Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Windows 7, Idol, etc.

Look, Ma, I'm a beta tester!

When Windows Vista went beta 2 years ago, I missed the window by two days. I felt totally dejected - at least until negative reviews started spilling in. Didn't feel so bad then. I've still never used Vista and we run XP happily today, thank you for asking. But I promised not to miss the next public beta of a program I wanted to try.

Enter Windows 7.

So I've been using Windows 7 for a few months. I have two hard drives to accommodate our media center, so I made a small partition for Win7 and fired her up. Jordan, for one, was less than impressed.

Daddy: "How do you like the new computer, Jordan?"

Jordan: "The apple computer? "

That's right folks, he calls Windows an apple computer... here's why:

Apple computer, get it?

Jordan: "Uhh...I like the space computer better."

That's the XP partition he's talking about, which has a nebula for a background picture.

Daddy: "Why is that"

Jordan: "Because Batman doesn't work on the apple computer."

There you have it. No Lego Batman, no deal. For the record, Lego Batman does work on Win7 and Jordan is happy again.

But I'm not.

Win7 looks pretty at first. The visuals are nice and crisp (hooray for slideshow wallpapers!) and Win7 seemed to stay out of the way pretty well. It starts up quickly, and it was pretty stable.

However, it started to wear on me like a needy best friend. Win7 is nothing more than Windows Vista Lite. It may be an improvement, but it still has the same flaws. User Account Controls were 'fixed' by adding ways to minimize the notices. But in doing so, desktop gadgets (replacement to Vista's sidebar) are disabled. Windows Aero is toned down from Vista, which was an unnecessary reduction. Microsoft tried to update the taskbar by modeling OSX's dock, but they failed miserably. And why, oh why, does my Linksys wireless card not work???

The worst part was that Win7 automatically locked up all of my music files. Remember, I now have 3 partitions over 2 hard drives. The other two partitions have XP loaded (one is just a backup image) and have music files on them. Win7 decided it would be the owner of the music files and locked all the images up. I had to unlock every single directory of music in Win7 one-by-one just so XP would recognize the files again. Why do this to a nice bloke like me, Win7? I'll never have those 3-4 hours of my life again. This same lock-up problem also applies to iTunes. My solution? Drop iTunes. It wasn't worth fixing. I think the whole problem is that Win7 wants us to use 'libraries' that can comprise several directories. That's sorta kinda nice, but not worth the bother.

And did I mention that an update from XP to Win7 will not be possible when it goes retail? Ahh, stink.

Now is the part where you shake your head in shame at me. You see, I'm totally going to buy Win7.

Windows Media Center will be included on all retail versions of Win7...and it's fabulous. Of the 5 different media centers I've tried, it's far and away the best. Since our computer is more TV and DVD player than compy, I've been highly frustrated with Catalyst Media Center on our XP install and other programs like BeyondTV were lackluster.

There's been one snag though. My program guide quit working last night. I think it's related to the "conversion" to HD that didn't really happen. I read on Engadget that Microsoft discovered the problem and fixed it, but it's still not working for me. So I have to record manually! Like one of those ancient tools called VCRs. Remember those?

Ahh...Windows Media Center. How I love thee.

Anyway, now we hardly ever use the XP partitions. We turn Win7 on in the morning to record Super Why (in HD! Woot!), Curious George, and Clifford. Then the kids watch movies. Then Cyberchase is recorded. Then we record American Idol. After that sometimes we record a movie in HD. There's hardly a moment Win7 is not on.

Here's another shot of the beloved Windows Media Center. 10 points if you recognized 'The artist formerly known as Megan Corkrey' in the background. Who, by the way, is the only person I would vote for if I actually voted for American Idol. I am a firm believer in the philosophy of Even though it's the only show I watch, American Idol is a stagnant program with no drama or surprises.

Megan doesn't hold a candle to our hometown homeboy, Danny, but man is she entertaining. Honestly, who else sings like that? Who else has the quirkiness required to yell "Caw! Caw!" at the end of their song? People, do me a favor. Keep my Tuesdays and Wednesdays enjoyable and vote for Megan Joy.


  1. Well honey after last night's performance of Megan's I don't know if I care if she stays in anymore. It was terrible.

  2. I concur. It was bad...even for Megan. isn't giving me much hope. [sigh]

    I wonder who the next Worster will be! Allison? Anoop? Scott? Too many good (I mean bad) choices.