Sunday, January 28

The future of Windows

Greetings. Well, its almost here. Windows Vista has been slated for consumer release on January 30, which by my calendar is this Tuesday. If you are interested in such things, the weekly Internet show Main Menu, on ACB Radio, will be taking a comprehensive look at Vista. The program airs this Tuesday evening in the States at 7 CST and will be a rare 3 hour show. They will have guests from Microsoft, Serotek (makers of Freedom Box) and GW Micro (Window-Eyes), that will review Vista from an accessibility perspective. To listen, go to the
Mainstream page at ACB Radio,
and look under the Listen heading on that page. Then just click on the listen link for your player of choice. If you miss it, then you can catch the replay on the Mainstream channel next weekend. Or, after next Sunday, check out the
Main Menu On-Demand archives.

Incidentally, if you want to stay with XP Home or media Center for just a little while longer, Microsoft has said that they will still offer tech support for them until April of 2009. I believe the support for XP Professional extends until 2011. So, if you don’t want to rush out right away and grab Vista, then you’ve got some time.

If, on the other hand, you do want to get Vista soon, its probably a good bet to wait at least until the summer, in order to let all the initial bugs with your adaptive software to be worked out. Also, to let Microsoft patch anything from the start. From a piece I read earlier on a blog, it looks like Microsoft will be issuing some round of patches for Vista in March, aside from their normal monthly patches which has become known as “patch Tuesday.”

If you’re computer’s more than 2 years old, do yourself a favor and buy a new system. Think of it this way: which is more costly: buying a new computer, or spending lots of money trying to upgrade your old machine for a totally new operating system? Besides, if you buy a new one, you can eliminate some things you used to depend upon, like floppy drives.

Whenever you do get a new machine and want to transfer your data from the old to the new, check out the
Windows Easy Transfer utility for Vista.
It might make things easier for you.

It’s going to be interesting to watch the various media reports over the next few months on Vista. It will also be interesting to hear how Freedom Scientific plans to have JAWS support Vista. On the last big Main Menu show of a new operating system, which was Windows XP back in 2001, Freedom Scientific was part of it. This time though, for Vista, they are not. They have elected to put out their JAWS support for Vista in the form of their new podcast, called
FS Cast.
It will be different and kind of odd not to hear them on the Main Menu show this Tuesday. I’m not sure what to make of this decision by them. On one hand, its kind of exclusive for them to not put out their support in the public. After all, Main Menu has become one of the benchmark technology shows in the blindness community. If an Assistive Technology company has a new or an updated product, then they’re likely to use Main Menu as publicity for that product. Perhaps Freedom Scientific is waiting until CSUN in March, or the summer convention season in July, to publicly unveil their support for Vista.

Any way you slice it, the next few months will be interesting to watch, from a mainstream technology perspective as far as how well Vista will perform, to an assistive one. It should be fun.

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