Windows 7 Ultimate On A Netbook

Remember months ago when Microsoft offered their Windows 7 “House Party”? Well I joined in but no one attended (don't cry, no one was psyched to attend an operating system party). So I have this copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (complete with Steve Ballmer's signature embossed on the cardboard cover) and no computer to run it on. See, I use a Mac at home and after being unimpressed with the performance of Vista as a VM or the Windows 7 beta version as a VM either. I wanted to use it at work but I work for a software company and our software isn't certified for Windows 7 yet and clients are 50/50 when they run our software on Windows 7. That leaves me with a copy of Windows 7 that isn't currently being used. Add to this the fact that I just got a netbook last week and I think you can see where this might be going.

The netbook I got was a Dell Inspiron Mini (I bought it at Best Buy and they sell it as the Inspiron Mini but I believe Dell sells it as the Mini 10 on their web site). It comes with Windows 7 Starter which is fine with me. I didn't purchase the netbook to perform high end tasks but mainly for writing and the occasional web surfing and video watching. But here's the rub: Windows 7 Starter doesn't allow the user to change the wallpaper. Are you serious? I can understand limiting or eliminations themes and colors and the like for product differentiation purposes but wallpaper? Now I've got an itch that I want to scratch but at $80 for an upgrade to Home Premium just to change wallpaper seems a little ridiculous to me.

But wait, I have a copy of Windows 7 ultimate that I am not using right now and it indicates that it “Includes Windows Anytime Upgrade”. I did this on my laptop at work: it came with Windows Vista Business and I had a code for Windows Vista Ultimate and the same kind of anytime upgrade. When I ran that it took nearly as long as installing the OS would originally take and that was on a pretty decent system, this is a netbook.

I decided to take the plunge after a little research on the Internet where the only negative comments about it came from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols who apparently decided to install it on an abacus that could, of course (knowing Stevie), run Linux flawlessly. Then, to put this netbook through its paces he decides to do things like encode videos using Handbrake and attempt to hack into the pentagon (or so I heard) but isn't so pleased with the performance. Pretty much everyone else said there would be no issues upgrading to Windows 7 Ultimate.

I was a little nervous but I decided to go for it. I put in my Anytime Upgrade DVD and tell it to run. It finally said that if I was going to do this I needed to initiate the upgrade from the “Windows Anytime Upgrade” shortcut in the Start Menu. I ran the shortcut, it asked for my key, did something for about 5 minutes, rebooted and about 10 minutes or so later I was ready to log into Windows 7 Ultimate on my netbook.

It really was much ado about nothing since it was so fast and smooth. I'd recommend it to anyone considering doing the same thing.


I'm Back!

I know that I've been really sporadic about blogging (not that many, if any, have noticed at all) but I just got a netbook mostly for writing. I want to write some essays but I also have some story ideas that I'd like to work on and all of this will likely include some blogging too. I've even thought about publishing some of my writing here on my blog or on my “Anonymous” blog I'm going to keep. (I won't divulge that location because it wouldn't really be anonymous.)

One of the main things that I'd like to start off with is my fatigue with the shenanigans in Washington (D.C. that is). I'll admit that I am an Obama supporter. I have been almost from the moment that I met him and my switch from being more conservative to more liberal started a few years ago when I read the the book “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan.

Now I don't want to get into that story here and now (the two combined because I may later and even here). The things that I am tired of is the power struggle between parties that leaves the people in the middle in a crossfire of polarizing ideas and vitriol that most people don't care about.

I've talked about this idea with a co-worker that is probably my politically mirror opposite but we've agreed that the current two party system is pretty unappealing to most people. When the Republicans and the Democrats get together and hammer out ideas and “planks” in their party platforms there is little overlap so voters are largely left to choose one side over the other. I realize that there are regional differences but I'm trying to not be overly specific in my generalizations.

What I think people need is a third party that isn't formed based on just one principle. There are parties like The Green party, The Libertarian party and so forth that appeal to a very small base of voters. What I think we need is a None Of The Above party that appeals to the middle and doesn't necessarily stand for the same things all the time. For example, the Republicans are usually in favor of more defense spending and the Democrats are usually against. In the 80s while we were fighting the Cold War and now with the War On Terror (such an unfortunately open-ended phrase) the idea of increased defense spending makes sense. In between those two periods the expenditures didn't need to be as high. A party that would accept those realities and embrace them makes sense to me.

I also know that the defense spending argument is easy to make in hindsight it should have been a little more obvious and rational to tell the defense department they were going to get a little less in the mean time. They'd still get money for R&D and to maintain what they need to maintain but any group on a budget is always going to want more money and use what they get. This isn't something that just the government does.

But the difficulty of building a party in the middle is that bold ideas that appeal to one extreme or another and those would largely be missing; the attention getting and appealing ideals present wouldn't be there. Also any intrusion on the power held by either party would be perceived as a political threat and be attacked which wouldn't be so bad as long as the purpose was served: the purpose of ending bickering for the sake of reclaiming power and returning Washington, D.C. back to a place where people compromise for the common good.