Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My reasons for uninstalling Vista SP1

I was excited to hear about the release of SP1. Increase in capability? Who doesn't want that? Compatibility... Everyone wants their PC to work with every piece of hardware and software thats out there, even if they don't plan on using it, they want to be able to move wherever they need to in the future. 

Vista, SP1 installed or not, does not offer the freedom of movement that users are looking for. After my installation of SP1, it was almost immediately uninstalled. I gave SP1 a fair shot, but it was not worth the plague that it cast upon my notebook. 

Reason 1: Driver Issues
After the installation of SP1, my sound driver stopped working. Yes, I should have done a little more research before my installation of SP1, but seriously... Its supposed to be an update for compatibility. The last thing you expect with an update that you're told, directly from the developers I might add, that it's going to enable you to have more hardware and software work with your machine is for hardware/software to stop working. Its a known issue that there are driver problems with RealTek audio drivers and even a driver problem with chipsets that were thrown into thousands of PCs and notebooks that are "Vista Capable". The chipset in question is Intel's 945G Express series. There is a driver update to solve the problem, but make sure you update the drivers for every piece of hardware you have before installing the service pack. Sure, for a techie thats simple, but the average user doesn't even know what a driver does, let alone know where to look for or install them. RealTek, nor Microsoft, has not released a driver fix for their problem, but after installing SP1 if you go to Control Panel -> Sound, it will open a pop-up that will prompt you to "Fix" the driver problem. It has worked for me for my headset and notebook.

Reason 2: Random Freezes
Before I installed SP1, my Sony VAIO VGN-NR110E ran remotely fine. There are problems with Vista load times here and there, but thats expected with a gig of RAM, which the OS uses 65% plus of. However, I did not have a problem with the notebook freezing up on me. About an hour into SP1, my laptop froze up on me. Another reason why SP1 only saw a little over 24 hours on my notebook.

Reason 3: Does not fix what most users were expecting
With SP1, Vista will still be the memory hogging selfish little OS you saw before the service pack. You will most likely not see "more compatibility" as promised, and I hope you are not hoping it will be the ultimate fix to that little problem that you can't find an answer for. My little problem is with Microsoft's Network Client (As its labeled under software that handles my connection.). After Vista is completely booted, I right click the network icon in the taskbar. Nothing happens. I wait, and right click it again. Nothing happens. I give it one more shot, and I finally get a menu. Yay! Oh wait... I can't select an item from the menu. Hovering over an item in the menu does not trigger the "hover effect" that shows the item you'll select if you click. I can let it sit there all day and it will not trigger the effect. I click anyway. Nothing happens. Menu will not disappear even after clicking off of the menu. Right clicking the icon again does nothing. It will sit down there on top of every window I have open. 

10 minutes later it may be gone, it may not be, but eventually I will be able to select an item from the menu. Finally! Oh wait, I click "Connect to a network" and nothing happens. I click the item again, and a window appears. Finally... Oh... Never mind. The window appears blank, and sits for literally 10 minutes before it will show a list of networks. Being on a notebook and using multiple WiFi connections at my campus, I need to be able to switch networks quickly and efficiently. I would try to connect to it via the network menu under control panel, but that takes equally as long to load and does not offer a "New connection" option. For the record, the notebook is running Vista Home Premium. For the listed wireless connection, it does not include an option to connect and scan to a wireless network. The only real connection I can make is for someone to connect to my notebook via VPN. That won't do me much good.  

I would contact Microsoft support directly, but they want to suck $59 out of my bank account for contact via phone, email, or live chat. No thank you. I would like free support for software that I'm forcefully stuck with, and hardware that will not allow me to downgrade to XP because a lack of driver support. If not free, at least drop the price so that users can actually afford to have their problems fixed. 

In conclusion, don't download SP1. If you do, just be sure to update every driver on your machine and pray to the Microsoft gods that the service pack will run smoothly. 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Safari 3.1 Review

For those of you that don't know, Safari 3.1 is the newest browser release from Apple. Those of you using iTunes will be seeing it pushed down to your PC via iTunes if you haven't already. My advice to you: Download it. Install it. Use it. 

I've been using Safari over Firefox and IE for the past week, and it feels like I'm browsing on a whole new machine. Not only does Safari have a nice, sleek look, but I love all of the little features they've thrown in. Spell check when typing, a Google search tool that doesn't take up an entirely new bar, the bookmarks bar which provides very convenient quick links, and the font smoothing thats built into the browser really gives the extra "wow" factor.

The browser is ungodly fast with its load times. It loads pages faster than the other two largely used browsers, and it loads JavaScript, a code largely supported by web developers , at even faster speeds. 

The only thing I dislike about the browser is that to open a new, blank tab, you have to press CNTRL + T. 

If you want to give it a try, check it out at Apple website

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Future purchases at a glance.

Most of these really deserve their own post, but I'll sum it up into one until I get the actual item on the list.

1.) RAM! Everyone could use some more RAM =D. I'm looking into getting 2 more gigs of RAM to dual channel. My PC is currently running a gig of RAM in dual channel, taking up two slots, but this is supposedly faster than one gig stick. Newegg <3

2.) 2nd Monitor! Haven't decided on what monitor, but it will porbably be another 15" like the one I have, but DVI. I may get a bigger monitor and use this 15" off to the side for a secondary monitor. Yes, I will be using them both at the same time.

3.) TV Tuner PCI Card! I need something to record me playing Wii online and with friends. Plus I can watch TV on my PC with it, and I think the card I selected comes with an FM turner. The card I'm looking to purcahse is:

4.) A new case! I haven't really decided on which case yet, but its probably going to be this one from RAIDMAX:

Try not to touch yourself inappropriately after looking at it. =o I know, its hard. I failed. ='(

5.) A webcam! I might start streaming me live for a few hours a day, and then move to 24/7 streaming on I'd probably be boring to watch at first, though. I'm naked pretty often, too... Might have to stop that. =o

Thats what I'm looking to get when I finally save up enough money. I'll probably buy them in the order listed, but may get a webcam first before the case. I'm hoping to have all of this within the next 3 months, but insurance and gas money is only letting me bring home about $50 a week until I'm done paying off Tia's laptop I got her for Christmas, which should be paid off my next paycheck, and then I can bring home about $100 that I can actually use.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Super Smash Bros. Brawl!

After never having never played a Super Smash Bros. release and hearing so much about the series, I decided to pick up the newest addition to the line Super Smash Brothers Brawl, or SSBB, for the Wii. It was a $50 risk, but all of the hype around this game did not steer me wrong. Whether you're looking to play single player, with friends, or exclusively online, this game delivers.

Out of the few hours I had to myself, I spent the majority of it checking out the online play. It takes merely seconds after turning on the game. The developers decided to go with automatically matching players together rather than allowing players to host matches and have others join them manually. Despite the simplicity to get online play up and running, I noticed it difficult at times for the system to find other players to match you with. I've sat for 10 minutes waiting for the system to find players, and other times it was instant.

Only ~10 minutes were spent on the Adventure Mode. The cut scenes were orgasmic, but I can't say much about the game play. It seemed a little too easy on normal difficulty.

One thing I havn't touched, but really want to get into is the stage builder. From what I've read in the manual, you can give your stage a bacground, music, and parts from a menu. You can save the stages to your Wii, to a memory card and carry them around with you, or share them to users on your friend list. However, you can not play the custom stages online.

5/5 so far.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Blogging and Zune Experiences

I'm currently listening to Leo Laporte talk about blogging and turning your blog into a podcast on his podcast. I've always been a big fan of Leo, and ever since I watched my last episode of Call For Help back in middle school, I've been meaning to get back to listening to him and other hosts from the show. Him and Chris seem to be the only ones worth watching and listening to.

I'm listening to his podcast for free from the software that came with my Zune thats very similar to Apple's iTunes, called Zune Marketplace. Microsoft seems to be trying to keep up with Apple with their software that they've been releasing, but thats a completly different post. ;) Zune Marketplace is a great app and is easy to use with your Zune. After the software is installed, its pretty much plug and play from there. They recently made a new interface update that completly cleaned up the old interface that was hard to navigate. However, they made file management a little harder. The file browser is builker than it was with larger icons that increase loading times. They did, however, also give the interface on the Zune itself a nice new interface update that they introduced with their new 4GB/8GB devices. My girlfriend thought it gave it a nice new "wow" factor from the old interface that was rather boring.

I would easily prefer it over iTunes, which is probably the only thing Microsoft may have over Apple at the moment. I've played around with iTunes, and I hate it. Its got an odd feel and its interface wasn't userfriendly for me. iTunes is free and can be downloaded from the Apple site at The only way, I know of atleast, to obtain Zune Marketplace is to buy a Zune, which is completly worth it. <3


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sickness ='[

Today was bad. I woke up, couldn't stand up because I couldn't balance myself, so I just laid there. Couldn't breathe through my nose. Breathing in through my mouth gave my throat an odd sensation, but it made me cough up something green every now and then. Discusting, I know. =/ I don't really remember much after waking up.

Tia came over to check up on me, and it felt really good that someone was here, especially her. It made me 10 times better, but then she left and I felt like crap again.

On the positive side I was naked all day. =D

Time for sleep.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm slowly getting sucked deeper into the tech world.

An odd motivation to follow tech news engulfed me after taking a computer hardware class at my college. It first started out with "If I were to build a rig, then what would I throw in it?", and then it slowly progressed to software, and now its grown so much that I've been keeping up with what Microsoft plans on doing with Vista in the near future.

Another thing I've been doing is checking out Digg, Twitter, and following the tech community online. It all started with watching Chris Pirillo (, then I slowly progressed to following the community myself.

I must say... There are a ton of 12 year olds bugging to know whats better: PC or Mac? =P

Silly kids.

Off to bed, and hopefully I'll keep this updated more frequently than I have been... Which is never.