I'm back

My new machine is up and running, I've got about 99% of everything where it should be and everything important backed up to CD as well. The machine is lovely. It's quiet, fast, solid. I'm really happy about it...

Some observations after a day or so:

I can't believe the difference this machine makes when it comes to running my apps. I've got *everything* I need to develop running right now and am having no problems using my PC. I really should have upgraded months ago, I can't believe I've been such a cheap bastard squeezing every bit of use out of that Dell, in the end it's ended up costing me money for sure. It's so nice to have what I need available to me when I need it.

The screen is *much* bigger and *much* brighter. I'm getting a tan sitting in front of it. It's actually made my Nokia 3650 screen seem dimmer in comparision!

The funny thing about this PC is that the keyboard is over an inch because of the placement of the the Home, Page Up, Page Down and End keys to the right of the enter key. This means that I'm now getting used to typing at a sort of an angle... After 3 years on the same laptop, this is the one thing I've had to get used to. But the "feel" of the keys is very nice, so it's not bad. I've just got to get used to where my wrists sit. The computer's also a little thicker as well. This also takes some getting used to. But beyond that, it's just a nice solid machine.

On the way home today I noticed a Toshiba store on my street! I couldn't believe it... it's just a small computer shop and service center specializing in Toshiba hardware, but still... so close to home? I'd never noticed it before. This is pretty great in case I need something - for example, the computer is WLAN Ready, so I'll be able to plug in an internal WiFi card. I stopped in today to ask how much and they said 130� + VAT. Yowza. I'll stick with my $35 NetGear cards for now. But later it'd be nice to have it all integrated.

Windows XP is a different world, but it's not all bad. Obviously, the Windowsy things like the Explorer sucks, and how Microsoft tries to manipulate you in every corner of the OS with updates and links and MSN crap, etc. I also turned off all that candy colored eye candy and turned off the stacked icons at the bottom of the page. Crap crap crap. I won't go into a long litany about how bad Windows is in general, you know it already if you use it on a daily basis. However, I'll give a rare thumbs up to the following:

  • Quick rebooting. Since Windows sucks in general and you have to reboot it constantly (especially when installing), it's nice that they've at least sped this up for you.
  • ClearType is soooo nice. Very Very nice.
  • Integrated Zip file support. I am constantly downloading and installing different updates, drivers, etc. Having this be so well integrated is very nice. Winzip just sucks.
  • User Switching: This is the thing that Apple just copied which I only discovered yesterday. Once in a while Ana wants to check her mail or something and I have 30 windows open on the box and don't want to have to close them all out so she can log in. Using this feature it's quick and simple.
  • User Log ins: In general I like the non password log ins. It's probably not as safe, but my machine rarely leaves the house. To be able to turn it on and go is nice.

There's other fun stuff as well like the image viewer screen saver. I've got thousands of digital photos, it's nice to see them when the computer's not being used before it goes into energy saver mode. I probably could have bought something like this, but the fact that it's part of the OS makes it easier. (Which is MS whole evil plan, isn't it?)

Now this doesn't mean I'm suddenly in love with Microsoft, far from it. The box in general was a nightmare to get working correctly. Some stuff was easier - like my USB webcam and mouse - both were literally plug and play. But my USB ADSL modem took forever. One day my WiFi cards cut out for some reason, and Bluetooth took several installs to get right (partly because Microsoft has not sanctioned Bluetooth to run on XP).

In all, however, now that I'm done with all this nasty install stuff, I'm happy. Though I did shed a tear or two watching Steve's keynotes today... "Oh why didn't I buy a Mac!?!?!"

Next time for sure.


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