Archive for the 'windows vista' Category

Waveson WindowShade

Waveson WindowShadeOver at Waveson, I’ve put up the first version of Waveson WindowShade.

Waveson WindowShade is a utility for Windows which draws an unobtrusive, translucent shade over the desktop and windows other than the one with which the user is interacting, helping him or her focus on the video they’re watching, the document they’re editing, etc.


Like some others I had a problem yesterday with one of the updates pushed out by Microsoft as part of “Patch Tuesday“: ‘Security Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 (KB937061).’

Windows Update downloads and attempts to apply this update to machines on which one of the matching Visual Studio 2005 SKUs (see here) has been installed. The update addresses a “Vulnerability in Crystal Reports for Visual Studio [which] Could Allow Remote Code Execution.” However, Crystal Reports for Visual Studio is an optional component of Visual Studio 2005 and so, as was the case on the Acer, is not always installed.

So although Windows Update would report that the update as having been “successfully” installed, it would in short order re-prompt to install it again. And again. And again, ad infinitum. (On Vista, I have entries in WU’s ‘update history’ for one, two, three.. eight “successful” installations of this update..)

On the Acer, adding Crystal Reports to the Visual Studio 2005 installation enabled WU to properly install the update and subsequently recognise it as having been installed; incidentally, the process of actually installing the update seems to happen perceptibly more quickly than that of not really installing it but reporting it installed all the same.

Finally, subsequently un-installing Crystal Reports for Visual Studio seems also to un-install the update, whereupon Windows Update prompts, again, to install it and one is, presumably, apt to find oneself back in the same cycle.

Feisty Fawn and the Waved Dead Chicken

Given the positive experience of the, erm, dead chicken, I had to try out Feisty Fawn on the Acer.

Since the Acer’s CPU is (notionally) 64-bit, I tried my luck, first, with the 64-bit version of the distro. Somewhat to my surprise, this worked, virtually perfectly, out-of-the-box. But the (apparent) absence of a 64-bit version of Skype fairly quickly had me switching (downgrading?) to the 32-bit build.

Feisty Fawn ships with an out-of-the-box option to tart spruce up the desktop with 3D visual effects, but this would not work, on the Acer, without installing the restricted graphics drivers and XGL and using the latter to configure a login session.

I hit upon this more or less by accident whilst using this guide to configuring Beryl. Having installed the bits, configured the login session and then used it to log into the system, I found I was able to enable the built-in Desktop Effects from the system’s Preferences menu, and thereafter never felt the need to bother with Beryl.

A few weeks in, and I’ve not noticed any effect (good or bad) on system stability. From time to time, three of the four workspaces which were available when the system was installed disappear. There are various guides out there to restore the additional workspaces and, thereby, the cube, but coming from the worlds of uni-workspaced Windows and OS X, this goes unnoticed, most of the time.

By contrast, the effect of the appallingly-named “Wobbly Windows” can linger with one even after logging off: coming to Ubuntu from Windows, the effect is sufficiently subtle not to distract; but move from Ubuntu to Windows and its absence can seem (at least for a short time) jarring.

Suddenly, Windows Vista’s windows appear a bit old-fashioned and, well, fragile..

Quit and start a new game. This counts as a loss in your statistics.

Playing around with the new version of Solitaire bundled with Windows Vista, and I find that, having saved a game (which I was fairly confident of winning – correctly so, it turns out), I find that everytime I restart the program, I am prompted to resume that same game. This, of course, results in a by-now-inevitable victory, each of which counts (seperately) to one’s overall running score.

This is the sort of .. ‘bug’ isn’t the word for it .. side-effect which can be difficult to unearth when you’re putting the software together but upon which a Random Other Person can land within minutes of using the product (if not instantly).

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