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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

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I started a series of Open Letters not too long ago, which is my way of making light of the typically serious “Open Letter” concept to thinly disguise my suggestions and minor complaints as something that should be taken seriously. 

Or in other words, maybe I can fake my way into a solution.

This episode is about Vista.

microsoft vista logo


First off, I’m in love with Vista.  Before I moved over, I heard horror stories about using Vista.  Look, I’m a technophile.  I’m an IT Director for a large ISP.  I’m familiar with over 20 operating systems, and a few of those, I can honestly say I’m intimately familiar.

However, I experienced little by way of horror storiness when I moved to Vista a couple of month ago.  I attribute that success to a few things:

  1. I’m really really smart
  2. I’m really really lucky
  3. I went straight to Vista w/SP1
  4. I had a kick-ass machine (Core 2 Duo laptop) with lots of RAM (3GB)
  5. I used VMWare to make my old XP image available as-it-was-before.
  6. I would google a problem when I encountered it, worked to understand and solve it at the time vs throwing my arms up in disgust and giving up and blog online complaining about it.

I’d say while all of these reasons were important, #6 was the biggest factor.

Now, to the Mr/Mrs Vista Developer that might be reading this.  I want to compliment you on a great, fantastic superb job on this OS.  Specifically, I want to point out a few things that have impressed me over my recent adoption to Vista so that you know I like them so much.


Search is awesome. Thank you.  This probably saves me an hour a day.  Well, maybe not so much as it saves me time – it makes me able to do certain things in a much shorter period of time, so it’s more likely I get them done.  A lot of the time, it involves finding something in my email or a document, and Search just plain works.  Except for the time my index got corrupted and it had to rebuild.  That sucked. 

Standby / Resume / multi-monitor setup

My laptop and I are on full speaking terms now.  Before the upgrade, docking and undocking caused near panic attacks because I was never sure if the screen would be visible, if the left would be right, or what.  Now, tho — man I never give it a second thought.  It suspends in no time, wakes up automatically, and I haven’t gotten “stuck” yet.  When I dock at work, which has two external monitors with one rotated 90 degrees, it remembers.  When I dock back at home, which uses laptop and one external, it remembers.  When I open the laptop with no external monitors, it remembers. 

Handles crashes better

I’m sure there’s more than just one person saying “whoa” what do you mean – it still crashes?!?!?  Yes.  Sure it does.  When you have an OS that’s adopted by the entire world and run on more hardware than ANYTHING, there will be problems.  But unlike its predecessors, Vista w/SP1 makes crashing almost fun!  You get these great colorful windows, it lets you know what happened, and it tracks all of them for you.  You can actually see all your crashes, check for a status online and be notified when its fixed (if applicable).  I for one am very impressed with this aspect of Windows.  It makes it easier to figure out

UAC – User Access Control

Yes, I admit it.  I love this stuff!  The mac vs PC commercials will have you dreading your first popup (brilliant marketing there, boys!) but really – it’s an incredible boon to more secure computing.  I *like* having the OS complain when something you’re running is about to do something potentially disastrous.  I *like* having to right-click on a setup program and say ‘run as administrator’ so that I’m telling the OS  – “hey, I’m installing something here, so it’s OK to do stuff like write to the registry”. 

I’m sure that if I bit the bullet and switched to Mac OSX, I’d have the same adoption curve and probably find a million things to fall in love with.  But I can’t use that knowledge at my job, and that’s a major deciding factor.  I don’t have time to learn a 2nd OS “just because” – besides, I’d still have to learn Vista and develop a deployment and support plan for our company for hundreds of desktops and laptops.

What do you like/dislike/hate about Vista?

Who knows, maybe you will want to MISC this week’s edition.  How could I possibly know? (psst: I’ll tell you: I’m psychic!)  I’ve had Guitar Hero III on the brain a LOT this week, so I’m going to do a Guitar Hero post in the next couple of days.  I stuck one GH3 tidbit in here though…

Funny Kids Tag

I’ll be the first to call foul on myself and say this tag is only family friendly to the purely innocent. 🙂

I went to my godson’s 1st birthday party over the weekend and as part of my “pitching in” I decided I’d offer to put together the toys he raked in – you know, take them out of the boxes, remove the annoying wiring and screws and locking pieces and actually follow whatever instructions to make the toy eligible for play once the day was over.

Attached to one of the toys was the following tag:

remove & discard screw & tag

And all I could think was – are there 4 verbs there, or 2 verbs and 2 nouns?  Or is it possibly hunting related?

March Guitar Hero Madness

Guitarhero.com is combining collegiate loyalty, regional player ability and a catchy logo to bring the “Madness Tournament” to the masses.  Basically you join a team based on your college and then you play in a huge guitar hero III tournament.  Cash prices and a trip to San Antonio for some big guitar Hero tournament is up for grabs, but frankly I just feel like I could use the practice.

So I signed up (I think sign-up stops today or tomorrow) – there are a whopping 920 923 933 940 people entered so far in the qualifying round!  (the number kept going up as I composed this entry)

guitar hero madness

Yeah, yeah, I know you can’t read it very well.  It just shows that I’m registered and I have 100 groupies.  How come I never meet any of these groupies?!?!?  (I think the answer is I couldn’t afford $4000/hr).

Now for the kicker – I don’t have GHIII for the Wii or PS3 or XBOX, so I can’t play online.  I use PS2 only.  So I’m going to have to beg a friend of mine who DOES have it to let me borrow it. PLEASE? 

I can has wii-tar hero?  Or is that Guitar Wii-ro?

Evidenly the first round (qualifying round) is medium only, and what they do is take the highest score from your team and use it to try to beat the other team.  I’m sure there are millions of small print annoyances that someone will complain about, but for the most part, I’m pumped!

The Move to Vista

I think I’ll make a post dedicated just to the move to Vista later on, but suffice it to say, I spent many hours this week learning, imaging, testing, playing and getting my rear into Microsoft Windows Vista.  Currently, I’m using the Vista install as my primary operating system on a kick-butt laptop, and I’m in it enough that I have Office, Picasa, and my tools (vim, snagit, some others).  I can print, I can scan, I can email, I can blog and browse and that’s enough for now.

In short, this is what I did:

  • My laptop was running XP Pro before, and it was HIGHLY customized.
  • I installed VMWare Converter tool (this takes an image of a physical drive and creates a virtual machine file)
  • I attached a 500GB USB drive and ran the converter tool to create the virtual machine on that drive
  • I got a 2nd hard drive, swapped it out, and installed Vista w/SP1 from scratch.
  • VMWare Server was then installed on the Vista machine, and I imported the virtual machine (the old XP image) into it.
  • Now I can run my old XP Pro image any time I want inside the virtual machine, and be free to slide nice and easy into the new Vista environment

I’ve learned a lot, but the real benefit is that I can understand Vista more so we can plan a deployment to ~500 systems.  There’s nothing like trying to support something you know NOTHING about.  I’m just glad we’re a Microsoft Software Assurance customer and we get some great deployment and training tools, not to mention special version of Vista (Vista Enterprise)

I’m trying to keep a running tab of my questions, but invariably I forget to write them down.  Here are a few:

  1. I386 directory?
    In XP, a good idea was to copy the I386 directory to C:\.  Do we need to do something similar with Vista?
  2. Start –> Run
    Where did Start–> Run go??!?!?  Thank goodness Windows+R still works!
  3. Global “the way things were” setting?
    I see here and there “Classic View” or ways to set Windows Vista to work like XP from a user interface perspective, but is there one big hammer you can use to knock Vista back to normality?  Or a video guide on where everything is?  Man this is frustrating sometimes.
  4. USB Headsets
    I don’t like how it supports USB headsets, because it looks like you have to go into the control panel to switch from system speakers to USB, and in XP, it auto-switched for you.
  5. UAC
    The whole ruckus about PC vs Mac commercials and how Vista is so annoying popping up and asking “is it ok to do this?” and “is it ok to pick my nose?” and such… actually, I don’t mind it so much.  I’m actually liking it.  I know a lot of people disable UAC quickly when they get on a box, but frankly I’m glad it’s there.  I’m sure it’s going to stop a lot of spyware and nastiness on systems for normal end users because most of the time they shouldn’t be doing things very often that would cause it to pop up.
  6. Don’t switch OS’s when you’re stressed
    Most change isn’t very good when you’re dealing with issues.  I chose to take the Vista plunge when I didn’t have anything major going on at work or at home, so the last 3-4 days has been great, being able to take my time getting to know my new friend.  I know I’d be frustrated out of my gourd if I was dealing with “where the HECK is (x)?!?!?” when I had something due or was dealing with a crisis.  That’s also why I took such lengths to go the VM route because I didn’t want to get a 2nd laptop and make it a “trial” thing – I needed to actually immerse myself into the Vista world but not lose touch with my old familiar setup in the XP world.

Essential tools that help me in this transition are VIM (vi improved, a unix-based text editor), SnagIt, and Treesize.

Best of LOLcats 

It’s late and I want to go to bed.  So I’m just giving you one.  I actually haven’t even looked at blogs hardly at all this week so I’m behind getting the collection.


tsk tsk

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