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Monday, December 14, 2009

Netbook - Anger Management

I just tried to do some work on my relatively new Samsung Netbook, running (HA!) Windows7. The plan was to take this creature, which is only slightly lighter and marginally smaller than my Fujitsu work laptop, on my multi-location holidays which are commencing at the end of this week.

I have a lot of training to give the day after I get back from the Bali leg of my holidays. It's just a rerun of the training we did in Bangkok a few weeks ago, but you see, we have been having CODEC issues with our AVI files (the video files from our U/S machines).

For some godforsaken reason they won't run in Powerpoint 2007 on Vista, i.e. mine and my colleagues' work 3 year old Fujitsu laptops. I found out that they WILL run on Powerpoint 2007 on my personal, home, not-work's, private, I-paid-for-it Win7 Netbook (and on the iMAC and PPT2008 for Mac).

Does our company's budget extend to us getting Win7 installed? No. Stupid question - we are flying someone in from Sao Paulo for this training, but buy urgently needed software? Not a chance. Can I put in a pirate copy ("hey I am Bangkok", or I was at the time, "people are thrusting Win7 DVDs at me from every corner of Fortune Tower or Panthip Plaza")? No, um, we are being audited in January, must show receipts for everything, lah.

Prior to that Bangkok training, way before I bought the Netbook, in the depths of frustration, I determined that the only way to get my PPT videos working was to convert all of those nice AVI videos into something that would work using my genuine $50 Blaze Media Pro conversion software. Trying out different AVI CODECS had only screwed up the frame rate while maintaining the size format, so I had to cop a hefty resolution compromise and go with some shitty small MPG format, but it was the only one that kept the frame rate OK. I had tried about thirty different CODECS and file types... (Hey E@L, what do you do in the office all day?)

One of my colleagues had used the "Run In Full-screen" tick box for his presentations, but the trainees really needed to see the text that goes with the videos to make much sense of them. In my opinion, anyway. Damned if I was going to let this defeat me!

Then, after the training was completed and people had finished commenting on my crappy small videos, we trudged home to Singapore where someone in the office (not me, The Boss!) worked out, in a fierce bout of guesswork, that merely changing the file extension to WMV and reinserting the video back into PPT would enable them to run flawlessly and losslessly!

SIGH! (That's three years of frustration escaping there.)

So the plan was simply to change the extension names on just a coupla dozen files for this training, and then rename every AVI file in my 40GB archive of training presentations, and do the same in future for every file we get from the machine or from the head office in Tokyo, where they use Windows 2000, or so I believe. (The irony of this is the our U/S machines run on WinXP Embedded) No, this changing of file extensions is much better use of our expensive time than upgrading our laptop software and letting us get on with our work (see below).

And of course for CUSTOMERS who just might have Vista and PPT2007, they'll have to do the same thing! At no extra charge!

Well, today, after wasting half the afternoon changing file extensions when I could have been writing emails to pen-pals - *ahem* - I said bugger this... I'll bite the personal use bullet and just use the Netbook for this lot of training and run the original AVI files! No need to change extensions, just replace the crappy MPGs in my PPTs with the old AVIs!

Well, the idea was to take the back-up HDD with me this weekend and play with the PPTs on my spare moments of my 3 week holiday, like maybe lying by the pool/beach/forest/volcano in Bali, just to make sure they all worked.

YAY! Netbooks are cool!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Tonight I brought the HDD home just to check out how the PPT videos and PPTs would play...

This is the first time I have used the Netbook for serious computing. Other than a bit of blogging from a pub a few weeks back, I haven't needed to get it out. (Not that it's IN anything.)

In the meantime, while doing the PPTs, I'd surf the web, check out some cool YouTube stuff, my do my personal email, get into Facebook, play chess, etc... all on the Netbook, just as if I was at work (see above)...

But I ran into a wall of molasses...

It is so DREADFULLY slow! A windows take 5 seconds to refresh. Trying to scroll down a YouTube page in iE while a video is downloading freezes that tab for over a minute! Finally I got the video loaded (Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke playing in the change room prior to or after a show, see below) while I fiddled, slowly, updating the PPT files with the AVIs...

Everything took forever (for everybody, just to hyperbolate completely)! I gave up on the touch screen because the W7 multi-gesture thing kept picking up the edge of the finger that was clicking on the LMB, so I took out the mouse from my iMac and plugged it in. 2 1/2 years later, sigh, I could use the mouse to do things like resize the videos, then wait, and move them around the PPT page, then wait... Obviously this ATOM chip is way underpowered to do anything serious!

But that's not all. When the YouTube finally came back to life and I tried to listen, obviously the tinny (ENHANCED BOOST) speakers were horrible. So I unplugged the Bose speakers from my iMac and tried to plug them in - it went all funny, loud then soft, it was crazy, like the cable was bung. I changed it for a superfluous one on the HiFi. No better. Then I checked the headphones insert area on the Netbook. It has this nasty bloody recess; it only take small plugs, like iPhone shit. Holy toe-fucking hell!

Sigh... Turn off Netbook. Plug mouse back into iMac. Plug speakers with original cable back into iMac. Go to YouTube...




De-stress....

[Addendum: to put these guys into perspective...]





~~~~~~~~~~

And just to remind you, as the music soothes my anger and the night fades down towards beddy-byes for E@L, NetBooks are a WANK! Fucking worst Sin$900 (why so expensive one, lah? I had to pay extra for Win7 {at least the videos run} and a bigger HDD) I ever spent. Not happy. Seriously thinking of passing it on to some other geekoid sucker if it doesn't get smashed and tossed out the window before they get the chance.

E@L

7 comments:

HKMacs said...

Try increasing the RAM - if you can that is. Or do they max out at 1GB?

expat@large said...

Oh yes, that was part of the $900 - 2GB or RAM.
To be a little bit closer to fair, it turns out it was downloading updates in the background - AND I think scanning for viruses - because when I turned it of, it said "Installing Updates".

But even so, it just doesn't multi-ask like a real computer. Even when I just have my text program running by itself, typing is hesitant and delayed.

And whoever said Win7 was less intrusive and alert prone that Vista was joking, right? I don't need to be tole that I just took out or put in the headphone jack, I know I did!

dh said...

I often wonder what it must be like at Segovia's level. Can't be much separating the brain from the fingers and the strings.

Indiana said...

But its not a real computer, its for surfing the web, email, and such...it's not designed to do real computing.

You could try turning off most of the taskbar programs and then try to only do one thing at a time :-)

expat@large said...

DH: in the fillum, it comments on his memory for music. Me, I can't keep the chords to Hotel California in order.

Indy: yes, even the latest the ATOM chip spec (1.66GHz - the secret is out) is still a long way behind the dual core 2.4GHz thing in my 3 year old Fujistu.

Funny thing also is that there is no taskbar battery meter that I could find.

savannah said...

so, i guess y'all aren't the guy to ask about iphone v. blackberry MAC compatibility, sugar. i'm kidding.
xoxoxox

expat@large said...

Sav: cue sound of head banging against wall

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