In-place preview

Would love to see Vista/W7 do this:


Not going to be for everyone, but if you have lots of “activity” windows – Visual Studio doing a long compile, email, instant messengers, command prompts running long batch files … Instead of dropping them into the one-dimensional task bar, why not go 2D and allow the user to keep them as previews (not just icons) on the desktop? Shift-click on the minimize button and plop a sticky preview “icon” that can be moved around on the desktop until you’re ready to restore state…

Giving Ubuntu a whorl

Thanks for the votes :) I’ve just burned an Ubuntu 8.10 DVD. I’ve got NeoSmart’s EasyBCD installed, I’m going to try installing Ubuntu and seeing if it gives me the option of installing other than to the MBR so the default boot manager is still Vista’s. I really hope I’m not having to reinstall tomorrow :)

“Spore has stopped working” under Vista fix

If you’ve just installed Spore to Vista and you’re getting a “spore has stopped working” error immediately on launch…

First, uninstall and reinstall.

After it’s done installing, stop.



I guess I’m still suffering some paranoia from my recent XP infection, but this wasn’t on my start menu a couple of hours ago. I know that because it bumped Calculator off the list.

This is what my menu looked like 3 hours ago (having the start menu up when I took the screenshot was an accident):

Mea culpa, kinda…

Windows Server 2003, it turns out, has the ever-popular Automatic UpdatesRestart your computer now” focus-stealing dialog that seems to grind my gears. And, say you happen to be remotely logged into the box, Windows Server 2003 will reboot if you happen to click where the as-yet-unrendered button is going to be once the application starts asking the system to draw the dialog box. Your experience will be a brief flash of gray and then a few moments later Remote Desktop Connection will tell you that you have been disconnected.


Vista, otoh, has a nice little “task-tray” notification that your updates won’t take effect until you reboot, which doesn’t steal focus. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess there is not a chance in hell Microsoft will ever fix that dialog in XP or 2003 ;)

Vista SP1

After my box got infected last weekend, I’ve been dropping into Vista here and there. Nothing has really changed, but somehow it’s not quite annoying me as much, and I don’t get the urge to hop back into XP. So what’s different?

Eleavator music required…

Although I genuinely appreciate that the Vista “Windows Update” dialog doesn’t steal focus!

Vista to the rescue!

Under my policy of credit where it’s due. The Ark of Truth DVD is Widescreen, but my (SD) TV isn’t. So I was going to play the DVD on my PC. I haven’t gotten around to installing a DVD player yet, so I figured I should give Vista’s Media Center a chance, and frankly I was very pleased but the quality was a bit grainy.

Thinking it might be some DRM thing or just not a very good default codec (preserving some marketplace for the DVD player industry) I switched back to XP. Nada. To the Asus website (I’m not sure why). A firmware update? Ok. Download, run… Blue screen. Boot problems.

I couldn’t get it to flash. In desperation I booted Vista and tried flashing from Vista.


I still have the issue of grainy playback. It’s not terrible, but its just not the quality I would have expected. I guess I’ll download a WinDVD trial if there is one and try that. But Yay for Vista! I’ve finally used it for something other than Solitaire/Spider Solitaire :)