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An unhappy reunion with Windows

 
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:10 pm    Post subject: An unhappy reunion with Windows Reply with quote

Today, I started working part-time at a friend's engineering company. My friend and I met at college when we were both training to become mechanical engineers. I'm still waiting for my spell at self-employment to bear fruit, and he's been hinting to me for ages to come and work with him... so I've finally relented. I get to work for him part time, and I get to work for me part time, so it's a good deal.

So this morning, I turn up to find that he has a new Vista PC on his desk -- and his old XP machine has been dumped on my desk. Rolling Eyes But all of his important info is still on the PC that I've been given. So he says "John, can you network these two together so that I can access the old info on your machine until I get a chance to move it across?" With trepidation, I say "Uhhh, okay".

My reluctance was fueled by the memories of the excruciating, soul-destroying ordeals that I used to undergo 10 years ago, when I had to network Win98 machines together. It used to be an utter PITA. But hey, over 10 years has passed. It had to be easy as pie now..... hadn't it? Confused

I plugged his machine into the Netgear router, I plugged my machine into the Netgear router (the secretary's machine was already connected) and so the circus began. I hadn't used a Windows machine in 5 years let alone configured one, so I was very rusty. But of course, I wasn't helped by the way that Windows spreads its networking options and functions across many, unconnected dialogue boxes. So I went round and round for a long time, finding it increasingly difficult to hide my exasperation as time went on.

Finally, I thought that I'd done it. Each machine had a unique IP address. Each machine had a unique name. Each machine had joined the same workgroup. The "My Documents" folder on my machine was a "shared" folder. It should all have now worked. But the Vista PC insisted that it could only "see" the router and its own internet connection. I was stumped. I dashed back and forth between the 3 computers trying to understand what I'd done wrong, and I was getting more and more stressed in the process.

Finally, I consulted the help files on the Vista machine, to help me find the "Network Wizard" that I'd employed on the Windows XP computers. And within those files, I stumbled upon the explanation... and I couldn't believe my eyes: "It may take several minutes for your Vista PC to discover and connect to PCs on your network that are using older versions of Windows." Several minutes. Shocked

During the time that I spent trying to understand why it would take several minutes to recognise another computer when it was connected using Cat6 cable thru a 100Mbps router, the Vista PC had indeed "discovered" the 2 XP machines that were just a few metres away.

So I came to the conclusion that nothing has really changed. Windows is just as inefficient, unfathomable and utterly labyrinthine in its current guise as was back in 1998. The glassy buttons and swish effects haven't changed an underlying method of operation that defies logical understanding. And the icing on the cake is the "help" file that freely admits that a Vista PC needs several minutes to acknowledge that an XP machine is on the same network.

Madness. Complete madness.
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MalzyWheels
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you go to Microsoft's website, the tag line reads "Your Potential. Our Passion.*" (Love the asterisk. If you look around on the site, will you find that the asterisk indicates, "Well, not really.")

I think the tag line should be "Your frustration. Our Passion."
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just surprised that it found the XP machines at all Laughing
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As much as I'd love to bash M$, it doesn't really sound like you had an issue. Perhaps the delay in detecting the other machines is an issue, but it was documented.

Knowing what you know now, you could probably set the same thing up in less than 15 minutes. Not a real big deal. At least you didn't have issues with the machines communicating with one another. Had you tried pinging each machine initially?
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aquaman
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Networking between Macs is like heaven in comparison to Windows. That being said, I had my fair share of troubles when Leopard first came out. I couldn't get shares (XP and Mac) to show up in the Finder with any normalcy until around 10.5.5.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MalzyWheels wrote:
I think the tag line should be "Your frustration. Our Passion."

You're right, MW. Or even better: "Your frustration. Our indifference." Wink

Cypher wrote:
I'm just surprised that it found the XP machines at all Laughing

Yeah, I've been there before... Rolling Eyes

Bandit Bill wrote:
As much as I'd love to bash M$, it doesn't really sound like you had an issue. Perhaps the delay in detecting the other machines is an issue, but it was documented.

Bill, please permit me to distill the situation down to its essence: Vista users can't tell whether they've successfully set-up their home/office network because the feedback they get from their PC if they've failed -- "A minute or two has passed and I can't detect any other machines" -- is exactly the same as if they've succeeded. Doesn't it strike you as quite unbelievable?

This isn't a rant from a Mac user spotting an opportunity to bash Windows. I have to use a PC at work, so it's not in my interest to stress myself out every time I sit in front of the computer on my desk.

This is a case of a reasonable human being asking how it is possible that the 6th generation of operating system from the world's richest software company takes "several minutes" to recognise another Windows machine connected thru a 100Mbps router. Aren't MS embarrassed by the documented admission that their software is so... hopeless?
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
This isn't a rant from a Mac user spotting an opportunity to bash Windows.

... how it is possible that the 6th generation of operating system from the world's richest software company takes "several minutes" to recognize another Windows machine connected thru a 100Mbps router.


I hear you, I know where you are coming from and it's the same reason I choose to use a Mac. That being said I love every opportunity I can get to bash M$ Smile It fun and it's all in good humor. Apple certainly has its shortcoming too. M$ fans love every opportunity to bash Apple.

On the technical side, when you say "several minutes to recognize another windows machine". I'm wondering if that truly was the case. When I asked about pinging the other machines you should have been able to do that within seconds. This is the first thing that I would have done. It would have assured that they were actually networked and the cabling and hardware was functioning properly. If you did this and then the OS still wasn't cooperating I would have started scratching my head.

The fact that the issue arose because you were networking legacy OS's with newer OS's is the real issue at hand. It's sort of a double edged sword though. Do you drop support for the old and streamline the new (like Apple is doing with Snow Leopard and like they did with OS X from OS9) or do you try to please everyone like M$ is trying to do. I personally much prefer to move forward, but I don't have a $1,000,000 IT set-up.

The issues that you had JohnnyBoy is due to lack of experience. With all due respect, you mentioned this yourself. You could now do it again in 15 minutes.

I know M$ menus are clunky and crappy. Error messages are confusing. It seems really archaic. Even Windows 7 feels this way to me but it is what it is. It's nice to see Apple moving speedily ahead while the lumbering giant staggers around drunkenly ready to topple.

Glad you got the network set-up JohnnyBoy, but now you opened up a can of worms. Wink
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
On the technical side, when you say "several minutes to recognize another windows machine". I'm wondering if that truly was the case. When I asked about pinging the other machines you should have been able to do that within seconds. This is the first thing that I would have done. It would have assured that they were actually networked and the cabling and hardware was functioning properly. If you did this and then the OS still wasn't cooperating I would have started scratching my head.

...

The issues that you had JohnnyBoy is due to lack of experience. With all due respect, you mentioned this yourself. You could now do it again in 15 minutes.

I can't disagree with you Bill; I am very rusty with Windows and I should have pinged the other machines on the network as a first step.

But let's not forget that while we're using techie jargon like "pinging" and "legacy OS", Microsoft are marketing Vista as a consumer OS. All of the PCs at my new job have Ethernet ports built-in to the mobo -- customers are no longer expected to fit their own. The message that I think this gives out is "Just plug it all in and it works". Except that it might not. You have to wait "several minutes" to find out whether it has. Wink Smile
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Bandit Bill
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
The message that I think this gives out is "Just plug it all in and it works".


I had to lol at that one. Windows has be touting "plug and play" since Windows 95. I've referred to it as "plug and pray" ever since then.

I guess I sometimes take my technical background for granted. One thing that I don't take for granted is Windows. I always expect issues Wink

Good luck with the new job. just don't let it take you too far away from doing your own thing.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandit Bill wrote:
Good luck with the new job. just don't let it take you too far away from doing your own thing.

Thank you Bill for those very thoughtful words.
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trustory
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you mind me asking what it is you do at your friends engineering company? I'm interested as I just started a year placement as a development engineer for a well known boat maker.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem, Tru; I take a request for a quotation (usually, the design for whatever the customer wants is supplied as a series of engineering drawings) and calculate the price that a customer would be charged to make whatever it is that they want (how much material, how many parts, what processes will be used, how much time for each process). Kind of like a quantity surveyor.

It's quite time-consuming. Yesterday, I spent all day just working out the price of perimeter railings and staircase handrails for a hypothetical skateboard park.

Then, if the customer places the order, I've got to turn their design drawings into manufacturing process drawings using AutoCAD (depicting more detail for the complicated parts and with fabrication instructions) to be given to the technician-level engineers on the shop floor.
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trustory
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
No problem, Tru; I take a request for a quotation (usually, the design for whatever the customer wants is supplied as a series of engineering drawings) and calculate the price that a customer would be charged to make whatever it is that they want (how much material, how many parts, what processes will be used, how much time for each process). Kind of like a quantity surveyor.

It's quite time-consuming. Yesterday, I spent all day just working out the price of perimeter railings and staircase handrails for a hypothetical skateboard park.

Then, if the customer places the order, I've got to turn their design drawings into manufacturing process drawings using AutoCAD (depicting more detail for the complicated parts and with fabrication instructions) to be given to the technician-level engineers on the shop floor.


Ah sounds good! Some of the work I do is similar to that but everything produced is made for our company rather than an outside company purchasing from us.
I've been using Unigraphics NX2 for all the modelling and drafting I do, we leave the AutoCAD for the fluffies (interior designer).
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trustory wrote:
Ah sounds good! Some of the work I do is similar to that but everything produced is made for our company rather than an outside company purchasing from us.

Ah, okay. So your employer does assembly rather than fabrication...?
trustory wrote:
I've been using Unigraphics NX2 for all the modelling and drafting I do, we leave the AutoCAD for the fluffies (interior designer).

Hang on a minute. I think I've just found myself on the wrong side of the fluffies/non-fluffies boundary... Shocked

Wink
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trustory
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:

Ah, okay. So your employer does assembly rather than fabrication...?

Hang on a minute. I think I've just found myself on the wrong side of the fluffies/non-fluffies boundary... Shocked

Wink

We do the whole shebang, there is just over 2000 people working at the company, we have a metal shop, wood shop, upholsterer, fibreglassing shop along with all the fitters on the shop floor, development and engineering staff.
There are a few specialist parts that are bought in but buy and large its designed and made in house.
Luckily for you the fluffies are named because they do interior design not because of there use of AutoCad. Close call though Very Happy
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