Vista / XP / Toshiba: Called Toshiba to see if they would downgrade my Satellite notebook to Windows XP, and though the tech I talked to very much understood and could empathize with my situation, I was informed Toshiba had no plans to offer XP on that machine. I thought about downgrading manually, but I knew drivers would be a nightmare. The showstoppers for me with Vista were network incompatibilities w/VMware (the wi-fi adapter wouldn't show up as a virtualize network adapter, which could be a hardware issue, regardless of OS), and various specific-software incompatibilities that were just getting too annoying (namely, some graphic-intensive stuff, and a few older apps that I use regularly). I ended up bying a Dell Inspiron, which offered XP as a free downgrade, and which had more RAM to boot (but less hard drive space). I'm running happy as a clam now.
Not, though, that I basically agree with Joe Stanton's point: "From my POV, this all sounds just like the when XP SP0 was released, everyone hated it and stuck with Windows 2000 until SP1 and SP2 came out. Now XP is the old reliable mule?"
Truth is, I found XP pretty darned annoying when it came out too, for many of same reasons. In general, I find Microsoft's propensity for wheel-reinvention and eye candy frustrating... but maybe that's just me. Given the choice, give me improved functionality over useless glam any day of the week. (Not to say that beautiy is not important -- in fact, I think it's one of the key indicators of elegance. It's just that I prefer it built-in, not bolted on).
OK.... man I've got opinions about UI stuff.... sheesh.... "shut up already, Cass".... <g>
Delphi 2007 / CodeGear RAD Studio: CodeGear had a special running until December 31 that enticed me to go ahead and take the plunge. Since I run my development environment on virtual machines, I've been able to run parallel with my Delphi 6 setup while getting D2007 up to speed. More on all that later, but suffice it to say I compiled my first real project two nights ago, and overall my impression of Delphi 2007 is good.
Lastly, Rob touches on some of the why-use-third-party components issues. Short answer: If I have the choice between writing-from-scratch, or instead dishing out a few hundred dollars for say, 250,000 lines of world-class, fully-tested code -- with source -- I'll take option B every time. ; ) That said, it's still harder to upgrade from one version of Delphi to another than it ought to be. Like I said, more on that later...