Some of the regular readers of my blog will have seen the brouhaha that has been brewing at Robert Scoble's blog, istartedsomething, slashdot, and several other sites about various site owners and bloggers receiving a Ferrari 1000, Ferrari 5000 or Media Centre PC thanks to the collaborative efforts of AMD, Velocity Micro and Microsoft.
I also received one of the AMD/Microsoft supplied Ferrari 5000's today, delivered by DHL. Why did I receive one? Well, IE-VISTA has been a Featured Community at, and Sponsor of, The Hive for a while now. My other web site, Sandi's Site is/was also an Internet Explorer ExpertZone Featured Community (ExpertZone Featured Communities later moving over to The Hive) and it is because of my sites' Featured Community status that I was lucky enough to receive a laptop.
Ok, so before we get into the nitty gritty of working with the Ferrari 5000, I should address the inevitable question that will be posed by some visitors who find this blog post - will Sandi be returning the laptop?
Edit: Just like other recipients, I was given the choice of gifting the laptop, returning it to Microsoft, or keeping it. Originally in this blog post I said I was going to keep the laptop, then I started seeing reports that some bloggers are receiving emails asking that the laptop be returned. Now I am undecided.
To be honest, I'm angry about the whole debacle. Samples, gifting and "loaning" of hardware has been around for years and I can't avoid the feeling that things should not change to suit the unjustified flaming of a few strangers that have never read my blog, and assuming they even find my blog, will disappear never to return as soon as something else interesting happens?
Yes, some got a bee in their bonnets about a lack of disclosure, and I can understand why a lack of disclosure is a problem, and I agree that disclosure is important, but why should recipients no longer be able to keep the laptops or media centers because of a problem in some quarters with 'right-from-the-start' disclosure?
Does MS believe that the flamers will speak any better of the bloggers they have attacked if the bloggers are told to return the units instead of being given the choice? The flamers are simply going to say that nothing has changed because the return was not voluntary. And, what about the bloggers who made full disclosure? Will the flamers turn around and say "oh, but they shouldn't lose the laptops because they were honest"?
In the end, what does or doesn't happen will be between me and MS, not between me and some troublemakers who are jumping from blog to blog posting criticisms - blogs that you can bet they had not visited before then. If that means I lose such troublemakers as readers then so be it End edit.
IE-VISTA, as my regular readers know, specialises in supporting users of IE7 and gets thousands of hits every day but there is currently little in the way of content about IE7 on Windows Vista simply because I have not been able to run Vista on a PC for a useful period of time.
My primary laptop (an nx6120) cannot run Windows Vista (believe me, I tried to get it to install, and failed), nor can my 4+ year old jukebox PC, nor can my old Fujitsu tablet PC. I was able to get Vista to run on the PC my teenagers share, but only just - it was extremely slow, making working with Vista very difficult. The PC had a Vista Experience Rating of 1, and there is no Aero, and I don't think its fair to take the kids' PC away from them anyway meaning I had to kick them off whenever I wanted to do something in Vista. Reality is that if it were not for the Ferrari laptop I would not be able to run Vista for a very long time, and I certainly could not afford a machine that can run Aero.
At the moment, despite being an Internet Explorer MVP since 1999, I am only able to provide limited support to IE7 users when they are running Windows Vista, but I want to be able to support all users of Internet Explorer, not matter what their operating system may be. Windows Vista is also going to lead to a fundamental shift in the way that spyware and malware affects (or doesn't affect) users, and I need to get fully familiar with the operating system.
I want to deep dive into Windows Vista and get as good at helping users of IE on that operating system as I am and have been all the way back to the early days of IE5. I'll do my tests, write about the laptop and it will be used as my primary machine and used to build up IE-VISTA with Windows Vista specific content and screenshots, and provide technical support to users. I'll be able to deep dive into IE7 on Vista, with its protected mode, and other security features and behaviour specific to Vista and x64.
When IE8 builds start appearing, and I (hopefully) get a build or 3, I will have a machine that can run it. I'd give my current laptop to my daughter who needs one for her 2nd last year of high school, my hubby (whose computer died not long ago and has not been replaced) will struggle along with the slow Tablet PC because he only needs email and a little web browsing, and my son will keep the PC that struggled along with Vista, although I will have to bow to the inevitable and roll back the system to XP - it simply can't cope with the new OS.
So anyway, as you can see from the DHL screenshot at the beginning of this post, I received my Ferrari today, and there have been some challenges. The Acer software for the VOIP phone kept crashing (I think that fixed that - more tomorrow) and it proved to be challenge to add the laptop to my domain (I run SBS2003 on my server, and extra steps needed to be taken first to allow a Vista PC to be added to the domain at all, then extra steps specific to x64 Vista, and some changes to the way that a PC is added to a domain - more about that tomorrow too). Also, Windows Update reports a slew of failed updates related to some of the hardware (more about that tomorrow as well).
One thing I will say before I go to bed (its after 11pm here) is that the mouse is not too friendly to a lady with long acrylic nails - I had to use a knife to leverage off the battery cover because the cover is not fingernail friendly, and mouse pointer speed is not consistent between the touch pad and the bluetooth mouse - if I speed things up so that the pointer moves at a comfortable speed when using the bluetooth mouse, it is too slow when using the touchpad, and when I speed it up for touchpad use, its too fast when using the bluetooth - very irritating.
Oh, and for those of you asking why the Ferrari 1000 had a reported rating of 2.8 in this blog post - I think you will find that if the blog owner refreshes the rating by running "Update my score", that the Ferrari 1000's rating will jump to 4.0 or thereabouts - my Ferrari 5000 also showed a rating of 2.8 when first checked, but when I refreshed the assessment it jumped to 4.8.
More later about the Ferrari and my experiences so far...