Mike Swanson

September, 2006

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Experience with Windows Vista RC1


    Since I've been running Windows Vista RC1 (build 5600 for x86) on all of my primary machines, I figured I'd share a few more tidbits of information about some of the programs I run:

    • Adobe Creative Suite 2 - I only use Photoshop CS2 and Illustrator CS2, and so far, they both work fine.
    • DxO Optics Pro 3.5 - I was able to install this by using the program compatibility wizard, but when I try to run it, it fails. I contacted DxO, and they haven't yet tested on Windows Vista. I haven't tried their 4.0 Beta yet, so it might work.
    • Windows Live Writer - installed and working fine. I'm actually using it to post this blog entry.
    • SyncBackSE - installed and appears to be working. I've only tried the standard "backup" settings, and I haven't tried to schedule a nightly backup yet.
    • Flash Professional 8 - installed and working fine so far.
    • QuickTime 7.1 - installed and runs fine, both in and out of the browser. The only thing missing is the glassy look in the standalone application.
    • CuteFTP 8 - installed and runs fine. When exiting the application, I receive an error message, but it doesn't seem to cause any problems (this has been reported to GlobalSCAPE).
    • VirtualCloneDrive - I've always been a fan of Daemon Tools, but it doesn't seem to work in Vista (correction: just noticed they released a new version that claims Vista compatibility). So, I've been trying VirtualCloneDrive, and it works well. It's a great tool for mounting ISO images, and it's free.
    • SilverFast Ai 8 - great scanning software that works without a hitch.

    I can't vouch for the accuracy of the contents, but you might also want to check out the Windows Vista RC1 Software Compatibility List that's being maintained as a wiki.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Nikon Scan 4.0.2, Windows Vista RC1, and Slide Jamming


    A few weeks ago, I purchased a Nikon Super COOLSCAN 5000 ED and the SF-210 slide feeder accessory. My dad has somewhere around 2,000 old 35mm slides that I'd like to help him get into a digital format. It's been years and years since I've seen most of the photos, and there are many that I've never seen at all. And scanning four slides at a time on my Epson Perfection 2450 PHOTO would take forever. The Nikon SF-210 accessory will feed up to 50 slides at once...much more convenient!

    So, I installed Windows Vista RC1 on my home machine this past Friday. I didn't notice it at the time, but Vista wasn't able to automatically find a scanner driver for my new Nikon (I didn't do an upgrade...I reformatted my hard drive and started fresh). I popped the Nikon Scan CD into the drive, but it wouldn't install. Remembering the Program Compatibility Wizard, I fired it up, manually pointed to the Welcome.exe file in the root folder of the CD, selected Microsoft Windows XP (Service Pack 2) as the compatible operating system, told it to run as an administrator, left everything else at default settings, and the Nikon driver and associated software installed perfectly. I've been running automatic scans all day, and everything is working as-expected.

    Since I'm writing about 35mm slide scanning, I thought I'd throw in another tidbit that will help people that are using the SF-210 to scan their own slides. The SF-210 is a pricey unit...pricey enough that you'd think it could reliably feed almost any slide. But, for many of the older cardboard mounted slides, it likes to jam. Of course, this happens as soon as you leave the room. :)

    I did some searching on the 'net and found a guy who drastically improved his scan success rate by wedging a wooden dowel between the white plastic "pusher" and the slides. I didn't have a wooden dowel, so I tried a AAA battery (see photo), and it works beautifully! The battery has the effect of "fanning" the right side of the slides so that the next slide to be scanned is clearly out of the way and won't catch on the slide that's currently being fed. This works for thinner slides, slides that have a cardboard mount, and slides that are slightly warped. I still have the occasional jam, but it's much better than it was before. Hope it helps you too!

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Windows Vista RC1, .NET Framework 3.0 RC1, Associated Tools, and Cool Screencast


    It's been quite a week of software releases. Instead of writing a bunch of small posts, I thought I'd wait until everything became available. That time is now.

    If you haven't taken a look at Windows Vista yet, I'd highly encourage you to download and install RC1. MSDN subscribers can grab it from the subscriber download site, and if you participated in the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program for the Beta 2 release (June), you should have received an e-mail with information about the RC1 release. I've installed it as my primary OS on my home machine and both machines at the office. The only devices that it hasn't automatically installed a driver for is my Microsoft Fingerprint Reader and my Soundblaster Audigy 2 sound card. Although I haven't found a driver for the Fingerprint Reader, I did manage to get a beta 2-compatible version of the Audigy 2 driver working.

    This version of Windows Vista is snappy, even more polished, and very stable. I'm quite impressed with the work that the Windows team has done. And it's a joy to use. Running Office 2007 makes the experience even better. Geez...listen to me...I guess I sound a lot like a Microsoft evangelist, don't I? Seriously...you need to try this stuff out. You can find a lot of early reviews across the 'net, but for a balanced set of articles, check out Paul Thurrott's Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 Review Part 1, Part 2, Five Great Features in Windows Vista RC1, and in the interest of full disclosure, The Dark Side of Windows Vista RC1.

    But, if you're reading my blog, you probably want to get down to developing some great Windows Presentation Foundation applications...am I right? The good news is, if you install Windows Vista RC1, you automatically get the .NET Framework 3.0 RC1 installed and ready-to-go. Here are some other useful links:

    Now that all that is out of the way, I urge you to check out Matt Griffith's HOWTO Screencast: Use IronPython and Snoop to explore the Windows Presentation Foundation. Way cool! Thanks for the heads-up, Kevin.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Inside the Chocolate Factory


    What would you like to know about Microsoft? I mean, is there anything about what we do that seems mysterious? Or really stupid? Have you ever asked yourself: "How the heck do they do that?" Or: "Why did they do it that way?" Maybe: "What's a typical interview like?" Are you curious about how we gather our software requirements? Or maybe what we do in our usability labs? Have you wondered what it takes to pull off an event like TechEd, PDC, or MIX? Or perhaps you want to know what a PM actually does in their day-to-day job. Or how we put together a developer lab. Who knows?

    Well, I'd love to know. And although I'm all about transparency, I'm afraid I have to be a little opaque about why I'm asking this time...at least for awhile. But, you have my promise that it's for a good reason. So, feel free to reply to this post with a comment, or contact me via e-mail. And if you have any friends or family who might also be curious (especially if they don't work in the computer industry), I'd like to hear from them too.


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