A test of wills

My lead pipe will fix you good!

Monday, April 2, 2007 | 02:23 PM | by
My best friend Toby came up from New York this weekend for some scheduled laziness. I actually got to do nothing but play video games and relax from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. Running this little business of mine keeps me fairly busy, so that doesn't happen often.

We played a number of games that I wouldn't have picked up otherwise, such as Fuzion Frenzy 2, which turned out to be a rather entertaining little party game. About 90% of the mini-games were really enjoyable.

I also have a newfound respect for Elebits on the Wii as a multiplayer game.

The crowning achievement for this weekend, however, was finally beating Condemned. We had started playing this game over a year ago, right after it, and the 360 launched, during a similar such weekend. However we ran out of time, and the game went unfinished. And for the following year it taunted us because A) we never completed it and B) what we had played had scared us enough that it gained a sort of infamy when we would reminisce about it.

This weekend we picked it up with a new determination to get through the damned thing, no matter how freaky it was. We played rock, paper, scissors for the first level, and then alternated from there. And the first few levels were pretty dark and creepy, but a bit of alcohol helped the situation. Eventually the game became more fun than scary, and I'm proud to say that we finished it Sunday afternoon.

It was a very short game (we plowed through the whole thing in less than a day), but it was pretty solid all the way through. Now we can stick it on the shelf and know that we conquered it.

I've been using Vista for nearly a week now on my work computer, and for the most part I enjoy it. It certainly takes some getting used to, and by no means is it perfect yet. It has features I like, and some I don't, but my impressions are largely positive. A lot of the negative things I hear people complaining about the most (like the constant "are you sure?" security windows) can simply be turned off. Voila, problem solved.

One of the things I hear the most (and got the most via email) was "Don't buy Vista d00d, it sucks, wait six months to a year until all the bugs are fixed". Now, while I agree that if it's super important to you that everything works flawlessly, then yes, wait. That's your personal decision, and you are entitled to it. But you know what happens if everyone waits six months? Then no bugs get worked out, and in six months it's got just as many problems. Some people need to use the system and report the bugs if they're going to get fixed.

So then people will say "But d00d, Microsoft should have tested the system themselves. Why do we have to pay to find bugs for them. Fucking Microsoft, releasing an unfinished product!", and that just smacks of ignorance. There are millions of combinations of computer hardware and software, and it's completely impossible to check all of them for compatibility within an in-house testing environment, or even within an open beta test like Microsoft ran last year.

The point is, our age-old ideas of "This just came out, I'm buying it the day it came out, it had better be flawless as soon as I take it out of the box" doesn't hold true for stuff like computer software anymore. It's not like we buy a toaster, and the toaster company knows that if you're plugging it in in the United States, you're using a 120v 60hz socket, and they can extensively test that toaster under those conditions.

With computers as varied and complex as they are, software as varied and complex as it is (particularly an operating system), and the internet as completely accessible as it is, I don't see why it's so unreasonable to test a product as much as possible, and then release it and provide updates and bug fixes. Frankly, I don't see how it could be done any other way.

Windows Vista doesn't have any more bugs or driver issues than Windows XP did when it launched. Yes, XP is a pretty nice and stable O.S. now, but it wasn't that way when it was released. So if you want to wait until a lot of the kinks are worked out, go for it. But don't bitch to the people trying Vista about how bad it is even though you haven't used it yet but you heard on the intarweb that it's bad and its cool to hate Microsoft.

In all actuality, Vista itself is running pretty damn stable for me. So far about all of the problems I've run into with it are directly related to a lack of reliable nVidia drivers for the 64 bit version. Particularly in regards to a dual monitor setup, for which none of the current beta or WHQL drivers work for me.

Sure it's frustrating when things don't work how you want them to, but them's the breaks when you decide to be an early adopter. I don't love Vista yet, but I'm not going to hate it just because it isn't flawless either.