The gist of it is: it wasn't as annoying as I had been led to expect.
Frankly, I think it's better than XP, but I might be blinded by the fact that it's very pretty. Visually it's a step up from XP the same way XP was a step up from '95. The XP box at work seems so bland to me now.
The file manager (Explorer) is very nice, I like the functionality of being able to navigate the address bar by mouse click (though I never used this back in Ubuntu) and the ability to sort files even in thumbnail view. The desktop gadgets are neat but probably not really that useful, though I still keep them around.
All the permission prompts that I had heard people complain about didn't really bother me. They only come up when you need to do administrative-related tasks, and coming from Ubuntu I'm a bit used to it.
I haven't removed most of the preinstalled Acer crap yet, but I've removed the 90-day trial of Norton Antivirus and replaced it with Avast antivirus.
Oh, Windows Update is prompting me for a restart! It's also my first time working with an OS that has Windows Update enabled, and some people have told me how annoying the restart prompts are especially while playing games. Luckily, I can afford to restart right now.
All in all, Vista seems okay, and I believe it's a good upgrade to XP, which has been getting boring to me. I was originally planning on dual-booting this laptop with Linux, but I think I'll stick with Vista for a while.