Friday, April 18, 2008

Vista to Mac in 24 hours, for dummies

The sweet smell of Mac pervades my flat, with just the faintest whiff of Microsoft as it lingers under the doors. I breath in, relaxed.

It took me a little less than 24 hours to realise that Windows Vista was going to be the last straw in my relationship with Bill.

I don't care to dig too deeply as to whose fault it was that I would be locked to a computer with a given operating system in another language (whether MS, ACER, Star centre, or a combination of all thre - I simply don't know)- frankly I don't care much anymore. I do however find the dead ends which Microsoft leaves for it's customers quite astounding.

My ACER came loaded with a Spanish language version of Vista, and while I'm happy to do my best in terms of integrating into a new country, I would at least like a choice in the matter. The shop assistant had assured me that I could change the language, as did the MS site:

Windows Vista Language Interface Pack (LIP).‌ Windows Vista LIPs provide a translated version of the most widely used areas of the user interface. LIPs are freely available to download, and most LIPs can be installed and used on any edition of Windows Vista. Because not all of the user interface is translated, LIPs require at least one parent language. The parts of the user interface that are not translated into the LIP language are displayed in the parent language. When you download a LIP, you get the parent language requirements for that language. The parent language pack needs to be installed before the LIP can be installed. For more information, including a list of languages available for downloading, go to the Microsoft Local Language website.

It didn't seem to be too optimistic of me to think that this meant that such an installation was in easy reach. It was quickly clear that to have a full change of language one would need an upgrade to the higher cost editions of Vista but it seemed that the LIPs were going to be a reasonable compromise. However, clicking on the above link takes you to a site advertising the unlimited potential of MS, here.

Quoting again:

Empower your community by providing it with desktop software and tools in its own language.

If you're suffering from low blood pressure I would advise you to take a short tour around the above site, which Escher would surely have been proud of. The site does indeed appear to be a worthwhile pursuit of saving local languages amongst other things. I spent roughly an hour trying to find anything that I could download in order to get the above mentioned LIP and could find nothing.

In the end I did find a tech forum where it had been noted that the promised LIPs had not been released and nobody knew when they would be. After struggling with this for some considerable time and trying to see if there was any cheap fix I gave up. Perhaps there is an easy fix on the MS site, but frankly if they want my custom then they need a little more transparency in their advertising of such things.

The horribly slow plod of Vista, even with 2Gb of ram was enough to drive me over the edge and I took back the computer within 24 hours of picking it up.

An hour later I was at home, sitting comfortably with a new, more expensive, but infinitely more pleasant looking Mac in front of me. Turning it on, I was greeted with a warm glow and a flyby of the Orion nebula as, within 2 minutes I chose my language, connected to my Wifi network, set up my accounts and preferences and opened the desktop for the first time. Somebody knows how to please their customers.

Since then it's been a breeze and I have the MacBook set up as I like it, my firefox plugins installed, TeXShop running smoothly and music gently in the background, without the accompaniment of continuous disk crunches. I may be only a lowly individual to you Mr Gates, but you've just lost yourself another customer.


James said...

I have lower-than-average blood pressure, and I visited Unlimited Potential. Given that this is a site geared towards non-native-English speakers, why is it written in such impenetrable gobbledygook?!

Only a marketing department...

A little part of me dies every time I see or hear the word "empower" and its derivatives.

cvj said...

Dear Jonathan,

Welcome!! (and Congratulations...)


helensotiriadis said...

i'm on vista now but haven't had too much of a problem but, even so, i've been thinking for a couple of months now that my next computer's going to be a mac.
this clinches it.

James said...

By the way Jon, I bought a new notebook recently.

And it didn't have Windows on it, either ;)

Anonymous said...

Well well biscuit, as I sit waiting for a hard disk scan to run in the vain hope that'll sort my constant crashing with Vista, I thought I'd read your blog. How very surprising to see someone else has had a promblem with Vista....

Unknown said...

This seems to have resonated :-)

I'm now just a few days into Mac use but it's a dream. With quicksilver fired up and all programs and customisations as I like them, I really wish I had made the leap earlier.

To A.E.H.O, I would suggest forgetting about the disk checks for Vista and take the plunge!


Anonymous said...

As much as i'd love to, I only bought it two months back so can't quite justify the £££££ of a mac just yet. Think the PC is sorted now, the problem was some error with latest version of itunes so i've downgraded. Seems to be working a treat now.