Windows 7 Upgrade

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,software | Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Windows 7 Professional

Finally, my Windows 7 Professional (box) arrived, so I’ll be reinstalling my system shortly (possibly this weekend), after finishing all the tests I’ve wanted to perform in a virtualized environment, to possibly avoid bugs or problems with the kind of software I’m running here.

One noticable, and much welcomed, difference from Vista right out of the box, is the presence of the 64bit media. Previously, with Vista, which was the very first operating system for the masses offered in both 64bit and 32bit flavours on one license by Microsoft, shipped only with a 32bit version on the DVD, you had to ask Microsoft for sending you the 64bit installation DVD for the price of shipping, which was ridiculous. Fortunately I had friends who bought the 64bit OEM version I could borrow the DVD from, but those without such luxury had to go through this painful procedure. Thankfully this has been solved as Windows 7 ship with both of the DVDs in the box (not OEM!).

Windows 7 Professional DVDs

I’ll be looking forward to the “enhanced experience” :D but really, mainly the new features, speed improvements and new technologies under the hood made me to upgrade. I can always revert to Vista if I wanted to (I also bought a box copy), or even Windows XP, but I probably wouldn’t go that far! :D I rarely only use WinXP nowdays in VMware for testing purposes etc…

VMWare Workstation 7

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,software,technical | Friday, October 30th, 2009

VMware Workstation 7 Banner

I just upgraded my VMware Workstation to the latest version, 7.

Apart from the obvious CPU number and memory limit upgrades, the most obvious and, frankly, coolest features are support for 3D graphics and DirectX. This means that not only can we test 3D applications inside virtual machines, play 3D games, but also get fully functional Aero experience (for those who like to heavily customize), which is really great. Also, in 7, we now get an official support for, you guessed it, Windows 7 (installing RTM as I’m writing this article) ;)

It’s really a great update, especially considering the accelerated 3D features. If you already own VMware 5.x or 6.x, the upgrade is $99 USD, for new users to VMWare, the full retail price is $189 USD, which is still pretty good, if you really need a virtualized environment.

VMware Workstation 7 Running Windows 7 Business x64

Operation WS2K8

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I’ve finally found some spare time to dive into the server installation. I’ve chosen, after a bit of an evaluation, Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard (couldn’t have chosen Linux for several reasons and this version of Windows was the best choice). However, the installation process isn’t as easy and boring as it is on any regular PC, the server is a bit of a proprietary mash of partly commercially available parts and thus requires a little bit more elaborate approach.

The very first time I booted up the server I had to flash and update its SYSTEM and the PERC BIOSes at first, because they were of a bit older version that wasn’t officially supported by Dell.

Dell PowerEdge 2600 booting up

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Dead keyboard morning

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I woke up this morning and powered my computer on blindly, then went to the kitchen to fix me a mug of strong coffee, like every other morning (well, if you can call 11am a morning that is :) ). To my surprise (and as it has always been with all of my computers), Windows booted up, but my keybard was dead, non-responsive. It was plugged in properly, it was illuminating, but I could press the keys as hard as I can, nothing happened. And so it started. My adrenaline levels risen tremendously, I started to feel really angry and I think if I could, I’d turn green and smashed everything in my way. However, that’s not the case and after I quickly gulped down the delicious, yet bitter, natures’ liquid miracle, I finally started to think. The only difference from yesterday was that I uninstalled VMWare (they released an updated version), but I didn’t install the update, because a phone call interrupted me and I had to quickly fix the last shot I was working on.

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I’ll never buy another Western-Digital MyBook HDD

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Friday, June 26th, 2009

wd_banner

Let me get this straight: I love WD HDDs, all eight of those in my workstation are from WD. They’re super-reliable, fast, affordable and quiet. On the other hand, the MyBook external drives are really shitty!

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HTC Touch Diamond 2

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Friday, June 19th, 2009

htc_banner

The best mobile phone you can get! Sure I’m a bit biased :D as I really dig HTC’s phones, but this one is truly remarkable!

I used to own TyTN II, then I bought a lower-end S730 smart-phone, but now I went back to touch enabled pohnes with this one. Not only does it have a huge screen with absolutely awesome resolution (800×480), which is even suitable for more demanding tasks, such as remote desktop administration (checking on your render machines while on the go is just the thing that gets you the chills, if you’re geeky like me ;) ). Also, since it’s a WinMo device, there are tons of apps. you can use for your daily work! I couldn’t live without Total Commander for example or XnView! Also, other apps that take advantage of the G-Sensor, like a compass, level or a protractor, very handy!

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A quick note about 64bit virtualization

loocas | software,technical | Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Naturally, I’d downloaded Windows 7 RC1 x64 as soon as it was available to test it out. Obviously I can’t afford to ditch my current setup and reinstall from scratch on my primary workstation just to see whether Windows 7 really are up to the hype and thus worth the upgrade. That’s where virtualization comes really invaluable.

So I prepared a new virtual machine in my VMWare Workstation and, surprisingly, got an error message saying “This CPU is VT-capable, but VT is not enabled (check your BIOS/firmware settings).” The problem was that I had Virtualization enabled by default in my BIOS!

I searched the net, but all I found was always the same recommendation: enabling virtualization in BIOS. So I checked Gigabyte’s website for BIOS updates as that was the last resort I would be able to go to, if that wouldn’t have worked, I’d have been pretty much doomed and wouldn’t be able to virtualize 64bit guest operating systems.

Thankfully, flashing the BIOS to the latest version worked and I am able to fire up a Windows 7 RC1 x64 virtual OS for some testing.

Just a side note, I run a Core i7 CPU (920) on a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P (BIOS: F7) board, the rest of the HW is irrelevant to virtualization (except perhaps the amount of RAM), no need to brag, besides it’s more like a gaming rig than a workstation, but I’m more inclinable to the value/price ratio than a brand let’s say. ;) Nevertheless, this rig runs faster than a more expensive machine from Dell (Precision T3400) I have here temporarily for rendering.

virt_win7

Windows Vista, WOW!

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,software,technical | Monday, October 27th, 2008

I spent this weekend reinstalling the Windows, then configuring it and finally installing all the applications and programs I use. I hate this procedure so much (I know, I should use some image restore utilities etc…) I tried to avoid it as much as possible until the OS finally completely collapsed. Reinstallation also has some positive aspects to it, like revising your workflow and software you use. Like Mail, I stopped using it even on the previous installation, then I installed the Live Mail (or whatever the name), such a shitty app., I really don’t recommend anyone even trying it out as I did, since you then get stuck with it due to some important mail conversations you suddenly receive and then just try to put up with it.

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Ninotech Path Copy – a must have Shell extension!

loocas | opinions,software,technical | Monday, July 28th, 2008

I find myself constantly copying paths from one place and pasting them in another place. Be it texture source folders, render paths, script locations etc… The problem comes in a networked environment, which is a common thing nowdays, isn’t it ;) I usually map a network drive to the most common remote locations and use one of the last letters to label the drive, like X: or W:. This is all fine and it saves a lot of trouble when constantly jumping from one folder to the other on the company’s intranet.

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How is it with W@R3Z?

loocas | opinions | Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

vista_photoshop_boxes.jpgDisclaimer: this article is in NO WAY intednded to guide anyone to using pirated software! It’s solely my own opinion based on my own experience.

So, what is all about that oh-so-prohibited word “warez”? Is it really that bad, evil and immoral using pirated software? It all depends on your point of view and other circumstances. On one hand, companies try very hard to avoid their software being pirated all over the web and even go as far as “hiring” legal force to do whatever it takes to stop you or anyone else from using their software without a “legally” obtained licence. On the other hand, there’re always hobbyists, students who can’t afford it or simply people who don’t like paying big bucks for software that they’re not sure they’ll be able to handle/use and the trials (that are often being crippled by the manufacturers) aren’t good enough for a full and thorough evaluation. Of course, there are also users who simply don’t give a damn and pirate even open source software ;)

One of the major features the companies scream about when it comes to software piracy is support. This, almost mythical, word should mean something like when you run into serious problems with your software, you’re, as a valued customer, eligible for some professional advice, help or simply a solution to the problem of yours. I say “should” as you’ll see it is not always true that you will get an answer to your question/problem, if any!

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