Archive for December, 2009

Found this site this morning, when on a whim, I started checking to see WHY Microsoft has slowed up on its Windows 7 updates.

It appears to have some decent articles in there. No harm checking them out. They appear to know what they are talking about.

Enjoy. Happy New Year.

Anura Guruge

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Yesterday I was shamed into cleaning-out and optimizing my 9 year old daughters XP box. So I brought it upstairs and worked on it, intermittently, taking short breaks from my Windows 7 machine.

Installed XP3, ‘Tune Up Utilities’ (which I promptly de-installed since I was totally underwhelmed), System Mechanic 9.5.3 (and yes, it is not 100% clean on XP either, especially when it discovered it had to de-install System Mechanic 4.x), D-Link drivers etc. Went to get her the latest FireFox and saw the 3.6b5 (beta). Installed it. At first blush it feels faster. I used it a fair amount on her box last night. She used it this morning. She grudgingly admitted that everything is a bit faster. She wants me to get her a new XP. Since I just bought her a rather fancy Sony digital camera … she can wait.

The FireFox 3.6b5 release notes claim that this release will be faster. We will see.

Since I rarely, if ever, use IE 8, I didn’t even know this. But I happened to read an article yesterday that was saying that the biggest differentiating feature of IE 8 over FireFox, particularly when it came to Windows 7, was the thumbnail preview feature for the IE tabs — mimicking the thumbnail preview of the Windows 7 Task Bar. Though I haven’t seen it, and I won’t fire up IE 8 just to get a gander of it, I will confess that that sounds cute. Another feather in the cap for Microsoft. Not much you to me, however. Though I invariably have at least 12 open tabs, across two instances of FireFox, one instance on each of my two monitors, on the whole I know exactly what each tab is and where to find it. Much of it because I have a protocol for the tabs, and have fixed tabs opened in the same sequence each day. Yes, I am boring and predictable like that. I also have fairly good short-term memory — which also why I don’t use the Windows 7 ‘sticky notes.’

Well, my daughter had both IE 8 (the latest) and FireFox 3.6b5 on her machine all day today. Since she has a lot of new PC stuff to play with she has been using the PC quite a bit. Mid-morning I told her to swicth over to IE. Even told her that it might be quicker than FireFox. Earlier this evening she told me that “Na, IE isn’t faster.” Later tonight she informed me that she doesn’t like IE and is going back to FireFox. Now this was without any influence of my part — thought it is true that she see both her mother and I using FireFox. But, you can’t argue on the subjective judgment of a 9 year old when it comes to Web browsers.

Happy New Year. All the best.

Anura Guruge

P.S. Though Mozilla still, inexplicably, hasn’t added Windows 7 to the list of Windows supported by FireFox 3.5 (and 3.6) … take my word … 3.5 works FINE with Windows 7 Professional.

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Following my post on the power-packed, 8GB ASUS, with Windows 7 Home Premium, being offered by Best Buy for a compelling $650, I was alerted this afternoon to two other very tempting Windows 7 deals from Best Buy.

  1. The same ASUS, but now packaged with a 20″ LCD monitor and an EPSON NX110 3-in-1 multifunction printer for $760. I have always liked Epson printers. I bought my first in 2003 having carefully studied specs of Epson vs. HP. Never regretted it. Then in 2007 I got a Christmas gig as a Epson weekend warrior. I had to bone up on Epson technology and pass a number of online tests. So I was forced to learn a lot about Epsons, quickly. I was never disappointed. Selling Epson printers, at Best Buy, during the the 2007 Christmas period was, indubitably, one of the best jobs I have ever had … and I have had some plumb jobs with unlimited expense accounts, offices the size of conference rooms, company cars and first class air travel. The printers sold themselves.  I would outsell HP, Canon and Dell day-in, day-out. I really don’t think that a single Kodak got sold while I prowled the printer aisle. I would provide free counseling for those that came in to buy a Kodak, beguiled by the misguiding TV ads. they had seen. So anyway, the Epson MAKES the bundle. So for an additional $110 you are getting a 20″ LCD and an Epson 3-in-1 printer. Have a look. What do you have to lose?

  2. There is also a Gateway bundle with the same Epson 3-in-1 and a 20″ for $630. It is a dual core with 6GB. The 6 gig will compensate a bit for the lack of quad core. I have studied quad core usage on my i7. Unless you genuinely have long-duration background tasks, you are unlikely to truly make use of all four cores — concurrently. Yes, there is load balancing between the cores to keep them from getting too hot, but that is just gravy. The 6 gig will eliminate a lot of paging, especially with the browsers.

So check these out. Go play with them.


Anura Guruge

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I was in town and payed a quick visit to Best Buy to see what Windows 7 related bargains they had after Christmas. The relatively small store that I went to, in Concord, NH, didn’t have any ‘open box’ returns with Windows 7. I was surprised. Maybe that is a testament to to Windows 7. People are loath to return Windows 7 boxes? We will have to watch that. Still early days.

I saw this Asus, Model CG5270-BP004, on a shelf. I had seen pictures of it before on the Web. It certainly commands your attention. I remembered that the spec were good and that my only reservation had to do with its video capabilities.

Checked the specs. Decent enough. Intel Core 2 Quad at 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB (7200 rpm) SATA, 10 USB etc.

As is my wont at Best Buy I spun the box around to have a look at the back. Saw an unused VGA. The display monitor was connected to a DVI. But there was another cable next to the DVI. I thought it was a USB. It was an HDMI! Why Best Buy has both DVI and HDMI to the same monitor is a mystery. I couldn’t check the actual configuration.

The machine had Best Buy’s ‘access control’ ARCHIE program installed. (ARCHIE stops customers from being able to mess up the computers on display. I basically limits the functionality available and prevents Internet access. When I have time, I can sometimes get by ARCHIE. Today, I didn’t have the time.)

I tried to find more detailed specs on it on the ASUS Web site. Around 6pm today all of their sites were down. I’ve had problems with their sites before. Just Googled this machine and found this CNET review. Decent. Actually pretty darned good.

I think, despite the 3 video connections, this thing probably can only support one monitor — unless you add a video card. The 400W power-supply should let you squeak by as long as you don’t go crazy.

But CNET confirms my initial reaction and they have the numbers. Not a bad price for what you get. So you might want to have a look at this.

Hope this helps. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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Most people don’t realize that Web site owners (if they subscribe to a traffic analysis package) and Blog site owners (especially if they use WordPress or Typepad) get to see the search strings that resulted in people visiting their Web site or blog.

As you can see from the above ‘snip’ a few people today did a search on “guruge against you”!


That is kind of funny. I have been an IT analyst for over 25 years. During that period, at various times, I have been vocally critical of IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Sun, Attachmate, NetManage etc. etc.

But it is never personal. It is always objective and I always have the facts to backup my objections.

Yes, I can understand that iolo may feel that I am been rather harsh on them. Not so. I still have System Mechanic on 3 of my machines. I just want them to fix the bugs. I hate it when my Windows 7 machine hangs.

Yes, I am also known to be harsh on Adobe. But, over the years Adobe Acrobat has caused me so much grief. As I told an artist friend recently, I am sure Acrobat has taken 5 years of my life.

Kind of ditto for Microsoft. Over the years Word has kept me up many a night … but then again I use Word more than most.

But, I am also the first to heap praise when praise is due.

Windows 7 exceeds my expectations. Office 2007 has proved to be more resilient than what I expected. Microsoft support, when it came to fixing the icon padlock problem, was superlative. I have said all of this in public.

Acrobat has also got much, much, much better. Acrobat 9.2 seems good … though it amuses me the number of searches I see each day with people searching on “Acrobat 9.2 problems”.

So, bottom line. I am only against specific, quantifiable issues. If System Mechanic 9.5.3 hangs I will complain about it … and provide exact details as to how and when it hung.

If I like something that Microsoft does, I will gladly tip my hat to them.

So don’t  just search for “guruge against you.” That is a disservice to me and to you. Be specific. Write a comment.


Anura Guruge

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Way back, on November 9th, I had already stated that Windows 7 to XP networking works … but does so mysteriously.

Windows 7 will automatically discover XP machines.

On Christmas eve I fired up, for the first time, a XP Professional SP3 box.

It might have been the SP3 but Windows 7 detected it … ‘immediately.’ I didn’t have to do a network search on the Windows 7 machine or anything. The name of the XP SP3 machine just poped up on my Windows 7 machine. Way to go. I am impressed. I think with SP2 it was not as automated.

Once I set up network sharing on the C-drive of the XP machine … I could read/write folders/files from/to to the XP box without any issue. That was fine with me. Since the machines are basically next to each other I only need bi-directional read/write from one machine. So that works for me. I haven’t got around to enabling sharing on the Windows 7.

Did experience one unexpected ‘glitch.’ Though I had given global networking sharing to the C-drive this does not appear to percolate through to the ‘My Documents’ folders — for the individual users.

You have to go in and do that separately. Not a big deal once you know that you have to do this step.

So, right now, I can transfer stuff at will between the XP SP3 and the Windows 7. No restrictions that I have seen.

I even noticed that the TIME REMAINING for a file transfer seems to work when you are going from Windows 7 to XP.

So, I am happy. I am impressed.


Anura Guruge

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I couldn’t believe it.

I had so hoped that System Mechanic hangs, and I have had about 10, were a thing of the past with System Mechanic 9.5.3. I was wrong. [Please see ‘System Mechanic‘ category for my travails with System Mechanic 9.x with Windows 7.]

I had deleted quite a few files today. So thought I would do a defrag even though System Mechanic did not say I needed to do one.

Defrag worked OK. Said I still had 9% fragmentation. It is getting better. Last time around it said 10%. Ten days ago, with 9.5.2 it was saying 14%.

I restarted Windows 7 after the SM hang. So the Action Center does not note this hang. My reliability history is pristine over Christmas.

I then did a Windows 7 fragmenation analysis. It said, 0%. iolo has to get its story right one of these days.

I am annoyed about this hang. We better have System Mechanic 9.5.4 SOON.

Thanks. Cheers.

Anura Guruge

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See that … the GREEN filling up some of my ‘Windows Explorer’ Task Bar icon.

You can also notice I have three instances of ‘Windows Explorer’ active. I was burning a DVD using drag-and-drop, from one ‘Windows Explorer’ window to another. So that accounts for two instances. One for the ‘C’ drive and other for the DVD RW ‘E’ drive. I was copying across all of my Web site images. That was just over a gig and was going to take some time to burn. Hence the file transfer progress bar.

Well, since multitasking is my thing, I activated FireFox to start updating this blog. You will also notice I had two FireFox instances. One of each monitor. Actually, I should have mentioned that ‘Windows Explorer’ instances were also spread across the two monitors.

When I activated both FireFox instances the ‘Windows Explorer’ instances were obscured. I happened to glance down at the task bar and noticed the GREEN encroaching on the icon. Clicked on the icon for a preview. The GREEN matched the exact length of the progress bar.

WAY COOL. Way to go Microsoft. I am impressed.

I used PRT SCR with Snipper to capture the above image per the technique I talked about two days ago. It was a snip.


Anura Guruge

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As I had pointed out way back on November 9, with Windows 7 you don’t need any CD/DVD creation software, à la say Nero, to burn a disk. The disk and folder menu for Windows 7 has a BURN option that allows you to do that. But, as I said at the start, the user interface for using that BURN option isn’t straightforward.

Today, I tried to use it. Got me no where.

Then I, using the COMPUTER icon, just displayed my drives … including my DVD RW drive. It showed as an open folder. Dragged a folder to it. Took it straightway. No hassle.

So I tried it again.

So here is the bottom line. To burn a CD/DVD just put a write-ready disk into your RW drive. Using the COMPUTER icon select that drive and click on it. Open up the drive as a folder. THEN just drag-and-drop the folders or files you want burned into that open disk folder. You can drop multiple files/folders at once. When you are finished just right click and say EJECT. Might take a few minutes for it to ‘finalize’ the disk. It will then eject it.

I was even able to effortlessly add folders to a DVD R disk that I had previously burned. Didn’t ask me anything. Just continued to add.

It really is easy and painless. Try it. You will like it.


Anura Guruge

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I am not sure whether anybody, including Microsoft, knows the exact figures, but I assume that today, Christmas day, tens of thousands of brand new PCs, with Windows 7 preloaded, were fired up around the Globe. Many won’t bother to activate Windows 7 today. Plus, there is the totally out-of-control pirating of Windows 7. Hence, if I TRY to factor in India, China and Vietnam, probably 40% of the copies of Windows 7 that were fired up today, for the first time, were probably pirated. The number maybe higher. I doubt whether it is lower. Despite Microsoft’s inexplicable, inexcusable and irresponsible claim that it would provide updates and support for pirated copies of Windows 7, unstinted, I am sure that quite a few users of pirated Windows 7 will refrain from hitting the Microsoft site. Hence my belief that we will never know how many folks got Windows 7 for Christmas. But I am sure it was a LOT.

So today Windows 7 comes of age. At any other time I would have said that it would be the day of reckoning.

But I have to admit, however grudgingly, that Microsoft DID GOOD with Windows 7. Yes, Microsoft, take a bow. And that coming from me is akin to Newt Gringrich parising Obama’s health care bill! Until Windows 7 I have never, for valid reasons, been a great fan of Microsoft. But, I have always been willing to give credit when credit was due.

Yes, as I myself have found there are BUGS in Windows 7. Just check the ‘Windows 7 Problems’ category here. Yes, these bugs indicate that Windows 7 was not adequately tested. But, by and large, Windows 7 is amazingly resilient and responsive. Consequently, I do not think that there will be too many people today, Christmas day, unhappy with their Windows 7 experience. That is good.

All that said, I still expect that we will see a TON of ‘open box’ Windows 7 machines for sale at places like Best Buy, TigerDirect etc. within the next few days. But that would not be because Windows 7 was a pig. I think today’s economy will be a factor. There will be some buyer’s remorse. “Do I really need a new laptop in the current climate?” So check out the deals. I plan to snap up at least one decent Windows 7 rig to serve as a backup.

Talking of backups … the refurbished Dell … with Windows XP Professional I got from TigerDirect arrived Christmas eve. I fired it up the night of Christmas eve when nothing in the house was stirring. WOW. TigerDirect did me proud. Great machine. Fast and clean. As promised. I installed all that I wanted on it. Best $169 I have spent in a long time … maybe my entire life. THANK YOU TigerDirect.

Happy Christmas.

Anura Guruge

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