Friday, July 22, 2005

From here, you can see Cupertino!

Definition: "Vista"

noun [C]

1. LITERARY; a view, especially a splendid view from a high position.
Example: After a hard climb, we were rewarded by a picture-postcard vista of rolling hills under a deep blue summer sky.

2. a possible future action or event that you can imagine.
Example: As leader, he opened up exciting vistas of global co-operation.

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)


3. the edge of a cliff.
Example: I bought Microsoft's new operating system, "Vista" and all it did was take me to the edge and make me look longingly for some other place far off into the horizon.

Microsoft blew it. Vista is a bum name for a new software.

Now, naming things for commerce isn't easy. There's always the risk of some fly-in-the-ointment just rotting away for that day of exposure...

Mother1 to Mother 2 at grocery store: Oh look! Jif Peanut Butter is on sale!

Mother 2 to Mother 1: Eeeeew. Jif!

Mother1: What's wrong with Jif?!

Mother 2: Well, probably nothing, but did you know that "Jif" is the Hindu god of explosive diarrhea?!"

Mother 1: NO! YUCK! (grabs a jar of Peter Pan Chunky).

While Microsoft's new operating system, "Vista," may not cause explosive diarrhea, it does miss the point of software completely - to work, NOW.

The picture attached is of Microsoft's own homepage. It shows a climber looking out over an expansive...well, vista. Nice visual. Except that most computer users don't want to climb mountains only to be greated with a chasm between them and their destination. Computer users want their computer to work. NOW.

Fast forward to 2006...

Computer user 1: Man, I just installed Vista!

Computer user 2: Really? How is it?

Computer user 1: It took me four hours, I sweated, I grunted, I groaned and finally, just when I was about to give up, I reached the top! A successful installation!

Computer user 2: Really? How is it?

Computer user 1: Well, I think I can see how it might work!

Of course, the idea of a technological Vista is somewhat romantic - computers afford great promise; to manage enterprise, create art, communicate with the world, etc. Microsoft wants to be known as far-reaching, progressive - a worthy ambition. But average people aren't as taken by company mission-statements. Average people want software, products, ideas that simply work, NOW.

What Microsoft should have done is create a name that provides the user what they want - a computer OS that works NOW. Right now. As in, "install this and do what you want to do, now."

"Microsoft Now. The most amazing operating system on earth, Now."

Well, anyway, we'll see. Maybe I'm wrong. 2006 is a long way away in computer-terms. But from what I hear from Windows users, they've been sitting atop their own "vista" for quite some time.