE or your Start menu become bloated is not really a platform flaw; you could never again install a MS product and still have a plethora of icons all over the place, menu entries, IE plug-ins that are not necessarily of our own doing. In other words, a computer is a tool. Take good care of it and it will serve you as best as it was designed.

Then Anonymous said: I have noticed a pattern. [snip] The problem is that if the present version is so perfect, as it has been saying, then why would anyone want to upgrade to the new one? So Microsoft makes a 180 degree change in its evaluation of the present version. It tells us that it has all sorts of flaws that the new one will fix.

I've noticed the same pattern, too. Except I've noticed it everywhere - in the consumer electronics space, in the automotive industry, in sports, in services and elsewhere in the software industry. I, naively, attributed it to human nature, as we tend to look on the past as obsoelete and full of mistakes. The future is always the chance to set it right. We then rinse and repeat. What do you expect, that MS said "in all honesty, Vista is only slightly better than XP and most won't notice, but we urge our valued customers to consider spending a couple of thou on upgrading, thanks."?

It may appear that we fight between ourselves a lot, belittle each other's contributions or otherwise affectionately display our appreciation of our colleagues, but don't be deluded into thinking MS consists of a large mass of incapable people sitting on their butts all day.
You should sit down and let one of the AppCompat guys regale you with tales of unbelievably crappy software written elsewhere, not tested and weird in their very conception. I personally can give you examples of driver writers that couldn't write their name with capitals, others that need to be explained simple tasks in lengthy documents and so on. Most times I saw bugchecks in video drivers, it was absolutely due to crappy code in the driver - ie. not MS code. They get free specs, free sample code, free testing and still screw it up. And let me tell you, there are a lot more dumber people out there torturing their compilers than there are incompetent driver developers.

I know, we could be doing our jobs better etc etc, but if I were writing software for Windows from the outside, I'd bloody hold on to my tongue until I've fixed all my bugs and made sure the platform is indeed broken. 'Cause you, the 3rd party developer, never get the blame for your masterpiece, it's always the OS. Well, in that respect, Vista is a tiny bit better than XP. (My build is done, so I'll continue my rant another time.)

Drei

Anonymous said...

Just received the exit survey questionnaire today. Unlike the MS Poll, most questions are worded negatively. See for yourself. If you still work for Microsoft, how many of the 56 questions apply to you? Let's hear the count.

37/56 (66%)

Anonymous said...

Why will Vista be better than XP?

Because people will buy it and it will make my stocks inch a little bit to the right direction.


Don't count on it.

Anonymous said...

Just received the exit survey questionnaire today. Unlike the MS Poll, most questions are worded negatively. See for yourself. If you still work for Microsoft, how many of the 56 questions apply to you? Let's hear the count.

20/56

They need these exit interview questions in the poll. I think they would get an eye-opener on the responses. I wonder if the answers will keep you from getting rehired?

Anonymous said...

The fact that your IE or your Start menu become bloated is not really a platform flaw; you could never again install a MS product and still have a plethora of icons all over the place, menu entries, IE plug-ins that are not necessarily of our own doing. In other words, a computer is a tool. Take good care of it and it will serve you as best as it was designed.

Absolutely it is a platform flaw. Your average Windows user can not identify half the things in his system tray, Start menu, or IE toolbar set. Windows gives software so much freedom that the whole system develops a life of its own and the user feels (and is) completely out of control.

If the user wants something to show up in his system tray (or whatever) he should have to add it manually. Then the whole problem is circumvented. No more system tray mess, plus the user feels more in-control and he organically becomes more proficient at using his own computer.

TheKhalif said...

Vista has been pushed back (again!) to 2007. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this point.



Please tell me you're kidding. PLEASE. That means I have to suffer with IE32 crashing every 10 minutes on X64. IE64 will still have NO PLUGINS and Firefox forces me to reboot every day to get the RAM back that it KEEPS LEAKING. DAMNIT, DAMNIT, DAMNIT.


Please tell me that isn't true.

Anonymous said...

"If you want my personal accountability, I will not take a bonus if we don't ship Vista with high quality and the soul intact by August 31st, 2006," Jones writes in a Sept. 28 blog post that was obtained by BusinessWeek Online.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2005/tc20051118_179356.htm

Will he now resign? Will he get the exec equivalent of a 2.5? No way.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely it is a platform flaw. Your average Windows user can not identify half the things in his system tray, Start menu, or IE toolbar set. Windows gives software so much freedom that the whole system develops a life of its own and the user feels (and is) completely out of control.

If the user wants something to show up in his system tray (or whatever) he should have to add it manually.


Contemplate for a second the reverse situation: if it weren't easy to add things, people would complain about its degree of difficulty. Want a proof? Hear what users (and not only them) have to say about LUA. As you said earlier (I assume it's the same person with the Mac on the way), most users are not computer-savvy enough to know how to add those icons to the tray, tools to the bar etc. And so they won't, and the usability level decreases in their case.

And if MS were to enable adding icons/menu entries a selective process, the world would scream bloody murder, as the crappy clutter the likes of Verizon/Sony/whomever install on your PC and which would now be shunned, would qualify as stifled competition.

Any way you're cutting it, someone will not be pleased - be it because they don't like it or because it contravenes their own interests.

In closing, would you consider the garage/house guilty for the clutter in it?

Drei

Anonymous said...

With the Vista delay, MSFT should radically accelerate the buyback. This is a credibility disaster; might as well make some lemonade with these lemons. Buying back shares faster at prices depressed by the Vista delay is smart financially and should ease some of the pain. Everyone should write to CFO Liddell immediately and press him to do this.

You would think this is something upper management would figure out on their own, but we're talking about MSFT management who clearly needs all the help they can get.

Anonymous said...

Vista has been pushed back (again!) to 2007

Woo-Hoo, another delay. Maybe MS and co. felt sorry that Sony had to push back its delivery on PS3 so it decided to delay its products as well.

Question: Is the thing even coded yet ? How many times can one delay it ? At this rate, MS will need to rename it again and call it something else, then claim it was never late.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you go to http://research.microsoft.com/users/amitabhs/ and see what he has accomplished relative to these other VPs?

There are a lot of accomplished people at Microsoft.

Personality cults and fads occur more frequently in homogeneous populations.

Calculated attempts to start one in a heterogenous population fall on deaf ears for the most part.

For your particular kind of manipulation, I suggest looking at the traits of the key decision makers at Microsoft and adjusting your marketing plan accordingly.

However, anyone who has worked at Microsoft for any length of time can spot these transparent attempts at marketing someone. Frankly, it is boring.

Try to come up with something more creative in your next attempt at manipulating highly educated people. I've seen more than one campaign for this person on this blog.

Example Marketing Plan

Japan is a high-context culture with relatively homogeneous population, compared to the United States which is a low-context, heterogeneous culture. Pepcid AC has proven to be successful in the United States. Takada and Jain's research suggests that the product's diffusion processes are likely to be much faster in Japan based on a homogeneous population, culture, and communication patterns.

Anonymous said...

more reasons include - Parental Controls and Windows Media Center :)

Not a parent (yet), so won't use this feature immediately, but the technology depends on manufacturers to add parental control files to their games. Old games won't have this, and some manufacturers won't put forth the effort. Others questionable content won't have ratings. Add to this really smart kids that will get around it (and they WILL) and you have a feature that looks good on paper, but I won't believe it until I see it in release form


There are over 1400 legacy games already "baked in", and the process to add the metadata to a game definition file is a 20 minute job for a game developer. There is a lot more in the parental controls besides game content filtering/blocking...

Anonymous said...

In closing, would you consider the garage/house guilty for the clutter in it?

Terrible metaphor. What if you had a house where, if you put something in one room, random things appeared in three other rooms and you didn't know how to get rid of them? You tell me who's to blame for that situation and whether or not you'd live in such a house.

Microsoft designs software for complete idiots and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. How are people supposed to become proficient at using a computer when dialogs are stripped of all useful information because "people don't like to read," half of the useful features in Windows are hidden or buried to "protect" the user, and the other half of the features work "automagically" so nobody can understand them or know what to do when they misbehave.

Microsoft doesn't give users a fighting chance. There are, what, 5 different ways to get a program to run at startup? Of COURSE nobody can control how their computer works, they have to have a Ph.D. in regedit just to disable a startup program!

And you want to blame the user for not "keeping his house clean"?

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me - BUY BACKS ARE BAD.

http://www.blogmaverick.com/entry/2375049848426815/

Anonymous said...

Microsoft designs software for complete idiots and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. How are people supposed to become proficient at using a computer when dialogs are stripped of all useful information because "people don't like to read," half of the useful features in Windows are hidden or buried to "protect" the user, and the other half of the features work "automagically" so nobody can understand them or know what to do when they misbehave.

This sounds like an amplification of Cheopys' point about dumbing it down for average people.

This is especially poignant after wrestling with RAS for three hours this morning, and Connection Manager is hardly made for n00bs.

"An execution error has occurred"

Only thing missing is a smilie and "Have a Nice Day." Fine, have it your way, but I'm billing those hours. Dog food huh huh huh.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an amplification of Cheopys' point about dumbing it down for average people.

I'm not suggesting that we all burn our mice and memorize tables of vi commands but it would be nice if Windows wasn't dumbed down to the point where it cripples usability.

I haven't used a Macintosh in a long time but I remember that in the early days of System ~6, things worked great. There was no such thing as an "installer"--you'd just drag a program to the Applications folder of your hard drive. If you wanted it to run on startup, you'd drag it to the Startup folder. Nothing was automatic; you'd have to play with the system a little to learn how it worked and become comfortable with it, but after a short period of time you'd be an expert. It was really within everyone's grasp.

With Windows, most people just fly by the seat of their pants. Microsoft has made an OS that's impossible to figure out just by futzing around for a couple hours.

Anonymous said...

Why is Vista better than XP. Well, it is extreme easy. Vista is the servicepack XP should have had years ago.

The UI is terrible, bloated and already old school stuff. Nothing new is in it!

I advise everyone not to upgrade to Vista. A complete redesign of the os should be done. Slim and fast is what is needed.

Just my two cents.

ByteJuggler said...

As just a user, and not an insider, I can’t only hope how Vista will be better than XP.

After being loyal to MS since the beginning, Vista is Redmond’s last chance with me.

Other’s have written about how “pristine” XP machines become cesspools of unwelcome parasites through normal use, to the point where they’re running at a fraction of their original speed in no time.

Even MS insiders have to admit… Perform a virgin install of XP, and just conservatively use the machine!

Run MSCONFIG 60 days later, when you notice it slowing down, and what will you see? QTTASK, JUSCHED, etc., etc., etc., etc.

Nothing “asked” you for permission to attach itself, and most isn’t even necessary.

Yet there it is, sucking the life out of your cycles, filling the nooks and crannies of memory like a self-expanding noxious foam.

To me, XP is like a finger…

Wash it, scrub it, and trim the nail. Make it as pristine as you can.

Now, dip it in a jar of honey, swirl it around a bit, and pull it out.

That’s your pristine XP box 60 days later.

If Vista even smells like a jar of honey to me, I’m done.

My six boxes don’t mean a thing to MS, but something tells me (listen to the ground)…. I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

--I haven't used a Macintosh in a long time but I remember that in the early days of System ~6, things worked great. There was no such thing as an "installer"--you'd just drag a program to the Applications folder of your hard drive.

Mac OS is still pretty good about that -- for most programs, that's still what you do. Insert CD, drag/drop the application to your applications folder, and done.

--If you wanted it to run on startup, you'd drag it to the Startup folder.

This one's different. System Preferences > Accounts > Login items. But at least it's only in one place (unlike Windows, where startup items are in the start menu, the registry, and the user folder, so you have to try three different places if some spyware installs a startup item).

I love my Mac -- it's the best of both worlds between simplicity and power. And (unlike Linux) all the major software titles are available (with a quickly decreasing number of exceptions). If Windows had a decent shell (like bash) with robust scripting and commands, I might consider it. I get all that (plus an awesome user interface), and it's running faster and cleaner on my 5-year-old iBook than any PC notebooks more than 3 years old.

It's a great time to be on Mac OS!

Anonymous said...

Are there actually people out there who rush out and buy a Windows upgrade?

The last time I went out and bought a copy of windows to upgrade on my PC was Windows 95, and that was because it offerred a SUBSTANCIAL improvement in use. Every other time I just took whatever came on my new computer and lived with it. Pretty GUIs, Transparent windows, fade in/out affects, active desktops, etc. don't mean crap to me. None of those things actually help me USE the computer. The first thing I do when I get on one of these operating systems is turn all that junk off, since all it does is waste CPU cycles. I want an operating system to be USABLE, STABLE and SECURE. That's it. That's all I need it to do for me. I'll run applications on top of it for everything else, thanks.

Given that it takes at least 1-2 service packs before any new version of Windows is stable and secure, there really is no motivation whatsoever for me to rush out and buy Vista (even if it actually does deliver with the promised increase in security). Windows XP is stable enough for me, and I have firewalls and anti-virus to provide me with sufficient security.

And even after Vista becomes stable and secure enough (12-16 months after release), why would I bother to pay $120 just for an os upgrade when I can get a completely new computer (with better hardware AND new os) for $400-500?

I'm just curious: are there actually users out there who want to see tiny versions of documents represented as icons? I mean, sure it sounds cool and all. But are there actually users out there who will find such a feature USEFUL? I use my PC all day long, and search for files constantly, and I really don't see how a teeny-tiny representation of my file will help me find it any easier. What about the page flips? Are there actually users who will use the thing? Or being able to see "through" the window title bar? I consider myself a power user, and the ONLY new feature that seems useful to me are the new search capabilities. Everything else just seems like pretty fluff meant to mimic OS X.

Anonymous said...

XP is better than Vista because it will run on existing hardware! It has good compatibility with existing and past apps, has a kernel that finally has enough stability that it can run for a few days.. assuming one has kept up with the updates and has added the necessary third party security tools to keep it stable. Since the feel of XP's UI descends directly from win95... employers and employees all over the world know how to deal with it, and configure it to their unique needs. No expensive retraining required. Even Mac user's can cope with it.

I am not anti-Microsoft. I really hope MSFT gets their act together.

I could not agree with Quince al'Pillan and Cheopys more. Anyone who thinks that "little things" like the direction of the file folders point don't matter...has some serious cranal de-analing to do. How long did it take to turn those folders sideways anyway? How much did that cost? How much value did that add? No wonder SOME of you guys are behind the curve...all the curves.

At one time, Microsoft had a vision... and with Windows 95 and Office, despite the huge flaws in the OS.. an integrated work environment such as the world had never seen came into being. From app to app.. , menu's, commands-mouse clicks, tools, where things were placed..etc were pretty consistent... BUT IT WAS THE INCONSISTENCIES THAT ANNOYED THE HECK OUT OF PEOPLE! NOT TO MENTION CRASHES AND BSODS!!!!! The "FATAL ERROR" messages were rather annoying also...funny...I am still alive after experiencing thousands of those and experiencing all the MS OS's ever released.

In the bang for the buck department, MSFT took the business world by storm, the Office environment along with very affordable (compared to Apple) hardware was a no brainer. The Win95/Office combo...along with the advent of other power apps for CAD, graphics,publishing etc changed the world, they vastly increased productivity and opportunity.

Affordability and the availability of apps...then games...then media..began to put MSFT OS's onto every city block.. THEN THE WORLD DISCOVERED THE INTERNET!!! Then MSFT products began to get into EVERY household!!! Then into
NEARLY every room in every household.

Microsoft also had another, darker, vision. They would so tightly spiderweb their OS and apps...that they could control how competition and development in the computer world would unfold. They failed at that. Legal problems took their eyes off the real new revolution in the computing world, networking and the internet.

Soon, competing OS's arose... as a direct response to the neglect of REAL innovation at the OS level.. and the security problems that the creaking NT kernel and underdeveloped fluff hung on it was causing in the new world order. Geeks seized upon Unix..then Linux. Apple just chugged along.. offering a solid, if expensive, performer... a darling of those that realized that to have hours of difficult work get destroyed by an OS bug was not worth the risk of using Windows. Servers...don't get me started.

"Abby"..having started with Win98 and finally having "learned" that well enough ( with help from her grandson) to email some pictures, send Christmas cards.. surf for new recipes and email them.. got her first nasty email (or phone call) accusing her of sending a "Virus" in the joke she had found online and had forwarded Mrs. Jones up the street ("Oh dear, I had no
idea, have you tried Vicks Vapor Rub dear??) ..I digress... Abby soon had to get a new machine. One with Windows ME!
" WOW! Isn't that pretty! " soon turned to .."Where did they put.." and "What happened too" ...which soon (~48hrs) turned to "What did I do? My mouse won't move! It's stuck! I can't turn it off! What do I do?"

Abby insists I make her XP look and feel as much like Win95 as possable.. one learning curve was enough for her. My grandson dualboots Win98SE and Linux... XP does not like "Grand Prix Legends II" or "Flying Model Simulator" ..he does not like the security hassles of Windows so Linux he uses for EVERYTHING else.

My point is... Windows is ..and has... been everywhere. Everyone has your number...even the unsophisticated.

MSFT still is locked in a twenty year old headset that each new fancy feature they hang on their "Model T" will be perceived to be some earth-shattering innovation. People have learned over the years what real innovation looks and runs like. Even Abby is now sophisticated enough to ask me "Should I get a Mac? or..." Will you put Linux on my machine for me?? "(Yeah..I am the grandson..:)" Mean while MY grandson is telling me.."You still dualbooting THAT distrubuiton (linux) ? That is sooo yesterday... check my new Linux out, its from....."

BTW... if you do not change..think of my grandson as your "Christmas Future" Microsoft.

Microsoft has to return to REAL innovation and give up its delusions of world computing dominance. That horse is out of the barn. As in the natural world, diversity is a good thing. OEM"S are already looking for and offering alternatives..give up that whole worn out business model also.

You want a new product that will set the world on fire?

Begin to offer again real return on computing investment, real bang for the computing buck. Vista is not that.

How about a lean, mean, reliable, fast, secure, small OS that will do 99% of what XP does and 40% of what it now does not..(OS and networking wise...leave out all the other crap) , and runs like a bandit on Abby's old 233 mhz PII? Or the corner grocery stores 600 mhz duron? How about something that the world will not have to retrain itself to use immediately? How about an OS that does not care how old the app is, that can "contain" any nasty habits that old and still very useful app.. or game.. has? How about that same OS does things we cannot even imagine (because it is so frigging
competent) on the latest and greatest hardware? How about that same OS does things we cannot even imagine because my grandson CAN imagine those things... and can do them if he had the sort of tool I KNOW you guys could make if you put your minds to it.. and if MSFT management would get their collective heads out of their ass and get back to fundamentals. Give you "competators" some space to make YOUR CORE PRODUCTS more valuable...what a concept huh?

How about taking Singularity... and developing it into a REAL world changer, an environmentally concious old PC recycler, a poverty reducer, an opportunity expander, AND.. a massive quantum leap ahead for the next generations of hardware/firmware/software interfacing... so nimble it can bail you guys out the next time you miss the next REAL technical
breakthrough ( think "orbit" or "Ku band"). Something everyone on the planet would fight to get their hands on the day it released. Imagine.... you already did it once Microsoft. Blow us away. Do it again.

Anonymous said...

Why Vista is better than XP? I don't care about Aero and I hate the whirring sound of a small fan trying to cool off a fancy 3D videocard. Even more, I did not care about XP user interface. The simpler the better for me. I am still using Windows 2000 and think it is the best Windows ever, UI-wise, feature-wise and stability-wise.

Vista could bring WinFS, oops, it is not going to happen. Security, backup, autoupdate? These are not selling poing for me. 64-bit operation? XP can do that already, so can Linux.

What I am waiting for is converging web experience and desktop app experience. I don't know how this can be made feasible with all security issues and viruses and "no ActiveX anymore" stuff, but I thought that WPF + updated .NET platform is what would have made make Vista applications different from older Win32 apps or even from current .NET apps. So I am thinking convergence and (pardon my French) Web 2.0.

Anonymous said...

Vista bettern than XP (or any previous Win version) ? I'll believe it when I see it. My first instinct is it will be more bloated full of lots of 'features' no one wants, with the same deficiencies and shortcommings that all prior versions have had.

The current windows has some major problmes:
1) Applications are not properly segregated from each other and the operating system. If apps have to install files into /windows/system32, its a problem. If apps installed into thier own file-space, it would make keeping the OS clean, and removing stuff completely much easier.
2) The registry idea is stupid - see #1 above for the main reason why.
3) There are no effectivly good user ID systems. How can you prevent the administrator from having access to files? Crazy. See unix on how to do this sort of permissions thing correctly.
4) Users should run as users (and not admin) but this only works if the OS is designed to allow that. Previous versions of windows had issues with applications not being able to be run properly unless they were installed by the admin and possibly run by admin.
5) IE should NOT be part of the OS. Everytime you take an application or application functionality, and bolt it onto or into the operating system, you bloat the OS and make it more likely to have problems and incompatibilities.
6) Backup before upgrade... yeah, thats a hoot. How does one do that easily? If there was a tool to do that built into Windows, one might do so... but no, we don't get usefull tools, we just get more cruft.

Quince al'Pillan said...

(I hope you've got moderation on Mini - this one's for you.)

I've done it. I've found the number 1 reason people will upgrade to Windows Vista willingly.

The absolute only reason people will upgrade to Windows Vista on purpose is: (drumroll)

DirectX 10.

This is the #1 absolute only reason to upgrade to Vista. DirectX 10 requires Windows Vista: "Instantiating a Direct3D 10 hardware device requires Direct3D 10-capable graphics hardware with a Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver."

New video cards will be created to support DX10 natively. New features will be added to DX10 that will only be supported in DX10 games. Games will be written (Halo 2) that only support DX10 and to play new games, gamers will have to upgrade to Vista.

No ifs, ands, or buts, if Johnny can't play his video games because he's got Windows XP, he'll beg and plead for his parents to buy Vista. Hardcore gamers will switch to Vista to get the ultimate in gaming graphics. Gamers will be dragged kicking and screaming into Vista even if they don't want it as soon as more and more games come out that don't support DX9.

Of course, this is typically only the home crowd, but once Johnny's parents have Vista at home, they'll want Vista at work too and this will get Vista in the door.