Getting hammered

by Administrator 26. June 2009 20:58

Personal updates: there is no code in this post!

The next stage in my career starts soon, as I have accepted a new full time position as a senior engineer with Big Hammer.

I will say only that I’m very excited about this role.  The interview process showed me that there are some fantastic people there, and I expect to have to work very hard to catch up to them.  Let’s be honest, you can’t top that company name either!  I will be taking care of loose ends next week and spending some time with my family.

I also bought something today.

Something big.

Quite possibly the most irresponsible expenditure I have ever made.

You will have to wait some time to learn of it…


Solid thinking

by Administrator 23. June 2009 00:26

My wonderful workstation has not been super stable over the course of the past year; no, it wasn’t Vista.  Most of my issues were related to my network card, on-board my P5N-T.  Things like rebooting (vs. starting cold) would usually lose my Blu-ray drive, some apps would not run due to the network issues, occasionally on cold boot Vista would report that my BIOS was not ACPI compatible.  My circle of hardware buddies agree the motherboard had to go.  I will never buy an nForce chipset again.

I’ve been dealing with a couple of reasonably sized databases and a lot of image processing, so I was about out of disk space on my Raptor.  I decided to dip my toe into the realm of solid state storage.  The best drives seem to be made by Intel however they also carry the largest price premiums, $700 for 64GB is a bit steep.  I did some research and decided on the OCZ Vertex series, $375 for 120GB.  Still not cheap, but with excelled claimed specs I thought I could at least experiment.  I got a 2.5” –> 3.5” converter and rebuilt my main workstation with Win7, the new Gigabyte mobo, and the SSD.

SSD Performance

Windows 7 installed very fast but I didn’t have the foresight to time it.  Windows 7 can shut down in 2 seconds.  Visual Studio 2008 installed in 9 minutes ( I think it was 45 last time).  Office 2007 installed in 5 minutes.  Write speed was looking very good.  Visual Studio 2008 could be launched literally as fast as I could hit the button.  Later, once I had VS add-ins, startup was less stellar. 

Much of the boot time is in the BIOS and can’t be helped except by better BIOS.  Still, once I get to the point where Windows is loading it takes about 10 seconds.  Read speeds are looking very good.  When playing Left 4 Dead, I’m the first one into the map – the speedups here weren’t quite what I expected due to the amount of the work being network related.

All in all, I’m still very happy.  It’s very easy to get used to, I feel like it must not be that fast anymore until I boot up my laptop (no slouch!) and realize this workstation is in fact insanely fast.  I don’t see quite the crazy performance you can read about here but then again I cheaped out, relatively speaking.

All in all, I can’t wait for this technology to go mainstream.

Windows 7

When Vista was getting bad press, I was scratching my head.  I’ve had no Vista related issues.  Now that I’m running the Win7 RC on a critical machine, I’m scratching my head again.  Win7 is getting fantastic press and it seems so incredibly similar to Vista that I have to attribute both cases to the hype machine.  I like jump lists and the new task bar, I can’t comment on how responsive it is since I’ve made major hardware changes.

My Win7 issues have been extremely small, which I would expect since I’m really looking at a slightly prettier version of the Vista kernel.  I have had some warnings like “Install SP1 before running SQL Server 2008” and once in a while when I recover from sleep mode one of my monitors won’t come back to life without flipping the switch on and off.  I wasn’t up to speed with what was in and out of Win7, so I was disappointed that WMP didn’t automagically play my blu-ray discs but I’ll survive.

It’s nice to see Microsoft getting some positive press.  I just hope I can transition to a “real” version of Win7 without rebuilding my machine.


About the author

Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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