08 May 2015

Driving to Georgia

So on Monday I jumped in my car and headed East to spend my summer at the Woodruff Scout Camp.  I fiddled around a bit, ran some errands, picked up some things that I needed, stopped by the Victorville CHP station, then headed off.

Why the highway patrol office?  Well, in Los Angeles I'd been stopped by an officer who told me that I was driving with an invalid, unauthorized license plate.  Well, I'd already been through that with the DMV and they'd finally found some special form that needed to be filled out, so I knew I was fine.  But he told me that there was some problem and gave me a fix it ticket.  So I went to the DMV, and they told me that the officer didn't know how to do his job.  Apparently license plates in California aren't all in the same database.  Regular license plates are in one database, and custom license plates are in another, and if you have a special plate, every special type apparently has its own database.  So he was looking in the custom license plate category when he should have been looking in the amateur radio category.  I told him it was an amateur radio plate, and it's his job to know how to do things like that, so he really should have done it right the first time.  At the CHP station, they told me that if I wanted to avoid paying a $25 charge, I'd have to write a letter to the LAPD, which reminds me, I need to buy an envelope and stamps.  And, side note, the LAPD should get with the times and start using electronic correspondence.

25 March 2012

Windows 8, don't do it, part 4

Windows 8, don't do it, part 4.  Since Notepad and Paint, etc., are apps now and not native programs, only one instance of these programs can be open at a time.  If you (like me) use one Notepad window to type quick notes on what you're reading, another Notepad window with a quick reminder of a meeting in a couple days, etc., you will no longer be able to do this.  I've always liked Notepad because it's the quickest and fasted program to open and takes up the least amount of RAM.  I type a quick note, save it on my Desktop, done -- no muss, no fuss, no waiting around, it's not making anything else run slower, it's great.  This can no longer occur in Windows 8.

If you like to screencap something (use Print Screen to copy an image of what's on the screen to the Clipboard, then paste it into a new Paint window), then screencap something else, crop something out of the second image then paste it in with the first image, this is no longer possible.  Why use Paint when other programs would let me do the same thing and also offer so much more?  Because my needs are simple and Paint opens in something like one tenth of a second.  As soon as I click Paint, it's open and I can use it.  No waiting, no muss, no fuss.  This can no longer occur in Windows 8.  Honestly, do you know how long it takes Photoshop to be up and running and how much RAM it takes to keep it running so that you don't have to wait for it to start?  Ugh.

Again, did I mention that 1024x768 is the only available resolution, even if you have a 19" widescreen monitor?  I've had to change my browser to only use Tiny small fonts so that each letter isn't bigger than my whole thumbprint.

If I'm watching a movie on the computer, I don't want the display to shut down at all, even though I'm not using the mouse or keyboard.  If I'm using the computer regularly, I do want the display to shut down after about 10-15 minutes, so that if I get up and walk away the screen will turn off.  Even though it's a pittance, I still feel like I'm saving energy and I feel better about myself.  I used to be able to change this with four mouseclicks and each one was pretty fast.  Now, it's something eight mouseclicks, and some typing, and some scrolling around.  It's a royal pain.  Let me explain.  I used to be able to set the Control Panel to display things in a Windows XP style, in a "classic" style.  Thus, I could click Start, Control Panel, Adjust Power, change the option, close the window, done.  Now I have to move the mouse to the bottom left corner, click the corner of the popup Media Start, right click that screen, choose All Apps, scroll over to the Control Panel, click into the search box at the top, type in "power" click the Adjust Power that comes up, click to display the missing third power style, change the option, close the window, done.  There are alternate ways of doing things, but they either take more time or inconvenience me more.  For instance, I could bring up the hidden right taskbar, click Search, type Power, click Power Adjust, you get the picture.  It takes my computer a second to search though.  I could move the Control Panel to the Media Start pane, but since that screen uses ginormous boxy square/rectangular icons, I wouldn't have enough room to display everything else I normally use on one screen.  Really, don't try Windows 8, I haven't seen a single good thing about it.

24 March 2012

Windows 8, don't do it, part 3

1024x768 is the only available resolution in Consumer Preview.  I have a 19" widescreen monitor!  This titchy small resolution blown up on a large monitor is just killing me.

Windows 8, continued

Re: yesterday's Windows 8 commentary...

This company called BlueStacks says that with their software you can run Android apps on Windows 8, which sounds pretty amazing because you can't run Windows Phone apps (or iPhone apps) on Windows 8.  Vista Sideboard Gadgets will run on Windows 8, but only on the desktop (not as an app -- again, all the "real" stuff basically requires the desktop to run).

The calendar app is co-installed with the chat app and a couple others.  I uninstalled them because I use Google Calendar and I chat in Gmail (or Skype, when the other person doesn't have a Gmail account).  I uninstalled the Xbox Companion app or whatever it was called because I don't own an Xbox.  I also uninstalled the Xbox Live app because again I don't own an Xbox.  I tried out the Shop bit, but there's precious little there.  Presumably there will be more there later, but with no backwards compatibility at all it may take a while.

I downloaded some pictures then wanted to move them into my Pictures folder.  But how do I find the folders (no My Documents button on the missing Start button)?  Apparently, instead of Windows button, click the My Documents folder, click Pictures, I have to click over into the Metro screen, bring up the right hand taskbar, click Search, type in Documents or Pictures, click it to search, then select the folder.  When I wanted to move a music file into the music folder, it was the same thing all over again.

I did find a nifty way to remake a Start button -- basically, it just opens the Metro window, but uses no memory.  I found it in the comments of this article: http://www.howtogeek.com/108838/make-your-own-windows-8-start-button-with-zero-memory-usage/
Dim WshShell
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
WshShell.SendKeys “^{ESC}”
Set WshShell = Nothing
Save it as “start.vbs”, create a shortcut to it and then edit the “Target” to start with “wscript.exe ” (minus the quotes and including the trailing space).
All you now need to do is change the icon and then pin the shortcut onto your Task Bar (as per the instructions in the article).
The Windows Shop app has a giant invisible scrollbar on the bottom.  Even though I have a touchscreen, swiping the screen doesn't move anything back and forth or zoom in/out.  The Shop window is so big that the invisible scrollbar zips around too fast -- with no visible bar showing how far you've gone, it's really frustrating to navigate.

Sometimes feedback panes pop up from the bottom, but sometimes no matter what I do I can't get a feedback pane to open up.

Probably because of all the nifty graphic things and the Metro thing running in the background, tasks and games are really slow.  I opened up Cthulhu Saves the World and even though it's basically an old school 16-bit game, it was running really slowly.  Slowly enough that it was rather frustrating to try to play, so I soon closed it.  Everything on this computer is more laggy than it used to be before I installed Windows 8.

Some people have said that Windows 8 loads super fast.  Well, it should, it's split loading up into three discrete steps.  When I add up the time spent on each individual step, getting to the desktop (again, where all the real work happens) takes me the same amount of time that it took on Windows Vista and Windows 7.