Monday, January 29, 2007

The Macification of Windows: Vista vs. OSX

Here I will be looking at Windows new, much more user friendly, Vista release which will be available as of midnight tonight. And even though we know we're all going to go out and buy it, I wanted to look at what Microsoft themselves are outlining as the top reasons why we should have it now (100 reasons you'll be speechless), and how we could have had this 2 years ago if we had chosen Mac OSX (Note: traditionally I am a "mac" guy, though through the course of my day I spend most of my time on a PC. I must say though, I am really happy for all of you PC folk who get to experience an OS that is finally all about you.)

1. It makes using your PC a breeze

In Microsoft's description of the breezy use of your PC, they mention search on the fly, Windows Aero and Windows Flip 3DA. Well, in the order they are mentioned above, the mac has had
Spotlight since its Tiger release, which searches the entire system as you type, delivering results before you've even finished typing your query.

Windows Aero is just another way to say Aqua, Apples smooth, Unix based user interface which has been in place since the first release of OSX.

As for Windows Flip 3DA, a function that allows you to see everything you're working on at a glance, Apple perfected this with their feature called Expose (seen right), which, either at the press of a hotkey or by sending your mouse pointer to the top corner of the screen, displays every active window instantly on the desktop small enough that you can view them all, allowing you to choose any of the open applications to visit (also instantly).

2. Because all of your music is just a remote control click away
Okay.. the iMac contains a feature called FrontRow, allowing you to control not just your music through iTunes, but your photos (through iPhoto), existing movies on your computer (even those made through iMovie), or a DVD. Yes, all using a remote control. You can also connect this media through your television using the new Apple TV box (for Mac and PC) or if you only feel the need to stream your music to your Home Stereo system, an Airport Express will gladly feed your iTunes through those speakers you spent oh so much money on a few years ago, before you bought your laptop.

3. It's the safest version of Windows ever
Okay, when was the last time you heard of a killer Mac virus or security breach. Not to say that it isn't possible, but there is considerable security set up on every Mac out of the box.
All the communication ports are closed and all native services are turned off by default, and the average user would never even notice. If you are extremely concerned about certain content on your computer, Apple has even gone so far as to include FileVault in the standard OS, which uses the latest government security standard, AES-128 encryption, to safeguard your hard work. It encrypts and decrypts on the fly, so you don’t even know it’s happening.

As far as parental controls go, Apple has an extremely dynamic set of tools to set the limits on internet sites, ichat buddies, application accessibility and anything else you can think of that you know your kids can get into! Here is a great demo.

4. See your world in a whole new light
See answer 1. It's funny how Aero made it into the top 10 (of 100) twice. See Aqua by Apple.

5. It can find your stuff
Oh boy, turns out, it's more than just Aqua being repeated. See question 1. Apple's Spotlight application finds anything and everything on your system instantly.

6. Because you're always on the run
This is a funny one, as it appears to include the use of portable devices separate from your actual system.. but sure, I'll speak to it.

Okay, keeping your PC and portable devices up to date is an essential feature for todays professional, however, it is not exclusive to Windows Vista. All of the main providers of portable devices have included the Mac market, including Blackberry and Palm, meaning that ensuring your data is synched to the right location is a snap. And with the introduction of the iPhone, Apple has once again surpassed the expectations and capabilities of its competitors by including almost an entire system on one simple, feature packed device.

And as for the Tablet, that one we'll have to give to you PC. Although I'm not sure how much of an accomplishment that is as the market for the Tablets is still considerably small.


7. Because you can freeze time
One word... iPhoto. Personally, I have thousands of photos archived in my library, by date,
keyword, rating, or any other label i choose. Not only that, but iPhoto will literally recognize almost any digital camera on the market without you having to install any third party applications. Google's Picasa has come a long way towards this, but this has been standard for years on Apples now.

8. Your PC can take care of itself
Apple believes in preparing a product proactively. There are diagnostic applications available indeed, Disk First Aid etc., but the released versions of OSX have been rigorously tested, and whenever there are updates to be installed, they can be run and installed in the background automatically. No fuss, no muss.

9. Unchain your mobile PC
So, a wireless network then? Okay... Thanks Vista! I've been waiting forever to be able to run my laptop from my living room without having to drag the wires all the way from upstairs.

Number 9? Really?


10. Surf more safely
And, ending on a repeat note... See question 3.
But in addition to that, the built-in personal firewall for OSX protects your computer from unauthorized access by monitoring all incoming network traffic, and if you use stealth mode, your Mac won’t even acknowledge its existence to people scanning for machines to attack. Seems pretty secure to me.

Okay, well, that's the Top 10 Reasons You'll Be Speechless, addressed from a Mac perspective. Those of us that are Mac users have been happily satisfied with our daily user experience, proud to share it with anyone that would listen. And it appears that we've been listened to, maybe not actively, as not many PC users will admit to wanting more, but they do appear to be sending the Vista developers the Apple website address as a blueprint for what they've been hearing about.

Now, this is not to take away anything from Vista itself. Microsoft appears to have created an operating system that really puts the user at the forefront. This was long overdue, and not a small feat, and preliminary reports indicate that it will be a success.

Just ensure that Vista wins you over by the experience it provides from here on out, not by the sheer amount of advertising and marketing dollars they intend to spend in order to prove to you that this is revolutionary and that no one has ever created an operating system so fluid and user-centric before. Because this is simply not true.

8 comments:

Marina G said...

Hmm, now I get to play the dorky PC for a while. Tell me how I tell a Mac what my favorite TV shows are and have it record them for me to watch later at my convenience. Oh, and I forgot to mention that my favorite show got rescheduled to a later time due to hockey overtime.

Is that "Advantage" PC?

Cory Bates said...

Ah ha.. well, AppleTV is a step in that direction for Apple, in that it will allow you to transmit movies, TV shows, music etc. from your computer wirelessly to your television. However, Elgato Systems already ships the hardware that is compatible with OSX and runs a scheduling software called EyeTV (ironic, since the original name of AppleTV was to be iTV). There is a good post about this here under the header Oh Eye Sea You Ar! One Two.

Back to you Marina!

Marina G said...

Hi Cory, great comeback. You are just like the hip, but yet very annoying, mac guy! But seriously, this is a great product but don't we live in Canada, eh? Doesn't look like you can get a Canadian TV guide from Elgato.

Cory Bates said...

Well, yes.. I suppose that is something of an issue. I have a friend in Vancouver who uses this same system, and he loves it, the only issue he found with it is this. But he ended up using the closest TV listings from the States, where the major networks are the same.

There are workarounds for us Canadians, not as automatic, but that still do the trick.

Lowell said...

1.Windows Aero is just another way to say Aqua, Apples smooth, Unix based user interface which has been in place since the first release of OSX.

OS X's Aqua interface is not a Unix based UI. Unix is ugly, unless you like text. Sure, since the coding for the UI comes from the foundation of the OS, ultimately Aqua is Unix written, but definately not a Unix interface.

2. Because all of your music is just a remote control click away
Okay.. the iMac contains a feature called FrontRow, allowing you to control not just your music through iTunes, but your photos (through iPhoto), existing movies on your computer (even those made through iMovie), or a DVD. Yes, all using a remote control. You can also connect this media through your television using the new Apple TV box (for Mac and PC) or if you only feel the need to stream your music to your Home Stereo system, an Airport Express will gladly feed your iTunes through those speakers you spent oh so much money on a few years ago, before you bought your laptop.


Windows Media Center came first, and unfortunately for us Mac users, is years ahead of both Front Row and Apple TV.


3. It's the safest version of Windows ever
Okay, when was the last time you heard of a killer Mac virus or security breach. Not to say that it isn't possible, but there is considerable security set up on every Mac out of the box.


The reason those virus writers don't write viruses or worms for OS X is because we're thankfully irrelevant in the business world. If enough large corporations switch to OS X, where their 'works' can cause enough damage, you can bet we'll need all the help we can get.

As for security breaches, there's a site that tracks them, but no one cares because 5% market penetration isn't worth the effort.

5.It can find your stuff
Oh boy, turns out, it's more than just Aqua being repeated. See question 1. Apple's Spotlight application finds anything and everything on your system instantly.


Spotlight won't/ can't dig through my system folders. Or yours.

6. Not sure of the point you were trying to make there.

7. I don't like iPhoto's organizational scheme. What would you recommend as an alternative?

8. 8. Your PC can take care of itself
Apple believes in preparing a product proactively. There are diagnostic applications available indeed, Disk First Aid etc., but the released versions of OSX have been rigorously tested, and whenever there are updates to be installed, they can be run and installed in the background automatically. No fuss, no muss.


Say Hi to Windows Update. As you say, no fuss, no muss.

9. Unchain your mobile PC

You can't possibly be insinuating that Apple invented wireless networking.. Right? hehe

10. Surf more safely
And, ending on a repeat note... See question 3. But in addition to that, the built-in personal firewall for OSX protects your computer from unauthorized access by monitoring all incoming network traffic, and if you use stealth mode, your Mac won’t even acknowledge its existence to people scanning for machines to attack. Seems pretty secure to me.


Windows has had a built in firewall since Windows XP SP2. I believe that the majority of security concerns within Windows is a result of malicious social engineering. Malware that purport to be system services are installed by an unknowing user. Since Windows commands well over 90% of the entire PC install base, all malware is written in Windows code.

I'm a very happy Mac user. I use my Powerbook for internet and other daily type stuff, my PowerMac G5 for making music. Microsoft has done an incredible job with Windows Media Center, and with it's connectabilty to my Xbox 360, well, Microsoft owns my living room. I have no problem with that, I can recognize a great product when I see one.

As for 'preliminary' studies showing Vista will do well, of course it will! LOL. There won't be the sort of upgrade frenzy that there was for Windows 95, but PC makers aren't going to preload XP forever.

Jane said...

@marina: I can set up any of my computers (read: almost any OS) to download hdtv/dsr rips of most shows. Much nicer to do that than to use my computer to rip shows, or rely on the mythbox i have and don't use, because i can get the tv shows way faster my way :)

Cory Bates said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cory Bates said...

Lowell, thank you for the discussion! All good points, and no, i wasn't insinuating that Apple invented wireless networking - I was insinuating that it seems like a strange reason to be in the top 10 for those wanting to buy or upgrade to Vista, since wireless networking is so commonplace now.

And an alternative to iPhoto? Hmmm, I've been using Picasa a bit lately on my pc, and they have web albums, but not a stand alone application for the mac. I'm not sure Lowell, but if you do find something, do let me know, I'm always willing to try something new out!

Thanks again Lowell