It couldn't wait any longer

My laptop has had a very loud and noisy fan for the past few months, but I have been trying to stretch it out until I had some time off to get it repaired without missing it for work. This past week it started to give an overheating message about once every day or two on bootup and you can hear the fan trying to start up and fail. Usually though after a reboot it is fine.

Today I have had to reboot my computer 10 times in a row to get the fan jump started. I just got the laptop finally booted up without overheating and I am doing an emergancy backup of my data to my external HD now. Then I’m taking a trip to Best Buy to get it sent in for repair (covered by warranty).

Luckly I have a work laptop that while clearly inferior it will have to do the job while this gets repaired. However until I get everything setup on it (maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow) expect me to be online infrequently.

Not impressed with Virtual Earth

Microsoft has launched Virtual Earth and just like Joe Hewitt, I am utterly disappointed to say the least.

If you look at my apartment in Manchester, NH you can zoom in closer with a lot more detail compared to Google Maps…but it is in black and white!!! Is this the 1980s?

All of NH as far as I can tell is black and white. Props for the greater detail in some areas like Manchester, but black and white is useless to me. Note that Google Maps is actually worse in this regard: it has color, but no detail whatsoever.

Fenway Park in Google Maps is excellent and in full color. With Virtual Earth? Fenway Park
looks like an aerial view from the 1940s.

Disappointed is the right word I think. Could be oh so much better, but Microsoft blew it if it is going to be black and white.

Windows Vista

Microsoft has announced that Windows Vista will be the official name of the next version of Microsoft Windows. Vista is what was codenamed Longhorn.

I absolutely hate the inconsistancy and idoticy that goes behind Microsoft’s name choices when it comes to product versions. Why can’t they stick with one method?

You wouldn’t believe how many times I have to explain to clients why Office XP isn’t the same as Windows XP (all the client knows because versions have become so diluted is that he has “XP”). Or how Outlook 2002 is part of Office XP (there is no such thing as Word XP, despite common sense saying otherwise). Or how Windows Me came out between Windows 98 and Windows 2000. Or how Windows Server 2003 is the next version of Windows 2000 Server (yes it is confusing for some). Or how Windows XP is the latest version of Windows and replaces Windows 98, Me, and 2000.

Or how we went from:

  • Windows 3.1
  • Windows 95 (with 4-5 versions of that…)
  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows 98
  • Windows 98 SE
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista

Or this:

  • Office 95
  • Office 97
  • Outlook 98 (Windows)
  • Office 98 (Mac)
  • Office 2000
  • Office 2001 (for Mac)
  • Office XP (includes Word 2002, Outlook 2002, Excel 2002…)
  • Office v. X (for Mac)
  • Office 2003
  • Office 2004 (for Mac)

Notice the lack of consistancy, especially recently. Note that outside of releases that use years for version numbers, there is no way to tell which version is newer or the latest. For Office, heck you couldn’t figure out what version was for what platform without adding (for Mac) at the end of it.

Heck let’s have fun with this and compare it to Apple:

  • MacOS 9.0
  • Mac OS X 10.0
  • Mac OS X 10.1
  • Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar
  • Mac OS X 10.3 Panther
  • Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger

Apple likes to add codenames to its releases…the key thing is they still place a major emphasis on the version number. It is easy to tell that Tiger is newer then Jaguar…becaues nearly every mention of Tiger comes with 10.4 next to it (likewise with 10.2 and Jaguar).

Yes I know marketing is a huge reason for these version names. Yes I know it makes a product look flashy and new and cool. But it makes no sense to go about naming versions like this! I spend more time educating users which version is the latest instead of helping them out with more important things.

Microsoft…ditch Windows Vista. Go back to Windows 2006…or Windows 6.0. Or something.

Heck call it Windows 2006 Vista.

Just be consistant and make it easy to tell that Windows Vista is actually newer then Windows XP or Windows ME. Your users will be less confused, us geeks will have some sanity left, and most of all…we lose a reason to make fun of Microsoft and its goofy version names that serve no purpose what so ever.

FeedLounge Alpha tester

Yesterday I received an e-mail from FeedLounge basically saying that if I am one of 100 people to reply first to the e-mail I would get an invitation to try out the alpha. So I replied, even though according to my clock I was 10 minutes behind and probably was going to be screwed.

Well, I got my invitation in the e-mail and signed up. I have only been using it for about a hour with a limited # of feeds, but I am extremely impressed. Bloglines on steriods is definitely the right way to put it. AJAX in all of its glory. A little slow loading sometimes, but I think that is due to it being alpha…it will definitely get better.

On another note, I realized just how maddening it is to not have full feeds while using FeedLounge, especially in 3-column glory. Turning my blog’s feeds onto full text now. Scoble can add another blog onto his list.

I will blog more about FeedLounge as I go along with it.

E-ZPass arrives in NH

Guess I am lucky.

NH drivers could start using E-ZPass on July 11th and you could buy the tags for $5 until the 16th (yesterday), where they were going to go up to $22+ shipping and handling. Well the deadline was extended to August 3rd after it was learned the price increase couldn’t be done in time to allow the system be implimented smoothly.

So thanks to the extension, I just ordered my E-ZPass tonight. I had to spend $5 for the tag, then put $30 into my account. Once that balance goes below $10, they will automatically refill my account based on usage patterns.

The days of looking for tokens, loose change, or $1 are now over when going into tolls.