Friday, January 26, 2007

On Vista and Tags

A feature within Vista that I was really looking forward to using is Tags (sorry for the lame link - scroll down to the bottom). Tags are basically quick labels for files that one can use for organization or searching. They are already used by websites and blogging software (my blog calls them "Labels").

I thought this would be great - I could tag all my patent documents and graphics with "patent" and then I could always quickly find what I need to be working on or saved data.

Tagging is done within the Explorer in a pane below the folder, like this.

Clicking on the box after "Tags:" prompts you to select an existing tag or create your own. So far so good.

The more I played around with Tags, though, the less useful they seemed. Apparently you can't tag everything. Tag-supported files include Office files and image files - these are the ones I've tested so far. No tag support for .txt or .rtf files. Wha wha wha? I prefer to do quick documents in Textpad, not Word, so most of my quick work is untaggable.

While that's not a dealbreaker, it's a little disappointing.

I was also planning on using Tags to help me organize all my data, especially with patent files, benchmark results, etc. The more I thought about it I realized it wasn't exactly like I had wanted.

For instance, I put all patent work in a folder, \patents, with subfolders for specific projects or topics. What would be the point of me tagging all my graphics with "patent" if they are already organized in patent folders? If I needed them, I already know where they are. I'm going to have to tag with subtopics, but the files should already be in subfolders, theoretically already "tagged" by placement.

I could definitely see the benefit of being able to search for all benchmark results for AMD X2 5000+ processors (tagged as AMD, 5000, etc), but since I've done a lot of work on pre-Vista/pre-tag-enabled systems, I've named my result files with specific details in the filename to help with sending them to the correct people.

A plus for Tags is group-tagging. If I didn't want to go through and rename all my vacation photos from IMG0001 - IMG4165 to discrete names I could just select all of them and tag them "Seattle, June 2006" and move on to the next batch. I like that.

I guess it comes down to your preference - do you want to organize by folders and filenames, or by Tags? Or am I missing something? How would you use Tags, and do you think they have a benefit over foldername/filename organization?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Corporate Vista

Two days ago I volunteered for the early adopter Corporate Vista rollout. I'm typing this from Vista as we speak. I'm still in the process of getting my data and programs back on my machine, but I'm running a mobile Precision M65, T2600 2.16GHz, 4GB RAM (3.3GB reported thanks to 32-bit OS), Nvidia Quadro FX 350M.

My Windows Experience Index is 2.0, unfortunately, with the graphics the limiting factor. I'm pretty sure that's because I'm still running the driver from the OS and haven't loaded the Nvidia driver.

My monitor is a Dell 2007FPW at 1680x1050, and Vista looks NICE. Widescreen monitors are the bomb with Vista.

Excel 2007 is pretty much the same usage-wise, and I thought I would have a harder time getting around the Ribbon, but I think I like it. I haven't had much to do with the rest of Office 2007 but I'll be sure to post it. I really like Outlook 2007, especially the calendar layout. A To-Do Bar is present within many sections of Outlook, and I like it more than previous editions.

This is all pretty subjective right now, without screenshots, but I'm almost late for a meeting. I'll try to put more as my experience grows.

It's been a long time, baby!

Hey, I'm back! I know it's been weeks since I've posted last, but sometimes life occurs. I have a lot of content to upload too, and I'm embarrassed to say that some of it is still Christmas-related! least a month late, but sometimes that's how I roll.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I couldn't resist

So I'm cruising IMDb, like I love to do, and I start reading a story about how Harrison Ford turned down $20 Million to play Han Solo in another Star Wars movie, and instead will play Indiana Jones in a fourth IJ movie.

I'm fairly deep in the thread, and I see this entry by a certain Mr. Roadkill, and I couldn't help but post it:

Okay, here's the REAL deal.

Harrison Ford took the Indiana Jones role over the Han Solo one because it's going to be a much better movie.

The rumour that it takes place in the sixties is true, and fits in nicely with the Mr Ford's present age.

What hasn't been widely revealed is that Sean Connory *will* be in the movie, although the role will probably surprise many people.

Since Satan owns the pink slip for the soul of pretty much everyone who has ever worked in motion pictures, he can shuffle the deck however he sees fit... and some interesting studio mergers mean that Sean Connory will play an elderly James Bond who fell through a temporal rift as the result of Xindi interference with Earth history - the theory being that if they could get all the kids hooked on beer and acid and dope then warp drive would never be invented. Little did they realise that Optimus Prime would ride in on My Little Pony and save the day by assassinating Kennedy and illegitimately fathering Rosie ODonnell with, you guessed it, Rosie ODonnell - who fell through the same temporal rift James Bond fell through. Pygmies re-discover left-over gou'auld technology that permits them to build hypersonic blow-dart weapons, which are capable of destroying ICBMs and thereby save the USA from the tyranny of total destruction when they decide to make the Ukraine glow in the dark...which happens two-thirds of the way through the movie, because the Ark of the Covenant (which was stolen from Area 51 by the Xindi) has been given to the Russians, who are using it to try to re-animate a cut-n-shunt SuperPolitician they've made from the cryogenically preserved remains of Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and Walt Disney - but exposure to nuclear fallout causes this re-animated monstrosity to sprout wings and fly to Tokyo, where as Mothra it does battle with Godzilla until Indiana Jones...

Sorry, I've given too much away already. You'll just have to buy a ticket like everybody else.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jumping for joy

Merry Christmas!

There, I said it. I can't stand it when people say "Happy Holidays" when they are too scared to say "Merry Christmas." And a "holiday party" at the end of December...with The Polar Express? Please.

Santa brought our boys (and their parents) a trampoline this year! They've always had fun on the ones we've visited, and my wife had been praying and dreaming for one since she was a little girl as well.

Being the mechanically-inclined dad that I am I asked Santa if he could just drop off the unassembled trampoline and I would put it together. He naturally agreed, but he said that I would need to put get it ready the night before Christmas, as he wanted to surprise the boys with it on Christmas morning.

That works for me, but I didn't realize how cold and rainy it would be after dark...when the boys would be asleep. I got most of it done that night (being out after midnight I think I got a Christmas cold too), and finished it early Christmas morning.

We even let the kids have some time on it too!

I'm not brave enough to do a flip on it yet, but I can manage a somersault.

Happy New Year too!

Greater good from The War Store

I've been playing games for a loooong time, but relatively recently got into miniature wargaming, specifically Games Workshop's Warhammer 40k.

Actually, I'm more into the hobby aspect of the game, which consists of creating game boards and terrain upon which the miniatures, uh, fight. To put a finer point on it, I'm more of a terrain supplies collector than an actual terrain maker, as I collect a lot of styrofoam, plastic bits, etc, and I havean utter inability to throw anything away.

Finally I've gotten around to purchasing a Tau starter-set army so I can actually throw down (or get my Greater Good handed to me).

I had heard about a store called The War Store through various on-line sites, and since they offered a 20% discount on Games Workshop products, I decidedto give them a try. I had no idea as to the size of The War Store, but their website boasts an impressive selection of many products. I figured it was just theweb presence for a local game store.

The website said to call them and Neal, the owner, would talk to me. Okay. When I called, another person said Neal was out of the office for a few minutes butleave my name and number and he would call me back. To be honest, I was a little skeptical at this point, as I figured that anybody there would take my orderand I wouldn't actually talk with the owner of the store. I left my info and tried to do some actual work.

A few minutes later I got a call from Neal! It may not be much to many people, but I appreciated the personalized service. I told him what I wanted (the Tau Battleforce box) and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Unfortunately they weren't in stock, but should be arriving the next day. I went ahead and placed the order as I was in no hurry - this was before Christmas and I had plenty on my plate.

I was happy to see that I got quick email updates on when the backorder was filled (the next day, just as Neal forecasted) and when my order was shipped, alongwith the tracking number.
A few days later I came home to a very special package waiting for me, securely packed and in great condition.

Thanks to a good discount and great service, I'll definitely be ordering from Neal and The War Store again.