Some Computer Woes

23:45 Thu 13 Dec 2007. Updated: 01:11 14 Dec 2007

Well, today’s post was supposed to be about plans for sfmagic.org, but when I got home (relatively late) I discovered that my desktop machine had died. Again. I hate being on such an unstable platform, which XP has been for me.

I had to reinstall it again, which drives me insane, because the process is ridiculous. Just ridiculous that any post-2000 OS could insist on floppy disks for any reason. In this case, the reason is that I use a third-party RAID driver. But that the technology was beyond them to let me swap CDs for that purpose is ludicrous. As are a number of other things, such as the fact that every time I get to the point of loading the RAID driver, the installer tells me that it’s got a newer version of that same drive—and it’s lying. It lies about that every time.

There’s more, such as the unpredictably-interactive aspects of the install, so that in some instances you have to catch it at a certain point to do something or you have to start over, and then others where you think you can leave it for a long time but it randomly wants your input at some stage without warning you. It’s just amazingly bad interface design.

I’m sure that’s not a surprise to anyone. I’d ditch it, but there are bunch of things I’m just too used to. I think these all come down to keyboard use patterns. I’m extremely used to the way that Windows deals with text manipulation using the keyboard, and I’m extremely used to the Alt and Control keys in combination with whatever applications I’m using. I can work on a Mac, obviously, but it’s not as comfortable. Really, though, I should run some desktop that’s to my liking under OpenBSD, and try using something like vmWare or Wine for anything that I’m still missing.

Anyway. Not what I needed to find upon arriving home. The machine’s still not fully back, but hopefully it won’t be too bad from here on (I’m writing this on another machine, in vi, which is something I should spend the time to become expert in as another path away from Windows (by moving away from graphical text editors).

(Last update: as I post this, it’s refusing to acknowledge my video card.)

4 Responses to “Some Computer Woes”

  1. mollydot Says:

    Is it the general Windows keyboard shortcuts you want, or application specific ones? If the former, try Ubuntu – it’s Alt+F4 to close an application, Ctrl+C to copy, etc, at least with the default window manager.

  2. kevintel Says:

    Hey, why don’t you upgrade to Vista? It’s got lots of cool new features and is much more secure!

  3. Tadhg Says:

    mollydot: Yes, I should consider Ubuntu, at least trying it out at some point. As Kev knows, an upgrade to Vista is out of the question…

    It turns out that the crashing problem is due to the death of the fan on my video card and resultant overheating, which is very annoying.

  4. kevintel Says:

    Seriously, although as a Mac user I’m inclined to look down my nose at Windows XP, in it’s Service Pack 2 guise it’s not actually a bad operating system. It’s truly an Operating System For The Rest of Us; something that by and large works well enough in most situations. Unless you’re doing technical computing or pure data work such as programming, computer management, statistics, etc the majority of users are going to be more productive in a GUI environment and they will find that XP does it’s job as a GUI-based system well enough. I think most of the problems it does have these days are introduced by a third-party, such as drivers. Such as the problem you faced with your drivers, which looks more like a problem introduced by the driver vendor than by Microsoft, so I couldn’t fault them for not catering to a highly specific situation…

    I know it’ll sound like flame-bait to you, but I’m actually serious about it. I get to see Windows XP side by side with my Mac OS 10.4 on the same notebook, and even though it looks cheap and dated, it’s also very fast and responsive and flexible, and for better or worse they made it easy to develop for. Mac OS 10.x may be beautiful and polished, but it comes at a cost.

    As for Linux, as good as it might be, it’s just never going to be an Operating System For The Rest of Us like XP is, because XP already has that niche to itself (Hell, Microsoft is even finding that XP is still out-competing Vista in the marketplace. It’s here to stay.).

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