Archive

Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

Windows 7: It stinks and I do not like it.

December 18th, 2009 No comments

I have used Windows 7 since it’s beta and subsequently purchased  a copy of the Ultimate edition.  While I mostly use my Mac,  I feel that I have used Windows 7  enough over the past 3 – 4 months to make a well rounded review that is not based upon a knee-jerk reaction that most blogs published after using it for less than 1 hour.

Windows 7 is simply a rewrite of Windows Vista, but induces customer feedback and a huge overhaul of the  user interface (UI).  The UI enchantments are the big selling point this new OS.  After a painless install and booting up, will you notice the striking changes to the desktop and taskbar; it is as if Vista mated with OS X and Ubuntu.  The new taskbar has a very strong linux feel to it, you can have multiple desktops, run in parallel, the program icons expand when a program is running, there is a new preview feature, and there is finally a go to desktop corner.   In fact I would not surprised if they simply stole the code from KDE.  This is not a bad thing: these features are time tested and proven on both Linux  and Mac, so it is about time windows embraced this basic technology.  My big complaint is the new Start Menu.  It is very difficult to navigate, it demonstrates very unintelligent suggestions for the most used applications, and offers almost no ability to customize.  To do something as simple as changing icons/folders in the start menu, you need to open two system folders.  This has been a constant source of frustration for me.  This is also the first build to remove the beloved Windows classic startbar.  A final criticism on the new desktop, is the  Windows widgets are still memory hogs and useless, turn them off ASAP.

The next thing that will be immediately apparent is that the UAC is now reasonable.  Windows did a good job at removing >90% of UAC and making it so the average user can tolerate to use their OS, and yet enough warnings to be effective.  Strong work.

Windows 7 mimics OS X control panel.  Microsoft has tried to slim the control panel down to several icons that offer a few different choices that will suffice to most users.  However in doing this, they have taken away much customization that was possible on XP and Vista.  For me this was the most powerful feature of windows, no matter how bad it was out of the box, you could tweak almost every aspect of the OS with ease.  Now only that they have taken simple tasks like sharing a folder, and made it a multi-step process.  It would seem they are making things much more complicated, rather than simpler for the average user.  For me Windows 7 lost a lot of points for the redesigned control panels.

In Brief:
The good
:  It’s new taskbar/desktop finally implements long awaited changes.  It is a good user experience.  Windows 7 is much faster and much less annoying than Vista.

The bad: The new Start Menu is definitely a  huge failure and I cannot wait for a patch bringing back the classic start menu.  Changing options via the control panel is plain cumbersome and simple tweaks are not possible without manually editing the registry or a system file.  I have also had major problems with internet connectivity on Windows 7.  For LAN connectivity, I had to disable the OS ability to regulate bandwidth as described here.  And to solve the problem with random disconnects on my wireless network, I had to change the settings on my router as described here.  I have never had similar issues before with another other OS.  I believe that there are still too many bugs for your average user to navigate around.

Thinking of upgrading: If you have Windows Vista, this is a mandatory upgrade.  If you have any other OS, I don’t see the need.  I would wait until the price falls or until you start having software compatibility issues.  Almost all software is XP compliant, so there is no motivating factor to change.

My thoughts on PC vs. Mac:  I think Mac has this one all tied up.  Mac is easy to use, great support, it just works, and it runs Windows software flawlessly (with VMware Fusion).  So while Macs do have a hefty price tag you get what you pay for.

Categories: Computers, Rants Tags: , , ,

How to send txt messages via email

June 8th, 2009 No comments

Okay, one more off topic topic post today.

Occasionally, I want to send a txt message to a friend’s cell phone, and this is easily accomplished via email.

1) You need to know the cell provider
2) Send an email to the 10 digit number @ the provider’s domain (5551235555@vtext.com)

The catch is knowing all the domains.  I am tired of looking this up every time, so I am recording the common ones here:

Verizon –> number@vtext.com
ATT –> number@txt.att.net
Sprint –> number@messaging.sprintpcs.com
T Mobile –> number@tmomail.net
Alltel –> number@message.alltel.com
Nextel –> number@messaging.nextel.com
Virgin –> number@vmobl.com
Boost Mobile –> number@myboostmobile.com

If you would to add/correct any of these please feel free to post them below

How to Mod an XM Inno

June 8th, 2009 No comments

Normally, I would not look into something like this, but the FCC rules that govern FM modulation are beyond inane and dictated by private interest groups.

So if own an XM Inno there is a great firmware mod that allows you to use the FM modulator in your home cradle.

0) to avoid bricking your Inno you need to update the firmware to v2.11 (currently it is the latest firmware)

1) Download: firmware
2) Plug your Inno into it’s home cradle with the AC on
3) Connect the the USB cable to your computer
4) Place the file into your Inno’s root directory
5) Safely remove hardware
6) Disconnect the USB (leaving the Inno in the home cradle)
7) It will scan/reboot/done

-It will now have a Samsung logo and FM modulate in the home cradle
– You will need to turn on FM modulation every time it restarts.

Categories: Computers, Random, Tips and tricks Tags: , , , , ,

A great tip for FireFox

April 15th, 2009 No comments

This post is more for me, so I wont have to look it up everytime:

I live firefox, but it fails to speall check so many fields
So to always enable spellcheck
Type: about:config into the browser
Find ‘layout.spellcheckDefault’
Change the layout.spellcheckDefault to 2

Now everything is checked

Categories: Tips and tricks Tags: ,