Windows Vista, Have They Even Started Working on It Yet?

According to Jim Allchin (some kind of president at Microsoft–sources vary on exactly what kind–but safe to assume he’s pretty high up in the Windows development hierarchy), all they have left to work on is “XP upgrades, performance, application compatibility….” Doesn’t that pretty much describe the whole OS? At the very least these are the three core issues for an upgrade decision, and I assume upgrade still figures somewhere into the business model–though given the hardware requirements (minimum 512-megs of RAM, DRM-compliant video subsystem, etc.), I’m starting to wonder.

Also, “it will learn and get faster over time.” Scary, yes, and yet isn’t this the same old promise they made with XP (and possibly even earlier than that)?

Then again, when was the last time we actually had good news out of Redmond?

(full disclosure: I’m a Microsoft shareholder, in the tiniest possible sense, both directly and through mutual funds, but believe me that hasn’t been anything to brag about for quite some time.)

Google Desktop 4

I finally got so frustrated (again) with Google Desktop returning broken results (because I move files around a lot, and apparently it doesn’t track that) that I uninstalled and wiped the indexes yesterday. When I went to download and reinstall I found that they’ve once again silently posted a major upgrade. Version 4 has some neat new features (notably gadgets, which I’m not going to touch with a ten-foot pole after my Google homepage experience), but most importantly it was able to index 550,000 searchable items across three hard drives (~400 gigs) on my desktop system over night (as opposed to a 7-day, 100% utilization ordeal with version 3).

Some other cool new features:

  • Browse Timeline – like browser History, but includes files you open too
  • Search inside zip files (this, you may recall, was what killed Windows built-in search, a bug Microsoft has never fixed)

The bad news:

  • It doesn’t seem to know when it’s done indexing–it says it’s done, results look complete, but I’m pretty sure more indexing is happening when my system is idle
  • Recently indexed items actually show up in the “Browse Timeline” as if you had opened them (when, I think, it’s the indexer that’s opened them)

I don’t know. I suppose it wouldn’t be the new Google if it wasn’t all a little half-cooked, primitive and scary.

Update (5/12): Remember how I said it doesn’t know when it’s done indexing? This morning I’m up to 750,000 indexed items, and counting. If I had to guess, I’d say the “indexing complete” indicator trips when your c: drive is done. Most of my files are on other drives.