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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 9:08 am 
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Title: 2011 Camaro 2LT - 312 horsepower - enough to pull YOUR wagon!
<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Anthony will get a hearty laugh out of this, and rightfully so . . .

I haven't liked Windows Vista based upon a couple of installations of Beta 2. I still have parts of it I don't like.

However . . .

There was a Windows Update of my chipset driver (nForce 4), official ATI RC1 video drivers and the Creative Beta 2 drivers all combine to make RC1 a lot more efficient than what I was seeing in Beta 2. With everything working properly, I'm beginning to finally appreciate Vista.

Previously I couldn't get the audio drivers working properly, which prevented full-time use / enjoyment due to the inability to play music, DVDs and the final straw . . . the one that kept breaking the camel's back . . . gaming. I couldn't run any games worth anything in Beta 2, and my first download version of RC1 was no improvement (especially after the crash where it wouldn't start again). However, when I received the DVD for RC1 in the mail, I found that I'm able to run Until URU and Half-Life 2 both at proper resolutions and performance levels.

I'll soon be expanding my game and software tests, but at this point, I'm forced to finally give Vista a tenuous seal of approval.

To qualify, Vista is STILL not for the faint of hardware. You need 1 GB of RAM, dual-core processor probably wouldn't hurt, and a DirectX9 hardware video solution (Radeon 9700 or newer or GeForce FX 5700 or better).

SO . . if you're considering testing Vista, and you have the hardware, RC1 seems a workable version.

J'nathus
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Last edited by Jnathus on Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:10 am 
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Thats whats put me off Vista I have 1gb DDR ram in my PC it cost £150, if I'm going to upgrade and stay in the same vein thats anouther £120 (for anouther gigabyte.)

Vista is great I'm saving up to do it, but its very off putting.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:50 pm 
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Thanks Jnathus! Keep the info coming. I'm really tempted to install. Did u put it on a seperate Hard drive or are u dual booting of one MBR?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:04 pm 
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Personally I'm running it on it's own HDD and switch which I boot from on boot.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:28 pm 
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Title: 2011 Camaro 2LT - 312 horsepower - enough to pull YOUR wagon!
<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Steve - I have 2 GB of RAM . . and it cost LESS than the 1 GB I bought when I originally built this machine.

Miles - I always build my PCs with 2 hard drives. My main drive (XP install) is 250 GB and my backup drive (Vista install) is 200 GB. Vista installs a new boot loader (unlike the one used in 2000/XP) so once it's installed, removing it can be tricky.

I've installed: <!--colorc--> <!--/colorc-->
Black and White 2
Quicktime 7.1
FRAPS
Winamp
Firefox
Skype 2.5
Sonic Cineplayer (DVD / video playing software),
MS Office 2000
Wordperfect 12.

<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >All work properly.

Quicktime has hiccupped a few times when playing back a full-screen movie, but I tried it again just a minute ago and no problems.

I was tinkering with my sound / recording controls while I was using Skype and it didn't like it - - Logging out and back in corrected that.

High resolution (DVD quality) DivX files don't seem to play all that well in Vista, but I consider that as DivX issue that may be resolved with a newer version. Other than that, things are good so far.

Now that I know Black and White 2 will run fine, just about anything else should be good. B & W 2 is a VERY intense game on system hardware. I think Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion is the only game I know of (currently) that can give my hardware a rougher time.

Next, I'll be installing Splinter Cell Chaos Theory.

J'nathus
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Last edited by Jnathus on Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:47 pm 
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<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Today's update --

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory runs fine, although right after a level loads there's a screen flicker that goes away after about 10 seconds, but 10 seconds of screen flicker is enough to discourage most people. I played a LOT of the level, and never saw it again.

A similar behavior happened in Half-Life 2, and in that case, it was much more brief and I only saw it the first time I played the game. Perhaps the next time I feel like being an NSA field operative / spy (play Splinter Cell) I'll see if it happens again. Possibly it's simply a driver optimization thing that will disappear in later releases.

Recently installed and working properly:
<! :yello--> "color:yello"><!--/ >RealPlayer
FileZilla
IGN / FilePlanet FileDownloader
Guild Wars<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc-->

I love Windows Mail. It's a much more slick setup than Outlook Express had, but the fundamentals are there and the Junk Mail / spam filters seem rather easy to train.

I installed Windows Live Messenger . . not my cup o' tea. I'll stick with GAIM.

Any questions? Any requests?

J'nathus
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Last edited by Jnathus on Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:02 pm 
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Thanks for the great info Jnathus!

I Installed Vista RC1 earlier this month on my laptop when I was getting sick of XP. The more I get into it, the more I am growing to dislike it. While much of this is probably because I have 512MB RAM, I've gotten most of my usual programs (Gaim, iTunes, Firefox, MSO, GDS) to work, UU lags more than I imagined possible. I was very suprised when my XP drivers (from the (Evil) Dell) actually worked, and that Windows update had newer versions of them.

The trouble I've been having is with Myst and Myst V. In the original Myst (not Real, not MME) version, it stops responding shortly after I get cursor control, but the intro movies play just fine. In Myst V, I stackdump as soon as I leave the Keep on K'veer after touching the Tablet. (and Myst V worked fine for me on XP, so it can't be my system) Could you possibly confirm if those problems are with me, or Vista itself?

*goes back to lurking and homework*

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:42 pm 
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Title: 2011 Camaro 2LT - 312 horsepower - enough to pull YOUR wagon!
<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >I gave Myst V a try and I get a stack dump reliably after I first touch the tablet as well. I believe the problem has to do with Yeesha linking in and a controlled sequence / speech beginning. I tried assigning the affinity to a single CPU core and that didn't help. I tried running it in Windows XP Service Pack 2 compatibility mode and that didn't work. I tried lower and lower video quality settings. Nothing helped.

The opening video with Atrus speaking hiccuped 5 or 6 times while it played as well (a bit annoying to watch).

So, it looks like Myst V is unplayable in Vista RC1. Shucks.

Until URU suffers stack dumps pretty regularly in RC1 as well, but for the most part, UU will run. If you get a stack dump in UU, you can go back and attempt what you were doing before and it won't happen again. EoA appears a bit more finicky.

J'nathus
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Last edited by Jnathus on Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:41 pm 
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Hmm all in all I think Software vendors are going to be releasing a few patches over the coming weeks... unless Microsoft can pull something out in the dying stages of development.

Honestly, we were always taught that your RC should be (almost) feature-complete... I find it concerning that there are still a handful of problems with Vista that haven't been fixed since the Beta program.

Jnathus and those running Vista... would you please comment on the apparently wonderful graphical way windows minimise and open etc. What the CPU load as a result of these?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:51 am 
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<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >One nifty thing . .

The new alt-tab:

Image

Or the Windows key + tab:

Image

Or just point at the button on the taskbar:

Image

CPU usage when launching programs is around 50% on my 2.21 GHz Athlon X2 4200+. Maximizing or minimizing programs makes it spike to about 36%. Normal idle spike is only as high as 20%.

File copying / transfer from one hard drive to another seems to be a bit slow still. It will MAJORLY slow down response time in other things in the duration of the transfer. XP is the same, but to a lesser extent. Vista becomes nearly unresponsive during those times.

J'nathus
<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc-->


Last edited by Jnathus on Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:00 am 
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Thank you for those shots Jn :)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:04 am 
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<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Update - -

Dual-booting Vista and XP . . .

If you have an installation of Windows XP and a spare drive or partition you'd like to use for Vista, make sure that XP's boot partition is left intact.

I have 2 hard drives, a 250 GB and 200 GB Serial ATA drives. They're installed in the order of 250 GB Drive 0 and 200 GB Drive 1.

250 GB Drive 0 - Windows XP
200 GB Drive 1 - Windows XP

Altered to

250 GB Drive 0 - <!--colorc--> <!--/colorc--><! :red--> "color:red"><!--/ >Windows Vista RC1<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc--><! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >
200 GB Drive 1 - Windows XP

Unfortunately the boot partition was on Drive 0, so I lost access to Drive 1's XP install.

My solution? reorder the drives . ..

<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc--><! :red--> "color:red"><!--/ >200 GB <!--colorc--> <!--/colorc--><! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Drive 0 - Windows XP
<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc--><! :red--> "color:red"><!--/ >250 GB <!--colorc--> <!--/colorc--><! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Drive 1 - Windows Vista RC1

This way, the install / repartitioning of the install drive for Vista doesn't remove the boot partition that references XP. Further, when you run XP it thinks it's on Drive C. When you run Vista . . same thing, it says it's on Drive C, so no weird application install issues due to improper root drive naming.

I've attempted to installed a selection of games from my collection that I want to play. Regrettably 3 of them could not be utilized. One won't install (F.E.A.R.), one won't play after installation (Midnight Club II) and the last one won't play correctly due to flickering screen, textures and no music / some audio not playing (No One Lives Forever).

Vista adds this new "Games" folder. I have it set up to be a part of my start menu, and it is a menu itself.

Image

If you open the Games Window, you'll see that Vista has noticed the existence of some of your games (by automatically adding them to the Games folder and adding box art to their icons and putting their proper names on their icons).

It looks like this:

Image

All of those games are tested and run fine on Vista.

Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion is noticeably a bit slower in Vista, but it's still plenty playable at the same detail settings as XP.

Of interest to TCT staffers, I have done recordings in Vista using Skype and PowerGramo and the recordings are absolutely perfect. Not only that, but they START perfect. Many times in the past I've noticed that Skype /PowerGramo recordings start with a few problems, but iron out in a few seconds or minutes into the recording. No such problems in Vista (Yay for the re-written audio stack!).

So . . . At this point, I'm finding no substantial problems to keep me from continuing to use Vista. I can keep XP around simply to play those games and run those pieces of software that I can't in Vista (a rather diminuitive list at this point).

J'nathus
<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc-->


Last edited by Jnathus on Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:06 pm 
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Title: 2011 Camaro 2LT - 312 horsepower - enough to pull YOUR wagon!
<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >An interesting note regarding Vista Beta 2 and RC1.

I listened to <a href="http://www.twit.tv/ww1" target="_blank">Windows Weekly with Paul Thurrott</a> (thanks Anthony for introducing me to This Week in Tech (TWiT) which lead me to that Windows Weekly).

<!--sizeo:4--> "font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Beta 2 was TERRIBLE!!!<!--sizec--> <!--/sizec-->

In there, Mr. Thurrott echoed a lot of my skepticism about Vista based on Beta 2's performance. Games barely ran, or didn't run at all, many pieces of software didn't run, the CPU would idle at 50% or more and just generally left a bad impression with me. If Beta 2 were indicative of what Vista was going to need to run anything in my particular hardware setup, I would NEVER upgrade to it. RC1 saved Microsoft's bacon from my perspective. So much so, that I've used it much more reliabily and consistently than even Anthony has. I keep asking him: "Are you in Vista right now?" To which he almost always answers: "No, I'm in XP." Tut Tut!

<!--sizeo:4--> "font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Licensing has become more stringent!!!
1 transfter of your license . . . That's it!<!--sizec--> <!--/sizec-->

<a href="http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/winvista_licensing.asp" target="_blank">In another find I was directed to by Anthony (also in relation to TWiT)</a> I discover that Windows Vista's licensing agreement is written more specifically than XP's, but it will be no more restrictive. Being a power user myself, I have hardware upgrades, hardware swaps, hardware replacements and what-have-you that cause system reinstallation at a rate of at least every 6 months (if I'm lucky to go that long). In the article linked above, it appears that my reactivations in the hardware changing circumstances will be handled the same way as XP. The call will be escalated to a live tech, I'll have to answer some questions, and activation will proceed as normal. Since I have never met any resistence on their end, and it is a few minutes of inconvenience that pale in comparison with the amount of time I use my computer, I guess I can't complain that much.

As Paul Thurrott pointed out in TWiT, it's funny to see Microsoft speak as though the customers WANT activation. Isn't that rich? Yeah, I WANT to call India every 6 months . . JUST TO CHECK IN!

J'nathus
<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc-->


Last edited by Jnathus on Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:13 am 
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I just came across an interesting article:

<a href="http://tech.msn.com/products/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1043071" target="_blank">here</a>

that discusses the future of PC, OS, and hardware development based on current trends and research. It's worth a read!

Actually, my mindset at the moment takes me in another direction. Keep in mind that a 2nd Grade class just left my Lab, and I had to address two or three PCs that the kids had jammed up. Working in a grade-school computer lab, I am reminded all too constantly that Windows, and your typical Microsoft application, typically buries the root functionality under layers of excessive fluff or achaic routines that are complete Greek to kids, or most non-tech-savvy adults. Here we are, reading about all the fabulous new bells and whistles that are coming in the future, when there's very little said about the most basic functionalities, and how they can be streamlined for, say an elementary school student. Or for that matter, an elementary school TEACHER. I'm kept very busy untangling little things like CD-ROM based games that require you to quit the game before ejecting the disk, at the risk of freezing the PC and perhaps retaining the primitive screen settings forced on Windows by the game. This has come up so many times, and it's just frustrating. A kid's logic says that if you stick in a disk to play a game, that you would quit the game by removing the disk. Wrong... Why Windows can't anticipate things like this is beyond me, and I hope any future versions will come up with a work-around for such elementary glitches. Other things on my fantasy wish-list: A simplified keyboard for school kids, so they can learn keyboarding without all the extra keys that most adults don't even use... and DEFINITELY without such demon keys as INSERT and CAPS LOCK. Kids have trouble learning to double-click, too. And the fact that all their school network log-ins are case-sensitive, and are set up to work with all caps, drives me to distraction... but that's another matter.

I also assist our school's staff in the use of Windows and various applications in the classroom, and have become fed up with the clunky design of many of the applications we use regularly, such as Outlook. Typical scenario... I'll send out a staff e-mail, and have one bounce back from a Kindergarten teacher's account because her mailbox is full. It's not too difficult to demonstrate to that teacher how to right-click the Deleted Items folder and empty it... although many of our staff seem to be unaware of the functionality under the right-hand mouse button... but when I try to demonstrate how to empty their "Sent Items" folder, which is a completely different routine, and merely sends those messages to the Deleted Items folder, which they then have to empty in another operation... ARGH! That's just poor design.

I must confess that I'm in a rather conflicted state of mind right now. I've just accepted a new job with our school district, which I'll transition into starting next Monday. I'll be the Tech Trainer for the whole district, and will be responsible for creating online web-based tutorial courseware, FAQs, and hands-on training for the various schools. This is a neat responsibility, and I welcome the challenge. But I know that a great portion of that challenge will be rooted in the tradition-bound, non-intuitive design of Windows, and of the applications we use daily. In so many ways, we're forced to think down the computer's level and MAKE it do what we want... far beyond the capability of elementary kids, and again, many of their teachers. Until Microsoft can assure me that their future OSs will be designed from the ground up with this kind of intelligence built in, I'll remain largely unimpressed with all the slick visuals. I was just lamenting to an associate, "Give me a state of the art machine with an 8-core processor, a terabyte hard drive, external GPU, etc., etc., and I can guarantee you that one of these kids will have it locked up in five minutes." With the kind of processing power that is being predicted, and in many cases is available currently, software designers should be working hard to break away from all the old traditions and create applications that anticipate every way that a user will interface with their products, and eliminate the little traps that frustrate us constantly. I would LOVE to think that Microsoft, and others, would start over with a clean sheet of paper and give us new OSs and applications that would be designed around the way we think... or the way KIDS think... and perhaps provide a means of progressively scaling up functionality based on the ability of the user.

Rant over. :)

/\/\

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Last edited by Mowog on Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 2:39 pm 
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<! :orange--> "color:orange"><!--/ >Hello Mowog,

Your points are echoed greatly by me, but there are many reasonse for many of the problems you run into.

Your CD-ROM games locking up the machines if the disc is removed may not simply be a Windows flaw, but a problem caused by the software vendor. Progress has not greatly advanced the average size of user desktop resolution, so those primitive games have to cater to what is the mainstream, which means low resolution (icky though it is)

Microsoft is not about to make Windows into basic functionalities because they would have to charge less (heavens NO!). Vista does have a home-basic version. Many of the whiz-bang effects are absent in the home as well as the home-basic versions.

However, consider this. We've surpassed an age where keyboarding skills are pretty much mandatory throughout life and we're entering an age where computer literacy is a necessity going forward. Much of what you spoke about in your rant includes problems caused by Windows trying to be everything to everyone, but unlike Apple, they have no control over the various different hardware vendors, and "simply making it work," is a task far beyond the capabilities of even Microsoft's vast resources. Paul Thurrott said they have to reach 500 bugs or less to go to RTM with Vista and they plan to be there by October 25th. That's 500 bugs they KNOW of . . . and certainly I'll find my fair share of them.

About deleting items in your sent-box and then having to delete them from your deleted items.. that's not poor design at all. That was the frustration of a network support person who was sick of having to restore items from the server that people didn't mean to delete. The 'second chance' deleted items and/or recycle bin was born of that kind of thinking. A properly configured and set up E-mail system usually includes automatic purging of the deleted items every 7-14 days. In my office, we currently have Groupwise, and we have to deal with users accidentally deleting their sent-items folder (which can be restored through a lengthy folder creation and query process) and also holding on to old E-mail in their deleted items folder to the tune of 1500+ messages. We don't have mailbox limits yet, but we will with the next PC roll-out because our server is getting over-taxed with the user load in my office (one file / email / network / database portal server and 77 users).

In Office's defense, Office 2007 is supposed to be completely rethinking the interface. No more tack-ons like the side-bar. I've seen pics, I've read reviews and I've heard newscasts about it, but I haven't experimented with it myself, so I can't say it's revolutionary or simple.

As far as going back to the drawing board in the OS, Vista was supposed to follow that ideology, but so much had be kept for legacy support, which Microsoft wanted to ditch altogether. I know that the design in Vista is meant to be intuitive for those who don't want to dig and intuitive for those who do, but in the end, the kind of simplicity you're asking for isn't going to happen to today's OS requirements for feature rich installs. Microsoft wants to be everything to everybody and the OS reflects that.

Just like Windows XP, an install of Vista for me requires a bit of tweaking and configuring before I have it to my liking. The same is true of all the OSs I've used previously and the same will probably always be true going forward. However, I think I run a very organized and lean installation . . . so much so that my family members lament when they use other people's computers because of how slow, unorganized and difficult usage can be.

Some new items in Vista do more explaining like the new "personalize" option that replaces the 'display properties' box of previous versions of Windows . . .

Image

I'm not entirely amazed by the new layout, and in some places I'm a bit non-plussed by how things have sunk yet ANOTHER level deeper making my power user existence that much more difficult, but like it or not Vista is coming, and not learning it is an occupational hazard I can't take from both a future gamer standpoint and a Networking Security standpoint.

You want a fully customizable OS, you're going to have to go with Linux, although I think you'll find many of your problems magnified going that route. Some things are software problems, some things are hardware, some things are user . . . and that's the unpleasant existence enjoyed by network administrators.

J'nathus
<!--colorc--> <!--/colorc-->


Last edited by Jnathus on Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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