Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Valca's, Vista, and Lavie's Luck

So recently I dropped a detailed post out of the blue regarding Vista ReadyBoost.

This was on the heels of my post "Vista Sunsets and Sunrises" where I mentioned that the Vista beta versions would soon be expiring. I've been lightly playing with Vista at work and home using Virtual PC 2007.

While generally impressed with my virtual Vista experiences, I was undecided about the whole prospect of upgrading my desktop Shuttle unit running XP to Vista, but figured that I will eventually get around to upgrading Lavie's year-old laptop now running XP to Vista.

Until two weeks ago.

Lucky Lavie

See, Lavie's company held a party for their administrative assistants (although I think Lavie is actually more of a "technical project assistant" now) and had some giveaway prize drawings. They went through a whole slew of prizes and while Lavie has a habit of bringing home great gear, her ticket didn't get picked.

Until the very end.

She walked away with the grand-gift of a brand-new Gateway MT6451 notebook.


She called me at work sooo excited! I almost ripped out the rat's nest of wiring I was tracing standing up in shock.

Yeah! Baby!

Spec-wise it is pretty close to Lavie's other new-old notebook. It does have a dual-core Turion 64 while the Compaq has a single core Turion 64 processor. The screen is a bit larger and the display quality seems to much better for color shade differentiation. And the viewing angle is much more user-friendly than the Compaq's display. However, it weighs about 10-20 pounds more than her Compaq notebook (actually the Gateway notebook is a bit over 6 lbs.).

It came with Vista Home Premium pre-installed. It is much more feature-packed that I thought and while the Ultimate version does have some great bells and whistles, I'd most likely select this version for all of our home systems (except Alvis's old Dell running Linux).

It also has Windows Media Center integrated in the Premium version. I really enjoy using this software. I've watched several DVD's and between the WMC experience and the quality of DVD playback on this system and its display, it is a real entertainment treat.

Did I mention that it looks pretty wicked? Really! Even for a Gateway.

It has a nice brushed aluminum dark gray base, a dark gray top, and the light indicators are blue and deep rose. High-tech!

Of Course, Nothing is "Free"

I put off dealing with it (coming soon to Grand Stream Dreams...Dealing with the Gateway...sequel to "Dealing with the Dell") until last weekend.

The process was painless, but it did take me quite a bit of time to complete; taking notes, Vista system changes from XP, etc.

Of course we had to get a laptop bag for it (this Wenger Swiss Army Impulse model). Who wants to lug their laptop around town in its OEM cardboard box? $$

Lavie didn't like her current new-old laptop bag for the Compaq and wanted a more "lady-like" one so we added one similar to this (except it has leather buckles). $$

Neither one of us like working with the micro-USB notebook mouse, so I picked up two wireless mice, one for each laptop. It took me a long time in the store shelves before I settled on the full-size Logitech LX7 cordless optical mouse. (Mobile Magazine review here.) It just fits my hand so comfortably...and the styling matched the Gateway. It also had a left-right button scroll wheel which I have set to copy-past commands. Great for blogging. When I got home I felt silly realizing that it was just the cordless version of the same one I bought for our desktop. Go figure. No wonder I liked it. Since it is a full size model, the USB receiver doesn't stow in the mouse, but the Wenger bag has some nice pockets. $$

Lavie's beautiful hands are smaller than mine so we picked up this Rocketfish notebook mouse for her and the Compaq (or the Gateway if she wishes...). Lavie liked the smaller size and the fact the receiver stows in the bottom of the mouse. And it matches the colors of the Compaq notebook. (Yes, we must be color coordinated here!) $

Although the notebook comes with a Gig of RAM, its performance seemed much more sluggish than I expected. It was (subjectively) much slower than Lavie's XP Compaq system with the same RAM. That's why I went out and got the 2G Ativa brand USB stick to use for ReadyBoost. Made a big difference in performance. Lavie doesn't like plugging it in and swears she can't see a difference, but I really can. $$

So when the tally was done, we probably spent about $200 or more on the "accessories" for this "free" notebook.


Something about looking a gift horse in the mouth?

The Vista to come...

Anyway. We are all having fun with it.

Using Vista on a "real" system as opposed to virtual sessions is indeed a much different experience.

I'll be having a lot more to say about Vista now on this blog as I have a Vista machine now to use and maintain along with our XP and Linux systems.

I'm already building up quite a number of Vista-related "to be blogged" links, tips, and observations.

And FYI, would you believe I'm still doing 90% of my blogging from my XP desktop system?

The dual monitors make it just so much more comfortable to blog from. It seems a bit "faster" than the Vista laptop (still). And with the full-size keyboard, I can type a whole lot faster.

Of course, this now opens up a whole new level of issues I'm having to deal with...but more on those down the road.

So due to beautiful and wonderful Lavie's luck, the Valca's have been Vista'ized.

Ain't it grand?


1 comment:

Dave said...

I am the exact opposite. I am so atuned to using a laptop, that a full sized keyboard is clunky and awkward. I tend to VNC to my desktop from my laptop even though I'm sitting right next to it. (Though I agree dual monitors make things so much easier to work at, and things so much more difficult to work at over VNC)