Monday, November 23, 2009

. . . Windows 7


Those of you who follow my column regularly are likely aware that I am not what you would call an early adopter of new Microsoft OS's. Consider that when XP came out I was still using Windows ME, and I did not upgrade to XP until months after the first full Service Pack was released for that OS - and that should give you some idea as to my usual approach to new OS's - though I admit that I am an eager and willing adopter where Posix-compliant OS's are concerned (think Linux, Ubuntu, etc.).

Now having said that, would you be surprised to learn that I am writing this blog entry on my desktop PC - a PC that is running Windows 7? Well I am. Contrary to my usual habits, I ended up biting the bullet so to speak, and installing Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate on my main computer.

Bare in mind that when I did that with Vista Business it was an unmitigated disaster - everything that could go wrong did, starting with my needing to get special drivers for my hard drives and not being able to get the network card to work for three days. Once I finally got Vista installed, fixed the network card and managed to update the drivers for my video card so that I could get a larger than 640x480 screen, I discovered that half the programs I was regularly running under XP simply would not run under Vista.

Needless to say I gave Vista a fair shake - it lived on my PC for a week - and then I removed it, put XP back on the computer, and told myself that someone at Microsoft was probably looking for a new career. To sum it up for you, Vista was bad from start to finish, was a nightmare to install, even worse to tweak and configure, and to this day still serves as my personal example of how to do everything wrong.

Fast-forward to last week, as I backed up all of my data to thumb drive and prepared to install Windows 7 - the potentially deadly blue and gold DVD held gingerly in my hand as I wondered how bad this was going to be. I popped the disc into the drive, closed it, and waited for the explosion... That never came.

I do not know what the new career was for the guy who did Vista, but the bloke who handled the final tests for Windows 7 before it was released really should be given a 6 month paid vacation to wherever he or she wants to go and a corner office in the best building Microsoft owns, because the install for Windows 7 was flawless.

The OS installed, scanned my system, downloaded all of the correct drivers, patched itself, made me a cup of tea and scones, and then... Okay, it did not make me tea and scones, but if it had I would not have been shocked!

Right, so the install went off without a hitch, and you are probably wondering which of the many apps and games that I run had problems or did not run under Windows 7, right? The answer is None. Seriously, everything worked out of the box save for one program - FFXI - and that only required me to download the Vista/Win 7 version of the loader from Square Enix's website.

To sum it up for you:

Vista: A perfect example of how to do it wrong.

Windows 7: A perfect example of how to do it right.

Microsoft you surprised me. Not only that, you took away one of my favorite things to complain about, but I guess I can let you have a pass on that, all things considered.

Have you installed Windows 7 yet? Do you plan to install it soon? I would be very interested in hearing your opinions on it - drop me an email at if you want. Feel invited, because you are!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you - I will see you after the first of December!




CES Unveiled in NYC was a blast - if you are a techie you are going to have an interesting year in 2010! Look for Google's new phone slash telecom network next year, it will be interesting.

Monday, November 9, 2009

... A New Blog



Despite my lack of constant posting here I am happy to announce that I have a new blog over on the Cape Cod Times website - called Game On: Cape Cod Gaming Blog.

The new blog is part of the paper's push to expand our coverage of interesting things like gaming, game news, and game reviews. I have something of an ambitious schedule over there - I am to publish every other day - but fortunately there is plenty to write about, so that should be easy!

If you are interested in gaming please feel invited to check out the new blog! You can get to it by clicking on this link: Game On: Cape Cod Gaming



Sunday, November 1, 2009

. . . Ideas for My Column


This weekend my email inbox contained the usual stuff - ads for little blue pills, offers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Africa and Holland to let me help some honest criminals move money out of the country for a variety of plausible reasons - assuming that (A) I am larceny hearted, and (B) I am so stupid as to believe that they "found" my email address because they were looking for an honest person to help them rip off... Well you see where I am going with that, right? Unless there really is a list of honest people and their email addresses online - and I consider myself a mostly honest person really - I always have to pass.

Suggestions for Digital Grind

Among the mail there were about a dozen nice letters from folks with ideas for my column - and I want to say right now that I think that it is cool that you all like Digital Grind enough to actually send me suggestions.

I always reply to these email suggestions with a polite thank you, but for the most part I cannot use the suggestions that I receive - not that I am saying do not send them in! No, the problem is not you, it is the reality of the newspaper industry...

I only get around 1,400 words every other week to use - sometimes I get more, sometimes I get less - it all depends on how much space is available and of course, the news cycle for that week. I mention this to illustrate that I do not even have enough space to write about everything I want to write about - so while your suggestions are both welcome and appreciated, I hope you will all understand that unless it is a breaking topic or has significant local relevance, the chances are not good.

Video Game / MMO Requests

Another sort of suggestion that I get a lot is invitations to play video games...

I really do appreciate these invites - and there is a very good chance that I will take you up on the friending offer and invite to a game - but there are a few things you should know.

At the moment I only have the following platforms:

(1) PC
(2) XBox 360
(3) Nintendo Wii

And I am only active on the following MMO's:

(1) FFXI
(2) EQ2
(3) SWG

So keep that in mind when you are looking for a game partner d'accord?

Note - I do not play WoW - I will not play WoW - even if it was free.

A New Blog is in the Works

The folks at the paper are in the process of setting up a new blog for me to write - a Video Game News and Reviews based blog, that will be hosted at the paper's site and linked to from the section I write for.

The idea is to expand the paper's coverage of things like gaming and the game industry, and as there are significant space limits in the paper, a blog is the natural choice!

I have to say I am actually excited about this. The first time the subject was raised I had given an instant "not interested" as my answer because, and I blush to admit this, I know what my track record is with blogging! I am good about making entries for a while and then - poof - I disappear. Well, I am going to try really hard to not let that happen this time.


I hope that you all had a really great holiday and got loads of loot (candy). I still cannot believe that Summer is over - where did it go??