Windows 7 – First learning points

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Installed Windows 7 RC2 for the first time yesterday.

In Virtual Machine

First installation in a VirtualBox – which worked fine except for the VirtualBox graphics adapter not being accelerated – which meant Solitaire ran extremely slow. Apart from that – no problems.

Dual/triple booting

Once the gut feeling was OK, i made room for Windows 7 on my laptop that already holds a Windows XP and an Ubuntu 9.04 partition. Installing Windows 7 leaves the existing OS’es alone, but the boot manager only supports Windows file-systems. My old GRUB bootloader would allow me to choose between booting Linux or Windows, but after the Windows 7 install, i could no longer boot Linux. The partition is still on the disk, but not in the MS bootloader. A bunch of hours later that was fixed – using the Ubuntu installer, GRUB was installed again – but I am still not quite satisfied; From GRUB i can boot into the MS bootloader. I now have two steps:

  1. Choose between booting Linux and Windows and (if choosing Windows)
  2. Choose between Windows XP and 7

I’ll try to fix this soon, but the priority of fixing this just dropped as I can now boot into all 3 OS’es.

One other thing: 3G USB modem

The last thing I needed was to the my 3 – 3G Huawei modem to work. In short: It didn’t – and it may not be because of Windows 7. Apparently the modem needs some Adobe Flash stuff and the drivers on the modems flashmemory are not Flash 10-compatible. 3 in Denmark knows and offers a download to fix the issue – It did the trick for me.

This post is my first written in Windows 7. Will post further findings..

Oh – and the wallpapers are beeeee-aaaaa-utiful!

Offtopic: The future of the gas station

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This is not about the usual geekyness – it is about a change I am sure is about to happen. Once the benefits are clear – I am quite sure everybody will want an electric car instead of their gas/diesel-one. The concept of having an energy-buffer, in the shape of the cars in a region, to collect surplus energy in low usage periods for use in high usage periods are so compelling. Windmills are cool, but still inefficient in comparison with other sources if the surplus energy isn’t stored. This is in a broad perspective what Better Place wants to do.

I passed a long line of gas stations the other day – What will happen to them? I know the change will not happen overnight – if at all. But how would we prepare for the future if we had a gas station? Better Place says they will prepare the stations for the transition of becoming a battery station, but as I see it – many people will not need them anymore. Why? Because many commuters drive less than 160km per day. According to Better Place, that will be the range of one battery charge – and a key part of the new model is that drivers charge their car at home when the energy is cheap/green – also offering the battery in their car to the common energy buffer.

So – in Denmark anyway – if the gas stations will no longer sell gas and only (let’s guess – unable to find numbers) 10% of the current customer base (those driving more than 160km a day) will need to recharge their cars/switch batteries at the old gas station – can the gas station survive merely as a 7-Eleven store only closed at night?

My guess is that they are looking at a pretty big change in their business model – and I think they can if they embrace the change. If they fight the change they only have to look at the news papers to see how that works out..

What they need to do? Dunno – but one thing that has bothered me for ages now is the inability to find stuff for my car in the shops. If i want chewing gum, porn or soda – the gas station is where to get it. But light bulbs, fuses, polish is hidden away in the far corner of the shops. I think that stuff needs to move up ahead in the shop, so the mindset of the customers in five to ten years won’t be: “The gas station? Ahh – you mean the 7-Eleven that is closed at night!”

Javascript performance on current browsers

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Found this little test which gives an indicator as to Javascript performance in your browser.

On my system (Windows XP on two year old Lenovo T60p laptop) i tried to run it ten times on my browsers with all plugins disabled (lower is better):

Google Chrome: 297,7
Firefox 3.5 beta 4: 340
Firefox 3.0.10: 408,9
Internet Explorer 8: 631,3

As the score is time, lower is better. This is interesing because sites uses Javascript more and more, and as we work more and more online with more applications in the cloud, the Javascript engine has a lot to say about our perception of overall performance.

I got a bit disappointed about my Atom-based netbook – specifically Ubuntu 9.04 on that machine. It never went below 1800 (Firefox 3.0.10) and on the same hardware, the Windows-browsers gives me minimums of 1500 and 2800 for Firefox 3.0.10 and IE8 respectively. Gotta find some tweaks there.