Thursday, April 26, 2007

Windows Vista (Part 3)

I just spent a few hours installing Visual Studio.NET 2005 Pro. Downloading service patch 1 took an hour and installing it took another hour! I then downloaded and installed service patch 1 for Vista but that only took 10 minutes to download and 10 minutes to install.

This is the point where Windows Vista died on me last time so kept rebooting to see if it was still working

  • After installing VS.NET 2005 Pro
  • After installing SP1
  • After installing SP1 for Vista

I'm so relieved that's not what killed it. Obviously my hard-drive went bad and corrupted the registry.

I deleted the partition on my 80 GB drive (the one that went bad) and created a new NTFS partition with compression and smallest sectors and did a thorough format. Then I backed up my files to it. Then I let out a big sigh of relief. It always makes me nervous to have one copy of my files. If that copy goes bad, the files are lost. Actually that's not entirely true. I do have backups of various files on other backup devices like flash drives, DVD burns and USB drives but their old backups and incomplete. I would definitely lose something.

I still have not installed my sound card. I went to Windows update and there was an update to the sound card that's integrated into my motherboard so I installed it but it did not fix my sound.

I had trouble finding these in the start menu

  • Command Prompt
  • Windows Explorer
  • Run

And help didn't help either but when I changed the start menu to classic view, I found them easily. I created a link to command prompt and windows explorer and put it in my quick launch then switched back to the new vista start menu. I can use the command prompt in place of Run.

Windows Vista comes with some new games like chess, inkball, mahjong and purple place. Kelly also tried some of the other hearts and solitaire and said they were much nicer than Windows XP. I played the computer in chess 3 times and lost 3 times on beginner. I've gotten rusty but to be fair, I wasn't thinking hard about my moves. I was just playing for fun making lots of mistakes but there is infinite undo so that's nice. You can also save your game at any point. It would be fun to play it on the hardest level and use undo to try to beat it. If you're losing, just undo and try something else. If I had to reboot, I could save my game for later.

I use these programs for web development

  • Visual Studio.NET 2005 Pro (development)
  • SQL (database)
  • Tortoise CVS (source control)
  • ExamDiff (file and directory compare)
  • FileZilla (FTP (file transfer))
Next I'm going install Tortoise CVS but I'm nervous because it integrates into Windows Explorer. It has no UI of its own. Lucky for me I have a lot of choices for CVS clients but I happen to like TortoiseCVS. It's very easy to use. I'm definitely going to create a Restore Point before I install it though.

I've installed GTalk but I still need to install Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Skype and ooVoo. ooVoo is great if you want to use your webcam. You can have a webcam conference with many people. I'm not sure what the limit is but I've seen Kelly chat with 3 people and it shows 3 windows plus hers and they're all doing sign language.

Windows Messenger comes with Vista. There might be a later version out there but I'll just use the one I have for now. It's good enough since I'm not a big Windows Messenger user at this point. AIM was the first IM that I really used a lot and that was replaced by MSN Messenger (which is not named Windows Messenger). Then Yahoo Messenger came out and it had a lot of cool new features and a lot of people I knew were using it so that became my IM of choice. Then I switched from using Outlook to Gmail 2 years ago when I moved to Malaysia so now GTalk is my favorite because I can search Gmail for my text messages. The other IMs can archive and search chats too but it's nice having email and chat searchable all in one.

Technology has really opened up the world to the deaf with mobile phone text messages (SMS) and webcam. Before these they had to purchase special phones where they would type messages to each other and get print-outs.

I've installed Pando for file sharing and subscription to podcasts and that seems to be working. It was blocked by the Windows Vista firewall so Vista prompted me to allow it.

In the past when I installed a new operating system I would first make a list of all the programs I use then I would install them all at one time but what I'll do this time is just install programs as I need them. This way I only install programs I use, plus I'll have a better chance of installing a more recent version.

I'm not sure if I need Thumbs Plus. Windows Vista does a really good job at generating thumbnails and doing slide-shows. It has a nice feature where it displays a picture of an open folder for each folder and a couple pictures from each folder so you get some idea what is inside them. I'll continue to use Vista's built in thumbnail feature. It's sad because I've been using Thumbs Plus since version 4 back in 1995. They're almost family to me.

Vista definitely has higher security. Windows needs your permission to continue every time I run an executable. It's not as annoying as it sounds and there's probably a way for it to remember to allow it next time.

I just noticed something cool. You will see a windows animation in its thumbnail whether you are viewing the thumbnail from the taskbar, alt-tab or 3D Aero window scroller or where ever.

Windows Vista spontaneously rebooted on me. I was backing up some files using xcopy in a command prompt and I was finishing up installing ExamDiff. I clicked the Launch button and my screen went black and it rebooted. After I booted, I was able to run ExamDiff with no problem but I was a bit annoyed that running a small app would crash Vista. The app is fairly new.

I tried the file Backup program that comes with Vista but you don't get much control over which files and folders it will backup. It also combines the files into dozens of zip files. I much prefer to simply copy the files so I have easy access to them. I used to use a program called SecondCopy but they don't have a version for Vista yet. They are working on it though so I'll check back with them once it's certified.

The desktop gadgets remind of Windows 95 Active desktop. That never caught on so I'm skeptical whether these Vista desktop gadgets will catch on.

Both Kelly and I are very impressed with Vista. It's probably a high that will wear off in a week once I get used to all the new shiny features but right now I feel like Windows is easier and more fun to use. My wife still uses Windows XP on her laptop and I look over and it already looks old and out of date.

More adventures with Windows Vista to come in Part 4!

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