Uh, Chris?

Chris Pirillo gets “pissed off at the people who are blaming me for Vista’s shortcomings.”

A wee bit defensive, are we?

In this case, at least, you’re pointing a finger at the wrong guy, Chris. I’m not blaming you for anything, nor am I suggesting that you’ve made the wrong decision, nor am I trying to get you back on the Vista bus. Seriously, go back and read what I wrote and someone please tell me where I said all that stuff, because I can’t find it. I just said my experience is different from Chris’s, and I’ve heard the same from plenty of other people.

Oh, and agitprop is a term of endearment, buddy, a deliberately anachronistic word dragged from the shelf, dusted off, and applied to the bomb-throwing, emotional, over-the-top, headline-grabbing style that propels people to the top of Slashdot and Digg and so on. It’s the reason you and Dvorak and Cringely have 100 times the traffic I do (and make about 10 times what I do besides).

But I don’t mind. It’s just software.

Update: Be sure to read Chris’s response in the comments, and my response to that, and then keep reading, because there’s more good stuff there. Hell, you could even add your own comment.

23 thoughts on “Uh, Chris?

  1. There are fewer people on this planet who know more about Windows than you do (and those folks have also written books on Vista). It’s for that reason, and that reason alone, that I take your remarks and comments very seriously.

    I took offense to the use of the word, as it felt like my experiences were being dismissed outright. It pissed me off when I read that you had to walk across the room to use your scanner – that’s inexcusable. Beyond inexcusable. And since you stated you were essentially going to write what Dwight wrote…

    …which sounded like you were blaming me (the user) for something that Microsoft (the developer) did. That I should just accept it as a “fact of life.” No, I don’t accept it.

  2. Uh, Chris? Please, calm down.

    There will be a driver for my scanner in April. If I had only one computer here, I would have to decide whether I wanted to accept the trade-offs involved in continuing to use XP on my one and only computer, so I could use that scanner. Or I would decide that I could live without it for two more months and get the benefits of XP.

    Fortunately, like the majority of people who visit both of our sites, I have more than one computer. So I can have both! Woo-hoo! I don’t have to make a religious conversion.

    And thanks for your pissed-offness that I have to walk two steps (hey, it’s a small room) to put something in the scanner, which I do about every other week. But really, it doesn’t bother me. I have that computer working as a Media Center machine, so it’s not really going to waste.

    Now, once again, I’m going to say that I don’t really mind which decision you make, nor am I blaming you, nor am I trying to talk you into anything. And I just went back and read Dwight’s piece too, and I didn’t see any of that blame or persuasion there, either.

    So invite Dwight on your program already and talk to him.

  3. Ed:
    I side with Chris.

    Based upon my experience with Vista Ultimate, the product is not ready for general use. The lack of hardware drivers, video, printer, scanner, audio… and the issues of software incompatibility, the overall hardware requirements – more memory, a new GPU, HDCP compatible hardware – mean Vista is a dog of an OS. Yes it does have some nice new features but net-net it is inferior from a user’s standpoint to XP or Mac OS X and therefore Chris made the correct decision to abandon what is essentially still a beta version of Vista for XP.

  4. Richard, who said you need HDCP-compatible hardware? You don’t. The issue of drivers is a case-by-case thing. My audio and video drivers are working quite well, thanks, and all my hardware works with the single exception of the Fujitsu ScanSnap, for which a driver is promised in April. I’ve configured every machine I own with at least 1GB and usually 2GB of RAM for at least the last two years. So none of your issues are particularly relevant to me.

    Net-net, I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Especially not now, less than 30 days after retail launch.

  5. HDCP is only an issue for protected content that requires it, which right now consists of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray playback — neither of which have titles which are currently flagged to require HDCP, and probably won’t be for the next three to four years. (And when they are, the packaging will have some indication of that.)

    It’s rather dismaying how people can throw around buzzwords like “DRM” and “HDCP” with no context.

  6. A scanner?

    A fax?

    Most of us left them long ago when we went digital.

    Chris is NOT a tech guy and has admitted as much on his bla bla blog.

  7. Paul, who said anything about a fax?

    And in my case, although I’m as digital as I can be, I occasionally need a scanner. Yesterday, for example, I had to sign a paper I received in the mail and fax it back to a business the same day. The original document existed only on paper. So without a scanner, how was I supposed to get a signed digital copy I could send back? I use an online fax service, but the hard copy has to have a way to become digital.

    Chris isn’t a tech guy? Huh. Not sure I really want to engage in that discussion.

  8. Just to follow up with Chris (who has no doubt moved on to other topics now). In Chris’s comment (#1 in rthis thread) he writes:

    “…which sounded like you were blaming me (the user) for something that Microsoft (the developer) did. ”


    It’s “beyond inexcusable” that I can’t use my main Windows Vista machine for my scanner.

    Now put those two together.

    How is it Microsoft’s fault that the developer, Fujitsu, has been slow to release a driver for my hardware. Should Microsoft have done this? If this hardware would have worked with the standard scanner driver, it would have been fine, but it doesn’t, because of the way Fujitsu designed it. So I wait for another month or two for the driver and I find a way to work with it. I don’t see how any of that is reason to blame Microsoft.

  9. Ed,
    You are sliding over the line from Evangelism to Fundamentalism. You have become a bible thumping apologist for Microsoft. You need to step back and take a moment.

    Your response above to Richard just confirms this.
    “The issue of drivers is a case-by-case thing.”
    The problem here is that there are more cases than wins.

    Vista is like a new car coming to market offering zero emission technology and requiring a new fueling station to take advantage of that technology. The problem is there are no fueling stations in your town.

    This is the real gem:
    “Net-net, I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Especially not now, less than 30 days after retail launch.”

    Millions of dollars, 5 years of development, and too many driver and hardware issues to count. I am not going to believe that it is the hardware manufacturers fault entirely, as much as Microsoft’s in not providing the information in a timely manner.

    The majority of the hardware/driver issues are directly impacting whether or not Vista will let you use your computer with your software, for your reasons, HDMI, SPP,and the rest of the OS ‘premium content’ lunacy.

    Vista is a New car with a fuel system with very few fuel stations, seatbelt power/transmission locks, a speed govenor, breathalizer ignition lock, and a railroad wheel system, that may or may not pass by your neighborhood.

    The most telling indictment of Vista’s not ready for prime time status, is Microsoft’s own rollback tool:
    From one of my suppliers came this nugget:

    For customers purchasing OEM Windows Vista Ultimate or Business can downgrade to Windows XP Pro (x64 or x64). They will need to use a good activation key (OEM or VLK) to install Windows XP. If they choose OEM media they will need to call the activation center and let them know they are downgrading. They will verify the Vista key and give them a valid product key to downgrade. For business customers downgrading in volume: they can use a Volume License Upgrade and Volume License Key (VLK)."

    Microsoft has never done this before, as far as I know, typically they upgrade by replacing new files with the same names for upgrades, making rollback in their products difficult, if not impossible, depending on your ability with Windows.

    My take from the cheap seats is that Vista is Windows Me V.2.
    Willl Microsoft come out with a New OS based on all the rumors of Longhorn and Avalon? I have no doubt. Will they be able to get it out the door? I have no doubt.

    Will it be fast and good enough to retain market share? I don’t think so.

    But hey, good luck with Vista.

  10. Where have I become an apologist? Please. I’m descrtibing my experience. I have Vista running on five physical machines and six virtual ones here. Only minor driver issues.

    “Microsoft’s [fault] in not providing the information in a timely manner.”

    They have been providing DETAILED information at two annual conferences (PDC and WinHec) and countless webpages since 2003! Any hardware maker can get in the Microsoft partner program, which provides advanced access to beta builds and detailed developer information. A lot of hardware companies had drivers ready on day one. We’ll call them the Competents. And then tehre were those who either delayed or got distracted. We’ll call them Late.

    And your tinfoil hat is causing you to misinterpret the rollback tool that Microsoft uses. The new image-based setup program in Vista makes this possible. It couldn’t have been done with the old setup.

    Sorry, but if you want to start calling me names you need to get your facts straight.

  11. Chris mentioned that his fax software wouldn’t work on Windows Vista in his original linkbaiting post.

    Understand how Chris didn’t just blog this, he’s working the backchannel – IM and emails for links and trackbacks to attain the maximum amount of traffic to his advertising revenue generating blog.

    It’s a free country, everyone is entitled to use whatever OS thay want, but over the past 60 days there has been a swell of Linux and OSX guys kicking up a storm about Vista and Chris waited for a clear day to make his move.

  12. I have to agree with what has already been said – Why is it Microsoft’s fault that hardware manufacturers have not yet released their drivers for Vista?

    Now, even if Microsoft is encouraging the use of their online driver repository, how can Microsoft supply the software drivers to customers if the manufacturer hasn’t even released them?

    I’m going to explain a vital lesson apparently Chris hasn’t yet realized (though, if he took a moment to think about it before installing Vista or even after reflecting upon this whole “ordeal”, he should have come to this realization in the first place): Being on the bleeding edge of technology comes with a price – give the industry a few months to catch up, and the experience will be much smoother.

    A second lesson: Take up complaints with the party who is really respsonsible for non-compliant hardware – the people who design the hardware. Would it be correct for me complain to a video game store if they didn’t have a game that the game’s publisher has delayed?

    I really don’t see why all of this is so hard to understand.

    As a side note:

    Ed – “It’s the reason you and Dvorak and Cringely have 100 times the traffic I do (and make about 10 times what I do besides).”

    Bingo. And that’s the exact reason why I don’t subscribe to any of those style blogs.

  13. I’ve written some Windows drivers, although none for Vista. In my experience, here’s what happens.

    A company employs a certain number of software engineers for writing drivers, generally enough to release drivers for new hardware. Then along comes an OS transition. Software development, especially where knowledge of the company’s hardware is necessary to write the drivers, isn’t like Christmas retailing – you can’t just hire a few people for the busy time to handle the extra work. There’s a learning curve and after the transition, you’ll have no need for them.

    Keep in mind the following:

    The company still needs to keep it’s hardware release schedule going – they need to make money, right?
    The OS transition may require the developers to learn a new driver model.
    Drivers need to be written for both the new hardware and old hardware.
    The OS release can be hard to plan for – when was the optimal time to start developing a Vista driver, for example? Do you want the engineers who wrote the drivers to be long gone when it hits the street?

    All of this has to be handled in a way that makes business sense. You can’t start offering 2X normal pay to attract the good driver writers you need three years before the OS ends up getting released. You don’t want to be inducing lots of turnover by hiring temporarily either, because that’ll affect the quality of your software.

    In the end, there’s nothing surprising about driver problems with a new OS and nothing Microsoft could reasonably do that they haven’t – in my experience, they’re very helpful toward hardware vendors. Meanwhile, I recall a parallel ATA card I had that never received XP drivers that worked properly.

  14. Let’s see. I installed Vista on January 30, 2007. My computer and software are all Vista Home Premium ready. I read Ed’s book within a few days of installing Vista and have worked to incorporate what I learned. My machine runs like a bat out of hell and is as stable as a rock. I haven’t rebooted it in almost three weeks. I have it set mostly to the default settings (exactly what do people have against eye candy anyway — I think Vista looks GOOD).

    I must be doing something wrong. If I really knew what I was doing, things would be going wrong every other minute as I tried to run Vista in ways it was not designed the run using software and hardware that doesn’t work properly with Vista.

  15. You are lucky, Ken. Many people haven’t had as easy a go at it. My brand new Acer notebook was sold with Vista Home Premium installed but between it and the preinstalled Symantec junk the system is a poor performer in several ways.

    I don’t think most of the “Vista problems” are Microsoft’s fault. They are caused by the OEM and their third-party hardware and software partners. Because of them, Vista’s out-of-box experience isn’t any better than XP. In fact, it’s worse, because after five years most hardware vendors have managed to stabilize their XP drivers.

    Microsoft likes to talk a lot about the typical “Abby” user who just wants to get work done. Abby will not remove preinstalled junk, or go searching for new drivers. In most cases she will not even be able to find the settings that are hidden deep within ominous UAC-protected corners of Vista. From what I’ve seen, new Vista OEM computers don’t help Abby any more than XP did.

    Even for experts and enthusiasts, it’s tough right now. My copy of Ed’s book hasn’t arrived, and good Vista info on the Internet is pretty scarce. But early adopters are used to that; by the end of the year a lot of these problems will be worked out because we’ll all be working them out and writing about solutions.

    One thing I know for sure: No way I’m buying a Vista computer for my Mom right now.

  16. I bought a Canon LiDE 600F in December.

    And you know what? It had Vista drivers out of the box. Well, downloadable from the Canon web site while I was opening the box– but I never install the drivers included in the box. They’re always woefully out of date.

    Granted, I was as surprised as anyone else, but obviously the issue of Vista drivers has to be considered on a case-by-case basis. It’s insane to blame Microsoft for the mistakes and missteps of third parties, unless you also want to argue that MS should make PCs into closed-ecosystem Xbox 360s.

    I love how Chris Pirillo projects whatever problem he personally is having on to the rest of the world. Evidently, if you give a man some adsense revenue and PageRank, he rewards himself with a promotion to the world’s most representative user.

    Mr. Pirillo, I’ve read your blog off and on for a while. And I wince every time I do so. It’s the National Enquirer of technical blogs, full of hearsay, half-truths, and apocryphal rants. And filled to the brim with invasive, ugly advertising, which I guess funds the former. Benchmarks? Metrics? Data to support your position? Nowhere to be found. You just don’t like it that way, damn it, so it has to change! We should listen to you, because you’re The Chris Pirillo!

    Chris, I don’t want you to use Windows. I encourage you to switch so some other audience can enjoy your special brand of so-called journalism.

    And you can quote me on that.

  17. I just think that what Ed has pointed out reflects the views of many pundits (whether they are journalists, bloggers, or users) – that hardware and software incompatibility is MS’s fault.

    I have even seen people mention that iTunes not working on Vista is MS’s fault. As people are quick to point out, Vista has taken 5 years with numerous beta’s etc… so what have the software and hardware companies been doing all this time?

    Chris can change to any OS he wants and has valid reasons to, but Ed pulled him up on his post because the tone made it sound like Vista is at fault for all these shortcomings. It is not.

    If Movie Maker is crashing or Explorer doesn’t remember views then fair enough, but poor drivers from multi-million dollar companies like HP and NVidia should not reflect poorly on Vista – it can only support so much

    I for one wish MS would support LESS drivers/software/Hardware – perhaps then Windows could reduce in size and increase in performance

  18. Chris wrote:

    “There are fewer people on this planet who know more about Windows than you do”

    and he most certainly got that right!

  19. Ed,

    FWIW, your response seems realistic and I get a lot of technical insight from your posts. Thx btw. I can understand Chris’ frustration that his experience wasn’t better, but there seems to be a healthy dose of 3rd pty driver issues in that and his tolerance for problems seems to be fairly low. So great, maybe he should go back to XP for now. Part of the issue seems to be that the 5 year delay has caused a expectation gap whereby people think maybe normal new release OS problems don’t apply. For them, they’re getting a wake-up call.

  20. The whole thing makes me laugh. If you want a good experience, do your homework before you upgrade, don’t bitch if you didn’t. Assuming drivers will be released after you upgrade? Umm, yeah. Playing with fire there.

    I’ve been happy with Vista. It’s not terribly good for gaming on my box, really…but I didn’t expect it to be. (I don’t benchmark, so I hoped it’d be fine anyway. Guess not.) Other than that (and a few odd issues I brought on myself) it’s been relatively flawless since launch day. (I’ve been using it since November, though.)

    There are a lot of sites whose sole purpose is for useless ranting. I haven’t read Chris’ blog in a while so I’m not really comparing, but these sites really make me ill when I have the misfortune to read them….they love to go from point A to point F without any hard data, and skip the parts of technology that include ‘common sense’ or referencing actual human beings. (See the anti DRM crusade referencing white papers released in 2004 or so for corroborating evidence…hmm, when was Vista released again?)

    There are a lot of neat blogs that I didn’t read until the excitement for Vista was building up, and I’m glad I found them. 🙂

    Props to Ed.

  21. Maybe by the time Vienna hits the streets a few of these drivers will appear. I lost a new HP printer to Vista all because HP built 10,000 mildly different printers in the last decade, and it will take even longer to write drivers for them. HP’s solution? Why not dump your new HP printer for a newer HP printer!

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