The XPerience begins

I brought the computer home and fired it up; the first boot started up by showing me the license agreement (“we own Windows, you just own a piece of plastic”) for my approval, then required the 25-digit serial number (printed on a sticker which says that you must affix this sticker to your computer) before I could continue. Microsoft is certainly subtle in letting you know who’s boss.

Once I got past that point, the system booted quickly and invited me to activate it (i.e., sending my configuration data to Microsoft). I’ve declined that invitation so far, though it’s mandatory if I actually want to keep using the system after 30 days.

Some of my hardware doesn’t have full-function drivers yet, especially the video card; ATI says that their full driver will be available next Monday. The driver on the XP CD works fine, though it doesn’t have the ATI value-added adjustments (apparently Microsoft doesn’t want to have anything hardware-specific complicating the user experience). I tried installing the drivers which came with the video card and XP complained, saying they would destablize the system — they did, too. So I went on the web and got a beta of the real ATI drivers and that seems to be stable.

I plan to wipe the disk and start again anyway, though. I want to get rid of a lot of the junk applications which came with the Audigy Platinum sound card (and it would be nice to have final drivers, too). And the DirectCD drivers which came with the
Plextor CD-RW drive don’t work under XP; I may abandon the Roxio software in favor of Nero anyway, though.

And I’d like to install as little of the Microsoft salesware as I can get away with. I don’t need MSN Explorer, whatever that is.

I did successfully get Norton Anti-Virus installed (we have a enterprise license for it which specifically includes employee-owned machines which connect up to work), even though the version I brought home doesn’t explicitly support XP yet. And I have a copy of Zone Alarm ready to install, too — I haven’t put the machine on the network yet, so that hasn’t been a priority.

More to come, probably over the weekend.

Windows of Hope

We had dinner out tonight to support Windows of Hope. The food was pretty good, but I probably could have skipped the dessert. Oh, well, 5% of the calories went to a good cause.

Battlebots is coming!

At dinner, I found out that the next Battlebots tournament is on Treasure Island (between San Francisco and Oakland) next month. We may well go.

Movin’ on up

I thought last night’s Enterprise was quite a bit better than the second episode. There’s hope.