Tuesday, 13 January 2009

First Thoughts

Finally got it installed! Was a pretty easy process, once I had the partitioning sorted.

Setup was really simple, and after a short time, you’re able to create an account and log in. I’m greeted with a really nice, clean desktop. No icons apart from “Send Feedback” and the Recycle Bin. If it were up to me, I’d hide the Recycle Bin by default, as it tends to lead to people storing their documents in there, but that’s a different post.

Still a bit worried about using Windows Media Player after hearing of it corrupting mp3 files, so I installed foobar2000. Once set up, that works perfectly.

I just also installed Live Essentials from the link in the Start Menu (which, incidentally, is nice and empty. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m used to an old install of Vista, or whether Vista came with a lot more stuff preinstalled). After downloading the file, I chose to install Writer (which I’m using to write this post) and Messenger. They both work fine, but I feel as if Messenger needs a redesign. It doesn’t really fit in with the aesthetic of 7, being quite cluttered.


I feel like they should get rid of the buttons at the bottom, the adverts at the bottom, the “What’s New” section, and streamline the top part, too. As it is, I’ll probably go back to Miranda.

Some of the new features seem quite handy. I love the new taskbar. It only shows the icon of each program, and will show a preview of the window as you hover over it. Great for when you have multiple windows of the same program running, and it looks a lot cleaner. There’s also a new feature – I forget the name of it – where it you grab a windows titlebar, and shake it, it will minimise all other windows. This also looks really handy for looking at things on the desktop, and also stopping me from getting distracted. The “Show Desktop” area won’t be used much by me, as I don’t store stuff on the desktop really, but it’s pretty well implemented. Hover over or click on a small area at the far right of the taskbar, and open windows will go transparent, allowing you to see the desktop. It would be a lot more usable for me if it allowed you to extend the taskbar over two monitors, as currently you have to aim for the small button, rather than just dragging your mouse down to the far bottom right. That’s an issue with my setup though, but I’ve always wished Windows would include better support for dual monitor setups.

What have I missed?

Oh, libraries. Now by defauly, your user folder contains “Libraries”. These are Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. From what I can tell, they appear to be virtual folders where you can add multiple sources of documents. For example, if you have a music collection split over multiple folders or drives, you only need to go into the Library folder for Music, and they will all be in one place. Seems quite handy, but I do like having all my stuff organised properly, and together in one actual folder.

Jumplists also seem really handy if you’re doing repetitive tasks.


For example here, I hovered over the Paint entry in the start menu, and it came up with recently opened files using paint. I can see this becoming way more useful as I use things more. Right now, it isn’t doing much.

One last thought, going back to the Libraries. I’m not sure I like how the “Will” button on the Start menu takes me to Libraries, rather than my actual user folder. I’ll have to see what I can do about that.

Edit: I forgot to add something while I was talking about the options with the window movement. None of it comes close to the similar things on OSX. Windows Flip just seems like a pointless add-on, it's not actually useful at all as you can barely see the content of the windows. Alt-tab is slightly better, but still nowhere near as useful as Expose on OSX. 

Here we go

Gparted is doing its thing as I type. Hopefully this will all work out. Just using Gparted has kinda made me want to go back to Linux again, it's just a really nice experience. And I love fluxbox!
I'll update as I progress.

Edit: Gparted broke Vista, but I think a repair of it is fixing it. Doing CHKDSK now. 

Nearly there...

Decided to do a full backup before I messed around with partitions for installing Windows 7. Didn't realise it'd take so long. I've got 5 minutes left on my music collection, which has been going for over 2 hours! Just my pictures to backup now, which shouldn't take too long. 
I'd forgotten that I had Synctoy setup to just copy new and updated files, which would have saved so much time. But instead, I just copied the whole directory. Stupid.
It's given me a bit of time to do some tidying though, done a bit of cable organising behind my desk. On the cheap, too - I didn't want to pay for cable trays and stuff, so I stapled wire twists to the underside of my desk and used that. Seems to be working quite well so far. 

Might be a long night if I want 7 installed by tomorrow...

Edit: seems Vista doesn't want to let me shrink my partition by more than 98mb. Going to bed, I'll sort it out tomorrow. 

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Dear Microsoft

When planning to let 2.5million people download a 3.5gb file, maybe invest in some better infrastructure. Or, use torrents. They have been proven to work!

Finally got a download, it’s going about 500kB/s (off the Microsoft site, using the download client, which incidentally works quite well). I’ll post later on once I’ve got it installed, probably tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Belated Christmas/New Years Post

Merry Christmas/Happy New Years, everyone!

I’ve been a bit busy, not really had time/inclination to update recently. But I have a little bit of free time, so I may as well now.

Christmas went well, not white as was planned, but still really nice. I got some awesome gifts, and people seemed to like what I got them. I highly recommend Photobox and Mpix if you want to get prints of photos ordered. I ordered a poster of one of my NYC pictures from each of these companies, based in the UK and US respectively, and the service was great! Fast delivery, even close to Christmas, and the quality turned out brilliant. Photobox seemed to have a slightly better system for uploading photos, and telling you how big you could enlarge them, but they both turned out great anyway. Decent pricing, too. I now have 40 free standard prints from Photobox that I have to use by tomorrow…

I got a cordless mouse that I’m having a couple of issues with. I’m an idiot and threw away the packaging in the states, but I think it’s a Logitech LX8. It seems to be lagging a bit shortly after I plug it in, but seems to sort itself out after a while. Made it annoying when I was playing Left4Dead with some friends and couldn’t control myself though! It may be a driver issue, but the only download the Logitech site seems to have is 55mb! I’m not sure I need that much just for a mouse!

When it works though, it works great. Nice and comfy, and really precise. Now I need to get a wireless keyboard, and I’ll have a much cleaner desk.