As Web Master I have done a bit of wandering lately and have
found that the early March Daylight Savings Time (DST) change
caused some alienation of Microsoft and Vista compatibility is
an issue in buying a new computer. If you did not have Windows
Vista or XP on your computer for the recent Daylight Savings
Time change you probably adjusted your computer clock manually,
as I did, since Microsoft provided no patch (read that no support)
for Win98SE and WinME. And the instructions for manually patching
Win2000 (as mentioned below) were not understandable by the common
man. Businesses had an even tougher time of it than those of
us with home computers. Here is an excerpt from my latest StockCharts.com ChartWatchers
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME TROUBLES - In preparing for the
change in start time for US Daylight Savings Time, we had to
complete four different tasks ahead of Mondays open: 1.)
Automatically patch our Linux and Windows 2003 servers, 2.) Manually
patch all of our Java virtual machines, 3.) Review our code for
any assumptions about DST, and 4.) Manually patch our Windows
2000 servers (because Microsoft refused to provide an automatic
patch). We took care of #1, #2 and #3 well ahead of time. #4
was a serious pain - Microsofts instructions for manually
updating Windows 2000 were long and confusing - but we also completed
that task ahead of the Monday AM deadline... or so we thought.
Due to the complexity involved, we were unable to thoroughly
simulate the effects that the DST change would have on our systems
prior to the time change. Unfortunately - you guessed it - not
everything was ready. Our changes to the Windows 2000 servers
didnt stick for some reason and we found a
lowlevel time library inside some of our systems that needed
to be updated. Once identified, these problems were quickly fixed
but the damage was done. Again, we apologize for the outage that
occurred on Monday and we have credited all of our subscribers
with two additional days of service as a result. As longterm
members know, whenever a disruption like this happens, we try
to take concrete steps to prevent it from happening again. While
another DST change is unlikely, we ARE using this episode to
accelerate our move away from Microsoft server platforms. This
weekend we have converted all 28 of our Windows 2000 servers
to Ubuntu Linux. We expect to migrate all of our other servers
to Linux by the end of the year. We believe that this step will
prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
Microsoft keeps trying to force everyone to upgrade by not
providing patches for older Operating Systems but in this case
the company has decided to move away from Microsoft and go with
Linux. I wonder how many other companies had similar problems
and are moving away from Microsoft.
Now to the other side of the coin. I have been looking into
buying a new desktop computer with Windows Vista Home Premium
and have been looking at machines with the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
processor. As its name implies the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
can handle 64 bits. Vista Home Premium comes in two flavors,
32-bit and-64 bit. If you read the ads in the Sunday newspaper
they mention the Vista Home Premium Operating system as bundled
with a computer
but fail to specify if it is the 32-bit or 64-bit version. Reading
computer specs online also failed to identify which flavor of
Vista Home Premium one would be getting. Logically one would
think he would get the 64-bit Vista with a 64-bit machine. I
had to make a trip to Circuit City and physically look at the
Vista Operating System installed on an HP computer to find out
that it was actually the 32-bit version. Now why would the computer
makers sell a new 64-bit capable computer with a new 32-bit Operating
System? The answer is much better compatibility and thus less
support calls to the computer makers. Here is an excerpt from
Paul Thurrotts Supersite
for Windows which explains the situation.
Sadly, the various benefits of the x64 Vista versions
are counterbalanced by a number of limitations, the most important
of which are compatibility issues. 16-bit applications are not
supported, which is less problematic than it was a few years
ago, but still an issue for some applications that use legacy
application installers. 32-bit device drivers are not supported,
you cant use any of the existing hardware drivers out there,
but must instead use the subset of x64-based drivers that are
currently available. This situation will improve over time, but
x64 Vista users are going to be orphaning hardware.
You can read the complete article at http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/winvista_ff_x64.asp.
So since 64-bit device drivers are in short supply and all
of us would like to continue using our existing 32-bit applications
and perfectly good peripherals like printers, scanners, etc.
I can understand why the computer makers are making a compromise
by bundling the 32-bit versions of Vista with new 64-bit machines
and hoping to entice at least some of us to the new Operating
System. At present I am still undecided as to if I want to make
Editors Note: Curt finally got off the dime and
ordered a new computer online. His description of his experience
so far with that follows.
Have been playing with my new HP a1710n Vista Home Premium
computer off & on this week so thought I would give you an
It took me 2.5 hrs to get thru all the intro and initial setup
stuff, in part thanks to all the extras that HP and its partners
loaded on the hard drive (Sales pitch links for Broadband &
Dialup ISPs, Vonage, eBay, Snapfish photos, HP Games Online,
MSN, AOL, etc.)
I then removed Norton Antivirus & Internet Security and
installed AVG, Firefox, Thunderbird, IrfanView, Belarc Advisor
7.2k. Next came the auto downloading & installing of 11 Vista
Getting my Mozilla Address Book and Bookmarks put into Thunderbird
and FireFox took some doing as they apparently use different
file extensions and formats from the Mozilla Browser Suite (which
I use on my other computers) but I finally got that done. Have
not figured out yet where Firefox & Thunderbird bury that
The Portable Apps (with
Open Office) work fine off the 1GB Thumbdrive. The computer came
with Microsoft Works 8. Checked out the Works Spreadsheet program
using the Excel extension xls & it is compatible with Easy
Offices spreadsheet but I had an incompatibility in the
date column formatting with Open Offices Spreadsheet but
that may be just a minor glitch as I have used the Open Office
Spreadsheet and Easy Office Spreadsheet files interchangeably
with no problem.
I found that Vista recognizes DivX
files when I put a DivX DVD in the DVD burner and commercial
DVD movies play fine. Vista had to go to the web to download
& install drivers for my HP880C printer but that went smoothly.
The fun has been trying to find the old things like monitor
screen resolution. Had to change my 1996 vintage ViewSonic 17-GS-2
17-inch CRT resolution and refresh rate from what Vista had it
defaulted to (1024x768 with refresh of 60Hz) but again no biggie.
Display Settings are now in Control Panel under Personalization.
Am now running 1152x864 with refresh of 72Hz at 32bit color.
Highest screen resolution the computer apparently supports is
1280x1024 so if I wanted to get a 19-inch widescreen LCD monitor
with a native resolution of 1440x900 might have to get a new
So far no problems. All seems to be working well. Am finding
my way around Vista slowly.
Going to Control Panel / Performance Information and
Tools I found that Vista rates the computers capabilities
to give a Windows Experience Index. Computer
components are rated and the lowest rated component becomes your
base score. My computer
was rated as follows:
Thus my Base Score is 3.0 as determined by my weakest link,
the subscore of 3.0 for the Gaming
Graphics. Since I am not a gamer that is no biggie for me. A
new discreet Video Card replacing the onboard graphics of the
motherboard would solve that problem. The only other marginal
subscore is 3.2 relating to Windows Aero performance graphics.
The Vista Aero Graphics experience seems to work fine as far
as I can tell.
Here is a real brief explanation as to what the
base score means. It is explained in more detail in Vista.
A base score of 1 or 2 usually has sufficient performance
to do most general computing tasks but generally not powerful
enough to run Windows Aero.
A base score of 3 is able to run Windows Aero and many new
features of Windows Vista at a basic level but might struggle
to play High Definition TV content.
A base score of 4 or 5 is able to run all new features of
Windows Vista with full functionality.
So in conclusion I am quite happy with my new Vista Home Premium
computer. The computer appears to be very fast. One thing that
impressed me was doing a search of the hard drive is instantaneous.
Before I finish typing, the answers are displayed!
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