Thursday, January 15, 2009

Microsoft Windows, and It’s Failures

If you are currently running Windows XP, you are in a good spot, the very patched, almost, but not quite perfect OS. Vista is probably the worst Windows based OS I have ever used, and I’ve been a Windows user for quite some time, starting at Windows For Workgroups 3.11. I cannot stress how completely terrible Vista is, from the lockups, to the unresponsiveness. To the little nagging bugs, like the breaking of icons that occur not only in Vista but in 7, amongst many others.

So let me stress the fact here.. Do NOT upgrade to Windows Vista, no matter what, trust me, if you do, you will most likely run into an issue here and there. Also, that statement was meant for the “Average Joe User”, not the Beta Tester, or the Microsoft fanboys that frequent many technology enthusiast websites.

As for Windows 7, it depends on how the product is, but it's shaping up to be Windows Vista Second Edition, mainly due to the fact that very little has changed in the UI, a lot of features have been added, yes, the superbar, cool. The various addon things that save me hours of downloading and installing, it’s all packed right in, and the fact that it automatically detects and installs my Lexmak X1300 printer. I like it, but I must retract my statement from before, it’s most certainly not a new XP.

The problem that faces Microsoft with Windows 7 in my opinion, is that it reeks too much of Vista. It looks like it, it carries the same Windows Flag logo, and unless they change that at the last minute, people are going to be confused, and again, I know most of the people in the technology enthusiast community will KNOW that it’s Windows 7, and not Windows Vista Second Edition.

If you have an open mind and plenty of patience, how about you ditch Microsoft completely, and buy yourself a Mac, or if your brave enough, take a look into Linux, they have a great community, and will go out of their way to help you when you have a problem. You might not understand everything they say, but if you let them know that you don’t have a PHD in Geek, they’ll slow down and be patient with you.

Here are a few places to purchase a Non-Windows system.

Apple

Dell based Ubuntu Machines – Very VERY well priced desktops

Ubuntu – Convert your Windows machines into Ubuntu desktops.

Ubuntu has incredible hardware support and installation is very easy, if you want to get used to Ubuntu, no need to get rid of Windows. All you need to do is burn Ubuntu to a CD and run it in Windows, it’ll give you an option in Autoplay called “Install Ubuntu Inside Windows” and it’ll create it’s own isolated virtual hard drive and install Ubuntu to it, creating an entry into your bootloader for you, and installing everything for you automatically. Then when you are done with Ubuntu, simply uninstall it like a program from Windows in Add/Remove Programs.

It might be hard, but together, we can prove that there is indeed a life after Windows.

Yes I know that the details into why Vista and 7 are so bad are lacking, this was more of a ranting than a facts Vs. opinions post, I'll write more sooner or later as to what the main issues are, but if you look around my blog enough you'll be able to piece together my absolute disdain for Vista.

As for Windows 7, I do admit it's a step in the right direction, however if you glance at it, it just seems like a rush and patch up job to try and rescue their abysmal Windows product. Who knows, maybe it'll get better later down the road, but at the moment it is not convincing me to upgrade. Also another frustration is the lack of the CLASSIC taskbar, not the superbar's small icon view, but the taskbar in general. The Superbar that replaced it is cumbersome, unintuitive, and bulky. When your superbar actually fills up, with icons mind you, not just active icons, it creates this downward/upward icon infront of the system tray. Of which you must click up and down in order to switch between tasks. Now how is that any better than the regular taskbar, that managed, despite it's age, to handle many open tasks, while having a quicklaunch.

Also, I believe that Sinofsky, senior vice president of Windows, that replaced Allchin, is doing an absolute abysmal job at managing the beta. His arrogance, lack of regard for it's dedicated beta testing team, as well as sencitivity to the community only makes me want to avoid Windows products from here on out. Let me throw the rest of my professionalism out the door and say what's on a lot of people's minds when I say that.. Steven Sinofsky is a Douchebag. He came off as abrasive through his handling of the Office 2007 beta, and the lack of gratitude to the testers that took the time off, time they could be spending with their families, to bug test.

Microsoft also failed to handle the letting go of Jim Allchin very well, they left a lot of things unanswered, and perhaps he was a scapegoat for the failure of Microsoft. Windows Vista's failure was not completely Allchin's fault, and yet, he doesn't work at Microsoft anymore, mysteriously after Vista's release.

To sum it all up, I have a lot of underlying frustrations with Microsoft, and that doesn't even begin to cover most of the things that I can't even talk about, but just being able to get this off my chest without the fear of being persecuted by Microsoft for expressing my frustrations makes this rant a very special one indeed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Current bugs in Vista that drive me nuts

1 – Highlight Newly Installed Programs lags the start menu for almost random reasons, this was reported in the Vista Beta, and placed under Not Reproducible.

Work Around

2 – Random Icons Breaking at completely random, and almost impossible to predict instances.

Bugged ~ Not Reproducible

iconbug

Fix

3 – Dual Core CPU thrashing, while Windows Defender scans in the background.

Not Bugged

Fixed by Microsoft in Service Pack 1

4 – Network & System windows showing Not Available.

Fixed by Microsoft in Service Pack 1

Izymail

Found this website while looking through that About.com:Email article on how to get Yahoo mail in Windows Live Messenger. What Izymail does is it makes Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and a handful of other providers, compatible with POP3. Basically you register at their website, choose whether you want the somewhat limited Free Membership, or pay $1.49 a month for full featured premium services.

I haven’t had a chance to use this myself, but it looks like it could help provide users with an easy alternative to POP3 forwarding in Windows Live Mail and Outlook 2007 for web services that don’t originally support it.

 

Izymail

Use Yahoo Mail in Windows Live Mail

This is a little more complicated than using Gmail in Windows Live Mail, mainly due to the fact that you’ll need to use an application called yPOPS. I haven’t had much testing with this, because I don’t own a yahoo mail account, but this is how I think it’ll need to go. I’ll source the websites I got the info from incase further research needs to be done.

“Access Free Yahoo! Mail with Windows Live Mail Using YPOPs! (Simple and Free)

To set up a free Yahoo! Mail account in Windows Live Mail using YPOPs!:

  • Install YPOPs! and make sure it is running.
  • Select Tools | Accounts... from the menu in Windows Live Mail.
  • Click Add....
  • Make sure E-mail Account is highlighted.
  • Click Next.
  • Type your Yahoo! Mail address under E-mail address:.
  • Enter your Yahoo! Mail password under Password:.
  • Type your name under Display Name:.
  • Make sure Manually configure server settings for e-mail account is checked.
  • Click Next.
  • Make sure POP3 is selected under My incoming mail server is a ___ server..
  • Enter "localhost" (not including the quotation marks) under Incoming server:.
    • If "localhost" turns out not to work, try "127.0.0.1" instead.
  • Check your Yahoo! Mail user name (your Yahoo! Mail address minus "@yahoo.com") is entered under Login ID.
  • Type "localhost" under Outgoing server:.
  • Click Next.
  • Now click Finish.
  • Click Close. “

This was taken by C&P from About.com:Email, they have an incredible guide on setting up Yahoo Mail, on Windows Live Messenger, and further configuration instructions. Thanks goes to Heinz Tschabitscher for coming up with this incredibly clever way to use Yahoo Mail with Windows Live Mail.

If you receive an error using yPOPS complaining that it’s missing MSVCR71.dll, simply download the .dll from the website below and place it in the yPOPS directory.

MSVCR71.dll

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New OpenSearch Additions

Working on these again, will add more soon. As always, you can find my other OpenSearch scripts in the directory under Helpful Links. These are only compatible with Microsoft’s new OS Windows 7, which is now in Beta.

CNN – Now you can search the famous news website from within Explorer. (Picture Below) – CNN Website

Rant-Space – Can’t seem to find an article I wrote a while back? No problem, simply double click this to add the Rant-Space Search feature in Explorer.

DL.TV – Being a fan of the weekly video podcast from the guys over at DL.TV, I had to make this. Go check them out for up to date info from the tech from. DL.TV

Disclaimer: These searches are not endorsed by the websites that are featured in these searches, they are created for everyone to enjoy.

Rant-Space & Twitter!

If you haven’t noticed, you may need to either get your eyes checked or put your glasses on. ;) I’ve added a twitter panel on the side, which will keep people updated on the happenings of myself and the tech community. Think of it as a little news feed, you can also follow me on Twitter by clicking the “Follow Me” text.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Windows 7 Beta 1 Downloads

Direct from Microsoft.. You’ll still need to register to receive a product key, trying to figure out how to do that now, and I’ll post with instructions. Be sure to get the hotfix which fixes the .mp3 meta-data bug.

Windows 7 x86

Windows 7 x64


Product Keys

Windows 7 Beta 1 So Far

....This OS is incredible, reduced memory usage that seems to beat Windows XP, better Aero, better in-game performance, very little bugs (They are still there though. :P). Incredible responsiveness, less CPU intensive, less bloat. Running Aero and Aero Basic doesn't effect resources, in fact I still get 450MB of memory usage on my 2GB of ram, even if I'm running Classic.

This is the basic rundown of ram usage I've seen, this is with the same hardware, isn't a benchmark, but just an idea of how things are right now. These are taken when I'm just chatting on WLM and listening to music.

Windows XP idle in Classic - 350MB
Windows XP Classic Usage - 450MB
Windows XP idle with themes - 470MB
Windows XP Ram Usage - 600MB

Windows Vista idle - 650MB
Windows Vista Usage - 750MB

Windows 7 Beta 1 idle - 450MB
Windows 7 Beta 1 Usage - 550MB

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Few Updates…

Windows 7 Beta 1 Build – I originally wrote about how I had a hunch that Windows 7 Beta 1 that will be released to MSDN, TechNet and so on would be a different build than the leak.. I was wrong, it WILL be the same build as the leak, and Microsoft will patch the problem using Windows Update in Windows 7.

Neowin & OpenSearch – It turns out that Neowin DID publish one of my Open Search scripts, on their currently running article. In fact, it’s apparently the unofficial, official, .osdx for Neowin.net. So go download it from the listings on the right!

Windows 7 Beta 1 official release – It really is beginning to look like tonight might be the night for the release of Beta 1 of Microsoft’s highly anticipated OS. Steve Ballmer is expected to make the opening keynote speech for CES 2009 at approximately 6:30 PM PST (9:30 PM EST).

Source: Neowin

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Rant-Space 2008 Year in Review


Wow what a terrible year, anyway, here are the top visited articles of 2008…

Windows 7 6956 Review

Windows XP “Open File Location” Right Click Menu

Windows XP Windows Update Fix

Windows XP SP3 Information

Virgin Galactic V.S.S Enterprise ~ Not one of the most read articles, but I thought I’d include it due to it’s awesome factor. :D

Also, December 15th marks four years of Rant-Space! You can review other "most visited" articles by year down on the lower right hand side of this blog.

Just a hunch… Windows 7 Beta 1

This is just a hunch, and I might be proven wrong, but I don’t think Microsoft’s pool of beta testers will receive build 7000 from Microsoft. As some of you who have been following the recent developments on various other tech community websites, build 7000 of Windows 7 was leaked from a Chinese MSDN account onto various torrent networks, initially by a Chinese tracker, and then onto various other multi-national trackers.

This is the same build that featured that bug in Windows Media Player 12 which would corrupt the meta-data of an MP3 is it’s meta-data is larger. This would clip off the first 5 to 15 seconds of an MP3. Microsoft re-acted by saying that they’d release a patch for it, but then later stated that the build being released to testers will not feature this bug.

Now from what I gathered from this statement, as build 7000 is completed, that since the bug will not be in the build, that could lead to the possibility of a newer build reaching Technet and Microsoft’s private beta testing pool.

Now again this is all speculation, but hopefully I’m right, as I’m sure the testers would rather have a build that didn’t contain this bug, despite whether they use WMP12 or not.

Oh Neowin, silly Neowin

I find it funny that not even a day after I post a thread on Neowin with OpenSearch, get a lot of people excited about it, release some of my own scripts, that Neowin runs a story on it. I mean I understand it’s a new awesome technology that they totally ignored BEFORE I posted that thread on the forum. They even ignored it when Long Zheng posted his Flickr search script on istartedsomething.com.

Now I’m not whining or whatever, I just think it’s ironic, and I’m happy my thread pushed the technology into the open a little bit more, but seriously, post the thread in the news story or SOMETHING. They totally nabbed everything from the link from my thread that I provided, ignored my thread, my scripts and everything. I mean, WOW.. Goes to prove that I won’t do anything for Neowin anymore.

Monday, January 05, 2009

TechNet Set to Receive Windows 7 & More on Windows Search

Well, today is the starting date for TechNet participants to receive their copy of Microsoft Windows 7, but when it comes to beta testers, still nothing. No firm date from Microsoft, nothing but speculation, a few hard lined Windows fan boys going nuts thinking they’ll get it either today or this week. Personally, bring it on, I’m anxious to get started.

In my last post I placed a few links on there which will add in Explorer search support for those particular websites, OpenSearch was started by Brandon Live, a regular Neowin poster who works for Microsoft, and evolved into a major feature in Windows 7. Long Zheng posted a Flickr addon for it, and Brandon wrote a Deviantart one as well. I personally love this feature, as I use search a lot in Windows, and having the ability to open up Explorer and search through a website FROM Explorer would’ve been nice, but now it comes included in one of the many features of Windows 7 that’s making this out to be probably the most exciting release of Windows to date.

As of right now I don’t have Windows 7, not even the leaks, so I haven’t been able to test these search features myself and see how well it works. All I know is that they DO work due to other people testing them out for me, and not hearing any complaints about them so far. I’m coming up dry for new websites to make OSDX scripts for, but one of the things on my to do list today is to make a dedicated post for all the OSDX files I create and throw them on the bar on the side for download.

Edit ~ Link posted on the side in Helpful Links, you can download all the latest search providers for OpenSearch that I create on that link.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Windows 7 OpenSearch

One of the little known features of Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 7. This feature will allow anyone to search various popular websites that will eventually support Microsoft’s OpenSearch from within Explorer. If you’re running a pre-release version of Windows 7, you can get a look at how OpenSearch works now by running these .osdx files on any Windows 7 build. It will add the files to Explorer and from within Explorer search the website.

This works by using Windows Live Search, which fully supports OpenSearch, and any website that either has a search itself, or features RSS.

Source

Wikipedia

Geeksmack

Arstechnica

Activewin

Neowin

Teching It Easy

If you don’t have Windows 7, no big deal, Microsoft is planning a public beta sometime in the first half of 2009.