...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Monday, October 01, 2007

My new Vista Experience.

About six months ago I bought a new Sony VAIO notebook -- latest Intel double-whatever chip inside. Came with Vista. Fresh and snazzy look, I said. Of course I was skeptical--or as they say in the UK, sceptical. I have come to believe I was right to be. My long-held belief has been confirmed by my user experience with Vista--that Microsoft has a whole division whose sole task is to slow down the latest Intel chip. I can't prove it, but this division must be Microsoft's most productive and efficient.

These double-something chips are supposed to be screamers. And yes, this machine and Vista are faster than XP was on my old merely-single-doodad HP. But is my Sony running as rapidly as it can with the weight of Vista to carry? I had a nagging doubt. Now I see that many true-blue MS customers are resisting buying new Vista PCs, and Microsoft, ever customer-responsive, has obliged by giving manufacturers six more months of selling XP equipped computers. I wonder how my VAIO would run XP? But what kind of havoc would I cause if I tried retrofitting it? I don't think I can do that. I'm alone here, a reasonably skilled user with no IT geek down the hall.

Well, I finally bit the bullet this morning. I'm a morning person--at my peak when I first get up. (I know, the rest of the day is downhill, but that's life.) I got an idea and went hunting in the Control Panel for those little option lists that let you turn features on or off. I found it. In System, under Advanced something or other, there was a Performance button, and another button under that, called Visual something. (Sorry, didn't write it down. Go explore.) There it all was, a dozen or more little boxes labeled Animate this or that, Slide this or that, Translucent and Transparent the other. And big buttons at the top, including Best Appearance and Best Performance. I chose Best Performance, hit Apply. The screen said Wait a moment, shuddered and zap! What was I looking at, but Windows 3.0. It was amazing. And was it fast! Wow!

So that was it all the time. I had turned the clock back. Microsoft's been improving the plumbing of Windows, of course, over the years. But mainly, as our President might say, Windows is what it is. And, as I've always known, the Division of Chip Speed Mitigation has grown into the biggest and most powerful arm of the corporation, wielding vast power at Microsoft, albeit not very quickly. They worked on Vista for what, seven years?

I have since gone back and found the System-Advanced-Performance menu again and restored some of the settings. I will play around with this newfound toy until I'm sure I have the Vista look and feel that I want and most of the speed I can get from my double-widget Intel computer. And I'll call Sony again about that funny whine in the hard drive on battery mode.

And, next time, I'm buying a Macbook.

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