Trying Out Windows 8 Release Preview

I had downloaded the installer twice. The first time, I was unable to do a clean install on the striped SSDs. The same thing happened with the second downloaded installer even with the latest RAID driver from AMD. Perhaps the RAID driver was not meant for Windows 8 or that I was missing something.  I did the next thing, upgrade the existing Windows 7 installation. After a few reboots the installer encountered an error and so the installer put the system nicely back to the state it was before.

I was about to give-up this time too when it came to me that maybe one, some or all of the installed programs/drivers were the reason.  Without much haste, I reinstalled the system with the first clone image that I did, the one done right after installation and update. It worked.

Looking at the Metro UI, I sensed the shift to mobile. It was an interface meant for systems toys on the go, tablets, smartphones and probably netbooks and not exactly for desktops and notebooks.  But then different people had different preferences, one man’s meat was another man’s poison.  The desktop and taskbar were still there but not the start menu.  You could execute program by typing the filename on the Explorer address bar,  I never did try this on Windows 7 (update: well it could be done too).   Aero Glass was no where to be found but somehow I knew it was still there.  After some searching and a few tries it was enabled.  So Microsoft, don’t you ever removed it, I’m on a desktop with 8 cores!

Aero Glass enabled

Well, I cannot use this OS for now.  I am working with programs on the computer, not use it just to access information as can be seen with the large icons on the Start. The maintenance tools are all hidden and I have to dig for it.  I am at a loss.  It is becoming an OS for gadgets and not for computers running application programs though it still is.  Let see what will it be when the release version is out.  Maybe it is time for me to get really familiar with Linux.

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Taking A Computer Study?

Well, if you are planning in taking computer course or you are doing it now, I would suggest you set up your own web and mail servers in your bedroom if you have a reasonably fast connection. You will get to learn on how those servers work and much more.

First of all, you need to have a domain name and then a DNS server to tell net citizens where are your servers located. I mean not in your bedroom but the ip number that is being used. If you have a dynamic ip instead of static ip, no probelm, it is all catered for. You can get a domain name and DNS server for free if you care to search. I got mine the last and only time I did it at DynDNS. It is good to know that they have flourished and the new name is Dyn Inc. and their new site is at dyn.com.

In setting them up the first time, trial and error will be the norm. But once you get it working, there is no denying you get the feeling of great satisfaction and that you learned something. Also you will get to learn how to code web pages, now that you have the web server running. There are many free web servers to choose from. Initially I ran Xitami which I later changed it to Apache. You can do the web pages the easy way, that is simple HTML coding, or the professional way.  What I meant by the professional way is the use of Content Management System or CMS in short. My choice then was the open source Mambo CMS and it came, and still is, with Apache, PHP and MySQL. Lots of learning to do. Some people may dislike PHP but then, hey, you are learning.

For mail server, I chose Mercury Mail Transport System. You need to play about with the setting until you get it right. Same goes at the DNS server side. Still, if you want to go one up, you can set up your own webmail. You may want to try SquirrelMail. I did.

That’s a lot of learning and it does not stop there. One other factor that you will learn is security. Having had a web and mail servers running, you will be surprised to see that there will be attempts to hack at your little web server and attempts to relay email through your mail server. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine the headache those system admins had in safeguarding big scale servers.

Update:

The database was run on a separate PC. The PCs were all behind a home router with fixed ips. Incoming traffics to the corresponding ports had to be allowed in the router setting.

There are more to tinker with if you so desire and make it an almost complete simulation of the real world.

So you wanna upgrade your computer?

The OS of choice for the general PCs currently is coming from Microsoft. As of this moment, the latest offering from Redmond is Windows 7. There are several flavours to choose from, depending on one’s requirement. Each of these flavours come in two version i.e. 32 bits and 64 bits.

I would surely recommend the 64 bits version. Its the future and most current hardware should be able to run it. More data is being moved and compute in a single clock as compared to 32 bits, it should be faster. Furthermore, currently it has much much less, practically none known viruses as compared to it’s 32 bits counterpart.

Linux provides a free alternative OS. If you have not heard of any, try searching for ‘Ubuntu’. It’s quite easy to use now as compared to few years ago. My personal belief is that it is still a lil bit geeky but otherwise easy. Hopefully there will be great improvement in the near future. I am waiting for that jump.