Thursday, May 08, 2008

Windows Vista.....Is it good for business?

Hello again.  Today’s topic is a discussion of Windows Vista.  I use my trust Dell Inspiron 9300 for all my consulting work.  It originally came with Windows XP Professional and worked pretty good, but in my experience Windows has a way of mucking up the file system so the computer drastically slows down over time.  This has happened with every machine I’ve had from Windows 95 to present.   Two solutions to this problem are not to install/remove software all the time, and do a fresh reformat about once a year. 

So the Dell came with XP Pro and I moved it to Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit in January 2007.  I bought the Dell because it has a great video card for gaming (although in the 2.5 years I’ve had it I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve played games)….so the computer was ready for Vista.  Running the Windows Experience Tool shows the following numbers:


The processor is the slowest part of the machine and the rest is A-ok.

The Dell has struggled a lot under Vista, especially when running SQL Server and BIDS.  It’s also become slower booting up.   An error a couple weeks ago lead me to do a complete wipe and reinstall of basic applications.  However, I will still not pleased with the performance (and especially battery life).   The biggest dealbreaker was that I have a difficult time being able to dock my computer to my 24” LCD at home.  The video card crashes and then it takes a lot of reboots to get it running, but there is not an ‘official’ Nvidia driver for my card (since it came with XP). 

Keith suggested that I give Service Pack 1 a try – see if it will help with my performance issues.  I installed it without a problem yesterday and my first impression is that the computer is definitely much faster.  SP1 supposedly addressed many performance and battery life issues so I’m going to give it a couple weeks to check.  I also haven’t docked the system yet to see if that was affected. 

Overall, I can certainly understand the reluctance of businesses to not deal with a Vista upgrade.  MSFT continues to create a monster OS each time they release a new version.  I have found Vista (and XP) to be very stable…..I am able to crash Vista if I remove my broadband card while it’s running – but otherwise it’s been stable.  I also appreciate the extra work on security.   I’m sure more people will begin to use Vista in corporate offices, but I’m going to wait and give Windows Server 2008 a try before I comment further.  Stay tuned. 

Saturday, May 03, 2008

BBQ Quest

Howdy all.

Amazingly enough, I am speaking at SQL Saturday – Jacksonville (#3) today.  As usual, I rode up to Jacksonville with Joe Healy (Microsoft dude) and both of us being from the rural part of the country enjoy bbq.  When I say BBQ, I don’t mean chicken smothered in BBQ sauce like you will find at your local Applebees (priced $12 for $2 worth of food + $1 of preparation expense).  I’m talking good, southern BBQ – the kind that a local guy owns a smoker and cooks ribs, pork, or chicken all day in smoke at 250 degrees until the meat is so tenderized it falls off the bone.  On our road trips in the past we have discovered some local gem BBQ places, generally on the old country roads between major cities.  There’s good places we’ve discovered outside of Tampa, Lakeland, Suwanee, and Gainesville.

Interestingly enough, we planned our route to intersect a new BBQ join.  We drove up I-75 to Ocala, 301 to Gainesville, SR 20 to Palatka, and SR 17 to Green Cove Springs outside of Jax.  Ironically, we passed a grand total of two bbq places, of which exactly 0 were open.  We arrived at Tommy’s BBQ just north of Ocala on 301 at 3:05 PM.  They were open but stopped serving lunch at 3 PM, and the lady was eager to head on home, so we moved on up the road.  Passing two Sonny’s BBQ later, we arrived in Jax without having succeeded on the mission.  A BBQ Bills’ place north of Palatka was closed as well.

I’m not a huge Sonny’s fan – but it would have sufficed given the precarious situation, but Joe was hell bent on finding a real place or going hungry, so we arrived in Jax about 5 PM starved and disappointed.   I planned the route home on different roads, hoping to intersect with a new, hidden gem of a BBQ restaurant.