Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hasta la Vista!

I consider myself a computer tools junkie. I detest inefficient tools, broken processes or complicated steps with just too many clicks. I am always on the look out to try a new and more efficient method or tool and consider myself very much up to speed on the multiple useful (and no so useful) tools from Apple, Yahoo, Google, 37 signals and similar companies. An exception to this must be the $200+ mobile devices, which I consider too expensive for their functionality. I have no idea about Treo, Palm nor BlackBerry.

Since efficient and interoperable tools and Microsoft do not go together very well in one sentence, I hadn't paid much attentention to Microsoft Vista and Office 2007. Yes, I knew they were delayed, but that is hardly news from Redmond. In Barron's this week, I read an article about the financial impact of both products on Microsoft, as well as a summary of the new features. Let's run down the new features of Microsoft Vista 2007: (ha!)
  1. Security: Windows moves from 'the user is the administrator' to 'you need a password to be administrator'. This is touted as an example of Microsoft being serious about security. Unix - 1969. More modern and more secure operating systems have already moved away from the all-none user security status. For example, Solaris 10 introduced two years ago Process Rights Management (aka Privileges), a feature it imported from Trusted Solaris, a military grade version of the operating system. There is no 'god' in the system. And users and programs need the correct privilege to execute an operation.
  2. Vista embeds search. MacOS X Spotlight 2005. Google Desktop Search.
  3. Vista introduces a sidebar with widgets. MacOS X Dashboard 2005. Konfabulator, now part of Yahoo Widgets.
  4. Microsoft Vista introduces parental controls, a feature AOL and MacOS X provide for several years.
  5. Microsoft media will be able to handle high-definition video. Apple Quicktime 7 2005.
  6. Internet explorer introduces tabbed browsing. No kidding.
  7. Outlook will include an RSS reader. Thunderbird, MacOS X Safari 2005.
Balmer summed it up best:
"But what have we had in terms of innovation over the last few years? Frankly, as an industry, not all that much."
Wow, I rest my case.

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