Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bundled Software That's Actually Useful? Where Am I, Bizarro World?

So the setting up of the new Hugin continues.
I have to say that setting up was much less of a hassle with this system than with systems I’ve owned in the past, given that this one didn’t come bogged down with a bunch of useless bundled software.
I think HP is probably the worst offender when it comes to pre-installing a bunch of crap that no one could ever possibly need/want, most of which tries to launch all at the same time as soon as you start up, though the old Munin, which is also a Dell, actually overwhelmed me with the stuff the first time I turned it on, which led me to wonder what the experience would be like for someone less experienced with computers.
However, with the new Hugin, I was able to opt out of most of the crap during the process of customizing my system when I ordered it, so I was able to say, for example, that I didn’t want any sort of ISP software pre-installed, or that I had no interest in having MS Works installed.
As far as the software that did come bundled, it’s all actually useful (and not obnoxiously intrusive), such as a copy of Power DVD which includes support for high-definition DVDs, or Roxio Creator, which has some useful CD/DVD burning features beyond those built into the OS (being able to burn a DVD from an ISO file, for example).
As a PC-based answer to the Mac’s iLife suite, the system also came with the Adobe Elements Studio, which includes the “Elements” versions of some of Adobe’s flagship applications. The “Elements” applications are stripped of some of the more advanced features of the apps they’re based on, and are designed to be accessible to non-professional consumers. The applications that make up the suite are Photoshop Elements, for photo management and editing, Premiere Elements, for video editing, and Soundbooth, an audio editing tool.
I don’t necessarily need the Elements versions, but they are at least more useful than the standard bundled apps.
In any case, here are a couple of pics of the new set up:

Here we see the sleek black and easily-smudged front of the new Hugin. Along with various CDs containing OS, application, and driver files, Dell included a cloth for wiping clean the easily-smudged façade (along with a pretty decent pair of headphones and a nice little organize for manuals and discs and some velcro cable ties – cable ties that, as you’ll see in the next picture, I haven’t really put to good use). Though you can’t see what it’s displaying (a graph of memory usage), you can see the SidesShow display on top of the tower.

Here’s the whole shooting match, complete with the insane tangle of power and USB cables in the back. Note that I have so much stuff connected to it that I need two Uninterruptible Power Supplies. Also, though winter is over, I’m still in a wintry enough mood that I decided to make my HOLY FREAKING GOD portrait of figure skater Sasha Cohen my wallpaper.

And here’s the old Hugin/not yet new Munin, shorn of its peripherals and looking forlorn. Don’t worry old Hugin/not yet new Munin! Daddy still loves you and will put you to good use. I’m thinking about hooking it up to the TV for the time being until I buy the Cintiq and free up my old 20.1” monitor. Maybe I’ll even pick up a BD ROM drive to throw into it and use it as a not fully functional or stylistically integrated Media Center.

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

Very pretty. I find it funny that Dell included a cleaning cloth. Very thoughtful of them.

I noticed the HOLY FREAKING *&%^ picture on your desktop before I read about it. I must say that I agree with your assessment.