Sunday, 18 November 2012

Windows Hate (8)

being an early adopter, and seeing many reviews saying upgrading was straightforward I took the plunge and purchased 3 upgrades for my 2 desktops and the laptop. The fun starts here:

Upgraded the laptop and all worked fine until I attempted to run Ham Radio Deluxe version 5.24.36 - the last update the new owners were to release before the paid for and very expensive version 6.xx is released. Their website/forum indicated that it was Windows 8 compatible otherwise I would not have upgraded the OS. I was not the only guy with this issue and it turned out that their testing did not include the users with a UK keyboard. As a former IT professional with oversight on such matters this lack of attention to a 100% probable scenario is absolutely unforgivable, and developers working for me who committed this error would quickly be shown the door as incompetent. They subsequently released a new version which addressed the issue. It still had 2 bugs which they introduced in their update path previously however, one being sheer lazy or again incompetent programming. For these reasons I will NOT be upgrading especially as the new software is priced at around $70.00 initial cost followed by $30.00 per annum. As there is free software out there, admittedly not so good, but functional nonetheless I will use that if version 5.xx.xx becomes obsolete.

This was not the end of the issues however with this software and Windows 8. I upgraded my spare machine, installed HRD on this and all ran as expected. I did not however have access to my rigs so could not test the connectivity. There were no reports of issues however. I then took the plunge and upgraded the main shack desktop. Updated HRD in this case and then activated Logbook, DM780, and HRD itself. Audio settings were unchanged and I was decoding PSK31 etc. without problems. Decided to call a station and NOTHING HAPPENED. HRD showed as transmitting OK, and a switch of the audio output to my speakers confirmed this. PTT did not fire either. I wondered if HRD had somehow lost the switching settings, but decided that if that was the case it would be all over the forums. I have 2 rigs a Kenwood TS570D connected via an extension COM board, and an ICOM through a USB/COM conversion lead. I tried the auto detect on the Kenwood without success so being stumped got onto the forum for advice. A couple of exchanges within the next few hours, the guys were brilliant, At some point I had swapped the RS232 lead to the other port (COM6 to COM5). No joy until I tried a further attempt at auto detection of the COM port - SUCCESS - however COM5 was now COM3. Tried again with the ICOM connection, and COM7 was now COM5. It seems the autodetect could not try this for the Kenwood as the ICOM was connected (unknowingly).

New COM info noted, connections configured, and all operational again.

Would not have guessed that Windows 8 would reconfigure my COM ports. Still don't know where COM6 went (and don't care anymore!)

Story over - NOOOOO.
The 'live tiles' on windows 8 are non operational on my desktops. Apparently due to running the Upgrade rather than a clean install. Many suggestions as to the reason for this but no cure released from Microsoft for this very common problem. There is one suggested solution called 'PC Refresh' which is like a system rebuild which DELETES any desktop applications not sourced through Microsoft Store. Tried it on the laptop which has a bare minimum of applications installed, and YES all desktop apps bar IE were DELETED. Thought I could reinstall MS Office, Photoshop without problems if that happened, however it took out all the OEM software for the Lenovo which is a pain-in-the-A. Also took out my anti-virus which I am not happy about.

The tiles issue is very common I understand, and the suggestion to either PC Refresh or do a clean install is just not acceptable and much of my software is configured for me, sometimes by trial and error, and reinstalling is not an option. Microsoft you dropped the ball on this one - perhaps why that manager was shown the door last week!.

Rants over for a while!