Every once in a while, I read an “article” covering the technology world that just astounds me. Yesterday, the New York Times published “A Window of Opportunity for Macs, Soon to Close,” which is one such article. The article begins with:
If you’re the owner of a Windows PC who is looking for a replacement computer, the choices are grim. You can step into the world of hurt that is Vista, the latest version of Microsoft Windows that was released in January. Or you can seek out a new machine that still comes loaded with the comparatively ancient Windows XP.
The “world of hurt that is Vista?” I’ve been using Vista on my Fujitsu laptop since last September, and Andrea and I just purchased a new Toshiba laptop for her with Vista last week. “World of hurt” is not what I would call the experience. While moving applications and settings to a new computer is always a time consuming process, something more like “complete pleasure” would describe the Vista experience better. I’ve never had a better out of the box experience than with the new Toshiba that we purchased last week. Now both of the machines we are running Vista on are stated as being Vista ready by the manufacturer, but everything on these machines works exactly as advertised. On my Fujitsu laptop, I still have a dual boot setup with Windows XP, but I haven’t even been tempted to boot into XP since I switched over.
Yes, Windows Vista is different than the Windows XP that you’re used to. Different is clearly scary to reporters like Mr. Stross. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend upgrading a system unless you can verify that there are Vista compatible drivers for every single piece of hardware that you use. If you think that migrating all of your software to a new machine running Vista is a “world of hurt,” migrating to a different system architecture like a Mac will open a whole new dimension of hurt because your Windows peripherals likely won’t work with a Mac and you will have to purchase new versions of every single software package that you own, if they’re even made for a Mac.
While I would be very hesitant to upgrade an exisiting Windows XP machine to Vista, I would have no reservations at all about buying a new computer preloaded with Windows Vista. Vista is miles ahead of XP in security and all around user experience. If you are ready to try a Mac, then by all means, try a Mac, but be careful about what sources you read if you’re looking for a truthful account of what switching operating systems, be it a new version of Windows or switching to a Mac, will actually mean to you.