Charlie Owen, Paul Thurrott and Media Center in Vista

Charlie Owen has put out a pretty good post responding to Paul Thurrott’s weak so called review of Media Center in Vista. I haven’t had time to completely put a piece together on Vista’s Media Center yet (I hope to shortly). In the meantime I’ll note my comment here that I left on Charlie’s blog this morning:

“I’m hoping to post on this at some point shortly as well. Unfortunately my blog is down right now (daily bandwidth exceeded). I’m trying to switch hosting providers but it’s been taking a few days.

It seems like Paul’s beef is basically about the design aesthetic and user experience with the new layout. I think you’ve done a good job Charlie, especially of laying out the old vs. new design side by side.

You are also right about the beta build being really too unstable at this point to adequately give a fair review on the user experience.

1. I personally think it’s wrong for Thurrott to say something like, “what was once easy to use is now indecipherable.” Paul, shame on you. You should know better. It’s BETA software. It’s not supposed to work. BETA Paul, beta.

2. I personally like the new design much much better (which is all you can probably adequately address at this point). I think the album artwork in thumbnail looks really cool. It kind of reminds me of Flickr a little bit actually. I think the design work is strong and you’ve taken something that was pretty plain before and made it look more engaging and exciting. But take a look at the screen shots yourself.

I think that in his zest to be the “first” out with a review on Media Center in Vista Paul has unfairly critiqued functionality that very well may be quite different when the final product is shipped.

Hope to have more later.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am looking forward to putting Media Center to the test — when I feel the build is stable enough to fairly do so. One of the most important things I need to test that has supposedly been improved is the performance of large media libraries. But even when I do offer a review it would be irresponsible for me to comment negatively on functionality or performance until the final product is released.

Update: Ed Bott chimes in as well. “Paul’s so-called review appeared at the same time as another longish article in PC Magazine. In both cases, I am baffled at the use of the word review. The point of a review is to help you make a decision as to whether you want to buy or install a product, just as the point of a movie review is to help you decide whether you want to see a new film or skip it and spend your money on another release.

Windows Vista Build 5231 is an interim release that is available only to invited beta testers and developers in the MSDN program. If you’re in either of those categories, you have access to dedicated newsgroups and other places where you can gather information and exchange opinions with people. You also understand that this is an interim version of a beta release, which means, by definition, that the software is incomplete and is being distributed so that testers can provide feedback on specific features.”

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  1. JD says:

    Paul is definitely right on his thought that MCE Vista is UGLY! I sure hope they using that hideous shade of blue for the Beta work only.

    Maybe there will be an MCE XP Classic view for those of us who love the current interface design??