It didn’t take me long to find my weekend project. I jumped on the extremely large Windows 7 bandwagon, and I’m glad I did. On Friday night (yes, that is what it has come to on a Friday night), I partitioned one of my hard drives and installed Windows 7 on my main computer. I can now dual boot and use Windows 7 or Vista Ultimate. Of course I didn’t upgrade my Vista install since I really didn’t know what to expect. Let me state that I believe Windows 7 lives up to the hype. Here is a taste of what I have found to date:
Windows 7 OS
- Installation: The install was beyond easy. Windows has always been an easy install, but this time around it didn’t ask me the pointless/easy questions. It was one or two questions and then off to the races. The install timing was pretty impressive as well.
- Compatibility: This was the biggest question on my mind. Would all of my programs work? I have my favorite and preferred programs and I
needed wanted them all put up a good fight and make the transition. I was not disappointing. Windows 7 handled every program that I threw at it. I only had to run one program in “compatibility mode,” and that was to install an old school Java application (I had to do that for Vista as well). Overall, my programs installed and worked as I hoped. I keep all of my program data and documents on a separate HD from the OS; therefore, the transition was pretty painless.
- Usability: I can’t cover it all, but here are a few highlights:
- The ability to “pin” programs to the start menu and/or task bar is just awesome. I also really enjoy the option to have simple icons in the task bar, which take up considerably less space than the alternatives.
- I like the new system tray setup. You can access all of your system tray icons with one click (and keep your task bar clutter free).
- The new “Action Center” allows you to specify which alerts you want. It is about time.
- The new “Libraries” features is long over due. It allows you to aggregate your data in a virtual folder type of way. The Media Center utilizes this concept and I’m glad they incorporated it into Windows 7.
- The bootup time is just fantastic (relativity speaking). I have all of my typical programs installed and it is still faster than Vista. Of course, my Vista install has been in place for some time and we know it slows with age.
Microsoft added a few new features to the Media Center for Windows 7 (W7MC). Overall, I’m quite pleased. I was able to get my key plugin, Collectorz Movie Collector, working and I configured all of my extenders (DMA2100, DMA2200, and an Xbox 360). I also configured all 4 of my tuners, including HD. All worked flawlessly (I did have to refresh my memory on the Collectorz install – setting permissions and the like). I still haven’t found a program to customize the menu strips. I hope they hurry up and fix MC Menu Mender.
I’m not going to get too deep into the media center, as the link below will send you to a nice overview. I will leave with, what I think, are some of the top W7MC features:
- Enhanced guide
- Enhanced mini guide
- New guide configuration (including features from the TV Pack)
- Picture slide show
- Album art show
- Native H.264 playback support
In summary, I am very happy with Windows 7. I have configured the OS just how I like it and it is ready for every day use (i.e., I have turned it over to the wife as well). I will be using this OS moving forward and I hope I don’t ever have to look back. Note to Microsoft: let’s make this official so I can kill Vista completely from my hard drive and reclaim some space.
For more information, including screenshots and key features, check out the following links:
Until next time.
My download of windows 7 is in progress. I’m hopeful that I can configure a dual boot setup (Vista and Windows 7) setup this weekend (if time permits). I can’t fully switch over to Windows 7 because the wife would shoot me.
I’m utilizing an official MSDN subscription to grab the release, so I shouldn’t have any issues getting the copy soon (per my download manager…one hour left). However, the public release should be available as well (was expected at 15:00 EST today).
I will report back with any information.
CES 2009 has officially kicked off and is in high gear. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, gave the keynote last night. I was very disappointing that Media Center was not a topic; what a bummer. Microsoft, in general, disappointed me with their (lack of) announcements. Here are some items I found interesting from the first day:
- Microsoft is going to release Windows 7 Beta to the public tomorrow, Jan 9. It will be available for download on Microsoft.com. Now I just need a spare machine so I can get it loaded and start playing!
- There are 17 Million active Xbox Live members. That is pretty impressive. I actually signed up years ago with the original Xbox. I let my gamer tag/account expire. They won’t let me reclaim my old one so I have boycotted Xbox Live every since. Honestly, I don’t get a chance to play games much, so I’m not really missing anything. Netflix does stream to Xbox Live, but I have a Media Center plug-in that does as well….and it is free!
- A new SD standard was introduced. SDHC maxes out at 32GB. Well, move over sizzaleen, I have something meatier! The new standard is SDXC (SD eXtended Capacity) and can increase capacity up to 2 TB. That is a lot of Michael Jackson music on my BlackBerry!
- Slacker.com announced a BlackBerry application for their radio service. If you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you give it a whirl. It is free. I can’t get the application to work on my BlackBerry Bold. It is trying to access the radio service through the BES and the corporate security policy has it blocked. There doesn’t seem to be a way to configure the application to use BIS. I’m sure that will get fixed real soon.
- Unify4Life.com has introduced AV|Shadow. This product turns your BlackBerry (or smartphone..but the only smartphone in my opinion is the BlackBerry) into a universal remote. You can control lighting, the TV, and other devices. And even cooler, you can control your garage door. You can actually program the phone and the garage door to know about what time you typically get home. When the device gets within 40 feet during that time window, it will open the door automatically. That means I don’t have to push the button on the visor above my head. Think of the time savings!
Those were some of items that peaked my interest. Of course a lot more was shared at CES 2009. Good times.
I’m pretty pumped. The 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), being held in Las Vegas, starts tomorrow. I am very interested in the all of the presentations and keynotes. However, what really has my attention is what Microsoft has in store for Vista Media Center (VMC). It was recently announced that the partnership between Microsoft and DirectTV to build a tuner into VMC was dropped. Many are hoping an announcement around Dish Network integration is made at the show tomorrow. I’m a cable customer and expect to be one for the foreseeable future, but it is still of interest. I also can’t wait to learn more about any upcoming HTPC solutions being presented by partners (give me more cable-card options!).
Being one of the only people on the planet that doesn’t hate Microsoft (yes, I use Live Search over Google), I’m also interested in their other announcements. I am curious to see what they have in store for the Zune. Of course we can’t forget about Windows 7. It looks solid and I can’t wait for the release (expected in the spring some time). The Media Center seems to have been upgraded and I am hearing that the OS utilizes half of the resources Vista requires.
Also being a BlackBerry nut, I can’t wait to see if RIM has anything for us.
See cesweb.org for the latest.
Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are scheduled to announce today their intentions of filing for the NFL draft or staying at UGA for another season. I’m guess both will head on out. From my Armchair QB seat, I don’t believe Stafford is ready for “the show.” I hope they both stay, but I also have my opinions I who I would rather keep in Athens if faced with a choice. Let’s see how it all shakes out.
Note: I wonder how Asher Allen is feeling right now? He has been contemplating the NFL draft as well. Since his announcement isn’t scheduled for today, does that mean he hasn’t made his choice yet, or is it a foregone conclusion that he is staying. We really need him back in our secondary come next fall.
UPDATE: ESPN sources have both Moreno and Stafford entering the draft. I wish them both the best of luck. I will – no doubt – be pulling for them on Sundays..and I hope for a long time to come.
I currently use Vista’s Windows Media Center (aka VMC) product to fulfill all my in-home (and outside, actually) entertainment desires.Â I am running VMC on a central server with 4 tuners (two HD tuners and 2 normal cable tuners).Â I have 3 media center extenders throughout the house.Â This setup allows us to watch movies, home videos, TV and a handful of other media.Â I can also listen to my entire music collection, shoutcast, or even tune into the local radio stations (or radio stations far away, for that matter).
VMC has its share of shortcomings, no doubt.Â My biggest complaint is the incorporation of the cable-card devices.Â I need premium HD channels and you need specific hardware to make this work. Honestly, this is more of a hardware issue than VMC.Â Only a few hardware manufacturers are providing compatible cable-card readers.Â I believe there is some Microsoft partnership related issue too.
Either way, I must stay that I’m pretty excited about the upcoming Windows 7 Media Center release.Â I believe it is being dubbed W7MC (that sure doesn’t roll off of the tongue easily).Â Check out the following link for a preview of the upcoming release.Â I believe it is scheduled for public this summer.Â http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/2008/10/28/windows-7-media-center-revealed/
Other exciting news: I believe some new cable-card HTPC (Home Thearte Personal Computers) will be unvailed in the coming weeks.
Welcome to my new blog.Â Â I will use this as a forum for presenting the random thoughts and ideas that are preocupying my brain.Â I suspect most of my posts to be very short. For those that know me personally, I am pretty verbose verbally; however, I like to keep my writing to a minimum.Â In other words, I like to get straight to the point.Â With that said….this is my new blog.Â Welcome