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. :)
Get a load of this: Windows 1.0 apps running on Windows Vista. See, I just find it hilarious that while Photoshop disables Aero Glass (at least in build 5744; this was allegedly fixed for RTM), these Windows 1.0 apps eat it right up. It’s also amazing just how well Windows runs legacy code, which is good and bad in some respects.
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.
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.
So I had a giant blog post written on my PC at work…and I kinda forgot about it. My bad. It wasn’t that great, anyway.
I’m drowning in a sea of work, but I’ll use this moment to come up for air to comment on a couple things, real fast:
Windows Vista is close to RTM, but I have to say, Fedora Core 6‘s desktop composition and display (courtesy of AIGLX and the Compiz window manager) is far more attractive — and much friendlier to older machines — than anything Microsoft could ever offer with Aero. Think Linux is stagnating on the desktop? Think again. I’m not a big fan of Fedora, but I may have to give Core 6 a whirl on my PC soon (in place of Vista RC2 probably) to see how well things are coming along on that side of the fence. It’s been a couple years since I ran a Linux desktop on a regular basis, and it’s high time I gave it a whirl again.
Bruce Bochy is leaving the Padres, heading up I-5 to the Bay Area to manage the San Francisco Giants. And so the Sandy Alderson era begins in force — I don’t think Kevin Towers is going to be too far behind at this rate. Bochy’s tenure with the team, dating back 24 years including when he was the team’s catcher, is pretty unheard of in this day and age. (I have the San Diego Padres’ 1984 World Series pennant, with his name on it.) He’ll be missed, and at a time when the Padres are starting to win consistently, I have to wonder if a new manager is going to help or hinder progress. Time will tell on that one. The early short list I hear is Bud Black, among others. I personally want Joe Girardi, but he’s going to be a YES broadcaster next year it looks like.
That’s it for now. I had a thousand other items at my other desk that I won’t see again until about 1pm tomorrow, so those will get posted whenever I get a free second. Gonna probably hop in the shower now, hit the sack for an hour or two, and then head on to my 8am for the presentation we’re doing. What a marathon life I’ve been leading.
Windows Vista’s real main stigma has been its loss of features over the years as its gone through the beta cycle, such as WinFS and a useful Sidebar (the one that’s there is largely rubbish). The Windows Vista shell:revealed blog gives some insights into a few additional features that failed to make the cut… ;)
Saturday night was somewhat bittersweet — I installed Windows Vista RC 2 (Build 5744), what Microsoft has stated as the the final build in the Vista beta testing process. (If you’re in the Customer Preview Program, click here to grab RC2 for a limited time.) Clearly, this indicates Microsoft is ready to squeeze in that last bit of feedback and sign off on this sucker. After some initial bumps in the road, this final beta release of Vista seems to handle really well. But boy, oh boy, did I have issues last night. Continue reading →
Paul Thurrott is reporting that Windows Vista RC2 is arriving Friday. It’s not going to be a major release in the vein of RC1, but rather be yet another interim build. That’ll put the cap on pre-release Vista builds for the public, it appears.
Needless to say I’ll be watching like a hawk come Friday for one more shot at seeing Vista’s improvements before release to manufacturing.
I was reading Neowin and caught this and had to let out a brief chuckle:
Microsoft is predicting that Windows Vista will be adopted by companies twice as fast as its predecessor, Windows XP.
Twelve months after the release of Vista, Microsoft expects that usage share of the oft-delayed operating system in businesses will be double that of XP a year after it shipped, said Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows product management at the software maker.
I respond with this: I don’t see any way any sane IT department goes after Windows Vista immediately after release. No matter how whiz-bang great Vista may end up being, the conventional wisdom still applies: Wait for the first service pack. Judging by the feel of the RC1 and post-RC1 builds I’ve tried, it’s not ready yet, and I get the feeling its level of readiness won’t change much between now and the signing off of the final “gold” build. Vista has improved dramatically over the last few months but it’s still nowhere near ready yet. I almost think MS should delay it a couple more months to permit additional feedback from testers and attempt to improve performance further, because it clearly isn’t all there yet (at least in my tests). Keep in mind that I run Vista as my primary operating system at work, and have done so for the last month.
It’s also been my experience that Vista’s has a seriously tough time with legacy software, which many businesses still rely on for their day-to-day operation. In fact I’m willing to bet this is going to be the toughest road for compatibility since the Win 3.x-95 jump. There are a LOT of programs that don’t work, whether it be the new interface, the new security measures, or just the things that seem to break between Windows releases. The investment for Vista is going to go far beyond simple licensing terms — we’re talking serious man-hours of testing, software upgrades, and hardware upgrades. Then, there’s the hours upon hours of retraining some users in the new UI (yes, I believe it has changed enough to where casual users would be completely discombobulated). There’s no way you’re putting Vista on a four-year-old machine with 512 MB of RAM and expect it to run as well as XP, even with Aero Glass disabled. Forget it. Unless a company rolls out a major PC replacement plan in the next year or so, I can’t imagine seeing Windows Vista in the workplace much outside of an IT department giving it a test run (which they should be doing at this point with the public availability of Release Candidate 1).
Wow, it’s almost 9:30 AM and the temperature isn’t already 80. That’s fantastic. They’re forecasting upper 80s today, which is better than it has been, under some passing clouds. That’ll be a nice contrast to yesterday. ;)
The instructor of my 8am class polled the class about how they spent their day off from Ernesto. I was, predictably, one of two people to wake up early, and was most certainly the only person to live-blog it. This, of course, comes as no surprise. Interestingly, no one fessed up to watching the Weather Channel. There were certainly a lot of movies watched yesterday. A few people played in the rain. I’m surprised that people gasped when I told them I took pictures, actually.
Speaking of Ernesto, it made landfall at Long Beach, NC last night as a 70 MPH tropical storm. However, as twc_aficionados moderator cieldumort states, it will probably be upgraded posthumously to a Category 1 hurricane, much like Gaston was in 2004. I tend to believe him there, as the storm was forming an eye-like feature just before landfall.
Weather news aside, I definitely love the fact that it’s Friday. I’m getting my car back tonight, and then I do believe it will be time for a little…erm…disorder later. I say that now, but the reality of the situation will likely be that I reinstall my critical apps in Windows Vista tonight, where I will do my best to make it my primary OS so I can really see if I’ll like it or not. It most certainly would be a cheaper activity than going out, getting smashed, and looking at girls I could never muster the courage to talk to. :)