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My Dual Personality


I’m back to dual-booting, because I couldn’t get VMWare to install on my Fedora installation, and I didn’t want to revert to another Linux distro. So, I put Windows XP back on this machine, and reinstalled Windows Live OneCare, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Messenger and Desktop Mail, and then forgot about it for a while. My wife’s computer, meanwhile, was starting to give her troubles, so I began performing surgery on it in order for her to be able to keep up with her shop.

While I was doing this, she took the opportunity to use my computer – which is faster than hers and has more RAM. So, she installed The Sims 2, a game we’re both very fond of, and finally got to see all the cool cut scenes that the game has available only if you’ve got high-powered video cards with lots of memory to play in. I do believe that has made her somewhat reluctant to go back to her repaired machine, and I predict I will see her playing that game on my PC on many occasions in the future…

While I had Windows up today, I took the opportunity to do a little comparison of features – last night, I ripped a couple of CDs in Fedora using Sound Juicer, and it seemed a little slow to me. The files were saved in the ogg format, so they could be played by any of my audio programs in Linux, and each CD took about 15 minutes to rip. I seemed to remember that Media Player ripped quite a bit faster than that, so I booted up in Windows and ripped an old CD to MP3 format – high-quality, MP3 format, at that – and it was done in about a minute.

Score a big win for Windows.

So, games and mp3-ripping are two tasks that Windows definitely does better than Linux – you wanna prove me wrong?


As usual, more to come on My Windows Experiment – and for the flip side, see My Linux Experiment

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New Vistas of experience


I’m back in the Windows world, at least temporarily. A friend at work sent me the link to a temporary Windows Vista beta download offer, and I abandoned my Linux for Microsoft’s latest. I downloaded and burned the image to DVD and erased the last two months of alternative operating systems by installing it last night.

The first thing that I can tell you is that there is a definite time limit – it won’t let me activate the installation, which means it will stop in 14 days, and even if I reformat and reload, it will still cease functioning in May, anyway. So, this will not be staying on my system forever – but it should give me a good look at the future of Windows so that I can see if I want to stay in the fold.

The major factor in me moving to Linux was cost – and with Vista going for what it is, that looks like a big reason to stay on Linux. However, new computers will probably come with Vista pre-loaded, so that will be one way I will be able to attain a copy. The question is, will I want to?

Here’s my first impression – it’s slick. It looks nice, although a lot about it reminded me of Linux both visually and in terms of program structure. Someone in Redmond’s been sneaking a look at the competition…

One thing that kinda ticks me off is that it’s trying to make me reactivate the copy of MS Works & Word XP that I have, but won’t let me do it because I already have them activated on another machine. The machine I had them activated on was, in fact, this one, several reformats ago. So, now I have another time limit – I can only open Word another 46 times before it stops working.

It can’t see my printer, and there are no drivers for my printer in Vista – it’s too old. Thanks, Bill. Nobody keeps printers longer than they keep their computers, no. So, if I want to print from Vista, I’ll need to find a different printer.

I can’t use my Windows Live OneCare software that I still have about 45 free days on because I neglected to save the installation file for it. 😦 Oh, well. Windows Defender is loaded automatically as part of the operating system, anyway. We’ll see how many viruses I catch by the time I have to switch away from this.

So far – not terribly impressed by it. The Windows Live Writer I’m using to make this blog entry, though – very nice.


More to come later on My Windows Experiment! See the other side of the experiment at My Linux Experiment.

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Out – but not down, yet!

You can look at the other side of this experiment, (My Linux Experiment), to see that I hit a bit of a snag. I had pretty much been convinced to move to Linux – I was going to use a virtual machine to run XP just to keep this side of the experiment going – and I started exploding the myth of Linux stability all over the place. I think I’m on my 5th Linux installation since the initial crashola.

Ever since I started this experiment, I’ve been thinking about why I would want to stay with Windows, if everything that I wanted to do could be done in Linux. The big reason, of course, was The Sims 2, not to mention any other game that doesn’t come in a Linux version. Now, though, I’m thinking of the many advantages of rolling with the big kid on the block. Everything works with Windows, simply because nearly everybody runs Windows. That’s probably going to change in the future, but when just getting MP3 and video files to work in an operating system creates such heavy bugs that the system itself crashes, that’s a definite plus in the column for everybody’s favorite monopoly.

Now, to be completely fair, I should be trying to get Media Player running Ogg Vorbis files, or trying to access a Linux machine from My Network Places – unfamiliar formats would probably play hell with Windows’ stability, too. The thing there is – there’s no need to break my neck trying to get those formats recognized by Windows, because everybody puts their media in formats that can be read by Windows, unless they’re making a political statement. Samba makes a client for Windows so that Linux machines can be read on a network by Windows machines. When you’re the 800-pound gorilla, people accommodate you.

That’s nice. Like I said, that’s probably going to change in the future unless Microsoft rethinks its pricing strategy, but in the meantime, it’s a very smooth ride on top of that big ol’ ape.

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Music, sweet music…

So, I’m testing my MP3 players with both Windows and Linux. Here are the 2 MP3 players I have –

Creative Zen Micro 5GB
IPod Shuffle 512MB

Creative makes drivers for Windows, so I download them, install the Zen Explorer for Windows, and now I can access the Micro from Explorer or from within Yahoo! Music Engine (though I’m trying to just use Zen Explorer). That gives Windows a leg up on Linux, because Creative doesn’t give a flip about drivers for non-Windows operating systems. Several Linux forums carry a procedure for getting your Micro to work, but I haven’t felt ambitious enough to undertake them yet.

The IPod was ease itself – I guess there’s something to be said for having the most popular piece of hardware in the world. Both operating systems auto-detected it as soon as I plugged it into the USB port, and both were able to access the 100MB of space I had created for data storage on the player without any additional software. The music programs inside Linux could even play music off of the Shuffle, something you can’t do in Windows. To get audio onto the Shuffle, though, I had to download and install extra software on both – in Linux, a program called GtkPod, and in Windows, iTunes. Both work incredibly well, although I have to give a slight edge to iTunes, simply because it was designed by the same people who made the Shuffle.

Overall, I’d say that my MP3 players are voting for Windows, although I do hear a little squeak from the Shuffle telling me I should get a Mac. I think the next comment about multimedia will be a Linux entry about movies, movies and more movies, since I spent some time viewing a few over the weekend. (And no, it wasn’t only porn).

More to come from My Windows Experiment…

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Day 1 – downloads and installations and setups, oh my!

(For the other side of this story, see http://360.yahoo.com/rat4cat)


Hello, and welcome to the Windows side of my great experiment – Windows vs Linux. For this side, I have installed


Operating System – Windows XP Professional, service pack 2

Office suite – Microsoft Works 6 (with Word 2002)

Media Player – Windows Media Player 10

Internet Browser – Internet Explorer 7 beta

Email – Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta (with a Hotmail/Windows Live email account)

Security – Windows Live OneCare beta, with the Windows Defender 90-day trial


Now, right off the bat, I have to ‘fess up to a couple of things I’ve cheated on –


  • I have the Yahoo! Music Engine loaded on here because I can’t get Linux to recognize my MP3 player (a Creative Zen Micro 5GB) with it.
  • I had to make a blog post on my Today In Alternate History site and the master document I use was saved in the Openoffice format, so I had Openoffice installed on the machine briefly. That document is now being saved in both the Openoffice and Word formats so that I can access it with either program.
  • I wasn’t aware that Microsoft’s Windows Defender was available yet, so the first anti-virus software loaded on the machine was Grisoft’s AVG simply because it was quick and free.


AVG and Openoffice are now uninstalled, but Yahoo! Music Engine will remain on unless their subscription rates go up, because I like it and it only works in Windows. To make up for that, I am not using Creative’s Media software with the Zen Micro, instead using the plugin that allows Windows Explorer to view and organize files in it. I will endeavor not to use YME unless some music/comedy act comes along that I can’t get any other way – but I ain’t makin’ any promises on that.


But, other than the one transgression, for the next 90 days, I’m set for the ultimate Microsoft experience. Here’s what happened day 1:


6-ish – setup Windows Live Mail Desktop with my account, found the OneCare package on the MS website, let it scan my system for viruses.

8-ish – 2 excruciatingly slow hours later, scan finishes, and I open another tab in Internet Explorer to surf a bit while system downloads and installs the OneCare package onto my PC.

8:25 – Internet Explorer crashes, probably due to an Adobe Acrobat license agreement that just wouldn’t open. Restarted.

9-ish – OneCare’s session expired while I was having these difficulties. Restarted that, OneCare installed fine. It then wanted to tune up my system.

11-ish – 2 more excruciatingly slow hours later, and OneCare now thinks my PC won’t die immediately. Hurrah. I crawl off to bed.


Can’t you feel the thrills? More excitement to come in My Windows Experiment…

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