Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Enjoying Vista?

As a self-appointed geek and nerd I have no choice but to test out Vista beta 2 along with the new Office 2007 beta. I did not jump in line to download it, but chose to shell out a few euro’s to get the packages from Microsoft itself. I have done this a couple of times in the last couple of years and I can definitely recommend it. Microsoft is not going on the cheap with this. The Office 2007 beta 2 package comes with four DVD’s and provides all the new server editions of Groove, Sharepoint and Project along with the desktop applications. The Vista Beta 2 package brings both th 32- and 64 bits with it.

My system gets a mixed blessing by Vista. The AMD 2400 XP processor is considered weak, but the 1 Gb RAM and the Asus N6200 TD with 256 RAM on board are enough to allow the new Aero interface to run. Eye candy galore.

The install process is fairly simple, though some may be surprised when they come to the partitioning tool. When you are used to C:, D: etc. for your harddrive designations, seeing Disk0 Partition1 is a shocker. Especially when you find out that your primary master is designated Disk1 and not Disk0. I wonder how many people will loose data because of this. The external USB drive was perfectly recognized.

After the install comes the hardware recognition. Strange enough Vista is unable to recognise the regular gameport on the mother board (wasn’t Vista suppose to give you a new gaming experience?). The generic PCI card with two extra serial ports was also a no no. Trying the XP driver didn’t work as well.

One good thing about using the official beta is that you don’t have to worry about activation and that went smooth as well. The internet connection was setup perfectly. Well, it did not require any hassle..

Installing Office 2007 beta 2 brought out the benefits of the side bar. Every application set requires that you fill in the product key, which makes six times for the complete install. I typed the key on the notes gadget/widget and copy/pasted it afterwards. My box is now packed with Office 2007, Groove, Project Professional, Sharepoint Designer, Visio and Infopath. This complete set (Vista Ultimate plus Office 2007) swallows up a whole 14 Gb on your harddrive. Huge!

I have a whole stack of portable applications like Firefox and Thunderbird and they can be launched from within Vista. One big no no: every time I run one of these it asks permission to do so. Blah! Can’t it recognize it after the first time. Firefox freezes every few minutes, but comes alive after a minute again. It goes for every executable or admin oriented task. Request upon request. Let’s hope that will be less after the system starts to learn about who is working with it.

The interface looks shiny, but that is eye candy. The new panel to access your programs is not going to win my approval. It only holds Office 2007 and it looks cluttered already. No unfolding menus anymore, but infolding (for lack of a better word). Power users will not know where to find their tons of software applications and I am going to look for a different way to browse my applications soon. For the coming period I will work more intensively with the new applications to see whether they hold up to their promise.


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