Tainted Vista Review #4: Where Vista Trumps OS X — No "Typing Lag"

by Joey deVilla on January 26, 2007

A couple of people have asked me how I've been comparing the Acer Ferrari 1000 running Vista with OS X running on my PowerBook (a 12″ with a 1.33GHz processor and a 1.25 gigs of RAM) — do I take the PowerBook to work one day, and then the Ferrari the next?

Actually, it's a little crazier than that. I take both. They both fit in a Targus knapsack handily, and considering that I'm used to carrying an accordion on my back, the weight of two laptops feels pretty minor. At work, I bounce between the two laptops, and there's also a desktop I brought from home on which I run Ubuntu. For years, I've relegated desktop Linux to an old machine with yesterday's horsepower; getting the Ferrari has freed my home Windows box (which I almost never used) for use as a Linux desktop at work.


The Tainted Vista ReviewIf you were commission a time-and-motion studies specialist to watch me at work, they would probably say that the application that I spend the most using is the text editor, typically…

As Tucows' Tech Evangelist, much of my day is spent either writing for the web or writing code, so the text editor is my home. I realize that my experience differs quite a bit from the typical office worker's, whose main tools are probably the Word/Excel/PowerPoint troika, but in the end, it all boils down to typing.

After bouncing back and forth between systems, an OS X annoyance has been made very clear to me. I've made a video of the annoyance and posted it below. You should make sure that your audio is turned up if you watch it:

If you play the video, you can hear my typing for the first couple of seconds, after which I stop. However, characters are still appearing onscreen. That's right — the Mac's not keeping up with my typing.

This problem doesn't appear right after boot-up, but it happens after a few hours' use, which suggests that something, somewhere is slowly hogging up system resources. This typing lag isn't confined to just one app, but applies to any running apps. Furthermore, the amount of lag varies with the application. On a fairly lean app like TextWrangler, it's annoying. On a more layered app, like Gmail chat running within Firefox, it's downright maddening.

Windows, for all my complaints about it, never shows this sort of behaviour. I can have lots of apps running, and as far as I can recall, I've never experienced this type of lag in either XP or Vista, even with Aero running; there's never that perceptible lag between hit a key and having the corresponding character appear onscreen. This is an area in which Vista clearly delivers the better experience.

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