windows 7

Windows 8 (Dev Preview)

I’m in the middle of moving house, we just finally got into our apartment properly last night. For my test of Internet connectivity, I decided to download the Windows 8 Developer Preview. This morning, while waiting for the carpet guy to come collect his ozone machine (they cleaned the carpets but that didn’t remove the dog-pee stains or the smells of smoke, weed or dog), I gave it a very quick spin.

A decent virtual Linux

In my quest to get a decent dual-OS box (without dual booting), I gave the free VMware server a spin instead of Workstation. The experiment was short lived and lead me back to Workstation with a slightly different approach, and I’m pretty pleased with the resulting Ubuntu virtual machine.

Xen and Ubuntu vs Ubuntu

I’ve been running a virtual Ubuntu under my Windows 7 install for a while now, and I’ve been really pleased with it. Honestly, I get a little warm fuzzy feeling when I boot Windows 7 up, I’m really pleased with it.

I had a 280Gb partition spare and a 4Gb USB drive. So I installed Ubuntu 9.10 32bit onto the partition, and used the “Advanced” box at the end of the install sequence to tell it to use the USB drive for GRUB. The benefit of this is that to boot windows without fiddling around trying to catch the boot selector, I just reboot without the USB drive.

Building the Battleground Europe game servers under VM Ubuntu takes about 2-4 minutes with -j3, which gave me the best time. Building them under native Ubuntu with -j4 or -j8 takes 1 minute 24 seconds.

Best of all, most of my important stuff is on my Windows 1/2Gb “Common” drive, in particular my ThunderBird profile files (Start -> Run > ThunderBird.exe -ProfileManager). I mounted the common drive as /windows/common, installed TB 3.0 under Ubuntu, ran thunderbird -ProfileManager, pointed my profile at /windows/common/ThunderBird/ and bingo: both oses comfortably share my mailboxes!

A little less pain while I upgrade please…

I’ve never heard of anyone choosing to save money by buying a new car without the interior (seats, dash, steering wheel) or plumbing, and just moving over the ones from their old car.

But that’s what we so often do when we upgrade our hardware… And right now I am doing my two office PCs and my home Win7 box. I’d really only just about gotten done installing my stuff onto it.

Fortunately, Dana put me onto something that can take a huge chunk out of the headache:

And below, some notes from my migrations…

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…