Sunday, June 01, 2008

It's been over two weeks since my computer died, and things are only just now approaching normalcy. Lots of hassles, most of which seemed to trace to Vista security settings. I did get Windows Media Center set up, so I could stream Netflix movies to my Xbox 360, which is a very nice thing to be able to do, so that made me feel somewhat better about upgrading to Vista. But lots of things were a pain in the ass. Especially recovering my music from my iPod, which was doubly frustrating as I had just recently had to do it on XP. I had trouble getting the recovery software to even find iTunes, and then the default location for my iTunes library kept arbitrarily changing. Only when I disabled security settings could I finally get it to work (had to do the same thing to get Media Center to work with Netflix). But even with such settings disabled, I had lots of trouble getting access to files on my old hard drive (I discovered my backups were a lot less comprehensive than I thought: Jungle Disk did not do a very good job updating files that had been changed, and Windows Live OneCare backed up a lot of random shit I didn't need, while missing some crucial files--whether these problems are due to flaws with the software or my failure to properly set up said programs is not yet clear).

Anyway, things are almost back to normal. A few programs won't work with my 64-bit version of Vista, but no huge loss. DVD43 won't work, but I'm thinking, now that I have a 750GB hard drive in my computer, I might use my 1TB external hard drive to rip DVDs to, then convert that raw data into a format most appropriate for my iPhone or Xbox. No point copying a film ill-suited to watching on a tiny screen to H.264, when I'd rather want to see it on my HDTV. This is especially an option now that my computer is not so painfully slow; converting one hour of footage off a DVD into H.264 used to take about 70 minutes, but now takes only about 10.

So, my opinion, now, with some hands-on time, is that, if you experience an equipment failure or for whatever reason now need a new computer, you might as well go with Vista. But if you don't need to, you'd be nuts to upgrade.

I should also note that, the weekend I first set up my computer, I was sick, Tanner got sprayed by a skunk--again!--and I found out, only too late, that the annual sea shantey festival on the Star of India was that very weekend (the highlight of my year, and I missed it!). The festival was moved from September to May, for some reason. I take some small consolation in that it was a very hot day, and there's not much shade on the boat. But a tribute was planned to mark the anniversary of Stan Roger's death, which I would have liked to hear. I suppose the wait will make next year's concert all the more sweet, but missing this year's was a bitter pill. All of which is to say, that was a crappy weekend.

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