Once Tricked into Using It, Users Like Vista

This smacks somewhat of those old blindfold taste tests you see on commercials.  It goes a little something like this…

“I hate Diet Coke.”

“Here, try this new soda!”

“Wow, it’s great!”

“That was Diet Coke!”


In a similar move, Microsoft took Windows XP fans and showed them a new OS, “Mojave.”  What’s interesting is that this “new” OS wasn’t really new at all…

Spurred by an e-mail from someone deep in the marketing ranks, Microsoft last week traveled to San Francisco, rounding up Windows XP users who had negative impressions of Vista. The subjects were put on video, asked about their Vista impressions, and then shown a “new” operating system, code-named Mojave. More than 90 percent gave positive feedback on what they saw. Then they were told that “Mojave” was actually Windows Vista.

“Oh wow,” said one user, eliciting exactly the exclamation that Microsoft had hoped to garner when it first released the operating system more than 18 months ago. Instead, the operating system got mixed reviews and criticisms for its lack of compatibility and other headaches.

Yep, but they were spared a few things: finding drivers, application compatibility, Vista-capable PCs that run the OS sluggishly at best.  Let’s do another test and add that to the mix, and see what kind of response we get then.

We’re not going on an all out we hate Vista rant here.  In fact, we use the OS in the HH labs for testing and benchmarks, sometimes under some fairly rigorous requirements.  However, setting up a controlled sample test and calling it something that is supposed to be compared to broad market appeal, just isn’t right.  It appears Microsoft needs to ease up on the marketing kool-aide and work on sound research practices of their target user base.


Microsoft releases new Ultimate Extras for Vista

Windows Ultimate users finally (euhhhhhhhh!!!) have some new Ultimate Extras to download.  Released today was two new sound schemes and additional DreamScene content.  Windows Ultimate users can download the new extras now by going to Windows Update in Control Panel.

New Sounds

Two new sound schemes have been released:

  • Ultimate Extras Glass – Similar to the default sound scheme but with a “glassy edge.”
  • Ultimate Extras Pearl – Cleaner, clearer and brighter than the glass scheme.

Read more

New Dreamscene content

Dreamscene Content Pack #3 is now available with three nature scenes.

Read more

The Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless

Microsoft launch a new kind of updates called Feature Pack  that improve wireless support in Windows Vista:

•Bluetooth version 2.1 support

•Unified Pairing user interface

•Windows Connect Now updates

Some of these features may work with existing hardware. However, you must have new hardware to take advantage of the new functionality.
This update is compatible with all versions of Windows Vista. It can be installed only on a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Description of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless

Windows Vista Aero Is Old News, Introducing the Cairo Windows Shell Alternative

home Page screens

Cairo is a Windows Shell alternative designed to run on both Windows Vista and Windows XP. The project is currently in the pre-alpha stage, and scheduled to go public next week. At this point in time, Cairo is served only to the users that sign up in the Milestone 1 testing phase of the project. The brainchild of Michael Ciarlo, Cairo Designer/Developer, the Windows Shell alternative comes with the stated goal of redefining the desktop experience. In fact, the slogan that accompanies the Cairo brand is “welcome to the revolution.”
“Throughout the development process we will be releasing milestones, alphas, betas, and release candidates—milestones marking the furthest from completion and release candidate the closest. The UI in [the] image [toward the bottom] represents a Milestone 1 UI, meaning that we have begun taking all of our UI work and consolidating it towards a final interface. Like Microsoft or Apple, this UI may evolve substantially over the course of its development. The alpha available soon will be a Milestone 1 release, meaning it will mark the first leap towards getting Cairo out into the world. The UI milestones are not necessarily going to coincide with the release milestones,” said Cairo Team.

In the end, Cairo, from the perspective of an alternative Windows Shell, comes to the table as a new approach to offering a graphical user interface to Microsoft’s proprietary operating system. One thing that Cairo developers and designers need to keep focus on, in this context, is the balance between functionality, eye candy and resource consumption. By all means, this equilibrium is not achieved with Windows Aero. Cairo will feature a Start-Bar, Multi-Desktop capabilities, File Explorer, File and Application Grouping, Launcher, and Dynamic Desktop.
“With Cairo you can transform your desktop from the dated Windows user-interface to a brand new system that will change the way you use your computer forever. Taking advantage of proven functionality, and with stability and performance in mind, the Cairo Desktop system aims to give users a productive and easy to use shell that advances current technology standards. Welcome to the Revolution,” reads a message on the official Cairo website.