Stan’s World of Technology

All things technology.

Desktops Are Becoming Extinct

I recently was given the opportunity to write a guest article for Ed Burnette at I wrote an opinion on the future direction of desktop computing. If you’re interested in reading it, you can see it here.


February 5, 2009 Posted by | Technology | Leave a comment

For Those Wondering About the Install Error in Windows 7 Beta

I still have not found out what is causing the issue, but after extensive search and trial and error, I have gotten past Windows 7 Beta to install on my desktop.

By copying the contents of the DVD to a thumb drive I was able to get it to install without throwing the “Windows could not collect information for (OSImage) since the specific image file (install.wim) does not exist” error. Seems a lot of people have gotten this error and the only solution at first was to burn a new disc or use another program to burn the disc and sometimes to use another disc drive. However this only worked for a few people as the disc will install on some machines and not others.

Rumor has it the disc will not run on some older optical drives. I think there is a bug in the image installer however, as the image I used loaded fine on an older laptop (almost 5 years old) but refused to install on a newer, much more powerful desktop that came with Vista Premium.

What ever the case is, copying the contents of the DVD image you get from Microsoft to a hard drive seems to do the trick for a lot of people. It worked for me. Let me know if you have any more information on this irritating issue.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Beta, Technology, Windows | , , , | Leave a comment

What Happened to the Information Superhighway

The web has become a vast cesspool. While there is still plenty of good information available out there, it is getting harder to find. People are spending more time wading through the endless array of garbage that has nothing to do with what they searched for. Computers have evolved a lot from when they were first invented. The world wide web has been through a few changes itself. I predict it will do so again in the near future.

In the beginning, the web was text based. This got you the information you needed, but it lacked a certain je ne sais pas. (“I don’t know” for the non French speakers) Later the web gained the ability to display graphics and photos. This gave it a better feel as information was displayed in a way humans more readily accept. People tend respond better to things that are visually appealing then just plain text.

However, other then new ways of programming, the web has remained for a large part,  visually stagnate. Google helped to organize the vast quantities of sites in a way to make them easier to find. Definitely a very helpful feature, and it did indeed change how we searched for awhile. It even gave us new language for describing how we search. Very few haven’t heard someone say, “just Google it.” Even this is now old news and long lost into our language as a regularly used lexicon. The visuals however have stayed the same. It’s still the same web we’ve been searching for over a decade now.

There are a few new sites here and there that are aiming, at least partially, to change that. By organizing their search results in a more visual way, they are starting to think outside the normal search boxes. As computers get more powerful and the internet gets faster, I see information becoming a lot more visual. Imagine surfing the web in 3D. Imagine surfing the web on a virtual surfboard. We have games that blur the lines between virtual and reality, yet we still look up information in only 2D? What is wrong with this picture? It’s flat, that is what is wrong.

Granted, not all systems are yet capable of anything near what I’ve mentioned, but we are getting closer every day. It’s time to start thinking about where we are headed on the info highway. It’s time to start thinking how to keep it a superhighway or let it become a deteriorating back road.

In the meantime there are a few sites that are trying to change the way we think about the web and searching for information. One of these was designed by an ex-employee of Google. You can see their idea of how search should be here. Here are some screen shots from Cuil.



There is also a new site called KGB. They are available on the web and on mobile devices and phones. You can check them out here. Instead of giving you a list of other sites to go to, they give you a list of closest matches to what you’re looking for. Once you select what your looking for, they display a page on their own site with the information you requested. The theory is it brings all the information to you instead of making you find it yourself. Here are some screen shots.





It’s still a new site in so called “alpha mode”, but it does have an interesting new take on how to search the web. I’ll be keeping an eye on these and other new technologies. Hopefully our information superhighway will get the proper upgrades it deserve to keep it from becoming a side road.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Internet, Search Engines, Technology, Web | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Experience With Windows 7 Beta

So far the Windows 7 Beta has kicked off rather strangely for me. It took forever to get my hands on it as millions of people were all fighting to get it first. It would appear that a lot of people are interested in this new version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

After finally getting the 32-bit version and securing a key, I began installing it on an older Compaq Presario R3000 laptop. This machine has  a 3.0Ghz P4 HT processor, 1.25GB of DDR RAM, ATI Radeon IGP 9000 GPU with 128MB of shared memory. This system runs XP well, but Vista brings it to its knees. This is why I choose to install Win7 on it first. I wanted to see how well Win7 could handle being dropped onto an older machine and scale to its performance level. Amazingly it did very well.

There were some issues though, as to be expected. Windows 7 installs much faster then previous Windows OS’s and also requires much less user intervention. By far the easiest and quickest to install full featured OS I have seen to date. It found most of the hardware with ease during the initial install and quickly offered driver updates for hardware that is recognized later after the install. All but the video driver. This isn’t Windows fault though, as ATI no longer supports the IGP 9000 and there exists no Vista driver for it. The latest driver available is an XP driver that also was rarely updated during its lifecycle.

Everything else went very well and the system booted pretty fast. The standard VGA driver Windows provides for the orphaned 9000 chip actually allows for 1440 x 900 and 32-bit color, so the only thing it lacks is hardware acceleration for DirectX. Considering it isn’t a gaming computer and I never intended it to be, this really isn’t much issue. It performs as fast as the XP machine, and so far shows little signs of bugs.

All in all I’m quite impressed with how solid the OS is so far. Even before it left the pre-beta stages it seemed to be very solid. I’d venture to say this is the most stable version of Windows yet. However I will remind you this still beta software and there still could be issues and bugs that appear later on.

Now for the interesting bit. It refuses to install on my much newer desktop machine. I have a Gateway GT6528 with a Core2 Quad Q6600 running at 2.4Ghz, 6GB of DDR2 Dual Channel RAM, nVidia GeForce 9600GT with 512MB of GDDR3 VRAM, and it runs Vista Ultimate x64 with pure ease. No matter how I go about it, it will not install. I goes through until it starts to copy the files over and it pops up with a message stating that “Windows could not collect information for [OSImage] since the specified image file [install.wim] does not exist.”

I will post screenshots and more info once I dive more into it. For now… mixed feelings on the OS as a whole… but pretty good on the parts I have gotten to see.

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Beta, Technology, Windows | , , , | Leave a comment

Time Moves On for Technology.

As time passes us by so does technology. The way we work with technology is ever changing as we demand more from it then we have in the past. Our cell phones are now much more then just two way radios designed to keep us in touch with other people. Reliance on data transmissions (text, internet, music, movies, etc.) have shifted how we think of our phones. This shift in dependence on our phones for more then just voice calls leads me to examine the future of information technology. The more we put on our phones the less we need on our computers. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some things you simply can’t do with phones, but with so much you can do with them it leaves us with the question of how important desktops will be in the near future. Certainly laptops will continue to thrive for some time, but desktop sales are already beginning to slump. Part of this is due to the economy taking a downward turn, but the fact that laptop sales remain strong tells us that full sized desktops are becoming less important to consumers. Also with netbooks coming out and offering a cheaper solution to basic word processing and internet surfing, even laptops may soon see stronger competition. I may be bold for saying so, and I don’t necessarily agree that it should be this way, but I predict that desktops are on their way out. I think they will be limited mostly to workstations that require the power and screen size to perform graphics and engineering work and toys for the power users. Laptops will replace them for the mainstream computer used by most users until the netbook idea takes a firm hold. For those that simply don’t need much in the way of computers other then checking email and looking up simple info on the net, smartphones will lead the way. Cell phones are taking over our technology. They are the new Swiss Army Knifes.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Technology | | Leave a comment

Windows 7 Beta

Windows 7 is set to be released to public beta January 9th according to the Windows website. I have tinkered around with the pre-beta and it really seems to be a very stable OS so far. I also find that it has some nice features that make it a more well rounded OS then Vista is. In my honest opinion though, Windows 7 should be Vista SP3 and not a new OS. These are the features that should have been in Vista all along. I’m not the first to say this and I won’t be the last I’m sure. However I’m still looking forward to installing the public beta of Windows 7 on my laptop to see how well it performs on older hardware, as well as dual booting on my much more powerful desktop to see all its eye candy. I’ll let you know how it goes with the install and keep you updated on how well the OS handles.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Beta, Windows | , , , , , , | Leave a comment