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Windows Vista and the Future of Hardware 300

Posted by Zonk
from the ch-ch-ch-changes dept.
NSIM writes to mention an article on ExtremeTech looking at the impact that Windows Vista will have on the future of computer hardware. In addition to obvious elements like CPUs, GPUs, and display interfaces, the article also touches on things like DRM (which Vista heavily supports) and audio formats. From the article: "Currently, only a few shipping products actually support the crypto-ROM needed to ensure compliance with Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, and CableCard. It's looking like next-generation cards will all implement the needed firmware. Continued... The impact on future displays is a bit more subtle, but we're starting to see the impact already. Widescreen displays offering very high resolutions, such as the Dell 2407WFP are starting to become more affordable. But a 1920x1200 resolution often creates legibility problems for some users resulting from the tiny size of the default Windows font."
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Windows Vista and the Future of Hardware

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  • at what point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:44AM (#15867317) Journal

    At what point does the advancement of technology become either irrelevant, unnecessary to the casual user, too expensive, too complex, or some combination thereof? This has already happened in audio -- how many people out there really are vested in SACD? How many people do you know who even know what SACD is?

    How many people are using 7.1, or THX sound? Or, if they have it, have it set up correctly? Or, if they have it, have any reasonable collection of media to make use of it?

    And now there is evidence of death on the vine with new and improved video formats -- HD DVD vs. Blu-Ray. Other than mostly a slashdot type crowd, who really cares about the arguably incremental improvements for hefty investments?

    At what point do consumers shrug their collective shoulders at any news around HDTV (hint, they're already starting to)? And when do all of the complexities of the combinitorials to lace all of this technology together push new consumers away?

    It's possible Vista may be entering that twilight zone of indifferent consumerism. I'm totally technology driven, and have most of my life been a bleeding edge investor, but lately it's become less interesting. I can tell the difference between 1600x1200 resolution and WVGA, but I have to explain it to everyone else. They don't care, and they're not willing to spend any extra dollars to get the extra resolution kick.

    All I'm seeing around Vista is toned-down expectations from their original promise, and ramped up requirements for hardware. That hardly lights a fire for me, and is a frigging wet towel for the lay-people considering new computers.

    I don't know many in the technology world knocked out of their socks by the announced features (especially after all of the un-announced, and I don't know anyone outside of the technology elite circles who are interested, or care, and have any inklings of plans to move to Vista -- and if new rollouts of computers are significantly more expensive at all because of Vista, I know lots of people who are proactively not buying.

    Maybe the world is reaching a point where people really don't need mini-Crays to read e-mail, manage photos, and surf the internet. And maybe the fork in the computing world can finally focus on useful applications and customer service rather than eye-candy translucent windowing graphics.

    • Re:at what point (Score:5, Insightful)

      Other than mostly a slashdot type crowd, who really cares about the arguably incremental improvements for hefty investments?


      Gamers.
    • Re:at what point (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MasT3quila (836268) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:57AM (#15867468)
      I find that as I approach the end of the 18-35 year old male target group, I find myself caring less and less about the latest tech. All of a sudden I'm not rushing out to get an XBOX 360, I haven't pre-paid for a PS3, I keep waiting for the next i-pod only to say "meh. I can wait for the next one again", I won't be in line at midnight for Vista like I was for Windows 95. OMG I'M AGING! Come on advertisers, make me WANT STUFF!!
      • I was in line at midnight for windows 98. I have no idea why I was so excited for a new windows release, it's unimaginable.
        • Probably because Windows 3.1 and 95 were such junk you absoultely required another option. No matter how bad Microsoft software is today, it's been worse. One might actually consider the former difficulty of use a protection from malware.... Back when everyone really knew what they were doing, they'd notice a virus as soon as it showed up. Now? Yeah, a few weeks later I hear a computer's running a little slow from a family member, and then I spend three or four hours cleaning it up.
      • Re:at what point (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tatsh (893946) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:41PM (#15867939)
        I'm actually just into the 18-35 male target group, and the only things I'm caring about lately is HD size and portability in technology. However, I just haven't figured out why I just really don't want a PSP, or Nintendo DS. I just feel like it wouldn't be worth my money in the long run (besides Pictochat on DS). I've gone through 2 PS2's (and MAYBE will buy another), back when I had a PS2 I would only use it to play like 5 games out of the 30 or so that I had. PC games are seriously uninteresting today. I tried to get into WoW and got bored to hell, made it to level 3 which was tiring.

        Recently I bought a new laptop, and now I don't ever want to buy a desktop again. This laptop has 100GB, my desktop has a 400GB HD and a 500GB HD (will buy external enclosure soon). None are close to full but it's very useful. I really no longer care about video cards as my laptop can handle most games, and most games aren't worth the time anyway (I want a fun game, not graphics!). It's nice to have eye candy, but not at the expense of a good game. The PS2 has plenty of games with mediocre graphics that you can really have fun with, beats the hell out of the Xbox 360 (I don't plan on buying a PS3 or Xbox 360). If I really care, I'll buy a Wii. Due to price and non-rediculous information surrounding it, it seems everyone around me is getting a Wii, so I can play with them.

        I could really care less about Vista now. It's the most pointless thing, and I have even beta tested. The last time I customized it and installed most of the software I use on my Windows XP partition, but every 2 seconds the screen would fade to warn me about system changes. I know exactly where Microsoft gets this from, most Linux GUI's do it now, and Mac OS X does it too. But it only happens on seriously important stuff (Synaptics for Ubuntu, applying update on Mac OS X). I couldn't find the option to disable it entirely or disable it to a certain extent (which I would prefer). If Windows Vista is just going to be me clicking Yes to warnings every 2 seconds, then forget about it. I'll stick with XP and Ubuntu, and I'm going to switch to Ubuntu entirely soon enough.
        • Re:at what point (Score:3, Informative)

          by Alioth (221270)
          Sorry to be pedantic, but if you "could really care less about Vista", this implies that you actually care about it a lot. The phrase you're looking for is "couldn't care less".
      • I have to agree with that. A few years ago, I was all about getting the latest and greatest hardware in my system. Getting it overclocked to the point of melting the socket. Now, its no big deal. I realize my system is quite powerful for being a year old and I personally don't want to upgrade. Its expensive and I have a baby now. Besides, I need money to get my Nissan 350Z when I plan on having my mid-life crisis. I mean, women get menopause and expect us men to deal with it and give them what they w
      • Re:at what point (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DanQuixote (945427)

        Come on advertisers, make me WANT STUFF!!

        How about... Come on DEVELOPERS, make me want stuff!

    • Re:at what point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:03PM (#15867535)

      I agree with much of what you say, but being able to use much better screens, such as the large Dell TFT mentioned in the submission, is definitely a plus as far as I'm concerned.

      This is partly because of the productivity benefits of getting more on-screen: try editing a book or magazine in a DTP program when you can actually see two real-size pages side-by-side at a useful resolution, and suddenly the idea of zooming in to part of one page on a 19" CRT to make out the details seems quaint and old-fashioned.

      Equally important, newer TFTs tend to be a lot easier on the eyes than the older TFTs and mid-range CRTs that fill offices around the world. As someone whose eyes are degrading because of unfortunate genetics anyway, I want to make sure I do as much as possible to help them, and since I sit in front of a computer screen for a large proportion of my waking hours...

      I think the problem alluded to in the submission, where large, hi-res screens become effectively unusable under Windows due to poor UI scaling, is a very real one. So, if a new version of Windows will support proper scaling for things like fonts, icons and UI widgets, and thus make bigger and better screens more usable, that is a clear benefit for me.

      • Re:at what point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SpryGuy (206254) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:36PM (#15867893)
        I loved the new Dell Wide-screen 24" display. It rocked.

        And then I discovered ClearType. Why ClearType isn't on in Windows XP by default (or even installed by default) I don't know. I had to go to a microsoft website to turn it on and download a control panel applet to let me tweak and configure it. But it made a great display even better... to much so that it was like getting glasses! I even use it on my CRT display at work, and it's better there too. It just seems odd to me that it's not the norm...

        • I'm guessing ClearType isn't on by default because by its nature, it would make the display worse if improperly configured.

          For example, I too normally use it even on my CRT at work, because it doesn't have an artificial lower threshold below which it won't smooth fonts. The standard anti-aliasing cuts out just around the point where most of my fonts are normally configured, making it pretty much useless. With ClearType, most of the fonts I use regularly do look smoother.

          OTOH, a couple of the fonts I use

        • And then I discovered ClearType. Why ClearType isn't on in Windows XP by default (or even installed by default) I don't know. I had to go to a microsoft website to turn it on and download a control panel applet to let me tweak and configure it. But it made a great display even better... to much so that it was like getting glasses! I even use it on my CRT display at work, and it's better there too. It just seems odd to me that it's not the norm...

          Turning it on for displays that don't respond well to ClearTyp
      • I agree with much of what you say, but being able to use much better screens, such as the large Dell TFT mentioned in the submission, is definitely a plus as far as I'm concerned.

        But I use it just fine on Windows XP, I don't see how Vista will improve it at all. And I found the article comment on the pixel size on the 240FFPW surprising too, since its about the same as any other LCD. Now had he mentioned the display on my new D820, whose 15.4" display ALSO sports a 1920x1200 resolution, I might agree with

    • Re:at what point (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:06PM (#15867579) Homepage Journal
      You're mostly correct until the industry cooks up a "must have" reason that makes a user *THINK* they need a new PC/OS/Gadget/what have you. The auto industry went through this with tail fins back in the 50s. Software is going through it with more and more eye-candy that requires a hefty investment, but doesn't actually produce much of value in the end. (Don't get me wrong, I'm usually the first on the block to get new eye candy as long as it's something that is worth it to me) But, think about the number of average people who go out and buy a new PC just because their old one (that's only a year and a half old) is "slow". They are convinced by sleazy salesholes that their PC is slow because it's "old". They don't realize that maybe they have a virus, or some kind of software problem. Run an anti-virus program on your system that monitors everything around the clock and you'll have a slow PC, for example. Or some new software comes out that the user MUST HAVE but it only runs on the latest OS which only runs on boxes no older than two years. There's the artificial drive to buy new crap even if they don't need it.

      As far as the complexity, well... sadly it really is a case of "your brain is too small for this century" when it comes to most users. There is no way to provide the flexible and advanced functionality that a user may want and not add complexity. Take for example the concept of de-interlacing. It's a complex issue with video. I use Xine on Linux and the TV Time filter to take care of my DirecTV signal and make it look as nice as possible on my LCD HD monitor. (Heh... it actually looks better than connecting the DirecTV box right to the monitor's composite in) But, in order to actually take advantage of this with a simple click of an icon for my wife to use, I had to write a script that calls 'xine' with the appropriate options, and tunes the GeForce driver for optimal color overlay. It's once click for her and hours of work at the outset for me. Joe User will NEVER do this. The only way to offer it to him is to have the application make automatic (and stupid) assumptions about how things should work and then give him the lowest common denominator result. If Windows Media Player took care of this, you know it would make lame assumptions about how the de-interlacing should work and he'd wind up with a crap signal unless he had all his ducks in a row hardware-wise. And then you're back to complexity that he shouldn't have to deal with...
    • Re:at what point (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:11PM (#15867650) Homepage Journal
      To me, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are a lot like SVHS compared to regular VHS. They don't offer any particular new features that your average person is going to notice (they don't have the right equipment), but they are more difficult to set up (very few TVs had S-V jacks when SVHS was still big), far more expensive, and seemingly aimed at the high end videophlies. In the end S-V decks were just a niche market while plain old crappy VHS kept on chugging. It took a major technological overhaul to get people to switch (much like what it took to get people to switch from Cassette tapes to CDs).

      The industry certainly isn't helping the problem by coming up with new and inventive DRM obsticles that they'll force the consumer to hurdle. Nor will they win a lot of friends by burning early adopters.

      Ultimately if we get to the point where the DRM doesn't matter and the HD-DVD/Blu Ray decks are only slightly more expensive than regular DVD decks, and the cost for premanufactured discs is the same either way, then it will be adopted (but nowhere near as fast as DVDs were adopted), but if the costs are higher or there is some onerous DRM to contend with, then the technology is going to be stillborn like SVHS.
    • Re:at what point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DeeDob (966086) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:12PM (#15867663)
      "It's possible Vista may be entering that twilight zone of indifferent consumerism"

      XP entered that "twilight zone".

      Almost no one bought XP when it came out (compared to the other OS microsoft sold). People gradually switched to XP when they replaced their old computers with newer ones that came pre-installed with XP.

      Even now, people don't upgrade their PC every two years like in the mid-90s. People now wait for 4 or 5 years, some even more.
      • Even now, people don't upgrade their PC every two years like in the mid-90s. People now wait for 4 or 5 years, some even more.

        I don't think home users ever really upgraded that often, other than the geeks.

        What's changed, IME, is that businesses are breaking the three-year upgrade cycle that used to be accepted without question, and instead asking what measurable benefits will come from splashing out another few thousand on faster desktops for Susie Secretary and Ollie Officeworker. That, combined with

    • It has already started to happen with computers, but will take a lot longer.

      Right now, people are buying new systems cause "they need a new one" because their old system is crufted up too badly and because of a desire for new and shiny. The shiny idea will always persist, but because most computers do way to much, they become infected with crap making them get slow very quickly.

      I stopped bothering to get a new computer because my older system works well for Ubuntu, and is still a decent system to use. I b
      • While I don't necesarily agree with the why, my next round of computers are going to be considered downgrades by many. In the next few months, I will be replacing many of my full blow machines with much slower VIA systems. My wife mostly does email and web browsing. She likes her computer to be in the bedroom. She hates waiting for it to boot, and hates the fan noise even more. I will replace her system with a fanless VIA. This way she can leave it on 24/7 and not be bothered by the noise. I will rei
      • People like choice, they hate the results of having that choice.

        That is far too simplistic a statement to be accurate. It's more like this: Most consumers want choice but dislike the burden of dealing with the consequences of other consumers's different choices as they affect their own.
    • Re:at what point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:57PM (#15868101)
      And maybe the fork in the computing world can finally focus on useful applications and customer service rather than eye-candy translucent windowing graphics.

      The truth is that eye-candy sells.

      Otherwise if it was all about utility, we'd all be using Redhat Linux 5 today with Gnome desktop. ;)

      The truth of the matter is PHB's and Joe Sixpack are easily impressed by computers that look as futuristic as possible. At least as much so as those fake OS's they see in movies ("Zoom the image to the right hand side and enhance by 50%!")

      Although when you combine utility and asthetics like OS X, then you have a pretty good balance.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:45AM (#15867327) Homepage Journal

    But a 1920x1200 resolution often creates legibility problems for some users resulting from the tiny size of the default Windows font."

    Fonts and documents can be scaled, in browsers, word processing, Adobe Acrobat, etc. Even Flash objects can be scaled, if the page is set up properly (which they often aren't, so you get a postage stamp at hires)

    The worst thing is images. I have a picture on a web page which was, back in 1999, a large image. Now it's tiny and I can hardly make out the detail. Some images can be stretched, but others, particularly those which include text can be rendered poorly if not scaled by even multipliers. Where is all this resolution going, anyway? It's nice for some things, like photo editing of large images, but redundant for most other applications.

    your new computer consumes 200 watts on idle, requires a 64 bit processor, 2 GB RAM, and a phat video card, so you can do what? Work in MS Office and surf the web? Seems about as appropriate as requireing everyone in Manhattan to have a Hummer.

    • Vista's Avalon addresses the resolution issue in an elegant way (at least as Microsoft described it):
      display resolution and font size are NOT related. So you can have a 4000x3000 resolution on a 15" monitor and all the fonts will be the correct size; in fact most sizes are defined as they will appear on the screen (e.g. cm, inches) and not as they are stored (pixels). However I think this applies only to fonts and not images; I'm not entirely sure.

      And Opera alows you to zoom html pages scaling everything in
      • by AJWM (19027) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:34PM (#15867871) Homepage
        Vista's Avalon addresses the resolution issue in an elegant way [...]
        display resolution and font size are NOT related. [...] in fact most sizes are defined as they will appear on the screen (e.g. cm, inches) and not as they are stored (pixels).


        About time. This is hardly rocket science -- some of us have been doing that with apps since the late 1980s (sometime around the X10 to X11 transition). Yeah, the software needs to know how big a screen pixel is (the old DEC and Sun graphic monitors were about 0.35mm -- huge by today's standards) but that's easy enough. From there it's simple arithmetic to convert a font or feature size in screen inches (or cm) to pixels.

        You could also do stuff like choosing to rescale or not when you zoom in or out, handy for maps. (The apps mentioned above were GIS and mapping software). And yes, we interpolated raster images too so you could specify the image display size without worrying about its stored pixel dimensions -- although obviously a 20x20 pixel image is going to be pretty blurry blown up to 10cm x 10cm.

        Display Postscript could probably do this too, that's been around for about as long.
        • by Tungbo (183321) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:41PM (#15868491)
          Any one remember that windowing system?
          They used postscript as the screen rendering language.
          Thus fully abstracting away the attrbibutes of the monitor.
          This is back in the 80's.
          • by AJWM (19027)
            Right, Sun's NEWS, late 1980s. One of the cool things you could do with it was just cat a .ps file to the display and it would display the image on the background. All the other workstation vendors were going with X Window System though, so any vendor doing cross-platform software (as we were) went that way, since X would also run on Sun.

    • No kidding. They are complaining about the Dell 2407WFP? That's 1920x1200 pixels on a *24*-inch monitor. I have that exact same resolution on my 15" inspiron 8600 laptop. Crank up the fonts in an application if the default is too small. Many other apps scale just fine. There are relatively few apps I have a problem with font size with.
      • I love that screen (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grahamsz (150076)
        I've got the 1920x1200 at 15.4" on my latitude and it's fantastic.

        With the editor font in eclipse at 8pt, i can fit so much code on the screen. Probably about 80 lines vertically and enough columns to get two full size code views side by side.

        It's an amazing productivity booster and for the first time I'm actually using a windows system like a unix box and not having everything maximized.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:59AM (#15867499) Homepage Journal
      This high resolution == legibility problems is one of my pet peeves.
      High resolution improves the legibility of text. Just you a bigger font! Your average printed page is 5100x6600. Do you find that hard to read?
      Pick the right font and you will not have a problem.
      images are a different matter but even those can be re-sized.
      • A sensible gui environment will work out the DPI of your screen (Dots Per Inch) and ensure the default font size is actually a default physical size as viewed by you, and not a default size in pixels (and therefore smaller on a higher DPI screen).
    • Seems to me that the image issue is more of a weakness of web browser/server technology than anything. There are solutions, but they are currently a major pain in the ass, and are probably better thought of as "theoretical" solutions.

      For instance, say I have a web site with images on it. I could have some javascript detect how big the page is and the user's text size, then request appropriate resolution images. Server side there would presumably be something that resizes and caches a variety of differe
    • icons! (Score:4, Informative)

      by coyote-san (38515) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:40PM (#15867930)
      Images are bad, but icons are worse!

      My workplace issued new laptops with ~150 DPI (measured with a ruler). Basically twice what the old standard was. Twice what everyone designs their icons for, so those icons take up 1/4 the amount of screen real estate as they should.

      I was able to get my applications to use reasonable fonts. It's NOT as simple as just setting the Windows display resolution to 150 DPI -- many apps merrily continue to insist on what they know you really meant and I still had to specify 24pt font to get what should be a 12pt font. But you can largely force the apps to behave.

      But icons? WHERE ARE YE OLDE INSTRUMENTS OF TORTURE?!

      I'm serious. Few applications support multiple icon sizes, so I have to take it at faith that the icons on this application actually mean something. E.g., I'm told that the subversion plug-in indicates if the file has been modified, if it's been modified on the server, locally, or both, and probably other nifty information. I can't tell since the icons force that information into about 6 pixes square.

      Controls aren't quite as bad since they're not trying to cram the information into such as small space, but they're still so small that I have to remember that the icon for the local webserver is the grey box that's the second icon in the third group, not the little icon of a server.

      I'm only in my 40s and only need reading glasses occasionally, but mild presbyopia and icons a fraction of their intended size is a bad combination. ... and coworkers still wonder why I prefer the command line instead of the nifty new tools.
      • Re:icons! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DarkSarin (651985)
        This is the reason that most linux desktop environments are switching to SVG for their icons. SVG is fairly compact and scales perfectly (as long as some goofball doesn't link a raster image into a native SVG doc), and is fairly good about compressing (svgz). Take a 4MB file, which is 7200x7200 (or rather, I am printing @ 300 dpi for 24 inches), and exports to a BMP at 150MB, but compresses down to a mere 800KB. This is how it should be. Even more importantly, I could run a white space removal tool on t
  • But a 1920x1200 resolution often creates legibility problems for some users resulting from the tiny size of the default Windows font.
    That's kind of a trivial concern. Sure, its a problem, but unless Vista's changed something this default can be changed quite easily. It would be an improvement if Windows had sensible default setting combinations that applied based on the current resolution, but certainly this isn't a new problem with Vista.
  • So how long? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by y5 (993724)
    Given the projected surge in sales of higher resolution displays, how will it be until 800x600 fixed-width layouts finally die off?
    • 800x600 may die one of these days. "Fixed with" layouts are very popular with web designers, who like the amount of control it gives them. Combine that with weaknesses in CSS, whose ability to set column widths based on their content is sketchy.

      Slashdot, for example, displays some very unpleasant behavior when fonts are scaled large. Every site that I know that handles font-scaling well does so with a layout whose total width is fixed.

      If you're going to do fixed width, it should probably be no more than 1
      • Re:So how long? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:27PM (#15867804)
        "Fixed with" layouts are very popular with web designers, who like the amount of control it gives them.

        And by "web designers," I'm sure you mean "control-freak relics from print publishing who don't know how the fuck to use the new medium properly," right?

        If you're going to do fixed width, it should probably be no more than 1024x768, and 800x600 isn't a bad measure.

        If you're going to do fixed width, you're already doing something wrong. How wide the page should be is the user's decision, not yours!

        • Assuming the fixed-width site is built with separated CSS and relatively semantic HTML, the user can apply a custom stylesheet, if he or she feels so strongly.
          • Actually, it seems that many sites that use 'css layout' are fixed width.

            In the good old 'table layout' days, it was easier to do dynamically flowed layout.

            Just my observation/impression. May be wrong.
        • And by "web designers," I'm sure you mean "control-freak relics from print publishing who don't know how the fuck to use the new medium properly," right?

          Yes. That's EXACTLY who I mean.
        • How wide the page should be is the user's decision, not yours!

          Not if they click "agree" with my site's EULA!

          Of course if they happen to be using IE and hit yes on that Active X install popup, we can change their screen resolution for them.
      • Pet peeve relevant to that -- fixed width on the web page is always 5-10% wider than an equal-sized browser window, since you've got to account not only for window margins, but also that some browsers slightly stretch everything side to side. So a fixed-width page set at 1024 wide can require sidescrolling even on a 1024x768 display (the commonest default at present).

        As to the rest of the comment chain... hear hear!! :)

        [Me, I design for a *browser window* set at 800x600, but I test how it floats both at lar
  • Yeah... (Score:3, Funny)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:48AM (#15867375) Homepage Journal
    "But a 1920x1200 resolution often creates legibility problems for some users resulting from the tiny size of the default Windows font".

    Then the end-user does something stupid and makes the font legible and you lose desktop real estate again making 1920x1200 pretty small. While high resolution is nice and all, what we really need are 37" wide screen desktop monitors to come down in price. Or better yet, something that paints the image directly onto the rods and cones in our eyes. Of course at that point a screensaver will be mandatory if you don't want to be walking around with a Start button floating in view even when you're not on the system.

    • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jonah Hex (651948)
      I've run into many problems with end-users who cannot read even large or extra-large fonts at 1024x768, while they do fine at 800x600 with normal fonts. Yes they are older folks, and sure they are stuck using a 14" monitor, but like most small to medium size businesses they simply cannot find the funds to get something larger. Price for even replacing a 14" with say a 21" is a major concern, and most of the older monitors out there are not going to handle anything over 1280x1024. I've seen companies replace
  • by also-rr (980579) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:49AM (#15867386) Homepage
    Lossless/procedural scaling allows detail to go up as resolution rises instead of apparent quality going down. I believe that Vector Icons and Fonts are a target for KDE4.

    In any event DRM hardware that stops popular garbage being played without a license isn't really an issue - it'll push people who don't like the situation to make their own. In fact that's kind of the best thing that could happen to indie media, increasing the pool of contributors massivly.

    The only kind of bad DRM hardware is the kind that stops users playing, modifying or distributing their _own_ stuff cheaply and easily*. That's the real issue.
  • I see no indication that people will switch to vista, other than new hardware vendors preloading it. It really seems that no one is excited, or even INTERESTED in the features. Most corps I deal with will delay as long as possible for several reasons. I see Vista as the #1 opportunity for alternative operating systems to gain ground. Really, I see this as the begining of the end of MS reign, but that may be a tad premature.
    • I see no indication that people will switch to vista, other than new hardware vendors preloading it. It really seems that no one is excited, or even INTERESTED in the features.

      That, my friend is the devil in the details. Although I don't know anyone who is excited about getting Vista, Dell and Gateway are going to preload it onto all of their new machines. App vendors are going to start developing for Vista's features and XP support is going to fade away and the rest of us are going to be forced to upgrade.
  • by ecorona (953223) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:54AM (#15867446)
    I see this as a great opportunity for Linux. As MS Windows restricts what can and can't be done on their OS, Linux should get their crap together and work on hardware support and on making an user friendly distribution to get the average joe on board (it was painful and took MANY tries for me to learn linux from scratch and this was just a year ago). We generally won't get the older Mom and Pops to install Linux but the average Joe is all we need.
  • An operating system emulator to allow us to run our legacy unix / foss applications. User must demonstrate compelling need in order to get linux.exe authorized and activated.
    • What do you mean? "I want to" is no longer a good enough reason to run on my hardware the software I want to run?

      Then screw your system and I stick with the stuff I got. Because that runs what I want. And that's what matters to me.

      Yes, I'm selfish. I learned from the industry.
  • Currently, only a few shipping products actually support the crypto-ROM needed to ensure compliance with Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, and CableCard. It's looking like next-generation cards will all implement the needed firmware.

    What does this have to do with Vista? On the software side it only relates to drivers, which can be written for any OS. I fail to see how selling Vista has anything to do with demand for this hardware.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:59AM (#15867493)
    I didn't see anything about DRM.

    Ya see, I copy CDs of music recorded at a local church. This enables the choir to actually listen to themsevles, hear the choir director's version, and just help them do a better job.

    My point is if DRM gets in my way of copying non-RIAA, non-MPAA, non-[Insert big corp here],... Someone's "Base" is going to be really pissed that they can't record their music because they can't produce CDs of their church's music that they performed.

    BTW, the music itself is in the public domain - like just about all church hymes and other music.

  • DRM? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tokin84 (919029)

    For example, Windows Vista will support an unprecedented level of DRM (digital rights management), but that's at the behest of the content providers rather than Microsoft itself.

    Why can't Microsoft use its position in the software industry to leverage content providers away from DRM. What if Microsoft stopped supporting DRM... what would the Record/Movie Industry do? They'd be forced to adopt a universal standard, to ensure their music could be played (because we all know that someone would hack the encr

    • Re:DRM? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nizo (81281) *
      Lets see, if a Microsoft license is required to play brand-spank-me-new-drm DVDs on your brand-spank-me-new-drm DVD player in your pc, this would put a big dent in the desktop market for any other OS that can't make them play wouldn't it? So I can see exactly why Microsoft is gung-ho on the DRM issue. They can claim to be "doing the right thing" when in fact all they are really doing is increasing their stranglehold on the desktop.
    • Re:DRM? (Score:2, Informative)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Why can't Microsoft use its position in the software industry to leverage content providers away from DRM.

      Because they want to control the DRM. They want to do what Apple did with iTunes and the iPod. If all downlaodable media is designed for Windows, then they when downloadable content becomes mainstream, people will want PVRs with download capability running Windows CE because that will be the OS that's most compatible with the exisitng downloadable contnet.
    • Well, let's ponder a few things for a moment...

      MS does not compete with the MI.

      They compete against other OSs.

      Linux is in their way, gaining shares even in the Desktop environment.

      They can't do the usual routine of "buying and dissing", since there's nobody able to sell them Linux.

      "The user" (being generic here, forgive me) wants to watch movies on his computer, and play songs (or load either to his portable medium).

      It is near impossible to implement completely throughly DRM in open source software.

      Catch my
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:01PM (#15867516)
    With the advent of LCDs that have only one native resolution, this is a big problem for Windows. Imagine that either (1) you're visually impaired enough to not be able to read small stuff, but don't need things like screen magnifiers, or (2) you're tired at the end of a long day and don't feel like squinting at tiny fonts. Windows does let you scale the fonts, but the problem with this is that the graphics widgets don't scale porportionately in XP. Also, some applications and web pages start looking really ugly with scaled fonts. Also, you need to reboot the computer for the font change to take effect, which doesn't make sense to me.

    Scaling has to be something that all app vendors take into account in their code for it to work. I actually have my large LCD at a higher DPI right now, and several aopps don't resize their icons, etc.

    When everyone was running 17" or 20" screens at 1280x1024 or so, this wasn't an issue. Now, look at monster displays like the Apple 30" widescreen display. Mac OS finally got around to letting you scale the cursor size...before, it was a fixed-size tiny speck on that huge monitor when you ran it at the native resolution. The old solution was to change your resolution...doing this now either doesn't work or makes LCDs look really ugly.
    • Wrong; You don't have to reboot. Windows incorrectly states that scaling font DPI requires a reboot.

      but the problem with this is that the graphics widgets don't scale porportionately (sic) in XP.

      Yes, they do. Only poorly written applications which use bitmapped widgets/graphics don't scale properly. Ironically, ATI's control panel doesn't work at any other font resolution besides the default 96dpi.
    • Apple's 30" display is 100 dpi. As long as the monitor is viewed at the normal distance the cursor will be the same size as it always has been.
  • by bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:02PM (#15867520)
    and knowing my hardware isn't up to snuff and much of my software needs replacing, I bought a Mac. I mean, if I have to replace all that stuff anyway, why not get something truly "new" by comparison? Now my current XP box will become an Ubuntu file and print server in the next few months and I'll move my gaming to consoles. My last Mac still felt fast for about 2-3 years by my standards so I figure I'll grab something new around 2008-09 unless something really earth shattering gets released in the interim.

    I suspect this will happen to a number of us who have been at this a while and even some casual home users will opt out of the MS patch cycle. I wonder if anyone at MS feels this way, or if they just assume their current dominance is pre-destined?

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:28PM (#15867814) Journal
      Now my current XP box will become an Ubuntu file and print server in the next few months and I'll move my gaming to consoles.
      I hope you're prepared for disappointment, unless you primarily play sports games.

      I suspect this will happen to a number of us who have been at this a while and even some casual home users will opt out of the MS patch cycle.
      I've already moved out of the patch cycle for my home workstation, WGA did it for me (and I'm running a legit copy). I'd rather deal with more aggresively scanning for malware than deal with the patch cycle and WGA.

      And, wonder of wonders, my technological impaired wife asked me yesterday about getting a linux box (to be fair, she didn't use quite those words. It was more like "If we get a Linus [sic] machine next, does it come with a security blanket?") But the fact that she had even been thinking about the existence of *nix boxes was... exilarating. Titillating, even. A sign of the endtimes for MS? Dunno, but it gave me the warm fuzzies.
      • I've already moved out of the patch cycle for my home workstation, WGA did it for me (and I'm running a legit copy). I'd rather deal with more aggresively scanning for malware than deal with the patch cycle and WGA.

        Windows activation did it for me, five years ago. I'd rather deal with imperfect interoperability than deal with either WGA or malware.

  • by TPIRman (142895) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:02PM (#15867532)
    When your article can't even be quoted for a a paragraph without a page break slipping in there, you have

    Continued...

    officially crossed the line.
  • os (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agentdunken (912306) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:03PM (#15867534)
    Why does a OS need to take all your hardware? Its called a OS for reason. Its not a video game, its a Operating System,something that allows you to give your computer commands for it can do your functions. A OS should never, EVER, take so much high system requirements.
  • Font size? Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zarhan (415465) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:04PM (#15867547)
    Umm, font sizes are measured in Picas, not pixels, and all new monitors let the operating system know their physical charasteristics. Pica corresponds to 1/96 inches (yeah, ridicilous unit, but it comes from typesetting background). If you select font size as 96, and type a few letters That uses the entire "box", something like Íg, the distance between the aposthrophe and g:s curve is one ince on the screen. For most characters, 72 means an inch (THESE LETTERS ARE ONE INCH HIGH WITH SIZE 72).

    I know that Windows used to act rather weirdly if trying to set the DPI factor to anything other than the default - back in '95, but the situation cannot be the same anymore...can it?

    Linux and X-servers support this too. I haven't seen any problems except with a few gtk+ 1.x apps - and sometimes some windows are sized improperly. You can even manually specify the monitors physical measurements if autodetect does not work, with DisplaySize option in xorg.conf.

    Anyway, with 1900x1200 screen, you get the same physical font sizes as before, there are just more pixels to draw them with, so they look nicer.
    • Re:Font size? Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dfghjk (711126)
      My experience is that none of the OS'es handle scaling right, Linux included. The main difference is that screen resolution is easy to specify in Windows and painful in Linux. OS X is well known to fully support screen resolutions as long as they're 100 dpi. Frankly, they are all fucked.

      I use a 200 dpi display for both Windows and Linux so I get an extreme look at what goes wrong. I set both to 100 dpi and deal with matters in other ways.

      Interestingly, only one monitor provides this resolution. OS X supp
      • Windows does in fact handle font scaling properly. Go to your display settings, advanced and choose font size. Then measure little ruler bar with a real ruler until 1" = 1" on screen to measure your effective DPI. At this point, it will reboot and scale all fonts appropriately.

        That said, most Windows software designers don't handle the resized fonts properly and have their windows sized for the default pixel sizes because the Windows API is terrible for handling such things.

        I'd love to see this handled p
    • Re:Font size? Huh? (Score:2, Informative)

      by wbean (222522)
      A pica is 1/6 of an inch. A point is 1/72 of an inch. Thus there are are 12 points to a pica.
  • by zdzichu (100333) <zdzichu@nOSPam.irc.pl> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:09PM (#15867618) Homepage Journal
    But a 1920x1200 resolution often creates legibility problems for some users resulting from the tiny size of the default Windows font.

    Only if font rendering are broken on such OS. Font size is configured in points, which are physical unit equaling about 0.35 mm (or 0.014 inch). Now matter what resolution is, ten point font will always be 3,5mm high. Higher resolution can help -- if resolution is bigger, there will be more pixels per those 3,5mm, so font will look better. That's why configuring display DPI is so important when it's not autodetected.
    • but how big a glyph is on the screen is less important than how large it is perceived. you have to consider screen dpi and viewing distance. admittedly, font size doesn't consider viewing distance BUT font size alone isn't an answer to anything.

      Too bad Windows doesn't completely support display dpi. I have purchased Dell laptops with 130dpi displays and Dell configures the display dpi properly (130) from the factory. trouble is that the initial boot dialogs didn't display properly. How embarrassing!

      I th
  • Surely the fact that the default font is unreadable on high resolution screens, is the fault of windows and not of the screen.
    X11, and i`m sure OSX too, takes the DPI of the screen into account, and sizes the fonts accordingly, so they're still readable.
  • Cracked Foundation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:18PM (#15867726) Homepage Journal
    I can't wait to see all the millions of cheap PCs, most made in China, which carry cracked "crypto ROMs". When those PCs are untrustworthy to either user or publisher, will the entire "snitch PC" system collapse under its own weight?
  • (sigh) Zonk, what are we gonna do with you?

    ...the article also touches on things like DRM (which Vista heavily supports)...

    DRM is imposed on operating system vendors by Big Media. OS vendors' choices are limited to compliance, getting sued for lack of compliance, or lack of support altogether. So Microsoft complied with Big Media's demands for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray in Vista. Why do people keep acting like it's some stunning revelation, when Microsoft's stance has not changed between XP and Vista? Yes, that's rhetorical. Kinda like asking why Buffalo Sabres fans hate Brett Hull.

    And yes, I know I'm beating a dead horse. But every time I turn a corner, there's a carcass and a convienently-placed blunt object...

    • No, Microsoft is enthusiastically supporting DRM because it wants to become the standard for it. That's what "Plays for Sure" is all about, and indeed is why Microsoft basically invented it (see: Palladium/"Trusted" Computing) in the first place!

  • But a 1920x1200 resolution often creates legibility problems for some users resulting from the tiny size of the default Windows font. - on my 15.4" laptop screen, the 1920x1200 is so useful. I can have more than one window opened on the screen without tabbing through them.
  • NSIM writes to mention an article on ExtremeTech looking at the impact that Windows Vista will have on the future of computer hardware.

    From what I've seen yesterday (WWDC 2006 keynote video), Apple are gonna be the ones pushing the future of computer hardware. Microsoft simplies (tries to) follow them.
  • by russ1337 (938915) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:51PM (#15868045)
    the article also touches on things like DRM (which Vista heavily supports)
    Vista does not 'support' DRM in the way that an an audio player 'supports' wmv, mp3, OGG, etc...

    Vista 'shoves DRM down your throat like prison king-pin does, in return for 'protection'...
  • Vista, apparently, allows you to increase the actual resolution of your display, keeping the high native screen dimensions, but increasing the DPI, giving larger, clearer fonts on higher-dimension screens. So on the 1900x1200 screen, the fonts can be as physically large as on a 800x600 screen, but with much better definition.
  • by Myria (562655) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:18PM (#15868297)
    Vista has something known as "Protected Processes". These are user-mode processes that are protected against modification. The kernel continually hashes these processes' code sections and verifies that they have not changed. If they have changed, the system bugchecks (BSOD). Such processes run at ordinary user security levels - they are not privileged.

    You might ask what these are for. The answer: DRM. Windows Media Player is such a process when playing protected media. If you try to mess with it, the system bugchecks.

    DoS attack against Terminal Services machines, anyone?

    Melissa
  • Er... illegibility? (Score:3, Informative)

    by arodland (127775) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:52PM (#15868561)
    Has Microsoft not learned the meaning of "DPI" yet? A 12pt font is the same size on any monitor, provided that your software isn't stupid. It's just that on that 200dpi monitor, it will have nice crisp edges compared to your old 72dpi thing. Every halfway-modern display sends back information that can be used to scale fonts correctly. Linux even gets it right more often than not. What's the deal?


    (yes, I know that it's actually PPI, not DPI. But the "standard term" is DPI nonetheless).

  • by guidryp (702488) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:20PM (#15868789)
    1: you can adjust the DPI in windows if the font is hard to see. Most people don't.

    2: Even if you don't adjust it, the dot pitch on a 24" 1920x1200 monitor is .270mm where it is .264mm on a 17" 1280x1024. So fonts are actually bigger on the 24" high resolution LCD, than on a low res 17" LCD. This really makes the article summary somewhat pointless to downright incorrect. More resolution doesn't make fonts tiny and create legibility problems. This is the kind of argument made by people that just don't understand the process they are talking about.

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