Sunday, October 25, 2009


It was bound to happen.

Everyone and his brother bitched about all the problems with Windows Vista and how much it sucked and meanwhile I had very few issues with it, and actually kind of liked it.

On the other hand – with the usual dissenters – most people agree that Windows 7 is teh awesome and report very few problems with it, while I end up having all of the problems they apparently had with Vista.

Still, if I can get past the problems, there are a lot of things I like about Windows 7, though many of them are simple “gee-whiz, tha't’s kind of cool” things rather than major changes to performance and the interface or anything like that.

The Good:

The “Peek” function is cool.  If you have a bunch of windows open you can just hover over this button in the lower right-hand corner and all of the open windows turn transparent, allowing you to see the desktop. 

Thumbnail views of open windows when you hover over them on the taskbar are also cool, and it makes use of the “Peek” function:  if you hover over the thumbnail, all windows in front of it turn transparent.

I really like the idea of using Libraries to organize content in a disorganized fashion.

Grabbing a window and “shaking” it causes all other open windows to be minimized.  More fun than functional, I guess.

Jumplists, an evolution of “Recent Documents” is pretty sweet.  When a program is “pinned” to the Start Menu or taskbar, you can right-click on it and see a list of files recently opened by that application.

Native support for .iso burning is a long overdue new feature.  Right-click on the file, choose “Burn to Disc,” and you’re all set.

I like the new look of Media Center – and the rather ostentatious new start-up sound – and I’m hoping that more content will eventually be added to the Internet TV function.

The Indifferent:

Along with native burning support for .iso files, it would have been nice to have a built-in feature to mount them as drives.

I’m not seeing the supposed native support for .mov files.

The Bad:

Still no native Blu-ray support?  I don’t buy the “it would add $30 to the cost” argument.

The Downright Horrible:

When I got home on Friday I decided to try playing around with Windows 7 on Munin before installing it on Hugin.

However, the network status icon was showing me that my computer had “limited connectivity,” in that it was still connected to my network, but couldn’t access the Internet.

I tried the standard fix action:  a reboot.  This caused it to get as far as the “Shutting Down” down screen, but no further.  Eventually I had to kill the power.  Once it booted up, though, it was back on the Internet.  For a while.  I tried to adjust some of the network options for it, but the network options screen froze as soon as I tried to change anything.  So I went into Device Manager to try to uninstall the driver so that it would reinstall upon reboot.  Device Manager froze.  I rebooted.  Stuck and “Shutting Down.”

After the reboot, it was back to normal, so I took advantage of the brief window of opportunity to try to locate a new driver.  None available.  The loss of connectivity would happen at random times, and would always cause the failure to actually shut down and reboot, and even began interfering with transferring files to and from a USB drive.

I searched in vain – on the other computers – for an answer online.

Meanwhile I was dealing with some post-upgrade issues on Hugin, though those were less severe.  However, I do have on major problem:  Photoshop isn’t recognizing the pressure-sensitivity of my Cintiq.  This is a very big deal, as even the lightest press results in a thick, flat line.  Pressure-sensitivity is working in other applications – including other Adobe apps, like Illustrator – but not in Photoshop.  Not sure what to do about that one, since, as usual, the Internet is no help.

In any case, to resolve the wireless issue on Munin I decided to just disable the built-in adapter and use one of my old USB adapters.  I didn’t have a flash drive handy, so when I downloaded the drivers for the USB adapter on Hugin I saved them to my network drive, since even when Munin loses Internet access it remains connected to my network.  Of course, I had to try to get at Munin during the brief window in which I could go into Device Manager and disable the adapter without it freezing things up.

Naturally – and there’s no way you can convince me that this wasn’t the Universe just straight-up messing with me – the problem had gotten worse and the adapter would no longer connect to my network at all.  So I had to grab a flash drive, put the drivers on it – since I could no longer access the network drive from Munin – cut the power, boot into Safe Mode, disable the adapter, reboot, and then install the USB adapter, all of which took much longer than it should have.

As it stands now, I have the USB adapter in place and things appear to be working.  Still trying to figure out the Photoshop problem, though.

Anyway, if this post looks weird it’s because I’m trying the Windows Live Writer, which lets you write blog posts offline and then publish them directly rather than writing them in Word and pasting them into Blogger, or writing directly in Blogger, which has certain drawbacks.

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