Sunday, February 04, 2007

The New Computer, Episode Three...

Things are improving, boys and girls. (See previous posts here and here)The speed difference is distinctly noticeable and the new monitor is breath-taking. Videos look great.

Assorted notes:
  • While it may seem a hassle to reset stuff like toolbars the way you are used to, reloading software like MS Office, for example gives you the choice of a clean start. It reminds me of the first week of every quarter of college - when your grade point was unblemished by actual results. Sometimes a clean start is just what you need.
  • Because the new monitor is 16 x 9 aspect - like new TV's you have room at the edges for stuff on the desktop. I think we are just beginning to see freebie "Gadgets" to load into those spots. I'm using the clock, calendar, notepad, and calculator on my Sidebar. Pretty handy.
  • After the first few start-ups, the UAP (previous post) becomes slightly less annoying. I may still shut it down. I use Live One Care for security - it works well and I can load it on three computers for one price.
  • The speakers I chose (Dell 525 30 watt 2.1 with subwoofer) sound good but they are hard-wired into components so I can't fish the wires through a raceway I built behind my desktop to hide clutter. Also the volume control is a thumbwheel (like in the center of newer mice) that is less handy than my old set.
  • Wait - I just talked myself into keeping my old speakers. The computer doesn't care what is plugged into the orange jack.
  • Be sure and check the websites of your old software to see if there are reports of Vista incompatibility. This is especially true of software that "calls home" for upgrades automatically. You may want to shut that feature off and just do it manually from time to time. (Adobe Acrobat is a prime example)
  • The hard drive and vent fan on this computer (Dell XPS 210) are very quiet. In fact, I sometimes think nothing is happening and end up double-loading a program because I can't hear the hard drive working.
  • Wired keyboards/mice are sooo yesterday. I just moved my old wireless set to Gilgamesh (my new computer's name) and it picked added them without a hitch.
  • My wireless network took zero configuring. I just plugged into the router.
  • I'm gradually reducing the number of separate programs I use, so each new installation is a chance to lose something. I am dropping my Palm Pilot and moving everything to Outlook and my phone, for example.
  • Having trouble getting my weather station to find the old file I copied across.
  • The Windows Media Center is, at first glance, totally lame. It's like picking up a first grade book. I use Musicmatch Jukebox to manage all my music, especially all the choir demo tracks I burn for my choir. WMC looks like it was designed to be used on an iPod with no keyboard. Nearly useless, IMHO. MMJ is working fine though, and the tracks transferred OK.
  • I haven't tried WMC with my pictures - I will continue with Picasa. It's free, bulletproof and superbly easy to use. In fact, it may be the best piece of software I've ever used.
I will doubtless come across more hiccups, but I think we're going to live.

Whaddaya mean you don't know who Gilgamesh is? I suppose you name your computers after flowers or old girlfriends?

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