ObjectDock – Add a Dock/Toolbar to Windows 7

A few weeks ago, I bought Windows 7 and installed it on my computer at home. After installing, I started trying to organize things the way I want them. On all of my computers, one of the first things I do is to move the taskbar to the top of the screen and create a quicklaunch toolbar docked at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, after a lot of playing around and a lot of research online, I found there was no way to do that; until I discovered ObjectDock.

My Morning Routine

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I got a new HP notebook at work, along with a 30″ LCD monitor. As I said in my original post, I am really happy with the way the thing performs. I was able to convert a 30-minute video in about 10 or 15 minutes (a process that took upwards of four hours on my old computer) with no major slowdowns while working on other activities.

However, I am annoyed each morning when I have to go through a rather rigorous process to get the computer started up and configured properly.

Following are the tasks I have to perform every morning before everything on the computer starts working the way it should. If anyone has any suggestions on how I might be able to get these things working a little more efficiently, I would be grateful to hear them.

  1. Start up the computer, login to Windows.
  2. Restart the computer to get dual-head working properly (my HP LP3065 30″ monitor always seems to be recognized when the bios starts up, but once Windows logs me in, it is nowhere to be found in the device manager or display setup, no matter how many times I press the appropriate function button on my keyboard – after a restart, however, it is usually recognized just fine and my dual-head configuration goes back to the way it was when I shut down the computer the day before).
  3. Connect my Bluetooth headset.
  4. Go to the Bluetooth settings and disconnect “hands-free audio”, then connect “Bluetooth stereo audio.”
  5. Remap all of my shared network folders.
    1. Because I am logging into my local computer rather than logging onto our Windows domain, I have to sign in with a separate username and password.
    2. If I instruct Windows to reconnect my mapped network drives at login, I end up getting locked out of the network altogether; to the point where I can’t even login to our Exchange server through the Webmail interface.

Microsoft Releases Vista SP2

This week, Microsoft finally released the second service pack for Windows Vista on Windows Update. The new pack apparently includes quite a few improvements and bugfixes. The most noticeable one, for me, is the fact that thumbnail rendering finally works properly. Although Microsoft denied that this was a bug in Vista for years (claiming it was a bug in the ffmpeg codec, instead), the new service pack appears to have fixed the issue.

Windows Explorer no longer crashes when you have thumbnails enabled, meaning that you don’t need to use an external program like Adobe Bridge to view thumbnails of your photos and videos any more.

What other improvements and fixes have you noticed in the new service pack?

My New Toys

For the first time since I began working at my new job, I finally have a computer better than my home PC. I got a new custom-built HP 8730W laptop last week and packed it to the hilt with the top-of-the-line materials available from HP.

This, along with my iPhone, is another step toward preparing for any type of crisis or disaster that may occur at the College. Until now, I’ve been tied to either my desk or my home whenever updates needed to be made to the Web site. However, in the future, I’ll be able to go anywhere in the world that has a wifi connection (or, based on some rumors I’ve heard about “tethering” being part of the upcoming firmware for the iPhone, anywhere there’s an AT&T cell signal) and update the Web site.

Google Gadgets for Linux

Unfortunately, there are few good options for sidebars in Linux. With the advent of the Vista sidebar on Windows Vista, I find myself missing those nifty widgets when using other operating systems.

I am slowly moving toward using Linux Mint more than I am using Vista, so I went in search of a good sidebar for Mint. After trying a few things that failed miserably, I happened upon Google Gadgets for Linux (GGL). It is important, at this point, to mention that Google Gadgets is also available for Windows and Mac. For purposes of this article, though, I will be referring exclusively to GGL, as I have not tested the application on any other operating systems.

Vista Service Pack 1

Apparently, Microsoft released the public version of the first service pack for Windows Vista about two weeks ago (it seems a beta was initially released in August or September of last year). Although I have my computer set to automatically check for and install updates every night, my box, for some reason, did not pick this one up on its own.

Instead, when I came home from work the other day, I found that my computer had “recovered from an unexpected shutdown”. When I clicked on the link to check for solutions, I was informed that the problem should be fixed with Vista Service Pack 1.