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Archive for June, 2006

Windows Vista Beta 2

Today, I decided to try the public beta 2 of Windows Vista. Because the only system I had available for this, was an Athlon 1,33GHz-system with 768MB RAM and a GeForce 4 Ti4200 videocard, I decided to try the OS on this system.
The installation went fairly smoothly, certainly an improvement over the installation of previous Windows-versions, but the duration of the installation was a little long.
Unfortunately, my system appeared to be too slow in order to run Aero, which surprised me. The ‘System performance indicator’ said that my system performed ‘1’, which is the slowest possible number I assume, because ‘3’ indicated that every Windows Vista program should run on the system. The graphics of Vista are currently not very smoothly, with ugly borders (not antialiased for example). Apart from a few – in my opinion – small improvements, it was more an improved Windows XP than a radical new operation system. The Gadgeds (the MS equivalent for the Widgets in Mac OS X) are nice, but the Apple-implementation is done better. The improvements in Internet Explorer, the file explorer and the ‘start menu’ are good, but it was very difficult to make these parts of suck even more than in Windows XP.

Office 2007

While I was already beta-testing for Microsoft, I also decided to give Office 2007 beta 2 a try. While I did not try the new product very long, I have to say the improvements in Office are much more extensive than in Windows. The UI is definately improved over previous version of Office and it is easier to stay in control. I already discovered some strange behaviour while layouting a document, so probably the performance of Word is not really improved. I think has to really change in order to keep competing with Office 2007, because the user interface really sucks compared to Office 2007. In fact, the improvements Microsoft now made to Office 2007 could have made a lot earlier by open source products, because I think it is clear to someone who is a bit involved in usability, that current Office suites simply suck on this part. Apple mad some steps in the right direction with Pages, but because this program is only available on Mac OS X, not many people have used this application. Office 2007 has borrowed some stuff from pages, such as a more central role for styles – which is good.

Smart people

Today I read about a patch for X-Chat-gnome by David Trowbridge. He is using the HSV-colorspace for improving the readability of IRC-text. I think this is a very smart idea and wonder why anybody else didn’t come with such an idea. I think it may also be useful to use this technique for gnome-terminal, were the readability is sometimes also not very good when performing an SSH-session to a remote host.


Red Hat has introduced a new social community site called ‘Mugshot’. It’s not entirely clear to me what the goal of this project is, but I have got the feeling that it could be useful. Currently, it contains a thing called ‘Music radar’, which enables people to publish information about songs on their weblog or website.. I’m not sure what is new about this. Another feature is called Link Swarn, which enables people to discuss about weblinks. This is quite interesting I think. During my exploration of Mugshot, I came across this. I hope that this will not be the process a user has to go through in the final version, because it will be a nightmare for helpdesks and system administrators, because not any non-technical user will understand this behaviour. On the other hand, if it will be the case, there is a clear oportunity for other OS’ses like Mac OS X and Linux because the usability will be so much better, that even stupid users will see it (I hope).

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