For a while, the Windows computing side of my life has been spread across far too many versions of the pervasive operating systems with the list including 2000 (desktop and server), XP, 2003 Server, Vista and 7; 9x hasn’t been part of my life for what feels like an age. At home, XP has been the mainstay for my Windows computing needs with Vista Home Premium loaded on my Toshiba laptop. The latter variant came in for more use during that period of home computing “homelessness” and, despite a cacophony of complaints from some, it seemed to work well enough. Since the start of the year, 7 has also been in my sights with beta and release candidate instances in virtual machines leaving me impressed enough to go popping the final version onto both the laptop and in a VM on my main PC. Microsoft finally have got around to checking product keys over the net so that meant a licence purchase for each installation using the same downloaded 32-bit ISO image. 7 still is doing well by me so I am beginning to wonder whether having an XP VM is becoming pointless. The reason for that train of thought is that 7 is becoming the only version that I really need for anything that takes me into the world of Windows.

Work is a different matter with a recent move away from Windows 2000 to Vista heavily reducing my exposure to the venerable old stager (businesses usually take longer to migrate and any good IT manager usually delays any migration by a year anyway). 2000 is sufficiently outmoded by now that even my brother was considering a move to 7 for his work because of al the Office 2007 files that have been coming his way. He may be no technical user but the bad press gained by Vista hasn’t passed him by so a certain wariness is understandable. Saying that, my experiences with Vista haven’t been unpleasant and it always worked well on the laptop and the same also can be said for its corporate desktop counterpart. Much of the noise centered around issues of hardware and software compatibility and that certainly is apparent at work with my having some creases left to straighten.

With all of this general forward heaving, you might think that IE6 would be shuffling its mortal coil by now but a recent check on visitor statistics for this website places it at about 13% share, tantalisingly close to oblivion but still too large to ignore it completely. All in all, it is lingering like that earlier blight of web design, Netscape 4.x. If I was planning a big change to the site design, setting up a Win2K VM would be in order not to completely put off those labouring with the old curmudgeon. For smaller changes, the temptation is not to bother checking but that is questionable when XP is set to live on for a while yet. That came with IE6 and there must be users labouring with the old curmudgeon and that’s ironic with IE8 being available for SP2 since its original launch a while back. Where all this is leading me is towards the idea of waiting for IE6 share to decrease further before tackling any major site changes. After all, I can wait with the general downward trend in market share; there has to be a point when its awkwardness makes it no longer viable to support the thing. That would be a happy day.

A new laptop

Having had it on my wish list for a view years, I finally succumbed to temptation and purchased a laptop in the PC World sale, a Toshiba Equium A200-1VO in fact. I reserved it on the web and popped into the nearest store a few hours later. However, while the reservation system worked, the collection did not go as smooth as I had hoped; it seems that the store where I went was not as well staffed as I would have liked and I needed to wait before I was served. Finding the right part of the store was another issued. Nevertheless, service was efficient once the wait was over and I left with the said laptop, a half-price copy of Norton 360 and a network cable.

The laptop comes with an Intel Pentium Dual-Core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and a 120 GB hard drive. The size of the hard drive may not set the world alight and neither, I suspect, will the Intel graphics adapter. Speaking of graphics, the glossy screen might not be to everyone’s taste but its 1280×800 maximum resolution is definitely respectable. Windows Vista Home Premium is the included operating system and a 90 day trial of Norton Internet Security comes too; I’ll wait for that to expire before adding in Norton 360. I am not in a hurry to add software but the Home and Student version of Office 2007 has made its way on their.

As regards perfomance, the machine so far has done what I have asked of without any bother. Even so, battery life is not extensive with a maximum of ninety minutes. For long stints away from a power point, an extra battery might be in order. That would add to the weight as well and, at around 2.5 kg, it isn’t something that I would go carrying on a weekend backpacking trip. Despite those limitations, it will go on getting used and I’ll be seeing how things go from here.

Toshiba Equium A200-1VO