30 May 2008
Virtually on parity
From: Microsoft Propaganda Honcho
To: Microsoft Propaganda Minion
Subject: “Five Misunderstood Features in Windows Vista”
You remember that a fortnight ago, on my orders, we pulled our propaganda document, “Five Misunderstood Features in Windows Vista”,1 from the internet only hours after tech bloggers around the world had laughed themselves hoarse over it, and I ordered you to rewrite some of the more misunderstood sections. I have now evaluated your changes in the new version.
Let’s take a look at page 5. You deleted the following part:
A complaint often lodged at Windows Vista is that it seems to run a bit slower than Windows XP. We‘ll get to that in a minute, but Windows Vista is doing a lot more than any previous operating system.
Good job deleting “a bit slower”! We can’t say that: it’s true. And the bit about Vista “doing a lot more” than previous OSes just invited the haters to giggle that it’s doing it on massively more powerful computers. We can’t give them such easy targets.
One of the most significant improvements in Windows Vista is the ability to rapidly search all the files on the desktop, whether they reside in folders, as an email attachment, or somewhere else on the PC.
WindowsSearch does require that the processorsystem continuallyindex file locations so they can be quickly retrieved at will,
Right, don’t even mention “processor” — that’ll just have people obsessing over the performance hit again. Call it the “system”: that’s more general and reassuring. You then added:
though the approach taken by Windows Vista should not interfere with system performance while in use.
I love that! It “should not” interfere with system performance. It does, of course, but it should not. On that everyone can agree — even the Mactards, right?
Then you deleted this whinge:
Indexing for near instantaneous search results for desktop files, even embedded in email messages, is a resource-intensive task — requiring the PC to continually scan the hard drive for changes.
Correct, this did sound too much like special pleading. We know really low-powered Macs could do this half a decade ago, but let’s not remind everyone, okay?2
Boldly, you deleted even more excuse-making:
On Windows Vista, the search engine is set up as a service rather than an application.
This approach reduces the burden on system resources, as an application would consume a large proportion of resources when it needs to work harder — such as following the PC setup, or when a large number of files are copied. As a service, Windows Search takes a bit more time to accommodate these one-off events, but there is far less impact on available computing resources.
A fine gambit! No more mentioning of “the burden on system resources”, it made us look weak. And “a bit more time” made us look slow. And “these one-off events” — what the hell was that? If the events are “one-off events”, then why are they in the plural ? Who wrote this garbage in the first place anyway?
Don’t answer that.
Anyway, excellent job with the deletion there. What did you replace it with?
This approach allows the system to index user’s data even when the user isn’t logged on the machine, making the index ready for the time when user logs on. With Windows Vista, the indexing function doesn’t crawl the disk constantly. Instead, after indexing the content for the first time, it waits for changes in the file system and then only indexes the updated files. Beyond that, indexing goes idle when a user or the system opens a document or performs a task, so the actual impact on performance is minimal.
Nice. The impact is minimal. Love how you are emphasizing what the approach “allows” rather than the “burden” it creates. Great work so far. I think you should be excited!
Wait, let’s flip to page 9.
On machines configured with the appropriate specifications for
theirthe operating system they are running, the speed of most operations and tasks between Windows Vista and Windows XP is virtually on parityequal.
Agreed, “virtually on parity” was too obviously a weasel way of saying “slower, but not much slower, honest”. We can’t say that: it’s true. So: “virtually equal” — much better! Still lets us off the hook, since we’re not claiming it’s actually equal. But we’re not allowing the concept of “slower” to enter the room, either. Virtually equal — sure, it’s not equal in the “real world”, but it’s equal in the virtual fantasy world we need to sell our customers! And that’s all that counts.
WhichThis is pretty remarkable when you consider one key thing Windows Vista is doing that Windows XP isn‘t: for example, indexing for near instantaneous search results for desktop files, even those embedded in email messages; preventing malware with Windows Defender; and dynamically delivering rich content to the desktop with Windows Sidebar. The result is users can find information significantly faster (measured in minutes), increasing productivity far in excess of the loss in speed of operations (measured in milliseconds).
Great work shunting in those last-minute inspirational references to Windows Defender and Sidebar! Just look at all these great things Vista is doing that XP wasn’t!
But there’s a little problem, Propaganda Minion. Now we are announcing “one key thing” that Vista does, and then describing three things. How do you think that makes us look?
Stupid, is what it makes us look.
You know what? You’re fired.
For more straight-talk advice and adoption guidance, please visit www.microsoft.com/springboard
Okay, that bit’s still perfect. I love it. Nothing but straight talk passes my desk. Plus, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt could probably use some of our “adoption guidance”. But you’re still fired, you moron.