Windows Vista Ultimate: The last Microsoft “Ultimate” I’ll buy

This is the last thing that I will be buying from Microsoft that is supposed to be the best possible package. Honestly, I don’t even use the BitLocker feature. I bought Ultimate because I thought that there were going to be a lot of “Extras”…but I was clearly wrong.

I bought Vista pretty much right after it came out and I really enjoyed using it at first just because I thought to myself, “Man…this is the new Windows…how awesome!”, but now that I got tired of it crashing and I switched to Ubuntu for about a year and a half….well, I’m just not impressed anymore.

There really weren’t any “Extras” available when I installed Ultimate the first time, but I expected to find a list of available “Extras” when I installed it last night (over a year later).

What a freakin’ scam! Microsoft should be sued for this! Seriously! There’s basically nothing better with ultimate, nothing! I am glad to be able to run the “Best” version of Windows along side what is in my opinion one of the best operating systems ever…Ubuntu. It’s interesting to see how I work differently in each operating system and how the system can in some cases control you rather than you controlling the system.

I find myself being controlled more when I’m in Windows than I do in Linux, which is weird to me because I used to assume that you couldn’t do much in Linux other than hack and code things. Linux has really evolved these days though! Linux can honestly be as easy to use as Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS X.

In fact, you can even make your installation of Linux look and feel exactly like Windows or Mac if you want. It’s actually very easy and the familiar feel alone will increase the ease of use with not just Linux…but you and your computer.

I find myself coding more efficiently and faster in Ubuntu than I can in Windows. I think the biggest thing that helps me and makes me faster is the fact that I can have so many workspaces and easily switch between them instead of clicking and hunting windows and tabs all the time.

I really like the visual upgrade that comes with Vista (compared to XP), but honestly it’s nothing more than XP with a new theme and optimized a little (or say they say it’s better??). I’ve actually heard buzz around the Internet for a long time now that XP runs games better and faster than Vista.

Well, one thing is for sure. Ubuntu and several other Linux distros use Compiz Fusion for the eye candy and I think they found the sweet spot when they decided to add them into the operating system the way they did. It’s amazing how an open source project like Ubuntu can be leaps and hurdles a head of Microsoft Windows, but at the same time it’s kind of expected that Microsoft isn’t going to ever use their money and power to just “Wow” us when they can just do enough to try to hold us.

It’s cheaper for them to just hold us than it is to run out of the “Wow” material too quickly and try to find something new and honestly most Windows users don’t even realize that the operating system *should be* so much better than it currently is.

Oh well, what are we going to do? Does Microsoft really listen anyway? I know Apple listens. It seems to me that Apple is really good at feeling around to see what users really want and not always just what they know of either. Apple is very innovative and they are good at making something new work very well. The key, I believe, to their success is the fact that they let their products mature before releasing them and they also push for reasonable release dates.

Microsoft had an unreasonably long delay between Windows XP and Windows Vista. Call it what you will, but I call it laziness. I think they just wanted to sit back and see how long the world would buy copies of Windows XP before we realized that everyone else was still progressing (Mac, Linux, etc.).

Microsoft definitely rushed Vista and even had to cut out several features or upgrades that were planned. One upgrade that I was really looking forward to was the new file system that Vista was supposed to have. The new file system, dubbed “Win FS”, was supposed to be worked into Vista, but was cancelled do to problems and delays on releasing Vista.

Why release a product that isn’t finished? Actually, bad question…no software is ever finished, only abandoned. Rather, why release a product for a release date and not for a maturity stage in the developmental process? Wouldn’t you want your products when they have reached a certain level instead of just reaching a certain age?

Sure it sucks waiting for updates and upgrades, but if Microsoft can’t get their employees to work faster then we should still just wait for a proper update. I don’t like downloading a browser or messenger that crashes all the time when they could have spent a little more time to iron out the kinks.

Vista is still using the file system NTFS that we probably all remember from XP. The thing you might not know is that NTFS was released along side Windows NT when I was 7 years old. Windows NT was more of a networking configuration anyways and never really hit the public much.

The point is that NTFS was released in 1993 and is now a little over 15 years old (to the public). Most Linux or UNIX platforms use ext3 which was released in 1999. That’s still 6 years newer than Microsoft’s! Apple has been looking into upgrading from HFS Plus, which was released in 1998, to a 2004 file system called ZFS.

If you want to look into these file systems and compare them then Wikipedia has a great page for that! I’m actually looking forward to ext4 which has some very good strengths, but it’s not exactly stable yet.

So for now I guess I must be content with Vista (it’s the best it will ever be I suppose) and just log back into Ubuntu when I need to. I seriously hope that Microsoft speeds up and releases something good soon so I can use my NC State privileges to get the latest operating system for free. Hope this very opinionated post was at least fun to read. πŸ˜‰

Are you a fan of Windows 3.11

Windows 3.11

Well, if so then you have until November 1, 2008 to get a copy of it. After that, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups will no longer be available. It’s hard to understand why Microsoft has continued to support Windows 3.11 while trying so hard to get rid of Windows XP lately.

Windows 3.11 was released on August 11, 1993..which means that it has managed to pack in 15 years of support! Windows XP was released on October 25, 2001 and after only 7 years of support is now being pushed under the rug by Microsoft in an effort to help Vista gain more popularity and force Windows users to open their wallets to purchase what is in my opinion only worthy of being called a Service Pack for Windows XP. Windows XP will only be on sell while remaining supplies last. Currently most retailers still show signs of steady stock, but once it’s gone…well…it’s gone.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/jcoyne/…it-s-the-end-for-3-11.aspx

Bill Gates’ Last Day With Microsoft

As many of you may already know, today is the last day that Bill Gates will be working with Microsoft. He will be stepping down from his position with Microsoft and is currently the third-richest man in the world!

Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to prosper without Gates of course, but what he did to build and develop the company will be unmatched for the the rest of it’s existence. Although I’ve long since switched to open source platforms such as Ubuntu linux, I must respect the work and effort that he has put into building the corporate Microsoft that we know today.

While catching up in the news over the past few days, I came across a hilarious video featuring Bill Gates and several celebrities in a short skit. You should check it out!

Bill Gates will now be spending his time and work to contribute to charities. What a noble thing to do! I mean with his wealth and status he could do anything, but he chose a very respectable way to spend his retired time.

Microsoft and Eolas make a deal..

internet explorerIf you’re an Internet Explorer user then you will be glad to learn that the annoying “click-to-activate” feature will be removed soon! Microsoft and Eolas recently worked out a licensing agreement which benefits anyone using flash content on the web!

This “click-to-activate” feature has been present in Internet Explorer since March of 2006. That being said.. The update will not take place until “Patch Tuesday” for the month of April 2008, however, a preview release will be made public in December.

Source: BetaNews.com

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer..we’ve all seen it develop over the years. Or have we? We’ve seen Internet Explorer release a new version of their browser from time to time, but how much are they really packing under the hood?

You’ll read reviews and cool new features online around Microsoft enthusiast sites, but how many of the new features and updates aren’t already available in an alternative browser? Internet Explorer 7 seems to be the new cool browser of choice among a very large percentage of web surfers, but why are they using it? Is it because of the built-in search box in the upper right corner? Is it the super cool new tabbed browsing? Maybe it’s just the shiny vista-like skin..? Or could it be that it is the most secure browser available?

Basically, all of those questions can be answered with a simple “No”. Many people just aren’t aware that there are better browsers…or to be a little less bias…alternative browsers that can do everything they need! I personally have been using Opera for all of my browsing needs for around nine years now. Around the time that I starting using Opera, Netscape Navigator was a popular choice. However, most people just stuck to what they already had installed, which was Internet Explorer.

acid2Quick facts: A man by the name of HΓ₯kon Wium Lie (who is now the CTO of Opera Software ASA) proposed Cascading HTML Style Sheets (CHSS) in October 1994. These style sheets were later used to test browsers compliance to web standards for the first time in 1997. The first test, which was called the Box Acid Test (a.k.a. Acid1 Test), was a simple case test used to help browser developers as they developed and implemented cascading style sheets and accepted it into the web. The next test and probably most famous of the two is know as the Acid2 Test. The purpose of this test was to push developers into implementing new features available through CSS. If a browser passes the test then the page loads fine and looks like a simple little smiley face.

This simple little smiley face is in fact a challenge to reproduce. The test is designed to make the results obvious. Either it passes or it fails. You will see a nasty looking face if it fails (hint: look at it in Internet Explorer here). You should check the Acid2 Test in different browsers that you have installed on your computer and decide for yourself if you want to use a product that has been left behind or if you want to switch to an alternative browser with equal or more features and much better web rendering. Personally I would recommend looking into the following browsers and giving them each a test drive:

The Opera browser has been known for years for it’s record of being the most secure browser available. You are much more likely to get a nasty virus from the web using Internet Explorer than you are while using a browser such as Opera. Opera was also a pioneer in the beginning of tabbed browsing days. Many other browsers saw the potential and jumped to implement the same thing. Opera was also the first browser to include a quick search box at the top of the window. Opera provides a light weight browser with the fasted speeds of any browser from almost every angle and some of the best web standards support. You can’t go wrong with Opera!Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this! Download some of these browsers and give them a try! Any of them are more capable than Internet Explorer. πŸ˜‰

Vista: Repair with boot disk

vistaIf you ever experience problems with your Vista installation and it fails to boot, you’ll quickly learn that “fixmbr” is no longer used the same way (fixmbr is to be valid for Windows XP and several previous Windows platforms).

If you need to fix your then you may have trouble finding the remedy as I did. I searched for a little while not finding anything helpful. However, not that I’ve found it and had to use it a few times I am going to share it with you (and all just post it so I can reference it later more easily).

The recover steps are as follows:

  1. Power-on your system and immediately insert your installation disk.
  2. Press any key to boot your PC from the installion disk.
  3. Once booting has completed click “Next” after making sure that options such as language are appropriate for you.
  4. From the list of options provided, select repair. (This may take several minutes while the installation disk tries to find supported bootable partitions. Just be patient. πŸ˜‰ )
  5. If the automatic scan does not detect your windows installation then you may have a lot of trouble regaining any information stored on your drive. If this is not the case for you then move on tot he next step. Otherwise, if this is the case then I suggest the following:
    • Obtain another hard drive, by purchase or borrow from a friend and install Windows on thenew hard drive.
    • Now install some freeware undelete software to recover your important files to the borrowed hard drive so you can use it later to move the files back to your system.
    • After recovering the files that you need to keep, format and reinstall Windows on your old hard drive.
    • Now you are ready to copy and paste the recovered files over.
  6. Now that the install disk has detected your old installation click next to continue.
  7. The next screen offers several things. Go a head and click to repair startup, but don’t count on this fixing anything (it has never fixed anything for me in the past, but it never hurts to try).
  8. Now click on the option to manually repair via the console.
  9. Once in the terminal/console, you will be using “bootrec“. Go a head and type “bootrec” without the quotes into the terminal and press enter to get an idea from the description that it provides for what it does. Now the commands that will fix your system are as follows (without quotes):
    • “bootrec -FixMbr” – this command will rewrite the contents of your master boot record since it is most likely corrupt, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be here.
    • “bootrec -FixBoot” – this command may not be necessary, but I use it just incase.
  10. Now that you have enter both of those commands to repair your boot process you just need to restart and see if everything is working again!

I’m not sure how you got into this situation in the first place, but if you have not been trying to install another operating system to dual boot along side Vista then you might want to look into the issue further. You can always use your best friend Google.com to find where other people have had similar problems and found solutions. I would suggest looking into this immediately to ensure that your data is not lost in future incidents. It might be that you have corruption in your hard drive and need to run checkdisk to repair any bad places. I hope this has been helpful to someone. If it has helped you at all, please let me know! Post a comment!

Mac OS X86 and Vista in perfect harmony

So I’ve been looking up some information trying to figure out how to install Mac OS X on my AMD machine which already has Vista Ultimate installed. I came across several helpful sites in my search and although I don’t have it setup successfully just yet..I thought I’d share the information that I found.

mac vista

First off, to install Mac OS X on a regular pc you have to get a *patched* version of the install disk. Please don’t ask me where you can get a hold of a copy of this. πŸ˜‰

I used a prepatched version called “Mac OS X JaS 10.4.8 Intel/AMD Install DVD”. The steps are pretty easy.

  • Get a pre-patched install disk and burn it with your favorite program.
  • Create a partition on your hard drive at least 6GB..leave it unallocated.
  • Insert your install disk and restart.
  • Make sure that during installation you select all of the appropriate settings to install for your computer’s hardware.
  • After installation completes successfully you will need to restart your computer.

You can play around in OSX for a while if you wish, but you need to configure your boot loader to dual boot Vista and OSX. You can find a guide for this here. There are also plenty of other guides out there that you can use.

It would also be wise to take a look at a compatibility list to make sure that your hardware is supported. You can check that here.

Updates will come soon when I successfully get Mac OS X installed. I’ve heard that a version of 10.4.9 by uphuck is pretty reliable, so I’m in the process of installing it.