Windows Vista

I loaded up Vista RC1 on my test machine. I like it. Much faster than the previous beta. But I have noticed a real disturbing change to the UI: inconsistent standards.

Office 2007, Vista’s Windows Explorer, Windows Media Player 11 and Internet Explorer 7 all use different models of presenting their interface to the user. Some use button bars. Some lose the menu bar entirely. I found myself wondering how on earth the same company could drive so many different models of interfaces.

Microsoft outlines its design goals for Office 2007 here.

In previous releases of Microsoft Office applications, people used a system of menus, toolbars, task panes, and dialog boxes to get their work done. This system worked well when the applications had a limited number of commands. Now that the programs do so much more, the menus and toolbars system does not work as well. Too many program features are too hard for many users to find. For this reason, the overriding design goal for the new user interface is to make it easier for people to find and use the full range of features these applications provide. In addition, we wanted to preserve an uncluttered workspace that reduces distraction for users so they can spend more time and energy focused on their work. With these goals in mind, we developed a results-oriented approach that makes it much easier to produce great results using the 2007 Microsoft Office applications.

However, these goals are not consistently applied to other Microsoft apps. You can see how different these various models are here.


2 replies
  1. Dan Nel`
    Dan Nel` says:

    Hey Richard,
    Dan Nel here, from out West in calgary…
    Im thinking of buying a condenser microphone to do some at home recording… Im wondering if you could give me some clues to what would be good… I don’t want to spend over 500 $ on the mic itself. What audio software would be the best to use for windows XP.
    thanks, and say Hi to Josh and the family for me…

    God bless,
    -Dan Nel

  2. Richard Cleaver
    Richard Cleaver says:

    Hi Dan,

    There are numerous choices in the low-end condenser market. I do not have any direct experience with cheap condensers. All of our condensers in the studio are in the thousand dollar plus category. However, that will not prevent me from giving you a couple of comments.

    There are numerous condensers aimed at the budget market. Personally, I would look at the Audio Technica line. They offer the AT2020 and the AT3035. The AT2020 has rallied some pretty good feedback for a cheap mic. Cost is about $200.

    As for recording software: Pro Tools. It is the de facto standard in professional recording.

    There is a cheap version of Pro Tools available for PCs. Check out the Digidesign website for more details. You should be able to get into a Pro Tools LE Mbox rig for about $500.

    Just a warning though: generally you have to ensure that your Windows box is “compatible” with Pro Tools. The Digidesign website will have the details.

    My Pro Tools HD rig runs on a Mac. I don’t worry about all those Windows XP issues.


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