Making the 64-bit Jump (w/ Windows XP Professional x64)

So I’ve had a copy of Windows XP Professional x64 for quite a while – I never bothered to install it because all of my machines, except one, are 32-bit only.  My main desktop has an older Athlon 64 (3500+) processor, but I recently bumped up the RAM to 3GB for some photography and development work – so I decided it was time to give the 64-bit world a try.  I’m not sure why exactly, but after about 2 weeks of running x64, my machine is still blazing fast.  With XP Pro 32-bit, my machine was really taking a while to startup and would get bogged down quite easily.  I’m sure I have less software installed on the machine now, but I have my main applications installed now and things are quite nice.

I was a bit worried that some of my hardware wouldn’t be supported under a 64-bit Windows OS (which is one reason I haven’t been in a hurry to jump on the Vista bandwagon…I know there is 32-bit Vista, but if I have a 64-bit machine, I’m running a 64-bit OS…).  Anyway – the experience of getting things up and running was really quite nice.  Some applications went and installed just fine without any modification at all.  Others did require that I download a 64-bit version of the installer (as the 32-bit installer refused to run at all), but this was pretty painless.  Even my Brother multi-function laser printer and my Garmin Legend C GPS device had 64-bit compatible drivers, which was pretty surprising.  Interestingly enough, the only application I’ve really had trouble with is Apple’s iTunes.  I have the latest version of the software and the install process went fine, but when it came time to sync my iPod, I got all sorts of errors.  I ended up “restoring” (i.e. reformatting basically) my iPod 3 times, disabling all syncing except music, and rebooting a few times…now things “work”.  I still get funky error messages every once in a while, but my music plays on the PC and my iPod appears to have my music again.  I noticed that Apple has a page saying 64-bit Windows (XP Pro and Vista) aren’t actually supported by iTunes at this time – which is kinda funny because now I’m seeing quite a few posts from iBroke iPhone owners that are upset that they can’t sync the iPhone since they run 64-bit OSes.

Anyway, I thought I would post my base application list in case anyone else is curious about what works in the 64-bit world:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v1.1
  • Microsoft Office 2003
  • Visual Studio 2005
  • Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 (* 64-bit installer required)
  • Garmin City Navigator v7 (* after 64-bit driver download for GPS unit)
  • Quicken 2006 Home and Business
  • Microsoft ActiveSync
  • Apple Safari (Beta 3)
  • Alcohol 52%
  • Mozilla Firefox

3 Reasons I Probably Won’t Buy an iPhone

I’m really wanting a new phone – my current one (SMT 5600) has been through a lot and it’s about time to upgrade.   One of the phones I’ve been considering is Apple’s new iPhone.  After doing quite a bit of research on the web, I don’t believe the iPhone is going to be my next phone for a few reasons:

  1. No integrated GPS If I’m going to pay $500+ for a new phone that has really nice mapping software like the iPhone, it’s sure as heck going to have GPS support.  Sure, the iPhone may eventually support assisted GPS (where it uses the cell towers to determine the location) and that may work out well, but for now, it doesn’t look like any form of GPS will be supported in the near future.

  2. No tactile QWERTY keyboard I type at a decent speed on a regular keyboard and I know that speed will be drastically reduced on a mobile device, but I just can’t imagine how the virtual keyboard will work on the iPhone.  Apple says it takes a week or so to get the hang of it and then you’ll be typing at a productive speed, but I’m not so sure.  I type fast by not looking at the keys and can “feel” when I hit the wrong key and I don’t think that will translate well to the iPhone.  I have no doubt that the virtual keyboard will be really nice compared to using the standard phone keypad for text entry, but I don’t think it’ll be quite as good as a Treo/Blackberry type keyboard.  Maybe I’m under-estimating Apple here, but from the blogs I’ve seen where people tried to use the iPhone, I don’t think I’m too far off.  I’m sure this won’t be a huge issue for people that just want to send quick text messages, but if you’re like me and want the ability to respond to e-mails or post to a blog etc., then this may be an issue.

  3. Closed API and no SDK I realize most people don’t care about this at all, but as a software developer, I see this is quite a big issue.  Apple has said that third-party applications will be allowed on the phone as widgets (meaning HTML/JavaScript code that runs inside of Safari in the case of the iPhone).  It’s possible that Apple will expose key parts of the iPhone’s OS through javascript, but I haven’t heard anyone mention it yet.  To me, this means that you’ll have a powerful UNIX-based phone that really doesn’t do anything more than show pretty web widgets unless Apple decides to create more “real” applications for the phone.  Just seems like a waste of hardware too have so much potential trapped inside there with no way to access it – but maybe the widget interface will turn out better than anyone can imagine.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

So I went to see the new Fantastic Four movie – I hadn’t planned on seeing it since I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the first one.  I never read the comics, but I do know some of the FF storyline somehow (a cartoon maybe?  can’t remember…).  Anyway, a friend said he saw some reviews that said the movie was pretty good – so I decided to tag along.

The first hour or so wasn’t all that great.  It was almost entertaining, but not quite.  I think the little bit of the silver surfer story that I did know ruined this part for me – they spend so long trying to figure out what is going on that it just gets plain boring (not to mention the fact that it never really goes into detail about what IS going on…).  I would say this part of the movie was a little worse than Part 1.

The second half (more specifically, the last 20 or so minutes) was where the good stuff can be found.  I actually liked end quite a bit – much better than the first movie.  I won’t go into any details or anything, but it was entertaining.  I don’t know that it made up for the entire $8.50 I spent to see the movie, but it certainly helped.

If you’re a FF fan, then maybe you’ll love the movie.  If you’ve seen the other movies out right now, then might as well see this one too.  If you’re looking for the most entertainment bang for your buck, well, this probably isn’t the film for you.