Idea Bounce

Lately I’ve been getting inspired by folks like Jason Santa Maria, Bob Haro and Jim Barraud’s Manifest theme. I’ve always been a fan of minimalistic design and after a couple recent projects I’ve been wanting to do something like that for myself.

But before I get too crazy, let me bounce an idea off you guys, more for technical reasons than anything else. While I enjoy minimalism very much, I also like the dynamic way that minimal designs can change. Does anyone think it’s possible for WordPress to be set up or designed to change it’s CSS file for every post? Has anyone ever seen that sort of thing before? I know JSM does it with Expression Engine, but with all the advances in WP these days, I wonder if it could handle the load. There would obviously have to be a “base” template in case a custom template isn’t defined, but can anyone think of a way to designate a template per post. There is the option to do that with “pages” to a limited extent, but posts aren’t that flexible. A page can be defined using a template different from the rest of your site so you can do things like have a portfolio section with a more unique layout, different from your blog.

It’s an interesting question. One that might be worth researching a little. Any ideas fellas?

Windows 7: Part 2

I just wanted to let everyone know what finally ended up happening with my Windows 7 install last week.

I ended up ripping out nearly every piece of hardware from the machine and installing it with only the single hard drive it was going onto and the DVD drive it was coming from in the box. Sure enough, as soon as I did that it started up like a champ. It installed in about 20 minutes and another 10 after that and I had updated everything through Windows Update. After that I started adding hardware back in and it found, recognized and configured everything correctly, without issue. After doing some more digging and prodding people on the technet forums it turns out that Windows 7 (and partially Vista as well) has a real nasty issue with multiple hard drives, especially those with different interfaces and formats.

My advice to anyone (Chris) building a machine is that you put in a single hard drive, install Windows 7, then finish you build. Anything more than that and it could become a real pain in the ass.

On the flipside, Windows 7 is actually running great. I installed Steam, a couple older games, all my apps, and it’s really humming along. Direct X 10 seems to be doing great, all the games look good, no performance hits compared to XP (which was an issue with Vista). I’m actually liking it quite a bit.

So, I wish I could say that the install was painless, far from it, but at least the actual day to day operation of the OS seems to be pretty solid.

Windows 7

Yesterday I attended the Windows 7 launch party and developer seminars. The talks were rather interesting, the launch party was rather boring but the real meat and potatoes is that they gave everyone who came a full retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate. Happy I decided to go I left the event in the afternoon and hurried home with my copy of Microsofts newest operating system.

As far as I can tell, I had done everything right. I moved all important data off my C: drive. I backed up everything I wanted to save. I ran the Windows 7 “Upgrade Advisor” to see if there we any problems (which I didn’t list any). I downloaded all the latest Windows 7 drivers to the D: drive for easy installation after I was up and going. I felt I was ready. I put in the install DVD, restarted and booted from the DVD.

Instant BSOD.

I was obviously a little confused. This is a brand new OS, one that’s supposed to be low on resource usage, easy on hardware requirements and heavy on compatibility. Surely I had done something wrong. I restarted again.

Instant BSOD.

As soon as the Windows installer starts I get a bluescreen with the always awesome “IRQL Not Less or Equal” and the explination that nvstor.sys is causing the problem. Apparently nvstor.sys is a nVidia motherboard driver responsible for control over the SATA devices. It’s also been linked to graphics card problems, but I don’t think that’s the issue this time. Either way, it’s an nForce chipset problem. After searching nVidia’s website, they claim that it’s not their problem and that their latest chipset drivers are W7 ready. Microsoft doesn’t even acknowledge that the problem exists and various forums around the internet list it as anything from a RAM timing issue to motherboard features needing to be disabled to a general hardware problem that has no solution. Apparently the recommended process for troubleshooting is tearing your machine apart, removing everything except motherboard and hard drive and installing from there.

I fail to see how that is an acceptable solution. I’m of course going to try it, but it’s so ridiculous that I’d have to remove hardware to install an OS that it’s really beyond description. “I’m sorry sir, we’re going to need to take your engine out, your doors off and remove your stereo so we can rotate your tires”. WTF?!

I’m also going to try, but I don’t know why, to update my chipset drivers and bios. I also fail to see how updating drivers on a hard drive I’m about to format makes any sense at all, but what the hell, it’s worth a shot.

In case you’re interested, I started a thread on Microsoft’s Technet forums to try and get some input on the problem. I’m going to go home today and try updating the BIOS, just for giggles.

I have to say, this is actually kind of a huge disappointment. If I had purchased W7 right now, I would be outraged. Way to drop the ball again MS. Oh, and by the way, a “continental breakfast” at your events should probably include more than danish and burnt Starsucks coffee. Just sayin’.