Windows 7 installation

I’m an avid user of anything UNIX related: linux, freebsd, opensolaris. I even tinkered around with SCO Unix and Microsoft Xenix (but that was a rather long time ago). But, for some unknown reason I find myself longing to install a windows version.

I’ve used WinXP for a good two months, got fed up that I didn’t get any productivity out of it, and installed a linux distro on my laptop again. Same for the homeserver which was running Win 2003 server at a point in time.

It was that time of year again, so I started installing Windows 7 on the trusty laptop. And all of a sudden it has to go do production within two days of installing. I exploded in an absolute frenzy just to get everything that I might need on the road in there: UMTS connectivity (works), ssh client (two, both work), office (2007, works, duh) (as a sidenote, I love OneNote). And finally to top it all off, a virusscanner/personal firewall thing.

Oi.

It didn’t work, which kind of beta, final release, from whichever firm, it would not work. The resulting install gave me a headache, as the error messages were quite strange. “Unknown error #0x80040201 occurred”. But this night (two days of tinkering and throwing things out of windows and almost throwing in the towel and installing Ubuntu again (I had to become productive again, and secure as well)) I had a light bulb over my head:

Get rid of EFS.

The Encrypting File System (EFS) is a good, sound, well implemented way to have your own files encrypted and no-one will be able to read them, unless you give them permission. Not even SYSTEM can read them.

I’ll repeat that again.

Not even SYSTEM can read them.

If you start a decompression of an EFS encrypted file, the contents will be encrypted as well. In an awful lot of cases this is exactly the behaviour you want. Because you decompress the file, you do not automatically give everyone access to it, now do you? You can do the installation all right (setup.exe does not complain). But SYSTEM cannot read the resulting files. SYSTEM needs to be able to read the files, because they’re drivers, for crying out loud.

If you remove the encryption of the downloaded installer, everything installs fine, like before, but now SYSTEM can read the files. Yay.

Therefore one piece of advice: do not use EFS on your preferred download location, then you can install the resulting stuff to your heart’s delight.

So, I feel quite good about this, now it finally works. I’m running trend micro now, we’ll see if I’ll buy after the trail, or that I’ll be running ubuntu again.

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Blackberry Storm

I’ve had the (fortunate) experience of living my life with a Blackberry Storm. These are my experiences with it.

blackberry-storm-vodafone1.jpg

To start off with how this review should end: it’s the worst phone in the mobile phone universe. Ever. I mean it. I’ve used Nokia’s, Sony Ericssons, Blackberries, Samsungs, you name it, but this one is worst. Why?

  1. The click-screen interface. The SurePress screen. While in general it might seem that the apparent lack of touch-feedback from other touch screens is a problem, in this case the solution is far from optimal. The screen moves away, which decreases the accuracy of the click itself.
  2. The accuracy is quite bad for the SurePress screen, which seems to be a contradiction in terms.
  3. It looses contact with the SIM card. Ehm. Yes, I’ve had to reset the phone (as in: remove the battery) about every three days. That breaks requirement number one for a mobile phone: being able to place or receive a call. It also breaks the second requirement for a smartphone: to have connectivity with the net.
  4. The GPS works. When you’re not using it, that is. If you start google maps, it’s able to find your location once. After that, remove the battery for a good reset.
  5. The SmartEntry/SmartKey (I can’t remember what the sales term was), is sort of a good idea to enter information (SMS, phonenumbers, etc) because it can more or less predict what you’re going to write. But when you don’t want to type what’s suggested, you’re going to have to get around that, and when you’re not really paying attention to what’s on the screen, but only to what you want to say, that can be very annoying.

These five points made me quite crazy. It made me give back the Storm and get something else.

End review: 3 out of 10.

DragThing

TheMacBundles has an offer for a few utilities which are quite nice. But the killerapp, parallels, I’ve already bought, so that’s sort of an un-offer for me. Also, the rest of the tools doesn’t quite appeal to me, mostly because the tools replace some other shareware of payware tool I’ve already got.

One thing made me curious though: DragThing. I’ve had it on my mac before, but I dismissed it rather swiftly the first time around. And I couldn’t think of any reason why I did that in the first place. So, this article contains my testingresults for the DragThing tool.

First off, DragThing is supposed to be a Dock replacement. Some people don’t like the dock, at all. Personally I’m rather indifferent. It’s nice to know which applications are running at any given time, and for that purpose it works. I use too many tools, like shells, mail, browser, textmate, etc. open in various configurations that I’m not using the dock for keeping the most-frequently used tools (other than mail (postbox at the moment, but that’s for another article) and safari. Which got upgraded today to a real 4.0, instead of 4beta. It didn’t crash, so that counts as good). I’m really not using the document stacks.

In DragThing, you can keep drawers for your apps, documents, folders, urls etc. All nicely together in a thing called a Dock. Of which you can run two incarnations (in the non-paid-for version): one for holding apps, docs, etc and one for the ProcessDock, which has a list of all running processes. The paid-for version also has a disk and window dock, which might come in handy when you have too many safari windows open. Personally I don’t expect much from that, because I use tabbed browsing, so I don’t have many windows open from one application.

You can associate hotkeys with certain things you want to have done, but, frankly, I’m all out of hotkeys right now. Probably the first thing I’m really needing is a two-key hotkey (like emacs with Control-x as prefix), but that’s a topic for another time.

All in all, I’m of the opinion that DragThing is not what I need to manage the stuff I do. It’s not particularly nice looking (a big, who cares topic, but on a mac, well, I do care), and the other needs aren’t that big to have them satisfied by purchasing DragThing.