New Phone

I’ve had my Thunderbolt for two and a half years now.  It’s a slow but venerable phone and has served me well.  Unfortunately, over the past few months, the battery life completely died.  I bought a new battery, which fixed that problem, but recently, it started shutting itself off at 80% battery life and after reboot claiming that the battery is at ~0%.  After the next reboot, it would be back at 70-79% and A-OK for a little bit, except when it jumps from 70% to 15% and shuts off.  So basically, it was time for a new phone.

With this battery-related craziness in mind, I decided to spring for a Droid Maxx.  It’s much faster and, more importantly, has a huge amount of battery life.  Paired with a USB recharger, I should have no problems when at a conference.

Computing Notes

New Computer Built

The last desktop computer I bought was in 2007.  It was pretty good for the time (or at least as good as I could custom-build for ~$1300 including monitors and peripherals), but it has been showing its age for a while.  Sometime in the next year, I plan to build a mega-computer, designed to handle running 4-5 VMs simultaneously and allowing my laptops to connect similar to a vmWare View workstation, so that I don’t use up their scarce resources like I am today.  Unfortunately, that computer’s going to be pretty expensive (I have it spec’d out at a bit over $4000).

To get me through the meantime, I decided to try to upgrade my current computer.  My plan was that I would buy some more RAM, maybe get a solid state drive, and upgrade Windows to 64-bit.  This plan fell apart about ten minutes after I began:  the motherboard I had was limited to 4 GB of RAM, and I was at that amount already.

So then I decided to get a new motherboard.  But then I’d need to get a new CPU, new RAM, and a new video card (it was 5 years old, too, so although it still worked fine for a lot of stuff, it was beginning to show its age).  And I wanted to do this today, so off to the local giant computer chain I went.  While there, I also found a great deal on SSDs, so I threw in one of those, too.  I figured I could re-use my case, power supply (which I had upgraded to a 650w Antec model), two SATA drives, DVD burner, wireless network card, and sound card.

Sometime after installing the new motherboard, I took a closer look at the thing and realized that it’s not 2008 anymore:  there were no PCI legacy slots (goodbye sound card and network card) and no IDE channel (so long, DVD burner), so I had to go out and get a wireless USB stick—cards are apparently passe now—and DVD burner.  I only have cheap speakers for this computer, so the onboard sound is acceptable.

The total price for this was about $950, but I now have 16 GB of RAM, a solid state Windows installation, a mid-range processor, a good video card, and have slaked my urge to spend $4K on a computer…for now…  Eventually, I’ll donate this machine to the spousal unit and build my mega-computer, but at least I can play The Sims 3 without having it crash and lose hours of micromanaging…  Oh, and the 7-second bootup is so nice.

More Microsoft Doom Notes

Windows 8 appears to be a flop in the business world.  This makes total sense to me:  in my experience so far, Windows 8 has a good feel for a tablet-based system, where you may lack a keyboard or end up doing a lot of work with a touchscreen.  But as far as desktop-related work goes, they didn’t really improve the Windows 7 interface but they did shuffle things around and make it harder to get to places if you do not already know the name.  For example, try to get a casual Windows user to shut down the machine.  It’s harder than you might think.

And don’t get me started on the UI for Server 2012…

Infoworld’s review, I think, is tough  but fair.

It kind of feels like Microsoft is trying to force businesses and consumers into Windows 8 by (perhaps) not offering a second service pack for Windows 7.