Obviously, PC Advisor is aimed primarily at PCs. But regular readers and visitors to our website will have noticed the growing presence of a certain 'fruity' company whose name starts with the letter A.
We've reviewed few Apple products in the past month or so. But the company’s user-friendly brand of computing casts a distinct shadow over a set of reviews in which it’s made clear, once again, that PC users are expected to put up with any number of teething troubles when using pieces of software. Why is it that PC users are still expected to be able to fix dozens of problems themselves?
The BBC's iPlayer is a beta program, so it seems fair to expect a few bugs. But the number of error messages it throws up is frankly alarming. The program says you need to have Internet Explorer 6.0 and Media Player 10.0. We had the correct versions of these programs – yet it denied this. This was the first of many problems we faced with iPlayer, and it took us an age to even get as far as installing the program.
What’s most interesting is that the BBC doesn’t even want to go near Windows Vista yet, insisting that only XP users can use iPlayer. There doesn’t appear to be any technical reason for this requirement, by the way. Clearly the BBC, like a lot of people, simply doesn't trust Vista yet. And not without good reason.
Plenty of software and hardware products insist that you'll need better minimum requirements to run them with Vista, while some expect you to compromise on features. The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook sound card, for instance, offers a 96KHz SPDIF out to XP users, but only 48KHz to those working with Vista.
The first Vista service pack is soon to launch, and that’s going to be an improvement. But will it mean we can work in a smooth reliable environment, only very occasionally hitting the odd flaw or error message? Sadly, for PC users, such a thought seems like a midsummer night’s dream.