First I installed Neverwinter Nights (NwN). I go to run the game...and then get a pop-up from Vista telling me that the program will screw up Vista, so Vista won't allow it to run. Fine; I go to Bioware's web site for a patch...and there is no patch. Bioware hopes--hopes, that's the word they used--to patch NwN to work with Vista "in the future".
I was really looking forward to seeing NwN on this machine--the niftier hardware should have let me turn up all the video options to their highest settings, which would have looked good--but now I must continue to run it on the P3 and hope that Bioware gets around to making NwN Vista-compatible.
Well, all right, then. I set about installing some other software. I went to HP to get Vista software for my ScanJet 4300c--
"We recommend that you consider a new scanner."
Considering how often I use my scanner, buying a new one really isn't warranted. But, what the hell, I thought--I'll download the XP drivers. I've had good luck with using XP drivers for my wireless NIC; maybe I'll get lucky.
I ran the XP DRIVER INSTALL PROGRAM, and it said--I wish I were making this up!--This install program requires Windows 98 or ME.
WHAT THE FUCK?
I know for a fact that I'm not the only person who remembers when HP made stuff that worked. Randy Milholland used that as a browser window header for a week or so: "I remember when HP made stuff that worked." That's where I got the line from, for crying out loud.
In the survey box at the bottom of the download page, I told them that the driver download went flawlessly and that their web site had utterly failed to solve my problem.
In the comments box, I told them about the error message, and then I said:
"I remember when HP made stuff that worked. What utter junk."
If I had been thinking I would have added, "If I DO buy a new scanner, it will NOT be made by HP."
I mean, okay, yeah--my scanner is 7 years old. But I'm supposed to junk a perfectly adequate and usable piece of hardware solely because the manufacturer wants to sell me a new one? I don't think so! Back when I was a computer technician HP was still supporting products that were 10 years old--and updating XP drivers to run under Vista should not be all that damn complicated. Hell, I would be satisfied just to be able to use the XP drivers.
I fared better with the printer drivers. That went swimmingly. It literally took me longer to find a USB cable than it did to install the drivers--and in fact I ended up using the USB cable for the scanner since I'm obviously not going to be using it for a while.
Also on the plus side, the $10 analog speakers that I got with the computer have better stereo separation than the $80 Boston Acoustics digital speakers that came with the P3 in 2001. They have less bass (no subwoofer) but still sound very good.
The system's base 512 MB of RAM is a bit lackluster. Vista--like all previous iterations of Windows--is a memory hog. Where XP finds 512 MB comfortable--and Windows ME finds 512 MB approximately cavernous--under Vista I hear my hard drive rattling a lot when I switch applications. That means "virtual memory access" and that's not good for overall throughput. Looks like the first thing I'll need is an extra couple gigabytes of memory--but I expected that when I ordered the system, so there are no surprises there.
I haven't even tried to install Word 2000 yet. We'll see how that goes. The e-mail application included with Vista seems adequate for my needs; I just hope I can import my old Outlook Express e-mail archives.
The latest version of WinAmp includes some really neat visualizations.
Finally, this new mouse and keyboard are really taking some getting used to. Well, I'll mangage.