Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hasta la vista

My computer finally died a couple of days ago - feeling punished as it was at the time with a barrage of killing spinors.

Today I bought myself a new laptop. A Mac being a little too pricey right now I went for an Acer, the make of my last laptop and one which I'd been very happy with.

You may recall my first impressions with installing and using a Mac, which I wrote about back in November - scenes of blissful serenity as the computer started up, and then proceeded not to crash - a joy to behold.

I like to think that I'm usually a calm, and level-headed person. I tend not to swear much, simply out of habit and I like to use the logical rational I've built up as a physicist to tackle the problems of everyday life. Somehow all of this went straight out the window when faced with a mere 20 minutes of Windows Vista, which almost brought me to tears.

As I was buying the computer I was informed that my warranty was only valid if the original operating system was still present. Not overly impressed, but with the idea that if the worst came to the worst I could install XP or Linux as a second partition I turned the machine on and started to set things up.

I had also been informed that I would almost certainly be able to change the language from Spanish to English - this it turned out was simply sales pitch and unless you have the ultimate/premium editions of Vista, changing the language is damn near impossible and I'm currently struggling to configure the system, eyes wide shut, without accidentally formatting the lot (a thought which has occurred to me as a wise option on several occasions). Anyway, at the last count the 2 GB of Ram and dual processors have ground to a halt four times, for four separate reasons, and I'm wondering whether I shouldn't fork out the extra for a Mac. I'll sleep on it tonight, see if there are options to alter the language and reconsider in the morning, for now I'm a clump of hairs down and threatening to throw in the towel.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jon

You can get English on your non-English-based Vista system regardless of which version of Vista you are running. The difference is that with Ultimate the English menus penetrate deeper into the system, whereas with the other versions you only get the most commonly accessed menus in English.

Microsoft's documentation is worded to make it seem that if you want other languages you need Ultimate, eg. KB925471, "Windows Vista language packs are available for computers that are running Windows Vista Ultimate. The Windows Vista language packs can be installed only from the Windows Ultimate Extras section on the Windows Update Web site." However, if you dig further through Microsoft's website you will find that "Windows Vista LIPs provide a translated version of the most widely used areas of the user interface. LIPs are freely available to download, and most LIPs can be installed and used on any edition of Windows Vista."

Anyway, if I were you, I'd just get a Macbook and be done with it. You can run it in almost any language you'd ever want to out of the box, you don't need a language pack or Steve Balmer's lips, you'll already have got the "Ultimate" version, you won't need to spend twenty minutes ripping your hair out (as long as you don't get the occasional lemon) and, perhaps most importantly, if you ever have a need to run Windows you can do it on a Mac natively or virtually anyway.

Unknown said...

Hi Kevin,

I found this very quickly yesterday and then spent an hour trying to actually find where you could download them.

A while later I discovered a tech site which noted that although they are advertised on the microsoft site, they are not actually available yet and nobody knows when they will be.

If you know otherwise and can show me a page which actually has a 'download LIP Spanish to English pack' button, then I'll be a very happy man - until then, Windows sucks big time!