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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Windows 7 not much faster than Windows Vista – My first impressions of Windows 7


I wrote this in response to an article I saw regarding the relative speeds of Windows 7 and Vista.

I have a venerable 2.8GHz P4 with Intel RAID on 2x160GB HDD and a gig of RAM which I bought in 2003 or something… I only upgraded it once to a 256MB NVIDIA 7600 as I was running it as a Tiger Hackintosh for a couple of years. It really flew on Tiger, but I had a real Mac (albeit a G4) which was slower but much less flakey and so went back to the trouble free XP.
I then made the mistake of BUYING A BOX COPY (sheesh) of Vista Ultimate. My first ever Box OS purchase. My poor machine really felt its age since it would no longer play back HD videos smoothly, so the box went back to XP again and served as my main Playback device for my Projector for a couple of years.

On hearing all the Windows 7 brouhaha I decided to retry Vista with SP1 and about 75 incremental upgrades and put office 2003 and Zend Studio back on.

To be frank, It wasn’t as slow as I remembered it. It was as if the patches were just enough to allow my old faithful to climb back on to its feet.
And Aero’s 3D surfaces for each application actually meant the interface was MORE responsive and Mac Like since each app didn’t have to redraw when brought to the front. With the RAID disks, even 1Gb of RAM was usable (although multitasking slowed it much sooner than in XP).

I found myself honestly enjoyin using Vista for the last month or two and not missing XP, even when I had to really struggle to find any of the randomly shuffled functions.

Last month, I forced myself to make what I promised is the last upgrade to this machine and got 2GB RAM. My old faithful suddenly sprang to life… After a couple of days of heavy use, the memory was full, but it appeared to be about 1.5GB of cache! Office opened instantly (once I turned off min/maxing animations) ! I mean that literally. It was definitely faster than XP in general use and although 1080P HD Vid playback still stutters, my Leopard C2D Intel iMac w/ 4GB of DDR2 can’t match it for general interface response speed!!

So, to cut a long story medium, I installed the Windows 7 RC on the 2nd of May(!!!) expecting wonderful things… Firstly, the interface and colours remind me of a certain open source OS. Light, simple, breathy. Everything is simpler. I haven’t scratched my head as much as I got accustomed to with Vista, for sure.

However, I NOTICED NO SPEED INCREASE for my particular workload of Zend, Office and a Trial install of Illustrator CS4, indeed Office felt marginally slower which corroborates what was mentioned in the article. Instantaneous was replaced with a slightly annoying Almost Instantaneous, but not quite sort of feeling.

Still, benchmarks aside W7 is definitely less offensive to use than Vista.

In conclusion, then, I think it’s all about expectations. I was expecting molasses for Vista and got syrup – It felt good. i was expecting water for W7 and got slightly warmed syrup – I felt cheated and actually missed Vista’s moody dark interface.

Windows 7 is not much faster than Windows Vista but of course, YMMV.


Disclosure: I’m a “slider” rather than switcher, finding my Windows use fading out since 2005 on the release of the Mac Mini. My SOHO now consists of 6 Macs and only 3 PCs (one of which is a netbook). I now basically use Windows for Office 2003 compatibility and a label printer that refuses to talk Mac.

BTW, Vista Boot Camp on an Aluminium Mac 24″ w/ 4GB of RAM is THE FASTEST Office 2003 machine I have ever used. It’s shockingly instantaneous! If I had time, I’d install W7 on it, but I can’t be bothered.

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Safari 4 and Hotmail Problem – Can’t Open Mail

March 27, 2009 2 comments

Although you can log in to Hotmail with Safari 4, you may find that you can’t actually read messages: They won’t open when you click on them.

If this is the case, there is a simple solution.

  1. Restart Safari to clear your hotmail session.
  2. Open Safari >> Preferences menu
  3. Click on Advanced
  4. Enable the “Develop” menu by clicking the check box and close the settings box.
  5. Select Develop >> User Agent >> Opera 9.63 Mac
  6. Browse to hotmail.com or whatever you use.

You should now be able to access Hotmail Normally.

>> Remember to change your User Agent Back to Safari when you leave Hotmail if you are a fan of Browser statistics.

Another stupid Office 2008 (Office:mac) Formatting Bug

September 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Check this one out. I’ve been using change tracking to make sure I know who’s doing what to which file.

I had some text in a small box at the top of the page and wanted to colour that box’s text in red to make it stand out.

A simple enough request, you’d think.

Unfortunately, change it to red and the Whole Flipping Document (TM) turns red!

I’ve found several bugs while in change tracking mode. It’s far easier to return to regular editing mode, make the changes and then come back. You’ll not have those changes recorded, but at least the changes will be applied properly.

Office 2008 really isn’t ready for prime time.

The Microsoft Office 2008 disaster (Office:mac 2008 buggy as hell)

September 20, 2008 9 comments

What is it about Microsoft that makes them incapable of releasing software packed to the rafters with show stopping bugs?

What I mean to say is that Office 2008 is as buggy as Hell! Come on Microsoft, this is your flagship suite on the Mac, often the only exposure to your company diehard Mac users ever get. And what do you give them? Shit on a plate.

We’ve got this project on at the moment, and I’ve been trying to get it done, but Office:mac 2008 just doesn’t seem to want to let me.

Let’s start with the good stuff:

  • Excel 2008 on my Intel Mac Mini scrolls noticably faster than Office 2004 on the same machine. So although my 2.4GHz iMac 24″ is fast enough to handle the Rosetta translation from PPC to Intel without noticable performance issues, my Mac Mini clearly struggles with 2004. Exel 2008 is, once up and running, smoother on this limited machine.
  • Entourage 2008 is better than 2004. It’s faster, cleaner and stalls less often when syncing my Hotmail. Enough said. Way to go Microsoft.

OK, that’s the good stuff out of the way, now the bad stuff.

  • No Visual Basic. WTF?

Excuse me? But HTF am I supposed to run my spreadsheets without Visual Basic? Don’t give me some cock and bull story about “Applescript is the standard script on the Mac, so we changed to Applescript.”

Since when have you ever cared about standards, Microsoft?

Put VB back in and we’ll talk some more.

  • Less stable than Naomi Campbell

Excel crashed twice last night, in three hours. That’s just a joke. It would stall for a second and vanish without a trace. And not just last night, but often.

  • It’s fat, flabby and slow

Why is it that my copy of Office 2004 running in emulation on an Intel Mac is faster than Office 2008 running native (bar the aforementioned scrolling) on the same machine?

Excel 2004 takes less than 10 seconds to boot, Excel 2008 takes almost twice as long! Come on! This is not acceptable. This is native code and it’s being trounced by emulated code!

Now, it may run faster, but what am I doing that needs the speed? It’s not like I’m running any cunning VB scripts… ’cause they removed it! And who in their right mind is going to develop ultracomplex Applescript macros when Microsoft themselves said they’re going to put VB back in in the next release…

Sounds like they used the same programmers that made Vista.

  • Bugs

There are just too many. Really. I’m not going to bore you with any but these two which have cost me considerable productivity time.

I saved a file as an XLSX (Excel XML format) and was completely unable to open it in office 2004 and Office 2003 on the PC, even with the Version 11.5 update and the Compatibility pack installed! I had to connect to my iMac at home, resave the file as an Excel 97~2003 file and try again. Strange though, only a couple of files have showed this bug… But then, that’s the nature of bugs, isn’t it.

Display issues is currently a real annoyance.

Check out these screenshots:

View a sheet at 100% and all is well. 

Zoom in to 125% and everything turns into hashes.

It doesn’t matter if you expand a column out, the hashes just multiply to fill the gap!

It’s only when you SHRINK the column that the hashes disappear and text appears.

Twiddle the width of the column a little and the text comes back.

Come ON Microsoft, this is NOT production quality software.

Solution

  • There is no solution at present.

I recommend sticking with 2004, which while being a foible laden application suite is stable, predictable and reliable; three concepts I’ve started to take more seriously the older I’ve got.

I’m going to wait for a couple of service packs and try it again later. In the meantime and for the first time ever, I’ve reinstalled an earlier version of Office!