January 15th, 2011

computer, computer monitor

Progress With New Computers? Yes...

I'm learning things about the Windows 7 OS pretty quickly, actually! I hate 'grouping' on the taskbar, for example, and have learned how to eliminate it. I've got a double-wide taskbar set up, with 'small' icons/buttons that works well. I've change the desktop view and have loaded my own wallpaper (not as easy as it used to be, by the way).

Both Marilyn's and my emails have been moved (woo hoo) -- and that's a big deal! Kris spent hours on that today... Kris missed my address book (!!!) somehow, though he did get Marilyn's moved over. Happily, I got my own to move, finally.

We took the password off our WiFi when we had issues connecting (shades of how this went back when I tried to set up a pw) -- and we're going to live with it, I think. Too much time was wasted spent on that as it is!

Microsoft Office 2003 is installed on both computers -- and I still intend to install 2007, as well. I have NoteTab Pro on mine and my FTP, so I'll be able to keep working on various websites (which is pretty essential). I've also got Paint Shop Pro 9 installed on both, though I need to move some custom items over still (tubes and brushes, etc.).

Most importantly, we got Zuma (!!!) installed on both computers -- and were able to keep all our former saves (high scores, etc.), as well! We're both pleased.

These new computers are FAST and big -- literally! You should see the size of these big, black (Darth Vader-ish) towers! Yikes! (I need to take pictures to share.)

Anyway, I've barely scratched the surface of everything I need to install, much less what needs to be moved. And the home network is not set up yet. I'm using Remote Desktop to go between our old computers and the new ones. It's not perfect, but seems to work okay.

I've had to physically move our two desks over and over and over again. Each tower has a keyboard and mouse attached right now -- with the monitors fixed to the new machines. It's a little bit confusing right now! And I finally got our speakers on the new towers -- and both seem to have amazing sound.

As for our PSSCA event this evening, we both survived -- BARELY. We were exhausted after, though I was too wound up about the new computers to rest when Marilyn dozed.

She had the movie "Salt" on, so I did watch (and enjoy) that. But directly after I was back in the office working away. The more I stick to it, the sooner we'll be good to go, after all!

Marilyn and I were just talking about how much harder it seems to do these home machines than all the IT I face every single day (almost) for the festival. I don't know why that's true, but it's a good thing I CAN face the stuff at the festival! Even Marilyn has no idea how much of it I do day-to-day -- and she knows more than anyone else does. It's ENDLESS. Sometimes it's a bunch of little things, but even those little things add up. And other times it's one major thing after another -- on and on. Usually it doesn't wear me down (good thing!), but there are days...

I'm rambling now! I need to download the PSSCA photos (and video) that I took, so they can go up at the website (and Social Media -- Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). I need to edit the video together (it's three chunks) and see what I can come up with (hopefully this weekend). It was nice of Sue B. to attend (Marilyn only invited her yesterday). She's such a great person and good friend...

Well, I'm beat and it's bedtime! Good night, all!

charlie 2012 beige

I LOVE Windows 7 (surprise) -- With Some Reservations... (sigh)

The unthinkable is going on here, my friends! I actually LOVE Windows 7!!!

Yes, I know I drug my heels about it when it was first released (smile), but now that I have it for my home desktop, I'm a total convert!

I'm dealing with a few issues that frustrate me, of course, but all-in-all I find it pretty amazing.

Once you've played around with it a little, the navigation becomes less annoying than when you first start out. Believe me, I'm the first person to say something like, "Thanks, Microsoft, for not keeping software/program installation in the same place in Control Panel..." and other words to that effect. But I've let go (as much as I can) and accepted that if I relax and give it a try I can get comfy with it quickly.

So far, so good!

And there are aspects that weren't in Windows XP that are very nice.


I want more CONTROL over my Systray, please. I don't simply want the option to have all notifications on if I want to see the icons without the damn 'show hidden icons' popup arrow (can you say annoying-annoying-ANNOYING???). But I don't actually want all notifications ON! And I'm amused that it's no longer called the Systray, by the way. Why exactly is that, Microsoft? It's been the systray as long as I can remember, so why change it? That's less of a mouthful than 'notification area icons' is, certainly...

I also miss the Quick Launch area on the Taskbar. And, NO, Microsoft, I don't consider pinning things to the Taskbar as a good replacement for this at all.

I did double the size of my Taskbar, so it's possible to see more items there. I HATE 'grouping' (big stacked piles of buttons for various windows), which is now called combining (okay then!). So I've set my Taskbar to 'Never combine.' And using 'Use small icons' (meaning small buttons on the Taskbar), works pretty well -- even when I have a lot of windows open at one time. Plus I also always set the Desktop to display on the Taskbar, as I generally have 'Show Desktop' (meaning Desktop icons) deselected (turned off). I love a very clean Desktop, with my wallpaper and little else.

There's no way to take two windows and easily display them side-by-side from the Taskbar -- unless you're willing to have things 'grouped' (stacked/combined). In Windows XP, you clicked on both while holding down the Control (Ctrl) key, then right-clicked and selected Tile Vertically. As I already said, I HATE grouping, so I refuse to use it. As a person who often use to view two windows side-by-side, I find this a terrible loss... (sigh)

Anyway, once I decided to let myself get past the RENAMING of various functions (!!!), I've discovered most of the familiar commands are still around and available.

Other downside issues so far?

Well, compatibility of SOFTWARE (programs/applications) is, naturally, a problem.

For example, I still use Paint Shop Pro 9 -- from choice, by the way. I did buy later versions of the software, but didn't like them, so this is my version of choice. And I use it CONSTANTLY, meaning almost daily. Here's a really WEIRD issue that I know will be annoying when I'm doing a lot of work on a serious deadline. Small images -- such as a 100 x 100 icon -- display in such a way that there's no top-blue-bar available to easily grab and drag across the Workspace. I think I've found a workaround for this, but it's less convenient than before. (sigh)

Also, in past versions of Windows, you could keep thousands of fonts WITHOUT installing them. Then you'd simply open a font when you wanted to use it, minimize it to your Taskbar while using it, then close it when you were done. No fuss, no muss! Now you have to actually change your font settings in Control Panel and do what's called 'installing using a shortcut' -- which at least allows you not to need to install and uninstall a given font every single time you want it! (When you use as many fonts as graphic arts do, there's no way you want those thousands and thousands of fonts actually installed on your computer!) The Windows 7 'solution' is more of a workaround in my mind -- because if you've got the fonts you're using stored somewhere -- say on an external hard drive or jump drive -- and you don't always have this plugged in, then the shortcut you've created will fail, which is not a good thing. (I keep a folder of Fonts on my external, so this applies to me...)

I'm sure I'll continue to find more aspects both GOOD and BAD as I go along, and I'll try to remember to share. If anyone is actually using Windows 7 and needs to know HOW to do any of the things I'm talking about, I'm glad to share the steps here, as well! You know me -- I generally write it all down for use in teaching it to others at work (and wherever), so it's not a big deal to tell my LiveJournal friends the same steps.

Originally Marilyn and I shared a (brief) concern that Zuma wasn't going to run on Windows 7. And THAT would have been awful! Totally unacceptable! Happily, it works GREAT, so we're happy campers. (grin) Let's face it, we have our needs -- and clearly this game is one of them!

There's a learning curve with Windows 7, but being me, this hasn't been much of an issue so far. I usually know the 'real' way to refer to something (item or function), which helps in trying to look it up. That's often the most frustrating thing, by the way, as it's hard to check online (google something) if you don't know what to call it!

In a totally NOT Windows 7 mention, our new computers have me back to typing away as fast as I can! (woo hoo) I never was able to discover what was causing the issue, even with tech help and tons of software helpers hunting malware, etc. Anyway, I've had a decided 'pause' when I type, and as someone who like to blaze along quickly, I hated that with a passion!

The old desktops were just that: OLD. We didn't protect them from bad software (especially online game downloads), didn't do our maintenance often enough (and almost never defragged or scanned) -- and were always trying to find problems after the fact, rather than using preventative measures. Over time they became slower and slower (though still faster than many of our office computers, I'm sorry to report). Anyway, I'm hoping we'll be better with the new machines! That's a New Year's Resolution for me. (smile)

Off for a nap. Even though I slept in, I'm so beat from these two busy weeks that I could sleep for a day and still be tired. (grin)

My future goal will be to try and upgrade to Windows 7 in the office. I may go that route with the new computers were supposed to get this year (depending how spendy that ends up being)...