Date archives "June 2007"

Windows Vista & The Memory Monster

My friend bought a new laptop the other day after his old died on him (shows a blank white screen on startup – anyone have any ideas?). So he toddled off to the local PC World to have a look at the laptops. I seem to remember a time a few years ago where desktop PC’s took up the floor space and laptops were confined to one or two rows. Now laptops dominate the floorspace.

While browsing the laptops, I came across a Compaq Presario with the following spec:

1. 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor
2. 2 GB RAM
3. 120 GB HDD
4. 256 MB Shared Graphics
5. 15.4″ Widescreen LCD
6. Dual Layer DVD +/- ReWriter
7. Vista Home Premium

All that for just £599 – an absolute bargain. Since I’m still using a beat up old Compaq with a PIII & 256MB RAM I knew that they make good sturdy laptops; which is more than can be said for the Toshiba my friend was using. So eventually after a bit of umming and ahing he took the plunge and bought the new Compaq (and I don’t know how I walked out without one, I was this close | | to getting one myself). He got a right touch on it too, getting £20 knocked off for signing up to their ‘care’ plan – which was free and can be cancelled at any time.

So he gets it home and spends the necessary hour or two installing and setting it up (I want to know, can you really take a Apple Mac out of it’s box and be on the internet in 5 minutes? Is it really that easy?!) we both noticed that it seemed a little…sluggish.

He had installed the latest version of Zone Alarm and Webroot’s Spy Sweeper and removed a lot of the none essential components and software. Even with 2 GB of RAM the system just seemed a little slow – like 1/2 second too slow, just enough to notice it. We timed the start up time and it came to 2 minutes to start up Vista with the ZA and SS installed. By contrast, my crappy old laptop which runs XP professional on a mere 256 MB RAM and hasn’t been tuned up, scanned or defragged in centuries, started up in 1 1/2 minutes.

The situation was even worse for shutting Windows Vista Premium down, it seems to go on for an eternity. This is for a brand new machine with Core 2 Duo and 2 GB RAM remember.

I called up another friend who had just bought a top of the range desktop PC and he said that just running Vista and Norton AV his computer takes up 1 GB of RAM…and that’s when it’s idle! I can’t see how you can buy a machine and run Vista normally with less than 2 GB.

I’ve been seriously considering buying a new laptop, and as I said earlier I was so close to getting one the other day. But after seeing the (non) performance of Vista…I think I’m gonna pass. If I do get one, I will have to find a company that still ships a machine with Windows XP or else I might have to be forced to uninstall Vista and get a copy of XP myself.

Update: I’ve done some further reading and research. It seems that start up and shut down times on Windows Vista that can be timed in milleniums is a common complaint amongst users. Some point to driver problems or software incompatibility.

The Problems With GoDaddy: Part 2

This is a continuation of the post I made on 26th June which you can read about here. I’m carrying on by explaining what I think is wrong with the GoDaddy website, interface and ordering process.

Messy & Confused Website

In an attempt to offer every internet service under the sun, the GoDaddy website is mishmash of information. Assume you want to purchase a domain name. You assume they are all $8.95 or lower because that’s what the pretty image above the search box says. You notice some * marks above the prices which usually means there are some terms and conditions involved. After searching on the page you find that the * mark could mean that the domain costs $0.99 or $6.99 or maybe $5.99. It could even mean that there is a $0.22 ICANN fee added to the final cost. Who knows?!

So you type in the domain you want (and maybe get a little confused by the plethora of domain extentions that are available) and choose the .tv extension because your site will be about a TV show.

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New AdSense Borders

I was in my AdSense account earlier toady grabbing some code to put on my site and I noticed a new drop down box that I hadn’t seen before.

Google have added a new feature where you can now select what style of corner your ad borders have. They now have 3 styles to choose from. These are as follows:

Square Corner
This is the traditional square corner that has been around since the beginning. Nothing fancy here.

Slightly Rounded Corner
This is one of the new rounded corners which has a subtle curved edge.

Very Rounded Corner
This is one of the large rounded corners. The radius is a lot larger and pronounced

The New Code
To tell AdSense what sort of corner you want on your ads there is a new line code added to the text that you copy and paste.

  • google_ui_features = “rc:0”; => Square Corners
  • google_ui_features = “rc:6”; => Slightly Rounded Corners
  • google_ui_features = “rc:10”; => Very Rounded Corners

Effectiveness
Current AdSense theory still says that the best way to optimize your ads is to make them not look like your ads; in other words, blend them in with your content and background and don’t make them stand out like a sore thumb.

I haven’t heard anyone mention anything to say this is no longer the case, so whether or not anyone will make use of these new borders or if they increase CTR is as yet unknown.

To find out if there is any point using these new rounded corners, I will be adding them to one of my popular sites called PayPalPages.net which already makes use of rounded corners for the content boxes.

I’ll report back in a week or two with my findings. I’ll also add some images to this post so you can see what the rounded borders look like.

The Problems With GoDaddy

GoDaddy is the largest registrar of domains according to WebHosting.info with over 18m domains registered and nearly 21% market share (Disclaimer: I couldn’t find another source to back up this data or when it was valid from so take it with a pinch of salt).

Given that they have such a massive market share and are the dominant force in domain names, why can’t they provide a half decent service? The website interface is the worst I’ve ever used, the domain managing platform doesn’t work in Opera browser, the usability of their software falls woefully short and that’s all topped off with the worst online shopping cart experience in the world.

If you have any experience with domains and hosting in the past 6 months, you can’t have failed to hear about the astonishing story about RegisterFly.com – at one time claiming to be the 3rd largest domain registrar on the internet. If you haven’t had the misfortune to read about the RegisterFly fiasco, then take 30 minutes to read through some articles on RegisterFlies.com – an unofficial customer complaints site.

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Site Authentication For Google AdSense

I just noticed that Google AdSense now has the option to show ads in websites that would previously have been inaccessible due to the page requiring the user to login (authenticate themselves as a legitimate user). For many marketers who run restricted access membership sites it was a pain because we couldn’t put adsense ads in there due to the fact that the spider was unable to check the content and provide relevant ads.

I’m not entirely sure how old this feature is as I’ve only just noticed it myself. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like if you haven’t seen it already:
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B People

I’ve come across a site (through mainly mindless surfing) that may well give me a scientific excuse the next time I get out of bed after 12 midday to be lambasted by my housemates for being a lazy sod. I’m not infact lazy. I am a B person. Unfortunately the name given doesn’t sound quite as intelligent as the science behind it.

Anyway, I have another word for B People. Computer Geeks. I firmly believe that anyone who works closely, willingly and enthusiastically with computers are naturally late risers and work best when the world is asleep.

Are you a late riser? Do you work with computers also? I need to make a poll and find out if my belief is true.

Find out more about B People at B Society.org

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Best regards,

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