Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 18:18 UTC
Windows There's been a bunch of Windows Phone 7 reviews out there, and most of them come to the same conclusion: great piece of software for a 1.0 release, but it does miss a few vital features. The Ars Technica review, as usual very in-depth, highlights one particular aspect of the platform that speaks to me: Windows Phone 7 has a sense of humour.
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Won't buy the product, but...
by Neolander on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 18:43 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

...I wish microsoft well. Sincerely.

As much as I dislike touchscreens, it's just the best touch-phone experience I've seen until now. They stealed what was good on the competing OSs (ah, finally someone who understands how much Symbian's home screen is pure genius !), and introduced a handful of interesting improvements (like tight integration between various system components), all that with extreme polish and attention to details that is one of the basis of a very good product.

Maybe they're a bit late, but they certainly aren't doing too little. I'm genuinely impressed by the quality of this. If only some manufacturer could put that much care *outside* of the high end/touchscreen realm...

Edited 2010-10-22 18:49 UTC

Reply Score: 4

delta0.delta0 Member since:
2010-06-01

What is so great about it ?

Looking at the previews and looking at the system in operation, you don't have multiple screens like in Android you have 1 home window where you can fit around 5 - 6 tiles onto and then you have to endlessly scroll and add more live tiles and you have the application window, which provide the live tiles. What so great about this ?

The live tiles are basically the same as android widgets, just presented slightly differently.

I think once this initial hype leaves it, it will become an incredibly boring interface to use.

Also that is not forgetting the application load times (some games are rumoured to take around 3 minutes to load), and they need to reload every time because there is no multi-tasking yet. Also many of the current apps in the "market" place are buggy, crash prone and don't seem to scroll anywhere near as smoothly as the rest of the OS.

I think Palms WebOS is a much fresher and better UI than this. I also happen to like both the Android UI and the iPhone UI more than this, I do realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this interface just looks ugly to me. I really cant see the appeal.

Reply Score: 1

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

What is so great about it ?

Looking at the previews and looking at the system in operation, you don't have multiple screens like in Android you have 1 home window where you can fit around 5 - 6 tiles onto and then you have to endlessly scroll and add more live tiles and you have the application window, which provide the live tiles. What so great about this ?

I'd argue that on Android, you can only put a few things on each screen before having to scroll endlessly, too. The point of a home screen is to give instant access to most used features, not to overload it to the point where you have to scroll over and over again.

The live tiles are basically the same as android widgets, just presented slightly differently.

Wrong. There's a *big* difference : the way a tile works is standard. You don't have 30 different behaviors for 30 widgets (some of them wasting screen real estate mercilessly), you only have 30 tiles which display a small amount of information and can give access to more through a tap. Consistency and better use of screen estate : that's the key.

I think once this initial hype leaves it, it will become an incredibly boring interface to use.

I don't care if it's boring, I want something which works and gives me quick access to the information I need.

On symbian, with two button presses, I can instantly know about received messages, missed calls, incoming meetings, and access some commonly used applications. All that displayed in a consistent way and going straight to the point. It's much more useful than, say, the overloaded applications screens of iOS, even if it's more boring maybe.

I think it's the direction where the WP7 tile concept is heading, and I deeply appreciate that another phone manufacturer than Nokia remembers that phones are tools before being fancy toys, and that efficiency is a major criterion when using a tool.

Also that is not forgetting the application load times (some games are rumoured to take around 3 minutes to load), and they need to reload every time because there is no multi-tasking yet. Also many of the current apps in the "market" place are buggy, crash prone and don't seem to scroll anywhere near as smoothly as the rest of the OS.

Well, it's called a first release. Other OSs were no way better in version 1. Just give it some time and see how it evolves. Remember the days where iOS couldn't even send a MMS ?

I think Palms WebOS is a much fresher and better UI than this.

Yeah, but when it comes to battery life, I heard that WebOS is a bit awfully performing.
Again, the device I buy is a phone, before being anything else. I want it to behave properly as a phone, before wishing for some nice gadgetry to enlighten my boring workdays. This is actually one of my gripes with WP7, by the way : their SMS client is just awful, in my opinion.

I also happen to like both the Android UI and the iPhone UI more than this, I do realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this interface just looks ugly to me. I really cant see the appeal.

Well, I don't find it magnificent either, but as long as it works well and in an efficient way, it's all secondary in my opinion...

Edited 2010-10-27 20:51 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I remember...
by Tony Swash on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 18:49 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I remember way back in an early version of the Mac OS, I am talking back in the early 1990s, if you opened a certain file in the System Folder using ResEdit you saw a text message that said "Help we are being held prisoner in a software factory!".

Made me laugh the first time I saw it..

Reply Score: 4

RE: I remember...
by Neolander on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 19:24 UTC in reply to "I remember..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

The thing which really puzzles me about that kind of funny easter eggs is how people manage to find them ;) Just to know, how did you happen to explore that system folder back in the day ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I remember...
by leech on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 19:55 UTC in reply to "RE: I remember..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Reminds me of some of the error messages I've seen over the years in the open source world.

I can't recall which program it was, but when it crashed it'd say something like "something just went horribly awry. You should report it."

Then of course there are all the swear words within the Linux kernel Source tree, though I think they've cleaned up a lot of those over the years.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I remember...
by Tuishimi on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 21:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I remember..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Up until more recently I still tried to do that with error messages... then all sorts of "standards" were enacted and it became verboten... so now I just write funny comments in my code; and some of my error log messages are amusing (but still useful). Ah well.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I remember...
by Timmmm on Sun 24th Oct 2010 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I remember..."
Timmmm Member since:
2006-07-25

Yeah I don't think it is a good idea to make humorous error messages, because a) usually they aren't funny, and b) who wants to read that they've lost all their work in a lame jokey fashion, especially from the person whose fault it probably was.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I remember...
by Tony Swash on Sun 24th Oct 2010 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE: I remember..."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The thing which really puzzles me about that kind of funny easter eggs is how people manage to find them ;) Just to know, how did you happen to explore that system folder back in the day ?


I was trying to learn about ResEdit so I was opening various files, apps etc and carefully poking about to see how it all seemed to work. I was also looking for ResEdit info and resources and saw someone's comment saying open this part of this file. And there was the message.

See here

http://www.mackido.com/EasterEggs/BlueMeanies.html

Reply Score: 2

RE: I remember...
by sithlord2 on Mon 25th Oct 2010 12:07 UTC in reply to "I remember..."
sithlord2 Member since:
2009-04-02

I once got the same message when I was playing Astrochicken at a Monolith Burger restaurant...

Reply Score: 1

gehersh
Member since:
2006-01-03

resurrecting Microsoft Bob. (Does anyone remember that fella?)

Reply Score: 1

drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

Nah... Some things are better left to rest in peace.

Reply Score: 5

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I would have given you a +1 Funny but I already posted. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

[redacted, late Friday: brain missing]

Edited 2010-10-22 22:04 UTC

Reply Score: 2

cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

resurrecting Microsoft Bob. (Does anyone remember that fella?)


No, but it would be pure genius if Microsoft re-implemented Clippy the Paper-clip on Windows Phone 7. If ever there were an opportunity for an "assistant" like Clippy Phone 7 is it!

Reply Score: 2

18 page review??????
by nt_jerkface on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 19:44 UTC
nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

I like the original interface, I was disappointed that Android just copied the iphone.

The Zune software is a major plus given that itunes is the worst Windows program in the world.

Nokia and RIM have really been sitting on their hands. I expect quite a few business users to switch from blackberry to WP7.

Reply Score: 3

RE: 18 page review??????
by Shkaba on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 21:22 UTC in reply to "18 page review??????"
Shkaba Member since:
2006-06-22


The Zune software is a major plus given that itunes is the worst Windows program in the world.

Couldn't agree more with you on this one. I really think that iTunes for Windows was forced upon Apple, just because most users of iPod/iPhone own a Windows machine.

I expect quite a few business users to switch from blackberry to WP7.

I was slightly disappointed with wp7 (presented at an microsoft event) when it comes to its use in a business environment. Without speculating about the future direction that microsoft is going to be adopting, right now wp7 is aimed at general audience and not an enterprise. I think that in this area there are some hard choices for microsoft to make.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: 18 page review??????
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 22:00 UTC in reply to "RE: 18 page review??????"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I really think that iTunes for Windows was forced upon Apple, just because most users of iPod/iPhone own a Windows machine.


What do you mean by that? Apple *could* have made a good program for windows. iTunes for Mac isn't much better.


At the time of the original release, I believe Jobs said it was the best Windows program, although I didn't know at the time and am still not certain now if that was a self congratulations, or a diss at every other windows program.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 18 page review??????
by Shkaba on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 18 page review??????"
Shkaba Member since:
2006-06-22

What I mean by that is, that Apple had two choices really (considering dominance of windows boxes):

1. Allow access to iPod/iPhone as a mass storage device or use MS sync
2. Close the device and allow only iTunes to access it

Considering that jobs is a control freak, he went with iTunes. The fact that it is just a piece of c@#* can me covered by blaming windows.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: 18 page review??????
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 06:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: 18 page review??????"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

The way you wrote that it seems as if you are not aware that the first Ipods were Mac only, which could only be accessed by itunes. The closed nature of the ipod was set in stone when it was first released as a firewire device for macs.

Also, the first Ipods that were USB and windows compatible worked with a special version of the MusicMatch media player on windows. ( my favorite media player on windows, ever).

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 18 page review??????
by Morgan on Sun 24th Oct 2010 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 18 page review??????"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

At the time of the original release, I believe Jobs said it was the best Windows program


He also said that about Safari for Windows, and while it's a decent browser it is still far below the quality and speed of Firefox and Chrome, and even Opera for that matter.

I do like Safari on OS X though; it has been steadily improving. If I wasn't a slave to Chrome's sync capability I'd probably use Safari as my day-to-day browser on Macs.

As for a truly great music management program for Windows, there's Songbird and MediaMonkey. Neither is perfect, but they both make iTunes look amateurish.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: 18 page review??????
by nt_jerkface on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 04:13 UTC in reply to "RE: 18 page review??????"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

right now wp7 is aimed at general audience and not an enterprise. I think that in this area there are some hard choices for microsoft to make.


It's definitely being marketed to a general audience but the exchange and office support will make it an easy sell to enterprise.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 18 page review??????
by Shkaba on Sun 24th Oct 2010 22:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 18 page review??????"
Shkaba Member since:
2006-06-22

..the exchange and office support will make it an easy sell to enterprise.


While all of those plus leveraging use of existing code are all good things, I see unclear application deployment and closing down of certain system interfaces as a hurdle in enterprise adoption.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 18 page review??????
by kaiwai on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 01:11 UTC in reply to "18 page review??????"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I like the original interface, I was disappointed that Android just copied the iphone.

The Zune software is a major plus given that itunes is the worst Windows program in the world.

Nokia and RIM have really been sitting on their hands. I expect quite a few business users to switch from blackberry to WP7.


I second that, it is great to see some innovation out there rather than yet another clone of a clone of a clone. WP7 has its critics but I've given it a go down at the local Vodafone store and I like what I see. With that being said I'm kind of unhappy that I can't get it on the XT Network given it has better 3G coverage than Vodafone.

iTunes universally sucks; it sucks on Mac OS X just as badly as it sucks on Windows. Its an application that suffers from featuritis where iTunes seems to be the dumping ground for anything that tickles Apple's fancy. Personally I'd sooner see Apple break it up into individual parts than having the behemoth that weighs over 100MB.

I too could see many businesses move to WP7 in part due to the great integration between the development tools and WP7. Imagine being able to write an application in Silverlight 4 and then deploy the same application on desktops and phones with a single click - that is the kind of advantage that Microsoft not only has over RIM but also over iPhone and Android.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: 18 page review??????
by Nelson on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 03:35 UTC in reply to "RE: 18 page review??????"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

A great example of this is the Silverlight Toolkit. They ported it nearly completely to Windows Phone 7, merely stubbing out things that differed between the Desktop and the Phone (#ifdef WINDOWSPHONE7, lol)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: 18 page review??????
by kaiwai on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 11:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: 18 page review??????"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

A great example of this is the Silverlight Toolkit. They ported it nearly completely to Windows Phone 7, merely stubbing out things that differed between the Desktop and the Phone (#ifdef WINDOWSPHONE7, lol)


It would be nice if you gave specifics, like a webpage from Microsoft, instead of snide comments with zero content.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: 18 page review??????
by Nelson on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: 18 page review??????"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I wasn't trying to be snide, I was agreeing with you. There's an immense amount of codesharing that's now possible, and it's impressive.

But either way, here's a link showing what I'm talking about:
http://silverlight.codeplex.com/SourceControl/changeset/view/55144#...

Reply Score: 2

18? That's nothing. Try 32 pages!
by MollyC on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 05:01 UTC in reply to "18 page review??????"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Anandtech's review is 32 pages (or so).
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3982/windows-phone-7-review/1

But pretty much the same take as Arstechnica. Generally high praise (actually, effusive praise at times), while pointing out some issues that need to be tweaked and a few features that need to be implemented with updates.

Edited 2010-10-23 05:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

v Comment by Brynet
by brynet on Fri 22nd Oct 2010 21:35 UTC
Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 01:03 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

The only thing I find annoying is the lack of Microsoft stating that there is will be an update early 2011 in response to those pundits whining about features missing from the initial release. It is endemic of Microsoft to release a product but fail to respond to their critics in a robust and meaningful way.

I for one am excited about WP7 phones and looking forward to see the update early 2011 before I go ahead and purchase one myself. It seems that Microsoft has finally woken up and realised what the market wants - better still they're using the technology at their disposal to deliver it to the end user. Their developer tools for example are second to none - for the enterprise developer to the one man band developing an application in his/her spare time one can develop and deploy very quickly.

WP7 has invigorated the platform wars on the phone which will hopefully spill over into the computer space as well - Lion was a massive let down given the gimmicky features that were added of zero interest me. Hopefully next year we'll see more details regarding Lion and Windows 8 as to chart the future course of which direction I'll take.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by Nelson on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 03:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

They did say Copy and Paste was coming, but I definitely agree, it wouldn't hurt them to share future plans. Both to calm shaky investors/app developers, and to disarm a lot of reviewers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 11:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

They did say Copy and Paste was coming, but I definitely agree, it wouldn't hurt them to share future plans. Both to calm shaky investors/app developers, and to disarm a lot of reviewers.


I guess in their defence I assume they don't want to over promise - but with that being said they've already talked informally about what will appear in the next release but it is hardly in an accessible format. They might argue that it could put off sales with people waiting for a phone with the updated software on it at time of sale (even though they would get a free software upgrade but people are idiots) but if people don't have the information about a future update then they'll assume it will never come and thus go for an Android or an iPhone. Its a catch 22 hence I tend to err on the side of being open and transparent than playing the sorts of trickery that Apple plays (which is one of the things that pisses me off about Apple).

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by vodoomoth on Mon 25th Oct 2010 15:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

[q]Their developer tools for example are second to none
That is very true. Visual Basic for Applications in Access already had my jaw dropping to the floor back in 1996. Visual Studio 2008 blew my mind again although I had always been a faithful Borland user as to C++.
Launching VS 2008 doesn't even take a second for the interface to show on my much hated vista system. And I don't even mention the available documentation.

Reply Score: 2

Ad Server
by marcus0263 on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 01:48 UTC
marcus0263
Member since:
2007-06-02

Nope, I refuse to buy a phone that it's OS is an "Ad Server".

Microsoft dubs Windows Phone 7 'ad serving machine'
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/27/windows_phone_7_ads/

Reply Score: 0

RE: Ad Server
by Nelson on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 03:34 UTC in reply to "Ad Server"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

He was speaking to an audience of .. advertisers .. lol. What's he supposed to say? "Windows Phone 7 is a terrible platform to launch your advertisements on, don't bring your money here at all".

Whats your alternatives? iAd? .. Going with Google? The king of mobile advertising?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Ad Server
by marcus0263 on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 15:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Ad Server"
marcus0263 Member since:
2007-06-02

He was speaking to an audience of .. advertisers .. lol. What's he supposed to say? "Windows Phone 7 is a terrible platform to launch your advertisements on, don't bring your money here at all".

Whats your alternatives? iAd? .. Going with Google? The king of mobile advertising?


Nope, neither. I just have a phone and to be connected while mobile I have a Netbook ;)

As for "What's he supposed to say?", what he said. You know pimping it's "Ad Server" features, that's the point.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Ad Server
by Morgan on Sun 24th Oct 2010 18:49 UTC in reply to "Ad Server"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Nope, I refuse to buy a phone that it's OS is an "Ad Server".


Then you won't buy a phone at all. I guarantee you that any phone with an app store of some kind will have a way to serve ads. Hell, even the $30 throwaway prepaid phone from the supermarket will have some sort of advertising in the interface, even if it's just for a silly JME game or ringtone clearing house.


Or to put it another way:

Welcome to the 21st century, where all those old dystopian sci-fi novels and movies got at least one thing right: Advertising Everywhere! In case you hadn't noticed, Earth is populated by an overwhelmingly capitalist society, geared towards commerce and prosperity.

Get used to it.

Reply Score: 3

.
by Icaria on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 06:04 UTC
Icaria
Member since:
2010-06-19

Win Phone 7 is pretty impressive. Conceptually, it seems a lot clearer than the iPhone and Android: gestures are natural and give you more visual cues. It also don't seem as bound to the desktop metaphor as it's competitors. Only short falling is the mix of soft- and hardware buttons on the face and apparent incomplete support for landscape hardware keyboards.

If only MS could release something half-way as elegant on the desktop. Sorry but aero snap just doesn't cut it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: .
by kaiwai on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 12:08 UTC in reply to "."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Win Phone 7 is pretty impressive. Conceptually, it seems a lot clearer than the iPhone and Android: gestures are natural and give you more visual cues. It also don't seem as bound to the desktop metaphor as it's competitors. Only short falling is the mix of soft- and hardware buttons on the face and apparent incomplete support for landscape hardware keyboards.

If only MS could release something half-way as elegant on the desktop. Sorry but aero snap just doesn't cut it.


The buttons are a choice by the vendor and not something Microsoft has forbidden; there are vendors already shipping ones with slide out keyboards for those who prefer that over touch screen access.

Windows 7 is a big step forward but I guess I've never really pushed most operating systems to their limits as a lot of people here seem to do regularly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: .
by Neolander on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 12:50 UTC in reply to "RE: ."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Windows 7 is a big step forward but I guess I've never really pushed most operating systems to their limits as a lot of people here seem to do regularly.

Well, although it theoretically has a lot of merits, the sole features new to Vista/7 that are at the same time useful and perfectly well-designed are the search bar in the start menu and the ability to hide notifications from applications, I think, after some month solely using Win7.

Take the file explorer's interface : breadcrumb bars are nice and all, but Windows 7's one is a bit tiny and therefore hard to target, does not optimize the common case (going up one folder), and to do something as trivial as going in your home folder you have to either know it's in the popup menu at the beginning of the breadcrumb bar or add it as favorite once you discovered that it's in C:/Users. Both are a bit complicated for something which is again fairly common.

The taskbar could have received more work. They tried to make an improved copy of OSX's dock, but incidentally they also copied its issues in the way : accessing individual windows is made a bit complex compared to what it should be (and there's no Exposé feature to work around this, unlike on OSX), which is ironical for an operating system called Windows. Also, Aero's habit of putting white text on shiny or light background is a major readability issue on LCD screens (especially those of the shiny kind).

Network center is just an abomination. The sole thing done right in the networking area is that you can finally connect to a wi-fi by clicking the signal icon. Almost all other changes in networking compared to windows XP and before are usability regressions. HomeGroup is nice, but it just seems like a brain-dead and inefficient workaround for network being excessively complex in Vista+.

Window management... Well... Their idea of easing tiling using mouse gestures is nice in principle, but in practice the user still has to do way too much work. I always end up resizing windows by hand, and at a rather high click cost (whereas in true tiling, you can resize the two windows in one click+drag, among other things).

UAC is just like gksudo/kdesu on Linux and the Mac variant : a poor solution to a real problem. How am I supposed to know if a program should receive admin rights or not ? There's no indication of what said programs wants to do, so my decisions have to be based on raw trust. This is made even worse by Windows' reliance on the installer ecosystem : a malware only has to look like an installer in order to get admin privileges. User/admin is just not suited for desktop use, if it's actually suitable in some cases. Things like AppArmor (now included in the Linux kernel) and SElinux should receive much more love from operating systems worldwide.

Maintenance center is often more annoying than useful. Automatic backup à la Time Machine is a nice feature to have, but at times it causes multimedia playback in WMP to freeze along with the rest of the UI ! Sure, I only have to use VLC to get rid of that problem, but still I'm left largely unimpressed and wondering what priority Microsoft put on that background process which only does maintenance tasks.

Edited 2010-10-23 12:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: .
by kaiwai on Sun 24th Oct 2010 01:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, although it theoretically has a lot of merits, the sole features new to Vista/7 that are at the same time useful and perfectly well-designed are the search bar in the start menu and the ability to hide notifications from applications, I think, after some month solely using Win7.

Take the file explorer's interface : breadcrumb bars are nice and all, but Windows 7's one is a bit tiny and therefore hard to target, does not optimize the common case (going up one folder), and to do something as trivial as going in your home folder you have to either know it's in the popup menu at the beginning of the breadcrumb bar or add it as favorite once you discovered that it's in C:/Users. Both are a bit complicated for something which is again fairly common.


One of the things I miss after using Finder is spring loading folders, I can drag and drop files and navigate through the file system with each folder opening until I reach the place where I want to place it. I guess one could argue that many people use copy and past where as I am still in the spatial mind set of dragging and dropping rather than copying and pasting.

The taskbar could have received more work. They tried to make an improved copy of OSX's dock, but incidentally they also copied its issues in the way : accessing individual windows is made a bit complex compared to what it should be (and there's no Exposé feature to work around this, unlike on OSX), which is ironical for an operating system called Windows. Also, Aero's habit of putting white text on shiny or light background is a major readability issue on LCD screens (especially those of the shiny kind).


As noted, I really don't push the operating system to its limit - I tend not to have any problems with the dock other than the '3D' theme that was added in Leopard which makes dragging apps to it sometimes a hit and miss especially for new comers to computers and Mac OS X. For the vast majority of users they don't have 100s of applications or huge numbers open. In the case of Windows the one aspect I do like is Aero peak, being able to hover over the top of an application and select the one I want rather than guess work based on window titles that are cut off.

Network center is just an abomination. The sole thing done right in the networking area is that you can finally connect to a wi-fi by clicking the signal icon. Almost all other changes in networking compared to windows XP and before are usability regressions. HomeGroup is nice, but it just seems like a brain-dead and inefficient workaround for network being excessively complex in Vista+.


Agreed but I wonder how much of it is due to complexity in Windows permissions that really can't be simplified due to their inherent complexity. I've setup shared drives from Windows to other computers and there is always something going wrong - I've never experienced that sort of problem when using my Mac with AFP. AFP may not be the sexiest protocol in the universe but it does what needs to be done with minimum fuss and bother.

Window management... Well... Their idea of easing tiling using mouse gestures is nice in principle, but in practice the user still has to do way too much work. I always end up resizing windows by hand, and at a rather high click cost (whereas in true tiling, you can resize the two windows in one click+drag, among other things).

UAC is just like gksudo/kdesu on Linux and the Mac variant : a poor solution to a real problem. How am I supposed to know if a program should receive admin rights or not ? There's no indication of what said programs wants to do, so my decisions have to be based on raw trust. This is made even worse by Windows' reliance on the installer ecosystem : a malware only has to look like an installer in order to get admin privileges. User/admin is just not suited for desktop use, if it's actually suitable in some cases. Things like AppArmor (now included in the Linux kernel) and SElinux should receive much more love from operating systems worldwide.

Maintenance center is often more annoying than useful. Automatic backup à la Time Machine is a nice feature to have, but at times it causes multimedia playback in WMP to freeze along with the rest of the UI ! Sure, I only have to use VLC to get rid of that problem, but still I'm left largely unimpressed and wondering what priority Microsoft put on that background process which only does maintenance tasks.


Many of the other problems you've listed would pretty much require the sort of changes that would break compatibility for a large number of applications - something I don't see Microsoft will to stomach. They could offer free virtualisation software with all versions of Windows but I simply don't see it happening so one has to get used to more ugly hacks to work around the inherent issues with Windows. It will eventually get to the point that they'll have to do something besides trying to push off the inevitable by having hacks that do nothing than add another layer of complexity to an already complex behemoth.

As for backup, don't have it happening whilst you're working then - I've setup my parents computers to back up at 3am so that no one is being interrupted - why do you need backups every hour or whilst working? seems a rather silly idea.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: .
by Neolander on Sun 24th Oct 2010 06:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

As for backup, don't have it happening whilst you're working then - I've setup my parents computers to back up at 3am so that no one is being interrupted - why do you need backups every hour or whilst working? seems a rather silly idea.

My computer is turned off (or at least in sleep mode if I don't have the time to close everything) when I don't use it. I don't like to waste power, and with proper task scheduling I shouldn't need to. Take the file indexing service as an example of background task done right on Windows : I can't tell when it's running, that's the way it should work.

Edited 2010-10-24 06:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: .
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 24th Oct 2010 18:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Network center is just an abomination. The sole thing done right in the networking area is that you can finally connect to a wi-fi by clicking the signal icon. Almost all other changes in networking compared to windows XP and before are usability regressions. HomeGroup is nice, but it just seems like a brain-dead and inefficient workaround for network being excessively complex in Vista+.


I couldn't agree more, they actually managed to make something that's convoluted and confusing than network config under even Win9x.

After using Vista and 7 for an extended period, I get what they were going for - it seems that the "Network Center" is an attempt to abstract away the complexity of dealing with individual network adapters, connections, etc. Instead, you have a single generic network connection and Net Center (in theory) handles/hides all the behind-the-scenes complexity.

But IME that abstraction becomes a hindrance because you have to work around it whenever it doesn't work reliably (which was far too often, also IME).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: .
by Neolander on Mon 25th Oct 2010 12:26 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

After using Vista and 7 for an extended period, I get what they were going for - it seems that the "Network Center" is an attempt to abstract away the complexity of dealing with individual network adapters, connections, etc. Instead, you have a single generic network connection and Net Center (in theory) handles/hides all the behind-the-scenes complexity.

But IME that abstraction becomes a hindrance because you have to work around it whenever it doesn't work reliably (which was far too often, also IME).

If that was their way of thinking, it was just idiotic, because as you said...
-Either network connections work/have minor issues, and systray icons are everything you need
-Or they don't work and you need to fix it, in which case you don't want over-abstractions of the computer network going in your way anyway.

Plus even if you consider network abstractions hiding the hardware, they can be done much better than with the Network Center way. See network manager on linux : the network abstraction is used, but it's complete with per-network settings like static/dynamic IP.

Contrast with Win7 : this summer, when I made a LAN on an ad-hoc wifi network, it was only to discover that I had to dive in the internals of the control panel to manually switch DHCP on and off when switching between the Internet router and the ad-hoc network.

Edited 2010-10-25 12:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: .
by Icaria on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE: ."
Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

No, there's compulsory hardware buttons like the back button and the 'start' button. The problem with hw keyboards is the OS/apps have inconsistent support for landscape mode. That's why the 7 phones mostly have Pre-style bottom keyboards.

And if Win 7 proper is a 'step forward', it's not a very big one. It's an incremental improvement over Vista but it still provides an incredibly anaemic and unfriendly user environment. One release after they introduced HW accelerated compositing, they think to include a full-screen zoom feature (which is easily the best argument for compositing to begin with) but of course, they do a horrible job of it. They decided that OSX's dock was just broken enough that it deserved to be ported to Windows. They added that god-awful dynamic tiling with aero snap, yet windows still don't exhibit basic intuitive behaviour, like edge resistance when one window passes over another, or reaches the edge of the screen. They still haven't fixed the mess that is the start menu and the control panel and no, search is a poor substitute for a tidy layout. They've further muddied UI concepts by allowing apps to hide functionality in their taskbar entries: just as you thought they were clamping down on systray abuse, they merely decide to move it to another components of the UI that should be agnostic and provide only consistent, higher-level functionality. And of course, just as people were coming to grips with Vista's ridiculous mishmash of titlebars, menubars, toolbars and all the composites thereof, the Windows devs submit to the Office devs and decide to copy the ribbon widgets over to Win 7. /offtopic rant

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: .
by kaiwai on Sun 24th Oct 2010 01:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

No, there's compulsory hardware buttons like the back button and the 'start' button. The problem with hw keyboards is the OS/apps have inconsistent support for landscape mode. That's why the 7 phones mostly have Pre-style bottom keyboards.


Is that the result of Microsoft or the application vendors themselves? Has Microsoft taken on handling the orientation of the device and how Applications adjust to it or is each application dependent on the developer doing the right thing? its one aspect of Mac OS X that I appreciate, Apple automate a lot of stuff and encourage developers to use those high level API's instead of 'going it alone' and re-inventing the wheel. The I/O Kit being the best example where developers automatically inheret a whole heap of features without needing to even think about it such as power management and not having to duplicate common code found in all drivers.

And if Win 7 proper is a 'step forward', it's not a very big one. It's an incremental improvement over Vista but it still provides an incredibly anaemic and unfriendly user environment. One release after they introduced HW accelerated compositing, they think to include a full-screen zoom feature (which is easily the best argument for compositing to begin with) but of course, they do a horrible job of it.


What I think is even more horrible is they develop Direct2D/DirectWrite and yet not a single component of Windows 7 actually uses these new API's. One thing Apple does well - they're always dogfooding their own API's so that they reflect real life scenarios rather than 'white board hypotheticals' that barely resemble reality. One could argue that they limited time and had to focus on addressing the immediate concerns before moving onto those issues you talked about - even Windows 7 developers have acknowledge that there was a list of things they wanted to fix up but a limited amount of time and resources they had to address it in a single release.

They decided that OSX's dock was just broken enough that it deserved to be ported to Windows.


What is wrong with dock? I can't understand all this hate of the dock? most of it by people who can't be bothered actually learning how to use it properly. I have a single application with multiple windows, I right click on the icon in the dock and select from the menu which one I wish to bring forward, what is so difficult about that? I'd love to know exactly what is broken about it because it seems to be like 'the cool thing to do' to bash the dock but give no specifics why outside of a few niche scenarios that most users will never come across.

They added that god-awful dynamic tiling with aero snap, yet windows still don't exhibit basic intuitive behaviour, like edge resistance when one window passes over another, or reaches the edge of the screen. They still haven't fixed the mess that is the start menu and the control panel and no, search is a poor substitute for a tidy layout. They've further muddied UI concepts by allowing apps to hide functionality in their taskbar entries: just as you thought they were clamping down on systray abuse, they merely decide to move it to another components of the UI that should be agnostic and provide only consistent, higher-level functionality. And of course, just as people were coming to grips with Vista's ridiculous mishmash of titlebars, menubars, toolbars and all the composites thereof, the Windows devs submit to the Office devs and decide to copy the ribbon widgets over to Win 7. /offtopic rant [/q]

Those problems are related to Windows in general rather than windows 7 - as I have noted in the past, what I'd love to see is someone take the IRIX Indigo desktop, modernise it but keep the same lay out and it would be a great UI. The problem is what is required for Windows would require such a radical change I don't think the customer base would be willing to stomach the change - we've got idiots here who crapped on about the 'super bar' being a 'sell out' to Mac OS X - yes, mature adults on this forum saying such utter crap and such views actually being given respect. It confuses me when such discussions take place but what can one do other than moan and groan over a cup of tea?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: .
by Icaria on Sun 24th Oct 2010 05:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ."
Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

Is that the result of Microsoft or the application vendors themselves?
MS, read the Ars review.

its one aspect of Mac OS X that I appreciate, Apple automate a lot of stuff and encourage developers to use those high level API's instead of 'going it alone' and re-inventing the wheel.
Which is why hw accelerated flash was such a hard slog? And despite the immediate oversights with things such as Direct2D perhaps not having happened, I frankly don't see the need to 'dog food' your own APIs. If it ain't broke, don't fix it and lets face it: Paint not using Direct2D and Wordpad not using DirectWrite is the least of Windows' problems.

Nitpick time:
What is wrong with dock?
That's a question.
I can't understand all this hate of the dock?
That is not.

And the dock is horribly designed: it doesn't scale well if you do use it as a launcher; doesn't distinguish between launchers and running apps; the icons are abstract and meaningless to anyone who isn't intimately familiar with the icons, or aren't adept at storing bitmaps in their brains; text tooltips, like taskbar thumbnails in Vista/7/Compiz/Kwin, only appear for the currently selected item, which defeats the purpose since it assumes you've already found the item you want, else it would display them for all dock/tasklist entries; over time, Apple have gone about adding all kinds of exceptional behaviour for dock items, as if it weren't already ad hoc enough and last but not least, just like Windows, KDE, Gnome, Xfce, CDE, etc, they've put it at the bottom of the screen by default, which is entirely inconsistent with the visual hierarchy of any desktop environment* you can name. As for the dock condensing multiple windows into a single icon, I dare say Win 7 does a better job of it (although I despise this behaviour in general), although this basic behabviour has been present since XP; if you didn't encounter it, it was probably because the OEM disabled it.

*explicitly making the distinction between 'desktop' and phone environments: touch screens warrant flipping the UI paradigm upside down, else your hand would obscure the screen, plus it's more difficult to reach the top of the screen when only using one hand.

we've got idiots here who crapped on about the 'super bar' being a 'sell out' to Mac OS X - yes, mature adults on this forum saying such utter crap and such views actually being given respect.
You know damn well that wasn't the point of my criticism, don't be a douchebag. Ripping off good ideas is second best only to having your own good ideas, while ripping off demonstrably bad ones is worse than coming up with your own and having it fail. In many cases, it's better that you do rip off someone else, than be different for the hell of it and create something mediocre; I wish MS ripped off Compiz's Full-screen zoom, instead of creating that rigid push-model panning mess they call full-screen zoom. As it is, they did rip off something from Compiz: the interactive thumbnails for condensed taskbar entries I mentioned earlier and by Jove, they did a better job of it than Compiz's Group/Tile plugin.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: .
by Neolander on Sun 24th Oct 2010 06:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

No, there's compulsory hardware buttons like the back button and the 'start' button. The problem with hw keyboards is the OS/apps have inconsistent support for landscape mode. That's why the 7 phones mostly have Pre-style bottom keyboards.

And what's the problem with that exactly ?

The precise reason why I hate those wide screens they put on laptops now is that most of my everyday tasks require screens to be tall rather than wide. Everything which involves some form of list and large amounts of text, in fact.

For text, the reason is obvious : the wider the screen, the bigger the eye strain, so I end up always wasting up space on the sides of my screen, either because I resize windows to reduce their width or because some nice web developer did the job for me by putting a maximal width in his CSSs.

For lists, one has to make a distinction between usual, uni-dimensional lists, and bi-dimensional lists (or "grids"). For grids, it's the same eyestrain problem as with text. For usual lists, it's just a matter of wasting space : since list items have a well-defined height, you can only read x list items before scrolling, where x is dependent on the height (and not the width) of the screen.

Apple did not make the core of iOS portrait mode-friendly just for the fun of annoying landscape fans, it's just that portrait is the most useful screen layout in most cases.

Landscape mode is good for videos and games, granted, but in those areas it's available on WP7 afaik.

Edited 2010-10-24 06:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: .
by Icaria on Sun 24th Oct 2010 07:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ."
Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

So let me see if I've got this straight.

1. Portrait is good for some uses.
2. Landscape is good for some uses.
3. Based upon premises 1 and 2, it's therefore okay for 7 Phone to provide second-rate landscape support?

As for your wide screen laptop, if you feel compelled to maximise every window, there's really nothing left to say.

Although I agree with you about multi-column lists. I really wish more apps supported a layout like the ls command, where you read down each column alphabetically, rather than zig-zagging across. I keep my thunar windows no more than 240 pixels wide to avoid the brain strain. Unfortunately, the Control Panel explorer window resizes itself the moment you enter on of it's configuration dialogues (or at least the ones that open in the same explorer window) and it provides no 'details' view mode, like normal explorer windows.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: .
by Neolander on Sun 24th Oct 2010 08:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: ."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

So let me see if I've got this straight.

1. Portrait is good for some uses.
2. Landscape is good for some uses.
3. Based upon premises 1 and 2, it's therefore okay for 7 Phone to provide second-rate landscape support?

Not quite...

1. Portrait is good for most uses.
2. Landscape is good for some uses.
3. Based upon premises 1 and 2, it's therefore okay for 7 Phone to provide second-rate landscape support, since an UI should always optimize the common case (my assumption being that you fundamentally can't make an UI good at both portrait and landscape modes, that at some point in designing the UI you have to favor either portrait or landscape mode in order to go further, or to introduce inconsistent behaviors depending if the phone is in one mode or the other)

As for your wide screen laptop, if you feel compelled to maximise every window, there's really nothing left to say.

The problem is not that, but rather that at equal diagonal size and encumbrance, a wide screen provides less height.

(By the way, Windows really should provide a way to vertically maximize windows, like Metacity and KWin have been doing for some time now.)

Edited 2010-10-24 08:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: .
by Icaria on Sun 24th Oct 2010 08:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: ."
Icaria Member since:
2010-06-19

since [a] UI should always optimize the common case
So if you've got a hw keyboard stuck out the side of your phone, that doesn't automatically become 'the common case'?

my assumption being that you fundamentally can't make an UI good at both portrait and landscape modes, that at some point in designing the UI you have to favor either portrait or landscape mode in order to go further, or to introduce inconsistent behaviors depending if the phone is in one mode or the other
Well, that's a pretty shitty assumption.

The problem is not that, but rather that at equal diagonal size and encumbrance, a wide screen provides less height.
Technically, you don't get equal diag measurements and encumbrance. The further away you move from a square screen, the smaller the area of the screen. As for a lack of vertical screen space, that only seems to be true for netbooks: they introduced 600-line monitors long after UI and web designers settled on 768 as the defacto minimum. As a stopgap, check out a little utility on source forge called winxmove. Winxmove, along with wizmouse/katmouse and tweakUI/Aero's sloppy focus feature almost make Windows usable.

As for vertical maximise, even without the myriad alt shells out there, you can do that with 7: place the mouse cursor near the top border of a window, wait 'til the icon changes, then double click. It's silly and not very discoverable (I only found out by reading about it) but it is there.

Reply Score: 1

Wrong version
by GStepper on Mon 25th Oct 2010 10:14 UTC
GStepper
Member since:
2006-03-08

"great piece of software for a 1.0 release"
- Hmm, it's a 7.0 realease...

Reply Score: 2