Windows 7 on my netbook.

Windows 7 has now been installed on my netbook for a little over a week of use. I use my netbook daily at work, as a primary work computer & play device during dead periods. The netbook is an Asus EEE PC 1000HE from Amazon (not the cheaper best buy version). When doing my research, I came to the conclusion that this was far and away the best netbook when taking price & performance into consideration (Some of the Sony models were more appealing to me, but also double the price). I have been using Windows 7 as my primary OS on my desktop at home since the day RC1 was released, and have thus far been very impressed by it's stability, features, and feel.

I thought that the modest specs of the netbook (1.6ghz, 1gb of RAM, 5400RPM HDD) would be more than adequate to run anything I wanted and pretty fast on the included Windows XP Home. I was not happy with the fact that I had to use XP Home with it, but settled in with it anyway. About 5 or 6 hours of use, I realized that the speed at which applications opened and performed was slightly irritating. Especially during the first 5-10 minutes of turning on or after several days of use (I didn't shut down normally. I used hibernate mode instead). While it was tolerable, it was also irritating. I upgraded to 2GB of RAM, the maximum supported by this netbook. It did better, but it was still not quite up to my high, and possibly unrealistic, expectations. I considered stripping the boot items of the OS and hoping this would improve the performance, but I had a friend of mine inform me that Windows 7 had been reported to perform at least as good as Windows XP. It was time to try it.

The ASUS EEE PC 1000HE comes with it's 160GB HDD already partitioned into 2 logical disks, divided evenly, so I would not have to format the drive to run both XP & Windows 7. This was a great convenience. Installation of Windows 7 was quite simple, as I knew it would be, but surprisingly it was also extremely quick. Everything was simple, easy to do, no glitches at all during the installation. However, after installation was completed, the problems started.

Once I got it booted up into Windows 7 and installed my normal array of programs successfully (OpenOffice, AVG, Firefox, & iTunes), I loaded up my iTunes with some playlists and while listening to music attempted to use the Fn key to turn down the volume, and I realize that none of my Fn shortcuts & shortcut keys are working. A little bit of Googling informs me that I should download an older version of the Intel display driver, and install the XP version of drivers for the shortcut keys and this will enable my Fn shortcuts as well.

So, I start my trek of screwing with OS drivers in the most asinine way possible. I had to install the older Windows Vista Intel driver instead of the driver Intel has for Windows 7. Odd, but the driver does work. So I set about installing the drivers provided by ASUS for the 1000HE on their website (all are Windows XP drivers, they don't support any other OS for this model). It is a little clunky with installing the drivers, but I finally get them installed. I now can edit the shortcut buttons and my Fn shortcuts are working as well. Not exactly smoothly installed to get to this point, but it's working.

I'm now satisfied with the functionality of the netbook running Windows 7, but there is still 1 more irritation that I have yet to attempt to address. The Fn shortcut to disable the trackpad says that it disables the trackpad, but it actually doesn't. Even when it's disabled, the trackpad continues to function. This is irritating to me because I have a tendency to accidently tap the pad while typing and it moves my cursor away from where I'm typing. I plan on looking into fixing this sometime next week most likely. I still have not even attempted to use the wired ethernet port, which I've read should not be working in Windows 7. This isn't an issue for me, as I normally use the wireless-n anyway.

As far as performance of Windows 7 vs Windows XP on this particular netbook, I'm inclined to say that overall performance is better on Windows 7. However, I do notice a bigger slowdown when I have several programs running at once than I did in Windows XP. To me, it's definitely a good trade off. I can tolerate only having 5-6 tabs open in Firefox, an OpenOffice document, TweetDeck, and iTunes running, as opposed to 15 tabs, several OpenOffice documents, TweetDeck, iTunes, and a few PDF files open. Not to mention, the great little useful tricks that come with Windows 7, such as drag to the left of the screen to take up the left half the screen with that window. I find myself missing it whenever I'm forced to use an XP or Vista machine.

I wish that I had retained completely full functionality through the upgrade to Windows 7, but the missing components are more small annoyances rather than deal breaking issues. The performance boost, better OS, and the fact that now I use the same OS for both home and mobile is well worth the upgrade to me. I suggest to anyone who is a fan of Windows 7, and has a netbook that is capable of the upgrade easily. Do a little research online and you'll find out how much of pain your particular model will be to upgrade to Windows 7.


Granted, smartphones are not the leader in the market overall. Most people still tend to use rather basic phones. Well, basic by today's standards anyway. Capable of texting, making/receiving phone calls perhaps a touch of email or limited web surfing, but not fully integrated and made for these tasks. They are a phone. Smartphones are a hybrid cross of a phone and PDA. We may not all have one, but everyone knows someone who does.

I can't speak for everyone, but most people I talk to (and how I felt before I made the switch) seem to find these smart phones as cool devices but not really practical for the money unless you are a professional that requires something like that. It's not true. While we may not "require" one, neither does that professional either. It might suck, but he could get away with only have a laptop and finding Wi-Fi spots or using a more basic phone as a modem for the laptop. It just makes things easier.

It is the same for the every day person who just thinks of it as another expense that is just cool and not something that would benefit them enough to pay the price for it. Well, you are wrong (depending on how tight your budget is, of course). I would have never believed it until I made the switch either. Let me give you a good example of how useful and helpful my iPhone really has been.

A few days ago, I was heading to a job fair. I didn't know the time that it opened and I was already out in the world. So, I pulled out my iPhone, surfed over to my local newspaper's website and found the information for the job fair. I was already a little bit late for the opening (about 5 minutes) and I wasn't entirely sure where the building was, so I used google maps. Gave me a quick route through a couple back roads and I was there in about 15 minutes.

So I'm there, and there is a huge line, even though they started letting people in 30 minutes ago. I take a picture of the line using my phone, and post it on twitter with a comment like "There is too many people at this job fair. This is 30 min after they started letting people in!" just to kill some time while in line. Almost as soon as I get in the building, I receive a text from a friend. He's got a job opening that I should look at. I pop open my email, click the link and find the information on the job right then. I now know I need to head by this place once I leave the job fair.

There isn't a lot of Tech jobs in this fair, so after I'm there for a few minutes and have talked to everyone I need to, I pile into a corner to collect myself for the trek through the crowd, which is quite dense. I decide to look at twitter while I'm in a corner not being slammed around and catching my breath. I have 2 people telling me about job openings in my area in response to my comments about the job fair. I have now added 3 places to talk to and/or go about a job today. And it would not have been possible if I didn't have a smartphone.

It may seem like the phone isn't worth that money, but it's not entirely true. It can pay off in ways you don't expect. I'm not saying "run out and buy a smartphone now," but if you can afford one and want one, stop making excuses to not get one. They really are worth it.

Possible move coming.

I have just purchased a domain name and hosting for a year for BITS (the business). The blog could possibly be moving there, provided I figure out a good way to implement in on the site.

One problem, blogspot makes things so simple to post, where as I have no real idea of how to implement a blog (with comments, easy posting options, etc) on a site all on my own. I'm learning this website design thing as I go for now. But, be aware of the possible move.

I will post prior to the move if it becomes a for sure thing. I will also make sure to include a link so you can update your bookmarks.

Flamers & Trolls behind bars...

Yeah, sure, this sounds like a great idea. We've all come along some message board troll that we have secretly wished he would get thrown in jail for the idiocy he spews for the simple purpose of being a complete pain in your cyberbutt. Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act could make it a reality.

But honestly, is it really a crime? Being a jerk in public isn't a crime, nor should it be. Why should the online world be any different? Just because there is no way for someone to physically threaten the individual in order to attempt him to get him to stop? Because there is no consequences for online behavior? Well, let us take a look at this.

If someone is acting out in a public place, he does run the risk of infuriating someone to the point of physical retaliation. A flamer or troll does not really have to worry about physical consequences, this is true. However, to say there are no consequences is a bit naive. The person could end up banned from the boards, put on everyone's killfile, or any number of other cyber consequences. These may not carry the same weight in some minds as a good beat down, but they are consequences.

Also, in the real world, it is sometimes hard to escape a jerk. There is no "ignore" button, you can only attempt to ignore, and some are better at it than others. There is no killfile. The best you can really hope for is someone to knock his lights out (by the way, you risk jail yourself if you choose to hit someone over annoying you) or have someone throw him out. And if he really doesn't want to leave, you may have to call the police for that one, unless you have some bouncers in the place. There is definitely upside and downside to both worlds when dealing with someone immature and annoying.

And this whole idea that cyberbullying is horrendous and causes kids to commit suicide, such as the very sad case dealing with Myspace in 2006, or act out violently is plain rubbish. This kids were not only picked on in cyberspace, but in school and elsewhere as well. And we've all seen the press on school shootings, and nearly every time it has to do with someone being fed up with a bully or group of bullies. Where is the legislation on bullying in schools? Nowhere, because that's been around forever. This is in the world of cyberspace, a place that might as well be Narnia to most of the representatives in Washing. They are scared, and acting stupid in that fear. And honestly, I find the fearful blanketing of any topic to be getting quite old out of Washington.

Someone please put a stop to the asinine legislation coming out of Washington recently, as if our country doesn't have enough real problems on its plate.

Quad Boot System scrapped.

My personal life has spun out of my control, and in the wake of it, I've decided to scrap the idea all together for the time being.

Instead, I'm now running straight Windows 7 x64 (no backup systems, other than my trusty netbook). I left enough room during partitioning to install Fedora 10 when things settle down for me. But at the moment, I'm dealing with too many other things on top of trying to find a summer job at the very least.

I am still keeping up with Twitter and Facebook however. Can't leave those out, they are part of my life now. I'll try to keep updates on the blog as well.

For now, I found this link quite humorous. Got originally from @webaddict on twitter.

Happy Mothers Day.

Progress on personal projects and goals.

I have yet to actually do much with LinkedIn so far. However, I am starting to really get the ideas behind Twitter, and I'm actually enjoying it somewhat. I'm sure it will get better as I add more interesting people to followers and following lists. Feel free to follow me, a link is on the right under "Contact Me".

I've decided to expand my plans for my home box. I am now going to quad boot.

Windows Vista Ultimate x64
Windows 7 x64
Mac OSX 10.5 x86
Linux Fedora 10 x86

I have the Vista x64 installed now as it will remain my primary and largest partition. I plan to add the rest in the order above. I'll update as I get started on it, which will hopefully be tomorrow after my last class for the semester.

The Origin for this blog.

This blog, among other things in my life, was inspired by listening to a very well delivered presentation by Chad Plemons, Vice President of Information Technology at EdFinancial.

I have a feeling that when I look back in 10 years from wherever I am, I'm going to recognize that presentation as a turning point for my professional future. I learned a lot about the corporate world, and the more importantly, the world of Information Technology during the speech. It was also very motivating and inspiring on top of being informative.

Here is a small list of the things that I was inspired to do following the presentation.

1) Start this blog.
2) Join & learn twitter.
3) Make a commitment to curb my language.
4) Join linkedin.
5) Put more consideration into continuing my education beyond the 2 year degree.
6) Develop an actual name for the business I run out of the house doing computer related work. This blog is named after the business name. I was quite proud of it.
7) Put more effort into all my relationships, no matter if they are familial, personal, or professional.
8) Add a few books to my list, including works from Stephen Covey & Guy Kawasaki.
9) Expand my expectations and prospects for future jobs from strictly hardware related IT.
10) Update, expand, and send out my resume.

It really did have an impact on me, both professionally and personally. I am already listening to the audio book of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I'm also attempting to really curb language and do a better job interacting with everyone around me. I do hope the effort I put in  pays off as much as I think it will, but even if it doesn't, I feel better about myself. Not that I really ever think that Mr. Plemons will read this blog, but I feel I must say it just to close this introduction properly.

Chad Plemons: Thank You!