But what Media Center, like much of Windows Vista, does is punish people for being familiar with the previous interface. My family has been using Media Center for four years now. It's their TV interface, the only one they know. Now it's very different, confusing, and ugly to boot.
That’s surprisingly true of so many of Microsoft’s products. One example that is exceedingly obvious is when we moved from Visual Studio 6 to Visual Studio .NET (aka Visual Studio 2002). Pretty much all the keyboard shortcuts changed. It was no longer “F5” for build, it was “Ctrl+Shift+B” (why was such a common task given such an overly complex shortcut anyway?)
Another one, Enterprise Manager for SQL Server 2005 had “F5” for “run script” but in SQL Server 2005’s version of the same program, it’s “Ctrl+R”.
Now, I suppose they have to move some shortcuts around in order to make room for extra features and such, and you can still change the shortcuts if you really want. But if it were only shortcuts that seem to change to for no apparent reason, then I wouldn’t have much to complain about.
But it’s not just shortcuts that change. It’s the whole user interface which seems to go through arbitrary changes for no apparent reason. One of my favourite programs, in terms of UI and usability is (believe it or not) Office. Since Office first started, there have been relatively few changes in the base UI, so if you know Office 97, you can still find your way around Office 2003 without too much trouble. Now, they’ve pretty much hit the limit with how far they can take the Office UI – which is why the Office “12” UI is so different. But I don’t mind that. A radical redesign for the sake of feature discoverability is a good thing.
And the fact is, I know why the Office UI is changing. But the changes in the development tool’s user interfaces (and even in the Windows Shell, certainly in Vista anyway) mostly just seem like random changes for the sake of making the product look different.