Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Windows Vista – A New experience

Those who have seen my presentations know that my life is on my laptop. Therefore, it was fitting that I was exceptionally frustrated when a 10-month old Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop began to chug along like a 4-cylinder truck.

I reformatted the laptop and using my MSDN Universal subscription decided to install Windows Vista Ultimate as my operating system of choice. Thanks to my excellent file management practices (nicely complementing my good data design practices), backing up my projects and personal files took all of 30 minutes. I downloaded Windows Vista and I was off running to the races.

The install process was especially smooth. Friends reported that Vista installs quickly, my experience did not reflect that and it seemed to take a good hour to fully install. Most of the hardware had build in Vista drivers.

The new look and feel is beautiful. Thankfully I purchased the laptop with 1 GB of memory and the dedicated (and at the time, kick ass) Nvidia GeForce 6800 256 MB (dedicated) video card. The fade look and shadows are very nice.

Vista is a bit of a memory hog and I regularly find that 500 MB of my memory is used even before I open up any programs. It will be interesting to see how Oracle 10g runs on Vista and SQL Server 2005 when I am running my demonstrations. With XP Professional, running Oracle and SQL Server 2005 together was risky business.

The only issues I have had so far have to do with my legacy programs. My HP printer will not install a driver, thus it’s practically worthless to me right now. I also use a statistical analysis package called STATA for my economics research, and that program would not install correctly on Vista. Even running as administrator with XP SP 2 compatibility did not work.

Thankfully I can still use my trusty Dell Dimension 8200 (4 ½ years old) to run my legacy apps and print documents. I certainly recommend anyone upgrading to Vista to consider having 2 GB of RAM as a minimum. I am loathe to upgrade the lappy for $200 right now as this machine will be replaced in 11 months with an Apple MacBook pro unless Dell has a more compelling product.

Along with Vista I installed Office 2007 Professional. I love the new look and features of this program and will probably do a separate write up of it later after I have used it more.

All in all, Vista appears to be a great step forward and I look forward to showing it off at the Miami code camp on February 10, 2007.

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