Monthly Archives: March 2008

I’m in India, for work. A long long way from home.

Just thought that was interesting, so I’m posting about it. I’ll post some photos from our offices here when I get back. Should be fun.

After my previous post on Best Buy’s inability to know anything, I received an e-mail from Robert Stephens.   Who’s that, you wonder?   I thought the same thing.   The e-mail was titled “The Geek Squad”, nothing more, nothing less.

So I opened it, and decided to see if it was someone else who had a negative experience with “The Geek Squad”.   Turns out, Robert Stephens is the guy who founded the squad back in 1994.   Based on my traffic logs, he must have had a Google alert type alarm set up for negative things about his team.   Within 12 hours of posting, I’d already had an email back, completely without solicitation.

My original post was merely a warning that should always be careful when making a purchase.   Not everyone knows everything.   I wasn’t looking to bad mouth the Geek Squad or get any type of freebies out of the deal.

Robert asked me if the 64-bit version was working, or if I wanted him to comp me a copy of the software.   I thanked him, and let him know I was all set, and that I was up and running.

Nice guy.

Coincidentally, I just got my delivery of the 8 gigs of PC-5300 DDR2 that I ordered two days ago, and installed it. 64-bit Vista is now just as fast, if not faster than 32-bit.   I ran the Windows Performance test through Vista, and got the same score (a 5.8).   I’m guessing the PC-6400 I wanted to buy (but was out of stock) would have pushed me up to the 5.9 mark.   Oh well. I’m happy, for now.

I decided to finally take the plunge, and upgrade to Vista 64-bit just before Christine and I left for our honeymoon.   I figured it would be a simple reinstall of Vista, with the 64-bit version, easy enough.

I went through the daunting task of backing up everything on my machine, luckily I’ve got a spare media server kicking around with some extra space on it.   So files are backed up, I head to Best Buy to get the 64-bit version.   Sounds simple, eh?

First, let me clarify why I’m upgrading.   1) My processor is 64-bit, why not utilize it? 2) I want more RAM, 3 gigs is barely enough to run Vista, forget any other programs. Despite what Dell tells you, 1 or 2 gigs of RAM is not enough to run Vista comfortably.   In my stock install of Vista Home Premium, I idled at a gig and a half.   (though the 64-bit is much worse at just over 2 gigs idle now, but that’s another story.)

So, I go to Best Buy, and grab the Home Premium Vista “Upgrade” disk, and proceed to the computer department.   After 45 minutes of waiting, I gave up and approached the “Geek Squad”.   After conversing with four of them over half an hour, they all assured me that upgrading from Home Premium to Home Premium 64 would be no problem.   Great! I paid my $99.99 and off I went.

I got home to find out that the upgrade doesn’t come with the 64-bit version.   A few click throughs to Microsoft, and I purchased the 64-bit DVD for a mere $9.95. No biggie, they said 5-7 weeks for shipment.   I was a bit mad. Luckily it only took 4 days to get to me.

So that Thursday (the day before my wedding, mind you), I began the install.   Come to find out, that you can’t ever upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit.   You have to buy the full version and do a clean install.   Fine, no worries.   I go back to Best Buy, and grab a full version of Vista Home Premium for $239.99.   I confirm with not only a “computer salesman” but the “supervisor” of the computer department that the “full version” has the 64-bit version enclosed on the DVD, and that I should have no problem.   That, of course, is after the “supervisor” tried to get me to buy the “Ultimate” version.   When he couldn’t tell me what features were different that warranted $160 more in price, I told him I was all set with the Home Premium version.

I get home and begin my install.   I open the package, and pull out the tray.   Big surprise, on the disc, clearly printed “This disc contains only 32-bit software”. Best Buy? Wrong?! You don’t say.

Luckily, I had already ordered the 64-bit DVD.   So I hoped (and prayed), that they don’t tie the disc to a serial number (which I had to provide from my “upgrade” disc when I ordered the 64-bit DVD.)   Luckily, they don’t.   I dropped in the 64-bit DVD and began the install.   Worked like a charm, once I gave it the serial number from my “full” version of Home Premium.   So, I now have a wasted $99.99 version of the “Upgrade” which is more or less useless, as I doubt I’ll upgrade any of my other machines at this time.   Not that there’s anything wrong with Vista, I just think I’ll leave well enough alone, for now.

As for 64-bit, so far, no issues. All my hardware works (including my new Canon Digital Rebel XTI), my software’s all working, with the exception of a few small relatively unimportant applications that I can live without, for now).   My only complaint is that everything’s much slower (go figure), and Vista idles using more RAM (just over two gigs, with nothing but Thunderbird open.)

I placed an order today for 8 gigs of PC-5300 DDR2, which will hopefully help with things.   Right now, I’ve got 3 gigs, and it’s just not cutting it.   I was holding otu for PC-6300, but it’s out of stock at Crucial, and I don’t feel like waiting.   I’ll update after the RAM gets here, and see how much of a difference that makes.

That’s all for now.   If you want to check out some shots taken with the new digital camera Christine bought me, the honeymoon photos are up at Our Website, I scaled them down from 10.1 megapixels to about 4 or so, to speed up page loads.   I’ve got the originals saved.   If you want to see them in all their 10.1 megapixel glory, shoot me an email and I’ll send them along.