January 8th, 2009


Windows 7

Windows 7 is coming out in beta this weekend.  It's a no-brainer upgrade from Vista, as it is, for my purposes, a strictly superior OS.  And if you're stuck on XP, it's finally time to move on.   If you're running Leopard or Linux, there's probably nothing I can say to convince you anyway.

This article and the article it rebuts may be useful to you if you're running XP.  http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=630 

I installed Windows 7 on my tablet (which was designed for XP) for my trip out east, and used it all weekend for DMing a D&D adventure (using the killer DMing tool, OneNote).  It's fast, responsive, the new handwriting input tip is awesome, and I could swear I gained an hour of battery life just by installing Windows 7.  Also, the new fingerprint scanner drivers are pretty sweet.

One thing Windows 7 introduced is triggered services, which means services that start up automatically when someone needs them.  Pretty obvious addition, and it's a nice middle ground between automatic and manual start services.  Now that services don't have to make the tough choice, it really helps reduce the normal load of background processes.

There are a bunch of cool new features in Windows 7 of the type one will use every day.  They're the kind of features that integrate into your workstyle, and then you go back to an XP or Vista machine and can't stand using it.  As one blogger nicely put it, (paraphrasing) "there's not a lot of wow in Windows 7, which is exactly what's needed.  It's satisfying on a much deeper level."

My favorite things about Windows 7:
    - the new taskbar, especially the jump lists.
    - gestures for docking two windows side-by-side and maximizing
    - the fact that desktop search is significantly faster and searches the control panel now.
    - action-oriented troubleshooting wizards that work and are actually helpful!
    - improved responsiveness
    - improved battery life
    - simplified and customizable Shutdown/sleep/etc button in the start menu
    - Multi-touch
    - Libraries.  Libraries are virtual folders which aggregate various folders across your disks and network.  This means that your experience with different apps doesn't suck when your music isn't in "My Music", because now programs interact with your Music library.