13 April 2010

The Sweetest Office Suite--Free, Fast and Built for Windows

Sorry for the pun.

Openoffice.org is just too slow. Even for when I had a Athlon X2 3600+ with 2 gigs of RAM. Slow meaning it took ages for it to load. Imagine the molasses hell I went through using Openoffice on this netbook. I used it on WinXP and now with Win7 and for the last time I'll say it was slow.

I did try Abiword and Gnumeric for a week or 2. I don't need to replace Powerpoint, Access, Onenote or Outlook. Just a word processor and spreadsheet is enough for me. This is for home use after all--not for school or work.

Abiword was ok but it had to install vcredist_x86.exe--which I can't stand. No fluff for me please.

Gnumeric was ok too but when I saved a file I was confronted with a file dialog that looked like it came from Gnome. It's superficial yes but I'd like Windows to look like Windows.

Which leads me to Softmaker Office 2006. It's free and it works just like Word and Excel 2003. Just the way I like it.

And yes it's fast enough for me.

26 February 2010

Webcam Woes

I just hit a snag with Win7 and my MSI Wind U100. The webcam doesn't work. It did with WinXP but not with Win7.

There is no driver available from the MSI website which says that the driver is included with Win7. I am able to install a driver through Windows Update but the driver doesn't work.

A quick Google search reveals that several other people have reported the issue like this thread in MS Answers.

So there you have it. If having a webcam is important to you, stay away from a Win7 and U100 combo.

While waiting for driver update, I will have to run Slax on a USB drive to use the webcam with Skype.

29 January 2010

Apple iPad - I Don't See the Point

The best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video.


How can it be better for web browsing if it doesn't do Flash?

How can it be better for email without a real keyboard?

How can it be better for photos if it doesn't have camera?

How can it be better for video if it only plays .m4v, .mp4, and .mov?

Just how is this better than an iPod Touch, Kindle or a netbook?

22 January 2010

Windows 7 Starter - Speed

I have no benchmarks to show but it seems to me that Win7 Starter is faster on my MSI Wind than the Win 7 RC.

08 January 2010

Win7 Starter Review: Eye Candy

The most obvious drawback to Win7 Starter has to be the inability to change the theme. It's one of the first things I do on a fresh install.

After a few days stuck with the same wallpaper, sound scheme and window appearance, I've come to the conclusion it's not so bad. The 2 worst things about it really is it's a bit to bright and too loud. I'm used to very dark active window bars and taskbars. And I'm used to disabling windows sounds.

For the savings over Home Premium, these are things I can live without. I've lived without Aero for nearly a decade anyway.

07 January 2010

Required iPod Knowledge

Itunes is fat and bloated. It should be part of The Biggest Loser and shed at least half its weight. Unfortunately for iPod users, it's a must have.

Install only what you need and follow this guide.

Extract three files from the iTunesSetup file, AppleApplicationSupport.msi, QuickTime.msi and iTunes.msi, and save them in a local folder. Open a command prompt window, navigate to that folder, and run the following commands:

* AppleApplicationSupport.msi /passive
* Quicktime.msi /passive
* iTunes.msi /passive

That's all you need for your Ipod Classic (Video), Nano, Shuffle and/or Mini.

06 January 2010

Windows 7 Starter Review--Ep. 1

I just installed Win7 Starter on my MSI Wind. Why Starter and not Home Premium considering all the limitations?

1. Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek.
2. Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.
3. The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
4. Multi-monitor support.
5. DVD playback.
6. Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
7 Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
8. Domain support for business customers.
9. XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.

1 & 2 are just eye candy which I could live without to save Php3000.

No one else uses my laptop so 3 doesn't matter. And if anyone had to borrow it, I'd just save and log off. No big deal.

4 also does not matter since I'm using a laptop.

I'm sure I'll be playing DVDs only on my DVD player. The only movies I'll be watching on a PC are downloaded from torrents and are played with MPC. If I do have to play a DVD on my PC I'm pretty sure MPC or VLC will be able to handle it. (I'll confirm this later.)

Next is the lack of Windows Media Center. Again I use MPC to watch my media and recorded TV is not one of them. Just torrents of TV series.

Remote media streaming is another feature I'm not interested in. And so is domain support.

Lastly Win XP mode might be useful for old apps. But I doubt if I'll ever use an app that so old, it's not supported by Win7.

The biggest disadvantages for previous Windows Starter versions were hardware restrictions and a 3-application limit. I'm sure the 3-app limit has been lifted by MS and no hardware restrictions are listed in the Windows Team blog or the Win7 Starter page.

So far so good. The installation went without a hitch, much like the Win7 RC which I used for about 2 months.

Stand by for Episode 2.