Now that we're past the one month anniversary of our forced-march upgrade from XP to Vista here at the IW offices, I'm faced with one inescapable fact -- I am very pleased with my Windows Vista Enterprise edition operating system.
There, I said it.
As a business technology writer, Microsoft is one of those companies quite often in my sights, and those of you who read this blog know by now that I have disagreed with many a Microsoft move (having given Bill Gates & Co. a hard time here, here and here. And here.) But that aside, I consider myself an honest and fair broker, and give the Redmondians their due when due (like here and here, to name just a few).
I'm about to do it again, so if you're one of those who think that Apple can do no wrong, and Microsoft can do no right, you might as well stop reading.
Here we go. I am very satisfied by Vista, both feature- and performance-wise. Certain features (some available only in Enterprise edition, mind you) have me totally geeked, such as the 3-D visual application browsing capability, and the expanded taskbar and search options. Others are a little more annoying, although perfectly understandable (improved security and administrative functions) in this day/age of global bots and zero-day exploits. Contrary to all the bad reviews I've read, I've had no trouble with long boot-ups, and just like any OS, once you figure out your way around it (and tweak it to your specs -- yes, I have admin privileges), Vista has become the new routine.
Just FYI, I've also found that some of my older devices (such as my Olympus digital recorder and my io digital pen) haven't provided updated drivers on their device tech support pages, which although annoying, has provided me the impetus for a much-needed personal hardware refresh (although giving up the digital pen is going to hurt).
And as for Office 2007? Love it. LOVE IT.
I can't say enough good things about this much- needed upgrade to the office suite. The ribbon and I became fast friends, and the expanded search ability in Outlook has already saved me hours of time. I've now customized my "quick access toolbar" for Word and Outlook so that it closely resembles my Mozilla Firefox browser (i.e., probably way overfull, but well-stocked with all the things that I need to access quickly with one mouse click close at hand).
So now, having run Vista and Office 2007 for more than a month, and customized the interfaces to my heart's content, I wouldn't even consider going back to the perfectly functional yet comparatively skeletal XP. (And this is from a guy who kicked/screamed against the upgrade, and dragged heels all the way though the upgrade process.)
And I'm not alone in loving MSFT right now. Although I can't say that the satisfaction rate around here is 100%, I know from my friends in IT that such firmwide upgrades aren't anywhere near that rate, ever, and I've heard positive reports (and almost no weeping/gnashing/crying from the cubes).
To be fair, much of the credit is due to our company making the capital investment to upgrade hardware (all our new Dell laptops are truly Vista-capable) and having an IT team willing to camp out on-site for a week or two to get us over the hump.
So, while it's not a grand slam, it's still a couple of RBIs on my stat sheet.
I'll state it for the record: At this point in the process, in my humble opinion, Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 are definitely worth the pain of upgrade.
If you don't believe me, check out this Gartner report (as reported on CNet). What these noted and rarefied analyst types are saying is that large enterprises probably shouldn't try to skip the Vista product cycle and wait for the upcoming Windows 7, for as everyone paying attention knows by now, when you're talking about Microsoft's buggy product launch schedule, the term "upcoming release" is a dangerously unstable concept.
Although on the bright side, that fact alone should keep me in blog post topics for a long, long time...