Geeky/Programming Ramblings

Windows Vista vs. Windows XP Debate. Who Wins?

I have been using Microsoft’s Windows Vista since it came out RTM, Oct 30 2006. I had it on a Dell desktop, which worked fine. Some driver issues before January 2007, but it still worked. I have had it on my main Dell laptop since May 2007. I use this laptop for work (read: Visual Studio 2005, 2008, SQL Server, Office 2007 etc, etc)

I started using XP the same way since it came out in 2001. Even though, at work, I was forced to use 98/2000 for a while, but I had XP running at home, and ran it all they way up till I installed Vista fresh.

Now XP SP0, was very buggy, driver issues. Same with Windows 2000, SP1 came out and a lot of issues were fixed and it was more stable, yet insecure. SP2 fixed most of the big problems and it was very stable, mature OS, and now SP3 is RTM which adds a few hidden features, as well as all the security patches since SP2. Good deal, yeah, XP is stable, mature and works. Guess what? So is UNIX. It doesn’t mean we want to use it on our machines.

Vista is the new OS in town from Microsoft, and it works just fine. Great almost. Yeah, you heard me right. It works, it doesn’t suck, and yeah, it is better than XP.

Anyone who says otherwise either

a) Doesn’t know how to setup and work Windows

b) has hardware that they can’t get working

c) has an OEM machine full of bloatware slowing it down

d) doesn’t know how to tweak a machine for performance.

e) they haven’t used Vista (because of work reasons or whatever)

Yes, XP works, it works well, for people running Compaq Pesarios or HP machines that are 5-6+ years old. It works well for Linux geeks who really don’t know how to work Windows. It works well for Mac people that need Windows every now and then.

But Vista, just works. My desktop was purchased in Nov 2005. 2 GB of ram. Vista works like a champ. Laptop in May 2007, once again, runs like a champ. Even my MacBook with 1GB runs Vista very well using Apple’s Boot Camp.

Vista IS more secure. You can run it without added bloat of an antivirus/spyware in my opinion. And if you are behind a router, you don’t need a firewall. Now, in XP’s case.. you probably need all three, just because XP is more vulnerable, and when by chance it does get hit by malware, it makes it MUCH harder to get it off XP (I know from helping people) compared to Vista.  Vista has built in tools to identify rouge programs, processes, and things that just shouldn’t be there. It gives you more insight into what is going on – the control panel has tons of options to monitor everything, and, Vista is locked down by default.

Yes UAC is a pain. I disable it, I am a power user. You don’t even need to be a power user, just a smart user. Don’t install crazy things, use Firefox, things like that.

I have been using Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5 now for about 6 months. It is OK, it works, depending on what you want to do. If I wasn’t a Windows developer, I could get by on Mac. I could get by on Linux (I have used it on and off for 8 or so years). But could an average user get by on Linux? No. That is why Linux will never become mainstream for end users – it is too difficult. Even Mac/Windows (and pssst Linux) geek’s give up on Linux because it is just too damn non-user friendly sometimes. No, I shouldn’t have to recompile my kernel to get wireless working. No, I shouldn’t have to edit config files ANYWHERE to change settings, not as an end user. As a power user, yea, that’s fine.

Back to XP vs. Vista – the petition to keep XP alive is just like trying to keep VB6 alive – it will always fail. VB.NET is superior to VB6, Vista is superior to XP – it just is. Vista MCE is much better than MCE 2005, just a ton more options and features, and it works, I could just keep going on and on listing feature comparisons, but it isn’t worth it.

I can say from experience, that Vista wins this war with XP, and until someone can convince me, that is how I roll 🙂

Geeky/Programming Ramblings

Why is MFC Not Dead?

I was reading through some blogs this morning, and ran across this one, from my MSDN Feed.

Here is my answer (I wanted to leave a comment, but it wasn’t working, and I figured it would be a good blog post anyways)

Right now you can make an MFC app and it can run on win98,2k,xp,vista, etc – out of the box. Anything with .NET requires the framework, and if you want your app to just be downloaded and ran, then the framework limitation hurts you. Why make someone download and install a d 20+ MB framework?

I wish there was a way to deploy .net apps without the framework, maybe with just assemblies the apps needs.

But like I said, companies want apps to run on as many clients as possible, which just isn’t a reality with .NET, but it is with MFC.

I really think Microsoft is clueless on why people use MFC and not .NET or even an Web App. Finally, MSFT is starting to use .NET in their client apps here and there (WLW, SSMS, Zune, etc, etc)

Once all apps written by Microsoft use some form of .NET, and Windows 98, 2000, and XP are gone for good (or at such small % of market share they don’t matter, say < 1%), then we can actually write .NET client applications (and have to target the version of .NET on Vista, since that is the lowest common denominator) – OR… MSFT could push .NET as a critical update to XP and wipe the % of .NET installed down to a low enough number to make it feasible to create .NET client apps and get a good chunk of the market share..

There are always going to be people that use MFC for whatever reason, but ease of use is certianly not one of them. A small example is, in .NET, I can create an app that displays a toast message, has a systray icon, connects to FTP, handles web services, and much much more, in very little time, and with a small number of lines of code, whereas in MFC, doing those things is a huge undertaking, 1000's of lines of code, and even then some of it is very "hackish". Yes, doable, but not very easily.

Another argument could be as well, that if your app is good enough, people will download it and install the framework if they don't have it, and I think that is a very good argument (except windows 98 is out of luck – can't install .NET) – I think this last argument is the best – if people want it, and it is an awesome app, they will install whatever to get it to run.

Anyways, I am rambling.. probably could keep talking on this topic for another 100 paragraphs or so. 🙂


Updated to Leopard

Yesterday I picked up Apple’s latest OS, Leopard OS X 10.5. What is really cool is the boot camp feature. I am now dual booting Windows Vista and OSX on my little 13 inch MacBook. If I had the cash I would have gotten a MacBook pro, but it is just so expensive. I have 37 GB partitions for each OS, so not huge, but it works.

I do have a USB hard drive (250) that I use for OSX, and then I have one for Windows, so it is all good. Installing OSX was easy, few clicks, done. Did the updates, etc. Then ran Boot Camp assistant, rebooted, installed Vista, put in OSX DVD, installed the rest of the drivers needed, and then did the Windows updates.

Pretty slick setup. I might get some more RAM for this laptop, since it only has 1 GB, but it is performing OK.

I don’t think I will ever buy any new laptop that isn’t a MacBook (preferably a MacBook Pro). There just isn’t any other way to go IMHO.


Total Computer Experience

There are basically the big three companies, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft. You can install a bunch of applications from each to create an experience on your computer.





I could probably keep listing more things as well. As you can see, the “Big 3” have a ton of offerings for you to customize your computer to your liking. For the last month or so I tried to go “all Google”, but today I switched to “All Microsoft”. Using Live search, using all their tools, etc, to see how it goes. Although I still have Google talk installed as it is not interoperable.

Yahoo seems to be lacking out of the three. Also, in all three companies, there isn’t some “unified” experience (I wish there was, it would make it a lot easier). If there are some tools or app’s that you use from the big 3 that I haven’t listed, please shoot me a comment.

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Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Mobile GPS: Google Maps for Mobile vs. Live Search for Mobile

This evening, I hooked up my Pharos Bluetooth adapter with my Microsoft GPS and synced it to my T-Mobile Dash. I hopped in my Vibe and cruised around town, so I could test out the GPS capabilities. In the past, I have used Pocket Streets and Trips (I don’t think newer versions of Streets and Trips have the Pocket Version anymore though, I have an older version – I have used the laptop version with the GPS, it works well), and Virtual Earth Mobile. As I don’t have those installed currently, I decided to try two new products. Google Maps for Mobile and Live Search for Mobile.

I’ll start off by just saying, that getting the Bluetooth GPS working can be tricky. I paired it with my Dash, then set up a COM port so I could utilize it within applications.

Live Search for Mobile was pretty easy to set up. In the settings, there is a place to pick the COM port, I chose the one I set up, and then went to the maps, and chose an option for “Center on GPS”. In a few seconds, I was watching myself (as a little red arrow) on the screen. The road maps are good, slightly out of date, but the aerial maps are really bad. Black and white even. On to the next test.

Google Maps for Mobile: the maps are nice. The aerial maps are really good for Central MN, but the thing is, as much as I tried, I couldn’t get the GPS to start within the application. There must be something funny with the way it looks for the GPS, so in all reality, I didn’t test much with GMM.

Now that I have my GPS paired, I want to get mologogo working again, but their site is down, something with a DNS issue. Has been down for a week or so. Once I get that up, maybe I will make a page here again or a sidebar widget that shows my current location. The one goofy thing is, the charger for the Bluetooth unit is kind of wacky, if I remember, my PSP charger worked better, I will have to dig into that. My car has 112V plugin, so that is cool.

I can’t wait for the day when you can get 3D GPS like Virtual Earth 3D or Google Earth, or even Bird’s Eye on your mobile, sync’d with GPS, you will never get lost.

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Microsofts ActiveX Debacle

Funny, Microsoft had to change the way they handle ActiveX in the browser because they lost a patent…well, Outlook Web 2003 succumbs to the change, as in a new message, it asks you to hit enter or tab to activate the control. What a waste…you would think they could have a better workaround or just pay licensing on the patent.


Search Engine Wars

Took a look at my referrer logs tonight. Wow, MSN Search is kicking some major a$$! It seems that Google and Yahoo direct people to my archive pages, while MSN directs them right to the actual link page of the post, way better.

For something posts, MSN is the first hit, others I dont even see on the front page. For instance, search for “walmart auto service”

MSN I am #1, Google and Yahoo – no where to be found.

I have been using MSN search and I would say it is getting better. I also have been using Dogpile the last few weeks and that is pretty cool too, now that it includes MSN.


2000 MB Under the Sea

Whoohoo! Finally! Hotmail has made good on their promise and up’d my email storage from 25 MB to 2000 MB (2 Gigabytes). I went from using like 76% to using 1%. Nice!

Here is the proof:


The API War (Battle of Microsoft)

Rebuttal on the API War article!!

This is from Joshua Trupin’s weblog. He’s the executive editor of MSDN Magazine. He answers Joel Spolsky’s now famous “Microsoft lost the API Wars” post.

MSDN Magazine has a CAMP?


MSDN Event

Today, I attending an MSDN event in town. We went over four topics:

1) SQL Server Reporting Services

2) Application Code Blocks

3) Visual Studio “Whidbey” 2005

4) SQL Server “Yukon” 2005

I gained some good knowledge from this event, and in the next four posts, I will go in depth on each topic.