An in-depth look at Windows Calculators in Windows 7

The calculator in Windows 7 underwent a lot of change and it is awesome.  But there have been many calculators for Windows and some of the other calculator’s features have been incorporated into the Windows 7 one.  So we are going to take an in-depth look at them.  Below is a look at the basic view in the Windows 7 calculator and the Windows Vista one which had not changed from the old 16bit days.

Side by side of Windows 7 Calc and Windows Vista Calc in Basic View

Side by side of Windows 7 Calc and Windows Vista Calc in Basic View

The only other view in the Vista calc was the Scientific View and below is another comparison.

Side by side of Windows 7 calc and Windows Vista calc in Scientific View

Side by side of Windows 7 calc and Windows Vista calc in Scientific View

Now for a long time, there has been a separate download called Calculator Plus, this has a weird interface which can be put back to the normal one. Just hit View and then hit Classic View, this will now stay the normal way.    It has unit conversions which the Windows 7 calc has.  It is available for Windows XP, Vista, and 7 from here http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=32b0d059-b53a-4dc9-8265-da47f157c091&displaylang=en

Default Skin for Calculator Plus in Windows 7

Default Skin for Calculator Plus in Windows 7

There was also a Powertoy Calculator available for Windows XP that did unit conversion and Graphing. You can get it for Windows XP from here as well as some other neat additions  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Default View of the Windows XP Power Toy Calculator

Default View of the Windows XP Power Toy Calculator

Now I had said earlier that these do some form of unit conversion.  Below is a side by side view of the conversion options.  It is interesting and a little confusing.

Side by side of Conversion options

Side by side of Conversion options

Now, this looks very confusing so below I did a spreadsheet to make it clearer.

A better look at which calculators convert what

A better look at which calculators convert what

Now I have gotten the Exchange Rates to update in Windows 7 it just seems inconsistent.  The Windows 7 Calculator has the best conversion options so far.  It is really cool.  But Conversions is not the only thing new in the 7 Calculator.  there are two new views, Programmer pictured below.

Programer mode in Windows 7 calc

Programmer mode in Windows 7 calc

And there is also a Statistics view which I am sure will be helpful for some students.

Statistics mode in the Windows 7 calc

Statistics mode in the Windows 7 calc

There is also a Date Calculation view that is pretty neat.  It is fun to play with.  I have had some fun with this.

Date Calculation in Windows 7 calc

Date Calculation in Windows 7 calc

There are also Worksheets which offer different preprogrammed calculations.  They are very nice additions, and I hope it gets people thinking.  First, there is a Mortgage Worksheet.

Mortgage Worksheet in Windows 7 calc

Mortgage Worksheet in Windows 7 calc

There is also a Vehicle Lease Worksheet, I know this will help some people figure out if they can get that car.

Vehicle Lease Worksheet in Windows 7 calc

Vehicle Lease Worksheet in Windows 7 calc

The last two worksheets are for Fuel Economy one for the American MPG and one for the Metric L/100 KM

Fuel Economy Worksheets in Windows 7 Calc

Fuel Economy Worksheets in Windows 7 Calc

This is a great improvement indeed.  If you like you can download the other two calculators and make your older version of Windows feel more updated and add functionality.

The Best Internet Browser for Ubuntu 9

In kind of side blog, I am going to take a look at two of the major browsers in Ubuntu 9.04 which is a Linux-based operating system.  Ubuntu tries to be an alternative to Windows and it does have some good features.  It’s also rather popular in the Linux community.   Well, I installed it in Virtual PC on my Compaq C700 (C712NR) laptop and played around with it.  It comes with Firefox 3 but is that really the best.  Well here are my thoughts.

1.  Opera 10, Opera in Linux is as full featured as it is in Windows.  Also, it has the newer Opera 10 interface, which looks nice in Ubuntu.  It is not as fast as Firefox but I prefer it as it retains the tab preview thumbnails.  Overall I like it better than Firefox in Linux.  You can get it at http://www.opera.com/

Opera 10 in Ubuntu 9

Opera 10 in Ubuntu 9

Firefox 3.5.3, I could not keep using Firefox 3 so I updated to the newest.  It is fast, I will say that.  The user interface still looks like Firefox 2 did in Windows and I think should be updated to be more like the Windows versions.  If you can get past the user interface it is full featured just like its Windows counterpart.  You can get it at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/firefox.html?from=getfirefox

Firefox 3.5.3 in Ubuntu 9

Firefox 3.5.3 in Ubuntu 9

Ubuntu is ok and I will be writing more about it since a lot of people like it as a Windows alternative.  For anyone that is wondering, both browsers were able to handle the websites that I threw at them just fine.

If you want to check out my series on the best internet browser for Windows.

Install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on Asus KV8 SE Deluxe Motherboard with Promise 378

If you have tried to install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on Promise 378 on Asus KV8 SE Deluxe Motherboard you have had issues but I am here to help.  To start this seems to work on other motherboards that use the Promise 378 chipset, so give this a shot and let me know how it works.  When I did my comparison of Windows 7 to Windows XP, I needed an XP machine to install 7 on.  I chose an older one I had that ran an Athlon64.  I partitioned the hard drive and booted up the Windows 7 disk.  Now this motherboard has the Promise 378 SATA chipset and if any of you are familiar with the Promise 378 chipset for SATA you know how much of a pain it is.  It’s hard enough to get Windows XP installed.  Well, I tried to install Windows 7 and things went fine until I got to the point in the installation to select the hard drive where Windows is to be installed.  There were no hard drives listed!!! I was confused.  I did some searching and found that there were no Promise 378 drivers made for Windows Vista let alone Windows 7 or Windows 8.  So I got to thinking and working.

I knew I was running the Promise 378 in ATA mode so I could connect only one hard drive.  So I thought of loading an older driver and looked at Asus website for one.  But before I did that I thought for a moment, an XP driver might not work.  Windows 7’s code is based on of Vista’s.  Vista’s code is based on Server 2003.  And that was the ticket.  I went here http://support.asus.com/download.aspx?SLanguage=en&m=K8V%20SE%20Deluxe&p=1&s=20&os=20&hashedid=65HeDI8XM1u6Uy6o

Now it will say XX Files Found and under there click on IDE

Then download the second driver (pictured below), Promise SATA378 Driver V1.00.0.26 (ATA Mode)

The Second Driver is the IDE Driver

The Second Driver is the ATA Mode Driver

Expand the zip file to a folder and burn that folder to a disc.

Then restart your installation and when you get to the point that no hard drives show up, take out your Windows 7 install disc and put in the one with the drivers, or if you have a second optical drive insert the burned disc into that.  And then in setup hit load drivers and select the 2003 driver, it should find it automatically.  It did for me and after a while of searching the drive shows up.  Continue the setup as you normally would.  That is all you have to do.  This should work for Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.  Here are the end results.

Device Manager Showing The Win2003 SATA Driver Installed

Device Manager Showing The Win2003 SATA Driver Installed

It took some doing but here is the proof, a screen shot of the Computer Properties.

Asus KV8 SE Deluxe running Windows 7

Asus KV8 SE Deluxe running Windows 7

It does not do too bad performance wise although I get weird graphic glitches, AMD is not going to release a Windows 7 driver for the X800 graphic card in this machine, but the card could be going bad as well.  Below is the Windows Experience Index.

Windows Experience Index

Windows Experience Index

Well, I think I would leave Windows 7 on here if I could get the graphic glitches fixed, but this computer is old and is slated to be rebuilt.  It does not handle Microsoft Flight Simulator X very well.  I hope this helps people figure out how to get Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 installed on their Promise 378 hardware.

Five New Features I Like In Windows ME

Well, I kind of did this just for fun since I already took a look at Windows 7, Vista, and XP I thought I would look at ME, the spiritual ancestor to XP.  Windows ME was released, for one thing, to be a home operating system, unlike Windows 95 and 98 which were designed to do both home and work.  Windows ME was all about digital media and at that time it was just really taking off.  My first Windows-based computer would run Windows 3.11 Windows for Workgroups and then later Windows 95.  My parents would have Windows 98 and 98 SE and I got a computer with ME.  I hated 98 with a passion.  I constantly had problems with their computer and it seemed to me like I had fewer problems with ME.  This may be due to the fact that I was running an Intel Pentium 4 and they were running an AMD K6-2, I told them to get Intel but they did not listen, and it was the last time they did not listen to my advice I might add.  Anyway for me growing up with 3.11 and 95, ME felt just like them, yeah a little buggy but I used it for years and did not give it up until after Service Pack 1 was released for XP because I still had programs that would not run in XP even with the compatibility tab options. It is also interesting to note that Windows 2000 was released on February 17, 2000, while Windows ME was released on September 14, 2000, so ME is newer than Windows 2000 and that is why there are different features between the two, also Microsoft was already combining the Home and Professional lines of Windows into one product.   So let’s take a look at where we came from, let’s look at our past and check out my list of five new features in Windows ME.

1. System Restore was a good edition to Windows, however, it did have a nasty habit of backing up viruses, spyware, and all.  It was a step in the right direction and saved my butt a few times.  Take a look at the interesting interface that seemed to not fit into ME at all.

System Restore in Windows ME

System Restore in Windows ME

2. Compressed Folders, finally Zip file support was a part of Windows.  I still use this to this day.  I think this was the best thing about ME and was glad to see it stay in every Windows version since.

Compressed Folder in Windows ME

Compressed Folder in Windows ME

3. Windows Movie Maker was started in Windows ME.  This little program was actually pretty neat considering it came with the operating system unlike iMovie for Mac which was part of iLife which was purchased separately.  iMovie was better than Movie Maker but Movie Maker still did basic editing.  This program would evolve as Windows did and now is a separate download for Vista and 7.  You can download the new version of Movie Maker at  http://download.live.com/moviemaker

Windows Movie Maker in Windows ME

Windows Movie Maker in Windows ME

4. MSN Messenger, Windows ME was the first version of Windows that came with MSN Messenger.  It was replaced in Windows XP by Windows Messenger and in Vista, all that was left was an icon to download Windows Live Messenger.  I remember using MSN Messenger to talk to my friends on Hotmail a lot when I was younger.  You can download the newest version of Windows Live Messenger for Windows XP, Vista, and 7 at  http://download.live.com/messenger/

MSN Messenger in Windows ME

MSN Messenger in Windows ME

5. Windows Media Player 7, while Windows Media Player is not new, this was the first one to have a skin to it that would become familiar.  Windows Media Player went from looking like any other program to being something that stood out and was a lot more functional.  While the newest version, version 12 is not available for download yet you can get version 11 for Windows XP at  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/default.aspx

Windows Media Player 7 in Windows ME

Windows Media Player 7 in Windows ME

It is interesting to see where we are today in computing and look back at where we were.  I wonder what will come next as we move on.  I hope you enjoyed this blast from the past.  I sure did.

Don’t forget to check out my list of The Five Best New Features of Windows 7

Five New Features I like in Windows 7

Well, my processor came and I got Windows 7 Enterprise installed on my laptop.  It runs better than it did on the Toshiba.  I have enjoyed playing with Windows 7 and really have started to become quite accustom to it.  And I have made a list of Five new features I like in Windows 7. Let’s see what is new.

1. The Notes program, I have used this time and time again and it’s cool to see it become a more manageable program. The notes look cleaner as well.   Also if you want you can copy the old note gadget from Vista into the same folder on 7 and use them both.  This is pictured below.

The Windows 7 Note program next to the Notes Vista Gadget

The Windows 7 Note program next to the Notes Vista Gadget

2. Aero Peek, this is an awesome and much-needed feature.  By simply moving my mouse to the area to the right of the clock on the taskbar all the windows even the ones that are maximized become clear.  This is really handy for looking at the desktop gadgets however the Notes program also becomes clear, somehow that needs to change to I can see the notes at a glance too.

Aero Peek

Aero Peek

3. The Wireless jump list, well I’m not sure it is a jump list but it sure is cool.  If you click once on the wireless icon in the system tray a list comes up of available wireless networks.  Just click on the one you want to use and connect.  It is that easy and really could not get any simpler.

Wireless Jumplist

Wireless Jump list

4. System Image and System Repair Disc, these two go together.  So in the Backup and Restore item in the Control Panel you can create a System Image, now this is best done on a separate hard drive as it will take up a lot of space.

Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore

What is cool are the options underneath to create a System Repair Disc which can use the System Image and you can use that to fix any problems like Windows not booting or having why too many viruses or spyware, if you have those things happen.  It is good for piece of mind.

Create System Repair Disc

Create System Repair Disc

5. Math Input Panel, this was actually an add-on for the Tablet PC version of XP but now it is part of Windows and you can use a mouse with it.

Math Input Panel

Math Input Panel

I am sure this will help students with homework, I used it with the touchpad mouse on my laptop and was able to make it work just fine.  It took a little doing but hey it is another tool to help. It will convert your writing into text for professional math equations in documents and so on.   You can download a similar tool for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition here  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=9D346916-B526-487E-919D-0BCE568DEF39&displaylang=en

Also, you can get a similar tool for Vista as well and you can use a mouse as well, get it here  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4861aad3-1d67-4b02-bfd5-4add1879d3dc&DisplayLang=en

Math Input Panel with math written in it.

Math Input Panel with math written in it.

There are many improved features in Windows 7 and I could go on about those and I may sometime.  I love using 7 and plan to make it my only operating system on my laptop soon.  If you’re thinking about the upgrade do it.  If you’re a student check out my post on student discounts.

If you would like to check out my blog on The Six Best New Features of Windows Vista

Also for fun check out my list of The Five Best New Features of Windows ME