Startup sounds

I’ve been away on holiday, so I’ve slipped behind in the blogosphere a little.

I only became aware last night that there’s been a flap over a potential cannot-be-easily-disabled startup sound in Vista. People are in a tizzy over the thought that there might be a sound they can’t control – although as arstechnica and Scoble, amongst many others, have pointed out, Macs have always done this, most gaming consoles do this – it’s really not a new idea at all, so why the flap?

I personally think everyone is missing the point here.

Scoble has spoken to “Steve Ball, group program manager for the Windows Audio Video Excellence team (basically, the team that builds the stuff that plays audio and video in Windows)” who says:

The current plan … is that there will be a pre-wired sound that plays when the system is ready for you to logon. This is the plan of record for quite a few months.

You can do other things with your attention and your eyes during cold boot without feeling like you have to watch and wait.

To me, the issue isn’t that there’s going to be a sound alerting me to the fact that the computer is ready to use. The issue here is that MS confiently expect that the Vista boot process will be so long that the vast majority of users will have drifted away and won’t notice that it’s ready.

Wow, talk about a quality product.

Tiger boots on my 4+ year old laptop, an old 866mhz jobbie with 512mb of ram, in around 60 seconds. On the newest Intel iMacs, it boots in something like 20 seconds.

Given the choice between an OS that boots before I can lose interest, and one that assumes i’m going to be away getting some coffee while I’m waiting and will need an audible alert to tell me to come back – I’ll choose the former, thanks.

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