Long time – no blog

I apologize to the readers for my long delay in posting. I ran into a critical issue with my operating system that took me out of the loop for a good deal longer than I had first perceived.

An operating system is possibly the most overlooked tool of the digital learner. Second only to the web browser it is the most used tool. Whether it is a cell phone or massive gaming desktop a operating system lies beneath it all.

I am the proud owner of a Dell Latitude 131L. The 131L has a 64bit processor and bus to boot. Running a 32bit operating system on 64bit hardware misses out on more that half of it’s potential. I made a move to take better advantage of the operating system by installing Vista 64bit Business Edition.

Let the games begin!

Let me reiterate that I am a Microsoft instructor at a technical college. Fountainhead College of Technology is an excellent institution for a number of reasons, least of which is that I teach there ;-). I am the proverbial Microsoft Evangelist. The single greatest caveat is that I am writing this post on the ScribeFire extension for Firefox. You just can’t knock a browser with as much community support and extensions as Firefox. I am back up to 30+ extensions with each helping me do what I do best.

Where was I? Oh yes the operating system thing…

I installed Vista with the foreknowledge that there would be a number of hang ups and customizations that would need to happen to do what I need to do every day. I considered that I was moving almost entirely to web based applications. I use g.ho.st as my online desktop, G-mail for email, Google Docs for all my word processing (especially now with Google Gears), Grooveshark, finetune and Last.fm for music, and so on.

The only desktop applications I can’t get away from is Digsby, VMWare Workstation, and PhraseExpress. I did discover through this process how important twhirl became to me.

Vista covered that for me. All my important applications worked and life seemed well…

The first, and most prevalent annoyance, was UAC. This is the lovely service that ask “are you sure you want to do this?” every time I opened an application. I knew this was coming so I turned it off.

There were the annoying security popups. This was ok and I turned them off.

Then the GUI took up entirely to much system resources. So I turned the “Aero-Glass” theme off.

The one that took the cake was the winsxs folder. I had formatted my laptop with a 40GB partition for the OS (Operating System) and the remainder of the system for the data. That setup is usually enough for a server. Well it wasn’t for Vista.

Vista ate up 10GB in my Winsxs folder. 10GB. I could run winxp for years and never get up to 4 GB in my entire windows system folder. If you don’t understand where I am coming from at this point. Don’t worry . I’m not too much futher ahead of you and I am driving.

I was determined to take advantage of all 64bit so I pushed on!

I then went to Kubuntu. I was told how it was easy to change over and how much it worked like windows. They were wrong…

Right off the bat PhraseExpress didn’t work. A -major- blow to the system. I have so much custome stuff in there that I could write an entire 3 week course in about 20 minutes. Almost like cutting my right arm off.

Then getting VMWare Worksation to run became a major challenge.

Then I couldn’t get the video to do overhead projection. I do all of my lecture with real time labs (I dispise powerpoint) so I live off a projector. I like the see-it-and-do-it-as-I-teach-it approach that leaves me very much in dire need of a projector.

Count the right arm as cut off

Then twhirl didn’t work. Twhirl is my favorite twitter, pownce and friendfeed aggragator/client. I have just had all of my students follow me on twitter for announcements and in general. Adobe air, which twhirl runs on, is only in alpha, a number of applications only work on windows and so on and on and on…

I gave up.

Each time I had an operating system change I had a Firefox reconfigure. In amongst all that os changing I upgraded to Firefox 3 which doesn’t run all the extensions I like and I had the growing pains of figuring out which ones I could replace with others and so on.

I did get a good look at Flock during this transition period. I like it. It is where all my “Social Media” extensions have moved to live. Firefox has become my “work” browser.

During this time I was/am teaching and lamenting the good ole days of Windows XP.

So now I am working off good ole XP with Service Pack 3. I’ll still run Vista in a virtual machine along with Kubuntu. I have decided that in the long haul a 32 bit operating system that works is better than a 64bit that doesn’t…

And that is a very sad thing to say…