Sunday, May 31, 2009

Windows 7: Small details

*ahem* Okay, so I installed Adobe CS4 and it comes with a 64bit version of Photoshop CS4. I figure that I'd toy around with it for a quick minute and see how it is.

After running the installation, I find that for some whatever reason, Adobe decides that it wants to install support files related to other programs like After Effects and Premiere, when I specifically set the install to just put in Photoshop and Illustrator. I don't know why it wants that but it basically bloated my minimal install to about 2.6GB in total. I cut down as much as I could as I do not want some of the other related programs like AIR, Media Player, or Acrobat. I mean, I have no absolute need for AIR as there's nothing that would make me want to use it. And why would I really need Adobe Media Player anyway??

But one of the fancier feature to Photoshop CS4 is the use of OpenGL and the video card's GPU for rendering things on screen. I'll admit that it does make doing simple things like zoom much faster. Before, zooming also means it has to redraw the visible parts again. Anyone who have used Photoshop before would know how it does this process.

But now that it's installed, I can fiddle around with some images. And one of the first order of business is to take a few wallpapers and cram it down to size. Some of the wallpapers in my archive are large, large enough that they don't fit on my screen. So in order to make it fit and to simplify the process of telling Windows what to do for wallpapers (center, fit, or tile), I resize them to my monitor's native resolution. The good thing is that I do not have a lot of wallpapers to go through. Just enough to spice things up and make the desktop look different at least. This is perhaps one of the more interesting feature to Windows 7, the ability to automate the rotation of wallpapers. No longer do you need a 3rd party application to do this single task. Windows now does it for you. And yes, you can set it to change every X minutes or hours or whatnot.

The above desktop screenshot was taken shortly after some quick cleanup. There are certain files that I do not want visible since they're not public-safe. The wallpaper displayed here is one of many that I have selected to go through. I can hardly wait to see how the other wallpapers look when they change.

After burning off a couple of more movies onto DVDs, it seems that burning files onto DVD works as expected. I still have yet to determine if mounting a disc image works without a hitch under Windows 7. I guess I'm just being lazy about it. Then again, there isn't any image to mount in order to take a look through. With the proposed 1.50 patch to Battlefield 2, there's word that DICE/EA wants to remove the copy protection system altogether, due to the age of the game as it stands now. To me, this would be a welcome addition. All the more reason why I do not have to really test if disc mounting an image works under Windows 7.

After nearly a month of normal usage, I have little problems, issues, and quirks to deal with. Only one hardware is unused and that's my TV tuner. But the rest is working great. USB drives and hard drive enclosures work without any problem. My Logitech G5 mouse runs without a hitch. Logitech's SetPoint software doesn't seem to have any problem working with this unknown version of Windows. And Creative Labs has working drivers for their X-Fi series of cards.

What's even better? One of the issue I have when playing movies, especially with audio being played and sent out via SPDIF, is that AC-3 and DTS audio would not play smoothly no matter what configuration I was using. I do not know if it's due to the drivers being more recent, as my Vista setup was one minor version older than what's available from Creative Labs. But being able to hear the surround sound without interruption as I watched the beginning of S.W.A.T. in 1080p quality, it was a blast. But nothing would be complete without a surround sound playback of two scenes from The Matrix. That, however, will have to wait.

Another small quirk I have is trying to get the Xvid codec installed. I don't know if the codec is even working or installed correctly. ffdshow seem to work fine, as I was able to take control over Xvid decoding easily. I'll need to dig up info on this or be stumped and start asking on some forums for answer. But sadly I may end up resorting to a codec pack, which I have personally avoided for many months. Yet this particular codec pack is designed to be minimal, slim, and compatible with Windows 7 and x64.

And so the month of May comes to a close. The next month will be interesting and different. Windows 7: I am definitely getting it the moment it is out!

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