Can’t understand the Vista loathing

Okay, let’s me just say this: I’m clearly a biased dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft user and I cannot fathom transitioning to Apple’s world. Nevertheless, I have used Macs and I will allow that they are definitely cuter than Microsoft’s offering. Still, I do think that their latest OS (operating system) stands head & shoulders above XP. I cannot get enough of how snappy my system is and I’m completely sold on their instant desktop search function. I no longer have to dig for programs or my files. I guess the difference between someone who would hate Vista and myself is the fact as much as spending hours troubleshooting can be frustrating, it’s incredible rewarding to me. With Vista SP1, I haven’t put in as many troubleshooting hours as I have put into my XP computer. I love Vista’s ability to self-diagnose issues and it gives me the feeling of complete control over my system. I don’t care that they ‘cribbed‘ some design elements of Macs. Heck, imitation is a form of flattery, no? ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyhoo, I just wanted to add a consumer voice to the fray and tell Microsoft that I think Vista does rock. I am not a ‘regular’ user and yet not quite a ‘power user’. I do think the User Access Control needs to be toned down a bit because I can see how irritating it gets. I have it turned on right now, but for software installations, I tend to have it turned off because I know/trust the programs I install on my laptop. I love the improved version of Outlook 2007 so much so that I didn’t even bother installing Mozilla Thunderbird on my laptop. I don’t have any third-party media players (VLC, Creative MediaSource Player, etc) installed because Windows Media Player does a fabulous job of cataloging my modest music collection. Enough of my rant. I just wanted to say that I am really looking forward to their next version of the Windows Operating System dubbed “Windows 7“. My plan is to put this laptop through its paces and give its dead or dying body to Matt (lol. Kidding). I definitely see myself upgrading this laptop, but not anytime soon. I need to recover from the, ahem, financial mayhem. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are a few issues withร‚ย  my laptop that are mostly cosmetic. For instance, my mouse cursor is really small and Vista has made it supremely easier to personalize your PC. So, right now, I changed the color to something other than white and made the cursor larger. I would like to give my cursor a special color so I’ll root around my PC and find that option.

Enough of my mini-rant. My weekend has been relaxing and just sleeping in. I did worry a little bit about work and things I needed to do, but I intend on making this week a highly productive one. I’ve got a supportive work place so there’s nothing stopping me. With that, cheers!

Woohoo! My first Blue Screen of Death on Vista. :)

Okay, that’s not exactly something to be proud of because after bragging about the awesomeness of my laptop to myself, it’s a bit embarrassing to have the same old Windows issues pop up again. I will say that Windows Vista is doing a fabulous job of self-diagnosing what the problem is. In this case, the Nvidia Graphics Drivers are apparently acting up. The first blue screen of death (BSOD) happened while I was on battery power and showing someone the DreamScene addition to Vista Ultimate. The next bluescreen happened while I was trying something out that involved moderate-to-heavy usage of the graphics card. Interestingly, the additional factor that I failed to ‘factor’ in was that I had installed Nero 7 Ultra Edition on my laptop the day before I started being plagued by the BSODs. So, I went a little nuts and uninstalled any programs that weren’t actively being used. Something I have been unable to do to my desktop computer. Sue me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, time will tell if I’ve ‘solved’ the problem by installing the Nvidia driver (which oddly is the same version number as the problematic one, but which I installed anyway) from HP’s support site. *sigh*

The best features of Windows Vista (for me) are the self-diagnostic utilities included. I mean, I haven’t had to install any of the usual suspects (PC Wizard, etc) because Windows does all that for me. I don’t have to purchase a dedicated software solution to back up my laptop because Vista Ultimate comes with an in-built PC backup utility. The most consistent question I find myself being asked about the laptop is “what is the difference between Vista Ultimate and Business/Premium?” Well, depending on the state of my mind, I answer some or all of the following:

  1. Vista Ultimate is a combination of all Vista’s features, missing features in Vista Premium and missing features in Vista Business in addition to little extras like Windows DreamScene which gives you aร‚ย  ‘live’ vs static background. Think an animated gif only that it looks much better. ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Vista Ultimate has Bitlocker Drive Encryption which appeals to the paranoid side of me.
  3. And many more that others far smarter than I am have teased out and beaten to death.

My point: it is well worth the extra $160 I was hit with for upgrading to Vista Ultimate. The other thing that was worth the extra $125 I paid for this laptop was the Intel T8100 processor which is part of the newer line of Intel’s 45nm Penryn processors. This laptop purrs and I’ve amazed at the difference between the desktop and my laptop in terms of noise. The noisiest thing about me on the laptop is me clacking away at the keyboard which feels a little cramped. I guess it was a blessing in disguise that I purchased a 17.2″ laptop because I would not be a happy camper with a tiny screen.

Now, I want to talk about peripherals or accessories for your laptop. When I configured my laptop, I wanted a TV tuner which would enable me to watch TV on the computer. Well, I didn’t and I called HP in a panick and got them to lock in the promotional rate which took 40% off the sticker price. That item arrived yesterday and I got to test it out with Matt who also returned from his trip. I was finally able to retrieve my Logitech V470 bluetooth mouse and ethernet cable from our mailbox because he forgot to leave our mailbox key behind. lol. In a not-so-shocking twist of fate, HP & I have ceased being BFFs (best friends forever). Why? Well, they went back on their word to refund me a certain amount and I have since returned their product to them (i.e. the TV tuner). After giving it one test run, I think I am better off not having a TV tuner. In any case, by the time September rolls around, I will be expecting over $200 in refunds from HP and 3 other online retailers. Crazy and I’m still wondering how the heck I screwed up so badly in getting items that were either incompatible or just didn’t do enough research on. I’m returning the Belkin N1 router which I purchased from Walmart, but then I changed my mind and went with the D-Link Gigabit N Router (DIR-655). By the way, that router, despite the birthing pains, runs awesomely. I feel just as fast as I was when connected via ethernet. That’s pretty darn impressive. I am also returning the Logitech bluetooth mouse because the blasted thing quit working. I was really disappointed because I trusted Logitech and for the amount I paid for a mouse, I expected nothing less than 90% “uptime”. The worst isssue I’ve had was with my IOGear 2.5″ 80GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive which is the crappiest investment I’ve ever made (I got it in 2006). I also received a sweet deal on a JanSport Lap Station laptop backpack from eBags which is really stylish. It fits my 17.2″ laptop perfectly and I am definitely getting more than my money’s worth. I got it for less than $65. On that note, HP’s currently running a $400-off special on certain notebooks. Of course, my mouth fell open and I instantly ran to their website to customize the exact specs of my PC there to see if I really got a deal or not. Aaaand the verdict is pretty much that I didn’t get any “special” deal except that I didn’t pay taxes which have admittedly saved me over $100. Anyway, I’m pretty satisfied with my purchase and in particular, the accidental damage policy I have on it. All told, I think this laptop will easily be worth over $2,000 after all I’ve purchased as accessories or add-ons.

Also, my Windows Mobile Device Center finally works and it’s a thing of beauty!! I was never able to get it to work via the USB cable provided with my Palm Treo 750 and I can’t tell you the precise series of steps I was able to take to get Windows Mobile Device Center to work. However, here are some tricks I’d tried:

  1. Repairing WMDC by going to the “Programs and Features” section of the Control Panel and opting to reinstall or repair.
  2. Making sure I had all updates for WMDC
  3. Syncing via Bluetooth.

It works perfectly with Outlook 2007 and I am really pleased with Microsoft’s offerings (regarding their Office Suite) thus far. Heck, I never thought I’d abandon Mozilla Thunderbird in favor of Microsoft Outlook. As far as browsers go, I’m still lovingly stuck on Mozilla Firefox. There’s nothing Internet Explorer could do to take me away from Firefox. lol. Here’s a shoutout to my big brother, Nick, who just graduated with his postgraduate degree and landed a sweet gig on his birthday nonetheless!! I felt so bad not being able to call you because Friday was absolutely N.U.T.S. That was the first day of labs for the students and all of us (me, boss et al) were running out for specimens and trying to make the lab nice for the students. I survived and I do wish you all the best! I can’t wait to talk with you.

With that, I bid you “Sayonara.”