2007-03-10

BatBook III !!!

Actually, this is a combination of talking about my new machine, and some ranting about Windows.


I started to set up my new laptop machine over this weekend; it is the third one to bear the BatBook moniker. Fortunately, BatBook II (my 4-1/2 year old laptop) has held out long enough to finish what I needed to do this week; my new machine arrived on Monday, but it's taken me to the weekend to have a chunk of time to deal with software installation & setup.

I've installed Windows 2000 multiple times (including rebuilds on several machines)--part of the pain is to unbreak all of the stupid default settings in both Windows and Office. One thing that has always annoyed me is any of the adaptive menus--i.e., place the most recently used applications (in XP) or commands (in Office) at the top. I am very visually oriented, so I want Format -> Change Case... in the same place I am used to. To me, this system is analogous to somebody "helping" you in the kitchen, and while cleaning up, piling everything you used that day in the top drawer.

I realized what this system is really for. My judgement, when I am feeling less charitable than average, is that it is for people who are too incompetent, lazy, or uninterested to organize their desktop and/or Start Menu in an efficient manner. I know that I can look at my applications and figure out which ones will be used the most often, with some concessions to basic organization (all of certain types of applications go together, etc). I've never understood how people could not modify the way that the Start menu is normally configured by software installations. E.g., all applications are installed inside hierarchical folders, therefore, in terms of number of levels, something used as often as Adobe Acrobat would have the same number of steps down the tree structure as "Uninstall MumblyFelch Pro" or "Readme File for DoofusWare 2.0"

And don't get me started on software that automatically installs its icon on the desktop. Get your stupid-ass icon off of my screen, you self-important arrogant piece of shit installer.

Fortunately, you can turn off these features. And that's what I've been doing. Also, for Windows users who don't have this installed, I strongly recommend TweakUI (as in Tweak User Interface)--it's a Microsoft Power Toy. I especially recommend disabling AutoRun--I hate the way inserting a Flash drive pops up a new window (what do you want me to do?). Also, disabling the path that RootKit CDs work is a plus. I am also planning on playing with SyncToy, which seems like a promising way to keep files on multiple machines synchronized... I'll let you know.


The other step I had to do was to transfer my files over. I wasn't looking forward to moving tens of gigs over a network. Fortunately, I have an external laptop IDE drive enclosure, so I could just pop out the hard drive of my old machine, connect it to my new laptop, and shuffle the files over. I love it when stuff like this actually works. In terms of bitrate, USB 2.0 >> 802.11g.

1 Comments:

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Sean said...

SyncToy is very, very handy. It is like rsync with a UI. However, it is stupid about network shares -- if you haven't bound the share beforehand, SyncToy fails silently. This sucks if you've scheduled it to run at hhmm and you haven't touched the drive share that day.

For one-offs, or manually launched Syncs, it is great.

 

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