About a month ago i started using MetroTwit. Its a really good, nice, clean twitter application which runs brilliantly on Windows 7. I moved to it because of its great UI but in the most recent update they seem to have gone a bit AWOL on the UI. So the aim of this post is to point this out to them so they can improve in the next version.


I have colour coded the issues.

Starting from the top, the green box. Why is the Timestamp / Client at the top, i think it looks weird put it to the bottom.

Next is the pink box. Now this is personal preference, i personally think its redundant information, maybe make it a configurable option.

Next is the light blue box, now it is good that they added support for retweet API, BUT i do not think they put any thought into the design of that “Retweeted by ….” component, i think it could be done more subtly  without taking up the large amount of space that it does.

Finally we get to the orange boxes, they need to have a bigger margin with the window border. I would suggest looking at evening out the spacing between all of the buttons so it appears equal.

Just to close off i would like to just say that it is a great piece of software, and is by far the best twitter client there is for windows so keep up the good work guys!

So I brought a MacBook Pro

As my old laptop is rather crap (battery, speed, graphics) and it was restricting me from getting any real work done I decided to move up my intended purchase of a new laptop mainly a MacBook Pro 13.3/2.4/4/250.

Now I am a Microsoft fan and i generally hate Apple so why did I buy a MacBook Pro?

  • Student Discount – only £860
  • Lovely Screen with a good pixel density (1280×800 on 13.3” which is same resolution as my old laptop which is 1280×800 on 15”)
  • Exceptional Battery Life
  • Pretty damn good quality of hardware and design (although the Apple logo on the back annoys me)
  • Runs OS X without messing about so I can use OS X as a test/dev environment.
  • They are well known for running Windows exceptionally well.

Ok so that’s why I brought it, but how did it go? It didn’t go so well. In the space of 7 days I have had to have my MBP replaced twice due to dead pixels on the first two. The nearest Apple store is in Bristol which is a good 5-6hour round trip and I have now made that journey 3 times which as you can imagine is quite annoying. Anyway i finally got a non faulty MBP and it is now setup with all my favourite software, but there were some issues with this.

First issue is that you cannot boot a Windows installer from USB using the default EFI firmware, to get around this you need to install rEFIt which does allow it.

The second issue was turning off the annoying Start-up boing to turn that off you need to get StartupSound.prefpane.

At the moment I am on a terrible internet connection (only getting 40KB/s) and OS X wanted over 1gb of updates (including X-Code update) which it will download in the background if you don’t turn it off. To turn it off go to Apple Logo –> System Preferences –> Software Updates and turn off automatic downloading.

The most recent issue i have had is in Windows and finding the hash-key (which doesn’t work in Live Writer for some weird reason). After about 15minutes of playing around and downloading the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator i found out it is Alt-GR (the Alt on the right hand side of the keyboard) + 3

Anyway I’m really pleased with it, and it runs Windows 7 like a dream, its almost as powerful as my desktop. With some initial testing Windows does get a good 7+ hours out of the battery which while begin 3 less than OS X, its still very good.

Improvements to Windows 7

(just a quick note, i wrote this quickly, so there may be mistakes, and badly worded bits, so please tell me so i can update it)

I have been using Windows, and Windows 7 for a long time now, but like any operating system it has flaws and problems.

Problem 1 – Upgrading

The biggest problem that some of my friends have encountered is upgrading from a previous version to Windows 7. They need to make the upgrade system more flexible, removing issues such as upgrading from Business to Home Premium which currently requires a clean install. Upgrades also take a lot of time and can be unsuccessful.

Problem 2 – Installers

There are various installer systems for Windows, all of them different. As a user i would really like one underlying installer system that EVERYONE would use. I’m not saying they all need the same UI, but they should all use the same underlying technology, which should be Windows Installer.

They also need to add a auto updater protocol in this so that people can keep their software up to date via one interface. Something similar to Windows Update. This will keep people up to date, which means more stable software, more secure software, but also a way for companies to potentially advertise upgrades to newer versions, and the best bit of it all, the user gets a better experience.

This might also help improve Problem 1, as if everything uses the same installer system, then its easier to migrate programs across.

I know some projects like NSIS wouldn’t like this, but there are plenty of open source Windows Installer based systems for creating installers, e.g. WIX.

Those are the main two issues i see today, there are of course other issues, but they are minor.

Windows 7 has really improved on performance, but there is always more you can do.

Also i would like to be able to install a base version of Windows e.g. Professional, then buy licenses for the extras that appear in higher versions like BitLocker, without having to pay for all of the other extras that come in Ultimate. This would unleash new avenues of revenue for Microsoft, as well as helping to make Windows more modular.

If you have anything to add to this, or that you would like to suggest, then please comment, and i might make a follow up post.


Its been a white since I’ve blogged due to various reasons. Most of these reasons are due to various hosting providers misbehaving.

I have still been doing other things.

RedKite v 0.1 was released and although it still needs some UI adjustments, but v 0.2 is well on its way.

RedKite v 0.1

I got my phone upgraded to a HTC Hero, which is a truly awesome device, even though i do miss Windows Mobile, Android is actually pretty good, although it does suffer from some rather lame parts of Google Apps, like Calendar which is just absolutely crap.

Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing, and i have been running it on my machines since it was given to MSDN, its brilliant and faster than ever.

I’m currently working on a post about what i would like to see in Windows 8, which should be coming up soon.