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Another morning with Vista and Orcas Beta 2 VPC (sigh!)

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  • User profile image
    irascian

    Haven't used my Vista laptop for a while as I've been away, but this morning started on a second install of the Orcas VPC (the first one got fried with Silverlight in a "I'll give you no clues as to why install failed and I'll refuse to let you remove me" situation) and I'd deleted the downloadable files to make space. Apparently a 140GB hard drive isn't enough for more than a basic XP development image, a Vista development image and Orcas virtual PC image.

    It's 9 months since release and I still can't help thinking Vista is a pile of poo!

    Vista update tells me that the Roxio disc-cutting software needs fixes to work and so it's being removed!

    Why? It worked fine with the patch that Dell had automatically found for me. Thanks a lot.

    Try to back up the Orcas download files. I insert a blank DVD and I'm asked if I want to use Windows to backup some files. I say "Yes".

    I select the files and the remaining time goes fine for about 20 minutes when suddenly it changes from a "20 minutes to go" to "33 days" and keeps climbing despite the transfer taking the same time and the progress bar moving in a constant manner. It finishes inside the expected 20 minutes so why the stupid "33 days and increasing" messages. Crap software. Crap implementation. Crap testing.

    I install a second blank disc to copy the remaining files. Nothing happens. There is no disc drive there but the Roxio icon has returned with an annoying "No Recorder" message. I reboot. I close down Roxio. I insert the blank DVD again. Still no joy. It's as if the DVD Writer has gone AWOL.

    I won't even start on the nightmare that is wireless networking and it's constantly changing "It's there. It's not. It's there. No it's not" when all my XP PCs are fine with it. Or the total fiasco that is LiveCare.

    I could go into a long rant about the endless UAC messages but no doubt Sven would be straight back with how everything works faultlessly for him and ordinary users should be happy with the never-ending nagware because, after all, it can be turned off.

    Half-thought out ideas poorly implemented are all over the shop. Have you tried enlarging those "resolution free icons" (CTRL and mouse-click wheel) - notice how few of Microsoft's own products do anything other than stay the same size and draw an ugly white box around them? It's symptomatic of the overall problem - a poorly thought-out, poorly implemented hotch-potch of a system that's been rushed out the door without any concept of quality control or consistency.

    And the same dumb "Microsoft mentality" permeates everything the company does. Microsoft, your market share is slipping and small wonder. You're on your way to becoming the "IBM" of the noughties. Stop wasting time on endless toys for the small (but ridiculously vocal) minority who blog incessantly without trying to deliver real products int he real world and start focussing on quality. Please! 

    I notice that Orcas Beta 2 ships in a Windows Server 2003 locked down VPC image which means that attempt to install Silverlight are pretty much doomed to failure until you go in and turn back on JavaScript and keep adding endless different URLs to the safe zone etc etc. What on earth was the thinking behind shipping a developer test version in this format, requiring developers to have to go in and waste time turning this option on and that option off to have any chance of a decent build? This is not a locked-down production server - it's a beta development tool for ****'s sake.

    Then there's internationalisation - why are you asking me if I want Australian English or UK English in the beta download if you're then going to give me a Virtual PC image that's locked to the assumption I have a US keyboard layout?

    Does anyone actually try running this stuff before rushing to ensure blogs are filled with "Beta is available to download - go get it" trying to convince the world that there's some sort of "buzz" around this poorly executed, poorly released, poorly implemented morass of tools from different groups?

    Does ANYBODY at Microsoft have a clue about joined-up thinking or what the target audience are actually going to want to do with their products?

    Sheesh!

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    irascian wrote:
    I install a second blank disc to copy the remaining files. Nothing happens. There is no disc drive there but the Roxio icon has returned with an annoying "No Recorder" message. I reboot. I close down Roxio. I insert the blank DVD again. Still no joy. It's as if the DVD Writer has gone AWOL.


    Does it read?

    Sonic tells me I have no DVD Writer installed, so I phoned up my manufacturer and told them it wasn't reading (it wasn't writing either, so I assumed that once I fixed the reading the writing would be fixed) and they told me to delete the Upper/Lower filters in Reg. Editor. It reads fine, but since I only tried burning a DVD 4 days ago, I didn't know the burner wasn't working.

    Phoned them up again, turns out deleting lower and higher filters _wasn't_ what I was supposed to do, so I tried a system restore to change it back but, alas, no system restore for the 22nd. Ironically, I have one for the 24th Mad!

    Anyways, if I wan't my burner working, it involves a complete re-install of vista. Woo! Damn call-center incompetence, this shouldn't have happened in the first place.#

    If you find another way to fix it, email me.

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    irascian

    In my case I undocked the laptop (after several reboots) and then the drive magically appeared again. Redocked it and it's been OK since.

    But Vista is a pain. You power down the PC and when you reboot you're never quite sure what's going to be "new" (or have gone missing) since you last did so.

    I'd blame the laptop but I bought my mother a new HP desktop machine and she has the same problems.

    In other news Vista found a new driver for the NVidia card and raised the Vista Performance rating from 2.5 to 3.0. I ran it again and it then went to 3.1. Gotta love consistency.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    I sometimes wonder if being developers, we just work around these annoyances. All you need is some calmness, and put yourself in the shoes of the MS programmers, and ask "what would s/he want me to do in this case?"

    I, have actually taken the plunge, and turned my machine into a Vista machine. I'll be using Vista fulltime from now on. I've learned enough from phreaks that I should just disable UAC. Life would just be much easier that way. I must say, I'm quite enjoying it so far.

    Although, I had a strange experience a while back. So, I poped a anime DVD into the drive to um... backup, and this strange Flash program popped up. Hmmm... I know for sure that I haven't changed anything in AutoPlay, and shouldn't UAC prevent this sort of.... oh, yeah, I forgot.

    So, then I launched DVD Shrink to do the backup. Like a lot of DVDs these days, you just can't. There's copy-protection out the wazzoo. OK, fine. I'll just watch it off the disk. I mean, I think, I'm finally over my media hoarding phrase. It's a good thing.

    F*uck! My DVD drive is gone from "Computer" What the? Did I just get rootkit'd? Did some DRM scheme kick in & kill my device driver? Before I could utter a few more choiced words, I get a blue screen of death. I haven't seen one of those on XP for years.

    OK, rebooting is the universal quick fix, right. And soon enough, I'm back moving windows around just to see the glass effect. I know, I'll remote desktop into my other machine just to see how much better Vista works over RealVNC to another Vista machine. Not noticably different. Oh well, now, at least I know.

    But wait. Now, my background image is gone. All I see is a black desktop. OK, I'll just work around that. Lemesee... pick another background image. Nope. Reboot. Nope. Google for "My f*cking Vista desktop is gone." Ding ding ding! Apparently there's a bug in Vista that kills your background desktop. I'm not entirely sure, but I think my remote desktop session has something to do with it.

    Sigh. At least there's a hotfix that I can request for. Off goes the e-mail. Tick... tick... So apparently this isn't some sort of automated system, OK, fine. I'll just take off.

    Twelve short hours later. Yay! Got my like for the hotfix. Download.... put in password... Something seems to be working.... Final dialog. Hellsyeah! "Restart Now"

    Bam! Still the black desktop.

    You know, you'd think that a background image isnt' something that should bother you all that much. But it f*cking does! It's like I'm in a cave now. Somebody give me a flashlight.

    Sigh. I give up. I'm just going to reinstall Vista.

  • User profile image
    Minh

    Minh wrote:

    Sigh. I give up. I'm just going to reinstall Vista.
    See you on the flipside.


  • User profile image
    ilya

    irascian,

    Since I have installed my vista on both my development machine and my laptop I have had no significant issues that a computer literate person can't fix.
    I run Business Edition of Vista on both of my desktop and Laptop and the one that is running on my laptop is a 64bit version with UAC enabled.
    Every once in a while I get some issues but come on you got to stop wining so much.
    I would like to see some one like you get a team together and
    make a product that is at least half as good as the MS team has created.
    It's always easy to pick on the guy who gave you a tool, but
    it's not that easy to make your own that would be a lot better or
    even as good.

    So what I would suggest is to stop your "pile of poo!" talk and
    do some constructive criticism that would help everyone.

    Have a fun Vista experience.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    *chuckle* There's the problem Ian, you're a noob.

  • User profile image
    Lloyd_Humph

    Minh wrote:
    Disk goes mental and black background/blue screen


    It would appear there are more of these cases... perhaps this should be investigated further?

    If Blackberrys are addictive cellphones, Channel9 is the ultimate addictive website.
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  • User profile image
    Rossj

    Minh wrote:
    I sometimes wonder if being developers, we just work around these annoyances. All you need is some calmness, and put yourself in the shoes of the MS programmers, and ask "what would s/he want me to do in this case?"


    Which is fine for us we know that when a driver is causing an issue we can just wait for an updated driver or whatever, but what about home users who see inconsistent bizarre behaviour and will just assume the whole computer is broken when something like this doesn't work.  If it is frustrating to somebody with Ian's chops can you imagine what it is like for a normal home user?

    I am starting to think that my decision to wait for SP1 before proposing it to people who ask was a wise one - I can't help feeling that Vista was rushed out to sate the complaints about how long it had been taking, in the same way that .Net 3 was rushed out to ensure that it was ready for Vista.


  • User profile image
    Rossj

    ilya wrote:

    Since I have installed my vista on both my development machine and my laptop I have had no significant issues that a computer literate person can't fix.


    Two things,

    1. This reinforces Ian's complain about inconsistency, just because you have no problems don't assume no-one else has (and vice versa)
    2. Not everybody is a power-user.  Computer literate is not the same as power user.

    ilya wrote:

    Every once in a while I get some issues but come on you got to stop wining so much.


    How else will stuff get fixed unless people bring it to Microsoft's attention?


    ilya wrote:

    I would like to see some one like you get a team together and
    make a product that is at least half as good as the MS team has created.


    Maybe it's just me, but this makes you sound like an apologist - I apologise in advance if you are not. Quite how you would expect Ian to get together the millions of dollars and 25 years of experience to write an OS I don't know - but given the fact that Microsoft has been doing this for 25 years, would you not expect more from Microsoft than half-arsed bugs and bugs fixes?

  • User profile image
    irascian

    blowdart wrote:
    *chuckle* There's the problem Ian, you're a noob.


    Yeah, I need to get more computer literate.

    A first class honours degree in Computer Science and 30 years full-time in the IT industry just don't do that for you I guess Sad

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the naivety I see continually on display here. Actually maybe it's not naivety, just complete acceptance of the sort of mediocrity which seems to be the MTV generation's disease (on the one hand they whinge about whingeing, on the other they complain about stress - wonder where THAT comes from!)

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    It's these kinds of issues that have lead me to treat PC/OS as a commodity.  I buy a new PC for the new OS and if there are serious problems I send it back to the manufacturer.

    The only problem I had recently was Vista deciding it wasn't valid and demanding re-activation with new license codes.  It did this twice in a row and has been fine since. If it had done it a third time I would have made the manufacturer send an engineer (I have warranty).

    I don't feel I have the time or patience to troubleshoot PCs any more. It's no longer a hobby.

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    Massif

    Hmmm... I'd like to be able to say "ah, it's just X,Y or Z. But both my Desktop, and tablet's DVD writers worked perfectly from the word go on Vista.

    Then again, I didn't try using any 3rd party DVD burning software, so perhaps Roxio really does screw up the underlying system and Vista was right to try to remove it? Wink

    What's funny is that I have giant Icons on my desktop, (for no good reason really) and it's really annoying that 3rd party products don't increase their size. I haven't even tried sticking office icons on the desktop. It would be good though, given that most icons don't scale up well, to be able to control the size of the icon individually, so they don't take up huge amounts of invisible space.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Massif wrote:

    Then again, I didn't try using any 3rd party DVD burning software, so perhaps Roxio really does screw up the underlying system and Vista was right to try to remove it?


    I've seen this exact issue on XP, Roxio was to blame back then so I'm quite prepared to give Vista the benefit of the doubt there.

    I can see where Ian is coming from with the VPC thing. My guess is that they used Server 2003 because developers are more likely to need IIS 6 than IIS 5.1. Sure, they could have spent lots of time unlocking everything in 2003, but then you'd probably get people complaining that 'it worked like this on the test VPC'. You can't please everyone....

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    AndyC wrote:
    
    Massif wrote:

    Then again, I didn't try using any 3rd party DVD burning software, so perhaps Roxio really does screw up the underlying system and Vista was right to try to remove it?

    I've seen this exact issue on XP, Roxio was to blame back then so I'm quite prepared to give Vista the benefit of the doubt there.


    I had the same issues with Roxio back many years ago on XP.  Will not touch Roxio these days and have swapped to Nero and not had any issues since (I only ever install the core apps only and none of the other crap that comes with it). 

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    Rossj wrote:
    
    Two things,

    1. This reinforces Ian's complain about inconsistency, just because you have no problems don't assume no-one else has (and vice versa)


    I'd second this comment, I have a lot of Vista machines and most are fine.  Some of the older, cheaper machines cause issues, we have become quite selective about the machines we will upgrade to Vista.

    Even so I have a few high spec Dell M65 laptops all less than year old which run Vista without issue untill you try and put them to sleep.  Now depending on how lucky you where with the laptop you got, your chances of it working range between 20% to 95%.  Typically mine is at the 95% end so I don't see the issue, my boss's is down around the 30% mark!  

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    irascian wrote:
    
    blowdart wrote:
    *chuckle* There's the problem Ian, you're a noob.


    Yeah, I need to get more computer literate.

    A first class honours degree in Computer Science and 30 years full-time in the IT industry just don't do that for you I guess




  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    Hehe....

    Ian, I'm about to rip Orcas off my PC, it's getting to be more frustrating than anything and that is on XPSP2.

    As for Vista, one of my coworkers uses XPSP2 all day long, has never touched Vista and I don't even know if he's in the office he's so quiet...just sneaks in.

    Then he had to write some code and test on Vista....I knew he was here then.

    G**&^%!! Microsoft
    Holy FU&%! I can't believe this crap....

    Currently I'm having problems with getting my projects to Publish with the files on a network share....

    /hating Microsoft right now.

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