Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Or Not Installing Vista in Virtual PC for Mac

As soon as I posted the last entry, I Apple-Tabbed back over to Virtual PC to be greeted by the following error message: Click for larger version I thought the odds on this were 50/50, now I know which 50 this CTP falls into. For completeness, I choose Win XP Pro as the OS when creating the new PC, I also tried an Unspecified OS with the same results.

Impressive Mac Windows Compatibility Scenario

My IBM Thinkpad T42 doesn't have a DVD burner. This is particularly bad since I need to get a copy of the Windows Vista February CTP burned and installed somewhere, I finally have the itch now that Vista is feature complete to start checking this out for myself. In the office, there is like one shared DVD burner that no one seems to know where it is, anyway its a hassle to track it down. I am working from home today and I think I have a DVD burner in the iMac, can I copy the .iso over and burn a DVD. This ended up presenting no problem. I copied the 2.4 GB file over my wireless network using Windows File Sharing from the T42 to the Mac. I then dragged the .iso to Roxio Toast 6 Titanium to burn the DVD. This is impressive to me because I copied such a large file over wireless between platforms with no errors and the DVD burned without any problems. Vista is installing in Virtual PC on the Mac right now...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Top Current Windows XP Annoyance: Multiple Monitor Support

If you have ever used multiple monitor support in Windows XP, then it is highly likely you have experienced the pain I will betalking about. I use mutiple monitors when I plug my ThinkPad into a docking station for my deskbound LCD. This is what I think SHOULD happen:
  • Secondary display should extend the desktop without my intervention.
  • The second display should have a taskbar without the Start button.
  • The icons on my primary desktop (i.e. the one permanently attached to my computer) should not move.
This is what Windows XP does:
  • Nothing. I have to do something to trigger the activation of the secondary display. My current method of choice is the Thinkpad hotkey, but...
  • I can't activate extending the desktop as a permanent option. I have to go into Display Properties to turn on extension and move the displays around to the proper location. I do this nearly everyday.
  • After setting up the desktop, my desktop icons are moved to the new extended desktop most of the time. This is inexcusable in a 5 year old product.
Alas, I know there is a utility to do this, Ultramon (thanks to Scott Hanselman's Ultimate Tool List), but I am not paying $39.95 to get functionality that should be in Windows XP. A quick Google for what the situtation will be like in Vista reveals only that there will be unspecified improvements. CNet has this article which mentions mutiple-monitor improvements, best quote:
Suokko said the company wants to make it easier for laptops to connect to any external monitors that happen to be available. "It's there, but it's somewhat complex today," he said.
Also of potential interest for current Windows users may be MaxiVista to use a laptop or other PC as a secondary display. And MS has this article which reitereates much of what I just said. There is also an open source project, Synergy. This is not strictly a multiple monitor solution, but it does allow you to use a single mouse and keyboard across mutiple computers, Mac, Windows, or Unix. I haven't tested it yet, but it could be cool. You might want the Mac GUI for it from SynergyKM (thanks Lifehacker). And as for what the situation is like on the Mac, I have only connected one external display, a project, to my iBook a few years ago, all I remember was that it worked and I didn't have to fiddle with OS X. But I did find this Mac OS X Tiger Timesaver: Using Multiple Displays article on Dummies.com with screenshots. Looks mostly the same as in Windows XP, except you can pick which monitor the Menu Bar is put on. I might have to bring in my PowerBook to work and connect to the external LCD to see if settings persist across monitor connections, which is The Way It Should Be™.

Will the real video iPod please stand up?

ThinkSecret is reporting a True video iPod to sport 3.5-inch display, touch-screen click wheel is set for release as early as this spring. In Steve Jobs' January Macworld Keynote, April 1, the 30th anniversary of Apple Computer, Inc. might see some interesting annoucements. If ThinkSecret is right, this totally makes sense. Is this the portable video device I have been waiting for? It just might be. A 3.5" diagnol screen would actually fit in the existing iPod shell if the click wheel is removed. I maintain the PSP is too big for truly portable video, you can't put the device in your pocket or on a belt clip without it getting ridiculous. I also maintain that optical discs and memory cards on the PSP are yesterday's storage solutions, downloads for everything. The key with this new iPod has to be fingerprints on the display. How are they going to keep finger prints off of it? Every touch-screen I have ever seen is mucked up with prints. Are you going to have to carry around a lint cloth to wipe the screen to watch video? Anyway, this will make a nice birthday present to myself if it's real. :)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

AnandTech: Apple Makes the Switch: iMac G5 vs. iMac Core Duo

AnandTech: Apple Makes the Switch: iMac G5 vs. iMac Core Duo Really good performance comparison on AnandTech between the iMac G5 and the iMac Core Duo. I especially like when they disable one of the cores on the Intel chip and pit it against the G5. From my view, this says that the PPC architecture was good, it's too bad IBM didn't care or wasn't fast enough in competing with Intel and AMD on dual core and low power designs. Anyway, technically it won't make a differnece how good the G5 is when you can run Windows and OS X on the same hardware.

Programmatically changing log file names in Log4net

I am working on a side Windows Forms project that of course I need logging in. I had spent some time looking at log4net to use as a common logging framework for all the apps we build at my company, so I thought I could save some time instead of rolling my own. Plus I have an aversion to the MS Enterprise Library, seems like you get a whole lot of "tax" just to get something like logging. So I integrated log4net into my Windows Forms project because I really wanted to RollingFile appender. log4net is all configuration based. You can either embed the configuration in your app.config or in a seperate log file. This includes the path and name of the file to log to with the RollingFile appender. Trouble is I don't know the path until run-time because it is dependent on the user's profile directory. Unfortunately, the IntelliSense on the log4net objects provide no obvious way to get to the appenders, no obvious way that is unless you completely understand their "repository" concept. Thankfully, someone else does: Programmatically changing log file names in Log4net This works like a charm and I am extremely happy with it.