Tag Archives: microsoft

Other things of note…

In addition to fawning over Office 2007, I’ve had a few other things going on that are worth noting. Here’s two more nerd items and then some general real life things…

  • I’m now running Windows Vista Business Gold, build 6000, at work. The differences between RC2 and Gold are mainly visual in nature, but things also seem much smoother just in general operation. It doesn’t really handle like a beta anymore, which is pretty fantastic. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s faster than XP about some things, and that says a lot. I’ll have more of a full review in the coming days, as the driver situation begins to shake out a bit more. I was also able to install the newly-minted gold version of Office 2007 Enterprise Edition as well. Performance is much improved. Office 2007 is one of the best software packages to ever find its way out of Redmond, and they managed to keep it small enough to fit on a CD, to boot.
  • This weekend I decided to switch back to using iTunes 7 for sending files to my iPod versus Winamp’s functionality. It seemed Winamp had totally mislabeled the songs from Ryan Farish’s Beautiful album, so listening to a song from Beautiful was certainly an act of mystery, as I had no clue what I was going to get. After firing up iTunes, it prompted me to upgrade my first-generation Nano to software version 1.3. Bug fixes, better standby times…hey, why not? I proceeded with the installation. Things got off to a fairly inauspicious start, with the whole downloading of the software from the Apple servers and the like going smoothly. iTunes told me that it was going to initiate the installation, and that the iPod would restart a couple times. Then, an endless progress bar. I gave it a few minutes, and then got frustrated. I hit The Google™ and promptly found instructions to unplug the Nano, give it five seconds, and re-plug it in, and the update would resume. So, that’s what I did…and the upgrade proceeded. Sweet, I thought, until the Nano restarted and my system promptly started locking up, unable to recognize the device as an iPod. Greaaaaaaaaaat. Sure enough, after fighting with Windows to let me remove the device safely, I checked out the iPod and promptly saw that my playlists, tracks, etc. were, erm, gone. Lovely. Upon plugging it back in, the Nano rebooted again. This became a fairly common occurrence. So, once again I hit The Google™ and stumbled on this thread at PlanetAMD64, which turned out to be solid gold. After sticking the iPod in recovery mode as per the instructions, I was able to format the damn thing, restore the software to a properly working state, and get on with my day, restoring my files…in Winamp. :P Winamp 5.3 fixed a few things with iPod support, I think, because it’s working a lot better now. So, yet again, screw iTunes. :) I’ve got a bit more of an eclectic mix on there now (didn’t include all three CDs of Trammell Starks’s Music For Local Forecast this time around) and I quite like it. The software improvements in version 1.3 are nice, too, with a maximum volume limiter, improvements to battery life, and better responsiveness coming from standby. Too bad it was such a bitch to install, though. I’ve got to redo my playlists but that’s a task for Thanksgiving.
  • Microsoft seems to have fixed a very annoying issue in one of its recent patches (likely the MSXML patch): I was freaking out for a month because it seemed like every few clicks, it would register as a double-click, sometimes really fouling things up for me. Thanks, MS.
  • The forecast for the rest of the week: Crappy, icky, terrible cold rain. I absolutely abhor this type of weather, especially around Thanksgiving. I can’t remember having a rainy Thanksgiving in forever. Stupid coastal low, “sou’easter”, whatever. I heard rumors this morning that there would be some snow this weekend but I can’t find anything that suggests we even have a chance at that. Maybe in the mountains…who knows. It most definitely won’t be here.
  • I’ve been digging back into Ryan Farish’s back catalog recently, with an opportunity to hear some of his rare works from his mp3.com days. There are so many songs that are out there that he should repackage and sell in a Selected Works Super-Duper XPanded release. “Healer” is most definitely one of those tracks that needs to live on. Pure Farish musical goodness in that one.

Catch you guys during the day tomorrow…I’m sure I’ll find something to harp on. :)

Word 2007’s priceless time-saver for people writing papers

So last night I was writing a paper (a speech railing on DRM, to be exact) and had to cite five sources in MLA format. As most students can tell you, doing this by hand summons marked levels of discomfort in the posterior. It’s always the most painful and tedious part of the paper. Last night, however, I found a reprieve. Continue reading

Windows Vista is golden!

After over five years of development, Windows Vista has been declared complete and released to manufacturing. I never thought I’d see this day come. Haha.

It’s nice to see Vista Gold finally happen, but we all should remember to never buy into the first release of anything. If I’m a high level IT decision maker at a business, I would be planning a Vista transition to hit sometime into 2008, as Service Pack 1 — complete with an upgraded kernel — will be on the scene and have the bugs shaken out of it. My experience with the last three or so public test builds was mostly positive but I still think there are very strange behaviors that need fixing. None of the release candidates felt like finished products, at all, and I just don’t see how that bodes well for the final release. I’ll see what the reviews say, though, and anticipate those very soon.

Will I be upgrading in the next year? I’m not sure yet. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve already upgraded at work, and have been using Vista exclusively there for about two months or so. It’s been a positive experience. At home, it’s a trickier story: I’ll probably want to drop a newer Athlon XP onto this machine at the very least, and possibly build a new machine for Vista sometime late next year, as I’m not sure my machine will deliver the performance I want from it. But, that’s just me.

Paul Thurrott has screenshots of each of the Windows Vista versions, for your viewing pleasure.

RTM week at Microsoft…

Microsoft’s two major moneymakers are going to be tagged with the “finished product” label this week. Office 2007, in fact, has already gone gold, and Paul Thurrott has screenshots. I am in love with Office 2007, and can’t wait to get my hands on the final shipping code.

We’re all watching and waiting for Windows Vista to hit the “gold” milestone this week. Thurrott is saying it could be as early as today that Vista build 6000 is signed off as the final shipping version. It’ll be interesting to see the initial reactions from MSDN and TechNet subscribers concerning the quality of the final release. They’re expected to get their hands on it ten days after release to manufacturing. Mere mortals such as myself will likely have to wait until January 30th, which is actually a blessing in disguise: The current state of Vista drivers is still incredibly sad, so this will give hardware manufacturers enough time to get quality drivers out (though they have had API-stable versions of Vista since September to test against). I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy sooner than January 30, at least at work, so I can kick the tires and see if I’m going to upgrade at home. My experience with the betas has been decent but I’m hoping they saved their best performance tuning work for last, because I still don’t think Vista performs acceptably on my Athlon.

Memo to Vista Team: Drop Performance Rating

So I’ve got Windows Vista Beta 2 courtesy of the Customer Preview Program. It’s pretty cool, really, and runs better than I expected on my hardware.

It also rated better than I expected on my hardware; with only 512 MB of RAM and an Athlon XP 2500+ (1.83 GHz) processor, Vista’s intrepid Performance Rating tool gave my machine a 3. WHAA? Considering the dual core Pentium Ds we just got installed in our office also garner a 3, I was very suspicious.

I replaced that 512 MB RAM with two gigabytes of Corsair matching dual channel goodness. I took a look at what Vista had to say, and it STILL gave me a 3. So, I re-ran the assessment tool. After having it kick me out of Aero Glass (and losing my custom settings in the process >:|) and slow my machine to an absolute crawl for five minutes, it re-rated the system as a 1. I was quite astonished, actually. I expected my machine to be a 1 at first on the virtues of a slow processor and little RAM. It continued to rate these two items consistent with what it had rated them as before (2.0 GB of RAM seems to not impress Vista at all). Instead, it penalized me for – ready for this? – my GeForce 6600 and the 256 MB of video RAM it has.

Microsoft, do us all a favor and drop this travesty of a feature. It’s confusing, totally random and subjective, and will only confuse people.

The 60% Rewrite, Revisited

If you’re into technology and the like you probably heard the panic about Windows Vista needing 60% of its code to be rewritten. Squash (aka Phil Sim) has some additional insight into this story with background information about the dude who broke it, as well as some commentary about how Vista’s most recent slippage may be the worst Microsoft screwup ever, a lot of which I agree with. I’m not particularly liking January 2007 myself, as I wanted to build a machine for Vista. January’s always a bad month for me in terms of paychecks. Sigh.

You can imagine Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble is, erm…unhappy.