Thursday, July 01, 2010

Windows shopping (updated)

I saw a big screenshot from a machine running Windows Seven, and I thought it looked very good, so I started considering getting an upgrade to my ol' Windows laptop I have for web site testing and occasional purposes. So I went to my friendly neighborhood PC World store, to go "Windows shopping".

On my way into the store, the Apple Laptops and other machines were closer, so I looked them over first, you just have to, it's such nice hardware.
A lot of interest in the iPad, I saw.

I got approached by a salesman, and I pulled myself away from the aluminium goodies, and asked to see a good high-end Windows machine. So we went and looked at those...

But man, the hardware, how it looked on all the Windows machines! I just couldn't bear it, they are so ugly. Even the most expensive machine they had (about £1100, $1600), a large Sony Vaio*, in its big, faux-silver-plastic majesty, just repelled me. I looked over all the various Wintel machines they had, both laptops and desktops, and none of them attracted me at all. Plasticky, button-y, thrown-together... there seemed to be no wholeness in the design considerations. (By the way, not all plastic is equally "plasticky"... Apple's entry-level MacBook (without the Pro) model is still white plastic, and it looks gorgeous. But then I'll bet that's a different grade of plastic.)

This is not an anti-Windows thing, like I said I very much liked the looks of the OS itself in most recent incarnation, and they say it's good to use. But unless I need the machine urgently, I want to find one where the hardware is equally pleasant to me.

Hmm... maybe I'll just combine 'em, and install Win7 on my iMac or get a MacBook Pro for it. Testers do say that due to the Intel chip, it runs as fast on Macs as it does on PCs.

Update: I did it. Just went to the shop and paid overprice for WinHomePremium, and installed it via the built-in "bootcamp" feature, on my iMac. (My secondary computer, I mainly use a MacPro.)  Went flawlessly, and took less than half an hour. So far I haven't used it much, but it looks very pretty on the big iMac screen, way better than olden-times Windows. And just this fact alone: the desktop is not strewn with friggin icons!! Gotta love that.  Just goes to show that they do listen... it only takes a couple of decades.

Update: I must say, the Win-terface is really improved.  It feels logical, and it's beautiful, the way the windows look and move and so on, I actually feel, for once, that Apple could learn something here, very little has changed in the OS X look at feel over these ten years.
It might be a little frivolous, but for example I like how, if I try to drag a window down so it collides with the Dock, sorry, the Task Bar, then there is a little, tastefully animated "explosion" bubble, which shows there's a conflict. And if I force the matter, I can push the window behind the Task Bar, but it gets blurry like the Task Bar is translucent. I might get tired of such cutenesses, I don't know, but right now they seem nice.
I like the way that windows corners buttons softly light up in different colors when you approach them. It's pretty and it tell you clearly what you're about to do. Apple's round buttons get a little cross in them, it's less clear, and sometimes the botton doesn't actually work even though the cross is activated, a clear flaw.
(No, I'll probably not change platform, I'm just amazed I can find so many things to like about the new Windows.)

BTW, the machine is nagging me to urgently buy some virus software. What do you recommend? 

* I can't find a picture of that model. Those I do find pictures of look better, but I'm not sure if that's just the picture.


Jan said...

PC cases indeed tend to be fugly. But you assemble a PC with the case of your choice (or have someone do it for you).

A friend of mine owns this expensive beauty:

I decided not to splurge and got this plainer one that goes well with my black minimalist HP display:

Jan said...

"you assemble" = "you can assemble"

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, the first one is interesting, I blogged it at one point. Not exactly discreet, but good looking, and certainly not lazily designed.

Philocalist said...

Asking for a recommendation for AV software: I'd definitely give some serious consideration to VIPRE. It's extremly effective, and runs unobtrusively without taking up masses of resources ... things that cannot be said fir many of the other big names.
On the odd occasion I've needed tech support or advice, they've been astoundingly quick (and accurate) in response to email, and have a knowledgable 'live chat' facility available most of the time.
Very well priced, they also frequently run some great offers on upgrades / renewals.
They are also the ONLY company I have been happy enough with to stick with for more than 12 months, having just re-newed for a third year after less than positive experiences with the likes of Norton etc.
Shop around, I seem to recall seeing a very good 'special' from them online recently!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanky muchie.

John said...

Norton Internet Security 2010 is totally "out of your face", and highly rated. Too bad some past iterations of NIS have creaed so many skeptics.

Philocalist said...

Hmmm ... Norton WAS a major problem, so much so that I give it a wide berth now, though it may well have improved.
However, I'm a firm advocate of the maxim 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', particularly when it comes to AV software, which seems to look after me well, complete with anti spyware and firewall

Timo Lehtinen said...

Windows is what happens when you take a terrible O/S design (VMS) and rewrite it not with the intention of fixing the flaws, but instead try to cover them up with entirely new design flaws.

BTW, my prediction is that Windows 7 will end up being the last version of this product. The rumored Windows 8 will never see the light of day.

In this sense now, if ever, is a good time to buy a Windows license. No need to upgrade, ever.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

That's a remarkable prediction, TTL. It seems something very dramatic has to happen for MS to give up on one of their major income streams.

ganesha games said...

I use Avira antiVir and it never gave me a problem, and it's free. It only has an annoying pop up once per day which can removed by buying a license. But for my daily activities, that's not even required.

Timo Lehtinen said...

That's a remarkable prediction, TTL.

It's an easy call. The product is broken beyond repair. They are unable to introduce any new features (for example, they planned to introduce a new file system in Vista, but had to roll back).

Both Vista and version 7 were mere cosmetic updates. Corporate customers are not going to fall for that anymore. MS needs to come up with something of substance next time. Which they will attempt, at first, but will raise their hands soon thereafter.

Windows 7 will no doubt get many patches, as usual. But eventually the product will simply be retired.

By “product”, I am referring to the current code base, originally known as Windows NT. If they introduce a new operating system and again choose to call it Windows something, that doesn't apply, of course.

Bruce said...

IN the past few years, Microsoft has started making an Andi-Virus product. It's not the best, but it's pretty good. It is easy to install, and easy to keep up to date. And it's free. It's called Microsoft Security Essentials.

I use it and recommend it for most people. Not great, but good enough.