Vista praise

Since I am trying to commit to writing to this blog more, I am trying to find it’s voice and figure out what direction I am going to go with writing. After that last post I realized it could easily go towards a Microsoft/Vista hate blog since I find myself complaining about vista to someone almost daily. To balance it out early on, here I will post the one thing I have been loving about Windows Vista.

Earlier this summer, I purchased two identical PCs from BestBuy.
Both computers were:

Gateway-E6400
GM5424
Intel® Core™2 Duo E6400
Intel® Viiv™ technology
2GB DDR2
Intel® EM64T enhancement
DL DVD±RW/CD-RW drive
400GB hard drive
Windows Vista Ultimate
TV tuner

Not super great machines, but BB had them for $599 which seemed to me to be a pretty low price.

The first desktop I have been using around the office. It sucks shit and I want it to die. But I will write more about that some other time. This post is for praise.

The second desktop went home with my business partner to replace an older dell she had been using. The goal was to replace her home desktop and have something she could use as a primary means of watching television and DVD’s. She has a small apartment and a 23 inch monitor is the perfect size tv for it.

The at home, in the living room, experience of this desktop is totally top notch.

I’ll say it right now: Windows vista media center is really well done.

Right out of the box, this PC:

  • Set up with her cable connection in about 10 minutes
  • Came with a remote that replaced the cable box remote (it has this weird computer cable box ir transfer cable)
  • Pulls down television listings off the net
  • Easily and intuitively schedules and records live television
  • Has excellent, stutter-free playback of both television and DVDs even when applications are running in the background

We did replace the keyboard and mouse. Gateway: these things are not comfortable at all. A $10 MS mouse and $15 no-name keyboard beat these things in comfort by a wide margin.

I have always used TiVos in the past, but I am seriously considering getting a machine like this for my apartment. It can’t be hacked like a TiVo and you can’t really save the video or transfer it to other machines, but I never did that anyway. For a device that is just going to be connected to your Television for entertainment and occasional business productivity related stuff, this is a great way to go. At $600 it isn’t that much more than any other DVR and really I think it was a great value.

I’ll try to write this week about the other desktop I am using at the office, it is like the exact opposite of this review.