Monday, June 12, 2006

Noteworthy items of the day

I honestly feel like they have worked out a lot of back-end issues at this point and have gotten down to some serious user interface engineering. Here are a few highlights of my experiences so far today.

– Firstly the all-too-obviously-named “start” button has appropriately been trashed for a more simple and elegant Windows icon. As such it takes up a little less space, making the quick tray to the right of it a little more worthwhile to have by freeing up some taskbar space. Also, the icons in the system tray by the clock now stack into two rows instead of one. I guess they have decided to actually do something about all the clutter that tended to happen with XP.

– The most notable change is the addition of “gadget” tray along the right side of the desktop. Sort of like the bottom bar on the Mac but by default it is not always on top (a good thing). It initially contains a clock, a news ticker and a small frame that cycles through you’re My Pictures folder. I added in a performance meter and a whiteboard (useless...just for fun). The gadgets seem easily programmable; there is some potential there. Still, I do fear that the Sidebar, as it is called, may quickly become a useless feature that I will never look it, namely because the only time I ever look at the desktop is when I start the computer. Conclusion - it’s cute, but I am unconvinced.

– The start menu has been cleaned up and a new navigation system has been implemented that I find much better suited to the space. Instead of what you are used to – having to hover the mouse over a narrow space in order to expand the folder off to the right so that it overlaps the desktop – they have replaced it so that when you click on the “All Programs” button, rather than expand it to the right, the area above it changes into a navigate-able ‘folder’. Would you were to click on a folder in there, the menu would then change into that folder. This new method is much more clean and organized. I’m not sure that my description does it justice so I have provided pictures.

– Getting the computer set up and established on the office network was a breeze, and the tools are much less confusing and easier to use than the sometimes endless stream of windows that XP would throw at you. Veterans of XP will find easy to grasp equivalents of the old tools in Vista, and n00bs will be able to do most stuff without any assistance. Help is also much more nicely integrated into the system, though obviously I only looked at it to see what its like. ;)

– One last thing that’s kind of neat: if you hover over a program in the taskbar a little window pops up above it showing you what the program looks like. Picture provided.

– This is all for now. More to come throughout the week on the new IE, the new file navigation system, and the new office (very different from what you are used to).

– Oh and if anyone reads this, just post a reply so that I know there’s somebody out there. All I need is an audience of one.

EDIT: I'm having trouble posting my screen caps... I will post them when I get home.


Anonymous skottie said...

You're officially in the 'blogs' folder of my Favourites at work.

Keep posting. I'm intrigued. And I want to see those screen caps.

12:38 PM  

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