Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day Whatever... Vista Icon Shrinker

Well! My Photoshop Design suite arrived today. Took a long time to install, but it was pretty seamless. Vista is looking a LOT better today. Photoshop is running great! This new version seems a lot friskier than previous versions. Dreamweaver is just as nice and comfortably familiar, so I can start using this new little "Inspirator" seriously and really shake it down. Things are much brighter so you can expect a much cheerier wallpaper very soon!

To prove I'm back in the saddle, here's a neat little quickie for those of you who hate the size of the default Vista desktop icons and want to see normal return. Right click any empty area of your desktop and choose View and Classic Icons. It is just that easy to gain a little peace of mind! Sure made me feel better!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lady in waiting...

My new Photoshop CS3 suite is on the way so I am excited about that and can hardly wait to really test the horsepower of this new Vista machine with some stuff that needs lots of resources.

I'm not real happy about what I have been reading about the new Vista firewall. At first glance, it is looking good, incoming blocking is fine and there seems to be an added outgoing feature, except for one thing... you can either turn it on or off. Unless you have a masters degree in VISTA, you can't allow (or not) some programs to "phone home," and if you have the outgoing part of the firewall turned off (the default setting)or on, there is no way of knowing what programs are getting on the Internet without your permission.

The first place I went to was ZoneLabs to see if their latest ZoneAlarm is up to speed for Vista. It isn't, but hopefully it will be soon and I'll have my security comfort level back. What I like most about ZoneAlarm is the way you can "teach" it the programs you want to allow Internet access and which ones you don't want to allow for one reason or another. I'm afraid the VISTA firewall is sorely lacking in the outgoing department on this issue.

Here are a few links I gathered for you:
Firewall Reviews
ZoneAlarm vs Windows Vista firewall
Vista fails on Outbound

Sunday, April 22, 2007

AWWWWW TwistedBrush

I feel so much better! The latest version of TwistedBrush installed just fine, and is working great! It helps to have great tech support too! Thanks Ken! You made my day!

PS... I meant to say "working on a replacement laptop today." Don't want you all to think I broke it already. The computer is fine and I'm still on Day 5 of making friends with Vista.

Vista Adventure - XARA works great!

I finally have at least one of my favorite graphic programs working on this new Vista machine. XARA has been a staple on my computers for years. So at least I can doodle with something I am comfortable while I thrash out the rest of the issues that keep cropping up. I did have to jump through a few administrator hoops to give it absolute permission to install and run, especially during the registration process, but all is well now!

Next project is to see if TwistedBrush will run on this machine :)
Here's a little XARA wallpaper creation for you!

Vista - Day 5 - Security?

It sure seems as though it has been a lot longer than 5 days with this new VISTA machine. I'm still not productive with it, can't use any of my graphic or web design software until the new versions arrive (hopefully next week). In the meantime I have plenty on my hands just dealing with the initial shakedown and the most simple things.

Before any software can be installed, let alone run, you have to give Vista permission. This was particularly after installing WinRar. Not only do I have to give it permission, I have to give it Administrator permission just to run. The latest version worked ok, but I had no right click functionality. After doing a quick Google search, I found the latest beta version of WinRar fixed this issue. Don't know what I would do without Google. Finding the answers to each of these issues is quick and no more than a few keystrokes away.

I can't even get a screen shot of the permission window. Everything fades out when it appears and SnagIt won't capture during that time... As a last resort, I whipped out the trusty digicam. There are more ways than one to skin this cat.

In the meantime... I'll try not to bitch too much in the future. Right now it is one program at a time, and I'm sure glad I still have our main machine with good ol XP on it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

VISTA Adventure - Day 3 - EMail

Part of breaking in a new computer is installing all my favorite software. I'm going to have to wait about a week or so for the latest Adobe stuff to arrive before I can install my graphic and web design programs. All my Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop etc. evidentally won't work with Vista properly, so I'll be starting with fresh upgrades there.

In the meantime, I wanted to be able to receive my email on this new little monster, but haven't had time to check out Incredimail compatibility yet, and I'm not ready to give the Vista version of Outlook Express a go yet so I just used my GMail account to (temporarily) receive all my other email addresses. Well! I have to tell you. I am impressed! The GMail spam filters are terrific. It is handling all my email like a champ. The interface isn't as pretty as Incredimail, but it sure is secure, and with over 2 Gb of space allowance, it is more than enough for my needs.

I usually use MailWasher to pre-screen my email and eliminate the spam before I do a regular email run in my favorite email program, but I am quickly becoming spoiled by GMail. I'm saving a lot of time by not having to do that extra step.

If you would like to give GMail a go, you can sign up for your FREE account at

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wow! VISTA! Day 2 of VISTA Ultimate...

Replacing a laptop is never a fun job. Picking it out and drooling over all the new technology since the last one was "born" is the fun part. What is NOT fun is having to install all the software you use and enjoy.

I am pretty good about saving my installation CDs and certainly am religious about any and all registration information in a nice little special AZZ file, so my chore is more time consuming than anything else. So far only one of my favorite programs is a "no go" on Vista. My Synchromagic is no longer being supported or updated by the author, so I need to find another nice (easy) backup program to use with the new machine. Heaven knows I have several in the Gems area, so I will certainly go through those first.

One of the first things I noticed the first time I turned on the new machine was how everything looked soooooo different! You may find, even if you are a long time Windows user, things just aren't where they were before! It is very different.

Here is a screenshot of hubby's identity. It is the way Windows Vista looks without any modifications.

And this one is my log in, after a few cosmetic modifications (a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!)

Look for lots of helpful tips and tricks as I muddle through this interesting new operating system. I'll be going for the really important stuff first, like how to make those sissy icons a more reasonable size on the desktop, how to change your wallpaper and remain sane, how to find your stuff... Stay tuned. Ol Mrs. Wizard is back in the saddle again, and on a VISTA mission!