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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RE[3]: .
by kaiwai on Sun 24th Oct 2010 01:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ."
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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.

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