I have a Blu-ray player and also an HD-DVD player. I suspected that Blu-ray would win, but I’m an early adopter when it comes to technology. Sometimes I’m on the cutting edge and sometimes I feel like I’ve just been stabbed when a new technology fails. That said I bought my first DVD player in April of 1997, just days after the first movies were released. I couldn’t get my hands on a TiVo soon enough, and had an HDTV before I could get an HDTV cable box. I’m now on my fourth or fifth HDTV set (even I can’t keep track at this point) and I have a box of old digital cameras. My family loves me as I’m always handing down PCs, TVs, cameras and other devices.
But despite all this, my main PC is a Windows XP machine. Oh don’t get me wrong. I’ve been an early adopter of operating systems. While I wasn’t one of those guys who camped out for Windows 95 in August 1995, I did get a Windows 95 PC soon after, and I was actually an early adopter for Windows XP in 2001.
That’s when I decided I’d stop being such an early adopter of PC operating systems. I saw no reason to upgrade to Windows Vista when it debuted a year and a half ago and I’m still seeing little incentive to jump on the bandwagon. But for the record, I’d never consider getting a Mac—and I must say as a side note: I loathe, I mean absolutely loathe those Mac/PC commercials. For one thing the Mac isn’t the cooler machine, simply because I find the Mac to be a terrible game machine. The PC has dominated gaming for the past decade, which actually brings me back to my first point on Windows XP.
As a machine for general family use, including games—since it can’t be all work and no play—Windows XP is ideal. The patches have made it a stable system. While the graphical potential has hit its limits, I’ve liked what I’ve seen with DirectX 9, and DirectX 10 isn’t much of a leap. I must go off on another side note too. Games are reaching that “Uncanny Valley” where characters start to look so realistic, yet just far enough away from real that they look creepy. Of course the only way through the Uncanny Valley is straight ahead. But maybe I’ll wait it out with DirectX 9 and jump to DirectX 11 or 12… or whatever it takes. But the point is that for most home office users Windows XP works fine.
And that brings me to the next point, Windows Vista has problems. The greatest of which is that many popular third party programs have had some compatibility issues. I’ve spoken to friends who have had trouble using such programs as Photoshop and Quark. It also reminds me that when Windows XP came out I had strange lock ups—known as the “bluescreen of death.” It took two months to track down; as it turned out, it was a result of my firewall conflicting with the new operating system. So the bottom line with Windows Vista is that I’ve waited a year and a half and I’ll probably continue to wait.