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SQL, AppFrame and other cool technologies

Tag Archives: Windows 7

Mac OS X vs Windows 7

Late last year I bought a Mac Mini to check out what all the fuzz was all about. After a month, I upgraded to a 27″ iMac because the Mac Mini was painfully slow. With a 5400 rpm disk and 2GB RAM you can’t do much more than surfing in my opinion.

Anyhow, I bought an iMac with a bit better specs:

  • 2.93GHz Quad Core Intel Core i7
  • 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 256GB SSD + 1TB SATA disks
  • ATI Radeon HD 5750 1GB GDDR5-RAM
  • 2560 x 1440 screen resolution

I also bought a cheap 27″ Benq screen so I have more space to play around with.

My main focus on this computer was to get really familiar with Garageband, one of the applications delivered with every Mac. First impression was just “WHOW!”. It still is. Apple has done a really good job at creating an application for hobby musicians. I can easily record one or multiple tracks from my keyboard, guitars or microphones. It even helps me get my track’s beat synchronized with something called groove matching. Check out the little intro video if you’re a hobby musician. I bet you’ll be impressed!

iLife (the package which is delivered with every Mac) also contains iPhoto and iMovie. I haven’t really tried iMovie, but iPhoto is simple and fun.

So, what does a Windows-guy have to say about the operating system, Mac OS X? Short answer is I don’t like it. I’m used to Windows 7, and to be honest, I can’t see why people think Mac OS X is more userfriendly. Sure, the control panel is much more tidy, you don’t have to think about “C:, D:” etc, but that’s about it in my opinion. I use the keyboard for more or less everything in Windows. Switching apps, minimizing, maximizing, docking windows to the left or right. There are probably the same amount of keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS X, but some things are just plain stupid. For instance, if you get a message box with a Yes/No, the focus is not in message box. You have to use your mouse, because No is _ALWAYS_ the default, and in 99.99% of the cases, I’m clicking yes with my mouse. Also, resizing windows is a big pain. For some reason, I always place windows in the bottom right corner. What if you want to resize that window? Well, you’ll have to drag it to the middle of the screen, and then resize it in the bottom right corner, because in OS X you can’t resize from any angle. I hear this is “fixed” in Lion, the next version, though. Everything else is more or less the same as in Windows. You’ve got something similar to a start menu, a taskbar (dock) and a file menu. The fact that Chrome, VLC and other often used applications are the same on Mac, you can’t really tell the big difference. Especially if you install Parallels. If you’re familiar with XP-mode in Windows 7, you’ve already seen this. Parallels makes it seamless to run Windows applications on your Mac, and with Coherence mode they work just like Mac apps. They even mimic the keyboard-shortcuts. So, the applications that aren’t supported on OS X, I simply just run in the Windows 7 instance. That’s a big plus since the only word I can use about Outlook for Mac is; USELESS!

My conclusion is; As an operating system, Windows kicks OS X’s ass! But, the application package you get with Mac (iLife) is just awesome for “creative people” that like to play music, take pictures or make movies.

NNUG and MTUG Haugesund User Group Meeting in English

The countdown to AppEd has started. ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?!

Thursday evening, September 30, we’ll start off with NNUG (.NET) and MTUG (Microsoft Technology) Haugesund user group meeting. First, Fredrik Kalseth, which is a well known speaker in Norway, will talk about ASP.NET MVC 2 and the news in MVC 3. After his talk we’ll have some pizza, and then Morgan Simonsen, which is also a very well known speaker, will talk about Windows 7 SP1 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. And the best of all, all sessions are in English, so everyone’s welcome! Please sign up for this at http://www.nnug.no/Avdelinger/Haugesund/Moter/NNUG-and-MTUG-Haugesund—September-2010/

Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts

Yes, I know. There are thousand posts out there with the same name, but for some reason many people haven’t seen them. Here’s a list of my favorite keyboard shortcuts in Windows 7:

Win + D – Show Desktop (minimize all windows)
Win + E – Open Computer
Win + L – Lock your computer
Win + P – Choose presentation display mode (computer only, duplicate etc)
Win + R – Open the Run dialog
Win + Space – “Aero Peak”
Win + Up – Maximize Window
Win + Left/Right – Dock the window to the left or right side of the screen
Win + Down – “Unmaximize” or minimize the window
Win + +/- – Zoom in/out
Ctrl + Shift + N – New folder

And then you’ve got a couple of shortcuts that are nice to know:
Ctrl + Shift + Esc – Open Task Manager
Win + Pause – System Properties (equal to right click computer, properties)

And then some which we’ve used for ages:
Ctrl + Esc – Equal to windows key (or clicking the start menu)
Alt + Tab – Cycle Through Windows
Alt + Shift + Tab – Cycle Through Windows, counter clock
Ctrl + Tab – Cycle through tabs in application.
Ctrl + Shift + Tab – Cycle through tabs in application, counter clock
Ctrl + C – Copy
Ctrl + X – Cut
Ctrl + V – Paste

For the complete list, visit this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/Windows7/Keyboard-shortcuts

Hidden Windows 7 features

I’ve been listening to RunAs Radio a lot lately, and I’ve picked up a couple of new cool things. The last podcast I heard was about “hidden” features in Windows 7.

PSR (Problem Steps Recorder)
A very simple application that allows you to record your steps. This will be great for you when you can’t reproduce an error a user gets. Just tell the user to start recording, then reproduce the error and stop recording. The application will create a zip-file with a MHT file inside with screenshots, OS information+++. You should try it out!

Default printers
Notice the S at the end. If you go to “Devices and Printers” you can click on the “Manage default printers” button. Here you can set up your home printer to be the default printer when you’re connected to your home network, and an other when you’re connected to your work network!

Bit locker to go
This is a really good security thing. By group policies you can force the user to encrypt USB-sticks etc when they connect them to their computers.

Direct Access
This will sort out MUCH of the VPN problems. By using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, you can connect to any (public) network, and it will create a VPN connection to your work network, without the user having to do anything except connecting to the public network.

Branch Cache
With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 you can now set up a branch cache on all your offices as a file cache. If a user at a branch office downloads a file from the main office, it will download the file from the main office. If a second user tries to download the same file (from the main office), it will automatically download it from the first user (in the same branch office) that downloaded this file. Pretty neat!

Aero Shake
If you have several windows open, you can “shake” one of them and the others will be minimized

Windows 7 RTM

Most of you already know that the release of Windows 7 is near. If you haven’t heard, you should really consider reading the news more often 🙂

RTM (release to manufacturing) is now confirmed to be released 13th of July to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. GA (General Availability) is set to 22nd of October. Norwegian version will be released 31st of October.

I’ve been using Windows 7 since the first beta version and I’m very fond of it. There’s only one bug that’s annoying me at the moment, and that is related to running the laptop on battery. I’m really looking forward to the release, and hope most of you will convert as soon as possible so we can get rid of old operating systems and browsers (XP, IE6 etc).

Windows 7

About 24 hours ago I started installing Windows 7 Beta 1 (build 7000). First I tried upgrading my Vista installation. After about half an hour with extracting files etc, it stopped at 21%, wanted to reboot. After the reboot, it started at 21%. In the mean time I was playing drums on Guitar Hero World Tour. My neighbors HATE it. It doesn’t take more than two minutes before they start hammering on my door etc. Anyhow.. It still was at 21% so I went to bed. Haven’t slept much lately… When I woke up, it was still at 21%, so I decided to cancel the upgrade, and do a fresh install. Rollback worked perfectly, so I managed to get into my vista installation to copy out the files I “needed”.
Bug 1: upgrade didn’t work

Fresh install didn’t take long. Immediately after it was finished, I started installing all my usual applications. MSN, Visual Studio, SQL Server +++. The only thing I have had problems with so far is daemon tools and similar applications. For those of you that are not familiar with this, it’s a tool to mount ISO-files like a virtual CD/DVD-ROM. After a while I found one that works pretty good: Virtual CloneDrive. If you got any other program to do this, which is FREE (as in free of charge, don’t care if it’s open source or not), and does ONLY mount files, not all the other bullshit like Nero etc, please let me know…

After installing everything I needed, I started exploring the new features. There’s actually some very nice features, but we’ll get back too them soon. I first want to notify you about the other bugs I’ve found.

Bug 2: problems with restarting
After windows update, windows wanted a restart. I pressed “restart” and went over to my mom to have dinner etc. 6 hours later I came back home and noticed the “shutting down” screen. I of course used the power button, and restarted it again. The same thing happened the next restart. Although, I didn’t have this problem the last restart. Have no idea why though. I haven’t started looking at logs yet.

Bug 3: windows explorer stops working
Have no idea what happened, but suddenly windows explorer couldn’t find any of my hard disks. I tried killing explorer.exe and starting it again, without success. I’ve had this problem in XP before, but then it normally works fine after killing it. Restarting worked though, as always 😉

These are the “only” bugs I’ve found so far. I’m a multitask-dude, so I always install several programs at the same time, while doing hundreds of other thing. Windows 7 seems to have no problem with this. I’ve had various problems with this in both XP and Vista.

So, over to the new features. Most of your are probably familiar with “gadgets” in Vista. In Windows 7 you still got gadgets but they’re not locked to the sidebar. You can drop them wherever you want on the screen (as shown on the screenshot). This is of course just to show you. I normally don’t use any gadgets 🙂

UAC (User Account Control) is something that have annoyed many people in Vista. I think UAC is a good idea, but it should warn you about things that really matter, and not EVERYTHING you do. I myself have set it to the “Shut up and let me do what ever I want because I (think I) know what I’m doing“-mode. In Vista there was only on and off, but in Windows 7 there’s 4 settings.

One of the features I’m a big fan of is the new taskbar. Instead of having a taskbar just for opening applications, you can now hover for example the IE-icon, and then get a preview of all your tabs. If you click any of them it opens IE in the correct tab. This also includes all other applications. By using the right-click option “pin this program to taskbar”, you can add applications to it. I’ve pinned putty (which is a SSH-client). If I click it, and the application isn’t opened, it will start it. Pretty neat, especially with the preview functionality.

You also got this “pin” functionality in the start menu. Nice if there’s for example documents you need to add to some kind of favorite list or similar.

Another cool feature is the window management. If you’ve got several windows open, and you “shake” one of them, it will minimize all other windows. If you shake it ones more, it will restore the other windows. You can also dock windows by just moving them around. If you move the window to the left of your screen, it docks the window to 50% of the left. If you move it to the top of your screen, it maximizes it.

This is the biggest changes I’ve seen compared to Vista. There’s also a lot of small changes, like the action center which notifies you if there’s something wrong. For instance before I installed an antivirus application, it said I had to do it. It doesn’t popup and it isn’t annoying in any way. It’s just a red flag waiting to be clicked on.

They’ve also included “Send feedback” on all windows. This automatically connects to http://connect.microsoft.com and reports issues by itself.