Day One – Out of Order of Course
Now those of you who know me, know that I almost never buy new computers. I have a reputation for recycling older hardware. In fact, the last new computer I bought was a Commodore 64. However, with my newest machine dated 1999, I am long overdue for an upgrade. Thanks to nice expense accounting, my tax return afforded me a new beast. I am going to chronicle making the new machine submit to my will.
Not much to say about the first day of this adventure, the tower arrived. The ASUS M51BC-US016S Desktop alone, without any monitors it is still impressive featuring a 3.3 GHz AMD FX-8300 Processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 2TB HDD. However, it really needs the video card and the monitors I ordered to complete my new setup. It also shipped with something I have not played with much in the recent past, Windows 8.1. This should be fun.
While I am now paying long overdue penance to the techno gods, they still had to remind them of their disdain for my Luddite ability to exist on for so long… It arrived just in time for me to barely have time to open it before a long day of work, including some overtime I had signed up for. With haste, I set it up on the dining table. Hooked an old monitor to it, booted it, ah nah, I’ll skip the network set up.. okay, it booted it ain’t broke… off to work.
It is a really nice machine with lots of USB plugs and a 16 in one card reader. I am as excited as a kid on Christmas morning! and the video card has not even arrived yet!
Last thought before entering work mode was “what do I name this one”?
Oops Number One – Did you really need that network?
After I completed my shift and some overtime, I was anxious to play with my new toy. There was still much I could do even before the video card and monitors arrived. After all, I had several Linux distros to install and who needs a low-end gaming card and wide screen monitors for a text based install? I also have a lot of tweaks I want to do to Windows. The first thing I wanted to do was to let Windows update while I got dinner ready. Unfortunately, in my haste to just assure the machine booted, I unintentionally set the machine up to run with no networking.
Since I didn’t install or tweak anything, I rebooted and hit F9. This basically reset the machine to factory settings and, this re-boot, I made sure to connect to the network… Windows updates and dinner… very much like watching paint dry because one is anxious to rehang stuff on the walls.
While a big part of me really, really wants to get Linux installed, another part of me wanted to play with Windows. I opted to spend my first night installing all the stuff I wanted for Windows.
Okay so let us get started… oh wait… what is this? A pop-up asking me to upgrade to Windows 10? Mr. Gates, an OS that bangs my eyes like a porn site is unacceptable. I will update when and if I wish. You are not going to strong arm me into an update. I fixed this issue with Gwx Control Panel.
Okay, one annoyance down, onto my list:
- Now I am going to be installing a lot of stuff. In Linux, I could simply import the package list and Linux would simply install anything still available on the list. Windows can’t do that… besides the newest Windows for I was XP. To install a bunch of stuff all at once I used Ninite. By checking the right boxes, I was able to, all in one shot, install the following:
- TeamViewer 11
- VLC media player
- Java runtime
- Google Earth
- KeePass 2
- Google Drive
- Microsoft Image Resizer
As I am doing all of this, I am rapidly realizing that I don’t like the 8.1 interface. Actually, not only do I not like it but I really dislike all the tiles and such. Would be great for a Surface machine but has no purpose on a desktop. I will give it a few weeks and see if I get used to it but I am not so sure at this point. Trying to navigate and/or find anything is really cumbersome… annoying is a better word. It is like MS is playing a cruel game of hide and seek with this new OS. Not being able to find anything is NOT a new feature!
Back to installs.
- Evolution email and organizer
- Palm OS or my old Palm m500
- Secunia PSI – a neat program that checks to see what programs need updates.
- Microsoft SysInternals – a neat little collection of extras, including one I abuse, a workspace (or desktop if you call it that) switcher.
- Audacity Plugins
- And, until I think of something else, I am done
Overall, my first impression of Windows 8.1 is that it is mostly sucky. The tile interfaces are ugly. Navigation to any type of setting and finding anything is, to say the least, cumbersome and annoying. Personally, I think it might be a good choice for a touchscreen device but not for a desktop. I want a taskbar and a menu. Finally, I am totally offended that I paid good money for a PC and OS to find it comes with freaking pop-ups? Seriously, Microsoft where did you learn marketing?
Oh yeah, I also decided on a name. Since this monster is going to replace all four machines at Cold Crank Studios, I am aptly calling it ColdCrank. Stay tuned for details as more gear arrives.