>Where in the world is rjeffb????
Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain.
- Exodus 24:18
I heard God calling. And God said
"JEFF, THOU SHALT INSTALLEST WINDOWS SEVEN. AND THOU SHALL NOT RETURNEST TO AVS FORUM, NOR SHALT THOU CONVENE WITH ANOTHER XL3 OWNER, UNTIL THOU HAST DONE MY BIDDING. ALSO, TRY THE ONION RINGS, THEY'RE REALLY GOOD."
I stand [sit] before you humbled by the mighty Windows 7. Well, "exhausted" is probably a more appropriate adjective.
The G/F's son's XBox's DVD died, so I launched on an adventure to try to fix it. Let's just say that you have to have the exact same model of DVD but that's not enough, it's also tied to the mini board on the DVD so that has to be unsoldered and transferred. But it didn't work, and examination of the "new" drive showed that it was full of dust and hair and all they did was take a broken old drive and slap a counterfeit label on it, and the "customer service" person with a thick Russian accent explaining "that happens sometimes," and meanwhile the son is complaining he can't play games. So I agree to give him my extender - oh, I mean my XBox - for Christmas.
The timing was fortuitous, because the prices on extremely long HDMI and Toslink cables have come down and it's technically feasible to just run the gym monitor and surround sound straight from the XL3 and skip the whole XBox extender nonsense. Plus that will mean I can stream Google Angry Birds while on the stationary bike. But Vista does not like that idea one bit; I can hook up the gym through the XL3's DVI port but Media Center then refuses to play any show with protected content (i.e. most of them). I can physically change cables but we know I'm not going to really do that every day. I bought a little HDMI splitter to run both the living room and the gym off the single HDMI output, and it worked - sometimes. But when it didn't, I had to troubleshoot that just to go exercise.
"Hmm," thinks my brain, "that Windows+P feature in Windows 7 sure would be convenient here to switch between monitors." Or maybe it was the Voice of God, I get them mixed up.
I took the opportunity to install a larger SSD (90GB Corsair GT, right now 90-100 GB is the price/performance sweet spot, up from 40-64 GB a year ago) and bought Windows 7 Home Professional 64 bit (!!!) from Newegg. I paid $79...but I had a Shellshocker to buy it for $39...but my G/F swore she could buy it through her company for $10 so I waited...and then she told me "Oh, that was for Office 2007, I always get those confused."
Install was painless enough, and I was pleased that it recognized the ATI DCT fine. But it would not recognize my LaCie eSATA card and I found that their "Windows 7" drivers were a crock - Windows 7 not mentioned in the readme, but it did give the helpful advice that I copy the files to a floppy drive. I spent most of a day trying to troubleshoot this, even re-installing Win7 and trying to access the .oem driver file during installation. I wound up buying a Rosewill RC-210 adapter which, while contrary to the manufacturer was NOT recognized natively by Windows 7, at least has working 64-bit drivers available.
Getting the 4550 and CCC up and running was painless, and 7MC was able to recognize and play with no problem. But: most (but not all??????) recorded TV tagged as "copy protected" will not play. With some regret (this was always my main reason for not upgrading) I wound up deleting over 100 movies; but since nearly all of them were off Turner Classic Movies, most if not all will come around again I am sure. Oddly, I also had a movie off Universal and another off TBS that would not play; and AMC continues to not be able to record or even play. I suspect there's no actual rhyme or reason to when copy protection is assigned by cable companies, FCC rules notwithstanding.
Total Media Theater 2 would not start at all. I went to upgrade it to a 64-bit version and was told I could get $20 off as a current user, then when I tried to use the coupon code I was informed the code was invalid. Whatever; I Googled "arcsoft coupon codes" and found one that got me $35 off.
I'll save my review of TMT 5 for another time (other than to say it's really annoying that it defaults to "simulated 3-D" every damned time it runs), but: Windows 7, Media Player, Media Center, and Arcsoft all want to set the rules for audio and getting SPDIF to play 5.1 was a headache, and getting SPDIF to *STAY* 5.1 was impossible. Supposedly Soundblaster X-Fi is supported natively in Win7 but Win7 provides no ability to change settings specific to that hardware. And since Win7 supposedly natively supports it, there are reportedly no Creative 64-bit drivers for it...but I found a package on a Turkish Creative site that worked and then updated to the latest version. This at least gives me a "reset to default" button in a control panel I can use when TMT or MC or WMP screw things up. Meanwhile, I have a new USB sound box on order that has much better reviews. We'll see.
But my biggest headache, hands down, has been with JFSA. Now, JFSA should be foolproof. You remember the episode of the original Star Trek when they're in a recreation of the OK Corral, and Bones and Spock are explaining to the captain about their sleep gas "it HAS to work"? I mean, all JFSA does is merge one of two tiny registry files to change the drive to which the 7MC recorder points. IT HAS TO WORK. And yet it would not!
First, I had to silence 7MC from popping up warnings when I run a .reg file. OK, found out how to do that with a different registry setting. Now I could click on "t.reg" and sure enough, 7MC points to my T drive. But when I run JFSA, every thing LOOKS like it works, but it doesn't; set to the drive with the most used space, run JFSA, executes with no error, but check 7MC settings and the drive hasn't changed. I edited in some messages to make sure JFSA was executing correctly; it was. I figured maybe Win7 didn't like a program making changes to the registry by itself (hint: I was on the right track). I wrote a DOS batch file, which executed the registry file merge and which was itself called by JFSA. Nope - I gotta give Win7 credit to look not only at the program executing but the program that called that program, but it sure was frustrating. What I wound up doing was - get this - I had JFSA physically send the individual keystrokes to open the Start menu, crank up a Run command, and execute a command line. Here's the changed code from the original jfsa.wbt:
; everything above this line is optional error checking
t = diskfree("t")
v = diskfree("v")
if t < v then goto vbigger
When's the last time you remembered the keyboard shortcut for executing a Run command? I was half-expecting Win7 to think "hey, that's not a human typing those keys!" but it seemed to work. And setting up JFSA to execute on a schedule was a breeze, the Task Scheduler in Windows 7 is much simpler than Vista, really a throwback to Windows 95.
Speaking of which: the next morning, the recording drive STILL had not changed but I did have a message that Winbatch had stopped working. WTF now? I thought: 64-bit compatibility (my WinBatch came on a single floppy drive and it's 16-bit). Assigning compatibility to jfsa.wbt did nothing, but when I realized that it's not the batch file but the interpreter that matters, I found the winbatch.exe executable, designated that as Windows 95-compatible, and now that at least appears to be working. Whew!
I gotta say, if I knew there were going to be this many hiccups on what was touted as so simple, I think I would have stuck with Vista even if it meant keeping an XBox downstairs (and angering the almighty). I'm not even going to try to fix the disk eject situation, I'm too tired...
Happy New Year!
P.S. Yes, I still have that spare brand-new ATI 4550 if anyone wants it.