Install the laptop driver you want

Recently I purchased a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S running windows vista 32bit home premium. To my surprise I discovered that the display nVidia driver was out of date, so I quickly logged onto the nVidia website and downloaded the 30MB package, once downloaded however it refused to install, the error message: Only OEM drivers can install on this notebook. Wow – in other words – only drivers provided by the laptop manufacturer, but hold on for a sec, didn’t nVidia make the individual display adapter, is this all wrong?

Months passed before Sony released a driver that was up to date, unfortunately by the time Sony released the up to date driver, it was already surpassed with yet another update, since then Sony have not released the updated version and I suspect it will be another few months before Sony catch on.

As more and more people decide to use laptops over clunky desktops, this issue will become more and more apparent when the Suppliers do not provide partner updates in an efficient manner.

If you would like to get around this however – you can help yourself and simply go to this website – and download a driver that is more up to date than the one supplied by your Supplier.

Seriously beats dealing with helpdesk support staff who will just end up frustrating you even more.

update – since the purchase of this laptop – nVidia have released 16 driver updates, and Sony have managed to incorporate 2 of these…. someone pass me a pillow to scream into….

LiberTV is good free entertainment

LiberTV offers a good stack of free quality documentaries, and the client can be found here – Its all 100% legal unlike a lot of so called free P2P applications out there, however the LiberTV client appears to utilize a P2P mechanism.

I was impressed because the downloads came down at max capacity on my connection and consistently. I don’t really mind uploading while I am downloading since my connection is uncapped.

I am really impressed with the overall quality of the downloads, ok they’re not exactly 1080p but its way way superior to the likes of YouTube and Google videos, both of which offer seriously low preview quality.

Well I would recommend having at least a 1MB connection and an unlimited cap to use the service. Otherwise the client is 100% spyware and adware free, and runs on Windows Vista too.

Really glad I found this one.

Alternative Keyboard Layouts – a journey into the unknown

It all started while watching a YouTube video on the Dvorak keyboard layout, you see apparently the QWERTY keyboard layout is so badly designed that by switching to Dvorak you do your fingers a massive favor, and boost your keyboard productivity, well that’s the short version.

I then did some research into the very best alternative to QWERTY and came across a layout designed in 2006 that is an outstanding keyboard design, designed with the help of some powerful algorithms, its called Colemak, well I quickly downloaded it and got started learning the layout through a series of typing tutors.

Now I must tell you I am not a slow typer, I’ve been a programmer since forever and a day, and before that I was still using computers in some way or form. All the computers I have ever used have had a QWERTY layout, so my motivation was to gain the benefits claimed in the marketing material from the makers of Colemak and Dvorak, proven less overall finger movement and greater comfort while typing, increased speed.

I pressed on for days trying to learn the layout, the whole experience felt like trying to run with a broken leg. I thought that soon the sensation would pass, but it never did. 4 days into the experiment I have decided to switch back to using the best layout I can think of, and that’s QWERTY. Unfortunately I am just too in the mold to change, as as they say ├Âld habits die hard”.

QWERTY is the layout I have been raised on, I started using it at 9 years old, I am now over 30, in amongst the usage, I have adopted my own unique hand position, and I have a very good keyboard and mouse relationship with this layout, frankly said – I am very happy with it. I didn’t start out learning touch typing, I have a unique style that I have adapted for my own comfort and speed. I guess, I switch positions depending on if I am typing or programming.

There is more to a switching a keyboard layout than simply just learning new key positions, this is something Dvorak and Colemak marketing fails to mention, let me explain – in amongst your comfortable typing routine are many little shortcuts and key/hand combinations that you acquire over time, lets just refer to them as habits, however these are the useful type of habits, along comes Colemak, and all those little things you do, those productivity boosters, all those little time savers are all wiped out completely, and you end up having to relearn them, much like a brain damaged invalid, you find yourself stumbling through the keyboard. It feels like you’ve had all your brain cells removed, except 2. And you are relying on these 2 brain cells to tell you which key to press next. Sometimes the brain cells give you an immediate answer, and sometimes they don’t.

But what if you have never learnt QWERTY, would it be beneficial for our youth to make the swop? This is perhaps the most valid question I can think of. Colemak might be superior in design, but QWERTY is just too ingrained for it to be replaced. Its the globally accepted layout, and thats the way it will always be. It makes far more sense for youngsters to learn QWERTY, even if it’s not the best, it is what is being used. Toy laptops all possess QWERTY layouts, and I don’t think you’ll find Colemak coming to the shops anytime soon.

This is unfortunately another example of technology being implemented not because its the most efficient, but simply because it would be too difficult to get everyone to change to a new system.