Scenic Vistas

Posted: February 13, 2008 in computer, games, halo

I just got a new computer this week, an HP mini-tower running Windows Vista Home Premium.  Actually, it was a gift from my in-laws – normally I’m a Mac user, but since I’m also kind of poor this year, I’ve been forced to downgrade to PCs – and I never turn down free computers.  So, the price was right, and it has the kind of power I’m going to need in the future. 

As I said, normally I’m a Mac user.  I believe Macs are the Platonic ideal of computing, and everything else is but shadows on the cave walls.  Apple has always been the industry leader, even during the dark days of John Sculley.  The mere fact that every year they continue to reinvent the computing experience and force everyone else to copy their ideas just to keep up is proof of that.  Pundits and preachers alike have been prognosticating Apple’s imminent demise every since 1984, and they have yet to get a single prediction right.

All that aside, Windows Vista is very impressive.  Visually, it’s a treat.  It almost gives OSX a run for its money.  Also, Microsoft finally had the good sense to get rid of the ridiculous “Start” menu button, replacing it with a stylish little Windows button in the bottom left corner.  Finally, you don’t have to click “start” to “shut down” your PC.  I know, it’s petty, but the whole thing was pretty stupid. 

The task switcher button that allows you to scroll quickly through your open windows is a nice touch, too. 

I had no problems setting it up to operate with my wireless network, either, though I was glad to already have a decent working knowledge of networking and wireless setup. 

I found the Windows security features and Parental controls very easy to use and set up as well, and promptly created two seperate accounts for my kids – one for the older, who can handle using the net with minimal supervision, and another more secure one for the younger, who has been known to surf without asking (too smart for her own good, that one). 

But what about the computer itself?  Does it have what it takes to satisfy an old Mac fanatic?  Well, my first test was, of course, “Halo”.  Installation was a snap, even with the XP-to-Vista compatabilty question.  And the PC has enough power to run it in full-screen mode, at highest resolution with full visual effects.  Finally, I can see Halo in its full glory, the way it was meant to be played.  And the map “Infinity” no longer loses its textures at long viewing ranges.  I look forward to playing Halo 2.

So, the verdict?  What does this old Mac man think of Vista? 

Fuck.  I like it.

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