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Old 10-20-2005, 11:01 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Paul Thurott's Microsoft Windows Vista Build 5231 (Community Technical Preview 2) Review

"I've been waiting for months to write about Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11), and now that it's out in a publicly available release, I can finally let you know how wonderful it is. While it's inconceivable that Microsoft can do anything about the popularity and success of Apple's iTunes and iTunes Music Store, WMP 11 is a huge leap forward compared to previous WMP versions, eliminating much of the complexity we've come to expect from Microsoft's bloated Media Player offerings. But the biggest news in WMP 11 isn't that it's simpler. In WMP 11, Microsoft has taken the notion of a media library and turned it completely on its head. If you thought you needed Media Center to get a visual look at your music collection, think again."

Paul talks about Windows Media Player 11, among other things, in this review. He talks about the speed increase, and this is something I saw first hand a few months back (which I think I can talk about now, in general terms at least): there was a laptop with 13,000 songs on it, and after a bit of hard drive grinding when WMP was loaded, WMP sat quietly. The user then began to search for new music, and WMP found it instantly - no hard drive grinding, no sluggish behaviour. It was a beautiful thing. I've been ripping on Windows Media Player for years because of it's horrific performance with large libraries, and it looks like they've finally come up with something that makes searching music fast.

Paul goes on to cover new features, such as Windows Digital Gallery. He says it's based on Digital Image Suite 2006, which I'm not sure is a good thing - I found that program very sluggish at rendering thumbnails and it made my 3.2 Ghz laptop feel like it was running at 32mhz. Still, having improved imaging handling in Vista will be great. I'll probably still install Picasa though. ;-)

Paul really blows a gasket when he covers the new Media Center user interface - I think the new UI is pretty slick, but I also haven't seen it in action. I hope it's much faster at rendering album thumbnails, and caches them for faster overall access. You really have to read Paul's description of the new Media Center to understand how upset he is. Charlie Owen has a rebuttal that makes a lot of sense, but ultimately until I have it in front of me it's hard to say for sure which is the better option.

What do you think about all the new digital media stuff coming in Windows Vista?
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