Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Microsoft's Mea Culpa on Vista Ultimate Extras

Earlier today, Nick White of the Official Windows Vista Blog briefed a bunch of the Windows Featured Communities on rough details regarding the plans for Ultimate Extras moving forward. While he didn't reveal many specifics, he did have one thing to say, which we were allowed to share:

"While I'm not sure anyone could dispute that to date, we've failed to meet the expectations of our Ultimate customers over the Ultimate Extras, we're working hard to exceed their expectations moving forward, and bring them the value they deserve," he said.

Microsoft has been listening to its customers' ire over the Ultimate situation, and I'm pretty convinced that they at least have a plan to make it right. I think it's fantastic that they've actually admitted to the problem in a frank and honest way, and are giving us all some hope that we didn't shell out the extra money for nothing.

First the Xbox 360 apology, now this... could this be the return to a more open dialog that we've been hoping for? Only time will tell...



  • RyanLM said:

    I am quickly giving up on MS at this point.  DreamScene finally here, and all I can ask is what the heck is different then the beta?  The default Green/Blue DreamScene is using up 30-40% of my CPU - where is the promised "Little to no CPU" hit?  Where is the promised the "Video card does all the work".  I have a pretty good system, with a nVidia 8600 card - this should be a non issue.

    Tip to MS - Fire EVERYONE in your UI department, save the Office 2007 people, they might be considered just interns at Apple, but it is the best you've got at this point.  Second, skip spending the money on FaceBook and replace the recenly canned color blind people with REAL artists.  Use the Vista UI as a starting point of "What not to do" and go forward.  As you can tell I dont share the same love for the MSX team as Long does, I think just about everything from that group is utter crap.  

    I could go on, but I bet it would be pointless. Sniff...  I would love to help fix the situation.

    September 25, 2007 7:41 PM
  • Peacho said:

    @RyanLM, I fail to see how the Office 2007 team could be considered "interns at Apple". In my eyes, Office 2007 is a great product in terms of user interface, as they were not only (mostly) logical, but original. There was no other thing like the ribbon out there at the time. Now I'm not saying that Apple isn't original, but this UI proves that they are more than capable of being at least on par with Apple.

    As for the MSX team, there was still a lot of stuff that was really neat, done by the MSX team. I mean, sure Vista still has several inconsistencies, but from a graphical standpoint, they've done some neat things. Maybe not necessarily in what became the final Vista, but in the whole Longhorn project in general.

    Generalizations are dangerous.

    September 25, 2007 7:58 PM
  • RyanLM said:

    The Office 2007 was the one semi original UI concept that came out of this longhorn wave.  It is good, but not great.  What made it appear better than it looks is the backdrop of the trainwreck it sits on.

    The UI is pretty, but at the same time, completely inconsistant with the rest of the OS, remarkably so on anything other than Vista.  But again, even on vista, it looks alien.  But tabbed toolbars are not exactly new, I have used them in Macromedia products for instance for years.  In this case, they are certainly more dynamic, and a lot of time was spent making things look pretty.  But, it lacks taste.  Its blue and gold, with a bit of aqua look.  yippy.  

    However, look at it more deeply, is it "Better" UI or just better looking?  I dont know, I find myself fumbling around the tabs quite often, almost as if the items were normalized to much.   Being "Pretty" can cover alot, just ask Apple :)

    On a serious note, even though this has been said in jest, and even by Gates, MS lacks a serious sense of taste.  The office UI is an example of that in my eyes, its is like Vegas, looks cool, but over the top, tacky.  Number of clicks seem to have gone up to do the same job, it is huge and in your face.  Also, not even implemented everywhere in the suite.  Is it that much of an overhaul to make toolbars consistant?

    The only neat things I have seen from the MSX group were what looked like photoshops done of concepts.  Everything since day one that has been released bits beta or whatever is just below average at best.  Vista's UI inconsistancies are just the start.  Terrible, not user friendly UI is the problem.  Good looks cover up problem UI, and good UI can cover up bad looks.  To this day I laugh (and cry) every time I have to use Vista's "Connect to a Network" Dialog.  Rubish.  9 times out of 10 if a user is using this screen they are connecting to a wireless network, just count the number of clicks you have to do to get connected, and triple it if the SSID isnt broadcasting.    Again, on a Mac, simple wireless dropdown, one click you can connect to any broadcasting network, and two for non broadcasting.  Simple, clear, my mother can do it.  IT doesnt nead a dialog that fills the screen, it doenst need to show 5 differnet options, it just needs to connect to wireless.

    Dont even get me started on the new disaster that is the "Network and Sharing Center".

    Vista has two UI features that are good.  Only two.  However both are buggy.  The first is the new Explorer Address bar with the drop downs.  Its bugs are flicker, and if you are in the unfortunate situation where the dropdown contains a CD drive, or a network mapped drive, you get to wait. Why it just cant show a placeholder "Waiting" images, lord only knows.

    The second feature is the quick search in the Start Menu.  It is useful, very very useful, saves time, and is pretty good at finding the items you want.  The bad is when your not searching for something in the menu, and it starts searching your index.  I have a dell Precision 690 on my desk, with dual C2 Xeons, with a pair of 15k SCSI drives - do you know how many times I search and NOTHING comes back? It just says "Searching..." I could wait 10 minutes.  Other times, it is instant.  This happens on all my PCs with Vista.

    Search to me, while on the subject is the biggest slap in the face for windows users.  Longhorn was the search OS, billed as integrated, natural, search centric OS.  So much so Apple took notice, did a quick hack job. Fast forward 3 years.  Apples search is in every possible way better than what vista has now it is beyond rational explaination.  First, it works.  Even ignoring that little fact, it seems faster, the display UI of results is MUCH clearer, and even more the actual Search window where you can add layer upon layer of refinement is well done.  On vista, it is a joke.  Start - > search why does this even exist?  It just opens up a window that show nothing, it just tells you to search in the upper right, like any other window.  then if you click some rather odd drop down you can do an "Advanced" search.  IT should be renamed to "Pointless" search options since it rarely seem to change the outcome.  Confusing, hidden, clumbersome interface.  Apple did it right, just copy it!!!!


    September 25, 2007 10:41 PM
  • September 26, 2007 7:18 AM
  • said:

    First off, I want to congratulate Barry and the Windows Ultimate team for finally stepping in the right

    September 26, 2007 8:21 AM
  • September 26, 2007 9:36 AM
  • September 26, 2007 7:32 PM
  • glennyboiwpg said:

    Sounds to me like windows ultimate was a bluff... They just wanted an expensive version that included all of their features and didn't have anything real planned for the future... now they are caught in a bind as people are actually expecting what they were promised.  Uh oh... I think someone should tell M$ that isn't NOT the 90's anymore... people aren't just going to blinding follow M$ while they lead them off a cliff.

    September 27, 2007 8:45 AM
  • Glenny,

    While that's a nice conspiracy theory, it's not the truth. What actually happened was Ultimate got caught up in the reorgs that happened after Allchin left and the teams re-aligned to start working on Windows 7. The post-Allchin era got off to a rough start, but I think the community helped Microsoft realize that Microsoft can't take their eyes off the ball on Ultimate Extras anymore.

    September 27, 2007 12:18 PM
  • Glennyboiwpg said:


    So if thats true... then are there actual plans for actual features?  (that wasn't meant in a condencening way)  I'm curious as to what else they could have been planing to release?  When were the plans created?  Is that known?

    September 27, 2007 2:56 PM
  • September 27, 2007 5:53 PM
  • I've been thinking a lot over the past couple weeks about all the negative press Vista has been getting,

    October 7, 2007 11:02 PM
  • Microsoft's Mea Culpa on Vista Ultimate Extras - Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

    September 12, 2014 3:51 AM