Continuing the Swap
Yep, the new compouter has swallowed a week. Shopping, buying, returning, cleaning and now installing. It's still not done.
The part *after* finding the right machine was the hasle about the OS. It came with WinXP Home in Spanish which just isn't going to do it for me. I don't mind Spanish, but when I'm programming I don't want to deal. In case you think - no problem, just use English programs and don't worry about it, it goes a bit deeper than that. All the standard dialog boxes give you options in Spanish. Many programs predict which language you'll use by your OS and swap accordingly. And there are a variety of programs that will swap their shortcuts to Spanish as well - including my bugaboo, control-e instead of control-a for select all.
Thus it was imperitive that I get another OS on this box. But it's not as easy as that. First, I called around town to see if I could just get a relatively cheap copy of WinXP Home in English and just install it. But no go - I could *not* find WinXP in English in Madrid. It might be here somewhere in some corner, but I couldn't find it. Makes sense, really, how hard would you have to look in Iowa for a version of Windows in Spanish or French?
Okay - so then I called Microsoft and asked to buy an upgrade over the phone. There are of course two problems with this. An upgrade install won't work between languages. You can't upgrade from WinXP Home in Spanish to WinXP Pro in English. It just doesn't work. The second is that Microsoft will not sell you an activation key over the phone - you have to go get a physical box. They told me to call Toshiba.
The reason I just wanted the activation key is that I had someone (to remain nameless) burn a copy of the WinXP Pro in English for me and I downloaded it and burned it so I would have it. But then I was just waiting to somehow get a working key. I've actually played this game before - last year when I was working for Telefonica, they had Windows XP, but only one copy of a trial version. So I installed it and then had a timer of 60 days to buy a full version. I kept on trying to find keys to plug in to have (using numbers I found around the office, off of other XP boxes, and using key generators I found on the internet) and I was never able to get it working and at the end of that time I had to re-install everything on Win2k.
So just when I was about to buy something on Amazon and have it shipped internationally, someone (to rename nameless) told me he had a pal who *worked for Microsoft* (if they only knew - Hi there Scoble. Shhhhh) and maybe could get a full version of XP Pro for a low, low, low, low price. Wooohoo! So that's what I did. And while I was waiting, I used a filesharing app to download another copy of the software (yes, 485 megs) to have in case this fell through as well and so I could have something working ASAP. Everything worked out though and I now have a legal version of the OS. (I actually tried the eDonkied version and the key works, though I didn't try activating it over the net... I have my doubts about that step).
Windows XP still sucks of course - copying over all the files from my old machine to the new one is a nightmare. I can copy a 500MB file in 3 minutes, but 500MB *of* files takes 45 minutes and 12GB is taking all day. The driver nightmare is still there, etc. However, the debate to go to Mac was won by the fact that there are so many SDKs for mobile development that don't run on Mac and the Java support is iffy at best. Plus the machine I could buy for the same amount of money (an iBook) wasn't worth it.
Now that I've got a decent machine, the Linux option may be returning. I'm thinking I *should* be able to install Redhat 9 on this box and use VMWare for those few MS apps that I need to use, but there are *so* many drivers I'm using now (for Bluetooth for example) that I'd be a bit pressed to go with Linux full time. But we'll see. It's defnitely in the forefront of my mind. Right now, however, I'm trying to be productive and this move just cost me a week. I'll play with Linux in a few months.
So that's what's going on. When I've got one machine again, I'll be back to normal and posting like normal again. Right now, however, I'm between PCs and I'm just copying data over to the new machine now, I haven't even started installing, finding my serial numbers, etc. Moving machines sucks. Such a pain in the ass, especially upgrading the OS first as well... urgh.
Continuing. I'm going to be hitting next buttons in install wizard dialogs for the next 10 hours, I'm sure.