The President's Message

APRIL 2011

Rick Curry

Thanks to Shuly Partush and her co-speaker for presenting their patented Emergency Response System for cellphones. This is a product that the public needs to be told it needs. Naturally, many of our members knew that dialing ‘911’ on a cell phone could send you nearly anywhere (although usually to the state Highway Patrol). I did not know this, and I have relatives who are emergency responders. I see great potential for their secure "emergency friends" list and cellphone panic button concepts. Read more about them at safekidzone.com.

Compatible - sort of. My Windows 7 experience so far is a mixed bag. On one hand, I find I enjoy the new interface. I have not enjoyed previous Microsoft changes to the desktop, but this one has mostly been a change for the better. I had to hunt for some of the control panel items as with previous new versions of Windows, but this time it did not feel like an overly zealous file clerk had rearranged the company documents overnight.

On the down side of the experience, we are one for three on successes with various hardware. The system that worked immediately has new hardware. It is an AMD dual-core with 4GB of RAM.

The first system I had a problem with was built in 2006, has an Abit AMD motherboard, and was not a performance machine when it was built. Windows 7 worked when we installed it. It seemed to perform reasonably well until we installed the antivirus suite (Microsoft Security Essentials). We did not analyze the problem; my guess is that the system (which is limited to 2GB of RAM) is just memory starved. We reinstalled Windows XP on this machine.

The next problem machine should have been OK. The Windows 7 Compatibility Center responds that the motherboard is compatible. It is an Intel motherboard (made by Intel, not just made for an Intel processor). There is a driver package for the motherboard that claims support for Windows 7.

So what went wrong? The driver package is generic for several mother boards. There is Windows 7 support in the driver package, just no Windows 7 support for my particular motherboard. After hunting around on the website for a while, I found an announcement that there will be no Windows 7 drivers for the integrated hardware on this motherboard. So the motherboard is technically compatible with Windows 7 (it will install.) If I add network, sound, and disk add-on cards, I can even use the system as I had been. I am probably going to reinstall XP on this system as a shortterm solution, then replace the motherboard in the long term.

And now a warning: I went back to the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, and I submitted a correction for the page that would list the motherboard as partially compatible. I just checked the page again. My motherboard is still listed as fully compatible. So the official compatibility website is a good place to start. And if you want to know that your system is going to work, I recommend searching the Internet for "Windows 7 upgrade" and the name and model of your motherboard to see if others are having problems.

Happy (and compatible) computing