It’s been a couple of weeks now since I installed Windows Vista Premium on my Amitech Windows Media Center box. It has behaved OK, except for a few annoyances:

  • The ting still tends to wake from sleep in the middle of the night, but I have yet to find a pattern. As with the Windows Media Center 2005 edition it’s probably the EPG being updated and I need to get into the registry to modify the time of day this should happen.
  • Sometimes, when waking from sleep, the sound card stops responding. This is probably something that can be fixed with new drivers.
  • If you hook the Media Center to an extender, like the Xbox 360, know this (if you plan to stay sane): DON’T enable the Away Mode! This will replace your Media Center’s sleep mode, but you’re not informed about this when you’re asked if you want to enable Away Mode. After connecting the Media Center to an Xbox, it simply refused to go to sleep. It turned off the video output and muted the sound card, but didn’t put the PC to sleep. It took me two hours of swearing to figure out why the hell nothing happened and at one point I was about to put the Media Center to sleep for good, If you have turned on Away Mode, you can disable it in the Power Options in the control panel; go to advanced options and change the settings for multimedia sharing.

Apart from that, little has happened lately.

Do You Vista?

As you know I’ve been struggling a bit with my Windows Media Center. It’s living it’s own life, it’s not very stable and watching DVDs is a major pain in the ass.

So I decided to try Vista and see if that helped – there was no way it could be any worse. To get Media Center with Vista, you have to buy the Home Premium edition, which is a somewhat expensive piece of software and not really worth it since I was only upgrading to get the new version of the Media Center.

Luckily, there are places where you can get the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) version, which is cheaper because it’s only supposed to be shipped pre-installed on new computers. I’m not sure how legal it is, but it’s available at pretty much every online computer store. The package is not the fancy one, but who cares – it’s what’s inside that counts.

I’ve spent a couple of hours today installing and configuring Vista and the Media Center to get it to work properly on my sub-par Amitech box and I think I’m about to get it right now. The first challenge was to get the Gigabyte wireless network card to work. No drivers were available from the Amitech site and the drivers that Gigabyte had slapped together refused to install. I decided to use the ethernet connection instead and that’s when the magic started to happen. With an internet connection, Vista searched Windows Update for a suitable driver for the wireless network card, found one and installed it without any problems whatsoever.

Great stuff. I’m now using the wireless card, cables are so 2004. Too bad I had to have an internet connection to get the right drivers. A classic chicken and egg problem.

After a while I also had the Realtek sound drivers installed – they were kind enough to provide functional drivers on their web site and now the Vista Media Center is up and running. So far it’s pretty much the same as the old one, but with a different color scheme. I guess I need a week or two to figure out if it was worth getting the Vista Media Center or if it’s just as difficult to handle as XP version.

Of course, I’ll let you know, even if you find it interesting or not.

The Hunt Continues

Another interesting fact about living in a shared apartment is that people move in and out all the time. Now, three – half – of the people living here move out. Hans Olav and Frida, who found each other and true love move in to their own place. Karine, who decided to try to move in with her boyfriend a month ago hasn’t been seen since, which means that it probably went very well or very, very bad. Either way, she’s moving out and we now have three vacant bed rooms in the apartment.

Since we’re keeping a strict balance between the sexes, we’re looking for two hot chicks, preferably Miss Universe contestants, and some guy. The process begun today and will continue until Monday. Whish us luck, because we have fucked up the selection process before.

If you’re able to tune in to Norwegian TV channel TVNORGE be sure to watch tonight at 21:30 CET when Dino, one of Gine’s1 friends and a semi-frequent commenter here, makes his reality TV debut.

Today I witnessed my first Windows Vista related crash, without even having touched the OS or any software running on it. Extremely low-quality photo available in the Moblog.