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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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 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: .
by Neolander on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 12:50 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: .
by Icaria on Sat 23rd Oct 2010 13:16 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 Parent Score: 1