Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 Is Here, And Guess What, It Seems To Live Up To Its Promise

Microsoft officially launched Windows 7 at a party held at Skylight Studios just around the corner from Manhattans' meatpacking district. Windows 7, the multiplatform, multitouch and relatively slim operating system offers hope for us stuck with XP, and an escape route for those of us who where unfortunate enough to upgrade to or buy a system with Windows Vista pre-installed.

Steve Ballmer was his usual self, jolly, engaging and straight-talking. The demo worked without glitches and the focus was totally on user experience. Not a word about gigabytes and gigahertz. It looks like the PC finally has caught up with and maybe even surpassed the Mac, displaying the look and feel of an iPhone. Steve Ballmer said that Windows 7 finally has reached the goal Bill Gates put forward many years ago, to put Windows everywhere. It aims to be the new digital home entertainment center, running everything from audiosystems and wireless picture frames to TV's, Internet TV's and allowing you to connect to your home network while traveling.

I'm not a big fan of Microsoft, but neither am I one of those who allways have to find faults in everything they do. Vista was a disaster that set them back tremendously, opening the field for Apple and Google, but with Windows 7 they have a strong foundation to build on.

We have two Vista systems in the family, one 32-bit XP and one 64-bit XP in our family, plus a bunch of other systems mostly gathering dust. Microsoft Sweden sent me a copy of the 64-bits Windows 7 last week, and even though the install on our 64-bit XP system was anything but painless as it refused to recognize the 32-bit networking card, webcam and mouse driver. The installation program suggested that we find help online, but that was hard without access to the network and router, so my 18-year old son Erik had to download "homemade" drivers on another system and copy them over via an USB stick. However, he eventually got his system up and running, and now loves it. It's fast, looks damn good, and runs everything but the sticky notes, the webcam and the mouse, which works so and so.... "Now I understand why Logitech's webcam was on sale... and they are not going to provide me with 64-bit drivers as they rather sell new webcams," he tells me.

Well, well, that's nothing compared to my futile attempts to install OS/2 many years ago. I swapped out every possible part and driver. I still never installed! And that may have been my good luck as IBM eventually would throw in the towel on their "Windows killer"...

As I write this, Alex, my 15-year old son, comes by my office and reports that his upgrade from 64-bits Vista to 64-btis Windows 7 went smooth. No problem at all. "It seems pretty good so far," is his first comment.

Hans Sandberg

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