As a lot of you may know, Vista isn't the first mainstream operating system to provide these types of effects; Apple's Mac OS X has offered similar functionality since 2001 and, over the years, Apple has been able to refine its OS' visual appearance thanks to experience and feedback. With Windows Vista, we're getting Microsoft's first attempt at this type of interface and sometimes first attempts don't work out the way they should. The level of adolescence shows in windows that are a bit too translucent, with muddy fade-through of windows lower in the z-order. However, Vista provides a few advantages that Mac OS X, even in its most current form, does not. For example, thanks to a handy Control Panel applet, users can apply different color schemes to the glass-like user interface and even turn up or down the translucency effects, or just turn them off all together. As is often the case, Apple supplies a nice default look and feel, but very few customization features. Meanwhile, the default look and feel in Windows is nice, but it can also be changed in accordance to each user. This approach really allows the user to feel like they are in the driver's seat no matter what OS they are using. The OS X application windows also do not follow a single user interface guideline. Some use the standard Aqua interface, while others use a variety of metal-like interfaces. Still others use an older, striped version of Aqua. In Windows Vista, windows tend to be far more consistent across multiple applications and utilities. Unfortunately, there are downfalls. Custom-built applications like Windows Live Messenger are visually out of sync with other windows in Windows Vista, and even some bundled Vista applications are woefully out of touch with common sense interface guidelines. Faults aside, Vista invites us all, with its translucency, to experience a warm welcome each and every time we turn our computers on.
Aside from the visual upgrades to the windows operating system, you will also notice the improved security options that you can select. This new security system will be great for some and hurt others. For example, if you are a gamer, like I know most reading this article are, and you've bought a new game to play on your new Vista computer, the new Internet Explorer 7 is so secure that when you're placing your order for online gameplay, your bank might not interact with IE 7, thus causing a delay in your gaming adventures. Another downside to gaming on the Vista OS is that certain classic games might not work correctly or at all with the visual enhancements that Vista offers.
Once again, the question is not should you buy Vista, because the answer to that is a resounding yes, even with its questionable faults. The real question is when should you buy Vista? The answer is totally up to you in the end. You will have to weigh your options carefully. Should you get a better computer, make the one you have better, or wait until you have no other option and make the move? Nevertheless, you have to remember the central direction this change is moving the PC world in, Vista is about bringing the user and computer closer together. For the every so often user, this new immersion may turn them off to computers completely. Even die-hard tech gurus may be turned away from PCs altogether, but in the end Vista is the way of the future. With a goal set nearly 20 years ago, it finally looks like Microsoft is reaching their dream. There's a Vista in store for all of us, sit back and enjoy the view.
CCC Freelance Writer