More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Shiny Appy People

If there is one thing guaranteed to generate a myriad of opposing opinions it is the Windows vs Linux debate. I recently spent half a day trying to get access to Shackbox, a Linux distribution aimed at radio amateurs, and another half a day downloading and writing it to a DVD. I then spent four hours trying to get it to install both from the created 'live DVD' and as a proper install with no luck. Plain Umbuntu 9.1 was a breeze much easier than Windows and faster, I even have a live version on a USB pen drive. However although my heart wants to wave the pirate flag (or should that be penguin flag) I know almost nothing I want to do can be done on the Linux machine without an immense outlay in both time and money simply to replace the programs I already have for Windows.

Unfortunately Microsoft keep moving the goalposts and I have ended up with multiple machines running different versions of Windows just so I can keep running my favourite software. With Windows 7 there appears to be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. My son is a web developer and has been using the betas of Win7 for a while now and has recently had a full 'Ultimate' version installed on one of his machines. He has been most impressed with the Microsoft Virtual Machine which allows other operating systems to be installed and run as a virtual PC. Some Windows 95 & 98 programs apparently run faster and are more stable in the VM environment than they ever were on a dedicated machine. The idea of VM is that developers can test their products under different operating systems before releasing them in to the wild, but for those who want the best of all worlds it gives us the opportunity to keep using those old programs without having half a dozen obsolete machines hanging around for the purpose.

For those of you who already have a Windows 7 or Vista machine there is a new ham radio gadget out. It is a simple gadget for propagation and searching QRZ and can be found on the gadget site http://gallery.live.com/LiveItemDeta...e-0993d61b3bca I have to say I do not really like gadgets and task bars cluttering up my desktop and I find the style somewhat dated but it is quite useful. What is it about ham applications that most of them look like they were designed to run under Windows 3.1? Are we hams not 'Shiny Appy People'?

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