Monday, October 26, 2009

One Bad Apple

It's a good thing I had a five-day furlough from work because I bought a new laptop on Thursday and I've been completely consumed ever since. The Gateway I got at the beginning of 2006 was beginning to show signs of age -- it was getting REALLY HOT and would freeze from time to time -- so I decided to take the plunge when Windows 7 was released this week. (I'd heard horror stories about Vista, so deliberately bought my old one right when XP was on the way out in the hopes of bypassing Vista altogether and it worked!)

First off, I unintentionally got into yet another (annoying) Mac vs. PC debate over on Facebook, so am not looking for a rehash here. If you are a Mac fan, fantastic. I've been using Macs since J-school back in '87, and currently use one at work for half my responsibilities, and find I greatly prefer PCs. To each his own. This post is geared toward the other 90 percent of the world who like me use Windows, although I should warn you that I'm still left with no choice but to bash Apple in my review of Windows 7 thanks to the fact that the ONLY problem I've had since making the switch -- and bear in mind that I HATE change and will find any excuse to complain about it -- is with my iTunes Library. First things first, though. Just having a new computer with way more RAM -- 10 browsers, Photoshop, Windows Media Player and iTunes open? No problem! -- and a 500-gig hard drive is pretty much heaven on earth. (No more worrying about running out of room for videos, photos and music -- for now, anyway.) Being a fuddy-duddy, the way I judge Windows 7 is how much anxiety it causes me by being different from what I'm used to. It's not too bad, although the majority of the things that are "improvements" are really things I'd have just as soon seen left alone. I'll bet everyone loves the preview tabs of all your open programs along the bottom. I -- the king of not even using browser tabs -- find this an unnecessary added step to just having everything you have open showing along the bottom. (Was it really that hard to arrange your open programs and browsers before, without having them dummied down?) One HUGE problem I've noticed is that the "one up" or "back" arrow that was available in XP -- where, say, you were in a music folder of Blondie albums and then you clicked on "Parallel Lines" but then realized you wanted to go back to "Plastic Letters" -- is completely gone. You literally have to go back to the beginning of the Music Library and start from scratch, even though you were already in the Blondie folder. (Surely someone must have noticed this HUGE annoyance during the Beta phase.) Other than those two things, I've had no problem navigating around. I installed my Windows Office and Photoshop software without incident (something I find virtually impossible on a Mac -- where do they go? What are you supposed to do? I need a Wizard to walk me through it, not give me attitude like the tech people at work).

As for my music ... ugh. I figured I'd done something wrong when I dumped everything off my external hard drive. But a guy at work who just did a Mac-on-Mac transfer said he had the same problem with iTunes where all of the titles remain in the library but they become "unattached" from their corresponding files, so you have to manually go and look for them in order to "activate" them again. (Thousands of them!) More upsetting, though, is that several albums I'd purchased from the iTunes store seemed to vanish while others had to be "approved" to play on a new computer. Also, I've never had my iTunes library and iPod "synced." (I prefer the Windows Media Player and still rip all of my music in there.) Yet somehow -- even though I told it not to -- my "new" iTunes (yes, it FORCED me to download the new version, even though I was content with 7) starting trying to sync my iPod and a bunch of stuff got erased off of there too.

Bottom line: my Windows 7 experience has been mostly seamless (I hear there are many other new features that are quite cool, most of which I have no checked out) with the exception of the one thing that involved Steve Jobs' input.


nojarama said...

I forgive you for your PC indiscresions! He-he! I've been a MAC whore since 1986 myself. I'm a retard on a PC and still have problems just using a mouse, accessing windows & files on a PC! To each his/her own indeed.

PJ said...

Windows Vista isn't really as bad as all the negative press would have you believe. A clean Vista install without all of the bloated trial-ware installed by PC makers is actually better than XP.

The ">" separating each folder name in the address bar is actually a menu of sub-folders in Vista/Win7. To go up one folder you would click on "Blondie" in the address bar. To jump to another folder at the current level, click on the ">" between "Blondie" and "Parallel Lines" and select "Plastic Letters" from the menu.

There is a sample video of how this works at:

Anonymous said...

Here's a Windows 7 tip:

If your new computer came with an AntiVirus trial or subsciption option - get rid of it. While their corporate security software is good, AntiVirus companies' bloated subscription options for home users are more like extortion.

The better option is Microsoft Security Essentials ( It won't bog down your computer like other AV programs and it's completely free. The purpose of MSE is not to make money from fear, but to help ensure users have a positive image of Windows as a fast and secure OS.

Anonymous said...

I recommend you seek out Maccast show notes about your itunes problems. You can also check mac discussion boards where people write about such issues.

You jump the gun too fast to buy a pc with Windows 7.

Brian said...

You will have to keep us up to date on your new Asus. I have my eye on the Asus G51 to replace my 2006 Acer in Q1 2010. I've upraded as much as possible. Time for a 64 bit processor (Core i7).

I've been using Windows 7 since last year, trying the beta and RC2. No problems here.

Kenneth Walsh said...

PJ: THANK YOU! I would have never figured that out. Did they copy THAT from Mac? Talk about NOT intuitive :-)

Anonymous One: You're totally right about Microsoft Security Essentials. My brother tipped me off to that when I was looking to move my McAfee account over. Good call.

Scotty said...

I do love my Mac, but, before I was a convert, I was a HUGE fan of all things ASUS! I always built my own PC's, but always used ASUS motherboards, video cards, everything ASUS I could get my hands on. They make a great product! Enjoy your new....PC....ugh...that was hard to say. :)

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