The Merlin Show
Merlin seems like a nice guy, so I'm going to give The Merlin Show a few episodes to grow on me. No way it could ever replace The Show with Ze Frank in my heart, but it's not trying to. Let's see where this goes.
Film, technology, fun.
[Vista] does benefit from a lot of good ideas, many of them Apple's, of course, but good nevertheless. It simply doesn't work very well, unfortunately. There are serious problems with execution; it's not polished; it's not ready. It should not be on the market, and certainly not for the outrageous prices being charged. Don't buy it, at least until after the first service pack is out. Don't pay to be a beta tester.Review by Thomas Green in the Register.
If the description so far makes Vista sound a lot like the Macintosh, well, you're right. You get the feeling that Microsoft's managers put Mac OS X on an easel and told the programmers, ''Copy that.''
. . .
And then there's that Sidebar, the floating layer of mini-programs. If you close one of the gadgets, you lose its contents forever: your notes in the Post-it Notes gadget, your stock portfolio in the Stocks gadget, and so on. You couldn't save them if you wanted to. How could Microsoft have missed that one.
- David Pogue, The New York Times
. . . while Vista has eased some of the burden on users imposed by the Windows security crisis, it will still force you to spend more time managing the computer than I believe people should have to devote.
. . .
Many of the boldest plans for Vista were discarded in that lengthy process. What’s left is a worthy, but largely unexciting, product.
- Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street JournalFrom a bit lower down the journalistic food chain come comments like these.
Regardless of widespread skepticism, I was confident that Vista would dazzle me, and I looked forward to saying so in print. Ironically, playing around with Vista for more than a month has done what years of experience and exhortations from Mac-loving friends could not: it has converted me into a Mac fan.
- Erika Jonietz, MIT Technology Review
Perhaps we're spoiled, but after more than five years of development, there's a definite "Is that all?" feeling about Windows Vista. Like cramming an info-dump into a book report the night before it's due, there certainly are a lot of individual features within the operating system, but the real value lies in their execution--how the user experiences (or doesn't experience) these--and like the info-dump, we came away shaking our heads, disappointed.
- Robert Vamosi, CNETAnd finally, my favorite of the bunch, Stephen Manes' review in Forbes magazine. The reviews from Mossberg and Pogue left me thinking that no major print publication would come out stridently against the new OS, but Manes proved me wrong.
Windows Vista: more than five years in the making, more than 50 million lines of code. The result? A vista slightly more inspiring than the one over the town dump. The new slogan is: "The 'Wow' Starts Now," and Microsoft touts new features, many filched shamelessly from Apple's Macintosh. But as with every previous version, there's no wow here, not even in ironic quotes. Vista is at best mildly annoying and at worst makes you want to rush to Redmond, Wash. and rip somebody's liver out.Manes goes on for pages, dropping gems like this one along the way:
Vista is a fading theme park with a few new rides, lots of patched-up old ones and bored kids in desperate need of adult supervision running things. If I can find plenty of problems in a matter of hours, why can't Microsoft? Most likely answer: It did--and it doesn't care.
Should you upgrade your current machine? Are you nuts? Upgrading is almost always a royal pain.But Forbes isn't done there. A few days later Bruce Schneier wrote on the Forbes site about Vista's built-in digital rights management features.
Windows Vista includes an array of "features" that you don't want. These features will make your computer less reliable and less secure. They'll make your computer less stable and run slower. They will cause technical support problems. They may even require you to upgrade some of your peripheral hardware and existing software. And these features won't do anything useful. In fact, they're working against you. They're digital rights management (DRM) features built into Vista at the behest of the entertainment industry.Schneier actually goes so far as to recommend "holding out" against Microsoft by not upgrading to Vista for as long as possible.
John Gruber: Steve Jobs has explicitly stated that he sees this more as an iPhone -- or iPod-like device than as a computer or PDA or --And so on. Gruber tries to explain that philosophically the iPhone may be better thought of as a next-gen iPod with phone features than as a smartphone designed for heavy voice and internet use, but it takes him several minutes of struggling up-stream against Laporte's interjections to get the thought out. It's a shame, really - what other interesting points might Gruber have made if given the chance? (John is well-spoken and friendly in person -- if you're going to SXSW interactive this year drop in on one of his panels to see for yourself.) Judging from this performance, Leo Laporte has forgotten that a radio host's job is to ask good questions and get out of the way for the answer. Being friendly to your guests is fine. Obfuscating the topic is just bad podcasting. So long as Mr. Laporte is muddying things up on Net @ Nite, I think I'll be getting my tech news from some other show. Sorry, Amber.
Leo Laporte: It's less of a phone and more of a -- well, not even just an iPod but he called it an internet communicator.
JG: Right, and one way -- you can think of it that way. Think of a device, let's just call it, say, the next generation iPod. If hypothetically the next iPod is exactly like this iPhone except it doesn't have any of the phone features, you know if it has wi-fi --
LL: I hope the have a -- that's one other thing I was saying is I really hope that they do do a touchscreen iPod, I mean -- wouldn't that be a nice iPod? Might be a better iPod than it is a phone!
JG: Right. I mean, so imagine a device with the exact same -- I mean, even if you imagine that it, you know -- don't even think about hard drive storage space, just think, you know, flash-based storage, just like this. Four gigabyte, eight-gigabyte. It would be the exact same specs, other than the phone features --
LL: No, I want one with a hundred-gigabyte hard drive.
JG: Well, I'm just saying though, for the sake of argument . . . .
We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views.Read the rest of Whedon's statement at Whedonesque.
Marty McKee of the Mobius Home Video Forum has a pretty good overview of the controversial short What is Communism? – which used to screen every year at B-Fest until the print disappeared. Now it's on DVD, though, so it's preserved for the ages. I say controversial because some B-Fest fans loved its annual appearance and thought it hilarious, while others rankled at the treatment of what was once serious international politics (including photographs of mass graves) as comedy. Watch and decide for yourself.