Thursday, December 28, 2006

Vista, standard users and you

That's right music lovers, Vista is just around the corner. While we're not expecting everyone to immediately take the plunge with Microsoft's new operating system when it is released January 30th, Project5 will be ready.

For those making the transition, if you've been happy running DAW/Synth workstation on Windows XP, a word you might hope to describe the transition may be "seamless." And while Vista has many visual enhancements that will be immediately obvious (particularly the "Aero" look, if you have graphics hardware to run it) the major change is in the safer user access model that Microsoft will now enforce... and this is something that will (hopefully) be invisible to most users.

"The Edge of No Control"

Most XP DAW users, and all XP Home users are running as administrators, which means that when they log in they have the highest level of control that Windows will afford to the person sitting at the keyboard. They can write into any folder, they can delete any folder that doesn't have open files, and they can change their settings at will. The problem of course is that any rogue software that can run with your level of access can do the same things. That's when total control becomes no control. Anyone will agree, life is too short to fighting virii and spyware on your computer.

"Please help us, Microsoft!"

The challenge for Microsoft in developing Vista was to live up to its goal of providing a seamless multiuser system. And what they needed to do to live up to that goal was to make sure standard user functions are done by standard users. Standard users (non-adminstrators) don't need to do things like reconfigure their system settings at any time when they are logged in, or install programs, or write files in protected areas like the Program Files folder or the Windows folder.

Well, in reality, us power users do need to do that sometimes, and you will still probably log in as an administrator to save yourself the trouble of logging in as someone else when you want to make a change. What Vista won't tell you (you stubborn power user,) is that you are not logging in an adminstrator, ever! By default all users are standard users. If you log in as an administrator and you want to make a change in a protected area of the file system, Vista will say "wait just a minute!" and prompt you to accept whatever potentially disasterous change you are trying to make. NOW when you click that OK button, you are asserting your right to make this change as the administrator.

"Was that a yawn?"

Hmm, it *is* getting late isn't it? As I wrote up top, all this shouldn't mean much to all of use who are currently running XP (hopefully with Project5!) We've always tried to make it easy to maintain the configuration of your Cakewalk DAW, which might mean you want to directly open a configuration file to make a change using notepad, or to just chuck the INI file and start again with default settings. Since we are trying to make it easy to find the configuration files, an obvious place to put it is in the same folder where Project5.exe lives... but this isn't going to fly in the new Vista user access model. Don't fret because we'll just put them in a user folder for easy access.

With this change we'll get what some Cakewalk customers have been asking for for a while... each user on a computer will have their own independently configurable options.


Blogger Chris said...

Thanks for the comments about Vista. I appreciate that Cakewalk is taking a proactive stance on Vista. Many companies (especially hardware) have a head in the sands approach regarding Vista.

I was wondering if you could clear up something regarding DAW's and Windows Media Center Edition. Some companies have promulgated the idea that Windows Media Center Edition is incompatible with DAW software and hardware. As you know, there will be several different versions of Vista. I believe the most popular one with be the Vista Home Premium which by default will include Windows Media Center Edition.

Could you put to rest this controversy over Windows MCE? Even in a worst case scenario I believe it will simply be a matter of deactivating a few MCE services to make everything run fine. Am I misguided?



11:56 AM  
Blogger The Black Rider said...

That was really educational right there. I'm wondering if i should wait for vista to arrive to service my pc, or do it anyhow. It seems as if microsoft is a year or two behind the launch of the new os. Who know for certain when this thing will come out?

I have a question though.

Is cakewalk developing any software for portable devices such as the psp or the gameboy ds?

2:01 PM  
Blogger Roland said...

Chris, we're going to use Vista Ultimate as our primary Vista testing environment, and your observation is correct as far as I know... there isn't anything about MCE or Vista Ultimate that is standing in the way of recording software.

I'm going to predict that users who choose Vista Ultimate will do so probably because it will support multiple processors (as opposed to Home Premium, which will support multiple cores but not multiple processors.) And they will then spend some time running tweaks to get the most performance from their DAW in Vista, because alot what you get in Ultimate will just be stealing resources from the foreground application.

A few users we're in contact with are just getting their hands on Vista, so word isn't in yet... it may be most of the eye candy and new background processes (like the one that makes sure your wifi signal is from the strongest source, and the one that schedules your file backups, and the one that looks to see if you plugged in a jump drive so it can use the extra RAM) are efficient enough so in practice you won't have to worry about them. But... if I know computer people, they are going to turning some of this stuff off =)

2:10 PM  
Anonymous NaughtyHill said...

Happy newyear!

I just cant wait!

11:50 AM  
Blogger Roland [Cakewalk QA] said...

I wanted to comment on my own post, regarding multiple processors. I'm looking at the latest Vista product table, and there is a "business" SKU between Home Premium and Enterprise that will support two processor sockets, and it will be less expensive.

So, there is an alternative to Ultimate for users who want to install Vista on a multiprocessor system.

Otherwise, all U.S. SKU's support multi-CORE processors on one socket.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes yes yes! Vista support! Well done bakers. Dualcore / quad core support is another crucial feature to be added now IMO.

Vista support sidesteps P5 falling behind, before it has had a real chance to catch up. dual core is the other piece of the puzzle ...

- Vista (software support)
- Dual core /quad core (hardware support)

So much has happened since P5v2 so it must catch up. Adding dual core support will give P5 at least an equal footing with applications that already have dualcore support like...
Energy XT
FL (on the way)


Great progress bakers. :)

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still not clear here, will Project 5 V2.5 support mulitple cores as Sonar does ?

10:06 AM  

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