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What I'd Like
Monday 21st August, 2006 13:18 Comments: 1
I don't need these, but they look nice.

Samung 70" LCD TV (1920x1080)
Shuttle XPC Barebone SD37P2 (and I'd stick a nice Conroe CPU inside it)

What I definitely don't want is a pink PS2 (but some people might like them, like 14 year old girls). It's a limited edition, I suspect that's because they know they won't sell very many.

I also noticed that ATI have released its Catalyst 6.8 driver package for both Windows and Linux. For Windows, it yields OpenGL application-specific framerate gains of 6.5-16 per cent, largely thanks to shader compiler and transform engine optimisations. Speed-ups of 22-30 per cent under Direct3D arise from tweaks to the code's memory management routines that benefit cards with 256MB of video RAM. Linux users will probably be more interested in the ability to support two monitors running at different resolutions and retains such settings even when the hosts system is shut down. ATI said it had also added support for its Radeon Xpress 1200, 1250 and 1300 chipsets. No wonder most Linux users go with NVIDIA for their graphics cards, if it's taken them this long to sort out two monitors and saving settings.

I'm not entirely sure why this got picked up by The Register, it's essentially someone having a go at Microsoft. There's probably one or two valid points, but the vast majority of the issues are caused by the user.

During the night, Microsoft took it upon itself to update my computer. I arrived at work to find a message stating: "Windows recently downloaded and installed an important security update to help protect your computer. This update required an automatic restart of your computer."

I have gone to some trouble to ensure that this doesn't happen. I have set Windows Update to "custom" - meaning that I will decide which updates I need to install, and how the update will be handled. And when an update says "this requires a restart" I have always specified that I will restart the machine at a time of my own choosing.

Basically that shouldn't ever happen. It sounds to me like a) he hasn't set it up right or b) group policy overrides his settings c) someone on the network uses WSUS or similar to force the system to apply updates and restart (I believe you can do that?). I've never had any trouble with Windows Update, with similar settings of "notify me but do not download" (or whatever it's called). Plus why did the user not save his work? He says he didn't have the ten minutes it required to close everything down, but it only takes a quick Ctrl-S, type in some characters, hit return to save what's in Notepad. I can understand why Notepad didn't save his work either, but if he'd used Word (or similar) it would have at least auto saved his work.

And yet, if I move the mouse, the software which now runs on this machine cannot keep up with it! The pointer starts to move, then hits a patch on the screen. "Hang on a moment! I have no idea where to move the pointer," says Windows. "I'll have to go and search my disk for the data which creates the images on the screen - I may be some time..."

Sounds like his system is screwed. Is it a mouse driver problem? Graphics driver problem? Has he got full acceleration on? Using onboard graphics on his slow computer? Latest drivers? USB or PS/2 mouse? Tried another mouse? No, we'll just blame MS.

And yes, IE's download manager is crap, the IE7 team have publicly stated that they will improve this in the subsequent release of IE (they can't do it in time for IE7).

Dave Massy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Q: Will there be a download manager in IE7 like the one in Firefox?
A: Hi, there will not be a download manager included in IE7 but there are many available as extensions see http://ieaddons.com/default.aspx?cid=2&scid=66 with some good free ones there.

Max Stevens [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: IE7 still downloads all files to the "temporary Internet Files" folder, and then copies the file to the actual location. Why is this, and wil it be changed? (quitte anoying with large files)?
A: It will remain this way for IE7 (I believe Eric Lawerence posted on this on the ieblog some time ago). For future releases, we are considering changing how our downloading mechanism works, and this issue has come up. So it's on our radar for potential changes in future releases.

The IEBlog can be found here, and the RSS feed is here.

Of course, the file may be corrupted even if it does get downloaded. I can tell Internet Explorer to download it again. "File exists - replace?" it asks. "Yes." Does it replace it? No! - it checks to see if the file appears to be on the disk, and it then pretends to download it. But in fact, the "download" takes place in a fraction of a second, and the same, corrupt file is left on the disk. The only way of getting the correct file is to go to the disk directly, delete the corrupt file, and then go back and download.

Sounds to me (although it's a complete guess) like some sort of cache issue, perhaps his browser doesn't check automatically/every time, or perhaps it talks to a proxy that also has the incomplete file? Or a combination of both? Again, a third party download manager would probably alleviate that problem.

Microsoft aren't perfect, I agree with some of the issues he's raised (although the mouse thing really sounds like his fault), but that's usually why there are 3rd party programs to help.

The first rule of Fight Club... know which window you are on. I think us geeks have all had this problem at one point or another, you forget which Windows is which system.

I had an issue on my beta test box that I had to fix before installing the WSUS 3.0 beta and I was comparing the settings in IIS to my home server. Well stupid me was RDPing into both boxes and stupidly changed the settings that worked on the home server to the ones that broke things on the beta server.

Yup now I had two broken boxes instead of one.

Yeah that was a blonde moment...so then I had to remote into the Server at the office being EXTREMELY careful not to screw anything up in the REAL server and had to compare the settings and permissions in IIS. Some folks have said that they make the background color of each server a different color so they know exactly which server they are working on.

I've done the background trick before now, my old fileserver and my Shuttle at my last job had white backgrounds. It also hurts your eyes after a while, which might be why the new fileserver still uses the default blue. Talking of fileservers, or places to hold lots of data, Susan also ranted about the 500GB external hard disk she bought.

So why is a 500 gig external harddrive I just bought (to be added into the rotation of backups) ...firstly.. not 500 gigs but more like 480 (truth in advertising does not extend to harddrives?) and secondly ... why does it come shipped as a FAT32 with not a lot of documentation regarding how it should be flipped or converted to NTFS?

If you have a FAT32 harddrive it flat out will not work with ntbackup. Well.. it will...but your backup will stop after 4 gigs which is the logical chunk that the FAT32 can do.

I guess it's because the manufacturers don't know what is going to be backed up.... one Windows 98 that can't support NTFS or a nice server.

...somehow I don't think someone running win9x would be buying a 500 gig harddrive... but I could be wrong.

I think anyone still using Windows 98 should be shot, or at least maimed.

Not that using the latest software is always the best. It seems that to perform a "Find" in Excel 2007 you have to click on:


versus the old method in 2003


And they think the ribbon will make things easier? I'll probably hate it at first, but eventually get used to it. That doesn't mean it's any good though. At least you could turn "personalized menus" off in old versions of Office.

PS I really can't help push ieSpell enough, it's great!
Avatar Robert - Monday 21st August, 2006 16:07
Sorry for going on about the Windows Update/restart rant from the letter, but he states in the letter that I have set Windows Update to "custom" which is only a choice when you go to the Windows Update website and click the button (your choices are Express or Custom). With the Automatic Updates tab in Windows XP you only get the options Automatic (recommended) (and usually the default when Automatic Updates is turned on); Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them; Notify me but don't automatically download or install them (I usually go for this); Turn off Automatic Updates. You don't have a "custom" setting, hence my belief that it's user error. Not Microsoft's.
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