Gadget Expiriment, Update 0

Here’s a quick update on life without a laptop:

I miss my ThinkPad. Sure, I like my iPad a lot and it’s an amazing piece of tech, but it is much more of a consumption device than a creation device. Yes, I know you create content with it (I’m typing a blog post on it now), but it’s sort of like using a large wrench to drive in a nail. You can probably get the job done, but it would be a nicer experience all around if you had a hammer.

I do have an app recommendation. Gusto is an HTML Editor with syntax highlighting, FTP/SFTP support, and more. It’s been reliable and easy to use for me and if you do work in HTML I suggest you take a look at it.

iTunes link here.

Windows Automatic Updates (Free Reboot Included)

Do you ever get tired of your PC rebooting all on its own because it updated and decided it would reboot now instead of waiting for you to tell it to? Every once in a while I would  unlock my laptop to sync my netcasts for the morning commute and see that none of my apps were running. For the most part I never lost work and usually my nightly download of Tech News Today had finished downloading before iTunes closed and the PC rebooted, but it’s still annoying.

For those who are also annoyed by this you can drop a key in the registry so that Windows Update will never force an unattended reboot if a user in logged in.

You need to dig down to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows and add a new key named WindowsUpdate. Under WindowsUpdate we need another new key named AU. Under the AU key you need to create a new DWORD Value named NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers. This Value needs to then be set to 1.

So you will end up with the following: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU and a DWORD key named NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers with a value of 1

Remember, playing in the registry can be dangerous and just because I did something doesn’t mean it wasn’t stupid and/or dangerous.

Thanks to Paul Thurrott, Editor-in-Chief of the SuperSite for Windows at and the author of many fine tomes including the Delphi 3 SuperBible.

You can read Paul’s guide for fixing this here.

Experiment: Can Gadgets Take the Place of a Real Computer?

I’ve started an involuntary experiment. I’m going to see this week how well an iPhone, an iPad, and a Droid Incredible replace a Core i5 ThinkPad.

The fan on my T410 went kaput (my sympathies to those who bought t410s last spring, it seems they had a bad batch of fans) on Saturday, so by the time I get my computer back I should have a good idea of how useful these gadgets are, or, rather how limited they are.

I can type fairly fast on my iPad, but not as fast as on my ThinkPad… I so far have put off doing any HTML coding and I’ll probably give in and do it on my desktop at work rather than attempt it on this.

Anyway, I’ll post later to let you know how it went.

Dealing with Death (the Blue Screen Sort)

The other day at work I was attempting to install Win XP Pro on a refurbished system from Dell. I bought the system without an OS because we had licenses available under our Volume Licensing agreement with Micro$oft. I was extremely annoyed to find that the system (an Optiplex 755) kept blue screening very early in the setup process. I tried multiple discs, multiple disks, and swapped out the RAM, but no joy. I would get to the point where the install CD asks what you want to do and where you want to do it and {BANG} blue screen…

The problem? In the BIOS the Hard Drive Controller was configured as “ACHI”. After switching the controller mode to “Compatibility / IDE” everything was great. Simple problem, simple fix (once I knew what to do).

If you are getting the BSOD while installing Windows XP on a no OS system, double check the HD controller settings. It may make your day just a little bit better.

NOTE: If you are installing Vista or 7 you don’t want the SATA operation to be IDE/Compatibility/Legacy

Thanks to OceanMaster over at the forums for helping me out with this one.