Archive for the 'software' Category

Microsoft Windows 7 Beta – First Impressions

Windows Vista < Windows Mojave < Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7 BetaI have heard a lot of talk from customers over the past few months regarding Windows Vista. The general impression that most people have about Vista is that it is a system hog, with numerous compatibility and performance issues. There are several questions, and statements that come to my mind when I hear people saying things like this. Let’s take a look at some of these things and how they to relate to Windows 7.

What Went Wrong with Vista?

The first thing I wonder is how it was possible for Microsoft’s Marketing and PR departments to ever let things get to this point. Now other departments are also to blame… developing, testing etc but the impression customers have of Vista is something that has snowballed out of control to the point where the majority of users out there refuse to adopt the new operating system.

From the developing and testing standpoint Vista was released before it’s time. When the beta came out it had some great features, but the bugs, security holes and sluggish response from the system generated quiet a few rumors right off the bat. Had these issues been addressed in a timely manner, which put the customer’s concerns at center stage Microsoft would have recovered much better from this.

Instead Microsoft took a very non apologetic stance, and dragged their feet as though they did not want to acknowledge the flaws in the new operating system. This definitely affected people’s impressions of Vista right from the start.

Apple vs. PC

Apple vs. PC Ads Smear Windows VistaAfter these stories started to surface on the internet Apple began their “roast” Microsoft campaign. It seems that Microsoft felt as through they were too large to be affected by Apple’s new marketing campaign. As we have all learned from the swift boat attacks of the 2004 presidential election, if you do not respond to negative statements thrown in your direction people tend to believe the lies since you are not refuting them.

By the time Microsoft decided to respond to these ads Apple’s message had already been firmly ingrained into people’s minds. By this time Microsoft’s marketing and PR departments should have been in full swing doing damage control. Amazingly enough this did not start until much later down the road when Microsoft looked at how many users were refusing to upgrade to Windows Vista.

This has become more and more apparent as Microsoft continues to push back the cut off date for Windows XP. First it was the summer of 2008, then we heard December of 2008, then January of 2009, and now we are being told May of 2009.

All of these things point toward the customers and company acknowledging the problems that have plagued Vista since the release of the beta. (In many people’s eyes.)

The Windows Vista Renaissance

Now in all fairness a lot of the impressions people still have about Windows Vista are no longer accurate. Microsoft has fixed many of the problems that Vista originally experienced upon release, and has also addressed many of the security, compatibility, and performance issues people associated with the Windows Vista operating system.

With the release of SP1 (Service Pack 1) Vista came into its own and became a great alternative from Windows XP, with many enhanced software features and support for DirectX 10.

The big question here is why was Microsoft so unconcerned with the branding of this product, that it required them to invest 300 million dollars into re-branding “Windows Vista” as an operating system.

Windows Mojave

Windows Mojave Experiment = Microsoft Windows 7One of the cleverest Vista ads from Microsoft involved a panel of users who were brought in to test-drive a new Windows operating system called “Windows Mojave”. The ad showcased all the great things people had to say about Windows Mojave until the test coordinator announced the people were actually using Widows Vista.

It seems the ad made a big enough impression on Microsoft executives that they said hey, why don’t we do that in real life… Enter Windows 7.

Microsoft Windows 7

At first glance Windows 7 is very much the same operating system as Windows Vista. From the beginning of the installation, up to when the desktop loads for the first time we see many similarities between the old and the new.

A lot of the information about Windows 7 points to the fact that it is Vista with all the “bloatware” ripped out. This makes it easier to understand how Microsoft was able to release a new operating system so quickly after the release of Windows Vista.

For the few hours I have used Windows 7 the operating system seems fairly solid, and runs as well (or better) than Windows Vista. Being a beta release I have run across a number of bugs and crashes so far, but overall it seems like Microsoft is trying once again to get people interested in making the switch.

In my opinion, Windows 7 could just as well have been called Windows Vista SP2, but after discussing some of the marketing factors above it is pretty clear to see why this is not the case.

As I mentioned before Windows Vista has out grown many of the stereotypes, and negative associations users continue to link to it. It is a good operating system that offers functionality, compatibility and advanced features that are not found in Windows XP.

Whether it is a matter of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks, or more effective marketing campaigns by competing companies, users who are “waiting” for Windows 7 to avoid upgrading to Vista may be in store for an unpleasant surprise.

If people can get past their hang ups and stereotypes then Windows 7 stands to be a good upgrade from Windows XP. As with all betas bugs and crashes still need to be addressed, but hopefully Microsoft has learned a thing or two from the release of Windows Vista and will have all these issues squared away by the time they release Windows 7.

Google Chrome Beta for Windows – Download Link

Google Chrome is Now Available for Windows – Download Here

Google Chrome Beta Download for WindowsIf you were waiting yesterday for a chance to try out the new Google Chrome browser now is your chance. Google has finally made the Chrome beta available for download so users can try out Google’s newest offering in the software arena.

Google Chrome Beta Download Link 

People have had mixed reviews of Google’s ability to produce a good stand alone program because of their relative inexperience in making full applications. While Google excels at making web applications they have not had many offerings as far as software, so it will be interesting to see what people think.

My initial impression of Chrome is that the name does a good job of describing the program. It is sleek, and polished. Simple, yet effective. A friend of mine who has been a long time supporter of Firefox mentioned he had mixed feelings about Firefox 3.0 simply because it felt bloated. His comment was “All I need in a browser is an address bar, and a place to view pages”.

I think Chrome takes this simple idea and creates a browser that does not overwhelm users, and at the same time offers good speed and stability. Of course only long term use will tell for sure, but as it stands Chrome seems like a good offering into the browser arena.

For more information on how to Chrome and all the new features checkout the comic from Google that will walk users through all the nuances of the new software which can be found here.

Google Chrome Walkthrough

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