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ZOMG! ZOMG! It’s here!

I totally didn’t expect them to come through, but my computer arrived this morning. Wheeeeooooo! This thing kicks fifty or sixty different kinds of ass.

I’m a Microsoft hater from way back and I gotta tell you, I love Windows 7 so far. This is an operating system designed for me — the weasel with the short attention span and a bzillion different application windows open at the same time.

Desktop cluttered? Take the one window you want and shake it, and all the others minimize themselves. Shake it again, they come back. Drag a window to the top, it maximizes itself. Drag one window off the left of the screen, one off the right, and they each size themselves to half the screen (fantastic for comparing two documents).

The taskbar has been reworked, too. It’s excellent.

It looks and feels a lot like Linux now — desktop-wise, at least — but that’s nothing but good, sez me. I love Linux, only I could never get all the bugs shook out.

Anyhow, I have a TON of stuff to do, as usual with a new machine. Like fire up HalfLife2 and shoot me some aliens.

Toodle pip!


Comment from chicken farmer
Time: December 23, 2010, 11:09 pm

I’ve said this before, if some rule bending doesn’t scroll your nerd, PS is available in Hong Kong for 80-100HKD (TWELVE USD!!). Genuine ‘skull & crossbones’ stuff, but upgradeable etc.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 23, 2010, 11:14 pm

Scares me, chicken farmer. I’m an immigrant; it wouldn’t take much to put me in hot water here.

Also, I wouldn’t have a clue how to do such a thing.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 23, 2010, 11:15 pm

Oh, by the way — one of my girls is moulting. Coldest weather since records began, and she decides to drop feather.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 23, 2010, 11:35 pm

Weasel spotters might like to note, Santa delivered two packages today. The other was a new vacuum cleaner.

Guess which one is sitting in the corner, looking all neglected?

And no (lest the League of Wimmin is considering issuing a fatwa) I don’t care ;)

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 23, 2010, 11:48 pm

Re: Moulting chicken – Maybe it’s an indication she wants to move INDOORS with y’all. Or maybe she also has gotten ringworm or whatever…

Re: Linux and “bugs shook out” – You OUGHT to look at Ubuntu. They keep dropping new releases on a regular basis, and it is AMAZINGLY bug-free by now. Although it probably won’t run Photoshop, it is a far safer OS to do anything financial from.

Re: Bazillions of windows – take a look at KDE3:
I’m able to run at least TWELVE separate desktops with tabs for each near the “system tray” (or at least that’s what it would be called in Windows). And each desktop can have as many windows as your computer can handle! But KDE3 isn’t QUITE as bug-free as Ubuntu Gnome.

At any rate, enjoy! And you can ALWAYS hook up the vacuum cleaner to the computer to improve the cooling airflow. Hopefully that would keep Uncle happy…

Of course, whilst you wait for PhotoShop affordability, you could always reconsider the free GIMP or one of the lower-cost Corel PaintShop products…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 23, 2010, 11:53 pm

I’m running Ubuntu on an old laptop. Easiest distro yet. “Bugs” in this context also includes weirdnesses introduced by the extreme age of the machine.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: December 24, 2010, 12:15 am

Yep, I’m looking at replacing my old gateway with a new 17″ dell laptop right now. Going to go with Windows 7 pro, since I need to brush up on that OS so that I can start supporting it next year.

oh, Woe to the tech-tard who doesn’t keep up….

Comment from MCPO Airdale
Time: December 24, 2010, 1:14 am

Stoaty – Congrats on the new machine!

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 24, 2010, 1:28 am

I resisted Windows 7. When our IT guy showed me the side-by-side thing (one snaps to the left, one to the right) I said “ho, hum, I’ll never use THAT.”

Guess what I use constantly?

Oh, and I love that you can move taskbar buttons. I keep my taskbar on the left (autohidden) and like to have my e-mail program open at the top of the buttons list followed by the two browsers I use (can we say “undiagnosed OCD,” folks?), and with 7 I can drag the buttons there even if something else opened up first. . .

And I love the built-in sticky notes program. . .

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: December 24, 2010, 2:06 am

Tonight’s Badger Treats to the Weasel Waffe!

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desireing, a beautiful rendition. Bach can make Badgers cry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPeVIuRjUi4

Breath of Heaven, another one that can cause soggy Badger Whiskers. The idea of a 15 year old bravely facing and accepting the resposibility of bearing the Son of God. Wow!
I like Joseph’s Full Blown Panic at the start. Notice the Lightshining down in through the stable roof, that flares at the moment of the Birth, and stays bright to illuminate the Holy Family, a WELL DONE, from God Himself. I also like the overwhelmed looks on the faces of the Magi, particularly Melchior and Balthazar. :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPbV_HTpyx0

Finally, this one, because it’s silly: http://www.theweepies.com/

Merry Christmas to the entire Weasel Waffe!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: December 24, 2010, 2:15 am

Better link to Breath of Heaven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPbV_HTpyx0

Comment from David Gillies
Time: December 24, 2010, 5:46 am

Windows 7 is the first Microsoft OS that doesn’t make me want to park a truck bomb outside Bill Gates’s house. It’s still a beast to do software development on, though. Visual Studio and the whole toolchain suck big floppy donkey dicks compared to Xcode. And setting up an AMP (Apache/MySQL/PHP) system was a snap under OS X (essentially all the bits are there built-in) and something I don’t even want to go near with Windows. It took me less than an afternoon to build a replica of our entire corporate test environment on my Macbook. Try to do that on my Win 7 laptop and I’d be bleeding from the eyes. Obviously I’m a niche market, but Unix is where I cut my teeth software development-wise and the whole Windows runtime model blows.

I have to say I’m impressed with the stability of Win 7. And Mathematica is very well-behaved (and FAST! Three seconds to get the eigenvalues of a 1000 × 1000 random matrix. Yikes).

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: December 24, 2010, 7:15 am

Totally agree, Microsoft got it right with Windows 7.

Congratulations on your new computer!…may it serve you well :)

Comment from JuliaM
Time: December 24, 2010, 8:50 am

Glad I’m not the only one who loves Win 7!

Comment from Mike C.
Time: December 24, 2010, 9:55 am

Well, I’m glad to hear the praise for Windows 7, because the laptop TGoP is getting for Christmas tomorrow has that for an OS. I’m still running XP Pro on this Dell, but I’m not a very demanding user – Office, the intrawebby and e-mail and a very few low level tech programs and that’s about it. All the REAL software runs on boxes my clients supply, mostly under Red Hat linux at the moment. I’d upgrade to fancier hardware and a fancier OS on my own nickle if one of my clients would give/loan me the licenses for the real work software, but since those run $ 250,000 and up (plus 20%/annum maintainence fee), that hasn’t happened yet. And then I’d have to have some honking big drives and two huge monitors – doing that work on a single screen is possible, but it’s no fun.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 12:11 pm

Ya know, you might want to read the Photoshop EULA real close and then check with them to see if you could get support for a LEGAL copy of that program bought in the US even if you’re on that side of the pond.

It ain’t that difficult to download a file from one machine to another. In fact, every poster in this blog has done so. Of course, the files we download are usually a little smaller than the 5.7 Terabytes that an installation copy of Photoshop is probably up to by now, but…

Comment from Anonymous
Time: December 24, 2010, 2:06 pm

Let me be the first to ask the obvious question – What’s S.Weasel’s PayPal Address again?

Maybe Santas could contribute a little each to at least get the price down towards the price that an American should have to pay :-) .
You haven’t completely native -yet- have you?

After all, since we all enjoy the cooking, perhaps we should chip in towards the new pots and pans

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 24, 2010, 2:16 pm

Heh. Bless you.

Uncle B told me I should stop whining; it sounded like I was hitting y’all up for money. I said don’t worry, I don’t even have a PayPal account.

Shopping eBay now, god help me.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 2:22 pm

It looks like this:
MAY be elgible for an upgrade. Hell, if it is even I may be able to afford to buy that, copy it to a folder on my computer without installing it, grant sharing permissions to you, and send you an IP address…

Comment from Gromulin
Time: December 24, 2010, 2:58 pm

Looking forward to turgid weasels, in 3D. Or not.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 24, 2010, 3:00 pm

I’m still poking around asking questions, Mark. Anyhow, I can get a 30-day trial, so I’m not doing anything until I run out the clock on that.

I haven’t started it yet. I hate timed trials. Every day you log in, it counts down. It gives me…issues.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 3:19 pm

Hope whatever you decide works out well. Like I said, if that Photoshop Elements 6 is eligible for upgrade like it APPEARS to say on the Adobe web site, I am quite willing to spend that $35.09 and make it available to you as a legal installation by downloading the installation files from my computer. I am not an Adobe fan, and will definitely NOT install it on my machine so its serial number will be yours and yours alone. Unless you decide to share it over there on the East side of the Pond, of course…

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 3:34 pm

And by the way, while you already seem to be impressed by the performance of your new computer, you haven’t even BEGUN to see what it’s capable of. Until you get some software that will actually USE all those cores, the most you’ll see is an ability to multi-task without slowing down. Word processor, spreadsheet, browser, e-mail, presentation software and everything else open at the same time without any slowdown MAY be impressive, but once you see what it can really do, THEN you will be truly impressed. And once again let me recommend AMD Overdrive:
to let you tailor to get the most out of your new toy.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 4:00 pm

Wassup? Tried to post, but site says what I’m trying is a duplicate, but it don’t show???

Is Bill Gates at it again?

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: December 24, 2010, 5:26 pm

I don’t have the misfortune of having a PC at home, but I can guarantee we’ll be getting Windows 7 at workright about the time windows 11 comse out.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 24, 2010, 5:56 pm

Heh. Spam filter gobbled you up, Mark.

Believe me, multitasking without slowdown is a HUGE deal for me, the way I compute. And HalfLife2 has just peeled off three layers of my retinas. Geeeeeez.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 24, 2010, 5:58 pm

Incidentally, you know the beginning bit of HL2? Where you’re running through the city and the public address system is saying, ‘attention, unknown person of interest…’? I am POSITIVE they hired the same lady who does the voiceovers for the London train system.

When we took the train to Romford a few months ago, it freaked me all to hell.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 24, 2010, 6:02 pm

So I started smacking people with a crowbar.

Comment from David Bain
Time: December 24, 2010, 6:10 pm

Those of us running PS7 on our 2.6 AMDs with 1Gb of RAM can only hate you in the computer envy department. I do, however, wish all the assembled throng a joyous Christmas – or whatever cloning of a pagan mid-winter ceremony you celebrate – and a prosperous and peaceful new year.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 6:42 pm

Re: HL2 PA announcement- You ought to realize the UK hired her to do the train voiceovers AFTER she did the voice for HL2. They figured it would be rather appropriate…

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 24, 2010, 7:33 pm

And a Merry Christmas to you too, Mr Bain.

Fear not, you are far from alone in the computing Stone Age! XP’s still fine for me – though I did have a momentary flutter when I saw how easily 7 lets you place documents side by side… now that I could use.

Ho hum.

Comment from steve
Time: December 24, 2010, 9:24 pm


I, too, have been to the spam filter.

Lots of sitting around, humming Cookoo Cocoon to myself…

Comment from Deborah
Time: December 24, 2010, 9:39 pm

Merry Christmas to all the critters at Badger House!

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 9:46 pm

For steve:
I thought the lyrics were “goo goo g’ joob”:

Comment from David Gillies
Time: December 24, 2010, 9:53 pm

How much RAM and processor do you really need for CS5? Cos I gots me 2.1 GHZ of Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM and it is slick as snot. And that’s on a cheapo ($1000) laptop with a wimpy GPU.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 9:58 pm

But to get back to a more seasonly mood:

Merry Christmas to all!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 24, 2010, 10:43 pm

Photoshop will take as much as you give it, especially if you want to work on, say, a good sized poster at print resolution. The rule of thumb is, it allocates five times the file size in memory. So if you’ve got a 10 meg file, it eats fifty megs of memory. Images can easily be hundreds of megs, with all the layers and junk.

Not that I’ve been working that big. None of my gear could take it.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 24, 2010, 10:54 pm

But it can now!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: December 24, 2010, 11:07 pm

Thanks. Mark, Bach wrote amazing things! Merry Christmas!

Comment from Frit
Time: December 24, 2010, 11:44 pm

Happy Christmas/Holiday-of-your-choice to all!

Stoaty, I’ve been running Win 7 for a year now, (wow, has it been that long?!?) on my AlienWare M17x laptop, and I love it.

I believe someone had asked about a good Photoshop instruction manual…? Anyway, I’ve found that these people seem to do an excellent job of fulfilling the promise; when I did tech support, I used these as my reference books:

As for gifts, the Dragon received a nice George Foreman grill with multiple interchangeable cook plates, and he got me a Bosch Isio – which I’d been drooling over at the local hardware store for the past few months. Makes some yard work so much easier!

Happy Holidays to you all, again, I’m off to play with my new toy!

Comment from steve
Time: December 25, 2010, 1:36 am

Wrapped up in some powdered wool – I guess I’m losing touch.
Don’t tell me this is dying, ‘cos I ain’t changed that much.
The only sound is water drops, I wonder where the hell I am,
Some kind of jam?
Cuckoo Cocoon have I come to, too soon for you?

There’s nothing I can recognise
This is nowhere that I’ve known
With no sign of life at all
I guess that I’m alone
And I feel so secure
That I know this can’t be real
But I feel good
Cuckoo cocoon
Have I come to, too soon for you?

I wonder if I’m a prisoner
Locked in some Brooklyn jail
Or some sort of Jonah
Shut up inside the whale
No, I’m still Rael
And I’m stuck in some kind of cave
What could’ve saved me?
Cuckoo cocoon
Have I come to, too soon for you?

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 25, 2010, 1:53 am

I do have one grouse about Windows 7–but it may be something in my settings, so I’m wondering if others have the same experience. It takes a long time to save files, or to transfer/trash files–and while those activities are going on the system hangs up and won’t do much of anything else.

Comment from Monotone The Elderish
Time: December 25, 2010, 2:32 am

Congrats on the new ‘puter! i shall soon be delving into the depths technology, *Shudder*. Say hello to the ol’ venerable headhumper for me! And merry christmas as well!

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 25, 2010, 2:45 am

For Can’t hark my cry:
No, that should not be the case. Are you near the low end of resources – RAM, cpu speed, disk space? How long has it been since you defragged your hard drive? I’m partial to this freebee which works well with 7:
If you’re middle-of-the-road on resources, you’ve defragged within the past month, and you still have that problem let us know again. You may also need to run Crap Cleaner (Now called CCleaner) to get rid of some garbage loading at boot, but if I put that URL in here as well I’m liable to end up in Spam Jail…

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 25, 2010, 3:00 am

Mark Matis–thank you. I haven’t defragged since getting the new computer, so I’ll do that Monday (yeah, I could log in from home but. . .Nah.) I’ll look at resources, but I tend to doubt it–the guy who has taken care of our IT since 1998 knows me well, and I don’t think he’d sell me a computer that was near the edge on resources from the git-go. One thing that might be affecting it, I suppose, is that all data is stored to our server, not the hard drive–but that never seemed to slow anything down in prior versions of Windows.

However, what your response most importantly tells me is that, in fact, I need to take a closer look at what is going on to figure out why this is happening. I think I have a link to Crap Cleaner somewhere, and I suspect that even if I don’t, I could find it pretty easily.

So, guess I’ll spend the week between now and the New Year at the office alternately trying to respond professionally to a squirrely pro se motion for new trial, and to figure out why 7 is so s-l-o-w to store my data. At least there’ll be some relief from the irritation of each activity in turning to the other!

Thanks, Mark. To you–as to all fellow minions–a Mele Kalikimaka and a Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 25, 2010, 1:19 pm

Since this is a new post, here’s the CCleaner linkee:
Remember that when you do “Tools” “Startup” and want to remove something, FIRST go with “disable”. That way if something doesn’t work properly afterwards, it isn’t TOO difficult to return to where you were before. You’ll probably be amazed at how much is in there. And simply because you MAY use Acrobat Reader DOESN’T mean it has to be in Startup. Unless you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY use it every single time you turn on your machine, you’re better off just letting it load when you actually need to use it. That way it isn’t hogging resources the rest of the time. Same for Office and a LOT OF other programs which apparently believe they are ESSENTIAL to your everyday operation of your computer. Of course, you DO NOT want to remove your anti-virus and other such thingees from startup.

By the way, I don’t use Acrobat Reader for PDF files. I find PDF-XChange Viewer to meet my needs and wants FAR better. It lets me fill in ANY pdf, even those which do not give you that option. Of course, once you do that the file can only be read by somebody else with PDF-XChange viewer, but I find it useful to keep an electronic record of what I have filled out and sent in. Can’t put the linkee for that here lest I end up in Spam Hell on Christmas Day, but you should be able to find it fairly easily.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 25, 2010, 1:56 pm

Thank you, Mark. I’ll take a look on Monday.

I actually use Acrobat Pro rather than the reader–a relic of the days when I was still using Word Perfect 8 (I’ll just say, I clung to it so long that when I finally went to upgrade I couldn’t, and had to buy a whole new license. . .everything after 8 was downhill, sad to say) and couldn’t “print to adobe” from my wordprocessor. Which was a problem, because in order to file documents on line in federal court here in the Northern District of New York (and probably elsewhere) you have to put them into .pdf format first. Now I find Acrobat Pro really useful because of the highlight feature–valuable when reading case summaries I need to summarize for one professional publication–and sticky notes, which I use when commenting on draft documents clients send me in .pdf format. And every so often I’ll turn a court form into a fillable document so I don’t have to file it in handwritten form (we HAVE a typewriter, but I refuse to use it.) So XChange probably wouldn’t be much use to me, but I expect there are others out there for whom it would be just what the doctor ordered; sharing the link in another communication would undoubtedly be good.

Comment from chicken farmer
Time: December 25, 2010, 5:04 pm

Re “one of my girls is moulting.”…
Stress can do this to hens. Cold, excess heat, loud noises, foxes regularly sniffing round or hawks regularly appearing overhead, it could even be bullying by another hen. The list goes on. Friend’s bantam hen began moulting for no apparent reason, went on for a year or more. A change of hen-house later – no more moulting! Weird birds!

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 25, 2010, 6:34 pm

For Can’t hark my cry:
Wassamatta? Ain’t got the guts to send the court system something they can’t read without downloading new software?

No problem, I understand how they are. For the rest of you:

Comment from David Gillies
Time: December 25, 2010, 7:19 pm

You still have to defrag the hard drive under Win 7? Jeex, that’s pretty stone age. MS should invest in a decent file system.

Comment from Frit
Time: December 25, 2010, 7:52 pm

“To you–as to all fellow minions–a Mele Kalikimaka and a Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too, Can’t Hark My Cry! It’s been decades since I’ve heard (read) that in Hawaiian (or is it properly called “Polynesian”?).

Sounds like Mark Mantis has a good handle on what’s likely causing issues with your Win 7 taking forever to save files. Best of luck solving that.

May the New Year bring you and abundance of joy, love, and prosperity! :)

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: December 25, 2010, 8:24 pm

Can’t hark — there’s also a couple nerdgeek issues that sometimes come up.

Any fairly recent computer (~last ten years or so) can and should do disk file transfers in “DMA” mode, which is much faster than “I/O” mode. The catch to that comes when hardware has been exchanged. Windows will shift out of DMA mode if it encounters non-DMA compatible hardware, but it won’t shift back without being told — and telling it to do that is ‘way down deep in the options; I used to know how to do it on XP (it required downloading a Microsoft utility) but where it might be in Win7 I have no idea.

The other thing is, Windows Security has options that will require it to scan every transfer. If you’ve got Paranoid Mode engaged, it means that every file transfer effectively involves a virus scan whether or not the file(s) have ever been scanned before — and that will bog it down something fierce.

I used to deal with what were then gigantic image file transfers, and correcting those two issues could convert a totally unusable computer into something that worked well enough to do the job.

I’m glad to know about CCleaner. There used to be a company called SysInternals that made an excellent utility for getting rid of load-on-start cruft, but they got bought out by Microsoft, and their later offerings tend to ignore Microsoft-originated cruft. Every computer I’ve ever sat down at has huge piles of never-executed code loaded just in case it might be someday needed, and getting rid of the excess can speed one up something wonderful.


Comment from Can\’t hark my cry
Time: December 25, 2010, 9:07 pm

Mark Matis–not a guts issue; if it ain’t .pdf you can’t file it, them’s the rules! And the sensible lawyer does not argue with court clerks.

Frit– :-) I was born there but moved back to the mainland before I could talk. That’s the only phrase I know, and I learned to say it (from my parents) but never knew how to spell it. God, I love the Internet!

Ric–EEK! Well, if nothing else works. . .

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: December 25, 2010, 11:45 pm

Can’t hark my cry:
The file extension STAYS pdf. It’s just not readable by Acrobat. Not sure if anything else besides theirs can, but as you say one does not argue with the denizens of the court system.

Comment from Sockless Joe
Time: December 26, 2010, 1:02 am

As Weaz knows, I had a little more trouble adjusting to Win-7 than she seems to have had. I’m getting the hang of it though, and there are some nice features, several of which were named above.

I never particularly liked the task grouping feature in XP so I had it turned off. (I skipped Vista entirely.) The Win-7 taskbar is grouping-in-spades, though the peek features and the Win-Tab cycling (from Vista?) are pretty sweet, and make task grouping tolerable. I just wish you could peek firefox tabs like you can with IE tabs.

Anywho, for making PDFs (of the normal document variety, not necessarily publication quality or heavy multimedia stuff), PDFCreator is good freeware: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

Ccleaner is good stuff. It’s a nice adjunct to various antispyware programs since that stuff likes to live in temporary files. Also, ditching temp files before a big nastiness scan can save some time whilst scanning.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: December 26, 2010, 2:38 am

Sockless Joe–there is a Firefox add-on called Thumbnail View that allows you to see thumbnails of all your open tabs–not quite the same as peeking at an individual tab, but it might be better than nothing. For that matter, there might even be an add-on to give peeks. I went through an initial bout of add-on madness when I first started using FF, but haven’t bothered recently.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 26, 2010, 12:51 pm

Joe, do you mean the way it groups similar tasks together? I hate that, too, but you can turn it off. Either completely off, or partially off — so it only groups tasks when the taskbar is full (that’s how I set it). Dang if I can remember where the switch is, though.

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