# Thursday, 29 October 2009

Damn.. forgot about this old old post that I wrote a month ago.

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This looks like a normal high performance Dell Percision M6400. Just how high performance is it?

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16GB of RAM means never having to say "I need more memory" for a LOOOOOONG time! I can't remember how many CPUs appeared in the task manager, but it might have been 4 or more! This is a custom made to order model, so custom made that the base doesn't have any regulatory labels at all! How much power does it take to power such a beast?

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The size of the adapter dwarfs my XPS one, and in terms of output. My XPS outputs 4.7A worth of power, The big slap? Outputs 12.3A power. 3 times the juice... phew..


Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:34:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

So I've been hearing all the nice things about Windows 7 on old Atom powered netbooks and how well they are running with Windows 7. That's great because I happen to have one.

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Or two of these things.

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But there's just one little problem... BOTH of my eeePCs have only a 4GB SSD as it's main storage device, the 901 has an additional 8GB secondary storage but that drive is SLOOOOOOWWW. So I figured my chances of running Windows 7 on my eeePCs were pretty slim.

Then I finally figured out how to boot Windows 7 from a VHD on a USB storage device. And now I can do things that shouldn't be possible.

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Windows Media Center, running on an 800x480 screen resolution, on a machine with 1GB of RAM that's powered by an underclocked 600Mhz Celeron.

Yes, it's possible to do so. But there's not really any reason to. Cause the video card on the eeePC 701 doesn't even have Vista drivers so it's using the old Windows XP driver model, video performance while attempting video playback is pretty bad. Or it could just be the fact that there's an underclocked 900Mhz Celeron operating on 600Mhz. So.. this little piece of magic is possible due to the fact that the VHD containing the OS is actually running from a USB Hard Disk.

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Performance when running from an external hard disk is pretty good considering a few things. First of all Windows 7 was never meant to run off external storage, yes yes I know all you Linux users have been doing that for a while now. But serving the relatively small number of people who want to boot from an external device doesn't seem to be high on Microsoft's list. But there's just one main thing to remember.

You can't unplug the device when the OS is running.

This is the first question you want to ask right? Like I said, Windows was never meant to be run off external storage, it doesn't expect the system drive to disappear into thin air. Oh.. and what happens when the drive goes missing? Weird things.. sometimes Windows will just sit there unable to do anything, sometimes it restarts.

But anyway, you don't want to lug a portable hard disk with your slim netbook! You probably want to know if you can run off something more portable... more slim... something like a USB thumbdrive.

Yes. It is possible to run Windows 7 off a USB thumb drive. But would you want to? Thumbdrives have relatively slow random access speeds, couple with the fact that Windows 7 was never designed to be run off such a slow medium the system stutters and halts when multiple applications demand disk access. At times you might be waiting an eternity for the system to bring up something. But once the system settles down and you're not asking it to do much, well.. it works.

The strangest thing that I can't figure out is why shutting down take an ETERNITY to process.

So if you had a choice, using a USB hard disk is definitely a much better option than a thumb drive. A thumb drive strapped to a netbook is of course much more easier to carry around than any 2.5" hard disk.

For me?  Well let's just say I call this THE DRIP.

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It's like an IV drip that helps bring out the full potential of a netbook with a space deficiancy.

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Should you do this yourself? Only if you have a really really REALLY GOOD REASON. And that you REALLY REALLY REALLY Want to run Windows 7 on your old netbook. While everything seems to be working for me right now, this is definitely not a supported operation method so don't complain to Microsoft when it doesn't work out for you.


Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:31:54 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 26 October 2009

I've already mentioned before that I feel that Windows 7's Boot From VHD feature is the best new feature in Windows. But what I also really wanted to do was to be able to take the VHD, put it on a USB storage device and boot from there.

And after trying and failing for a few times.. finally I've done it! The summarized process is.

  1. Install Windows 7 Ultimate on a VHD. (search the net, plenty of ways to do this)
  2. Read through this document to prepare Windows 7 and the USB drive for booting.

It's actually quite simple, a bit complicated though. I'll prepare a more detailed report once I finish some more testing.


Monday, 26 October 2009 10:08:12 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 19 October 2009

Almost everyone will be using Windows with a mouse and keyboard. But there are other ways of interacting with Windows. With a touchscreen enabled system, or other peripheral add-ons such as this Wireless Pen set.

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You'll be able to have a more direct interface with your system. Since you'll be able to literally reach out and touch your system. A lot of people think that when you use a touchscreen with Windows, the pen just acts like the mouse. This is a huge misconception! When you have a compatible touch system, additional Windows features will come alive to allow you to to achieve ALMOST FULL CONTROL of Windows using ONLY TOUCH.

The first thing you'll see different on a touch based system is this little tab hanging off the side of the screen.

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Give the tab a little tap and out pops the Tablet Input Panel

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This is what you'll use to perform text input into the system. Just by writing as usual, and the handwriting recognizer excels in cursive recognition!

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Of course, the recognizer isn't perfect so you'll need to make corrections and such, and Windows provides you with a number of gestures to do so. You can check out the gestures by just hitting the ? mark on the tablet input panel. And then on the gesture you want to check out, and a short video on how to use it will play.

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Of course you shouldn't be expecting to enter you SuP4l33t5 passwords with handwriting recognition, so in those situations you just give the little keyboard icon on the top left of the input panel a click and VIOLA!

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You get a nice little keyboard to type in your stuff.

To make it as quick and easy to enter text with a touch screen, you aren't even expected to have to constantly tap the little tab to make it appear. Whenever you get to a situation that requires text input, for example a textbox in a web page.

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The highlighted icon appears, and clicking on that will instantly make the input panel appear and once your're done with it you can dismiss it just as quickly.

And of course, whenever we talk about pen input in Asian countries, the main question that pops up is... Is there handwriting recognition for my native language? If you bought a version of Windows in your native language, the recognizer will be there (I think.. it's not like I have seen a native Japanese version of Windows). But if not then you'll only be able to download the recognizer as part of a Windows Language Pack, which is only available to Windows 7 Ultimate Edition through Windows Update.

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But once you have to appropriate language pack installed...

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And it just works marvellously!


Monday, 19 October 2009 21:30:38 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 18 October 2009

I find that mashed potatoes are great for WZ to eat, for one thing, he can eat it on his own. For another, it doesn't fall off the spoon that easily! It can be quite hot (temperature wise) though!


Sunday, 18 October 2009 01:49:29 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |