Vista Home Premium and a New Gaming PC

I couldn’t wait so I got all the bits and pieces for a new gaming PC and they all arrived the end of last week. It actually went together quicker than I thought it would, so I was left trying to decide if I wanted XP or Vista on it. Considering I have an MSDN subscription with Microsoft and have licenses for Vista already, I decided to download the latest ISO images and install the Home Premium version.

It seems fine now, but here are some of the issues I’ve run into:

Vista would not install on an unformatted disk

I kept getting an exception error when the installer was trying to load. Some research indicated that a lot of people have run into the same thing. In some cases it was a bad DVD or CD burn, but in others, the solution was to run through the Windows XP install far enough to format the hard drive. So after doing a base install of XP Home, I booted up with the Vista DVD I created and the installation process went through.

Video Drivers

nVidia’s drivers for Vista are still in beta, so I had to download those to get the full benefits of my new graphics card. It’s unknown whether or not the drivers will be out of beta when Vista hits the stores. I have seen what I’ll call weird video events when the screen switches modes for games and sometimes when launching apps, so it’s not quite finished baking yet.

I Allow…

Uggghhh. I’m already tired of getting asked to Deny/Allow any little thing that happens. I can understand it from a security standpoint, but having experienced similar permission prompts on Mac and Linux, Vista’s prompts seem excessive.

World of Warcraft Updates

I’ve been able to install a few games, Doom 3, Half-Life 2 Eps. 1 and World of Warcraft. All are working great. However, I did run into one issue patching World of Warcraft, but was able to quickly find a solution on their forums. One of the patches (not all of them) would bomb out at the end and not get applied. It made a change to the Start Menu links for the game which Vista did not like and since Vista didn’t prompt me to allow it, the patch would not install. The solution was to manually apply the patch by right clicking the patch executable and selecting “Run as administrator”.

Otherwise

Everything else seems to be fine but I’m not doing anything but playing games so far. This won’t be a development machine, but I can at least use it for IE7 testing since I still want to keep IE6 on my work notebook as long as possible for easier testing.

function MM_preloadImages

Does anyone else get depressed when they view source on a web page and find this function?

My reasons for holding off installing IE7

Microsoft has finally released Internet Explorer version 7 and while I’ve downloaded it, I’m not quite ready to go there. I suppose for now I’ll wait until my automatic update tells me I should.

I’ve read about toolbars not working and sites that use Ajax are slow. While I do think it’s strange that IE7 executes things slower than IE6, these aren’t really the issues that are preventing me from moving my IE7 install from a virtual machine over my primary IE6 install.

Here are my personal reasons for holding off

  • I use FireFox. Aside from development, I haven’t used IE as my primary browser in years. I use IE strictly for developing websites.
  • IE6 is not going away very soon and will continue to be more of a headache than IE7. IE7’s implementation of CSS has proved to be close enough to FireFox/Safari/Opera that I know I won’t spend much time on it. I’ll spend my time making things work in IE6. It’s just plain easier and faster to test in IE6 if it’s still the main IE on my machine.
  • My clients and their users aren’t going to rush out to upgrade. While smaller clients may upgrade, larger ones won’t be in such a hurry.
  • I cannot run IE6 and IE7 simultaneously on my machine without having one loaded in Virtual PC (or related virtual machine). I really think Microsoft makes things difficult for web developers by not making it straightforward to do this. Sure there are hacks to get them to both load, but I’ve tried these and just don’t trust them like I would a clean install.

Dvorak’s bugged by CSS

I’m not a religious reader of John Dvorak. I don’t consider him a web developer, so when he posts articles like this one blaming the standards community for failing to do what it promised to do, I can’t help feeling that he’s misdirected. But is he?

The problems he mentions, mostly how instructions cascade, are nothing new to web developers who have been working with CSS for a while. I almost want to say he should be putting the blame on browsers, but that’s not his issue. The issue is that he’s new to CSS and I would bet that even if he were only using one browser, he’d still have his issues. I think if he thought of it more like applying styles in Word or something, he’d find it easier to understand.

Coincidentally, today Zeldman posted An Angry Fix which comments on recent departures from the W3C, which is supposed to be leading the CSS standards effort but is failing in some respects. I agree with him and hope the W3C can correct its course. The most interesting part was when Zeldman mentions that develpors may start looking elsewhere… Microformats.

And why not? Microformats adhere to standards, but they are higher level. Anyone able to understand XML data should be able to understand a microformat. And just as it takes someone with more knowledge to write an XSD template for an XML file, we’d expect someone with more knowledge to write a CSS file for a microformat. Maybe by adding a LayoutFormats or MacroFormats we’d eventually not have a use for the W3C. The key is for developers to contribute.

While I see the benefits of microformats, I haven’t been a big user of them. I’m definitely going to pay closer attention now.

Dish Networks, PLEASE stop calling me!

[UPDATE: 1 month later. After adding my number to the Do Not Call registry, I received a few calls and then they completely disappear. I guess the list works! Hopefully now that I said that, I won’t start getting calls again. ]

[UPDATE: You can track my status with this here.]

It’s been a number of months since I’ve been working from my home office once again. I’m pretty productive when I’m left alone, but this time around there’s one distraction that’s becoming more and more of a nuisance.

Before I get into this, I do have Caller ID and can generally tell it’s a telemarketer. However, instead of not answering the phone, it has become almost a personal quest to get them to stop calling me.

Please make it stop!

Every single day, one to three times, I get a call from Dish Networks trying to get me to switch. Almost all the time, it’s an automated message with some guy named Jerry telling me about this awesome deal to press ‘1’ to speak to a sales rep. The first time I got mad enough to give a rep an earful, I press ‘1’ and was then given an option to press ‘8’ to get my name of the list. I happily did this.

I thought they would respect my wishes. They did not. Assuming it may take a little while to go through their system, I just kept opting out every time I got a call.

The first rep

Then I actually got a salesrep on the phone! I told her in a calm tone that due to the excessive number of calls I get from Dish Networks that I would never subscribe to their service and to please add me to their do not call list. She appologized and said she was placing my name on the do not call list.

The next rep

I kept getting the calls and a few weeks later I got another call from a live rep. I went through the same routine again. I tried to stay as calm as I could since I’m at a point with Dish that I get enraged when I get one of these calls. I know, though, that yelling on the phone’s not going to do me any good. Once again, I got an apology and this time a guarantee that I would stop receiving calls.

One more time

Today, I got another one and I felt like punching the wall. It was another recording, this time it was a female voice, but it was the same exact message that Jerry had from before. I hit ‘1’ to talk to a rep and immediately asked for a manager, who once again, apologized and guaranteed me they’d remove me from their list.

I hate Dish Networks

I think just hearing about them will get me angry for a while and I’m glad I can vent about it here. From here on out, I plan to keep a log of the calls, because I’m not convinced they’ve stopped.

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