Archive for November, 2010

Windows 7 traitor

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

A new laptop arrived with my name all over it a few months back. A particularly nerdy laptop – Alienware M11x. What can I say – I’ve always wanted to own an Alienware.

The let down? I’m running Windows 7. This was a big change for me – I’ve always run Windows at home and at my previous job but for the majority of my work with other *nix hosts I’ve used Ubuntu. I always liked the native terminal and ability to customise almost anything.

I always hate buying a pre-built system as they love to RAM so much stuff on the OEM install. Dell used to be the biggest offender – this time round it was alright. There were a few things on there.. McAfee/Backup agent that I dropped immediately but otherwise I’ve stayed with the original OEM install (this is the first time I haven’t done a fresh install).

Immediately the cut from Ubuntu to Windows had me missing a few of the basics that I had come to use. My biggest gripe was loss of ‘focus on mouse’ for windows management. There is an option in Windows 7 to enable “Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse” which I tested out. This has to be one of the most annoying implementation I had seen. When you hover on a window it activates (which is great) but then it brings that window to the front. Annoying. I like to have windows overlapping and be able to type in multiple windows without losing my main window focus in the foreground. I pushed on and found there is a registry hack to achieve this:

First; Open regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Edit UserPreferenceMask value to be 9F 3E 07 80 12 00 00 00

Then; In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Edit ActiveWndTrkTimeout, change ‘Base’ to Decimal and put in 150 as the ‘Value Data’
This value is time in milliseconds that it takes for the focus to change to the new window.

Lastly; Log off and log back in.

This sorted my focus problems and made it pretty much usable for work again.

Another point of pain was the lack of virtual desktops – pretty much tying me to having all my applications open and crowding my single desktop. I looked at a few apps that provided ‘virtual desktops’ for windows. Some were good but I struggled to find one that easily provided the features I wanted;
– Multiple Desktops
– Ability to drag between the desktops
– Ability to preview the virtual desktops from taskbar
Found a decent opensource project – which solved all my requirements. Check it out as the site has a decent demo if you need some better window management.

Otherwise – all is good in the world of Windows now. Its a massive improvement on previous versions and its nice to have things ‘just work’ like flash in Chrome. Once you’ve got all your nice apps on – Thunderbird, Chrome, Putty etc its pretty much usable. Also, the battery management is perfect.

Movember – let the growth begin.

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Perfectly timed with the return of the site is the start of Movember. Movember is based around raising awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men.

I’ve decided to my small part by signing up for a bit of growth – here is my mospace if you feel so inclined to donate.

I usually struggle to come up with a style so this year thought I would take some inspiration from some stache lads. First up was Ewan McGregor – the man knows how to grow a mo:

But I felt it was a bit too … classic? I’ve been watching Deadwood from season 1 and figured I could try to pull off a Bullock:

Funny though, cause if you look at the real ‘Seth Bullock I’ve got no hope….

That thing is gruesome.

And we are back!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Soooo. Had some problems for a while there. The site wasn’t generating php content correctly and instead was passing the raw wordpress code to users hitting the front page. The most annoying part was over 3 days over troubleshooting I fixed it at some point but Chrome kept serving me a locally cached version that was broken – essentially I kept trying to fix something that wasn’t broke.

As part of the return I’ve migrated to a new host! Huzzah! We are now located in Freemont, CA in the US of A. Site response is a little snappier and generally cleaner.

Will get some more content coming up shortly to celebrate the return!