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Name: Mark Dickenson

State: Missouri
Country: United States

Sex: Male
Age: 59
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Panama Jack
Jul 26, 2009 - 1:48 am
Title: RUNAWAY HE IS BLOGGING!!!

Call Homeland Security Panama Jack is actually posting!!!

Yes, it has been over a year since I last posted a blog.  I never have been able to get excited about blogging like so many other people but I figured it was time.  I thought I would talk about some of the upcoming changes to AATrade and give a late update to my work on the house.

As you can tell from my last blog I bought a very, very rundown Ranch Style house and posted pictures to prove it.   I said I would post pictures of the finished work and never did.  So, in keeping with my delayed posting of the work on the house here are some pictures of the kitchen and the living room front door I took almost a year ago.

Just for reference this first picture is what the kitchen looked like right after I bought it.  You would have been hard pressed to find anything worse off.



Below are three angles looking into the kitchen after i finished most of the major work.  At that time there were no wall cabinets installed because I ran out of money.   You can't tell from the pictures too well but the counter top is all bisque colored porcelain tile.  Also, the brown tiles you see above the counter are gone.  The back-splash between the counter and wall cabinets is now tiled using 2 inch dull white ceramic tile with very faint grayish speckles.  That tile is trimmed on the edges using a brown porcelain 1 inch by 2 inch tile.  It looks amazing.  Also, you can see the floor is tiled with a ceramic rough stone looking greenish tile.  Also, there isn't a kick-panel under the floor cabinets in the pictures but it now has real copper kick-panels that really stand out with those cabinets and floor tile.  All of the cabinet doors and drawers have brushed stainless steel pulls and I didn't use knobs but regular pull handles for everything.  It looks much better than knobs.

Every bit of work you see from the ceiling spots to cabinets to all of tile work (yes, floor and counter) to the paint and trim was done by myself.  Didn't ask for any help.  I am damned proud of the work I have accomplished.

Tarnus and Max Headroom helped with the demo work on the kitchen. Watching a 6'+ Max swinging a pickaxe is a scary sight from any horror movie.  The only thing missing was a mask.

In another month or two I may get around to posting another blog with pictures of the finished kitchen.  There are cabinets all along the wall and the microwave you see sitting on the floor is mounted above the stove under a cabinet.





This is a picture of what the front door and walls looked like when I bought the house.



This is what the front door looks like from the dining room.   And the 4' x 4' entryway floor is tiled using a brown and gray river rock looking ceramic tile.  The carpet in the living-room is a brown, gray and beige Berber carpet with a faint diamond pattern.



I have NEVER done anything like this before.  I was a complete novice when it came to remodeling.  It was definitely an on-the-job learning experience.  I am thankful for the Internet because it let me find all kinds of information on how to lay tile, put up sheet-rock, install cabinets, paint, trim and all kinds of other things.

The only down side is when I leave town to visit my relatives I get hooked into doing remodeling work for them.   My last job was removing stainless steel back-splash around the stove and two walls of cabinets in the kitchen.  Then tiling the back-splash at my moms kitchen.  

Word to the wise...  

If you don't want family asking for remodeling help don't let them know you can do it.

Now, on to the game...

I was looking though some of the game files and noticed that most of the attack code for ships and planets has never been templated.  Plus I noticed that the result screens are HORRIBLE.  They are a jumble of information and  just plain look like crap.  Once we release 0.40, yes we are just making sure everything is stable before releasing, we will start working on the attack result screens.  They will be reformatted and templated so the information can be presented in a more legible manner.

There are also a number of other files like ports that have never been templated either.  Once the attack screens have been reworked we will be converting the port code to use templates.  This will make them look better and be easier to change their look in the future.

We will also be completely changing the COST and AMOUNT system used by tech levels.  We are going to go to a smooth scale based upon preset incremental values for how much planet and ship tech will cost.  The number of items supported by tech levels will no longer be outrageously high the higher the tech level.  Basically, we will be completely scrapping the logarithmic method used for calculating cost and amounts for tech levels.  Players will actually be able to get to level 600 tech.

We will also be rewriting the combat routines to support the new methods.  You will see an actual randomness in combat that you see in other games.  Not every shot will hit and not every shot will do 100% damage.  We also plan to add a combat experience factor to the game.  This value will change depending upon your combat.  The more experienced you become in combat will give you a little more edge in the outcome of the battle.

Now here is the big announcement...

Once the above items are completed we will FINALLY be starting work on Research and Build.  Most of the code for R&B was created in 0.40.  We had to completely rewrite many sections of the game to incorporate new device types, commodities, spies and dignitaries among other things.  

This helped us refine how to implement R&B.  Some of our initial work on paper used some very complex methods and were way out there.  Then we hit on a simple idea that for some reason totally escaped us.  The idea is exactly what we are using for planets building the new commodities.  The R&B items will be created in the exact same manner as building something like Bio Medical on a planet.  There will be a certain number of colonists needed to create an item just like the new commodities.  The items will be built slowly over time in a similar manner.  The only difference is under R&B other commodities on the planet will be consumed by what ever is being Researched or Built.

An example would be researching a Rebound Probe.  This is a probe that causes anyone that enters the same sector as the probe to rebound back to their start sector.

To research the probe make take 1 million colonists, 200 organics per colonist assigned per tick (every 5 minutes), 1,000 energy per colonist assigned per tick to complete the research phase.

To build the probe it may take 5 million colonists, 400 organics per colonist assigned per tick, 5,000 goods per colonist per tick and 5,000 energy per colonist assigned per tick to build one of those probes.

The changes to the commodity system make this very, very easy to do now.   

Now, for those of you who are worried about this stuff affecting the Main Game...  Don't Worry!

None of these things will ever see the light of day on the Main Game until the the next version is ready for release.  The only changes you should see on the Main Game are bug fixes or cosmetic changes.  Basically what you see now is what you are going to be getting for quite some time.

When we finally get enough of the new code semi-working we will open the Beta Game with it.  We hope people will play both games but it would be nice to have enough people playing the beta in the future to really make sure things are worked out properly.  But that isn't anything to worry about for a while,  No one should expect to see the Beta Game open for maybe 2-3 months as there is a lot of preliminary coding we have to do first.

So that's my latest blog.  I hope it was just as boringly tedious as I hoped.


Entry Edited 5 times - Edited on Jul 26, 2009 - 1:58 am

Posted Jul 26, 2009 - 1:48 am


Mar 22, 2008 - 10:50 pm
Title: Here is what my house used to look like...

It has been many months since I have posted a blog because I have been very, very busy working on the house I posted about in my last blog.  I said I was going to post pictures of the house and never got around to it.  So I have finally decided to let everyone see the BEGINNING pictures of my money pit.

These are pictures of what the inside of the house looked like when I bought it.  The previous owner went through and completely trashed the house breaking out windows and putting holes in the walls.  There was even a 6+ month water leak in the kitchen that completely destroyed the underlayment and part of the sub-floor.  Some idiot had cut off a water valve and then CRIMPED the copper tubing and water just continually seeped out of soaking the particleboard underlayment for over six months.  So you can imagine how BAD the floor was by the time I bought the house.

Brace yourselves for a horrifying trip through the house of doom!



This picture is while in the living room looking toward the front door.  Yes, that is a poorly installed, ancient track light.  It wasn't even installed over the wire box but to the side of it and for some reason they screwed a block of wood to the ceiling.  Never could figure out why they did that one.



This is the same area of the living room but looking at the wall.  You can see one of the holes the previous owner put in the wall.  I have also replaced the front door with with a nice metal door with an oval leaded glass in the middle.



This is looking out the front window in the living room.  The house had OLD metal windows that weren't much better than putting up a screen.  You could feel air moving around every window in the house.  Some you could see daylight around the edges.  Every window has since been replaced with energy efficient windows.



This is looking into the living room from the hallway.  You can see that the previous owner was a heavy smoker and they apparently did all of their cooking in oil because some of those stains are from oil build up over the years.



This is looking down the hallway from the living room.  The room at the end of the hall is going to be my computer room.



This is looking at the entrance to the hallway from the living room.  You can see all of the white patches on the wall where the previous owner tried to patch the wall.  The previous owner was a complete dill hole when it came to patching holes.  Instead of covering the hole with a wall patch he filled the hole with newspaper and then covered it with spackle.  There were many places where they even used DUCT TAPE to cover a hole and then put spackle over the duct tape.



This is a view of the dining room from the living room you can see one of the bigger holes the previous owner put in the wall.  There is another indentation you can't see to the lower right of that hole.



This is the glorious kitchen from hell.  The floor all around the cabinets upto 5 feet from the wall was soaked in water from the 6+ month water leak.  All of the cabinets and all of the sheet rock has been ripped out.  You should have been there when Tarnus and Max Headroom were helping me rip out those cabinets.  It was site to see.  Max is a tall guy and it was little scary watching him swinging this large pick-axe at the cabinets.  It was almost like a horror movie in the making.   Tarnus has some pictures of what we did on his cellphone.  Maybe he will let everyone see them some day.  (hint)(hint)



This is looking at the dining room from the living room.  The nasty assed divider you see between the living room and dining room is GONE!  It opened up both rooms and made them look a lot larger.  Why anyone would want to put an ugly thing like that up is beyond me.



This is looking at the patio doors from the kitchen.  Those doors had the glass smashed out of them by the previous owner when he went on his rampage.  And the stupid thing about those doors are how they were INTERIOR French Doors that someone decided to use as exterior patio doors.   Because of this they were of an odd size.  I had to fill in 3 inch gaps around the new patio doors when I installed them.



This is looking at the west side of the kitchen where the stove used to be.  All of that including the sheet rock was ripped out by the demo team from hell.




These two images are of the front bedroom.  It's a little on the small side and surprisingly it escaped much of the previous owners destruction.  About the only thing that was damaged in that room were the doors.  I have removed every single door in the house and they are being replaced with new six panel doors.





This is the back bedroom.  It only had a couple of small holes from door knobs hitting the walls that needed fixing.  The nasty thing was the ugly-assed GREEN carpet they had covering a HARDWOOD FLOOR.  All three bedrooms had hardwood flooring and some idiot covered them up with ugly carpet.  The floors in all three bedrooms will be refinished and they will never see carpet.





This is the third bedroom or the computer room.  The previous owner had put up all new sheet rock in this room and never finished it.



This is looking down the hallway to the living room from the computer room.




This is looking into the garage.  All of the shelves and table were ripped out by the demo team from hell.  We all had a blast beating the crap out of those shelves.   The table was a heavy full metal door and weighed a ton.  The back end of the garage is going to be shortened by about 6.5 feet for the addition of a utility room for the washer, dryer, new hot water tank and new furnace.

So, as you can see the house was a massive disaster and it has taken all of my free time.  I will be taking pictures of the ALMOST finished product in a couple of weeks so everyone can see how much work has been done on the interior.   I wanted everyone to know why I haven't been working on the game as much as I want.

There is also a nice covered deck beyond the patio doors and with my wireless router and laptop I will be spending most of my time outside.  Plus there are 4 nice shade trees in the backyard to keep it cool in the summer.

Hope you enjoyed the horrifying trip though my money pit.

Posted Mar 22, 2008 - 10:50 pm


Oct 29, 2007 - 6:32 pm
Title: The House

It's time to come clean...

There has been another reason why it has taken so long for me to finish and upload the new probe code to the main game.

Over the past week I have been stressing out about buying a house.  I have been looking for over a year now and finally found a small 3 bedroom ranch style home with one car garage and back deck.  During the past week I have been stressing out about the house.  I signed a contract a week ago and some things came up during the inspection that concerned me and I started worrying that the house was too small along with many other things.  I worried about this being the right thing to do.

The house is a definite fixer-upper.  I mean a BIG fixer-upper...  a big, big, BIG fixer-upper.  The cost of remodeling the place with my limited funds was driving me around the bend.  It has been hard to concentrate on anything.  There were three nights in a row that I could barely sleep.  Speaking of being wired to the point of collapse.  I finally sat down with a home design program and entered in the entire floor-plan of the house and started laying out designs for the different rooms.  This was exactly what I needed.  It tamped down my fears over the size of the house as most of the rooms were about the same size as my current place.  The bathroom was half the size but the kitchen/dining room is bigger.  After spending almost 7 hours futzing with the design program I decided I was doing the right thing even with the work that would be involved.  I had my first good nights sleep after that in a week and crashed for 10 straight hours.

Well, today I finished signing all of the paperwork and the money will be sent tomorrow and the house will be mine.

YES!

Now it will become an adventure to remember because every room is going to get a complete make over.  I will be building a utility room in the back of the garage off the kitchen.  The washer and dryer will be located there as the house has them in the kitchen for some silly reason.  I will try to make the utility room large enough to move the water heater and central air into from the old room by the bathroom.  Then I can eventually enlarge the bathroom to double it's current size.

The kitchen/dining room is going to get a complete makeover with exterior french doors going to the deck, new cabinets and tile flooring.  The three bedrooms had carpet covering some nice hardwood flooring.  Whoever decided to put carpet in there should be beaten with a stick.  Those floors will be refinished.

The living room never had hardwood so I am going to put in a nice berber carpet with thick padding.  The front door will be replaced with one of those nice oval glass steal doors.  I will also be installing recessed lighting in the kitchen, living-room and hallway.  New ceiling fans in every room.

I will also be replacing all 8 windows with new thermal windows and installing a garage door opener.

I will be taking pictures of what the interior looks like now, everyone will be horrified, and after the remodeling work is finished.  I will post them to the blog so everyone can see what I meant by horrifying.  Hopefully I won't screw this up too much.

This also means I need to get the probe code finished and 0.31 released ASAP because I am not going to have much time for programming over the next 4-6 weeks.  We don't want to delay the 0.31 release that long.

The above just gives you a rough outline of what is going to be done.  It doesn't include all of the patching, drywall and painting that is going to be done throughout the house.  I would like to get it done in 6 weeks but I may be overly optimistic.  It would be nice to get moved in before the first of the year.

There you go...

That's why things have been a little weird about the probe code release.

Posted Oct 29, 2007 - 6:32 pm


Jul 22, 2007 - 2:27 pm
Title: For the love of GOD intall XP!!!

Well, I am completely and totally disgusted with Windows Vista.  I really feel very, very sorry for anyone who buys a new desktop or laptop with Vista pre-installed.  If they are not tech savvy they are right and truly SCREWED.

There are so many inherent problems with Vista that they can't all be listed.  The number of bugs and problems with Vista is like standing on a hill of Fire Ants.  You are getting bitten all over your body and for every fire ant you kill there are 10 more popping up.  I had to reinstall Vista more than one time because of serious flaws in the operating system that would let incompatible applications or games totally corrupt core files.  Imagine if you were a computer novice and bought a new computer with Vista installed.  Then you tried installing a game or application you used on Windows XP.  During the install Vista goes BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH on you without any warning.   So you reboot but during reboot you get the Blue Screen of Death before you can get to the desktop.  Let's assume the novice knows about booting in Safe Mode and they try that but the BSoD shows before getting to the desktop again.  Don't even think about using System Restore because it will not boot far enough for that to be possible.  Imagine the complete and utter frustration.  They would probably end up taking the computer back for a refund.  Many new laptops don't even come with a recovery disk anymore.  They are requiring you to make your own using the software they provide on the laptop as a cost saving measure.  They can't afford to spend a few cents on a recovery disk anymore.  If you fail to make the recovery disk before the above happens you are completely hosed because you will never have access to the recovery partition on the hard drive.   The above happened to me more than once so this isn't a "This might happen" scenario.

Also, NEVER use the Disk Manager in Vista to create partitions.  Vista uses its own NON-STANDARD partition format.  If you create partitions using the Vista Disk Manager you cannot modify them using anything else.  If you do you will usually LOSE partitions.  I tried a number of free/shareware/commercial partition management applications and all of them reported partition table problems with any partition created by Vista.  Just another one of those "We are going to do it our way and screw standards." things Microsoft is so famous for.  Eventually someone will come out with a Vista compatible partitioning program but until then you are out of luck.

As I reported in my last blog I had purchased a new Compaq Laptop with a 1.7 ghz 64 bit Dual Core processor and 1 gig of ram.  The laptop came with Vista pre installed.  After removing all of the extra pre-installed garbage-ware the laptop was still slow and sluggish.  This shouldn't happen on a Dual Core processor.

What I found was Vista was using 700+ meg of hard drive swap file space and 1,000 meg of system ram.  There was only 15 meg of FREE RAM after Vista booted and was sitting on the desktop doing nothing.  That was totally insane.  No wonder the laptop was so slow.  It was spending most of it's time moving data to and from the swap file.  Anytime I tried to load anything it would take forever because the operating system had to move data from ram to the swapfile before it could actually load the application.  No operating system should ever require that much ram to run.  And as a side note the Vista filesystem is 16-20% SLOWER than the filesystem in XP.  So moving files is considerably slower on Vista.

After trying many things, most of which caused Vista to crash horribly, I finally decided to give up on it.  Vista is about as stable as a schizophrenic off their meds.  It doesn't take much to set it off.

Now here came the new nightmare.  It seems that many of the new model laptops are now being shipped without the ability to use Windows XP.  What I mean by this is the laptop manufacturers are not providing ANY XP drivers for their new laptops.  If the laptop comes with Vista pre-installed they want you to only use Vista. This smacks of something Microsoft would require of the computer makers if they wanted to offer Vista.

It took me a couple of days of searching though the Compaq/HP site until I found drivers from different laptops that would work under XP on my laptop.  It was a complete and total pain in the ass.  HP could have made these drivers available but they didn't.  I probably don't have the latest drivers for everything but right now I don't care.  Though I DO have the latest driver for the video chip.  I had to find that on a third party driver site.  

This is direct from Nvidia...  

"Nvidia is prevented from offering drivers for any chipsets (nforce) or graphics chipsets being used in laptops.  Laptop manufacture agreements with Nvidia forbid us from offering generic drivers for laptops.  Nvidia provides drivers to the laptop manufacturers and the laptop manufactures modify the drivers and offer them for downloading on their sites."

Now tell me that doesn't suck.

I had to find an XP Geforce Go driver by searching the 3rd Party driver sites because the drivers on the HP site wouldn't work and Nvidia didn't offer one for the chipset used in my laptop.  What a pain in the ass.

After all that I was finally able to get Windows XP Pro installed on the laptop along with all drivers to get everything offered by the laptop working except for one minor thing.  The HP Button Panel driver that allows you to use the FN key along with Function keys to change things isn't the right version.  All of the fn+function key buttons work as they should but my laptop allows you to change volume and mute using the home/page up/page down buttons.  So these things are not working on my laptop.  That's a minor thing though.

Now here is the really GOOD part of all this.

With Windows XP Pro installed along with Nortons Antivirus and Zonealarm I am using only 240+ meg of swap file and 400 meg of ram.  I have 600+ meg of ram FREE!!!

Windows XP Pro - 240+ meg swapfile used - 400+ meg ram used - 600+ meg ram free

Windows Vista Premium - 700+ meg swapfile used - 1000 meg ram used - 15 meg ram free

That is one huge assed difference.  And you don't gain anything by going to Vista other than the nicer windows interface.  They claim it is more secure but I seriously doubt that as the new Security Center is a complete and flaming joke.  So what the hell is using all that extra ram and swapfile space?

After installing XP Pro the laptop has been transformed into a gazelle.  It is damned fast now and joy to use.  I never thought I would say something like that about any Windows operating system but after the "Nightmare on Vista" I can say it now.

If at all possible when you are buying a new laptop ask if you can get it with Windows XP instead of Vista.  If enough people complain to the laptop manufacturers maybe they will force the issue with Microsoft and start offering the choice.  Some do offer a choice but most don't, especially on their new laptops.

When I said Vista was like a steaming pile of Dog Shit I meant it.  Using Vista is like stepping in a pile of dog shit.  It takes awhile to scrape it off your shoe and the smell to go away.

EDIT: I have archived the files for download.  Here is the link.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7G4Q5BJM - Old Driver Package

This is a large download.  It's about 140 meg in size.  The files are labeled with what they do.  They also have a number prefacing the name.  This is the order I found best to install them in after you have installed XP.  You should wait until you have finished installing SP2 before installing these files.  I found a driver for the FN keys that works with the keyboard so this will enable everything on the laptop.

EDIT: A new driver for the Geforce Go 61xx was released on August 6th so I have updated the driver download file.  Be sure to uninstall the old driver before you install the new one.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=GBEOLZWL - New Driver Package

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DKG07N5S - Just the Nvidia Forceware 163.15 graphics driver


Entry Edited 6 times - Edited on Aug 7, 2007 - 1:21 am

Posted Jul 22, 2007 - 2:27 pm


Jul 16, 2007 - 1:09 pm
Title: Vista Sucks Ass

Now that I have got your attention.

Well, I finally bought myself a new laptop last friday.  It's a Compaq Presario F572US.  It comes with a 1.7Ghz Dual Core Athlon 64 X2 processor, 1 gig of DDR2 ram, 80 gig hard drive and Windows Vista Home Premium.  I bought the laptop at Staples and paid a lot less than the $625 listed on Amazon.  Staples had the laptop on sale for $509 with an additional $30 mail in rebate.  This would bring the price down to $479 after the rebate.  Unfortunately when I went to buy one of the laptops both stores were completely sold out.   One of the stores had a display model left they would sell.  Normally I wouldn't consider buying a display model as they tend to get beat to death.  Fortunately this one had only been on display for 6 days.  So I decided I would buy it only if they gave me a discount.  They offered a 10% discount off the sale price and I took it.  So this dropped my purchase price down to $458 or $428 after the rebate.  Yes, I still get the $30 rebate.   So I got a very nice dual core laptop for a very cheap price.   It may not be an Intel Core 2 Duo but hell I can't afford a $1000+ laptop right now.  If I had that much money I would put it toward a widescreen LCD TV instead.

I have only two complaints about the laptop.

First, the hard drive is SLOW and I would have thought it would be faster since it is a SATA drive.  Then again it is only a 5400 RPM drive.  That's not that big of a problem except for when the swap file is being used by Windows.

Now the second problem is the big one.  Vista Home Premium

Vista Home Premium can make a dual core CPU run like a 300mhz PII if you only have 1 gig of ram.  After I removed all of the GarbageWare they load the computer up with, removed all of the HP laptop control software and turned off all the useless services the laptop is still slow if you want to do multiple things.  If I load XAMPP, UEEdit and Opera everything slows to a crawl because the hard drive is running almost non-stop because Vista is swapping things out constantly to the drive.  It makes it painful to do anything productive.

After Vista boots I checked memory and swap file usage through the Task Manager.  I was using 470+ meg of Ram and 750+ meg of swapfile.  A FREAKING 750+ MEG OF SWAPFILE.  If I loaded only one application all of my free ram would go away and the swap file would jump to 900 meg.  No wonder everything slowed to a crawl.  Under XP on my desktop with 1 meg of ram I could have 3-4 applications loaded and only use maybe 400+ meg of swap and still have almost half my 1 gig of ram free.  So far Windows Vista Home Premium is a steaming pile of bloated dogshit.

Now we get to the other problems with Vista.  You can completely destroy your install of Vista by installing just about anything that worked on XP.  I had to use the recovery partition to completely restore Vista after I tried to install a Commercial DVD Copying program.  Once it was installed the computer went to bluescreen and rebooted.  It would then constantly bluescreen during the reboot.  There were absolutely NO WARNINGS that the program would destroy Vista during the install.  I couldn't even use a restore point because the computer wouldn't even boot far enough for that to work.  I couldn't even use SafeMode because that would bluescreen everytime. So I had to completely reinstall Vista from the recovery partition and start over.

If you get a computer with Vista before you do ANYTHING you need to get Acronis True Image 10.  It is fantastic and many times better than Norton's Ghost.  You can make partition image backups of your C: drive (windows partition) without having to reboot.  It will lock drive C: so nothing can access it and make the backup to ANYTHING.  When finished it will unlock the drive and you can continue your work.  You can backup to DVD, CD, USB devices, hard drives, etc.  If you need to restore a backup of your drive C: just insert the ATI 10 CD and boot your computer using the CD.  It will use it's own operating system to allow you to reinstall an image backup of your windows partition from any device.  It is so freaking simple and easy it is ridiculous.  It will even add incremental backups to your initial partition image so you don't need to make new full images.  It can even schedule background backups as well.   This program saved my ass many times while figuring out what programs would install on Vista without corrupting it to hell.

After I installed and started using ATI 10 things went so much easier.  I would just make backups after each install of something.  If Vista got screwy, as it it did about 5-6 times, I just restored a previous ATI Backup.  I tried using Vistas restore point a couple of times and each time it never worked right.  Vistas Restore Point software is just as crappy as the rest of it.

I have to admit that Vista Home Premium LOOKS great.  It has all of the nice graphics bells and whistles but you pay for it in memory usage.  Windows fade-in and looks like they are tilting in with the bottom of the window coming to the front last.  The same thing happens in reverse when you close a window.  The edges and titlebar of the windows look like frosted glass and everything behind them looks fuzzy.  Just like you are looking at something through a frosted window pane.  Things like this will win people over as long as you have the memory to use it.

There are many other annoying things about Vista like ghosting the entire screen and asking if it should do something you clicked on all the damned time.  It is one of their so-called security features but I call it a Damned Annoyance Feature.  There are many other problems with Vista, too many to enumerate here.  Just suffice it to say that many of your games will NOT work under Vista.  You can make some work if you download the latest version of DirectX 9.0c.  Yes, you can have both DX9 and DX10 installed on Vista.  This is about the only way to get some games to work under Vista.  There are many application programs that will fail as well so you will have to spend a ton of money upgrading, if there are even Vista versions out yet.

Is Vista worth it?  Hell no.  All it really offers you is a better graphic desktop but everything else is not worth changing from Windows XP.  I am seriously thinking about just wiping the hard drive on the laptop and installing XP to gain back the lost performance.  I am going to hold off on that until I see what adding an extra gig of ram will do.  I bought 2 gig of ram to replace the two 512meg sticks in the laptop.  We shall see if that helps.  If it does I may leave Vista on it for testing purposes.

I would recommend to everyone if you are buying a new computer you should ask if you can get it with XP instead of Vista.  Many places will sell the computer with XP preinstalled but you have to ask first.  If you go to the major laptop sites HP/Compaq, Dell, etc. they will let you pick either XP or Vista.  Sometimes you can even get a discount for picking XP.

Overall this is a fantastic laptop and with the $51 I saved by buying the 6 day old display model I was able to afford to buy two gig of ram for it.  I am really pleased with it and will probably do what other Pretentious Idiots have been doing lately.  Take it to a cafe that has free WIFII and play online while drinking expensive drinks.

Edit: You can turn off those annoying Vista warnings but they hide it.  Open the Control Panel as a window.  In the seach box enter UAC.  You will see a link called Turn User Account Controll (UAC) on or off.  Click the link.  Then uncheck the checkbox and click OK.  You will need to reboot.  The annoying warnings are now gone, for the most part.

Entry Edited 9 times - Edited on Jul 16, 2007 - 3:01 pm

Posted Jul 16, 2007 - 1:09 pm


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