dryfter: (tc_meters)
So I finally managed to get Vista installed last week, and have been using it a bit since then.
Now I know this might not be what you'd expect me to say.. but I think I prefer it over XP already. It's definitely an improvement in some ways!

The Start Menu has been hidden away, and replaced with some icons for commonly used items, plus a box to type in which will "do what you mean", a-la Sherlock and Quicksilver on the Mac, Tracker on GNOME(Linux) and Launchy on XP. FFS, finally! So that's a big win, IMO.

Next up, the user vs administrator separation. Sure, it does seem annoying that you have to stop and Authorise actions, but you know what? What is a good thing. I *like* knowing that run-away apps or naughty programs can't just sneak around modifying firewall rules or any old system files without my permission. You only need to do this authorisation stuff when you're installing new programs or modifying lower-level settings, so after your initial period of setup it doesn't get in the way. I'm not sure why there was such a fuss made about this. (Or maybe I'm just used to having to do it occasionally, having used *NIX and Macs before?)

I heard a lot of complaints about performance, but it doesn't seem too bad. Startup time is comparable to XP, possibly even slightly faster! General use, clicking menus, loading programs, etc seems fine too. Copying files, which I've heard gripes about, seemed to take longer to start copying than reasonable (ie. more than milliseconds) but wasn't what I would call delayed. The new File Explorer windows take some getting used to as they've changed the behaviour to be more like the Mac and Gnome UI, but still keeping aspects of the old way. I haven't made my mind up about whether it's easier or harder to use, yet.

So far I've only tested the in-game performance of Crysis.. at highest detail level, yeah, it ran a bit slow, ~15-20 fps with some hiccups.. but then, in highest detail, under XP, it also runs like a dog.. I think i lost about 5fps going to Vista, but keep in mind that under Vista it runs in "Ultra-high" detail, vs "High" in XP, and thus it's looking nicer in Vista in return for those FPS I lost. I'll need to test some other less stupidly-poorly-performing games too.
And probably buy some more RAM now I have an OS that can play games AND handle 4GB. :P
(Windows XP famously won't deal with more than 3GB of RAM)
But the complaint that Vista runs games at literally half the speed of XP doesn't seem justified.

Driver support: Well, my nVidia 8800GT and the Creative X-Fi were supported by 64bit vista drivers available from the manufacturers website, and nothing has crashed, so that seems alright. I'm afraid I don't have any exotic hardware in the gaming machine, so haven't got anything else to test! The various features provided by the motherboard (usb, network, etc) were all supported out of the box by Vista fine, and I wasn't surprised that my common USB devices also were supported.
I have a $3.00 USB MIDI adaptor winging it's way to me from the distant lands of China, via eBay, and that'll probably be more of a test :)

Software like DaemonTools worked just fine.

I haven't encountered any of the DRM that is meant to be under the surface, yet. But then, that would only apply if I used the machine for media (music, video, etc), rather than just gaming and surfing the web. (I still boot into Linux or Leopard for anything else!) However it does worry me that it's there.

Some gripes:
* Modal dialog windows are STILL not resizeable. Come on! Why not? What's wrong with making the "Save As" dialog box bigger than a postage stamp? On modern monitors, it's getting stupid.
* The default 'Off' button in the menu is actually Standby. You have to get into a little side-menu to get to the "Restart" and "Actually turn off damnit" options.
* Erm, it DID take me 5 attempts and a new hard drive to get it installed, although it was easy when it finally went on.
* I did note that Ableton Live (6.0.10) worked fine with DirectX input/output, but when I tried to use ASIO i/o everything went silent. I have no idea if that's Creative or Ableton's fault, but Live 6 is fairly old, and I had forgotten to switch the soundcard to 'Music production' mode. (The X-Fi is unique in having modes for Gaming, Music and Music production.)
* Windows still doesn't automatically pick up nearby printers. OSX and Gnome have been doing this for ages.

A note: All of this was tested on a recent copy of Vista (64 bit edition) with SP1 streamlined, and the latest drivers for my sound and video, on a high-end machine (Hitachi 500 GB SATA HDD, Core 2 Duo 2.88 GHz, 2 GB DDR800 RAM, 1GB ReadyBoost). I suspect this helps matters - I've heard from friends that SP1 made Vista usable, and that driver support was terrible initially, but decent now.. and I am running it on a moderately-well-specced machine.

Conclusion: I'm still going to continue to use Linux and MacOSX more than Vista, but all-in-all, I don't think Vista is as slow and unusable as its reputation. I don't see myself going back to XP.
On the other hand, it's interesting to see that the noticeable improvements have been blatantly nicked from its competitors, and nothing particularly interesting has been added beyond that.. and in return it's bloated out to using a huge amount of RAM and disk space.
dryfter: (Default)
The naming of cats^H^H^H^HPerl modules is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you tail -n 3 `shuffle /usr/share/dict/names`


Feb. 20th, 2007 05:46 pm
dryfter: (tc_meters)
Oh, just remembered - would anyone like to buy a 512 Mbyte DDR400 PC3200 CL2.5 DIMM?
I had a stick that failed, which I returned to Corsair, who sent me a new one. Catch is, it didn't match the existing memory (which needs to be paired in my machine) so I bought another one. So, would anyone like this one? £20? Tests fine in memtest86.


Jan. 23rd, 2007 01:40 pm
dryfter: (tc_meters)
Is anyone using gShrooms?
It looks pretty neat - essentially, it allows you to auto-share your music, including with your instant-messenger contacts.
It'll also auto-detect other music sources on your network via standard means, so I *think* it might Just Work with the Apple gear that does that too. I'll install it later and see.
The guy doesn't look like he's updated it since 2005 though, so I'm not sure what the state of play is today.

Edit: See also mt-DAAPd and the recent versions of Rhythmbox that support DAAP. (Erm, and iTunes.)
I'm sharing my entire load of music at home via mt-DAAPd now; anyone on the VPN should be able to see it. (However, I can't at work, although I can reach the admin interface. Maybe something isn't right..)
dryfter: (tc_meters)
Windows XP is amusing, kind of.
There's an icon in the system tray, which you normally use to unmount (disconnect) removeable media, like external harddrives, USB memory keys, etc.
But for some reason, ever since I reinstalled Windows, that icon tells me I can use it to "Safely remove ST3200822AS (Drives C, D)". Umm.. Drive C is the one Windows is installed on. And it's a fixed, internal harddrive.

How is it possible to safely remove the drive the operating system is running on??
dryfter: (Default)
I've bought a new video card (Nvidia 7900GTO). Is anyone interested in buying my ATI X800? It still is one of the fastest AGP-based videocards around, so for people with older PCs (ie. not made in 2006), it's the best option.

(Edit: the IM-to-LJ bot doesn't handle nested square brackets in the topic!)


Jun. 2nd, 2006 08:02 pm
dryfter: (spider)
So... tonight! What! Shall! We! Do!?
(I may have been drinking too much espresso...)

In other news tonight.. I have Dojo-ified one of my apps, and now it is pretty and oh-so-web2.0-baby. It also takes about 20x longer to display the page. Ahem. Such is the price of progress, etc.
Why can't these toolkit developers ever write bloody docs though? I don't know javascript, I'm crap at HTML, and I'm annoyed I had to learn it, and JSON RPC, in order to read the source code in order to figure out how the hell the thing is supposed to fit together! Luckily, it's not a very complicated language.


May. 24th, 2006 01:45 am
dryfter: (tc_meters)
I'm posting this from inside XGL.. and I have to say, it blows me away that it actually works, and it's so amazingly SHINY!
It makes MacOSX's "Aqua" look dated, in terms of blatant use of technology for pretty effects and stuff.
The fact that it appears to work fine with general X apps (eg. I'm watching a doctor who episode in mplayer, and browsing in firefox) is what really surprises me.

For a couple of screenshots, look below the cut tag. They demonstrate the rather cute cube that virtual desktops are mapped onto, a working Gnome setup, and a semi-transparent mplayer window playing over gimp and firefox. The rest of the "feel" and effects aren't really captureable in a static shot.. The way windows distort and wobble as you move and resize them, or menus spring and fade in and out. I'm quite happy admit that most of this is pointless novelty, but hey.. It's nice to be able to say that Linux got there first, before OSX or MS Vista.
two screenshots )
Yes, I know this makes me an unrepentant geek..

PSP video

May. 4th, 2006 11:30 am
dryfter: (gir_muffin)
I've added some notes to my wiki about how to transcode videos for the PSP: http://www.dryft.net/cgi-bin/trac.cgi/wiki/PSPVideo


May. 4th, 2006 12:50 am
dryfter: (tc_meters)
So, what have I been up to lately?
on Monday, headed to Painshill Park. Very nice. Very cool. Mid-18th century landscape designed to create scenes. I took my Nikon film body along; but would like to go back another time with the full D70 kit (inc infrared).
From the top of the "gothic tower", I could just about make out some features of London with the aid of my binoculars. (Canary Wharf, Telecom tower, Wembley stadium, and also Hampton court castle.)

I caved and ordered a PSP, which arrived today. It really is terribly shiny. It's just a pity it doesn't have a touch-screen.
Setting up the GNU/Linux PSP development toolchain and sdk was surprisingly easy.. just download and run a perl script some guy wrote, and it downloads, patches, and configures everything you need. Sorting out ffmpeg to recode videos to the correct format for the PSP was a bit harder, but eventually google hit on the right mantra.
I did buy an actual genuine game too; GTA, because it has the exploit that lets you run homebrew stuff. Plus it's fun.

Still busy. Still seem to have too little time in the days.

Oh. I signed up to Skype - I am, predictably, "Wintrmute".

Watch the clocks.. It'll be "01:23 04/05/06" in half an hour.


dryfter: (Default)
Toby "dryfter" Wintermute

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