Archive for January, 2007

One good reason to upgrade to Office 2007 …

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

No more Clippy.  Here's gone.  History.  Never to return.

If you're visiting Office Online to check out Office 2007 (and you are, right?), there's one thing in all the marketing materials you won't find: the obituary for Clippy. The loved/hated Office Assistant first included in Office 97 (he lost his default status in Office XP) is gone. Seriously. It's not even some buried Easter egg you can hunt for on the applications.

Now tell me that this alone isn't worth upgrading for?  I still want to see a sworn affidavit from Microsoft assuring me that he's not going to come back.

How long does it take to install Vista?

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

I'm going to pick up a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate later on today - how long does it take to install?

Depends on your hardware and how fast you respond to it.  I'd say if you're reasonably confident with computers and if you have a PC that's less than a few years old that you should be up and running in about 30 minutes.  If your PC is speedy and you work through the installation process quickly you might even be able to be playing with Windows Vista in as little as 20 minutes.

However, I'd urge you not to rush.  Take your time.  Check you hardware and make sure that you have an up-to-date backup (system and data preferably, just in case).

Have fun!

iPod shuffle – now comes in color

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

On Vista's launch day, Apple have chosen to add a little color to the iPod shuffle range.

iPod shuffle color

Find the basic silver shuffle a little boring?  Then why not go for a little color in the form of a pink, green blue or orange shuffle.  The price is still fixed at $79 and all players are fitted with 1GB of flash memory.

The Apple store is shipping these models "within 24 hours" and will offer free laser engraving and free gift wrapping on all models.

Troubleshooting and diagnostic tools – Sysinternals Suite

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Sysinternals have developed some of the best Windows diagnostic tools around.  The tools have been moved over to the Microsoft site (this happened when Mark Russinovich, the brains behind Sysinternals, moved to work at Microsoft) and they have now been packaged into a suite of tools - all for free. 

The Sysinternals Suite is an 8MB download containing 67 essential utilities for Windows geeks to troubleshoot and diagnose problems with their PCs.  Tools packaged in the suite include absolute essentials such as Rootkit Revealer, Autoruns, Process Explorer and Regmon.  These are some of the best utilities that you can find and I use them regularly.

However, don't expect a swish looking suite along the lines of Norton Utilities.  Sysinternals's stuff is very powerful where it matters but the interface (or, in some cases, the lack of interface) can make them tricky to use.  I recommend that after you download this suite that you head over to the main Sysinternals site and familiarize yourself with these tools.  There's a fair bit of learning to do, but it will pay off when you need to use these tools.

Windows Vista is out!

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Finally, after years of development and testing, Windows Vista is out.  I'm very excited about that.  Many people will benefit from the security and stability improvements that Vista will bring.  Yes, it takes some getting used to but over the next few days, weeks and months I'll be posting loads of Vista-related hints, tips, tweaks and tricks here - stay tuned!

It's an odd feeling for me Vista being released today.   I started using beta versions of Vista back in 2005.  Boy, has it come a long way since then.  Another funny thing is that I've installed and played with every version of Vista available, but I've yet to hold a disc box in my hands.  I might go out today to find one.

Yesterday a set of patches and updates were released for Vista, in preparation for today's release.  These include bug fixes, tweaks, language packs and Windows Vista Ultimate Extras - Hold Em Poker and BitLocker and EFS enhancements.

Anyway, if you're going out today to buy a copy of Vista, here's a handy guide to what's in each of versions - enjoy and have fun!

Windows Vista Business
Windows Vista Business - Regardless of whether your organization is big or small, Windows Vista Business will help you lower your PC management costs, improve your security, enhance your productivity, and stay better connected than ever before.
Suggested retail price for full package product, $299.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $199.00 USD.

Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic - Windows Vista Home Basic is the edition of Windows for users with the most basic computing needs. The features in Windows Vista Home Basic also form the foundation of all of the other editions of Windows Vista, including Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate.
Suggested retail price for full package product, $199.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $99.95 USD.

Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium - Whatever you choose to do with your home PC, Windows Vista Home Premium will deliver a more complete and satisfying computing experience.
Suggested retail price for full package product, $239.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $159.00 USD.

Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows Vista Ultimate - If you want all of the best business features, all of the best mobility features, and all of the best home entertainment features, Windows Vista Ultimate is the solution for you. With Windows Vista Ultimate, you don't have to compromise.
Suggested retail price for full package product, $399.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $259.00 USD.

Here's chart showing, at a glance, the differences between the various Vista editions (click for larger version):

Windows Vista editions

Basically, the differences can be summed up as follows:

  • Home Basic - The most basic Vista edition.  No Aero Glass, not enhanced for notebooks and Tablet PCs, no media center, no backup tools, no remote desktop and business networking and no BitLocker Driven Encryption.
  • Home Premium - Has media center support but no backup tools, no remote desktop and business networking and no BitLocker Driven Encryption.
  • Business - No media center support and no BitLocker Driven Encryption.
  • Ultimate - The edition that has it all.

Hope that helps you make up your mind as to which edition is right for you!