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Eagle's latest toys

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EagleRock

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Post Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:13 am

Eagle's latest toys

Well, the forums are a bit dead, and I'm not sure what to post, so I might as well geek out for a little bit.

I've had this bad boy for a couple of weeks already, but I just got around to posting it. I know our residential geek coder lady will be interested:

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I was browsing around looking for a new laptop to replace my aging 13" MacBook (with a dead battery, naturally), and after much searching, this fit the bill. I didn't want to purchase an expensive laptop, but on the other hand, I wanted to be able to do at least some light gaming on it (e.g. Source engine games such as CS:S, Portal, or TF2). After browsing around my local Microcenter's website, I found this link:

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0339942

As it turns out, it has all the specs that I was looking for and more, in a price range I was quite happy with! Here's the (important) specs:

  • CPU - Core i3-350M Processor - 2 cores@ 2.26GHz + Hyperthreading
  • Memory - 4GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM
  • Hard Drive - 320GB 5400RPM Drive
  • Discrete Video Card - ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 with 1GB onboard memory
  • Integrated Video Card - Includes on-CPU Intel graphics for extended battery life
  • Display - 14" 16:9 1366x768 display
  • Weight - 4.65lbs
  • Other standard laptop items - DVD burner, 1.3megapixel webcam, card reader
  • Battery Life - Can have up to 8 hours battery using integrated graphics

Now, while the processor doesn't sound too impressive, it's fast enough for what I'm going to be doing with it. Also, the gaming bottleneck is the GPU, and the GPU in this thing is no joke. It can run Crysis well at medium settings, and so far has run all of Valve's Source-based games at the screen's native resolution with full graphics, antialiasing, anisotropic filtering at roughly 100fps. The great part about this GPU is it's not usually found in such a small laptop (usually the 15.6" models or larger), which makes this thing a gaming beast with none of the weight that comes with it.

Also, the battery life is AWESOME for web browsing and non-gaming tasks (I consistently get 5-6 hours minimum), but it's still not bad gaming on the battery (1.5-2 hours average). It is on part with my Acer Apsire netbook, which is hard to believe for a gaming laptop.

Here's the shocker for some of you: the OS I chose for this guy happens to be Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit version. Yes, I have a dedicated Windows machine again. Since the thing can game so well, it'd be a shame to not have games on-demand for those work breaks. :-)

I haven't gotten pictures yet, but I'll get some up here soon. Also, I have another toy coming in the next day or two to show off as well!

</geekout>
Last edited by SlntCobra1 on Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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MwMike

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Post Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:39 am

Re: Eagle's latest toys

That sounds pretty awesome. The CPU can't be too bad at all, considering TF2 runs like a charm - in order to make it more laptop-accessible Valve pretty much remodelled most of the graphics engine to rely on the processor, rather than the GPU in that game alone - which is great for poorfags like me who use laptops with the dreaded integrated graphics.
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Sheizenhammer

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Post Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

Can someone please explain to me what the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems is? My new computer is running 32-bit Windows 7 right now, and I honestly don't see why it needs any more bits - it runs just fine as it is.

It could handle 64-bit (it's a quad core 2.49GHz processor with 2GB of RAM), but... why would I want to upgrade it?
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ByteSlinger

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Post Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:37 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

Sheizenhammer wrote:Can someone please explain to me what the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems is? My new computer is running 32-bit Windows 7 right now, and I honestly don't see why it needs any more bits - it runs just fine as it is.

It could handle 64-bit (it's a quad core 2.49GHz processor with 2GB of RAM), but... why would I want to upgrade it?


A very legit question - and I'll be happy to address it.

a 32-bit O/S can only address memory up to about 3.5GB (a little less than 4GB). For most of you, right now, that's probably more than enough to play your games, go online and do everything you need. As long as you are happy with 4GB or less, a 32 bit O/S will do you just fine.

But let's say you need to run a very resource-intensive application, like Flight Simulator X. Or you want to build a server to handle a lot of remote user sessions. You may discover that your applications run much better the more RAM you have. If you need more than 4GB of RAM, you need to use a 64-bit O/S - which (theoretically) could address 15 x 10^8 bytes (15 exabytes, or roughly 15 billion GB) - most people will use between 8 and 24GB.

Your CPU and motherboard need to support 64 bit operations, and all of your device drivers (printer, video, LAN, USB, etc) need to have 64 bit versions as well.

32 Bit O/S's have been around for a while, and 64 bit are there, too - if you need it. From my experience, the 32 bit world is a proven and stable area, and although I use both 32 and 64 bit O/S's (Windows and Linux), I find I have less compatibility issues with 32bit for now.

So, unless you want to really do extreme gaming or need some serious horsepower, your 32bit O/S is just fine. Yeah, the 64 bit (theoretically) works faster - but it won't speed up your hard drive, your video GPU or your LAN connection. Those components are the bottlenecks to a fast computer.

Hope this helped! :D
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EagleRock

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Post Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:03 am

Re: Eagle's latest toys

Here's another one of my toys that just showed up at the household:

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I've been waiting to get a good watch for a long time, because I had no clue what to look for. After some advice and a lot of Internet research, I ended up getting this one from this place. I couldn't be happier with it. It looks great on the wrist:

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I neglected to take a picture of the case back, which is transparent, and looks really cool, so I stole this one from Orient USA's site:

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Also, the discount coupon I used landed me a free watch to go with it! Here's that watch:

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This watch is mechanical too, and has an exhibition caseback just like the other one:

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Not bad for a cost of $0.00, if I do say so myself. Here's my two new watches side-by-side:

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Okay, that's enough showing off. Back to your daily lives, people! :)
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ByteSlinger

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Post Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:01 am

Re: Eagle's latest toys

I see you have joined the dark side - a Windows 7 laptop! Yes, enlightened one! Come to the shadows! Let me show you the dark pleasures of Microsoft...the pretty pictures and empty promises...the power of the interface, and the pain of the Eternal Blue Screen. Oh, when it's good, it's so very, very good.... and when it's bad...well...that is when a small part of your soul dies as you struggle like Sisyphus to bring stability to all that is chaos.

As for your lovely man-time-keeping bracelets, they are attractive, in some machismo sense that you need not one, but TWO devices strapped to your hirsute arm to let you know what time it is in Stockholm and Kuala Lumpur. Oh, and you may want to consider synchronizing them, while you're at it. Nothing more embarrassing that to be asked the time by some young and shapely blond (who couldn't possibly tell time on her own) only for you to stammer and say "Well, it's either 4:55 or 4:56..."

I haven't worn a watch in decades. The idea of having anything on my wrist (or even fingers) as I type and work just seem to be superficial. I don't need to worry about banging, clanking, scraping or losing a watch (or ring) while I hammer my keyboard. And invariably, wherever I am, there is always a source for the current time - even if it's someone like you! XP

But, I guess if you're wearing one and it blows a flat, you can whip the spare out of your pocket and be back up in no time...
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EagleRock

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Post Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:53 am

Re: Eagle's latest toys

ByteSlinger wrote:I see you have joined the dark side - a Windows 7 laptop! Yes, enlightened one! Come to the shadows! Let me show you the dark pleasures of Microsoft...the pretty pictures and empty promises...the power of the interface, and the pain of the Eternal Blue Screen. Oh, when it's good, it's so very, very good.... and when it's bad...well...that is when a small part of your soul dies as you struggle like Sisyphus to bring stability to all that is chaos.


I'd say "joining the dark side" is a bit extreme. I just want to use my laptop as a serviceable and easy platform for mobile gaming. Linux isn't quite there yet with Wine. One thing to note is that despite a pristine setup from scratch and extensive configuration and securing of Windows still doesn't help it from crashing out of games semi-regularly. I can see that the world of Windows crashing hasn't changed much...I actually forgot how much it occurred... :-) Makes me appreciate Linux all the more. But, on the other hand, now I can play Portal and TF2 with ease... :-)

ByteSlinger wrote:As for your lovely man-time-keeping bracelets, they are attractive, in some machismo sense that you need not one, but TWO devices strapped to your hirsute arm to let you know what time it is in Stockholm and Kuala Lumpur. Oh, and you may want to consider synchronizing them, while you're at it. Nothing more embarrassing that to be asked the time by some young and shapely blond (who couldn't possibly tell time on her own) only for you to stammer and say "Well, it's either 4:55 or 4:56..."


Well, the one pic was just to show the two watches side-by-side. I actually took that picture for someone on another forum that wanted a comparison. And as far as synchronizing the two watches...it's not that easy. They're automatic watches with no hacking feature (where you can pause the second-hand for perfect synchronization). So, I can't do the whole military "synchronize watches" thing, unfortunately. However, I do have to say that both watches (especially the one I bought), keep ridiculously accurate time. In 4 days it has lost 1 second of time...that's well above a chronometer rating, and hell, that's as good as the best quartz watches out there.

ByteSlinger wrote:I haven't worn a watch in decades. The idea of having anything on my wrist (or even fingers) as I type and work just seem to be superficial. I don't need to worry about banging, clanking, scraping or losing a watch (or ring) while I hammer my keyboard. And invariably, wherever I am, there is always a source for the current time - even if it's someone like you! XP

But, I guess if you're wearing one and it blows a flat, you can whip the spare out of your pocket and be back up in no time...


Well, as far as the jewelry thing, that's really what a man's watch is anyway. Women have shoes, necklaces, rings, bracelets, anklets, and all this crap they get to wear. Men can wear rings, and can occasionally get away with a bracelet (if you are particularly ghetto), but watches are really the way to go. So, yes, I will concede it's a jewelry thing.

However, this particular watch is a bit more than just jewelry. Besides being a great watch that tells great time and looks great, the exhibition case front and case back really let you see what's going on inside. Any self-respecting geek that loves to see how things work on the inside gets a kick out of stuff like this, and the watch is just plain damn cool to look at. You really can't get a good look at it from a picture, but the movement in action is awesome to look at. Here's a youtube video that shows it off:


Also, for additional "geek cred," it has a fully functional E6B slide rule on the bezel. Nothing like having a classic geek toy on your wrist, ready to use!

Also, I'd like to make one final note...I find using a hammer on my keyboard a bit less effective than my fingers. :lol:
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ByteSlinger

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:30 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

What's really funny is all of the thought you put into my reply - especially since most of it was tongue-in-cheek!

Yes, I do enjoy knowing the inner workings of most things - but no matter how you slice it, these watches are nothing more than a group of specifically sized gears and a timing mechanism that interprets a cyclic pulse into a measured swing, and with that swing, turn the main gear. Everything after that is just more gears and a pair of analog hands.

Now, if you REALLY want to impress another geek, get your hands on the NBS-6:
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And then tell me how that works...hehehe

It's accurate to within 1 second over 30,000 years - and you'll never find a cheap knockoff online!
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RogerBK

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:53 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

lol, my netbook is sooo shitty...

Intel Atom Inside
1GB RAM
HD 230 GB... I think

but I can play CS in it... :D
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lol, it was hard to put the image in the signature... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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EagleRock

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:59 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

ByteSlinger wrote:What's really funny is all of the thought you put into my reply - especially since most of it was tongue-in-cheek!

Yes, I do enjoy knowing the inner workings of most things - but no matter how you slice it, these watches are nothing more than a group of specifically sized gears and a timing mechanism that interprets a cyclic pulse into a measured swing, and with that swing, turn the main gear. Everything after that is just more gears and a pair of analog hands.


It's hard to find conversations where you are NOT being tounge-in-cheek, lol. That being said, I knew it the whole time. However, it was 2AM, I was at work, and there was no work to be done for miles. So, boredom took over in my response. :lol:

ByteSlinger wrote:Now, if you REALLY want to impress another geek, get your hands on the NBS-6:
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And then tell me how that works...hehehe

It's accurate to within 1 second over 30,000 years - and you'll never find a cheap knockoff online!


Well, getting ahold of one requires the balls of Matthew Broderick in WarGames, but I can tell you how it works with no problem. Cesium is a radioactive element with a resonant frequency of 9,192,631,770 Hz (which is also coincidentally the measurement of an SI second). This frequency can be easily matched by microwave frequencies controlled by crystal oscillators. The cesium is heated, which causes atoms to separate and pass down a vacuum tube that passes through a magnetic field to separate them, then through a microwave field controlled by the crystal oscillator mentioned before. The atoms that pass through the microwave at that exact pulse have an increased energy state.

At the end of the tube, there is a sensor that detects cesium atoms in this higher energy state. It tracks when the most atoms have that energy state, which indicates the peak amplitude of the frequency wave mentioned above. Now that you know exactly when the wave is occurring, divide your frequency by 9,192,631,770, and bam, you got a second right there.

Duh, I thought everyone knew that. (How's that for tounge-in-cheek? :D :D :D :D :D )

RogerBK wrote:lol, my netbook is sooo shitty...

Intel Atom Inside
1GB RAM
HD 230 GB... I think

but I can play CS in it... :D


I have a netbook myself, and I can't complain about it. They're actually not that slow, considering how weak the CPU is. Granted, Windows XP runs balls-slow on it, but my experience with Windows 7 was actually more favorable on the Atom-based netbooks. You might want to consider an upgrade. And if you can play CS on it, that must mean you have one of the never models using the Nvidia Ion graphics technology, which is actually sophisticated enough to rum Source-based games like CS and TF2. You can't complain about that in such a small package!

Now, I'll admit, my netbook doesn't have the comparably great graphics yours has, but I plopped Linux on it and use it primarily as an ultraportable Lulz-Generation-Device (e.g. Newgrounds/YouTube/The Googles), with the occasional GNOME game. As long as you use it what it's intended for, they are great devices, and I stand by them.
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SlntCobra1

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

Speaking of netbooks, Eagle said my laptop could run Crysis with room to spare. :shock: :shock:
95% of teens would cry if the Jonas brothers were about to jump off of a 10 story building. I'm one of the 5% who would bring popcorn and invite friends.
CLICK MAH SIG!!!!
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EagleRock

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:10 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

SlntCobra1 wrote:Speaking of netbooks, Eagle said my laptop could run Crysis with room to spare. :shock: :shock:


Well, I wouldn't say that. Your PC can run Crysis, yes, but on low or medium settings. You can, however, run games such as the Source engine games (CS:S, TF2, Portal, etc.) very well, with nice graphics and a good solid framerate.
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RogerBK

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:39 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

I like my netbook, it's very cool to use it when I'm watching TV or at my room...

And... speaking of Windows, which one do you guys think is better??? XP or 7?? I used the Windows 7 in my friend's house, and I understood NOTHING!!!! It's simply way too hard to use, it doesn't have the main page button...

I love Windows XP, I have the Home Basic and the Professional Edition, both in my netbook, and I think it's very simple and easy to use, the only bad thing is the Word and the PowrPoint 2007, they're AWFUL!! :?

Anyone have opinions to discuss???
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lol, it was hard to put the image in the signature... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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EagleRock

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:23 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

RogerBK wrote:I like my netbook, it's very cool to use it when I'm watching TV or at my room...

And... speaking of Windows, which one do you guys think is better??? XP or 7?? I used the Windows 7 in my friend's house, and I understood NOTHING!!!! It's simply way too hard to use, it doesn't have the main page button...

I love Windows XP, I have the Home Basic and the Professional Edition, both in my netbook, and I think it's very simple and easy to use, the only bad thing is the Word and the PowrPoint 2007, they're AWFUL!! :?

Anyone have opinions to discuss???


In my opinion, Windows 7 is the better option. In some ways, it is actually more efficient than XP. Any machine that can run XP (with at least 1GB of RAM, I'd say) can easily run Windows 7 acceptably. As far as the new UI, it really hasn't changed too much, at least on the front end. There's really only a few GUI things you need to know to get used to it:

The "Start" button is basically the same as the new "Windows" button on the bottom left, except that the menu is a bit more elaborate. For example, you can click the "All Programs" button to search through the folders as you are used to in XP. However, you can use the search bar on the bottom of the window to find the program you want to run. It can be a lot easier to find the one-off program that is hidden in a nest of hierarchical folders.

The Taskbar no longer has every window open designated by a long button with the text next to the icon as you are used to. Instead, you have one smaller button with just the icon of the program in question. In the case of multiple windows open for one program, they are "stacked" on top of each icon. When you hover over each icon, you will get a popup that shows a tiny screenshot of each window open for that program. It sounds like it's less intuitive, but it's actually more intuitive. It's easier to recognize the icons and the screenshots of your programs, rather than reading text.

The Taskbar also no longer has quick launch buttons like you might be used to in Windows XP. Instead, they have replaced the Quick Launch buttons with application "Pinning." Now, you can pin an open program (described in the above paragraph) to the taskbar, so the icon will always stay there, even if the program is closed. This allows you to one-click the large icon on the Taskbar to launch the program just like you did with Quick Launch.

Besides that, there are other small visual changes (and you can get into Gadgets if you so desire), but other than that, it's very much the same. There are a load of changes in the back-end, but none that adversely affect the UI experience.
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ByteSlinger

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Post Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: Eagle's latest toys

RogerBK wrote:I like my netbook, it's very cool to use it when I'm watching TV or at my room...

And... speaking of Windows, which one do you guys think is better??? XP or 7?? I used the Windows 7 in my friend's house, and I understood NOTHING!!!! It's simply way too hard to use, it doesn't have the main page button...

I love Windows XP, I have the Home Basic and the Professional Edition, both in my netbook, and I think it's very simple and easy to use, the only bad thing is the Word and the PowrPoint 2007, they're AWFUL!! :?

Anyone have opinions to discuss???


I actually use both XP and W7. I am comfortable with XP because it's been around so long. I've tweaked and changed W7 to look more like XP, but it's obviously different. Actually, it runs faster than XP, has better crash isolation, smarter built-in anti spyware, a better backup program, and a lot more features than XP. Of course, you have to know how to customize it, because "out-of-the-box" it's really kind of daunting - too many changes from XP. I disabled the gadget bar, use the "Windows Classic" theme on the desktop, use "Classic" mode on folder and explorer displays, and kept all of the important desktop icons readily available. I like keeping my desktop simple.

I use the free version of the Avast Anti-Virus as well as the entire OpenOffice suite. I use Firefox as my browser, and Thunderbird as my e-mail handler. All free, and all very compatible with W7. No compatibility problems with Micro$oft Orifice, as OpenOffice handles it all - and better and faster than Office itself!

When someone buys a new W7 box, I uninstall all of the "try-before-you-buy" crap, like the anitvirus, Office 2007, etc. and install all of the free stuff above. The machine runs smoother; haven't seen a BSOD AT ALL since I started doing this, and about 85% of my old software and games run fine in XP Compatibility mode. I had a few casualties, like some older versions of Adobe Illustrator, the Cisco VPN client, Outlook 2000/2003 and Nero CD burning software, to name a few. But nothing I couldn't figure out a replacement for.

It's actually not a bad O/S - in fact, it follows Microsoft's pattern of "every other O/S version is a dog" from a long time back:

MS DOS 1 - Decent prototype of CPM
MS DOS 2 - Too many changes, not stable. Really not ready for prime time
MS DOS 3 - Much better. Made it to 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3
MS DOS 4 - Rushed out to be competitive with IBM's OS/2. Now there were TWO crappy O/S's to choose from
MS DOS 5 - Finally, a nice stable release of DOS that could access larger hard drives and more RAM
MS DOS 6 - Pushed out to be competitive with DEC MS-DOS. They didn't learn
MS DOS 7 - The last (and shortest lived) DOS - included as part of windows updates
Windows 1.0 - ran on top of MS DOS 5, 6 or 7. First shot at taking a poke at Apple
Windows 2.0 - Tried to please too many folks; issues with memory management and power usage
Windows 3.0, 3.1 and 3.11 - Yes - a version of Windows over DOS that shared files and really worked (Windows for WorkGroups)
Windows 4.0 - Sometimes, you CAN go too far.
Windows 95, ver 1 - The first version of Windows that was stand alone. Not a bad start, but needed work
Windows 95, ver 2 - Sometimes fixing things made it worse
Windows 98 - What Windows 95 should have been - a lot more stability
Windows 98 Rev a - Patched some holes - made some new ones
Windows 98 Rev B - Ah! There we go! Much better
Windows ME (Millenia - Not to be confused with the NT version of Windows 2000). This was, by far, the crappiest Windows made. Very short lived.
Windows XP, SP1 - Changed things around; not bad, but had issues
Windows XP, SP2 - Yikes! there were more security holes in XP SP2 than there were in your average Afghanistan rural airport!
Windows XP, SP3 - Stability at last - still in use today. Only version of Windows to have their "active life" scale extended by years from Microsoft
Vista - any version - This is what happens when you have a bunch of great ideas, but hire cheap programmers and rush the product to market
Windows 7 - All the good ideas of Vista, approaching the stability of XP. Still hard to get drivers for older hardware, but overall, definitely usable.

And that's the past 25+ years in a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed your (somewhat opinionated) history lesson! 8-)
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