The new Dell computer I ordered a while ago actually arrived ahead of schedule, two weeks ago, but I came down with a cold the evening it arrived, and am only just feeling good enough to write about it.
In short: it rocks.
Its processor actually has a slower GHz rating than my old computer, but it's a Core 2 Duo, and each of its dual processors is much faster than a similarly-rated Pentium. It's fast. My old computer's name was “WINFOO”. This one is “ZIPPY”.
It showed up one Wednesday at about noon. I pulled it out of the box, and while wondering what a little slidy thing on the top did, I was surprised to find out that it released the side of the computer, so I could see inside.
Cool. I remember when you had to remove five screws, then slide the wrap-around cover off of the guts of the computer, just to see inside. Maintenance was a nightmare; this is much nicer.
After hooking it up, I booted it, and over the next week or two, roughly in order:
Removed a bunch of crap I don't want (anything related to MSN, Windows Messenger, or Outlook).
Did a Windows Update. Not much was updated, so I guess Dell ships with the latest patches installed.
Tidied up the Start > Programs menu (why can't items be kept alphabetized automatically?)
Launched Internet Explorer to fetch something, and ran into my first unexplained program crash.
Tried again, successfully, and was able to install Windows Defender.
Downloaded and installed Firefox and configured it:
- brought over my bookmarks and saved passwords
- Installed extensions:
- Hand tweaked some things one the about:config page:
- network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server: 6
- network.http.pipelining: true
- network.http.pipelining.maxrequests: 30
- network.http.redirection-limit: 10
- network.prefetch-next: false
- layout.spellcheckDefault: 2
- keyword.URL: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=
- nglayout.initialpint.delay: 0
- content.notify.ontimer: false
Downloaded and installed English-language drivers for my Canon Pixma MP810 printer/scanner.
Mapped old computer's drives to virtual drives on the new computer. (Why can't I map a whole drive? I had to do them in parts.....)
Installed this photo as my desktop background image.
Downloaded and installed Yahoo! Messenger and spent time configuring it to remove a bunch of crap.
Installed Adobe Photoshop CS2 and copied over the scripts I'd written for it (such as the Calendar-Template building script I wrote about earlier). And wouldn't ya know it, just my luck — I activated a new copy of CS2 a week before CS3 is announced!
Downloaded and installed Adobe Lightroom and was pleased with its speed on the new hardware.
Downloaded and installed Cygwin and brought over my home directory from the old computer.
Remapped the keyboard so that the caps-lock key functions as a control key, as God intended, by creating and using the CapsLockIsCtrl.reg file as described here.
Cleaned a bunch of random stuff from C:\Program Files\, but found that I can't remove the “MSN Gaming Zone” and “xerox” directories. Why on earth can't I remove these directories?
Downloaded and Installed IrfanView.
Downloaded and installed Adobe Reader.
Downloaded and installed MySQL.
Downloaded and installed Fidelity Investments' Active Trader Pro.
Downloaded and installed Apple iTunes.
Spent ages moving files over from the old computer. I'm still not done.
A bazillion other things I can't remember....
I ran into a few odd things during this process:
After three or four days, suddenly, Windows Updated installed dozens of items. I guess Dell really doesn't ship with the latest patches installed, which I can understand, but why did Windows Update wait so long?
A fantastic feature of Firefox is that you can type words or phrases in its address bar and have that turn into a web search (via Google or Yahoo!, for example). This no longer works for me. Even if I reset keyword.URL to its default, and ensured that keyword.enabled is true, it still doesn't work. This is very frustrating for me because I'm so used to using that feature. If someone has an idea on how to get it to work, I'd love to hear it.
My old machine, which needed to be reboot every hour or two whether being used or not, did not require a reboot from 18 hours before the new computer arrived, to almost a week after. Very strange.
The new machine has four disk drives in it, but it's eerily silent. Very weird, but I appreciate it. My old one sounded like a jet engine at arm's length.
The most wonderfully odd feeling I have with this computer is that it hasn't crashed yet. Not even once. When you're used to crashing every hour or two, it's a weird but happy feeling to have it not crash.