For all the features it contains and all the personal computers it populates, Windows Vista may go down in Microsoft history as the operating...

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For all the features it contains and all the personal computers it populates, Windows Vista may go down in Microsoft history as the operating system that was saddled by one question asked to the point of exhaustion: How many people are really using it?

Introduced to businesses in late 2006, Vista found itself hit by compatibility problems and a chorus of critics. Many focused on what they thought to be a relatively slow adoption rate.

While acknowledging some problems, Microsoft has insisted that adoption rates were fine, throwing out statistics to make its point.

The latest from tech reseller CDW offers more support. The Vernon Hills, Ill., company’s third Windows Vista Tracking Poll suggests Vista is “gaining traction” in the business market, with 48 percent saying their organization is using or evaluating Vista. That compares with 29 percent in a February 2007 poll and 12 percent in October 2006.

More encouraging to Microsoft, perhaps, is that the survey showed nearly half of those evaluating or implementing Vista said its performance was “above expectations” when weighed against the promise of key features and benefits.

In addition, the software’s higher-hardware demands appear to be a diminishing concern. About 27 percent said the requirements were excessive, compared with 37 percent from the previous poll.

It would perhaps follow that with Vista becoming more widely deployed, Office 2007 would follow. The latest poll found 24 percent saying they’ve upgraded, compared with only 6 percent in February 2007.

Follow the ball

Long before Clay Bennett became a household name in Seattle, the Northwest saw another NBA team move inland for a presumably better climate. Remember the Vancouver Grizzlies? The team moved and became the Memphis Grizzlies — to much less heat and noise than generated in Seattle.

The subject comes up because of Yahoo, which last week named John Chapple and former Viacom Chief Executive Frank Biondi to its board, Carl Icahn faction.

Chapple, former CEO of Kirkland-based Nextel Partners, is also a former president of the Vancouver Grizzlies. John McCaw, Craig’s brother, at one time was majority owner of the team, and Chapple has a long affiliation with the McCaws.

That includes Nextel Partners and, earlier, Cellular One, the brand under which McCaw Cellular Communications operated. Chapple was chairman of Cellular One.

Exploring search

Cuil, the unusually named new search engine started by Google alumni and backed by $33 million in venture capital, has won some attention of late with its recent debut.

Washington Post staff writer Monica Hesse decided to see if it delivered on promises “to be more comprehensive and more relevant than the Big G,” as she put it.

She had a few gripes.

“How much energy should reasonably be put into understanding a search engine’s name?” she asked, relating that the company says Cuil (pronounced “cool”) is Gaelic for “knowledge.” She said she got “fly, flea or gnat” on an online Gaelic dictionary.

There there is Cuil’s “Explore by Category” feature and the “bizarre results” it offered on some searches.

For instance, typing in Monica Hesse (‘because we wanted to … engage in vain ego-stroking”) resulted in “People From Queens, Hindi-language Films, American Television Actors.”

Women’s College (“because we wanted to … protect our 16-year-old sister from boys forever”) yielded “Hospitals in Toronto, Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Boing Boing (“because we wanted to … check out a popular tech blog) gave “Science Fiction Critics, Playboy Playmates, Mormonism.”


On the record

Partnerships: Seattle’s DocuSign, which provides electronic signature services, has a deal with investment giant Fidelity Investments to provide e-signature technology.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or