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As many of you know, TWC ditched Vista Business 64 and went back to XP Pro. Although XP isn't without flaws, I've never looked back. Each time I log onto Mrs TWC's laptop I reach around and pat myself on the back for my stroke of genius.
That said, Microsoft began nagging me about a week ago:
I have never used MS Outlook Express (ever) and, accordingly, there are no messages there to compact.
Secondarily, with 338 Gigabytes of free space I don't have a need to free up disk space.
Now I'm going to waste some time figuring out how to rid my machine of this plague. Course, I keep reminding myself that Vista has pretty much perfected the art of naggery and that crap like this is a small price to pay to be free of Redmond's nanny.
Vista comes with Windoze Photo Gallery--digital photo viewing software with a rudimentary, built-in editing function. Actually, the editing function is decent enough for quick fixes and crops or if you'd like to email reduced size copies that won't take a half hour to upload.
Where it shines is in fixing red eye. I don't pretend to be an expert at digital photo manipulation but this out-of-the-box MS software has the best red eye fixer I've seen. It takes about 10 seconds per eye and your done. Click Fix. Click Red Eye. Draw a box around the offending red eye. Batta Bing. You are done. Simple.
Of course the red eye fix is not as sophisticated or intricate as PhotoShop's, but it's cheaper. And quicker. For everyday touchups, it's perfect.
The kids have inexpensive video cameras that record video in the .ASF file format. .ASF files are compatible with Windoze Movie Maker, except that they aren't.
Workaround: If you change the file extension to .ASX, the video files can then be edited in Movie Maker. Tah. Dah.
That never-fixed oversight makes me nuts. So does the Microsoft decision to NEVER LET A COMPUTER USER SEE THE FILE EXTENSIONS. It's the friggin' default in XP and Vista. I changed that little nicety in my computers immediately after setting them up. Mrs TWC didn't and I'm working with the kids on her laptop, changing the file extensions without much success.
TWC:You know, this worked fine the other day with the House Blond's videos
Mr Cool:Why isn't it working, Dad?
After hearing the same question fifteen times I knocked him out. Then I took the SD card from him and stuck it in my machine and realized what the problem was. BECAUSE NOW I CAN SEE THE FARGIN FILE EXTENSIONS.
Ah, the light bulb illuminates. Last week, when I was helping the HB, realizing that the file extensions were actually there (even though I couldn't see them), I deleted the invisible file extensions before typing .ASX.
Sure, I could have changed the settings on Mrs TWC's laptop but since you only do that once, you don't keep the process fresh in your head. And by the time you get into the project and things go south.....
House Blond just walked past and said, Dad, that's not what you said.
HB: Dad, you didn't say 'this worked fine the other day with the House Blonde's videos'.
TWC: Huh? Course I did.
HB: You said, Katie's videos, not the House Blond's.
Sunday is Ma's birthday and I have The House Blond and Mr Kewl sing a delightfully off key rendition of Happy Birthday. DL to the computer with the idea of doing a quick and dirty and then uploading to You Tube so Grandma can see it Sunday morning.
The fargin' program is MIA. It's gone. Vanished. Kaput. Defunct. Fled. Expired. Vamoosed. Extinct. Evaporated. Disapperated. Left town. Got the Hell Out of Dodge. Made like a Shepard and got the flock out of here. Sayonara Sucker.
I didn't delete it. Got no viruses, I'm running the biggest Trojan shield you've seen. Yet, it has vanished.
Better. You can't download the program unless you already have it and it doesn't work because your sound card sucks. Auuuuggghhh! What the hell is wrong with these people?
So, I could do it on the XP machine. Except, the XP machine isn't for crap when it comes to doing movies. Yep, you guessed Door Number One! It's a Media Center Machine but......it will crash if you run Movie Maker and you will lose everything.
Up til it vanished in the middle of the night, like this blond chick named Kitten used to do (without so much as a kiss on the cheek)--and no, I called her by her real name which somehow escapes me now, the Vista 64 bit computer ran Movie Maker like a champ.
Got back in town a few weeks ago and put the laptop back together** only to find that the sound mysteriously ceased functioning since I packed it up in the Grand Canyon State. After some begging and pleading, fiddling and finagling, swearing and screaming, prodding, poking, and threatening the thing with a sledge hammer, I gave up.
I don't care that much anyway because I use three computers simultaneously. Easy enough to switch the speakers over the the XP machine and I'm good to go.
Yesterday, I'm hearing that nagging, annoying, tinny little chime that means you've got mail. Hmmmm, wait, email doesn't download to the XP machine with the functioning speakers. After ignoring it for a half hour I give in and plug in the Bose speakers to the laptop, fire up the acoustic version of Gallon of Gas, and voila! Music.
I'm innocent. I did absolutely nothing to accomplish this.
Incidentally, my kids think that Gallon of Gas ought to be TWC's theme song (by virtue of the number of times the jukebox spins that tune each night). Just like a rural TV station in the south signing off with Dixie, kids can't go to bed until the Casa signs off with Gallon of Gas.
And remember this? Fixed too (Not by me, mind you). No more Control + V to paste a link into Outlook. A simple right click and paste and your done. Even in Firefox, which is now Minefield (for 64 bit Vista) and for which there is no flash player available. Sigh.
**Hot Tip: Never attempt to make your laptop into the desktop you didn't buy because a laptop seemed like a good idea at the time. Laptops are simply not designed to be a functional workhorse in a modern office where a guy needs his 22" monitor, laser printer, color printer, high speed scanner, photo scanner, two backup hard drives, USB turntable, coupla flash drives, and the cordless mouse and keyboard to hook up to the main computer.
Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.....
One thing I do like about 64 bit Vista is that it reads an SD card almost as fast as it reads a hard drive. My XP machine (Media Center, btw) is a doddering old crank in a wheel chair when it comes to opening photos on a camera card (SD). Grass grows faster.
One of my computers runs Business Vista 64 bit. It's pretty stable, comparatively, but one significant shortcoming is that there aren't any drivers available for things like my high-dollar high speed scanner and no Flash drivers for my free Firefox browser, Minefield, which was written for 64 bit Vista. YouTube? Don't bother.
Aside from being nannied to death by Bill Gates, the big problem is that Vista is sluggish. It sucks memory like chrome off of a doorknob trailer hitch ball. Truly, I am hard on computers, which compounds the problem. While in the midst of a cursing tantrum in which I suggested that neither my computer nor Bill Gates were sure of their daddy's name, I ran across a pretty cool little fix that helps resolve the sluggishness.
Goes like this:
Create a new desktop shortcut (use the shortcut wizard)
Click Next and then name your application (I used Clear Memory)
Click Finish and your done.
Right click the Icon and run it as the Administrator
It takes about thirty seconds to run and the results are astonishing. At least on my machine. Not as dramatic on my XP machine or on Mrs TWC's machine, but still noticeable. Yes, I said XP, the fix works on XP as well.
You could even set up a wizard to run the program every thirty minutes or so.