Friday, December 04, 2009

A Minor Victory

I was able to get the wireless router working last night. Step one was to throw away the installation CD with its step-by-step configuration helps. Step two: Power down the cable modem, plug the router between the cable modem and the PC, wait for all its little lights to start flashing, then power the cable modem back up. Step three was to go in and set up a user id and password on the router and enable security on the wireless side. The whole process took five minutes and worked perfectly on the first try. So either Vista's networking was completely borked up by whatever had happened to Vista (and I still blame HP's print drivers) or the setup program that Linksys shipped was at fault. Or both. Or neither and it was all caused by a stray cosmic ray. In any case, it works. I really wasn't comfortable not being behind a router so I can sleep a little better now, Debbie can use her laptop again, and we are all set to get a new printer to plug into our wireless print server so we can both get back to killing trees.

After a day of using Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit, I'm happy to say that I'm still happy. If you have Vista, absolutely get Win 7. If you have XP, the picture is a bit more mixed. XP has been around for a long time, so a lot of machines running it may not have the horsepower to run Win 7. But anyone with an XP machine less than a couple years old would likely benefit from the upgrade. So far, it seems to be one of the best Windows versions yet. We'll see if I still feel that way in a couple weeks. One major annoyance thus far has been the constant rebooting during the night, then as soon as I sign on, another message pops up to tell me that another update will be installing and rebooting my system the next night. I assume this will calm down after a few days. At least I hope so; World Community Grid is losing a lot of CPU cycles because of this.

While I'm on about new software, I may as well say that I'm still using Chrome and beginning to like it a great deal. Bouncing back and forth between Chrome and Firefox makes it obvious that Chrome fits better design-wise with Win 7. It's fast and it has no problems with any of the sites I routinely visit. There are still some minor glitches, and it's really annoying that it doesn't remember what zoom level you used the last time you visited a web page. But I would expect all that to get ironed sooner rather than later, and in the meantime, they are pretty minor nits. Rumor has it that the next major version of Firefox will look more Chrome-ish. I love Firefox and have used it practically since its first version, but it looks and feels, well, clunky next to Chrome. If that shakes up the Firefox development team, that's a good thing. Chrome may yet prove to be the best thing to ever happen to Firefox.

I also gave the Lightroom 3 Beta a spin. I really like it, but there seems to be some fatal problems in the import function. To be fair, Adobe says right up front to not use the beta as your primary photo editing tool, and someone like me who has never even seen the software before trying to hack through a beta version was just dumb. I uninstalled it this morning and will go back to the old way. But what I really like about it was that even though it is a long way from free, it could replace four or five free programs (maybe more; there is a lot to Lightroom) that I currently use, none of which is really what I need but they sorta kinda get me there.

Which brings up something else that I don't get; my reluctance to pay for software. I just dropped the better part of a c-note on a router. We routinely go out to eat for 40 or 50 bucks, which in a very literal sense is flushing money down the toilet. I spent $600 on our current camera setup....

[Short time-out while I dance around the apartment singing loudly to JoCo's Code Monkey.]

Um, where was I? Oh yeah. So why does spending $200 for a piece of software require months of agonizing? If the money is a problem, then would it be that hard to not eat out for a month and get the thing already? Does anyone else have this problem or is this some manifestation of my mental illness unique to me?

Well, I should get back to the job hunting thing. Yesterday was a bust on that front due to all the housework, so today I want to make sure I have everything all ready to go when we get back from Debbie's week of training up in Maine. Tomorrow we venture out to find some sort of improvised desk for the office, and a new printer that will work with Win 7. Which has been another stumbling block in the job hunt; it's very hard to give someone a copy of your resume when you can't print it out. This shopping trip will double as exploring as we will be going places we've never been. We think we know where we are going, but the test will be if we a) succeed in getting to our goal and then b) ever find our way back to our apartment. If you never hear from us again, you'll know what happened.

Later. (Maybe...)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Fear not. Windows 7's updating will settle down. My Win7 machine (been that way since October 24th) hasn't pulled down an update in three weeks. But for the first few days it was pulling a lot down. I think you'll stay happy with 7. And I don't let HP drivers touch my machines. I still use an old HP Deskjet 950C (mid-90s vintage) and it works perfectly in Vista and 7. I just let Windows Update find drivers.