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Technology Blog, by: David Monaghan.

Archive for November, 2006

Humorous Evaluation of Windows Vista RC1

Posted by David on November 22, 2006

25% CPU usage running Windows Vista RC1 Remote Desktop, MySQL, WEBrick, Photoshop and Firefox on a Compaq v2406US (upgraded to 638mb, 60gb 7200rpm 8mb)

I was just chatting with a friend – Lee – about my experiences running Windows Vista RC1 32bit build 5600. I acquired this version through the public release about a couple of months ago and have been running it on a couple computers since. One a desktop and one a laptop. Everything is going alright so far although I’m cramped for resources after Firefox has been open for a while. In any case I can usually get through about a week of having the computer on 24 hours a day before having to reboot due complete loss of computer control. In fact I could probably wait for the system to come back to life after killing Firefox and a few other programs but I’m often impatient and rebooting seems to work faster (not manually shutting down by holding the power button but just pushing on the power button will actually shut down the computer after about two minutes at this point).

Anyway this isn’t a real evaluation of the operating system, though I hope the above gives everyone a good idea of the stability I’m experiencing so far… In summary it’s about the same as XP but it’s a bit faster and looks way prettier, not to mention has a ton of cool extras like search (that works) etc. Should you upgrade… in my opinion not yet, for one it’s not been released to residential yet… The reason I started typing this was to share my friend Lee’s reaction to my experience with the voice recognition features in Windows Vista. I explained to him that there was a lot of potential in it and that it does work some of the time for me, but I seem to have a problem with the speed of my computer and the quality of my mic (Compaq 2405US with Motorola HS820). Also I remembered vaguely having problems getting it to switch to dictation in Firefox.

Lee had the following reply which I found quite funny;

“Open the pod bay doors, Windows.”

“Windows cannot do that, Dave…”

I’ve always been a fan of quoting that movie, I especially enjoyed having a sound byte for some time saying “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” upon Windows errors. Ha ha ha, very funny, well I’m sure it’s better if you were there, and are me…

Besides a few minor problems I’m actually surprised at how well Windows Vista is working for me. I wouldn’t say it’s near the stage that XP is at now for stability and compatibility but surely it’s a step in the right direction and during this stage XP was about the same. I’m ecstatic that I can finally search for files on the computer and get results quickly, I’m a huge fan of the search box in the start menu (though I wish more things would appear in the results and later they may), and I’ve got some experiences to share that have made running Vista all the worthwhile for me. I would have run Vista for at least this long even if things would have been worse, mainly because I like to see the current state of technology which will impact my life in a large way. Fortunately Vista runs the programs I need; Photoshop, FL Studio, Audacity, Firefox, Google Talk, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, C++, Perl, Ruby, and PHP. Some things have improved from XP, for instance I have a Linksys USB Bluetooth adapter and a Motorola Bluetooth headset. In XP it took me about a day to get the headset functionality out of the thing and then every time I wanted to switch from the Bluetooth to my built in or visa versa the application(s) in use would have to be restarted. Not anymore, in fact I never had to install a driver. The first time I plugged in the USB adapter and connected the headset Skype was running and without restarting it just worked. It took probably a minute to get drivers online from Microsoft I assume and in no time I was back to talking. Today I did this again, only this time it was simply to listen to a podcast I was listening to (net@nite) in Firefox (using Netvibes, gotta love it). I believe the audio does have to be stopped, but I just pause music, plug in USB Bluetooth adapter, turn on and connect headset, then hit play and enjoy the show!

I love having a laptop and now with Vista it’s even better. My battery doesn’t die very often but for some reason lately I don’t seem to be getting a big warning about battery life (need to go check settings but this could be a bug). So a couple of times now the battery has gotten to the point where the computer turned itself “off” and pushing the power button would only give the blinking power light saying “Plug me in or suffer without a computer, your choice”. The beautiful part is that once plugging back in and powering up an unfamiliar screen pops up, it says Resuming Windows. The computer comes back to whatever you were doing, it’s like the computer was asleep, only it was actually turned off. It does take longer than coming out of sleep (especially this new sleep) but it’s a God-send for laptops and actually fairly quick. I just did it now by hitting the hibernate button, the audio show I was listening to came back to life, this post I’m writing, and it tool I’d say less than a minute tops, this is all very nice if you ask me.

I’ve used Remote Desktop through vista with some varying results. Obviously the Aero interface doesn’t work over it but it’s still quick enough to do simple things. Every now and again the connection gets dropped and it doesn’t reconnect, but restarting the client app seems to fix it every time.

Right now I’m listening to TWiT 77 talk about speed problems with Vista’s Aero Glass interface, I’m not having any huge problems here with every feature turned on even though I don’t have a GB or ram, while I do have more than the 128mb the computer came with I’ve only added 512 mb. I did also upgrade my hard drive from a 4200rpm 2mb cache hard drive to a 7200rpm 8mb cache hard drive. This laptop is last years low end model, nothing fancy. If this laptop will run Vista like this I can’t wait to see what something like my Mom’s desktop replacement HP…

I did hear on Security Now! that there are some problems with the 64bit version, but I’ve yet to see anything myself.

Until next time, I think I’m going to go play with WordPress some, I vaguely remember seeing a new feature I’ve been waiting for for what seems to have been an eternity.

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