Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   fun with Vista
Tuesday, September 16 2008
A friend of Gretchen's just bought a new computer (a massive Dell Studio 1735 laptop) and wanted to have her stuff from her old laptop moved to it. I'd agreed to the job partly because I'd be getting the old laptop as part of the deal, a desirable machine even though it had some fried ports (and a partially-melted chassis) after being struck by lightning as well as a dead LCD backlight. As with all new computer these days, the brand new Dell Studio 1735 came with Microsoft Vista pre-installed, so I naturally suggested it be wiped clean and Windows XP be put in its place. Having now suffered through the consequence of that suggestion, I will never again recommend such a procedure to anyone ever again (unless I can confirm beforehand that the manufacturer supplies XP drivers on their website). The official support page for the Dell Studio 1735 doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Windows XP, though I found it was possible to find drivers here and there in far-flung parts of the web (especially try this location). Still, I was never able to get sound to work or the LCD to display at its native resolution. So eventually I said fuck it to XP and reinstalled Vista. This would be my first real exposure to this operating system.
It turns out that it is possible to make Vista look and behave sort of like Windows 2000 (that's how I always set up my XP installations) using the various "Classic" configurations. But even after it looks familiar, you're still going to experience unnecessary Vista-engendered learning curve problems. This is because the user interface has been arbirtarily rearranged in lots of ways, many of them small but nevertheless annoying enough to cost minutes of productivity. Just figuring out how to change screen resolution was an ordeal (there's no longer a Display control panel), and I found Vista's built-in search application even less usable than the old XP default searcher, and that one opens with an animation of a dog! Readers from the future, I'm not exaggerating!
But the worst thing about Vista is its incessant modal dialogues and demands for approval. You can't even rename a file without being stopped to ask if that's what you really want to do. I'm not the first person to point out that all these confirmation dialogues make the computer less secure, because the user quickly goes numb to the process and blindly grants approval without bothering to read any warnings. I can't believe Microsoft ever tested this operating system with real users; if they did we would have read about riots breaking out in their test facilities.
In hole news today, today I gingerly chipped out a trench in the shale along the north edge, allowing water from that low spot in the tilted plain of bedrock to drain. I had to be careful to avoid loosening up large chunks of the shale, which might erode away rock I can use for flooring.

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