Get it right the first time, part 2
This was a post over at dbmini.us earlier this week about work not being right on the first visit. I wanted to make a few more remarks about this, but since they aren’t MINI related, here we are.
Have any of you used Windows Vista? Specifically, Windows Vista on any computer with only 2GB of RAM? I have and every time I do I keep asking myself the same question.
How could anyone think this was acceptable?
Windows Vista on underpowered machines is completely not useable. The system is unbelievably unstable and so slow it’s painful. For example, when trying to start Internet Explorer, it goes through a series of crashes until, about 5 minutes later, it settles down and then 3 minutes after that you see your home page.
When opening the Control Panel, it will also go through a series of crashes while drawing the icons. Trying to go into any of the CP applets is equally harrowing, with screens not drawing and the applet sometimes crashing.
Same goes when trying to close any program, especially Internet Explorer or any of the Control Panel applets. Most of the time they do crash and the only recovery is restarting the machine, which is another 10 minute ordeal.
Somewhere in the halls of Redmond (Or Austin – Dell is the biggest culprit here), there is a fellow in a room whose job it is to Q/A these kinds of things. I would imagine this fellow makes a good dollar or two in wages, benefits and other perks that come with working for such companies. My question for this guy is how do these machines pass Q/A? How can anyone look at this and say “yep, she’s good to go”?.
Knowing this, how can computer companies spec out a PC that would be better suited running Win2K and then install Vista? Seriously, a Celeron Processor? 1GB of RAM (shared with the video card too). I know it’s all about the all mighty dollar, but what about user experience?
It’s no wonder why Apple costs more, or why we pay more. That Q/A fellow in Cupertino actually does his job, and cares about user experience. If you buy a bone stock Mac, it’s a configuration that is completely acceptable to use for most tasks that the average user will need to use it for.
The average bone stock PC, not so much. That machine, usually available from any big box retailer for around $300, will barely run Windows. Why even bother to sell such a machine? In selling a $300 computer, you create expectations by your users that the computer experience, while completely painful and almost impossible, is an inexpensive experience.
Time to retrain. Time to stop buying $300 PCs. Time for manufacturers to stop selling $300 PCs. Honestly.
If you, or any of your users, are in the market for a PC, I implore you to encourage them to skip the bargain basement machines. Tell them to save for a little bit longer to get a PC that they can use and use well. It should have at least 4GB of RAM, at least a 2Ghz Core2 processor (Intel or AMD) and it should cost at least $600, more if they opt for better video with at least 128MB of RAM.
Or, they should buy a Mac.
It’s time we, as the consumer, start demanding better out of companies that continually churn out crap that doesn’t work, doesn’t work as expected or is just garbage for the sake of a buck. Really, it’s time.
In reply to…
No Sunday post today. Instead, a reply to a post by Nathaniel Salzman concerning the new Microsoft ads and Microsoft in general. I would follow that link first before reading on.
Interesting. I haven’t seen the new ad yet, but at least it says Microsoft more than the quirky Seinfeld ads.
A terrible product and user experience: Their products are the Achilles heal Apple is shooting arrows through left and right
Sure it’s bad, but if you’ve been using Windows only since Win98/WinNT4 it’s really not. It’s what you know. When I switched to Apple, I was going crazy trying to figure out the things I did on Windows with a few keystrokes and still have a hard time with the crazy symbols.
Convoluted systems: The user must constantly adapt and relearn, rather than having a system built and adapted to them and what theyâ€™re trying to do.
I’ve been using Windows since 3.11 and I don’t remember constantly relearning or adapting to anything. If anything, the way applications act on Windows is way more consistent than on the Mac in some respects. And Windows has, essentially, worked exactly the same since Win95. Vista I’m sure is different, but not too much from what I have seen.
I will say the primary reason for my switching is I got tired of fiddling. I’m a fan of “It Just Works”.
Corporate inertia: When was the last time Microsoft did something truly new?
There is the Surface thing, which is promising. Too bad nobody is really pushing it or coming up with a cool use for it.
I’m in no way a Microsoft/Windows fan boy, but I have been using it for almost 20 years (and DOS before that). I haven’t used Vista yet, but I can say that Windows XP for 99% of it’s users is a great OS, very stable and (as long as they are running IE7), fairly secure.
One thing everyone seems to forget is that while Microsoft was booming with Windows 95/98, Apple had System 7/OS9. While I have heard System 7 was ok, I know from a little experience (and what I have heard) that OS9 was horrible. Microsoft had ME, but as long as your hardware supported it, it was as good as 98. Apple didn’t start getting praise until they released OS X on a wide scale. Before that, they were relegated to hobbyists, print shops and (I wish this would come back) education.
Windows has been around for a while. Crappy ads or not. People will continue to use it as long as that’s what they have in the office. Offices will continue to use it as long as they have software developers that can’t/won’t ditch DOS, IE6 or INI/batch files. And, as long as one can go to Best Buy/Walmart/[enter local electronics store here] and pick up a Windows PC for less than $500, it’s going to be here to stay.
To be honest, I almost didn’t switch. The community surrounding the Apple and it’s products (including the iPod) are a little to enthusiastic for my liking. But I was able to get past that and see the quality of the product, which then justified the price.
I prefer the Mac by a longshot and try to get others to switch every chance I get. You just can’t discount Microsoft because they don’t know how to sell themselves or do anything revolutionary.