As I’m doing some spring cleaning on my blog (note the new theme and updated links list), I’m using a brand new Logitech mouse. It feels odd.

The G5 gaming mouse I’ve been using for about 2 years was starting to wander – it wasn’t so precise anymore. This new one is smaller and lighter, and I had to turn the speed all the way up in the settings to get it to move at a halfway reasonable rate. Not sure what I think about it yet. I have to move it quite a bit to get it across both monitors and it feels really slow…

I’ve been planning to be ‘closed for business’ this week for 2 months to give myself plenty of time to do some major updates to my computer – starting with migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7.

The last time I had a fresh install of my OS was in late 2007, so it’s well past time. So Windows 7 came in a very small and very expensive box from Amazon on Monday, and I began the process of getting ready for the hard disk wipe. That included:

  • Making a full image of the entire XP disk, files, OS, etc.
  • Making sure I had all the installation disks (or a place to download them) and license files for all the programs I’ll need to reinstall.
  • Taking a screenshot of my programs directory so I can keep track of what I’m doing.
  • Taking a screenshot of my desktop so I know how that was laid out last time.

So far, I’m very happy. The Win7 install went easily, I’m in the process now of adding my programs back in. I’ve got Thunderbird and Firefox working fine with my old profiles intact, and TrueImage’s complete disk image has come in very handy for moving files around.

I like Win7 so far, very much – it looks great and I’m so happy I’ll finally be able to add four more GB of RAM to my machine. But I didn’t like not having a Quick Launch bar so I went looking for a solution and found this. Very nice, very simple.

A few weeks ago I started losing my connection to the Internet once in a while, then it became frequent. I bought a new wireless N adapter to replace my old wireless G one, but the problem hasn’t gone away.

It doesn’t seem to be dependent on load at all, but it could be interference since I’m on the 3rd floor and the router’s in the basement. However, nothing has changed as far as positioning… so I’m not sure.

Could the router be dying? It is about 4-5 years old.

I’m thinking I want to replace my limited wireless G router with a shiny new, 300mB-capable wireless N. I’m a bit dismayed by the poor reviews I see when looking at routers on Newegg and Tiger Direct. Does anyone have any suggestions? Besides moving the router to the second floor, which could be done if absolutely necessary.

I’ve used a couple of the major online backup services since I started my web design studio in 2005. The first one I used for about a year. As with all of them, the initial backup took days to run (in the background while I was doing other work) but afterwards was totally unnoticeable as it went about its business.

Thankfully, I never had to retrieve anything from it for several months. Then there was one file I needed… the retrieval process was easy and fast. Whew.

But then about six months later, my old Dell finally died. I went to the online backup service with my laptop to pull my files while I was building a new machine…

This time, a totally different story. I kept getting disconnected from the service, and when I could get in and work for awhile, the screen that shows my files just sat there grinding. I let it run for most of the workday because I had plenty of other things to do, but nothing ever happened.

I wrote support. I never got a response. I asked for my money back and for my account to be closed. No response to that either – 48 hours later. I finally heard from them after posting about my experience in my blog, but by then it was too late.

I found Carbonite when looking for a replacement. In the last year, I’ve had to use their file retrieval service about a dozen times. Every time it’s gone super-smoothly. Easier than the last company (I can do it right from the desktop instead of having to go to their website).

And when I’ve had a customer service question, it’s been answered promptly.

I like Carbonite so much that my web hosting company NOCO Hosting is now partnering with them so I can offer it at a 10% discount to my hosting clients. If you’re in the market for a good online backup service that’s easy to use and affordable, please visit NOCO and learn more. I wouldn’t recommend any service that I hadn’t used myself.

I bought a Hanns-G HW191D flat-panel monitor in January so I could finally have a dual-monitor setup. It’s got a beautiful display and works great with my Samsung SyncMaster 941BW.

But there’s one glitch – the Hanns-G has a setting called X-Contrast that greatly increases the quality of the images displayed. Every morning when I boot up the computer I have to turn X-Contrast on. And every time the monitor sleeps, I have to turn it on again.

Hanns-G says I’ll have to send it in for service and it may take ‘weeks.’ I don’ t want to be without my dual monitors for ‘weeks’ and I’d really rather them send me a replacement. I need to test it on another computer to see if the settings are changing there, too…

Well, I bought myself one of these for Christmas, having waited since early November for this one to come back in stock at New Egg and it finally arrived two days ago. I just installed it… and I must say I’m extremely impressed. For a great review of the 8800GT series, which outdoes the 8800GTS, check out Tom’s Hardware.

My game of choice is WoW, and I’ve now got all the video controls pushed to the max. It looks beautiful, the difference is like night and day between this card and the 5200FX (don’t laugh if you know what that is). Worth the wait, definitely.

The card’s fan is very quiet, and it’s running cool. We’ll give it a good breaking-in tonight and see if it shows any tendencies for heating up.

A few specs:

Interface
Interface PCI Express 2.0
Chipset
Chipset Manufacturer NVIDIA
GPU GeForce 8800GT
Core clock 600MHz
Stream Processors 112
Memory
Memory Clock 1800MHz
Memory Size 512MB
Memory Interface 256-bit
Memory Type GDDR3
3D API
DirectX DirectX 10
OpenGL OpenGL 2.0
Ports
DVI 2
TV-Out HDTV Out
VIVO No
General
Tuner None
RAMDAC 400 MHz
Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
RoHS Compliant Yes
SLI Supported Yes
Cooler With Fan
Dual-Link DVI Supported Yes
HDCP Ready Yes