The Highly Unreliable
HP Windows Vista Home Premium Paperweight Special

June 29, 2007 by usacomputertec.

06/28/07 I responded to a call about not being able to get e-mail
on a Windows Vista Home Premium PC on dial up. It was using
the new Vista version of Outlook Express. I believe it’s called
Windows Mail. She was using dial up so it should have taken the
Windows Mail program a while to verify the user name and
password but as usual with a virus or Trojan it just plain didn't try
to connect to the server and put up an error immediately. I asked
the woman how long she had used this computer. She said it
was about a week old from Staples. She preferred the HP to Dell
because she could return it to Staples and the Dell she would
have to send in. She tried to install Norton Antivirus but it didn’t
work. I tried to do a System Restore but of course that didn’t work.
So I ended up (with her permission) just deleting everything and
using the HP Recovery Wizard to restore everything. (note that
this uses Linux) On most HP systems with XP it usually takes
about 10 - 20 minutes for it to copy the image back to the drive
and then another 20 - 30 minutes to reinstall the programs but
instead with Windows Vista Home Premium it took over 20
minutes to restore by my watch. It also took about 45 minutes to
an hour for Vista to decide to stop restarting and let us in after
asking us questions about setting it up and benchmarking our
system for DRM. I figured we would be good to go when it finally
started back up and I had installed good antivirus software and
set up the internet connection and mail. I installed Thunderbird
and set up Junk Mail settings. She liked Thunderbird and saw it
as more like outlook than Windows Mail. So what did we have
after we were done? Well basically we had a Web TV. The
amassing thing was all the computer was good for was
browsing the internet and e-mail. You can’t watch videos if they
are not in a special Microsoft format (I didn’t even expect to play
DVDs before I started), you can’t type and print with spell check,
you don’t have any office programs except maybe Works. (which
doesn’t work) I expected real player to play videos but it required
me to sign in and would not let me because it had an error
connecting to the server. So now we have a paperweight. I quickly
installed and taught her how to use it. Then I
installed Mplayer and could play those videos. So what was the
result? The computer was super slow. When trying to play Dell’s
Linux_101 video it played the video slower than the audio even
though the video was on a CD. This computer had 1 GB of RAM
and a new Pentium. It should have had no problem playing
anything. During the initial start up when Vista was benchmarking
the system to see how much power the computer had it decided
that it would use most of the power for trusted computing and
DRM. This is why it was so slow. I stuck my PCLinuxOS 2007
disk in and rebooted. The dial up did not work but everything else
did and I could play the movie nice and smooth even in Live Mode
and everything was already installed and it only took about 2 - 5
minutes to boot. It had all the programs she needed pre-
installed. She is currently thinking about switching but I was there
from 8 PM to midnight so I thought bed was a good place for me.
If she wants to go to Linux I will install a Linux compatible external
Dial Up Modem and she will be set to go. I know Microsoft wants
the consumer to pay for an upgrade or extra software after words
by pulling features out but this was ridiculous.
ZDNet explains the problem here:
v=YKI_w_VBoTQ . Microsoft has some quotes on one of their
patch sites where
Microsoft has these interesting quotes:
"Windows Media Center
does not correctly configure a combo TV tuner that supports
both ATSC and NTSC signals on a Windows Vista-based
computer" "When you resize the Windows Media Center
window in Windows Vista, video playback may stop" "You
cannot hear the audio in Live TV or on a DVD in Windows Media
Center after you wake a computer that is running Windows
Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate"
. I thought
those were pretty funny considering that Windows Vista Ultimate
should not have these problems.
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The Microsoft XBOX 360 Display Model Paralyzes Wall Mart in
Lewiston Idaho!

June 26, 2007 by usacomputertec.


Update 06/27/07

Originally I assumed that the XOBX 360 was taping into the Wall Mart
network. Thomas during the show talked about RF signal interference.
I don’t see how a Wall Mart half the size of a Costco Warehouse could
have all of it’s systems affected by WiFi interference. The biggest red
flag for me is that most cell phones won’t even work in the store
normally because of all the florescent lights and other interference.
Another red flag is if it was interference the whole store should not be
affected but just devices within 50 feet of the unit. I mentioned how the
machine was shielded by the metal shelves that are below, above,
behind and beside the unit. The main cash registers for the store are
on the other side of the shelf and should not be affected by this
interference. So that pretty much only leaves one other explanation.
The XBOX 360 must have tried to use the network to connect to and
manage all printers and network devices it could. Normally you would
think it would share these devices with the rest of the network but in
this situation it would seem that the XBOX 360 itself would become the
printing and file server for the entire store. The network probably is not
configured to use an XBOX 360 as the server so it probably just didn’t
know how to compensate with the XBOX’s network dictatorship.

Original Post:

Today 06/25/07 I went into the Wall Mart in Lewiston Idaho and looked
at the video game displays in the electronics section. I noticed the
XBOX 360 was not on. I said out loud in a sarcastic tone “Owe, the
Microsoft XBOX 360 crashed again”. The lady at the counter behind me
said “We can’t turn it on”, she explained that if they turn it on all the
computers and printers in the store including cash registers stop
working. I asked her if it was hooked into the network since it was just
a display model that was plugged in to power and the TV. She told me
the WiFi and Bluetooth got access to the network and rendered it
useless. From what I understood the XBOX 360 was getting access to
all the devices on the Windows network and controlling them. What I
didn’t understand was why it was not sharing them? If I can get more
answers on whats going on here I will tell you, but for know we can
safely say that the XBOX 360 is great for taking down businesses that
use Microsoft networks with WiFi or Bluetooth devices. I also informed
the woman working at Wall Mart about how if you move an XBOX 360
that is running it will put a ring in the disk and ruin it and possibly ruin
the XBOX itself. She hadn’t heard of this but many proud XBOX 360
users have told me this.