New stuff


Well I've been playing with a couple of things this weekend... first off is Vista... it's been on my laptop for a while now, but I haven't really been using it because It's a bit of a drag getting my development environment set up... but I've been working on that tonight, and have my current project being built successfully... so that's cool... the only real problem is my laptop is no longer a laptop since I've installed Vista...

The problem is power... where as I could squeeze upwards of 2 to 2.5 hours from the battery under xp, in power saving mode with Vista I get an hour if I'm lucky... it says exactly 1 hour of available capacity after boot, every "build all" in Visual Studio reduces that number by about 5 minutes... this is not particularly useful, heading to a cafe to code for an hour or two is looking problematic - At first I thought that perhaps the minimum speed step value wasn't being utilized, but according to the resource monitor it's at "37%" of the maximum frequency, which is ~800mhz, which seems right... So I have no idea why my battery life is so bad.

Second to this, max performance is only workable for about two hours before the machine will freeze - too much heat - not a new problem, certainly this was an issue under xp sp2 or win2k3 - Incidentally it's an HP NW8240 which scores 4 on the "Vista" performance scale (Pentium M 2.13ghz, 2gig ram, ATI FireGL V5000) and the cooling solution is really not adequate to deal with the heat generated from the processor and GPU at max performance, but it only cropped up while gaming in the past with XP SP2... now this happens while working with Visual Studio 2005 for a couple of hours... I suspect it's probably because I'm using Aero, the laptops definitely hotter then it used to be, I'll switch off Aero tomorrow and see how I fare, problem goes away if I switch to balanced performance mode of course, but without max performance Resharper 2.02 is an utter dog.

Other problem I have is getting bluetooth to work, which is a bit of a pain when using my phone as I've lost the mini-SD adaptor so I can't slot it into my monitors card reader... more a minor niggle though, I can live without it for now.

Supreme Commander

The other thing I've been playing with this weekend was the Supreme Commander beta, spiritual successor to Total Annihilation... TA was the defacto RTS we played while I was at uni, and it also served as the standard by which we measured any future RTS's (and  generally found them wanting, especially when it came to an interface for selecting, scheduling and command units)...

SupCom is very faithful to the concepts and feel of TA, and it runs just fine on Vista, but I did end up lowering all the settings, and still suffered from overheating and crashes after half an hour of play on my laptop... *sigh* I need to experiment a little further to see how the dual screen support works, but so far the game looks great, and it provides some wonderful strategic views which make it easier to control masses of units (And I do mean masses, hopefully the multi-threading support is good, I could definitely see this game benefiting from dual-core, or maybe quad-core once an implementation is released which isn't quite so gimped)... looking forward to getting my hands on the finished product when it's released next year.

Written on November 26, 2006