Archive for July, 2007

Yup, Vista does suck!

Friday, July 27th, 2007

OK it’s official – Vista is driving me insane!!

It’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back.  That single extra User Account Control prompt that tips you over the edge into thinking “Vista Sucks”  (along with the 150,00 other people thinking it) and “hating Vista” (which nets 14,000 hits at the time of writing). 

What tipped me to type those words into Google to see just how many other people felt the same way was installing my brand spanking new scanner.  My anger was prompted in part I suppose because my old scanner didn’t work under Vista, but then again I have a shiny new Canoscan LiDE 600F – what have I got to complain about?  It’s a great piece of kit!

Start MenuBut, then when I’d finished admiring it I noticed that under All Programs on my Start Menu I now have 3 new items all relating to the scanner.  Now I don’t know about you but I like to keep my Start Menu organized – hunting for things among all those folders that are put there by installs takes time – and time, as I’m sure you know, is money. 

So every time I install a new program or piece of hardware I go in and move things to where I want them.  Yes me!  It’s my computer after all, I’m the person who has to work with it every day and therefore I should be the person who decides how the shortcuts in my Start Menu are best organized.  And no matter how important he thinks it is that there should be three folders for his one piece of hardware, this decision does not belong to the developer writing the installation software, it belongs to me. (Once upon a time not so long ago install programs ask you which Start Menu ‘group’ you wanted them to be installed under – where did that little courtesy disappear to?)

Under Vista however, moving or deleting shortcuts from your Start Menu is an occasion for UAC to jump in every time which is bad enough.  So each time I try to move Real player back to ‘Accessories’ where it’s out of my way or to move all those Canoscan folders into one folder under ‘Hardware’ I have to go through two prompts for each link – first the one that warns me I will need to go through UAC and then the second one which is UAC.

But that’s not the end of it yet – it seems there’s more to moving those Start Menu links under Vista.  In Windows previous versions you had links in ‘your’ Start Menu folder and also in the ‘All Users’ Start Menu folder.   If you wanted things moved you sometimes had to do it in one or t’other, sometimes both.  In Vista though it seems to be additionally stored in some third place.   There’s no option to Explore on the right click (only Expand or collapse).  That place doesn’t seem to be a folder that’s exists within Vista’s new file structure somewhere and likewise searching the hard drive for the application shortcuts doesn’t get yield me any locations that I could move or delete them from.  So I’m guessing these links are hidden in the registry somewhere … but right now I’m too pissed off to go searching. Someone somewhere thinks that it’s not my Start Menu – it’s theirs.  And that’s just wrong!

Vista is driving a LOT of people crazy and my stats show that my websites are getting a lot of hits from people searching for solutions to their Vista problems.  This is the first operating system since Win 3.1 where I feel guilty that I haven’t managed to help people out – mostly because I can’t even help myself out yet.  

Everywhere blog posts proclaim user’s dissatisfaction.  Web forums are bulging with posts from people desperately looking for solutions to all manner of Vista problems but there are so few answers out there.  It’s frustrating beyond belief. 

But it’s not just third party sites (like this one!) that can’t offer any concrete help to Vista users in trouble.  When Vista has a problem it helpfully offers up codes (like “0x80070456” “Media has Changed” when you use card readers with Vista) which at first glance looks like a useful nugget of information that you could search on and quickly get helpful advice and support with your problem (like you could with XP) but as yet if you search Microsoft’s site for those codes there are absolutely no answers to be had.  It’s more than frustrating – it’s heartless.  These consumers are all good people who have paid good money to buy Microsoft’s product in good faith.  They deserve better!!

So, that’s how I feel…  The BIG question is whether or not I go back to XP.  But even if I do decide to stick with Vista, that isn’t an endorsement of the product and no, Microsoft, it doesn’t make everything right.

Case Torture Testing Filming & Editing

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

The case testing posts have finally gone live on Adrian’s Hardware 2.0 blog on ZDNet.  They’ve been a good few weeks work but as usual it was a lot of fun. 

video screenshot from the cutting room floorAs usual I had the honor of doing the filming.  The cliff drops were very cool as I got to watch the cases crash (and sometimes break), not to mention throwing big rocks up at me and digging themselves into the ground.  I had setup on the beach and was already to go when the video camera conked.  Luckily I had a low res digital that takes video which I was able to substitute in time for the testing to start.  It only took a few test drops to get the positioning right and then we were away. 

Adrian thought he was doing the hard work throwing the cases off the cliff but really I had the hard job running the cameras down below and recording the condition of the cases on landing.  When he finally came down to the beach he was amazed (horrified? impressed?) how close I was filming to the impact area.  Then when he saw the footage and some of the boulders getting chucked up I think he thought I was nuts.  But I knew I was well protected and, according to my math at least, sufficient distance away to be out of harm’s way. Personally I’d been more worried by the crush tests (as you can never tell if something’s going to give under the weight and it’s hard to predict which way a car is going to move if that happens).

The next round was more usual stuff … fire and explosions.  We’re still not quite finished with the testing – I won’t be happy until I know exactly what it takes to destroy those cases.  I’d kinda like the Storm Case im2050 to survive. I’m impressed and sort of attached to it by now…  We actually have a wager between us whether or not it will be destroyed in the final round.  I’m betting that it won’t be (after all I’ve seen how that thing performs first hand!) which is especially good because as usual if it survives I get to keep it AND for once he’s going to buy me a new one as well. (Hey I wonder if Hardigg make a pink one??) 

But if I win the wager and I do get a new one I’m definitely going to drag it along behind my car for a bit – I like that roughed up look.  Well, they say chicks dig scars – even on Storm Cases!


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