Another Windows Vista Issue

Posted in General by Chucky on the January 29th, 2008

It baffles me how Microsoft can expect us to adopt Windows Vista whole heartily. They’re not asking us to, they’re forcing us to. Try and buy a computer with Windows XP on it. Slim pickings. Try and buy an OEM copy of Windows XP. Slim pickings. I actually called them the other day to talk about upgrading one of my clients from XP HOME to XP PRO. “No, we don’t sell that anymore”. He then went on to tell me I should load an illegal copy and purchase the get-licensed thing through the web site. He then said he didn’t tell me that.

This is BULLS**T. You know why? 90% of the people I know have older printers. Older printers that don’t work on Vista. I just did a desktop transfer using the built in Microsoft Transfer tool. Where is my start menu? Where are my quick launch icons? Internet Explorer is completely different. Suddenly I have a desktop background instead of a colour. Half of my applications are missing from the programs menu. I follow the steps and use the software MICROSOFT provides, yet, I would have been better off copy and pasting the 3 magic folders (DOCUMENTS, DESKTOP & FAVOURITES) from one profile to the next. Instead I wasted 2 hours waiting for the magically useless “Windows Easy Transfer” to half do its job. Oh, and now I have to sift/BATTLE my way through folders that keep telling me “Access is denied”. Really? Who owns this computer? And I still haven’t figured out where all my old Start menu items are stored. Maybe in 6 different hidden secure folders spanned across this computer, and another one on planet Mars.

 99% of custom built applications just do not work properly on Vista. Sure, this is not Vista’s fault, but when your clients go out on the weekend and buy themselves a fancy new laptop, because they can, and the sales guy knows nothing about anything except what he will do with his commission, they end up with a Vista machine. So they come back to the office, BAM their accounting package doesn’t work. BAM, their printers don’t work. BAM, they open a word document - DOUBLE BAM, Office 2007.. They sit there stunned, thinking, what is this, did I buy a MAC?? Then, after they spend a MONTH learning how to use Microsoft Office 2007 they send their document to their colleague. The colloeague contacts them back, “What is this crap mate, I can’t open it???”. I feel like I’ve got my arm wedged up behind my back being forced to upgrade my Operating System, Office System, oh and now my computer runs like a wet wig, I have to upgrade my Computer System. I can just see the hardware manufacturers stock holders eyes gleaming everytime they hear about a new edition of any Microsoft Product.

We can make software to automate the operation of a space shuttle, but we can’t make software to JUST DO IT.

We all loyally follow Microsoft down this garden path, but we just left the path and hit the dirt. Did anyone notice? Not to worry, in 6 months time when we’ve all managed to convince our managers to take the step into Office 2007/Windows Vista, guess what??? NEW VERSION!!!!! Do it all again! Enough is ENOUGH!!!

Like one client said to me the other day; Lets go back to paper and pen, and I added, Lets get some Pigeons too!

Pen - v154.230 CHECK

Paper - v56.1234 CHECK

Pigeon - v124.013 CHECK

All set! Uh oh, its raining!

Home Entertainment

Posted in MCE (Vista) by Chucky on the October 3rd, 2007

There is a bit of a buzz building out in the wild at the moment about TV’s that are smarter than your average TV. We all know them as Home Theatre Personal Computers (HTPC’s) but to the average consumer, that means about as much as 1080p and Bluray.

The technology has been around a few years. The hardware is the same that you would see in any old computer. The software, however, is really in its infancy. The main contender is called Microsoft Media Center. If you own Vista Premium or Vista Home Premium Edition, than you already have it. Chances are, all you need is a tuner card (for receiving TV signals) and you’re ready to go. Well, that’s what they tell everyone.

In reality, unless you know a bit about computers, it’s not ready for you yet. Some of these problems include;

1. Australian TV guide is not available by default. Extra software and configuration is required.

2. It is a computer, it needs maintenance and support. Average consumers want something like a DVD player that doesn’t break when it doesn’t get turned off properly or an update disagrees with driverX and breaks everything.

Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to share my setup with everyone. It’s evolved over the past two years and I still battle the heat created when a computer gets put in a drawer. Trouble is, computers are noisy and when you have one sitting near your TV it’s hard to hear the TV! So this is why it is in a drawer. I installed some piping last weekend and it is definitely cooler now, but now the fans are always working hard - noise. Next step is to upgrade to a quieter Intel Core 2 DUO CPU - money.

I could always put the main bits into another location away from the TV, and run an “Extender“. But I just bought a PS3! Will Microsoft force me to buy an XBox or will they just let me buy the extender software and load it onto a laptop or something.

Some pics to explain what I mean;

What is the Internet?

Posted in General, Internet, Our Environment by Chucky on the April 27th, 2007

A mouse is a mouse of course.In following the trend, I thought I would have a crack at this question/answer. The question is “What is the Internet?”. So what is the answer? Maybe a Hitchhikers Guide approach might shed some light on this..

The way I look at it, answering that question is easy: The Internet is merely a method of distributing data. Easy, done. Now, to delve deeper into this and use our brains, try re-jigging the question. What IS the Internet - becomes - What can the Internet do for us, What will the Internet do for us, What do we want the Internet to do for us. In finding the right question, we can take the Internet to the next level and evolve that little bit more.

I was having breakfast the other day with a good mate & colleague of mine and we were on the topic of technology and its uptake in the demographic-community. I like tell everyone my little story about how I think we (planet Earth) are only just at the first 1% of the Technology-Revolution (See Industrial Revolution for comparison). Take a meter ruler and put a dot at the start of it with a pen. That dot is the past 100 years of all the things we’ve done from harnessing Electricity, Telephone, TV, Colour TV, Computers, Mobile Phones, etc. That dot is how far we’ve come. Just IMAGINE the next 1,000 dots along that meter ruler. It is impossible to grasp or even imagine where we are heading. Something to look forward to!

InfanceyFor me, I’m looking forward to getting rid of this “Mouse” thing for good, perhaps using my thoughts to control my computer, and why do we have to look at these LCD screens anyway? Why can’t we just check our emails by thinking about it and then hearing the details in our mind? Just cast your mind back to Telegrams/Posting a letter in the mail (depending on your age!).

This has been a bit of a ramble, but I’m so passionate about the future. I’m pretty sure this passion was made even stronger after having two kids of my own! It is naive to think we’re peaking out right now when in fact, we’re nothing more than a baby that needs a diaper change.

Easily open the 2007 Microsoft Office system file formats

Posted in I.T. Support by Chucky on the April 27th, 2007

This image and anything Microsoft is copyright Microsoft Corporation.For everyone still using Microsoft Office 2003, when trying to open a file that ends with .xlsx or .docx, you may receive a message along the lines of “Cannot open this file etc”. Well you can, but first you need to download this.

Beware “Free” Wireless Internet points

Posted in I.T. Support, Security, Wireless by Chucky on the April 27th, 2007

Wireless NetworkingSo you’re out and about, you turn on your PDA/Laptop to check your emails and you notice an unsecured, open and available Wireless network. Wow you think to yourself, FREE INTERNET!

Well, beware, you may have just stumbled onto a network that is being closely monitored by someone with bad intentions. Intentions that include viewing all the information you’re sending and receiving over their network. Things like private email messages, passwords, conversations, etc.

There have even been reports of these sorts of networks popping up around already existing “hot spots” at places like Internet Cafe’s or Restaurants. So how do you protect against this sort of thing? Well, like most things in life, if it is free, it probably isn’t so good for you! Go and ask the people behind the counter which network you should be connecting to. Don’t be afraid - your knowledge may well protect the next 100 “victims”.

Another Laptop Battery Recall

Posted in I.T. Support, Our Environment by Chucky on the April 27th, 2007

If you own an Acer laptop, you will need to visist this web site and check that you do not have a fire-battery (A laptop battery that has a tendancy to overheat/melt/catch fire/etc). Unforunately it is not uncommon (Lenovo/IBM, DELL, HP). Manufacturers are trying really hard to get more bang in their buck. Add up the R&D costs with the cost of replacing 27,000 batteries - was it worth it?

Windows Server Code Name “Longhorn” Beta 3 Evaluation

Posted in I.T. Support, Longhorn (Beta3) by Chucky on the April 27th, 2007

So you want to get your hands on the latest and greatest server software? Able to offer support for a product as soon as it is released? Learn more about Longhorn here. And if you want to download the latest Beta, go here. This is the first public Beta, so be nice!

Getting started with WPF/Blend

Posted in .NET3.0, Blend, Expression, WPF, XAML by Chucky on the April 11th, 2007

So you think you’re ready for WPF, right? Add a dose of Blend and you’re ready to go. Join me in my journey into the new “wonderland”. Here are some links I’ve found useful so far:

All the things you need to download:

A great place to view some starter walk throughs (These guys are funny to!):

Microsoft Expressions web site:

What some people are doing with WPF right now:

I havn’t had a chance to really get into this page, but it looks promising:

More to come!

Vista Recorded TV

Posted in I.T. Support, MCE (Vista) by Chucky on the March 27th, 2007

I’ve Googled this one, to death! A shout out for help. I have 1TB of disk space for recording TV. Great idea, right? Well, whenever anyone goes into Recorded TV, they have to wait at least 15 seconds while Vista goes and refreshes all the Thumbnails. This makes watching TV a nightmare, expecially with kids who can’t wait!

So if anyone knows how to force Vista to STORE these thumbnails and NOT refresh them continuously, please tell me! (They’re just too pretty to turn off - I can’t figure out how to turn them off anyway!)

Otherwise, I can’t wait for Vista Service Pack 1!

Go Broncos!

Posted in I.T. Support by Chucky on the March 25th, 2007

You may have seen this Ad on TV. It is great! Full credit to NRMA and the Broncos for their efforts. It is important though, as there are a lot of “Dodgey” companies out there that may resort to doing this to your server! Take care in choosing your new I.T. Service Provider! And of course, I just had to mention, we’ve just launched a new range of IT Support Plans that give you unlimited access to a full team of IT Support professionals for a fixed monthly cost. Contact us for more info. Go Broncos!
Go Broncos!

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