Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vista Glitches 

Of course every upgrade to a new operating system entails a few bumps in the road of bringing up to speed pre-existing software applications and extant hardware devices. I'm not cynical about this; I'm a software engineer by trade and have an appreciation for the complexity of software applications, surely among the most complex conceptions ever deployed by humans. It's amazing those gigabytes of code work as well as they do, 99.9% of the time; still, one notices the 0.1% remaining.

My recent purchase of a Windows Vista laptop (er, notebook) has entailed these difficulties:

1) My favorite graphics application, the venerable but simple and reliable Paint Shop Pro version 4, seemed to install successfully but then could not be found to run. Selecting it from the Programs menu produced only an offer to browse for the executable; the Program Files/Paint Shop Pro directory could not be found, though trying to install the software a second time generated the warning that such diretory already existed. (I was, however, able to install Paint Shop Pro version 7 successfully.)

2) I have a flatbed HP scanner, model 7400c, which I haven't been able to use with the new notebook. The installation disk ran successfully to a point, but then it instructs the user to reboot the computer, after which the install program would resume to complete installation. Apparently, Vista is blocking the relaunch of the install program after reboot (since it's paranoid about running anything without user permission), and I haven't figure out how to enable it. Trying to the use the scanner the way I usually do -- via Paint Shop Pro, Import/TWAIN/acquire -- produces an error message that some other application is using the scanner, and I should stop that application. Even though no other application is running.

3) iTunes does not play well with Vista. I installed iTunes on the new notebook to download the episode of Lost I missed a couple weeks ago. The iTunes s/w installed, the episode downloaded (they took my $1.99), but trying to play it produced only a jerky, slide-show video result. (The audio was fine.) Apparently this is a Known Issue.

OK, for the time being I have backup computers for all these matters, and I trust fixes or workarounds will be revealed in time. If everything worked perfectly the first time, life would be pretty boring, eh?
So--Vista is making early adopters' lives interesting. Guess it's time to upgrade one of my machines to XP. (One I don't rely on too much.)
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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