New Vista build floats by, Dell hell continues (and subliminal bear)

That's a nice view. That's a nice view of IT Blogwatch, in which an interim Windows Vista build swims around the goldfish bowl that is the blogosphere, and we ask, "Did Dell delay a recall?" Not to mention the bastard love child of Chucky and Teddy Ruxpin...

Vista trouble spots improve in interim Beta Build 5472, reports Scot Finnie:

Microsoft is making progress in the areas of performance and installation time, has refined the User Account Control (UAC), updated the main Control Panel that manages networking access and settings, included mild design improvement to the Vista Basic video mode, and improved how Media Center works. Installation time ... has been cut by about 40% -- making it the best Windows installation experience ever. Overall performance of this build is noticeably faster, including boot times and general performance of opening and closing applications, windows and dialogs ... As a tune-up to the next major beta release of Vista, RC1 — expected sometime in the second half of August — the technical release 5472 shows Vista clearly improving. Several of the biggest gripes about Vista Beta 2 are being addressed.
Rajiv Vyas crows:

Mac users can stop being smug now. The Vista review screenshots show Vista Build 5472 incorporating a lot of OS X-like features. It also ditched various irritating user prompts, and made the whole thing run fast. The one thing Apple does still have dominance in is media -- ... the Vista Media Center is still buggy.
To which diggers reply:

meLikesToEat: Or be MORE smug b/c MS took Apple's good ideas an innovations AGAIN

Magadass: This article says nothing of the sort, it simply says Microsoft is working in the right direction and they are on track ... There may be some similarities but nothing to get yur panties in a twist about.

shazbot: Steve Jobs quoted Picasso once: "Bad artists copy. Great artists steal." So, go ahead fan boys, keep whining.

Vorcht: The speed may be in response to them recompiling components without the debug switches. Previous builds were almost all compiled in debug mode.

And slashdotters muse:

fm6: GUIs were intuitive, back when they were invented. That's no longer considered important. Now, the purpose of GUIs is to look cool.

sd.fhasldff: Some of the goofs in Beta2 (and earlier) were so clear-cut that the sceptical among us might be tempted to believe they were made on purpose to get exactly the kind of good PR exemplified by [Computerworld].

Foofoobar: I live in Seattle, I have friends who are developers over there who swear it will never make the January deadline.

alpinerod: I've lost trust in Windows platform ever since the WGA hit the news. Most likely XP is going to be the last MS-based _personal_ use OS I will ever use (hopefully).

drsmithy: Yay for ignorant hyperbole! Also, don't forget to mention that WGA kills puppies...

obeythefist: WGA is only a problem for people who've purchased Windows ... infringe a non-activation VLE of Windows and use Autopatcher or similar to keep it up to date.

RzUpAnmsCwrds: Where the hell do comments like yours even come from? There is so much negative PR around Vista that I guess people just ignore the reality of the system ... Vista is making real progress and is shaping up to be a substantial, albeit not revolutionary, upgrade from XP. Slashdot doesn't like that.

[Plastic castle!]

MEANWHILE, remember the exploding Dell laptop? (see Dude, you're getting a skin graft)

Engadget does:

We know you've all been following closely as Dell investigates the case of their exploding laptop, so you'll probably be interested to hear about a report claiming that Dell knew dozens of their laptops had sustained extensive heat damage at least two years before initiating any kind of recall. The source, who is claimed to be someone "close to the company," has said that Dell execs were provided with documents and photographs in 2003 and 2004 showing lappies described as "burned," "melted" and even "scorched." Of course we can't vouch for the legitimacy of the source's information, but if it's true, the danger that could be involved makes "dozens" sound like a lot, even compared to the millions Dell sells every year.

To which Di asks:

Can you say "Fight Club"? [Well, no -- isn't that rule #1?] [You're fired -Ed.]

Ryan offers a math lesson:

Dozens is not a lot compared to millions...Ever! This is such a small percentage, miniscule in fact.
Gledster diggs it:

I can understand Dell not announcing a recall straight away from a business point of view. Recalls are very costly, bad publicity and probably bad for business overall. So for a company to wait before issuing one, whilst bad for the consumer, isn't really a surprise.
Dell's own one2one blog says... errr... nothing. Well, aside from this post a week ago:

Beyond what you've seen in the blogosphere, there is no update on the now infamous “flaming notebook” from Osaka.  We replaced the customer’s computer and are still investigating the cause.  We think it was a fault in a lithium ion battery cell.  Dell's engineering teams are working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a third-party failure analysis lab to determine the root cause of this failure and to ensure we take all appropriate measures to help prevent a recurrence.  By the way, lithium ion batteries are used in billions of notebooks, mp3 players, PDAs and cell phones these days.

To which Erin replies:

Dell, you suck for saying something like that. There are millions of cars on the road too, but if GM came out with a model that was a defective do you think they would be like, "By the way, there are millions of cars out there. It's cool, just relazzzz."
Buffer overflow:

    Around the Net

    Around Computerworld

And finally... Teddy bear shaped subliminal recording device; patent#: US 6940432

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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