Archive for September, 2007

Vista Blues – sluggish PC!

Monday, September 10th, 2007

My PC is running so sloooowly it’s like trying to work in a vat of treacle – although not so tasty! 😉  Adrian and I both ran process explorer and compared results.  For some reason pretty much every running process that we have in common is taking 10–20MB extra memory on my Vista PC than his. 

Process explorerHe has more RAM than I do and a slightly faster processor.  He also has less hardware attached to his PC than I do eg. Canoscan LiDE scanner, Wacom Intuos graphics tablet, Logitech G15 keyboard, MX518 mouse, Hauppauge WinTV card and all their associated drivers and run at startup services plus numerous MP3 device-related applications.  Sure I’ve got a lot more crap running than he does and I could free up a lot of juice if I shut off some of those annoying services that run purely in order to keep their application in my face all day rather than offering me any extra facility by taking up all my RAM. 

But I’m just really stumped – after much searching neither of  us can figure out why every process is eating more memory on my PC than his. 

Board4quadandfanI’m not going to stress about it.  After finishing the build, I’ll be settling down to get my installation up and running on my new Quad Core PC this week.  So even if I didn’t have a new PC to look forward to I’d still be planning on spending my week installing Vista and all my applications.  Sometimes it’s not worth fighting with these things.   (My current PC will get downgraded to XP – one Vista PC headache is more than enough!)

iPod Touch. Creative Zen Touch on Vista

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Apple 16 GB iPod touch OK so I’m not going to get an Apple iPod Touch today after all like I’d expected … turns out they’re not going to be in stores till the end of the month. D’oh! As recently as yesterday the Apple store were expecting them to be on the shelves before the weekend.  I was so excited.  I had dreams about it last night.  (Which is really weird because just the day before neither I nor the world even knew they existed – hmmmm the Apple hype machine must be set on hyperspeed this time round!)

Synching the Creative Zen with Vista

So to avert the waves of disappointment I figured that instead I’d synch my old Creative Zen Touch. I’ve added a fair bit to my library since I upgraded to Vista and I just haven’t got round to installing the Zen driver yet, but I got a new Creative X-XFI sound card just the other day and I noticed it had installed all the drivers and software to go with their MP3 players (normally I’d find that sort of presumption offensive, but just this once I thought it was convenient).  As it turned out though it wasn’t just a matter of plugging the Zen into Vista as it gave me the “unrecognized USB device” message. Just dandy! 

Get the latest Zen firmware!

A little research led me to the conclusion that not having the latest firmware on my Zen was the problem stopping Vista from recognizing the Zen.  Of course there’s no way to install the new firmware via Vista as it won’t connect.  Lucky for me I had an XP machine as well, but not everyone will. (If you do have access to an XP computer you’ll need to install the driver so it recognises the Zen.) 

Bricking it when firmware update goes wrong!

But that’s where things started to go really wrong.  Installing the firmware starts out OK but after 20 minutes it was still not finished so I came to the conclusion that it had hung because the Zen was showing the dreaded “Recovery Mode” (I’ve seen friends’ Zens do this before and it wasn’t a good sign as they were just the owners of Creative Zen Bricks after that).   Choosing the option to Reload Firmware first deletes the firmware then gets ready to reload at which point you connect it to your PC.  But while Windows recognises that the Zen is connected the firmware installation program returns the message:

“Your player is not connected, please connect your player”.

This problem is caused because the PC you’re using has Windows Media Player 11 installed.  So now I had to find an XP PC that was still running Windows Media Player version 10.  (This is because of issues with PlaysforSure in version 11.)

Luckily Adrian doesn’t play music on his laptop much and so still had the old version and the firmware upgrade went through successfully in seconds. 

Vista Woes instead of Wows!

So alls well that ends well it works fine on Vista now, but it’s yet another in a long line of Vista-related woes (although not really Microsoft’s fault this time) and another in the collective sigh that it isn’t really Wow.  Yet at least… but I’m still hoping. (Update: OK, when I plugged in the Zen Vista started synching it straight away without me having to tell it to… so yeah I’ll give it a bit of a Wow! for that. For now… )

Luckily for me I was able to borrow a second XP PC to do the firmware upgrade.  Again not everyone will have access to an XP computer with the right version of Windows Media Player.  If you’ve only got a Vista PC it’s a big problem for Zen owners. 

And likewise for XP users with Windows Media Player 11 it’s ridiculous that the firmware installer will delete your firmware but not allow to install the new version, effectively leaving you with a bricked player.   Creative need to get their act together to address both these issues.

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