Windows 7 / ef: a tale of memories / being unloved / responding to online things

RANDOM NOTE: if you noticed (yeah RIGHT, like HELL you did), my blog posts now have only one space after periods, as opposed to the standard two. I’ve always, always, always put 2 spaces after periods (with some exceptions, such as in comments for code), and I still do, but since xanga under chrome is more html-ified, they don’t actually show up as 2 spaces unless I do something funky like & nbsp or something. Watch what happens if I try to type a, then 5 spaces, then b: -> a b. See? It’s this weird mixmash of html and plaintext…though, I think AIM profiles used the same thing, essentially. Though, my Aim profile is in plaintext now anyways, so whatteverrr.

Okay, I’ve got a bunch of things I want to talk about and I feel like I’m ALREADY forgetting some of them. Instead of making 5 bajillion different posts like I normally do, I’m going to be nice this time and conglomerate them into one big post. Yay.

Notes so I don’t forget what to talk about:
-win 7
-there was another thing but I’m struggling to remember it no–oh, right, it was about responding to online posts in person.

Okay, first off, the shortest (?) one. One of the recurring themes of this blog is about how “omg I’m so unloved, the world is cruel and everyone hates me”, and in that sense this blog is still just as emo as it used to be a long time ago. …Well, not quite, since I’m not overly obsessing about it (I seem to come close sometimes, though). The main difference is that now instead of getting depressed about it I’ve accepted it and treat it with bitterness and a heavy, heavy degree of sarcasm and cynicism. One thing that I’m never totally sure about is whether the problem is that people just don’t care about anybody else at all (my “3 cardinal sins of humanity” system would seem to back this up), or whether there’s something wrong with me and people just don’t care about ME. (technical note: it’s not really that nobody cares about me–it’s more that the wrong people care about me, or that there’s an imbalance between the way I care about people and the way they care about me)
The thought that I just had was that I don’t really know which is more pathetic. On the one hand, it could be that all people just suck, period. On the other hand, it could be that people hate me. They’re both pretty craptastic scenarios.
Disclaimer: as always, this is not necessarily a reflection of present events…though recent events have reinforced my need to disbelieve any and all promises that are made to me. Which does seem bad, but it’s REALLY not quite that big of a deal.

Next up, probably the only thing that will be interesting to a majority of you–my opinions thus far on Windows 7. Okay, so it’s Saturday night right now and I installed Windows 7 early Friday morning, so I really have only had about one day worth of setting up things and installing programs, and another day of half installing more things, and half actual use.
So, one of the biggest changes that Win7 heralds is UI changes.

Take a look at those *cough cough* apple inspired big buttons on the taskbar. Actually, I think the taskbar is the main change that they made, UI-wise. Ironically, it also affects me very little. The bigger buttons are…absolutely USELESS for me. Take a look at my current setup:


Ok, so some of you may be thinking I’m crazy now, but really, this setup is GODLY for me; I hardly ever ever have to use the start menu, since almost ALL of the apps I use are right there, only one click away. Calculator, Notepad, GIMP, Chrome, Thunderbird, iTunes, an assortment of Tetris games, 3 Diablo II versions, and some batch scripts for opening groups of websites that I frequent. It’s pretty obvious that the big button thing is absolutely useless for me.

What’s even funnier, is that they’ve adopted the Apple policy of undifferentiating between an application and its windows. What I mean is this: if you “pin” an item onto the taskbar (this is new)–say, you pin Chrome onto the taskbar. Then you click on the chrome icon, and it opens a chrome window. But the little box in the taskbar corresponding to the new window REPLACES the chrome button, instead of the good old windows behavior where it would just be separate. This is something that always irked me about apple’s UI–that clicking on a button would start an app, but the SAME button would also be used to access a currently-running instance of the app. Besides not “feeling right” to me, this also has legitimate concerns–what if, for example, I want to start up TWO instances of chrome? Well, okay, I guess I could always just start one window, then use Ctrl+N. But what happens if I want to open up two blank notepad windows? Notepad HAS no “open new window” function…so what do you do with that!? I’m sure there might be some way around it, but it’s definitely not obvious to me. Thankfully if I just use good old taskbar folders with shortcuts in them, and never “pin” anything to the taskbar, the standard windows functionality is still there.

One of the other new features is “jumplists”. Basically, if you pin something onto the taskbar (which, remember, I’m never doing anyways!), you can click-hold it and some options will pop up. Basically, lets you choose some common actions or recent items based on that app. Nifty, but really not a useful feature for me at all. It’s much more clumsy to look for the website I want to go to in a list of 10 “recent pages”, as opposed to simply opening up a browser window and hitting ctrl-l, hs, enter, and having it autocomplete to (that’s right I still use the HS portal for facebook, WHAT NOW B*TCHES?)

Right. So, so far everything in Win7 that I’ve talked about has been useless to me. But wait! It’s not all bad news! Perhaps one of the biggest improvements: When you maximize a window, the taskbar no longer becomes opaque–it’s still translucent as it should be!
“Wow, what a trivial change!” you might say. “Timm[ie] is whacckkkkk for caring about something like that!” Okay, it’s actually not THAT important, but honestly it actually makes a favorable impression on me, however slight it may be.
More noticeably, the look and feel of the taskbar has been redesigned, even disregarding the “pinned” icons. Different windows belonging to the same application are now “grouped” more visibly, and when I have 2 taskbar rows, the top and bottom aren’t restricted to having boxes of the same size anymore. Slight changes, but good ones I think.

The weird thing is the system tray–I’m pretty sure there’s more horizontal padding for the system tray icons now, which is BAD because it’s a waste of taskbar real estate, and makes the system tray look all spaced out as opposed to my tightly-gridded shortcut icons. Also, every system tray icon is now a BUTTON. Which is okay for some of the icons–namely, the native windows ones (battery life, network, sound), since clicking on them usually brings up a dialog box or something, but for other icons it doesn’t really make sense because single-clicking them doesn’t actually DO anything, and they’re mainly there for you to either double-click or RIGHT-click on. And right-clicking a button makes less sense, really. So that’s not ideal.

The show desktop button on the lower-right corner of the screen is a real win, though. Show desktop is somehow this super-vital thing whenever I’m using windows, so I need to have easy access to it. I already have the button on the top of my mouse set to show desktop, and I have windows+D as well, but having another way to show desktop can’t hurt. And having it on the lower-right corner is a HELL of a lot better than having it as one of the icons in the quick launch bar (btw, the traditional quick launch section of the taskbar is dead…but it doesn’t matter since you can replicate it perfectly with taskbar folders like I’m using. It’s only weird because some installers have an option to add a shortcut in quick launch and now it effectively does nothing), since you don’t have to “aim”.

There’s more options for tuning cleartype now, which is cool, though I’m disappointed that it’s an “optometrist-appointment” style “pick which looks better, 1 or 2” rather than letting you actually change the subpixel settings yourself. I suppose it makes more sense for mainstream users though. In any case, cleartype looks atrocious on a lot of fonts (namely, courier new), so I have it disabled.

Probably the feature I’m MOST liking out of all of windows 7 is that you can change the picture that gets displayed on the login screen. This is pretty win, though it does involve a small registry hack. Apparently you could do this in previous versions of windows too, though, so this is mostly a moot point. D’oh!

I haven’t really noticed compatibility issues, which makes sense if you think about how windows 7 is like vista SP3. I had software that didn’t work, but I was always able to find updates that supported win7.

The actual upgrade process was relatively painless. It didn’t even take that long either; I started it off, went to sleep for like 2 hours, and when I woke up it was done. This is a clean install, too! The REALLY nice part is that even in a clean install, the installer automatically copies ALL your old stuff into a Windows.old directory in your HD. This includes everything in your users folder, as well as everything in Program Files or Program Files (x86). Now, I wouldn’t really -rely- on this to save all of your important data, but it made things REALLY easy because I didn’t have to copy a whole crapload of stuff back from my external HD–I just moved it from windows.old onto the new install, which is really painless. Whoo! (remember, the theme of this is that win7 = vista SP3)

What else? Calculator has received a long, long overdue facelift. As has paint, but unfortunately the new paint UI is like that of Office 2007, which is just god-awful. GAH. Thankfully the only thing I use paint for is saving printscreens anyways. For any actual editing I use GIMP, though my main complaint about GIMP is the long startup time…

One other nice thing: the desktop icons seem to be handled better. On vista the behavior was rather weird–upon waking up from sleep or a restart, the icons would sometimes move around due to the desktop resizing (presumably because my taskbar is two rows tall). Something like that. I learned to deal with it just fine, of course, but it’s nice that it’s been fixed.

Somehow I don’t see the old “network activity” icon that told me whether or not I was connected to the internet. Now it’s just a wireless signal strength indicator in the system tray. Maybe this is only when you’re using wireless? I’ll have to see once I install win7 on my desktop.

UAC is still there, and you’re free to do whatever you want with it–whether that means tweaking it down, or disabling it completely.

Since one of the major benefits of win7 is supposed to be performance, I guess I should talk about that. Honestly I can’t see that much of a difference, though if I HAD to guess I would definitely say that things are running a tad faster in general. It could be psychological though. When I run TAP in MAME it still lags up occasionally and when I run FL Studio it still can’t really handle it, so it’s not like the performance is actually making any big differences. I -feel- a lot better knowing that I’m running on a CLEAN install though–as opposed to a system that came preloaded with a bunch of bloatware that I had to flush out.

So what’s the end verdict? Okay, win7 is basically exactly the same as vista for me, with a few very minor UI changes (including NONE of the big ones they were pushing for). One other thing that I have yet to really judge is the explorer shell itself (folder browsing/manipulation, I mean). It seems slightly smarter in that when you merge two folders it doesn’t leave an empty folder behind. But I think there’s still the issue of “can’t delete this folder since it’s in use” when the process that’s using the folder is explorer itself! Ironically they nixed the disjunction of “favorites” and the standard folder tree, and instead combined them into one pane, which makes a lot more sense. The only problem is that NO ONE uses “favorites” anyways, and there’s no option to disable it, so this is actually a loss as you have a permanent item cluttering the folder hierarchy. boo. Also they have a new “libraries” system which is interesting but again, absolutely useless for me. If anything it makes the whole thing more clunky because it again takes up more real estate. I initially had the “Details” pane turned on (this was in vista too), but ended up disabling it, just as in vista, as it’s not that useful and just clutters things up.

Overall…well, I honestly don’t like win 7 any better than vista, though I do appreciate some of the changes (and roll my eyes at some of the others). I do admit it seems a lot easier to set up than vista, but that may be because I’m a lot better at knowing what to do when I first get a system now. Also because Vista was pretty immature so it had some bugs which had relatively obscure fixes.
But what will the world at large think? Well of COURSE windows 7 is better than vista–we all know how UTTERLY terrible and COMPLETELY unusable vista was, right? [/sarcasm] I’m interested to see if anyone actually uses the new UI features though. They’re really quite silly.

Oh, I forgot to mention the pinning feature for windows–you can drag a window to the left center and it’ll pin it to take up the left half of the screen. More importantly, you can do the same thing with windows+left. Cool. Though you realize doing this only makes sense because of widescreen…and you all know how I feel about widescreen (ugh…). They also have this insanely hilarious “shake” feature where you grab a window and “shake” it, to get rid of the rest of the clutter of other windows. Seriously? xD

Alright, 2500 words and counting, whoo!
Now I get to review ef – a tale of memories, which is this anime I’ve been watching. I haven’t actually finished the series (still have one ep left), but I figure I should start reviewing anime as I complete them.
Again, I haven’t seen the ending yet, but overall this’ll probably be getting 7/10 from me. It’s alright overall, but I didn’t really fall in love with the characters, and so didn’t really connect with them very deeply. In addition, there’s that “artistic” direction that you get in anime like Bakemonogatari (is it just a thing that SHAFT does with all their anime? I have no clue…) that I’m actually really not a fan of at all. And at some points the story elements were a little too vague for my tastes. That’s just me though–I know other people are a big fan of things that are very deep and metaphorical and everything (a la Evangelion), but I’m not. I like stories that raise good questions, or that have interesting situations or scenarios, but I don’t like things to be unnecessarily complicated or vague. (I think this is why I like light novels–the language is very simple, and mostly focuses on getting the story across to you)
And ef DOES definitely raise some interesting questions, which is why it’s getting a 7, despite being otherwise unremarkable in my eyes. The retrograde amnesia thing is obviously a killer thought question that’s super-interesting, but I was also chilled by miyako’s behavior at points, since I both detested and empathized with her at the same time. *SPOILER ALERT* there’s this one scene where she gets stood up on a date with Hirono, who at this point basically means everything to her, since she’s essentially validating her existence because of their relationship. She calls him repeatedly and leaves a -crapload- of voicemails, first seeming annoyed, then nonchalantly worried, then genuinely angry, and then she starts breaking down…It was a powerful scene for me because I’ve had someone do that TO me, and because of that I didn’t look upon her favorably, but at the same time I’ve been a miyako in a lot of situations–I’m always craving the attention from others that I don’t seem to get enough of.

Last thing–I think it’s kind of an unwritten rule that xanga posts, and the like, should ideally be responded to online, as opposed to in person. There’s this weird awkward disjoint whenever you try to bring something from the world of the internetz-blogosphere into real life. I think it’s because people such as myself say different things in our blogs than we would in person; therefore it becomes awkward to ask about it, whereas if you had just responded online, I’d still be in “DDRKirby(ISQ)” character and it’d be fine. Not that it’s BAD to talk to people about their blogs offline–in fact it’s actually pretty neat because then you can actually get into a real discussion about something that you wrote about–but I’m just saying it’s interesting how there’s this weird awkward disjoint.

ok I’m done now.

1 thought on “Windows 7 / ef: a tale of memories / being unloved / responding to online things

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