I’ve taken the Windows 7 plunge

I’ve got Windows 7 Professional 64 bit on my desktop and copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit on my laptop.  I’m pretty happy so far, the plug and play works quite well, with a couple of noticable exceptions.

First off is my Wireless Laser Desktop 3000 keyboard, which I’m not using to type this because the damn thing is missing keystrokes, which it never did when I was running XP.  Top that off with none of the fancy extra keys work running under Windows 7.  Yes, I did to Microsoft and downloaded the latest drivers, which are listed as Windows 7 compatible.  Annoyance factor is high here, even more so because it is bloody Microsoft hardware.

The second is my Microtek scanner.  It’s a few years old and is still in great shape.  Microtek support claims it will work if you jump though the right hoops in the right order during install.  I haven’ t tried their latest series of hoops yet.

Third is my Bose Companion 5 speakers.  I love these things.  Great sound, but every time Windows 7 finds something it doesn’t like and asks me if it’s OK to run, not only does the screen dim, but it kills the sound! I have to power cycle the Bose system to get my sound back. My work around has to been to hook my iPhone up to the speakers and play the music loaded on that.  A bit of bummer since it is a subset of the music loaded on my desktop.

I’ve got a few old games that won’t run under Window 7 (64 bit) either, but I don’t play them that often anyway.   I’ve got an old desktop that was running a RC version of Win7 that I should scrub and load XP on to deal with stray stuff like that.

Advertisements

Abandoned technology

As my readers know, I was a big PDA user. Mostly Palm devices, several of which I still have in good working order, including a Palm i705 and a Palm LifeDrive.  The LifeDrive was a really slick bit of technology with a three Gig hard drive, a SD slot, and both WiFi and Bluetooth support.   I still use it now and then and have a lot of legacy data still stored on it.   All that data is synced to my desktop running XP, and I have some desktop apps to get at the data stored in third party software.  BrainForest for example, a good data organizational tool that was developed for the Palm platform.

Recently I upgraded my laptop to Window 7 (32bit).  This was full, format the drive install. So I started the process of installing the applications on the freshly wiped and loaded system.  Everything went fine until I loaded the Palm Desktop software and tried to synch the LifeDrive.

Windows 7, has been really good at recognizing stuff that gets plugged into it, turned up its nose at my LifeDrive.  I visited the Palm site and it’s seems that they have written off their PDA line.  Not a bad business decision, since the future is in Smart Phones, but I need to get that data exported and accessible before I upgrade my desktop to Windows 7.

Palm’s story is that the software for the desktop and the PDA drivers are now owned by a separate company and it up to them to provide support for Windows 7.   Next step would be to try synching with my LINUX system.  I know there is Palm PDA support in multiple LINUX apps.

Upgrading from Windows7 Beta to the RC

I upgraded from Windows7 Beta to the RC today.  Microsoft wants a clean install, but I decided to try this hack I found at Life Rocks 2.0.

It’s really pretty straight forward.

1 Download the ISO and burn the ISO to a DVD.
2 Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build).
3 Browse to the sources directory.
4 Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad.
5 Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. You need to change the value to 7000 as it is the beta version build number.
6 Save the file in place with the same name.
7 Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed.

1 Download the ISO and burn the ISO to a DVD.

2 Copy the whole image to a storage location you wish to run the upgrade from (a bootable flash drive or a directory on any partition on the machine running the pre-release build).

3 Browse to the sources directory.

4 Open the file cversion.ini in a text editor like Notepad.

5 Modify the MinClient build number to a value lower than the down-level build. You need to change the value to 7000 as it is the beta version build number.

6 Save the file in place with the same name.

7 Run setup like you would normally from this modified copy of the image and the version check will be bypassed.

I had already burned a boot DVD from the RC ISO, so I just copied that on a 8 gig thumb drive, and modifed the file in question.  I then plugged that drive in my Windows7 Beta system and ran setup.exe from the thumb drive.

The only hitch was that RC didn’t like the $25 sound card I had installed to work with the BETA release.  I’ll check for updated drivers later.

Dell jumping on the Android Netbook bandwagon?

Microsoft is rushing to get Windows7 out the door. One reason is so they can push it into the netbook market.

Netbook manufacturers have been looking at alternate OS solutions, including Google’s Android (it’s not just for Cell Phones anymore).

The latest rumor is that Dell is working on an Android based netbook

If a major retailer like Dell starts shipping Android on systems, I’m betting that somebody in Microsoft OS sales is going to buying a lot of Malox ™.

The end of the Vista Era

The Vista OS has not been good for Microsoft.  Pushed out quickly into the supply chain, new Vista users found a very different GUI, old reliable programs that would no longer run, digital music they had purchased would no longer play due to DRM issues, and a new version of Office that required a fair amount of effort to find old familiar tasks. 

Then there was the brutal ad campaign from Apple, including the one with my old High School classmate, Mary Chris Wall

Microsoft has been working hard on a replacement OS, called Windows 7.  The Windows 7 team learned from the mistakes of Vista, and trimmed a lot of useless code, making it much more efficent. In addition, they have worked to expand their driver coverage, which was severly lacking when Vista was released.

Now the rumor is that Microsoft will stop selling Vista once Windows 7 is released.  It seems that Microsoft would like to forget about Vista, and hide in the same hole that they dropped the Windows Millennium OS in.

Microsoft to repeat a Vista mistake in Windows7

One of the serious problems with Vista was the half dozen plus versions.  That caused market confusion as well as code bloat, since every version had the same code with features locked out in the lower end versions.

It looks like nobody has explained exactly what is wrong with this to the marketing folks at Microsoft because they are about to repeat the same mistake with Windows7.

Sound and Printing

For just shy of $45, including tax, I have Windows7 producing actual sound.  Listening to unencrypted MP3s (the way music should be formated).  All it took was a new sound card and a set of cheap speakers.  (my Bose Companion 5 speakers are hooked up to my main system).

Getting my Samsung color laser printer running easier.  I just plugged it in.  Windows7 tracked down the correct drivers online and autoinstalled them.

OpenOffice installed cleanly, So I have basic Office software functionality, music, and printing on an old hardware platform that would have been unusable running Vista.  This speaks well of the focused effort to cut unneeded code out of Windows7.

So far I’m just running a weather and system resources widget.  Any suggestions for useful widgets?