Archive for the ‘Vista’ Category

Canon finally notices Vista has come out

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Burn O'Vat, DinnetBurn O’Vat, Dinnet Hosted on Zooomr

Since getting my Canon 5D, one thing that’s been really bugging me is the lack of Windows Vista support by Canon. Unlike everyone else that makes cameras, Canon don’t support the ability to just attach your camera and have it appear as a drive for transferring photos. No, they have their own WIA driver which apparently works okay in XP, but there had been no Vista release until now.

I wasn’t really bothered about the photo transferring aspect of things because I was just plugging my CF card into a USB card reader which is faster anyway, but I did want to have a play with Canon’s software that allows you to control the camera from the PC.

So, I was pleased to see today via the MSDN blog that a Canon RAW codec has been released for Vista (which allows the CR2 format to appear thumbnailed in a normal explorer window and be viewable in Windows Photo Gallery), and with it updates for all the various pieces of Canon software that previously only worked under XP, including a new WIA driver.

The Microsoft Photography Blog has a rundown of how to find the RAW codec, but you’ll also find the WIA driver for Vista by going to the same bit at Canon, along with other bits and bobs like the EOS Utility, which works a charm, controlling my camera from my PC was a novelty that took at least five minutes to wear off.

It shouldn’t really have taken Canon so long to get Vista support out, but at least when they did they covered everything, and it works. The photo above if you’re wondering is just a recent photo I took with my 5D, it’s an HDR shot made up of three exposures taken of the Burn O’Vat, Dinnet in the highlands of Scotland. It has very little to do with this post.

Twas the night before Vista

Monday, January 29th, 2007

When all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Well, it wasn’t really a mouse, but my aforementioned SpaceNavigator – but there’s a beta driver for Vista which sorted that out nicely for now.

With the official consumer release of Windows Vista due tomorrow, I thought I’d give an update on how I’ve got on with Vista over the last few months since I last talked about it. You may remember that my big issue with giving up Windows XP for good, in favour of snazzy new Vista, lay in the lack of good drivers from nvidia. There’s been the odd beta driver released since then which have certainly improved the situation somewhat, OpenGL performance became actually usable under Maya, albeit with some buggy quirks – the 3D viewports would go white when you took away focus from them to tweak a channel setting, and wouldn’t refresh until you clicked back on them, which is far from ideal.

Nvidia is expected though to release some much improved drivers sometime on January 30th, with a bit of luck they’ll do the trick – there’s been some leaked variations of it in the last couple of days, but I’ll hold out and see what the final release is like. They’re not the only ones to leave things late though, the few gaps left in the area of driver support have been largely filled, not so much on my laptop (which has worked just fine with the drivers available back just before the business launch in November, although some were updated by Windows Update along the way), but with my fresh install of Vista on my desktop.

Yes, I finally took the plunge and introduced Vista to my desktop. I even bought it a nice new shiny 500Gb Seagate hard drive to have to itself, with a view to ultimately migrate from Windows XP on the older hard drive, to this one. I figured the time was right, and that there would be drivers for everything I hadVista: Attempting to authenticate message both in and out of my desktop PC, but alas – things haven’t been quite as smooth as my laptop experiences. The big sticking point is the wireless drivers. I have a rather expensive but rather excellent internal PCI card from Cisco, the Aironet PI21AG (the same thing as the CB21AG which is just the PCMCIA version without the PCI card stuck onto it).

When I first booted up Vista fresh, it recognised the card fine, it pointed me to my wireless network, and all looked to be well. However, on typing in my WPA key it all went to hell in a handbasket. After a brief couple of seconds of pondering Vista proudly proclaimed that it couldn’t connect. Any particular reason? Nope, just couldn’t connect. Again and again I tried, but it wouldn’t budge. If I go and look at my network connections, the words “Attempting to authenticate” lurk there for as long as you dare watch, with no hint as to whether it’s having any luck. Okay, I think – maybe the driver release that comes with Windows Vista has been updated, I’ll run a rather long ethernet cable into my network card and see what it finds. There was indeed an update for that very card, and on applying it, it finally connected. Wasting no time, I grabbed drivers for the other couple of missing pieces, my SoundBlaster Audigy ZS 2 sound card needed drivers from Creative’s site which worked fine. My dual-tuner TV card, the Cinergy 2400i DT took to the beta driver from Terratec like a duck to the water.

So, perfect then – everything was working as it should right? Yes, well – a couple of reboots later, and guess what was rearing it’s ugly head again? Yes, the wireless card – it couldn’t connect again, same as before but with these newer drivers. A quick look in the Event log shows the repeated “Layer 2 security key exchange did not generate multicast keys before timeout” error, whatever the heck that means. I’m not alone either, I found a thread on Microsoft’s own forums (going way back to last Summer) that talks about this problem, seems specific to using WPA as the form of wireless encryption. It’s hard to know whether this is purely driver problems, or if there’s something fundamentally wrong with Vista’s wireless network stack. Certainly on my laptop I’ve not really had this issue despite connecting to the exact same wireless router, using the exact same WPA key. There has been the odd occasion where on restoring from a hibernate it’s decided it no longer likes the settings it has saved for my connection, but a reboot has always sorted that out.

Also, rather bizarrely, after leaving it sitting for awhile it randomly decides to just connect = sometimes. I took the opportunity to quickly check Windows update again, and discovered there was yet another driver for the card that had been released just a few hours previously – suggesting that somebody out there might be aware of a problem certainly with this card. Didn’t make a difference though, installing the driver dropped the connection obviously, and I’m no further on. Same lack of connection, same random connection after a half hour wait or so – all rather dodgy. Damn.

Still, as the hours tick by Microsoft seem to be loading Windows Update up with new additions, in the last hour this is how things have changed:

Windows Update in Vista

Most of the optional updates are language packs, and the important updates don’t seem overly important (none of the Knowledge Base links go anywhere yet, so who knows really), but still – things seem to be ramping up for the big release. Perhaps a wireless or graphics driver lurks in there yet? Nice of Microsoft to give us ‘Hold Em Poker’, but as I don’t know how to play it, it’s unlikely to distract me from the fact that I have no connection to play with on my desktop.

Still, let’s end on a high – I keep discovering little things in Vista that I haven’t encountered already. Last night a particularly eager software install decided it wanted to reboot my machine immediately with out any warning. Vista however realised that I was kind of in the middle of other things, and threw up the rather flashy screen below listing what I was currently doing. Quite nifty, and for the record – I was only recording Celebrity Big Brother to test out Vista Media Centre. Honest.

Vista: Shutdown Warning

TWiRTftW: This Week in Random Tat from the Web

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

A few things have caught my attention this week, so I thought I’d regurgitate them for you now, whether you want me to or not.

The first thing I wanted to point out kind of leads on from my post about Windows Vista, no not because this post ALSO lacks style or any kind of substance, but because it relates to the many different editions of Microsoft’s new pretty operating system. Microsoft clearly realised that it was all becoming a little too complicated, but rather than just, you know – release one version of Vista, they instead enlisted the help of some cartoon monsters. But of course! If you’ve a spare five minutes of your life that you don’t really mind never getting back, head on over to They Came for Windows Vista for the first two episodes of strangeness.

Moving on, I spotted over on Make that somebody came up with the comical idea of making their own huge Google Earth pin point icon and sticking it in their garden. Genius – the details of how they made it are here.

Whilst you’re in a Google Earth/Maps mood, you might also want to browse through the GoogleSightSeeing list of the top 10 naked people on Google Earth.

Just before I move away from Google Earth and Google Maps, Fredericiana, intern at Mozilla Corporation points out that the Firefox crop circle made over the Summer has made it onto the satellite imagery of both. You can see it for yourself on Google Maps, complete with nearby plane as featured in the rather cool video of the whole thing on Firefox Flicks.

Meanwhile BusinessWeek of all places has an article on the making of Lego, which is a good read. The Lego Group makes 15 billion Lego bits a year, and technically makes more rubber tyres than any other manufacturer in the world, they’re just significantly smaller obviously. Make sure you also look at the photos of the factory itself. I should say that Lego was pretty much my favourite thing to play with growing up, and the sight of so many Lego bricks in one place stil gets me excited. I don’t see any roof bits though in those photos, I never had enough of them to actually meet in the middle…

Catch me if you canCatch me if you can Hosted on Zooomr

That’s pretty much it, except for the above random photo of my cat that I uploaded to Zooomr over the weekend. No animals were harmed in the making of this blog.

Windows Vista so far

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Although I’ve dabbled with Windows Vista since late last year in its various beta forms, it wasn’t until Release Candidate 1 came out that I dared set my own laptop up with it. Windows XP was made to put with a smaller partition in the name of seeing how Windows Vista was shaping up, and Vista and I got on very well from that point on, in so far as one man and an operating system can.

My laptop (a Dell Precision M70) has 2Gb of memory, which seems to be the optimum amount these days where Vista is concerned, certainly I found RC1 ran noticeably faster than XP on the exact same system, heck even the battery life seems to be better. In fact, once Vista was installed I found myself more inclined to use my laptop over my desktop (which still sits with Windows XP and occasionally Suse Linux on it) – something about the whole experience just works, and I guess it helps that it never crashed once the whole time I had that release candidate installed.

However, two weeks ago it became time to nuke Vista RC1 in favour of the RTM (Release To Manufacture) release – Vista was complete at last, and having skipped RC2 I was keen to see how the final product had turned out.

Just before shutting down Vista RC1 for the last time though, a dialog box popped up – turned out that Windows Error Reporting cares much more about your wellbeing than XP ever did. I was allowing Vista to pass back error reports for crashed applications, and lo and behold, it had found a couple of solutions for problems that I didn’t even know I had, and was still awaiting another solution. It had decided to tell me what I could do to rectify the problem, with links through to the full solution. XP always seemed a bit hit and miss on this (almost always miss) – Vista seemed to actually care – aw shucks, who knew?

Anyway, I digress – while that was certainly cute, I was more interested in trying out the final release – and I hoped that I’d maybe even be able to get rid of XP from my laptop shortly after. This all went pretty well, nothing had changed too considerably on the face of it since RC1 (more shiny icons, and a new tinkly startup and shutdown noise aside), and much as RC1 had settled in nicely, so now has Vista RTM. My laptop has a new lease of life, something a replacement recalled battery can never bring – fast, clean interfaces rule the day.

Unfortunately, my eagerness to get rid of Windows XP will have to wait a little longer though. For general work, Vista suits me down to the ground and I find myself loath to reboot back into XP, but as a Maya and Houdini user (both CG packages that need some good OpenGL support), there’s still a bit of a way to go. No doubt nvidia (my laptop came with a Quadro Go1400) has some new drivers almost ready that will start rectifying that problem, and by the time Vista hits its consumer release in late January, with a bit of luck there will be decent performance to be had. Until then though, its really not usable for that kind of work, and although I *could* use XP drivers, that would mean getting rid of a lot of the shiny new interface elements – not essential, but hey if I’m going to use Vista, I want it to look its best!